NPRMusic is doing this this week, and I thought it’d be a good question to ask here. Here are mine:
Haugaard & Hoirup – “Lysets Engel.” Danish musicians Harald Haugaard (guitar) and Morten Hoirup (fiddle) are joined by Scottish fiddler Alasdair Frasier and American cellist Natalie Haas on this suite that pairs a stately minuet with a traditional Danish hymn whose name means “Angel of Light.” The move from the minor-key dance to the major-key hymn perfectly captures the cold of winter opening up to the hope of spring.
Ernst Reijseger – “Libera me, Domine,” from the soundtrack to Werner Herzog’s “Requiem For A Dying Planet.” Solemn, somber, full of longing and hope, Reijseger’s cello paired with the singing of a Corsican choir.
Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy – “Burns Supper,” by Richard Thompson, from their album “Adieu, False Heart.” Named for the midwinter meal that commemorates Scottish poet Robert Burns, the song paints a bleak picture of an old man who has been without love for so long that he is now afraid to accept it when it comes. Ronstadt’s and Savoy’s version, with their lovely harmonies, seems to offer some sense of hope after all.
The Beatles – “Blue Jay Way.” George Harrison wrote this song on a foggy night in Los Angeles in a strange house waiting for some others to arrive. The psychedelic arrangement with its droning organ, plodding drums and swirling, reverb-laden vocals perfectly captures the claustrophobia of a lonely gray winter’s eve.
M. Ward – “Paul’s Song.” If you can’t do anything about the weather, why not celebrate it? M. Ward’s melancholy song is a paean to his adopted Portland, Oregon, home and its famous rain. Its title is a dedication to pedal steel player Paul Brainard whose accompaniment turns on the sunshine whenever I hear it.
So, what are yours? Comments are welcome.