Press Play: “Canamus, Amici Canamus” by Henk Badings

It’s a bit of an obvious statement, but the 20th Century was a time of incredible changes in music. But as obvious as that statement is, it’s pretty amazing if you think of it from the perspective of a 20th-Century composer like Henk Badings, for example.

He was born in 1907, only 10 years after the death of Brahms, and died in 1987, when this was the most popular song on the planet. Can you imagine witnessing that musical evolution as a composer? One lifespan, encompassing the death of Mahler, the birth of jazz, the rise of atonality, the Broadway musical, the British invasion, and Michael Jackson.

But far from being jarred by those changes, Badings was part of them. He wrote everything from creepy string serenades to early electronic experiments to sweet little choral works like this one.

Key moment: There are several surprising changes of direction in this one, but my favourite is the one at 2:07.

That makes me think of: While Badings’ career took him from symphonies to software, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood has gone in the reverse direction, proving that evolution can start at any point on the musical spectrum.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”


Press Play: “O Nata Lux” by Thomas Tallis

With Catholicism and Protestantism competing for prominence in 16th-century Britain, it can’t have been easy for composers who relied on the church for their livelihood. This uneasiness was probably magnified for Thomas Tallis, who composed for four different monarchs at the Chapel Royal. He never strayed from Catholicism himself, which says something about his own fortitude, not to mention the high worth of his talent.

Key moment: Even though most of the piece floats along with gorgeous five-part harmony, there are a few jarring-but-great moments of dissonance, like the cadence that doesn’t quite go where your brain wants it to go at 1:03.

That makes me think of: Tallis’ unnerving moments of dissonance remind me of the opening chords of “Blank” by Failure.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”

Press Play: “Rise Up, My Love, My Fair One” by Healey Willan

I’m a big fan of small travel.

By “small travel”, I mean relatively spontaneous trips that don’t require passports, weeks of planning, or the cashing in of savings. These trips come in various forms; spur-of-the-moment cottage rentals, aimless bike rides, even day-long walks in an unfamiliar area of your own city.

The best thing about small travel isn’t the minimal cost (although that’s nice). It’s the fact that big vacations bring big expectations. With little trips, the ratio of planning to post-trip afterglow is very favourable.

The next time you ask your fair one to rise up and join you on a mini-trip, be sure to put this lovely piece by Healey Willan on your playlist.

Key moment: The delicate “away” at 1:19 sounds like a train’s horn as it disappears over the horizon.

That makes me think of: Another great song for spontaneous summer adventures – “Sunshine” by Josh Rouse. It’s even in the same key.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”

Press Play: “Three Lullabies” by Henryk Gorecki

This week, for no particular reason, I would like to share with you 33 good things that come in threes:

  1. Little pigs.
  2. Shakespearean witches.
  3. Lines in a Haiku.
  4. Tennis balls.
  5. Rock, paper, scissors.
  6. Cheers.
  7. Bagfuls of wool.
  8. Goldilocks’ soup options.
  9. Neapolitan ice cream.
  10. Wise men.
  11. Normal men. (In the context of 1980s comedies, and only when in combination with a baby.)
  12. Earth, Wind, & Fire.
  13. Blind mice.
  14. Dimensions.
  15. Days in a long weekend.
  16. The Star Wars trilogy. (The original one, that is.)
  17. The industry standard number of wishes granted by most genies.
  18. Band members in Nirvana.
  19. Rice-based cereal mascots.
  20. Columbus’ ships.
  21. Points on a trident.
  22. Points in a thesis.
  23. Colours in a whole lot of flags.
  24. Periods in a hockey game.
  25. Beats per bar in a waltz.
  26. Musketeers.
  27. Amigos.
  28. Stooges.
  29. Leggedness allowed in typically the most hilarious type of race.
  30. Bronte sisters.
  31. Kennedy brothers.
  32. Suit pieces.
  33. Lullabies by Henryk Gorecki.

Key moment: The ostinato that begins the third lullaby. It’s a bit jolting for a lullaby, but in keeping with today’s themes, it’s in triple meter.

That makes me think of: “Three To Get Ready” by Dave Brubeck.

Andrew Moore is our blogger-in-residence, and author of the music blog Beautiful Song of the Week.”