Joseph Haydn: Die sieben lezten Worte unseres Erlosers am Kreuze (The Seven Last Words of Our Savior On the Cross); Broodin Quartet, Teldec, recorded October, 1993 . The lush, lovely side of the Passion Play, the Largo second movement is to die for. Grave, but somehow transcendent. No, not first-thing-in-the-morning music. Leave it for late afternoon, when the day’s enticements are less promising.
Franz Schubert Octet in F, D.803, Music From Aston Magna; Harmonium Mundi, 1992. Double adagio and still uplifting. The instrumentation is divine, the rhythms natural, the music moving like deep water.
Morton Feldman: Piano and String Quartet, Kronos Quartet with pianist Aki Takahashi; Nonesuch, recorded November, 1991. In a time of change against a background of stasis, Feldman’s almost 80-minutes of repeated space makes for soothing returns and an alertness that comes of incremental difference. Like waiting for something to happen when things are happening all around.
Miles Davis Quintet: Filles de Kilamanjaro; Columbia, recorded June, 1968. Filles is more melodic that the preceding quintet recordings most likely due to the presence of Gil Evans when these tunes were written. The themes are light and graceful, but dissolve in to free-expression solo sections that catch everyone (but especially Wayne Shorter) in expansive moods. And then back to those themes of grace and respect, the perfect things for someone looking for beauty and while trying to make order out of the chaos.
Initiate, The Nels Cline Singers; Cryptogramophone, recorded September, 2009. Disc two, the live recording of this two disc set, reminds us that hearing Cline live was always something of a symphonic experience. A good momento of what this band can do on stage, the variety of moods and sounds it covers and its ability to adapt music to its surroundings. Don’t ask me which disc I like best — studio or live — both represent the varieties of life in surprisingly different ways.