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When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky by Lauren Stringer: This is the story of how the famous composer, Stravinsky, and the famous dancer, Nijinsky, collaborated to create a performance of Stravinsky’s work that was so shockingly avant-garde that it caused a riot in the streets of Paris.* Can you imagine a ballet so shocking that it caused fistfights and screaming matches across the aisles of a sophisticated French theater in 1913? Astounding!

This book is to be read with “The Rite of Spring” playing in the background or not at all – the illustrations complement the music in a way that’s truly special. It’s so necessary to really enjoying the book that I’m a little mad it doesn’t include a CD, but of course you can always get the music independently from the library – whether you want it on CD or if you want to download it directly from Freegal!

when stravinsky“The Rite of Spring” is the music playing during the death-of-the-dinosaurs segment in Disney’s Fantasia, or as my childhood self knew it, “one of the scary parts!” This is powerful music, and accompanied by powerful, beautiful illustrations, this book is one to check out.

 *Please note: the library cannot be held responsible for any damage done to your home or car by riots this book/music may cause.

This post brought to you by Liza, our newest blogger!

Welcome to the first installment of the The Discerning Palette, a new blog series about the online art world. In the news this week is the art of Tony Bennett. Yes, that Tony Bennett. When he’s not crooning, Mr. Bennett enjoys painting watercolors. His art can be viewed and purchased through his website, Benedetto Arts. Benedetto is Mr. Bennett’s original family name and how he signs his paintings. Mr. Bennett has done commission pieces for the Kentucky Derby and the United Nations and has works in the Smithsonian and the National Portrait Gallery. He has also lectured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This week Mr. Bennett’s art is in the news due to a photo shoot with Lady Gaga and famed celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz. Gaga and Leibovitz were shooting for an upcoming Vanity Fair issue and Mr. Bennett was invited to sketch Lady Gaga. The charcoal sketch of Lady Gaga is being auctioned off for Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and Bennett’s Exploring the Arts charity. For other Bennett/Gaga collaborations, check out their duet of “The Lady is a Tramp”from the Rogers and Hart musical “Babes in Arms” which is featured on Bennett’s new Duets II CD.

Thanksgiving has barely passed and I’m already sick to death of the holiday glut of Mariah Carey and “Feliz Navidad” – if you too crave some alternative holiday tunes, pick up these library items to rejuvenate your playlist.

Yule b Swingin Too – a jazzy, swinging mix of old favorites with a vibrant, fun feel.

Midwinter Graces by Tori Amos – A lush mix of standard classics, re-imagined favorites, and new material from the celebrated singer.

Christmas with the Stars – Orchestral, instrumental, vocal, classical, popular, and ensemble: this album combines styles seamlessly for a joyous effect.

Songs of Joy and Peace by Yo-Yo Ma – Yo-Yo Ma’s famous cello skills make this album a relaxing, joyous listen.

Kwanzaa Music – with tracks from artists like Aretha Franklin and the Baha Men, this eclectic collection gives you a celebratory mood with none of the bland predictability of a usual holiday album.

 

Christmas Cocktails 1 and 2 – the unique ‘ultra-lounge’ style of these albums puts a fun vintage twist on your holiday listening.

The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album – Who doesn’t love their classic “Little Saint Nick”?

 A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector – the legendary producer’s Christmas album is really delightful. Classic and well loved without being overplayed.

40 years of a Charlie Brown Christmas – A true classic brimming with childhood whimsy.

I’m really looking forward to listening to Moby’s latest effort, Destroyed.   In fact, I like the guy more every time I read something about him.

It’s hard to encapsulate what he does,  since as a multi-instrumentalist with electronic roots, he’s switched styles so many times over the years.

Obligatory Moby facts:

– He’s the great-grandson of Herman Melville, hence the chosen stage name.

– The deluxe version of the new album comes with a book of his photographs

– Until recently, he discretely waited tables at a small restaurant just because he liked to

– Didn’t use to lock his doors until he discovered a youth under the influence wandered into his living room.  He gave the young man a sweatshirt and ten dollars for breakfast.

Check out Destroyed and our other new releases at Davenport Public Library.  Fresh albums are starting to pick back up again with the warm weather.

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby starts off with the first of many top five lists.  Rob Fleming, the owner of a vintage record shop in London, has just been dumped by his longtime girlfriend Laura and is assuring himself that it will be okay because he’s been through at least five breakups in the past that were more earth-shattering than this one.  This leads to a sort of odyssey as Rob decides to track down these five women and figure out what exactly went wrong and what the meaning of it all is.  Along the way he finds a new friend (and maybe a bit more) in a sexy American singer, deals with his financially-struggling business, and generally spends a lot of time joking around with his friends in the record shop.

Hornby is great at writing about people who are passionate about music.  I’ve read two of his other books, About A Boy and Juliet Naked, and in each you can really feel how much music means to the characters, and it makes you care a little more about music as well.  There is a lot of witty banter between the guys in the record shop, and Rob has a very sarcastic sense of humor, so it’s definitely good for a laugh even if it has a lot of serious moments as well.  I found myself becoming very frustrated with Rob while reading this book because as he meets each ex-girlfriend to figure out why they broke up, it becomes increasingly appalling that he just doesn’t get it.  Nevertheless, you’ll be rooting for something to go right for him in the end.  Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, and I’m planning to take home the movie starring John Cusack tonight!

It’s a lovely time of year to take a scenic drive through our bedroom communities’ rustic backroads while watching the leaves turn.  Here are a few major names in the Country genre (and a couple Folk) churning out albums in September and October.

Lock in those holds on your copy at Davenport Public Library.

L-R: Kenny Chesney – Hemingway’s Whiskey
Sugarland – The Incredible Machine
Darius Rucker – Charleston, SC 1966
Toby Keith – Bullets in the Gun
Taylor Swift – Speak Now
Neil Young – Le Noise
Zac Brown Band – You Get What You Give

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby is the story of three people and their love of music and each other.  Duncan and Annie are a couple from England who have been together for 15 years, for reasons neither are really sure of.  Duncan is obsessed with musician Tucker Crowe, who abruptly gave up his music career two decades ago following the release of Duncan’s favorite Crowe album, titled Juliet.  When the book begins, Duncan and Annie (a much less enthusiastic Crowe fan) are on a trek through America visiting famous spots where Tucker Crowe spent time.  After disagreeing about the merits of Crowe’s comeback album (an acoustic work entitled Juliet, Naked), Duncan commits the ultimate betrayal, and he and Annie part ways.  But while working to mend her broken heart, Annie is contacted by the person she least expects:  the musician himself, Tucker Crowe.  The two forge a relationship that is completely unexpected, yet fitting when you finally see it come together.

I was drawn to this book for two reasons: I thought the cover was cool (yes, even librarians sometimes judge books by their covers), and the fact that it’s written by Nick Hornby.  This is the second book by Nick Hornby that I have read.  One of his earlier books, About A Boy, is another enjoyable read if you liked this book.  If you like books about musicians and their fans, Hornby’s books are for you; he is clearly very interested in music, with this book being focused on the fictitious Tucker Crowe and About A Boy carrying a large focus on one character’s fascination with Kurt Cobain.  It was interesting to see a sort of “behind the scenes” look at the life of the musician (even if he wasn’t real), and because of this, Tucker Crowe himself ended up being my favorite character.  The ending, while slightly open-ended, provided enough closure that I had high hopes for Annie and her new life.  Overall, I found this to be an interesting and enjoyable read.

The Christmas/End-of-Winter holiday season is a wonderful time of year but sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the chaos and endless to-do lists.  The librarians here at the Davenport Library Info Cafe blog offer some reasons for making time to stop and make the season “merry and bright” with their favorite holiday movies and books.

beholdastarI’ll get things started with my favorite Christmas music. Firmly rooted in tradition (there’s no “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” here!) but with a fresh and modern approach, the Quad City-area-based Nova Singers offer some of the most beautiful music of the season.

The Nova Singers is a 20-voice ensemble with a nationwide reputation and are known for their creative song choices and virtuoso performances. They’ve produced six recordings, three of which are made up of Christmas music. All of them are beautiful but Behold a Star is my favorite partly for the Nova Singer’s version of  “The 12 Days of Christmas” (you can tell they’re having a lot of fun with this) and partly because of the inclusion of “A Shoot Shall Come Forth” a gorgeous and unusual carol that speaks of renewal and peace and promise, exactly what the Christmas season is about.

The best part is that you can see the Nova Singers perform right here – they put on 8 concerts a year, divided between Galesburg and the Quad Cities. Their Christmas concerts this year will be held December 18 and 19. Be sure to check their website for times and locations. Then treat yourself and go – you’ll be glad you did!

Of course the record labels all want artists in their stables to be the big summer hit on every car stereo.   I can’t speak to which ones they’ll crow about,  but these are a few new titles we’re getting of interest.

April

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Tinted Windows – Tinted Windows I don’t know what to make from this Frankenstein band composed of various rock pop acts from the last 30 years.  I’m curious to find out what happens when  you mix in the drummer from Cheap Trick, the guitar player from Smashing Pumpkins, the bass player from Fountains of Wayne and the singer from Hanson….that’s what I said…Hanson.

Beck – One Foot in the Grave This is a re-release of Beck’s second album from 1994, prior to Mellow Gold and the hit track, Loser.  Apparently a more acoustic feel, and, included in the re-release are 13 previously unreleased tracks.

May
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Crystal Method – Divided by Night Looking forward to this one. Everything they turn out has a few bassy floor busters on it that take the drudgery out of house chores or risk giving you a speeding ticket

Yusuf Islam – Roadsinger The politically-embattled artist formerly known as Cat Stevens comes out of musical hiding for the first time in decades.  Lets hope it works out better for him than it did for Guns and Roses.

June
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Moby — Wait for Me Multiinstrumentalist and electronic pioneer Moby is sure to have a disc worth at least one spin of your time.  It’s hard to predict what old gospel blues refrains he’ll sample in to a layered composition.  If his past works are any indication, it will be painstakingly crafted, sell millions, and possibly take home Grammys.

Dave Matthews Band – Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King I’m not a fan at all of this world/funk/acoustic outfit, but there is no denying that this dude’s ensemble sells out stadiums…fast  This album dedicated to saxophone player LeRoi Moore who  passed away last year.

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Brad Paisley — American Saturday Night A contemporary artist with a traditional country sound,  cuts off this forthcoming album are sure to feature this frontman’s signature fast-picking guitar licks.

Black Eyed Peas – E.N.D. Reunited after Fergie and Will.i.am’s solo work, this fifth studio album will be supplemented by opening for U2 on the road

Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown Their adolescent punk anthems of my teenage years have given way to more political tones and concept albums recently.  According to one review I’ve read, this is a rock opera that follows a couple living in the American Dystopia.  I’m thinking little ditties about Jack and Diane, who are all in all just Bricks in the Wall.  One guarantor of success is Butch Vig (Nirvana – Nevermind, Smashing Pumpkins –  Siamese Dream) behind the mixing console.  Now if only I could find a way to fight the feeling to apply for AARP every time I see a tween in the library with a Green Day shirt.

Be a frequent checker of our Forthcoming CD’s section of the website.  You can get your copy reserved before they even hit our shelf.

soloist1This is an unusual true story of a Los Angeles Times columnist who one day takes notice of a violin playing homeless man. Unusual is the music this homeless person manages to produce from a beat up violin with two strings missing. Even the columnist, who has little music knowledge, can tell that this raggedy seemingly eccentric individual must have had some classical training and education. Shortly after approaching Nathaniel, Lopez discovers that he is a former Juilliard student, living on the streets suffering from untreated schizophrenia. The homeless musician stirs something unshakable in the columnist. As Lopez begins to try and improve Nathaniel’s life -by getting him off the streets and back on medication – he finds that Nathaniel has irrevocably changed his.

I was listening to Yo-Yo Ma who was a guest on Garrison Keillor’s radio show last week. I stopped to really listen to this world renowned cellist and was able to imagine Nathaniel Ayers playing in the same orchestra with him over 30 years ago. The Soloist had the potential to be a very depressing read. Instead, it was a hugely wonderful story.