My sister brought to my attention that, for someone whose life has pretty much evolved around music (and considering I have been blogging since mid-February), I haven't yet included any music-based posts in my blog. So I thought I would write this post entirely dedicated to music! Woohoo! The simplest thing I thought I would do is to just write about all the different kinds of music I like and anything in my life which relates to each genre. So you’ll find out a bit more about me and hopefully from this you might find some new music to enjoy!
Let's get started! In no particular order…
|Me as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro (with Figaro)|
I've always liked Classical music: mainly my dad's influence. I eventually made the decision to study it – with voice (soprano) as my 'instrument' – so I auditioned and subsequently attended Leeds College of Music. I came out with a First, so obviously it was a good choice! So a lot of my professional experience over the past few years has predominantly been in opera. I am now looking into a much wider field of performance, but I have really enjoyed the opera work I have done. The most prominent part I have played was Susanna in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, a role I reprised twice. I loved this role, as she is feisty, passionate, clever, knowing, sensitive… The list goes on, so a very complex role to play! She was great. I also like some chamber music like Ravel’s String Quartet in F; baroque pieces like Bach's Concerto for 4 Harpsichords, and much bigger concerti and orchestral music. I think what I love so much about Classical music is that it can be so emotive, and I find I can revisit a piece over and over again, and I won’t get bored of it (like I often do with other genres). In terms of my favourite Classical music on the whole, my favourite pieces at the moment are the Finale from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2 (especially the first movement!) - I played timpani in a performance of the latter once.
1st Mvt. of the Shostakovich with Kirill Gerstein on piano and Charles Dutoit conducting the NHK Symphony Orchestra.
So many sub-genres come under this, but basically:
A) Cheesy Pop: I love listening to the pop music of 'my generation', as in Spice Girls, S Club 7, old-school Britney, 5ive, etc. It brings back warm and fuzzy feelings, and it's amazing how many of the words I remember! Plus, when I was little I wanted to be a pop singer and wrote something like 80 songs, so it makes me think of that too. And I do like a lot of the current pop stuff, but not all. I might happen to like one song by an artist, but not the next. For example, I don't like most Justin Bieber songs, but I do like As Long as You Love Me, and I like most Girls Aloud songs, but not all of them.
B) R&B. I am a massive Beyoncé fan. I think she is an amazing performer and such a great live singer. So she makes up most of the R&B music that I like, but there are occasional others. It's very hit or miss.
C) Pop-Rock: Again, a big fan of McFly. Their songs are cleverly written, catchy and (I think) quite like the stuff I write. I still write songs now, much more advanced than they were when I was little(!), so they have been a big inspiration. Plus a bit of Avril Lavigne is good.
Opening number of Beyoncé's 2011 I Am... World Tour.
Again, rock covers so many sub-genres, but to be honest I can probably listen to anything other than screamo or black/death metal and similar genres. I think the easiest thing to do is list who I like: Paramore, 30 Seconds to Mars, some Metallica (S&M album mainly), some My Chemical Romance, Muse, some Linkin Park, prog-rock like Queen and Focus and occasional songs by the likes of Devin Townsend Project and Evanescense. In the last few months of my last year at school I was actually in a band (so… 7 years ago now!). We were called Group Therapy and we recorded 3 songs, which we sold to fellow school kids at our gigs. The best way to describe our genre is soft rock probably? Anyway, there is still actually a Group Therapy MySpace page, which hasn't been touched in years, but you can have a listen there if you really want to! My favourite of our songs is Tabula Rasa.
Hocus Pocus by Focus.
Big Band (or Trad.) Jazz
I’m not a great fan of 'jazz-jazz'. I knew a few jazzers whilst at uni, and even though I appreciate how hard it is and just how much you're meant to know and understand, I can't listen to much of it without getting seriously bored (sorry!). But I do like a good dose of big band: songs like Chattanooga Choo Choo, and 'kind-of' big band songs like Feeling Good and Tom Jones' Leave Your Hat On!
The Glenn Miller Orchestra with Chattanooga Choo Choo.
Musical Theatre and Disney
I’m a big Musical Theatre fan. Even in this genre, there are lots of different styles. There is very little MT music that I don't like, but of course there is some that I like more than others. To name a few musicals I like: Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber); West Side Story (Bernstein) – I especially love the song Cool at the moment (quite big band too); Guys and Dolls (Loesser); Wicked (Schwartz); Grease (of course!); Les Miserables (Schoenberg); Sweeney Todd (Sondheim); Calamity Jane (Fain?)… There are too many to name. I've had some performance experience in musicals (Miss Hannigan in Annie, Johanna in Sweeney Todd, Good Fairy in Ruby and the 13th Door), and I love performing it. It's a different kind of enjoyment to opera. With opera, I feel a sense of achievement when I've acted well while managing to maintain good voice throughout, but Musical Theatre comes a lot more naturally and I can just throw myself into it and just have a great time. (My life is pretty much a musical too as I burst into song so much.)
Cool from West Side Story.
I've put Disney in this section too as I think it should come under Musical Theatre. Alan Menken has written some amazing music for Disney. The most recent addition to My Favourite Disney Movies is Tangled (which I posted about here) in which Menken has surpassed himself. The music is so, so good. And to finish I can't forget Disney's High School Musical! I have all 3 on DVD and I'm not ashamed of it. Cheese to the max.
I See the Light from Tangled.
So these are my favourite genres of music. I do like bits and pieces of others (Drum and Bass, Dubstep, Dance (though rarely), Indie, Rap, etc) but not enough to write anything about. Plus of course there are cross-overs I like, like Michael Buble, Katherine Jenkins, etc. To be honest, I usually just put my iTunes on shuffle, so there's always a variation. What kind of music do you like? Can you recommend any artists/groups or other genres you think I might like? Let me know in a comment! J