This morning I woke up to the first frost of the fall and a thermometer that said 35 degrees. I checked out the Farmers Almanac last weekend to see what was in store for the winter, and the word that showed up consistently each week was “cold.” To celebrate the coming of winter and to help me get through the anticipation of the first snowflakes, I chose “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire for the song of the week.
The song is about a celebration with lots of dancing, and it seems to fit today perfectly. It’s a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon. You can still wear your flip flops and skirt and take a walk downtown by the Yampa River. But you better take advantage of it now because the last nice warm day is just around the corner.
Inevitably there comes a moment when an artist I’ve followed since the release of his or her first record comes out with a single that is disappointing. While I ranked Lady Gaga as one of the top female artists of 2011, I don’t think she will earn that title again this year.
Her newest single is “Applause,” and its accompanying music video is full of the traditional outrageous Gaga costumes and excessive make-up. However, the lyrics to the song feel like they could have been written by any spotlight-loving superstar: “I live for the applause…live for the way that you cheer and scream for me.” They are self-serving, rather than telling a story or adding commentary to a social issue. The beat and rhythm are made of the stuff you find in dance clubs and revert back to her first album The Fame.
With Lady Gaga the unexpected is expected. She has gone so far over the top showing her quirky personality in her music that I anticipate her meaningful lyrics and ground breaking music to create a buzz. Clearly her fans feel the same way because “Applause” has only reached the #4 spot on the Billboard Top 100, and has already dropped to the #7 spot after only a week.
I was also disappointed to see that she “sold out” to Kia when I saw her song in a TV ad the same week her single was released.
I’ll be interested to see if her album follows the path the single has set. We can hope she played it safe with a classically poppy single to headline the album and took some greater risks with the record itself.
By Valerie Powell
This week’s song of the week is my own personal favorite song of summer 2013. “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line captures the essence of a totally carefree summer, where the only plan of the day is to hang around outside and take the truck for a drive.
“Cruise” was released on August 6, 2012 and quickly climbed the country charts. On February 19, 2013 Nelly released his single “Hey Porsche” which could be the sister song to “Cruise.” Because of the similarities in the two songs, Nelly even put in a little teaser of “Cruise” at the end of the “Hey Porsche” music video. Nelly then collaborated with Florida Georgia Line to make the “Cruise Remix,” which was released on April 2, 2013. The remix then cruised right to the #4 spot on Billboard’s Top 100.
I frequently blog about songs that cross genres, but I haven’t yet come across a country and rap/hip hop combination, and I think it’s genius. It’s one of those ideas that sounds like it would never work, but once the song is produced it feels completely natural. For artists aiming for top hits, it’s also a smart career move. Country and hip hop are one of the two most popular genres at the moment, so if the song draws people from both genres it is effectively doubling the audience size, almost guaranteeing a top hit.
Not surprisingly “Hey Porsche” was also on my most played song list this summer. I’ve included all three videos here.
By Valerie Powell
On Saturday the Christiania Trio will play at Strings Music Festival. Two of the members are siblings Julie and David Coucheron. Julie and David are from Norway, and the name Christiania speaks to their native city of Oslo. The capital of Norway was destroyed by a fire in 1624. It was rebuilt under King Christian IV and was renamed Christiania in his honor for almost 50 years until it was restored to the original name.
Julie and David Coucheron come highly recommended from Verne Lundquist, who has been a Strings supporter since the very beginning of the festival. Verne first met the siblings on a cruise years ago and took it upon himself to advance their career. Not yet 30, these young musicians have stunning talent and will be performing works by Vitali, Mendelssohn and Dvořák on Saturday night, along with cellist Christopher Rex. The video below highlights the first piece on their program.
Live Music Steamboat – Christiania Trio
The Christiania Trio will perform at the Strings Music Pavilion on Saturday, August 3 at 8:00pm. Buy tickets online now or call the Box Office (970) 879-5056 x 105.
Tomaso Antonio Vitali (1663-1745)
Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847)
Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49
Molto allegro ed agitato
Andante con moto tranquillo
Scherzo: Leggiero e vivace
Finale: Allegro assai appassionato
Antonín Dvořák (1841 – 1904)
Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, “Dumky”
Andante moderato (quasi tempo di marcia)
By Valerie Powell
After listening in on rehearsal this morning, I decided that after a long hiatus I would return to the Friday song of the week. Of the three pieces on Saturday night’s concert, the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo caught my attention for a few reasons.
First of all, of the European composers, we rarely hear Spanish music. The sound is quite distinct and different from the traditional roster of German, French and Russian composers. The piece made me feel as if I were sitting on a rooftop, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at sunset, while below vendors hustle and bustle on cobblestone streets. Secondly, this is the first time we have introduced the guitar as a classical instrument at Strings Music Festival. Most people associate the guitar with rock and roll and country, but it is also fascinating when backed by a full orchestra, rather than a drum kit.
You can listen to the piece in the video below, which shows John Williams performing the Concierto at Royal Albert Hall in London.
This week’s song of the week is from the Disney hit movie Toy Story. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” is the perfect theme song for one of the most heartwarming movies about friendship. Toy Story was a milestone in the film industry as it was the first feature-length computer-animated film and the first film produced by Pixar. The movie was certainly a hit in my house, and I spent hours with my brother flying Buzz Lightyear around the family room while Woody chased after him.
Kathy Mattea and George Jones recorded a version of the song for the album The Best of Country Sing the Best of Disney. Kathy Mattea will play live in Steamboat Springs this summer at Strings Music Festival on Friday, July 26. Tickets are going fast, so be sure to get yours today! To listen to more Strings artists, subscribe to our Spotify playlist.
Countdown: 5 days until tickets go on sale!
Summer is right around the corner, and if you’re looking for things to do, don’t miss out on some of the best live music in Steamboat Springs at Strings Music Festival. Our lineup has received rave reviews, and we can’t wait for the musicians to arrive.
Lyle Lovett and his Large Band will complete the season on Sunday, August 18th at 8:00pm. His song “Cowboy Man” is this week’s song of the week. The song rose to the #10 spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs and showcases Lovett’s classic country, folk and swing sound.
Here at Strings Music Festival we are getting excited for another summer of concerts in Steamboat. Our 2013 brochure hit the mailboxes this week and tickets go on sale in less than two weeks.
One of the artists that people are most excited about is Kenny Loggins, who will perform live at the Strings Music Pavilion on July 19. While he’s most known for groovy, upbeat songs like “Footloose,” “Your Mama Don’t Dance” and “Danger Zone,” I chose a mellow, softer one for the song of the week. “House at Pooh Corner” has sentimental meaning for me as it is a song from the camp I went to for 13 years. When I hear it I’m reminded of starry nights, campfire smoke in my eyes and roasting marshmallows.
If you’re as excited as us for the upcoming season, start listening to the 2013 music by subscribing to Strings Music Festival’s Spotify playlist. You’ll find samples from all of the programs happening throughout the summer. Be sure to come back on April 10th to be the first to buy your tickets.
Mozart composed 27 piano concertos in his lifetime, and Number 17 was one of six piano concertos written in the same year. As a pianist and a wind player, this concerto highlights some of my favorite instruments. During this time period, string instruments typically carried the melody while the piano was resting. However, in this concerto, the flute, oboes and bassoons play the lead roll while the strings become backup voices.
One of the most delightful aspects of Mozart’s music is his ability to engage the listener. Even if you don’t know a piece, his easily recognizable melodies make you want to hum along, nod your head and tap your toes. In fact, the theme on Piano Concerto Number 17 is so easy to repeat, that Mozart taught his pet starling to sing the first five bars.
Here you can see an excerpt from the concerto, performed by Menahem Pressler. You can listen to the entire work on Spotify at Strings Music Festival.
Steamboat Springs Live Music
Pianist Menahem Pressler will perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto Number 17 at Strings Music Festival on June 30th. Tickets for the concert will go on sale Wednesday, April 10th at 10:00am Mountain Daylight Time. Order your tickets online or call the Box Office at (970) 879-5056 x 105.
Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” is #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 this week. In my post yesterday, I mentioned that artists who reach more than one genre and command a significant virtual presence will benefit most from Billboard’s new decision to use YouTube hits as a determining factor for the Hot 100. Taylor Swift’s position at #4 is a perfect example of gaining success by reaching both pop and country fans and millions of people online play at online casino: nederlandsegokken.nl. Plus, I have to admit that she’s one of my favorite guilty pleasures.