We'll be checkin' in with 18th century Austrian-born international rock star Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Meanwhile, Anonymous 4 brings on the pr0n in all its polyphonic medieval glory on not just one, but two CDs. Seriously, where's the FCC when you need 'em most?
DOWNLOADS ARE GOOD FOR 7 DAYS:
Amadeus, Original Soundtrack Recording, Disc One only Rating=$$$$$
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How I Got This CD: Bought used 15 years ago for $5. The reason? The copy I bought had two Disc Ones, instead of a Disc One and Disc Two. Heh. Buyer beware.
I'm not entirely sure what to say. A collection of Wolfie's greatest hits packaged on a fine-sounding double-CD set. The only thing all these numbers have in common, besides the composer, is that they were all featured in the movie Amadeus. I'm not sure if it's true that listening to Mozart makes you smarter (sounds like a big-ol' wives' tale to me), but these classics sure do help you concentrate, especially when it's mid-afternoon and you just want to bust out of the cube and enjoy some sunshine.
Sample Song Download, Disc One: Mass in C minor, K 427; Kyrie
Anonymous 4, Love's Illusion: Music from the Montpellier Codex, 13th Century Rating=$$$$$
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How I Got This CD: Bought using my 33% off employee discount during my Bordersverse Daze. What makes this a real score is that the CD at full price cost $7.99 because Harmonia Mundi is using it to distribute its catalog.
If you like Chant staring those upcoming rockers the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos (Mock ye not! For I have Chant One and Two.) you will love Anonymous 4 even more. This all-female quartet gives medieval chanting and polyphony an ethereal glow that helps you float above the clouds. I don't know much of the background on the Montpellier Codex, although in scanning the notes for CD, I can tell you it's all about the courtly lurve--which is all about the "twu wuv can only be found outside of marriage for both men and women." Since marriage back in the day was all about the contract, this attitude makes more than a little sense. In short, these tunes are all about teh sex. YAY! Aside from talking about twu wuv 4eva, the music is so perfect for the cube, it's frightening. The chanting keeps your brain active and helps you to focus on whatever it is you're doing, be it difficult computer programming or writing the day away. Be warned though: sometimes a pure, sweet note lifts you so much that you have to look up from whatever it is you're doing and pause just a moment to dream. That said, "Gee, ma. Do I have to only choose one?"
Sample Song Download: S'on me regard/Prennes i garde/He, mi enfant (Title Translation: 'If anyone is looking at me/Take note/Ho, my child!' This track title is actually the title of three motets, or rather, short French poems.)
Anonymous 4/Hildegard von Bingen, 11,000 Virgins: Chants for the Feast of St. Ursula Rating=$$$$$
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How I Got This CD: Bought new with my 33% off employee discount during my Bordersverse Daze.
This is the medieval equivalent of U2 mixing it up with R.E.M. Anonymous 4 sings the compositions of 12th-century poet, composer, and mystic Abbess Hildegard von Bingen. This particular Mass music celebrates the legend of St. Ursula and her 11,000 Virgins. For those who don't know: Ursula, the daughter of a British Christian king, was betrothed to a pagan prince. Since she wasn't so hot on the idea of marriage, she managed to delay the wedding by begging for and getting permission to make a pilgrimage to Rome, accompanied by 11,000 virgins spread across 10 ships. They were martyred on the way back to Britain when she and her cohort ran across the Huns in Cologne and she refused to marry Hun chief. Yeah, yeah. I know it sounds all noble and stuff, but frankly, I think I'm missing the point here. If you could save 11,000 lives by marrying the Hun chief, then you close your eyes and do it, bitch. *ahem* Really, I don't know why this stuff works me up the way it does, but it does. 11,000 lives versus virginity. Hmmmm, think my priorities are a little screwed up? At any rate: Ursula may be a pretty stupid martyr as martyrs go, but this is one fine composition by ol' Hildy. Throw in Anonymous 4, and it's party-time for the ears and spirit.
Of special note: Considering that this mass was written to commemorate a virgin martyr, if you read the English translations of the songs, you'll start thinking that maybe there should be a cold shower mid-Mass for all attendees. For a nun, Hildy's imagination was just a little too good. For example, the translation of the first few lines of the sample song are: "A dripping honeycomb was the virgin Ursula, who longed to embrace the lamb of God..." Unh, yeah. That's not vaguely porny at all. "Let us bless the Lord" and "Thanks be to God," indeed.
Sample Song Download: Responsory: Favus distillans (Title translation: 'A dripping honeycomb')
Read the index for previous thumbnail reviews.
None = Avoid at all cost. Worth cutting your ears off to avoid if someone threatens to play it for you. When faced with even the threat of its cellophane-wrapped presence, your best option is to RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!
$= If you stumble across it for cheap in a used bin, it might, maybe, perhaps could be worth the buy, but only if you need a cheap coaster for your cold drinks or a cool-looking frisbee.
$$= You might want to give this CD/artist a try, but only if the sample track tickles your fancy. Don't bother buying this one new because the good tunes you'd get out of this one ain't worth that kind of money.
$$$ = Worth looking for on a casual basis and maybe even buying new, but no big rush.
$$$$ = Definitely worth having in the ol' CD collection and definitely worth buying new, but don't re-arrange your personal "must have" list to get your hands on it.
$$$$$ = Why haven't you bought this CD yet? Go. This is a "Want. Take. Have." situation because you so want this.