Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chacona, Lamento, Walking Blues: A Spotify Playlist

Alex Ross just published an audio guide for the second chapter of his new book Listen to This on his blog, but now the post is gone (though you can still find the tracklist here). If you haven't read it yet, subscribe to The Rest Is Noise in Google Reader or other RSS readers, and you should be able to find it. I quote the first paragraph below so you can get an idea of what this playlist is about:

"In "Chacona, Lamento, Walking Blues," the second chapter of my new book Listen to This, I tell of a story of pattern recognition—simple repeating figures that can be found in the music of many centuries and many genres. While I don't believe in the idea of music as a "universal language"—try telling that to a tired mom who is being forced to listen to her teenager's hip-hop, or, for that matter, the teenager who has to sit through his grandmother's Mozart records—there is, in fact, much common ground in the world's musical cultures, strands of DNA that appear everywhere. I'll focus on two such figures: a dance form called the chaconne and a pair of bass lines associated with lament. We'll go from Renaissance madrigals to Led Zeppelin, by way of Monteverdi, Purcell, and Bach, whose great Chaconne for solo violin is at the heart of the chapter. It's a story both of radical transformation and of surprising continuity."

Here's the Spotify playlist for all the music that was mentioned in this chapter: Alex Ross' Listen To This: Chapter 2 (27 tracks, total time: 2 hours) And by chance I revisited the playlist for The Rest Is Noise yesterday, here's the post, and the playlist: Alex Ross' 20th Century Limited.

I will make Spotify playlists for other chapters as well. Thanks to the new playlist folders feature, it's easy to put all the Alex Ross playlists in one place. Looking forward to getting the book soon.


  1. Thank you for the post. I just enjoyed Alex Ross's talk about his new book at the British Library.