As usual, I treated myself to some new CDs for my birthday. For a while I didn’t know what I wanted because there are so many things I want but I did a little browsing and when I came across these the decision was easy. I just knew, as soon as I saw each of these that they were the right ones.
Arvo Pärt, Da Pacem – I think this might be my favorite of the three. This is beautiful, peaceful music. It feels like ancient chants though it is unmistakeably modern.
Dimitri Shostakovich, String Quartet No. 15; Sofia Gubaidalina, Rejoice – On second thought, maybe this is my favorite. Maybe. Some years ago I read about this Shostakovich string quartet and decided that I must hear it because it is all slow movements. As you can see I’m just now getting around to it. I guess this is considered gloomy music but to me it sounds like a nice, lazy hot summer afternoon. I was delighted to find a piece by Gubaidalina on the same CD. I already had one piece by her (On Leaving) and wanted more. It’s a five movement work for violin and cello. I like it but I don’t have much to say about it yet.
Ralph Vaughn-Williams, Symphony No. 2 and The Lark Ascending – I am less thrilled with this than with the other two. I have just the second movement of this symphony on another CD and have thought for a long time that I would like get the complete symphony. It’s okay. I don’t dislike it but so far it doesn’t seem like my cup o’ tea. I’ve always liked The Lark Ascending and now I have two recordings of it. It seems to be the obligatory filler for Vaughn-Williams albums.