3/23/18: Springtime and snowstorms and saxophones

I wrote this two days ago during the snowstorm, and didn’t have a chance to post it until now.

It’s snowing out, which turns out to have been the phrase of the month up here in the Northeast. We’re on our fourth nor’easter of March, a time when crocuses and daffodils and little baby ducks usually show up and dot the landscape with color and love.

And that is happening, between snowstorms. I saw some crocuses the other day, as well as some petunias and daffodil shoots. The little baby ducks probably won’t show for a few weeks anyway, and all of this will probably be gone in a couple of days.

And until then, the snow really is lovely.

So in honor of things that are not what they were designed to be, but that are beautiful anyway, here are a couple of Vivaldi tunes performed on other instruments. First up, it’s L’ ensemble de saxophones de Strasbourg with the first movement of “Winter.”

Hearing a piece of music performed on an instrument it was not written for can be really enlightening. It often brings the piece to a whole new place that not even the composer dreamed of.

To me, this version does that. The performances are wonderful, and hearing this familiar music played by wind instruments brought out counter-melodies and rhythms I hadn’t paid attention to before.


And here’s the first movement of “Spring,” performed on 4 pianos by Yuja Wang, Emanuel Ax, Nelson Goerner and Julien Quentin.

Likewise, this cover version brings out aspects of the piece that I really hadn’t thought about previously. Again, a lot of that involves rhythms. Harmonies and counter-melodies really pop out in this version. It’s an enjoyable listen, but I think there’s a warmth to the original string version that is missing when the piece is performed on keyboards.



Image by Elizabeth Walsh


April 4, 2017: Kansanthrax

It’s another one of those cold, gloomy April days when you know spring will never come. Everything’s dank and grey and brown and ick.

On days like this, the best thing to do is make yourself a nice cup of tea or vodka and crank up the Anthrax:

You can tell they love that song; I found it via the Aquarian’s interview with Charlie Benante.

Ebeth fun fact (sort of): I love to compare and analyze different versions of songs. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of U.S. folk music and the different ways it’s been interpreted over the years, but I’m always interested in how one band interprets the work of another.

Like “Carry On My Wayward Son” – Anthrax’s version is very respectful, and it really brings out just how well the guys play.

There’s another cover song they do that I love: Joe Jackson’s “Got the Time.”

I remember when I heard this for the first time. It was at an Anthrax show at Roseland. I didn’t know they covered it, and it was like getting slapped in the face with a wet sock full of awesomeness.

Roseland is a great place to see bands, by the way. Although I’ve got to say I think the shape of the room could bring out the bass too much in a live band. And I say that as a bass player.

But you know what? Sometimes too much bass is not nearly enough. I also saw White Zombie play at Roseland, and there was so much bass that night. Soooo much bass. And it was perfect.





Image: Screen Capture from Anthrax’s “Got the Time” video