John Coltrane, Johnny Hartman, Antonio Vivaldi

hartmanFor Valentine’s Day, WRTI asked us for our “favorite romantic CDs.” I came up with one easily enough (the same one Bob Perkins did…I am not worthy and no, I did not peek), but then thought that a classical CD might be expected of me, so then I was stumped. Favorite classical would be hard enough, but favorite romantic, hm, that took some thinking.

Okay, enough thinking…here’s what I wrote for the newsletter:

1. John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. Every ballad here is swoon-worthy, but “My One and Only Love”* is worth the price of admission alone. That tune (from 1952, late in The Great American Songbook game) and this pair (at the top of their game) are glowing embers. Warm yourself.

vivaldi

2. I try to resist, but I keep coming back to Vivaldi. If you attend to the concertos in the Opus 111 series—say, the CD of concertos for various instruments—and amble past the sweet young things on the cover, you will find music of unfailing sumptuousness and clarity. How rare is that, and how enticing? It softens the heart, sharpens the appetite, renews courage, and promotes civil discourse: all indispensable, I aver, to the proper incubation of romance.

* For my one and only band piece—actually, for solo trumpet with concert band—I took from this song the words “an April breeze” for the title, and then took the changes, over which I wrote a new tune. Rehearsing the band, the conductor said to me, “This doesn’t sound like band music.” I must have stared blankly at him, because he quickly followed that with, “That’s a compliment.”

You can read all my CD reviews here.

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