God Moves On The Water

Titanic song copyrighted just ten days after the disaster!

The sinking of the “unsinkable” Titanic on April 14-15, 1912, in which 1,513 people died, was (and still is) widely chronicled in song as well as, other media. Indeed the earliest known commercial song about Titanic was copyrighted just ten days after the disaster. Numerous pieces of sheet music and gramophone records were subsequently produced.

It was sad when that great ship went down.

Some songs draw attention to the confining of the lower class passengers below decks, thus assuring their certain death. Many versions also mention, perhaps sardonically, the myth of the band’s playing of the well-known hymn “Nearer My God To Thee.”

More songs were made about the sinking of the Titanic than any other single disaster, but it was in the rural south that composers and singers – both black and white – kept the memory and immediacy of the event fresh through numerous performances for years afterward. Many continued the theme of man ‘s hubris and God ‘s will allowing them to use it as a framework for greater meaning.

Here is a selection of 25 songs – God Moves On The Water – Songs about the sinking of the Titanic. From Alexander Street – Music Online

Find more about the Titanic in our collection.

My Funny Valentine – streaming with Music Online

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Listen to more streaming music with Music Online.

Alan Broadbent – unsung New Zealand hero

The All Music Guide has called New Zealand born jazz musician Alan Broadbent:

An unsung hero of acoustic piano.

Broadbent has played with, and composed and arranged music for, some the greats of the jazz world – Woody Herman, Chet Baker, Natalie Cole and Scott Hamilton among them.

He has visited New Zealand a number of times and on one occasion I was privileged enough to hear him at the Christchurch Town Hall. Judging by this one performance I could only call him a virtuoso. The complexity and grace of his improvisations left me quite stunned. He does indeed deserve to be much better known.

Fortunately the library can provide you with a chance to get to know our hero’s work through both CDs and via our streamed music resource Music Online. On The Jazz Music Library (part of Music Online) his albums cover genres from Bop to Smooth Jazz, Fusion and Contemporary, while our CDs are mostly of his own trio or collaborations with artists like Mel Torme and Michael Feinstein.

Try Ballad Impromptu composed by Alan Broadbent and played by The Alan Broadbent Trio from the Album Personal Standards

RIP Dave Brubeck, 1920-2012

Listen to a Tribute to Dave BrubeckJazz pianist Dave Brubeck, whose experiments in rhythm and style helped win millions of new jazz fans around the world, has died at the age of 91.

Listen online to a selection of recordings by Brubeck in a Tribute to Dave Brubeck by Liz Dutton (Alexander Street Press Music Editor).

Brubeck’s 1959 album Time Out became the first million-selling jazz record of the modern era, as songs Take Five and Blue Rondo a la Turk defied the indifference of critics to become classics in the genre.

Jazz Goes to College in 1954 sold more than 100,000 copies and led to Brubeck becoming the first jazz musician ever to appear on the cover of Time magazine.

Many critics felt his offbeat music did not swing the way jazz should, yet the magazine cover made him a household name and paved the way for the success of Time Out, which used rhythms unusual to jazz that Brubeck had heard in his travels around the globe. The album included the best selling track “Take Five” written by alto saxophonist Paul Desmond and also featured pioneering drummer Joe Morello. The album hit the top of both the jazz and popular music charts. The group sold millions of records before disbanding in 1967.

Find more recordings by Dave Brubeck  (and thousands more) online for free from Music Online anywhere with your library card number and PIN.

Lili Kraus – honoured guest of New Zealand

Lili Kraus was possibly the greatest pianist ever to live in this country, and made a big impact on the musical world in New Zealand in the years after World War Two.

She was born in Budapest in 1903 in impoverished circumstances, but her mother was musical and she taught her piano from the age of 6. By the age of 8 she had entered the Royal Academy of Music there “creating a sensation with her audition”. Her tutors included three renowned  musicians – Kodaly, Bartok and Schnabel. She became a teacher at the Vienna Academy by the age of 20 and embarked on a successful playing career.

Unfortunately her luck changed when she decided on a world tour at the beginning of the World War Two,  and was caught by the Japanese invasion of Java. In 1943 she and her husband were arrested and sent to separate prison camps. Lili was sentenced to hard labour and lived in dreadful conditions. Nevertheless according to the LA Times she spent her time in the Japanese camp “studying piano masterpieces in her head, seeking new insights”. A Japanese conductor who had heard her play in Tokyo rescued her and she and her husband were transferred to a privileged camp in 1944, where she presumably received more than the two cups of rice per day that had she subsisted on previously. In 1945 they were freed and travelled to Australia and then New Zealand to recover.

Spencer Digby Studios. Pianist Lili Kraus - Photograph taken by Spencer Digby Studios. New Zealand Free Lance : Photographic prints and negatives. Ref: PAColl-8602-07. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22805481
Spencer Digby Studios. Pianist Lili Kraus – Photograph taken by Spencer Digby Studios. New Zealand Free Lance : Photographic prints and negatives. Ref: PAColl-8602-07. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22805481

A music teacher who was a student in Nelson at the time tells me that she spent her first six months in New Zealand in Queenstown regaining her strength, then settled in Nelson where a family of emigres from Vienna gave her and her family a home. Her son and daughter were settled into local schools and Lili concentrated on developing her repertoire, giving local and regional concerts. She also became patron of the Nelson School of Music with which she maintained a connection for the next 30 years.  She apparently cut a flamboyant figure and my friend remembers that her favourite music was Schubert and Bartok – the latter a composer she was instrumental in introducing Nelson audiences.

Her concerts here were greatly treasured by the New Zealand musical community. An attendee at a recital in Christchurch told me how wonderful her interpretations of Schubert were – both her strength and charm shining through. He was delighted when a particularly strong finish to an impromptu was criticised by a local music critic, and she was able to point out that she had seen the original manuscript and the way she played it was the way it was written. I have a recording of her playing these impromptus and it is one of my treasured possessions.

Her tremendous strength reasserted itself and she was able to recover enough to begin touring again within a few years, starting with 120 concerts in 18 months! During the course of a successful career, she became known for her interpretations of Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven.

She eventually settled in America, where in the 60s the LA Times reports a critic as saying, the crowds ” applauded like baseball fans who had just shared in winning the first game of the World Series”

Luckily for you I don’t have to lend you my old LP, you can find her recordings on both Naxos Music Online and Music Online.

In an interesting aside, it is Lili’s piano that was carved by Michael Parekowhai as part of On first looking into Chapman’s Homer.

Piano

Another electronic musical resource for Music Month

Christchurch City Libraires is not just about books – we can bring you electronic resources that as an individual you could not access.

One of these many resources is Music Online which brings together on a single cross-searchable platform, the entire suite of Alexander Street Press music products that we subscribe to. Music Online can potentially cross-search all of these or using the drop down box, any of these individual databases:

  • American Song – an eclectic collection of music from America’s past and present. Songs from American Indians, slaves and singing cowboys! Content includes protest songs, folk, blues, Motown, funk and more….
  • Classical Music Library – Tens of thousands of licensed recordings that users can listen to. The audio selections are cross referenced to a database of supplementary reference information. Hear the music and also understand what they are on about.
  • Contemporary World Music – Global sounds? How about some Arab swing or Balkanic jazz? Perhaps the flamenco and a bit of Bollywood to have us dancing in the aisles.
  • Jazz Music Library – An Alexander Street strength. Provides online listening to thousands of jazz artists, albums and genres. Listen to New Orleans Jazz, Big Bands, Acid Jazz and more (am I the only one who knew nothing about Acid Jazz?)
  • Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries – A virtual encyclopaedia of the world’s musical and aural traditions. Includes more than 35,000 individual tracks of music, spoken word and natural and human made sounds.

This database complements our music collection such as the  Naxos Music Library.

You can access these resources and many others  from home with your library card number and PIN, or at our community libraries through our premium sites.

Enjoy New Zealand Music Month and “get down” with Christchurch City Libraries music resources!

A new resource for music connoisseurs!

Music Online brings together on a single cross-searchable platform the entire suite of Alexander Street Press music products that we now subscribe to. Music Online can potentially cross-search all of these or using the drop down box, any of these individual databases:

  • American Song – an eclectic collection of music from America’s past and present. Songs from American Indians, slaves and singing cowboys! Content includes protest songs, folk, blues, Motown, funk and more….
  • Classical Music Library – Tens of thousands of licensed recordings that users can listen to. The audio selections are cross referenced to a database of supplementary reference information. Hear the music and also understand what they are on about!
  • Contemporary World Music – Global sounds? How about some Arab swing or Balkanic jazz. Perhaps the flamenco and a bit of Bollywood to have us dancing in the aisles?
  • Jazz Music Library – An Alexander Street strength. Provides online listening to thousands of jazz artists, albums and genres. Listen to New Orleans Jazz, Big Bands, Acid Jazz and more! Am I the only one who knew nothing about Acid Jazz??
  • Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries – A virtual encyclopaedia of the world’s musical and aural traditions. Includes more than 35,000 individual tracks of music, spoken word and natural and human made sounds!?

This database complements our music collection such as the  Naxos Music Library.  You can access these database and many others  from home with your library card number and PIN, or at our community libraries through our Premium Sites! Enjoy and “get down” with Christchurch City Libraries music resources!