Amy Carrill, Peak to Peak. The Nederland Community Library is hosting a fun, free event for the entire community. On Saturday, August 16th at 5:00 p.m., the musical group Standard Deviations will perform a selection of steel guitar jazz and swing pieces. Everyone is welcome to come by and listen to the music, while viewing the paintings by local artist Annie Thayer that currently are on display. In honor of the event, this article surveys a random selection of the books about music and song that are available at the library.
For the little tykes out there, Meet the Orchestra, by Ann Hayes and Karmen Thompson, is an excellent way to learn about the instruments that compose a classical orchestra. Each page introduces a different instrument, and deftly describes in words how that instrument sounds. The “slow notes” of a clarinet “may remind you of clouds drifting across the moon,” while the sound of a violin “can be bright as laughter, light as air, soft as a whisper, or sad as a tear.”
Music, published by Eyewitness Books, explains to juvenile readers how modern instruments evolved from older, and even ancient, instruments, tracing this evolution through descriptions and numerous photos. Lutes, shamisens, and balalaikas all influenced the creation of the guitar, for example, while harpsichords, virginals, and spinets melded over time into the piano.
For those adults interested in learning about classical music, Building a Classical Music Library by Bill Parker is an excellent place to start. Parker traverses the history of classical music, from the Middle Ages through modern day. For each period he chooses a dozen or so composers, and lists their best creations. He then takes a helpful step further, by recommending a specific recording of each selection. Using Parker’s recommendations, a person can indeed build a basic classical music library.
Protest songs of one sort or another have been around for centuries, developing into modern form in the last handful of decades. For an interesting history of modern protest songs placed within their relevant contexts, take a look at 33 Revolutions per Minute by Dorian Lynskey. As explained on the jacket, “this expansive survey examines how music has engaged with racial unrest,…war, poverty, and oppression, offering hope, stirring anger, inciting action, and producing songs that continue to resonate” to this very day.
While music is stunning in its own right, it offers additional shades of meaning when intertwined with other forms of art. For lovers of both music and fiction, Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro contains a collection of connected stories, each using an aspect of music as a catalyst to explore greater themes.
So join us here at the library on Saturday for an evening of excellent music and art, and, while there, consider perusing the shelves for volumes that shimmer with their own internal rhythms.