Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A few new tunes for painting to...

As I am actually doing a bit of painting at present (none yesterday, though, sadly) I thought I'd get some new tunes to paint to, as I can't paint without music.

Now given I have more than 16,000 tracks on my iTunes you'd think that I would be able to find something to play but it's always nice to have something new, so I have had a bit of a blitz in the last few weeks.

Casino Royale the Complete Original Soundtrack  

This is one of my six favourite sixties soundtracks (along with How to Murder your Wife (Hefti), The Ipcress File (Barry), The Italian Job (Jones), Our Man Flint (Goldsmith) and The Pink Panther (Mancini)).  I had the shorter CD of Bacharach's engaging score for years but recently acquired the extended version.  Perfect for painting spies and secret agents to.  Except I don't have any.

Highlight:  The Look of Love by Dusty Springfirled with Herb Alpert's slinky double tracked trumpet.

The Unknown Sibelius 

The Lahti Symphony Orchestra have been recording some interesting early versions of Sibelius's work amongst BIS's complete Sibelius project and here they round it up with a few oddments, some of which haven't been recorded before.  Perfect for painting Great Northern War figures.

Highlight:  The not quite three minutes, in four fragments, of what is probably all that remains of Sibelius 8th symphony, the manuscript of which he burnt in disgust as he couldn't complete it to his satisfaction.  Actually, I think it would have been rather fine from what I can hear but what do I know?

The Solent: Fifty Years of Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams

Amongst the endless repeats of Spring from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, Jupiter from The Planets (actually, I don't mind that), Rachaminov's Second Piano Concerto (I don't mind that either), the opening of Beethoven's 5th and Nimrod from the Enigma variations you occasionally discover something new and worthwhile on Classic FM.  Such was the case with a piece I recently heard whose style sounded faintly familiar but I couldn't place.  It turned out to be a world premiere recording of an early piece of Vaughan Williams called The Solent.  The name alone would have been enough for me to buy it!  It wasn't available on download so I actually bought the CD!  Perfect for painting early Dark Ages Britons to.

Highlight: The Solent itself. Early flashes of the Vaughan Williams string sound to be found in the Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis a few years later, coupled with some Tristan-style Wagnerian effects from before the time when Ravel talked him out of the Wagnerian style.  


Lots of weird drum and flute music with, strangely, cod Mahler (although bits sound like the more mysterious parts of John Williams Raiders of the Lost Ark score). Very atmospheric, though.  Perfect for painting Samurai! Which is, of course, why I bought it.

Nino Rota Piano Concerti

Classical critics are always rude about film composers and even ruder about them if they have the temerity to attempt a piece of "serious" music.  For years Rota was, for me, the composer of the soundtrack to Waterloo (1970) and I wasn't aware of his other film music.  Rota's concerti are good enough to have received several recordings but this one conducted by Muti (who was one of Rota's students) is excellent.  If you like Rachmaninov, Shostakovitch, Ravel or Saint Saens piano concerti you will like these.  Perfect for Italians in Russian service?

Highlight: The finale of the concerto in E; a big romantic piece.

Piano de Bossa

I need something a little more relaxing if I am painting (or. more likely, basing or filing) late at night so this album of Jobim standards is just the job. Febian Reza Pane has a lovely delicate touch  Perfect for drinking Champagne in the bath with someone from Vancouver.

Highlight: Agua de Beber.


  1. I have to agree its always better to have some suitable accompaniment to your hobby activity, whether its music or a movie on the miniplayer...either way it helps the muse flow...

  2. Video's for me....

    Bravo on the choice of Jaipur - a bravura beer of quite astonishing bitter/grapefruit loveliness.... one of my top 10 of all time.... may I also recommend Oakham "Citra" or "Scarlet Macau" when your next in Waitrose - further examples of the new trend in UK craft brewing to go with American Citra hops.....

    PS. Been working on the blog to strip out the offending smilies - can you give me a security review at some time?? :o)

  3. Scott, Never tried watching a film and painting...can't see how that would work - I'm very bad at multi-tasking!

    Steve, I'll have to try those. The Jaipur is expensive but worth it!

  4. Usually a podcast or audiobook for me. Partial to Aubrey / Maturin or Leatherstocking Tales for the latter.


  5. I confess I'm a bit annoyed with BIS over their Sibelius edition. For the past 20-odd years I religiously bought their Sibelius edition disc by disc (over 50 cds) only to discover that when they repackaged the series into various boxed sets they'd added loads of bits of music that hadn't been previously released - like the 8th symphony fragments.

    That said, one can't complain really given the large amount of "new" music that was rediscovered. Have you heard the tone poem "The Wood Nymph"? The earlier versions of "The Oceanides" and the 5th symphony are worth hearing too. I'll be listening to a lot of Sibielius soon - he's one of my "winter" composers.

    Thanks for pointing out "The Solent" as I wasn't aware of that; will have to look it up.

  6. Listening to music while I'm painting is essential because it helps 'zone out' all the other distractions (ie the kids) in the house. Without my iPod I'd never get any painting done!

  7. Sorry, I use the word 'watch' loosely... it more a case of listening to the 'soundtrack' and looking up for the exciting bits!

    As a result, much like listening to songs over and over and learning the words... I can pretty much 'speak along' to most of my fave movies ! ;-)

  8. I still find the Electric Light Orchestra, Mike Oldfield or Vivaldi the best music to paint to.

  9. I like all three but try to find something to match the figures!