Earworms #3 – Japanese Temples, Grigio Girls, and Final Fantasy

These posts aren’t going to be a regular thing, just when I find new music or rediscover old pieces. So, are you ready for some more Earworms?

Shakkei for Oboe and Small Orchestra by Hilary Tann

Who doesn’t love music by a Welsh-American composer based on the view from two Japanese temples? Shakkei is actually a piece that I am learning at the moment and it is a great example of modern oboe writing; quirky yet challenging with some soaring lines and fast virtuosic passages. The solo oboe constantly bounces off the orchestral textures and the music weaves between very static and open to fast paced and exciting in a matter of bars. Tann’s other works, such as In the First Spinning Place, are also a really interesting listen as I find her sound-world really fascinating. It is also really important to hear new works for solo wind instruments so that we don’t just get stuck with the standard violin or piano concertos. So give Shakkei a listen, it may surprise you. And to the oboists out there, maybe have a go and learn it, try something completely new.

Joanne by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga has always been one of my guilty pleasures. Even though songs like ‘Bad Romance’ are near perfect when it comes to pop music, I’ve always felt a little bit guilty for really enjoying her songs where the flaws are a bit more obvious, like ‘Judas’ and ‘Applause’. Joanne, her new album, fuses blues, country, and classic rock in a very Lady Gaga way; that is, full on all the time. The opening track ‘Diamond Heart’ has one of the shortest and best build ups to a chorus, ‘John Wayne’ sounds exactly how it should (full of blues and country influences with a distinct sense that this song will be line danced to) and ‘Hey Girl’ and ‘Grigio Girls’ are heart-breaking but defiantly hopeful. The whole album is really great, and definitely one if you’re having a tough week with all those essays.

Too Much is Never Enough by Florence and the Machine

Florence and the Machine are my all-time favourite band. I love their ability to fuse roc, indie pop, and symphonic textures with a powerhouse vocal performance from Florence Welch. Too Much is Never Enough is from the soundtrack to Final Fantasy XV, and is everything I want in a Florence and the Machine track: prominent harp and strings, a massive build up to the chorus that explodes into choral and symphonic glory, Florence Welch singing her lungs out, and a fusion between the Ceremonials and How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful eras of their musical output. It is a fabulous track that I recommend that everyone checks out.

So that’s it for another round of Earworms. I should probably do some practice now…


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