Mendel’s Isolation Playlist: Week Four, Student Staff Picks

For our final week of the Isolation Playlist, we are featuring recommendations from Mendel’s Public Services student staff. They are currently working on finals after finishing their online classes. Amid all the dean’s date papers, they’re listening to their favorite music and utilizing PUL’s e-resources!

Here are our recommendations for May 4-8, 2020:

1. Tchaikovsky, Waltz of the Flowers, from The Nutcracker, on Digital Theatre Plus

Public Services Assistant Natasha Montiel says, “The piece reminds me of springtime and is motivating me to practice piano throughout quarantine.” Watch the entire ballet, or just the waltz (around 1:14:00).

2. Chopin, Etude op.10 no.12 (Revolutionary) on Naxos Music Library

Public Services Assistant Jessica Pan recommends: “It is a gorgeously driven, passionate piece and it mirrors some of the organized chaos that is my life during quarantine.” This recording is performed by Murray Perahia.

3. The Struts, I Always Knew, (cover of song by The Vaccines)

Public Services Assistant Abigail Denton says, “It’s really powerful, just him singing and playing the piano, and it is a great song to listen to and sing along with when you have a lot of pent-up emotions–as I’m sure we all do during these difficult times.” Investigate more indie/rock music on Rock’s Back Pages and Rolling Stone through PUL’s e-resources.

4. Mozart, Piano Duet in D Major, K.448 on Naxos Music Library

Public Services Assistant Megan Ormsbee recommends, “It’s one of my favorite pieces to listen to while I’m working outside on the swinging chair we have on the porch. I’ve written quite a few essays to this song, and when I’m listening to it while sitting in the sun, it just makes me feel really happy.”

5. Rachmaninoff, Symphonic Dances, on Naxos Music Library

Public Services Assistant Fumika Mizuno says, “One piece I’ve been listening to is Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances. The piece has a little bit of everything. It’s dramatic and lush, yet driving and exciting. The saxophone solo is also amazing!”

This playlist installment has come to a close, but keep watch for future Mendel recommendations. Please reach out to us at with your suggestions, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Happy listening!

Mendel’s Isolation Playlist: Week Three, Motivating

As the third week of our playlists comes to a close, we encourage you to replay these recommendations for an extra motivating boost!

Here are our recommendations for April 27-May 1, 2020:

1. Steve Reich, Music for 18 musicians, on Naxos Music Library

Listen to nearly one hour of repetitive, yet evolving, minimalist grooves that serves as a mantra to get you through long work sessions!

2. Handel, “Disserratevi, o porte d’Averno” from La Resurrezione on Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall

Check out the thrilling opening aria with oboe and soprano, and blazing coloratura (as well as the whole oratorio!). Handel is perfect for motivation! The concert is from 2014 with conductor/harpsichordist Emmanuelle Haïm and singer Camilla Tilling. (Remember to create a personal account with Digital Concert Hall if you are a first-time user!)

3. Brahms, Piano Quintet (Op.34, f minor) mvt.1, on Naxos Music Library

Mendel’s Collections Services Manager, Brittany Jones, recommends this chamber music: “Brahms is always good for motivation. He’s so good at lush, energetic, dramatic music that was popular in the romantic period and this is one of my favorites of Brahms. I often listen to this in the morning and it gets me moving and starts out my day with a positive outlook.”

4. Florent Ghys, Melody from Mars, from Television, on Naxos Music Library

Motivate yourself with continuous motion, pulsing strings, and hypnotic vocals by Princeton’s own composer, Florent Ghys. He has several albums available on Naxos.

5. Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro Overture, on Met Opera on Demand

Upbeat, energizing, and foreshadowing all the action to come, this overture will keep your Friday motivated all day long!

Please write to with your recommendations, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see our daily playlist installations. Stay safe, healthy, and motivated!

Mendel’s Isolation Playlist: Week Two, Meditative

Our second week of musical recommendations is complete! This week’s theme was “Meditative,” and we hope that the following selections will help you refocus and find peace during these tumultuous times!

Here are our recommendations for April 20-24, 2020:

1. Keith Jarrett, The Köln Concert on Alexander Street Music & Performing Arts (Track 23)

Recommended by composition graduate student Pascal Le Boeuf, “A groundbreaking improvised solo piano concert from 1975 that I used to listen to as a teenager while reading. This music exists at the center point of jazz, classical, and minimalism. It isn’t too demanding for the listener, but creates a mood or headspace that pairs well with a number of daily activities like cooking, reading, yoga, walks, and social distancing.”

2. Max Richter, From Sleep, on Naxos Music Library

According to Pitchfork magazine, the pieces “conjure dreamy states, where ideas seem fluid and flexible and the world around you seems somehow softer.” Mendel Music Library Public Services Coordinator, Sara, highly recommends this whole piece for its meditative qualities!

Hands playing the strings of a 21 string Kora harp-lute, an African musical instrument. Rome, Italy

3. Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté, Ali and Toumani, on Naxos Music Library: World

Listen to these lyrical, acoustic duets by blues guitarist and singer Ali Farka Touré and kora master Toumani Diabaté.

4. Gabriel Pierné, Impromptu-caprice, Op. 9, on Naxos Music Library

Flowing, bright, solo harp melodies are perfect for your spring day in quarantine.

5. Hildegard von Bingen, O Ignee Spiritus, on Naxos Music Library

Listen to chant for soprano and vielle to refocus, performed by Sabine Lutzenberger and Per-Sonat. “O comforting fire of spirit, Life, within the very Life of all Creation.”

As always, please join us in listening and sharing! Write to with your recommendations, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see our daily playlist installations.

Mendel’s Isolation Playlist: Week One

During these unusual times, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are compiling musical recommendations from staff, faculty, and students to help brighten our days in quarantine. Mendel’s Isolation Playlist features music from PUL’s extensive audio and video e-resources, such as Naxos, DRAM, Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall, Metropolitan Opera On Demand, and Classical Music Library.

Find a post on our social media each day with links to music that’s calming, energizing, or encouraging. Each week, we’ll post a recap of the previous five days’ social media posts. We hope that you’ll discover a new e-resource and also a new piece of music that you’ve never listened to before!

Here are our recommendations for April 13-17, 2020:

McCoy Tyner, Fly with the Wind

1. McCoy Tyner, “Fly With the Wind” on Naxos Music Library: Jazz 

This recommendation comes from Rudresh Mahanthappa, Anthony H. P. Lee ’79 Director of Jazz. Rudresh says about his selection: “The last living member of John Coltrane’s legendary quartet, McCoy just passed a month ago. I always love these albums from the 70s where he plays with fierce beauty against the backdrop of an awesome rhythm section in conjunction with a large studio orchestra. This selection is uplifting and motivating. It makes me want to work hard and do good.”

Brünnhilde riding a horse, bearing a wounded warrior

2. Verdi, Don Carlo on Met Opera on Demand

3. Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle (Die Walkure is video, the remainder are audio-only right now) on Met Opera on Demand

Hannah McLaughlin, a second-year musicology graduate student, chose these operas available for viewing on the Metropolitan Opera’s Met Opera on Demand. She says, “I am watching EVERY OPERA by Wagner and Verdi available on Metropolitan Opera on Demand in preparation for my generals. I just finished watching the 2010 Don Carlo production and I thought it was really good! Not one of Verdi’s most well-known operas, but I recommend it! As for Wagner, now’s a great time to watch the Robert LePage Ring Cycle; when else will you have 16 hours in one place to do it? Blew my mind.”

4. Handel, Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno on

Mendel’s Public Services Manager, Sara Hagenbuch, is watching this staged Handel oratorio from Festival Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence. She says, “Sabine Devieilhe’s artistry is so inspiring, and listening to Baroque strings play Handel always motivates me! I look forward to watching the productions from Aix-en-Provence, and they’re often are available on Emmanuelle Haïm is leading the orchestra, Le Concert d’Astrée, and I’m a huge fan of their work.”

The restored Dresden Frauenkirche (D. Scott, 30 July 2018)

5. Beethoven, Missa Solemnis on Classical Music Library

Darwin Scott, Music Librarian, recommends this stunning video performance of Missa Solemnis. Read more about the piece and its performance location, the Dresden Frauenkirche, and see more beautiful photographs of the the church!

Join us in listening and sharing! Write to with your recommendations, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see our daily playlist installations.

Beethoven in Dresden

High altar with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and organ pipes,
Dresden Frauenkirche (D. Scott, 1 August 2018). Johann Sebastian Bach performed on the original Silbermann organ on 1 December 1736, soon after its completion. The new organ is by Daniel Kern.

To round out our first week of the Mendel Isolation Playlist, Darwin Scott, Music Librarian, gives us our Friday music recommendation: Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis on Alexander Street.

This visually and musically stunning live performance of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis captures the 2005 concert celebrating the reconsecration (30 October 2005) following the completion of Dresden’s reconstructed Lutheran Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) that had commenced in 1994. The video, continuously panning between the performers and the church’s restored interior, not only captures the magnificence of Beethoven’s conception, completed four years before his death in 1827, but also the awe of being within the revivified space.

Ceiling arches and remake of the allegorical paintings originally by Johann Baptist Grone (1689-1751) on the interior of the great dome, Dresden Frauenkirche (D. Scott, 1 August 2018)

Completed in 1743 after the death of its architect George Bähr (1666-1738) this architectural wonder and one of the great landmarks of Dresden, turned into a burning inferno and collapsed on 15 February 1945, two days after the Allied fire bombing that destroyed the city. Under the communist regime of the GDR, the remaining pile of rubble eventually became a memorial against war. During the 1980s, the destroyed church increasingly became a rallying point for protestors until the 1990 reunification of Germany.

In a visit to Dresden in late July 2018, Mendel Music Librarian Darwin Scott experienced firsthand with profound wonderment the restored Frauenkirche, and the unforgettable images and sounds of this performance immediately came to mind.

Listen now!

The restored Dresden Frauenkirche (D. Scott, 30 July 2018)
Dresden Market with the Frauenkirche (painted 1749–1751)
by Bernardo Bellotto (1721-1780—also known as the second Caneletto)
Ruins of the Frauenkirche after the February 1945 bombing and collapse (with statue of Martin Luther that survived the destruction)
High altar with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane by sculptor Johann Christian Feige (1689-1751). About 80% of this altarpiece (in over 2,000 pieces) survived the bombing. Dresden Frauenkirche (D. Scott, 1 August 2018)

Reading Period and Dean’s Date and Finals, Oh My!

Finals! Arguably the worst time of the year, there’s no doubt that finals and reading period is a special kind of busy in the life of the average Princetonian. Piles of finals densely packed in a way that seems insurmountable can fell even the brightest of student. With that in mind, here are some tips for surviving the next few days until the lovely respite that is fall break!

  1. Drink water! Not just coffee! 

I’m sure this sounds intuitive to most, but it’s easy to get caught up in cup after cup of Wawa coffee. That headache that comes on around 2-3AM deep into a night of studying may be due to more than just the late hour. Remember to hydrate with more than just caffeinated substances this week, and you’ll be surprised how much better you can concentrate.

  1. Find your ideal study spot. 

When scoping out the perfect study spot on campus it’s important to think about the three Ps: Productivity, Practicality, and People. Productivity is a given, but the amount of times I’ve been sucked into *studying* in Frist (which ends up being a several-hour long gossip sesh) is entirely too high for my liking. Pick a place that you have been historically productive in the past – if you have to convince yourself that “you’ll actually do work this time,” it’s probably not worth the risk. Practicality is another big one that gets slept on often – don’t pick a place that’s super far from your dorm, or otherwise inconvenient to get to. If you’re going to be camping out in one spot all day, the walk back home might be particularly painful at the end of the night. If you forget something in your dorm, you want to be able to go back and get it without wasting 20 minutes in the walk back and forth. Finally, people! It’s important to be among people that you know you’ll be able to work with, which means that sometimes, friends may not be the best option. Don’t get me wrong – having some form of human contact throughout the day is important, but consider working in a library or somewhere you know that you will be forced to stop talking for extended periods of time. And a shameless plug here, but I recommend Mendel to study – you can check out our previous blog about best study spots around the library earlier, and it satisfies all three Ps listed above. 

  1. Make the most of your music.

It’s almost a given that students listen to music while studying nowadays, but listening to the wrong music can set you back if you’re not careful! Try to avoid listening to music with lyrics in a language you understand; the brain is not good at multitasking (no matter how many tabs you have open on chrome at once), so give it a break and let it focus on studying without the distraction of a good bop at the same time. Instrumental music is perfect for this purpose, so tune into our catalog and have a listen!

  1. Relax!

Terrible advice, I know – how could you possibly relax during this week? But fall break is right around the corner, so whether you’re saddled with one midterm or five, it’ll all be over a couple of 24-hour cycles from now. Knowing the workload will be over soon is a way that I personally keep sane (along with all of the other tips in this post!). Sleeping a reasonable amount matters more than we give it credit for, so don’t sleep on those extra zzzs! 

And hey. Even if all of your finals go the worst that they could possibly go, one exam doesn’t mean anything. 

There’s always next semester!

Hour Change Alert!

Hey Mendelians! 

Just a heads up that over winter break and reading period, our hours are adjusting. Refer to this blog post to stay up to date with our hours of operation. 

DEC 13 | 8:30 AM-5:00 PM

DEC 14-15 | 12:00 PM-5:00 PM

DEC 16-19 | 8:30 AM-8:00 PM

DEC 20 | 8:30 AM-5:00 PM

DEC 21-22 | 12:00 PM-5:00 PM


JAN 2 | 8:30 AM-8:00 PM

JAN 3 | 8:30 AM-5:00 PM

JAN 4 | 12:00 PM-5:00 PM

Happy holidays from all of us here at Mendel! Have a wonderful break and we hope to see you soon. 

Negotiating Sound and Union: Reading and Reviewing Music in the American Diasporic Wedding

Music in the American Diasporic Wedding by Inna Naroditskaya, ML3551.9 .M87 2019

What does it mean to be an immigrant? To be American? To be both? You might not expect on first instinct to explore these questions when perusing the New Book Shelf in Mendel, but they arise nonetheless in the complex, ethnomusicological novel, Music in the American Diasporic Wedding. 

Distances between countries seem to shrink by the second as travel and technology becomes more sophisticated; what was once an insurmountable journey across the ocean has now become a summer vacation, an annual retreat, a second home. The definition of American has also changed rapidly in the past century, expanding and transforming into the multiethnic diaspora that it is today. Music in the American Diasporic Wedding examines the issue of compromise and negotiation: when two different cultures come together, what makes it into the wedding? 

This book is a collection of essays that feature contributors with a tapestry of cultural fusions, from “klezmer-tinged Mandarin Tunes at a Jewish and Taiwanese American wedding” to “Puerto Rican cultural activists dancing down the aisles […] to the thunder of drums and maracas and rapping their marriage vows.” Edited by Inna Nadoritskaya, this collection highlights the importance of music in identity, and creating multiethic, intersectional identities filled to the brim with color, culture, and sounds. 

One of my personal favorite essays from the book is Soulful Same-Sex Wedding, Aretha Franklin, Love, and the Politics of (Un)Freedom by Professor Nina C. Ohman at the University of Pennsylvania. The essay reviews Aretha Franklin’s landmark performance at the Bill White and Bryan Eure wedding, one of many same-sex marriages that would occur in the months following the passing of New York’s same-sex marriage bill on June 24, 2011. The essay contends with important issues of sexuality, race, and music, and brings to light the true gravity of that performance in relation to the LGBTQ+ movement. If you’re interested in music as it relates to justice, culture, and weddings, this essay is a must read. 

Music in the American Diasporic Wedding just recently entered our collection here at Mendel on September 6th. Come check it out and more books like it on your next stop through Woolworth!

Music and the Mind: Highlighting The Oxford Handbook of Music and the Brain

The Oxford Handbook of Music and the Brain Edited By Michael H. Thaut and Donald A. Hodges (MUS) ML3830 .O84 2019

Are you a Music major with a certificate in Neuroscience, or vice versa? Are you interested in learning about the way that music interacts with our brains on a scientific level? Look no further than this exciting add to Mendel’s new book section, The Oxford Handbook of Music and the Brain

This book is a verifiable anthology, a collection of work by 54 authors from 13 countries, spanning the past fifty years of research. The handbook is divided into several sections, covering topics from the history of music and neuroscience to the cultural implications of neuromusical research to the future of the field as a whole.

If you’ve ever been curious about popular myths like whether learning music at a young age improves motor skills and intelligence, or if listening to a Mozart sonata while studying helps you concentrate, you’ll likely be able to find the answers in this anthology. The balance between musical and scientific analysis will hold the interest of people from all disciplines and interests! The specific answer to the first question is on page 424 in a section by Dr. Virginia B. Penhune titled “The Interaction Between Development and Training.” If you’ve been curious about the validity of this myth, check for the answer in this research paper!

The Oxford Handbook may seem dense and intimidating upon first glance, but don’t be afraid of approaching the reasonably large book, if you don’t have a strong background in science and music – this book is readable to all! Check it out in the new book section in Mendel, and plop down in one of our lovely studying corners for some musically and scientifically stimulating material. 

A Weekly Look at Mendel’s New Books

Mendel Music Library’s new book section is by far my favorite to peruse. When I’m not on the hunt for a specific score or resource for class, I always find myself drifting back towards this section for a new read.

So, in honor of my love for this little corner of Mendel, I’m highlighting a couple of new reads at Mendel that you should check out if you have some spare time! It can be overwhelming to tackle the plethora of books, often with musical jargon in the title, but these books are readable for any amount of musical experience. 

Curating Pop: Exhibiting Popular Music in the Museum Sarah Baker, Lauren Istvandity and Raphael Nowak, ML3470 .B356 2019

If you’re at all interested in museums and music, this is the read for you! Curating Pop is a fascinating read with an in depth interviews with museum workers and curators from global music museums. The book provides insights to how popular music and its history is presented to visitors and the public at large. I really enjoyed how this novel gave me an intimate look into the thought processes and decision-making of real museum curators from all around the world. Definitely a read if you’re interested in how the music you’re shown at museums ends up in those spots!

Revenge of the She-Punks Vivien Goldman, ML82 .G64 2019

Revenge of the She-Punks covers four primary themes identity, money, love and protest in a fascinating study of punk music. This book is a blend of many different types of source material: interviews, documented history, and her own personal experience as a music writer. The history and present of punk music for women is richly illustrated in this novel. If you’re interested in the intersection of gender and music, this read is definitely deserving of a perusal. 

Visualizing The Beatles: A Complete Graphic History of the World’s Favorite Band John Pring and Rob Thomas, ML421 . B4 P756 2018

Sure, there are a lot of books about The Beatles, but none quite as visually pleasing as Visualizing The Beatles. As the name suggests, this book is filled with beautifully illustrated graphics and images that makes it both mentally and visually stimulating while you’re flipping through. This book packs in a lot of information in a delightful way, drawing your attention from page to brightly-colored page. Truly a “whole new way of looking at The Beatles,” this read cannot be missed!