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 muslib@princeton.edu 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 muslib@princeton.edu 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 muslib@princeton.edu 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 medici.tv

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 medici.tv. 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 muslib@princeton.edu 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!