The Play Ground

Hallelujah, Hallelujah! When UMS started presenting Messiah concerts in 1879, it was a rarity. Today, Messiah is the sacred sign of the season for almost every community, with a variety of stylistic choices from small Baroque renditions to all-gospel versions. Messiah was composed in only 21 days when Handel was 56 years old as part of a series of concerts that the composer was giving in Dublin to benefit various charities. Although the premiere was largely considered successful, the oratorio’s popularity blossomed only after Handel’s death. Featuring the UMS Choral Union and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra with Jerry Blackstone, conductoing. At Hill Auditorium Dec 3rd & 4th.

Thank you Earlene!

Snow is here!

Our first snow of the season is here; to me, that means that the holidays are rapidly approaching! In order to prepare and get yourself in the holiday mood, check out the library’s wide selection of holiday music CD’s. Here are a few titles that the library owns:

Bing Crosby’s Christmas Classics by Bing Crosby – This crooner sure can sing Christmas songs.

Holiday Times by Ella Jenkins – She sings a collection of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa songs, among others.

The Man in Black is Back

This week actor Joaquin Phoenix walks the line as Johnny Cash in a a new film earning positive reviews across the board. Phoenix is a good choice to play the rough-hewn, emotionally-charged Man in Black, who allmusic.com calls "one of the most imposing and influential figures in post-World War II country music....He created his own subgenre, falling halfway between the blunt emotional honesty of folk, the rebelliousness of rock & roll, and the world weariness of country." Check out The Fabulous Johnny Cash, left, or last year's excellent Cash, a special tribute book from Rolling Stone magazine featuring new and old essays, plus a fascinating overview of Cash's life and detailed critical discography.

Madonna Confesses

On Confessions of a Dance Floor, Madonna returns unapologetically to her roots. A stunning blend of musical styles with one foot in early disco and the other pointed toward the future, Confessions On A Dance Floor "is all about having a good time straight through and non-stop," says the Material Mom, who co-wrote and co-produced every track. For Madonna and music fans everywhere, the all-dance, no-ballad Confessions on a Dance Floor is a welcome guilty pleasure. Now let's see if there is any truth to the rumors that she may play the halftime show during the Superbowl next February.

Back Home with Eric Clapton

Here’s another album from Eric Clapton that fans will surely appreciate. Back Home, “Clapton's first recording of (mostly) original material since 2001's Reptile, is a combination of solo compositions, covers, and collaborations with writing partner Simon Climie. Backing musicians include John Mayer (guitar), Blind Faith mate Steve Winwood (synthesizer), and longtime associate Billy Preston (keyboards), whose expertise with the Hammond B3 shines brightest on the Vince Gill cowritten "One Day".

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Thursday marks the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, an event in Great Lakes maritime history immortalized by Gordon Lightfoot in his 1975 ballad, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", which appears on several Library CDs, including his own Sundown, and in books from our sheet music collection such as Music of the Great Lakes and The New York Times Great Songs of the 70s. A DVD titled The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald is also available, and an article about the 30th anniversary recently appeared in The Detroit News.

Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea

Jack Aubrey is arguably the best-drawn and best-known fictional (or otherwise) captain of the British Royal Navy. Listen as Aubrey and shipmate Maturin battle Napoleon, the high seas and British class prejudice in Patrick O'Brian's masterful series. His twenty-one stories will provide enough sailing instruction to qualify you for a royal command.

DeVotchKa - How it Ends

It's hard to describe the music of DeVotchKa. The library has their latest album, How It Ends, classified as "Pop Vocal Music," but a look at the instruments used on the album - glockenspiel, accordian, bouzouki and theremin are just a few - makes it obvious that DeVotchKa is not a typical pop band. You could call their sound atmospheric klezmer-pop or use the band's own description of "Eastern-bloc indie rock," but however you want to describe it, this album is definitely worth a listen.

More from Rod Stewart!

The fourth installment of the Great American Songbook series from Rod Stewart is on order! This album features such artists as Diana Ross, Chaka Kahn, Elton John and more. Get on the hold list today!

Timeless Maintains Number Three Position

Timeless by Martina McBride holds on to the number three position for the second week on the Billboard 200 Chart. That album also stays a second week on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart.

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