"Reading my own book aloud—what fun!" I naïvely said to myself when I volunteered to record the audiobook version of Listen to This. In fact, as Woody Allen amusingly recounted in an interview last summer, recording an audiobook is a peculiarly arduous experience. Nonetheless, I'm happy I did it, since the more personal sections of the book may benefit from being heard in my own voice. There's music interwoven throughout: I assembled, with the generous permission of various record labels, a playlist of some thirty items. Unfortunately, rights issues made it impossible to include the more mainstream pop artists; I could also see no easy way to obtain rights for an enhanced e-book. But I hope these audio samples add something to the listening experience. The credits are below. In addition to the music named, there are various short piano demonstrations.
The opening of Beethoven's “Eroica” Symphony; Osmo Vänskä conducting the Minnesota Orchestra; BIS 1616.
Blatz, “Fuk Shit Up”; Alternative Tentacles virus385.
[Jesse Townley, the former lead singer of Blatz, is up for re-election as commissioner on the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board. Vote for him on Nov. 2!]
"Misero Apollo,” from Cavalli's Gli amori d’Apollo e di Dafne; Mario Zeffiri, tenor, with Alberto Zedda conducting the Galician Youth Symphony Orchestra; Naxos 8660187.
Part of "When I am laid in earth" from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas; Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, mezzo-soprano, with Nicholas McGegan conducting the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; Harmonia Mundi 907110.
From Bach's Ciaccona in D Minor; Gidon Kremer, violin; ECM 506502.
From the "Crucifixus" of Bach's Mass in B Minor; Philippe Herreweghe conducting the chorus and orchestra of the Collegium Vocale Gent; Harmonia Mundi 5901614.15.
Enrico Caruso singing “Vesti la giubba” from Pagliacci, on a 1902 Victor recording.
Brahms playing his First Hungarian Dance on an 1889 Edison cylinder.
Caruso, again on Victor, singing “Una furtiva lagrima,” from L’elisir d’amore.
From the Andante of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola; Lara St. John, Scott St. John, and The Knights; Ancalagon Records.
The opening of the Sinfonia of Mozart's Don Giovanni; René Jacobs conducting the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra; Harmonia Mundi 901964.66.
From the first movement of John Adams's Naive and Sentimental Music; Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic; Nonesuch 79636.
The opening of Schubert's Quartet No. 15 in G Major; Melos Quartet; Harmonia Mundi 1951409.
The opening of Schubert's Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960; Richard Goode, piano; Nonesuch 79124.
Yan Jun, recording of a "moment of silence" in Tiananmen Square, in honor of the Sichuan earthquake of 2008.
Music recorded on the paths of the Temple of Heaven.
From John Luther Adams's Dark Waves, in a live recording of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jaap van Zweden, at the Saturday Matinee concert series at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on December 15, 2007. Courtesy of the composer and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic.
Verdi, “D’amor sull’ali rosee” from Il trovatore; Sondra Radvanovsky, soprano, with Constantine Orbelian conducting the Philharmonia of Russia; Delos 3404.
From the Adagio of Dvořák's String Quartet No. 13 in G, Op. 106; St Lawrence String Quartet; ArtistShare recording.
Marian Anderson singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, in a recording from the National Archives.
From the Andante of Schubert's Piano Trio in E-flat; recording made live at Marlboro on July 13, 2008, with Mitsuko Uchida, Soovin Kim, and David Soyer. Courtesy of Marlboro Music.
Part of “Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen,” from Bach's Cantata No. 82, “Ich habe genug"; Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, mezzo-soprano, with Craig Smith leading the orchestra of Emmanuel Music; Nonesuch 79692.
Brahms, Symphony No. 2, opening; Charles Mackerras conducting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Telarc 80522.
Brahms, Intermezzo Opus 117 No. 1; unknown pianist.
Brahms, Symphony No. 4, beginning of finale; Charles Mackerras conducting the Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Telarc 80465.