YOU | MUSE

New Muse completed a project called You | Muse to stay in touch with our audiences in the spring of 2020. We invited our listeners to submit a favorite piece or song — any genre, any style, any time period — and we responded with a piece in turn — a musical dialogue. The response was remarkable.

Here are some of our favorite YOU | MUSE pairs:

Get Up Offa that Thing
Caprice No. 24

James Brown

Niccolò Paganini

paired by NEW MUSE with

Like James Brown, Paganini was a larger-than-life character. A violinist and a composer, he was rumored to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his virtuosity, and was one of the first musical celebrities. Women fainted at his performances. Between 1802-1817 Paganini wrote a set of 24 Caprices for solo violin. They are fiendishly difficult, and this is the final caprice of the set. It's written as a theme and variations — it starts with a simple theme, and then each subsequent variation explores a different set of increasingly difficult violin techniques. Like James Brown, Paganini inspired audiences with his dazzling virtuosity and incredible showmanship.

Águas de Março
The Lark Ascending

Elis Regina and Tom Jobim

Ralph Vaughan Williams

paired by NEW MUSE with

Águas de Março is about the heavy rains of March in Rio, and is full of descending musical lines that create the feeling of water rushing downward. The Lark Ascending is based on a poem by George Meredith, and the piece is full of the sound of birdsong, and a feeling of rising upward — a wonderful counter to the downward flow of water. Each piece is a beautiful, lyrical tribute to the essence of springtime.

Because
Venetian Boat Song No. 6 from Songs without Words

The Beatles

Felix Mendelssohn

paired by NEW MUSE with

Both Because and Mendelssohn's Venetian Boat Song No. 6 have rolling bass lines and mournful melodies that float over the top, making them sound very much alike, despite being written almost 150 years apart and in the context of very different musical traditions. Like the Beatles, Mendelssohn keeps you on your toes by surprising you harmonically in what appears on the surface to be just a simple song.

Enixa Est Puerpera
Partita for 8 Voices

Hildegard von Bingen

Caroline Shaw

paired by NEW MUSE with

Like Hildegard von Bingen's Enixa Est Puerpera, written in the 12th century, Caroline Shaw's Partita for 8 Voices, written from 2009-2011, is a very mysterious piece. Though Shaw’s Partita is guttural and noisy in passages, it is also transcendental, and reminiscent of Hildegard von Bingen both in its simplicity and complexity. Shaw explores the voice with experimental curiousity, discovering myriad textures and sounds, some of which are influenced by traditional Inuit folk singing. Both pieces are powerful expressions of spiritual awe and reverence.

Crepuscule with Nellie
Adagietto from Symphony No. 5

Thelonious Monk

Gustav Mahler

paired by NEW MUSE with

Like Monk's Crepuscule for his wife Nellie, the Adagietto from Mahler's Symphony No. 5 is dedicated to his bride, Alma. It's a stunning movement, often lifted out of the symphony and performed as a single piece on its own. It's scored for strings and harp, creating a lush, warm sound, full of tenderness and longing. Monk’s Crepuscule with Nellie is slow and sensual with a bit of swagger. A pair of love letters, each in very different style.

Primavera Porteña (Spring) from The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires
Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons: Spring, Movement II

Astor Piazzolla

Max Richter

paired by NEW MUSE with

In his Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, Richter takes fragments from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, loops them, takes them apart, adds new material. It's a wildly creative reimagining of one of the most well-known pieces of classical music. The second movement of Richter's Spring speaks beautifully to the slow section of Piazzolla's original.

Crazy
St. Louis Blues

Patsy Cline

Django Reinhardt

paired by NEW MUSE with

Django Reinhardt was one of Willie Nelson’s important musical influences, and you can absolutely hear the connection in Django’s version of St. Louis Blues, though the style is very different from Willie Nelson’s Crazy. Both songs have an unhurried feel and that perfect back-of-the-beat swing.

Ciaccona per Embrik
Violin Concerto No. 1, Second Movement

Trygve Seim

Philip Glass

paired by NEW MUSE with

Philip Glass's Violin Concerto No. 1 was written in 1987 in remembrance of the composer's father; Trygve Seim's Ciaconna per Embrik is also a dedicatory piece. Both are chaconnes, defined by a bass line that repeats for the duration of the movement. This second movement of Glass's concerto is minimal, understated, and exploratory like the Seim’s Ciaccona, and both are filled with yearning.

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