Songs that leave me unmoved. That I wouldn't add to a list of songs I don't like (a list which, in public, has a single item), but I wouldn't say I like them either. Songs that arouse mixed feelings when included in a recital programme, and I know that the feelings will turn into positive or negative depending on the day. That's to say: it will depend on me, on the artist, on the place it takes during the concert... It's an interesting experiment I do relatively often, because the four or five songs I keep in mind are among the best known of their authors.
Luciano Berio liked traditional music, but he felt some kind of uneasiness when he listened to the usual arrangements for voice and piano made by his colleagues. The reason for this uneasiness was, I would say, that the piano has never been a traditional instrument; folk songs are often unaccompanied and, when accompanied, the instruments are simple, such as flute or guitar. For this reason, in his collection Folk Songs, the voice (not placed voice) is accompanied by an ensemble of seven instrumentalists who play flute or piccolo, clarinet, harp or guitar, cello, viola and percussion. [...]
Last week we listened to I wonder as I wander, a traditional song arranged by Benjamin Britten around 1940, and I told you that he didn't publish or record it. I also told you that I would explain why this week, and here it is. The song couldn't be "made official" because it has been composed by John Jacob Niles in 1933, based, however, on a traditional song. Therefore, it wasn't a work in the public domain, as Britten thought.
We are entering the last few weeks of the year, which we regularly devote to Christmas songs, with shorter articles. This year there will also be Christmas songs, but somehow different, you'll see; for the moment, let's start with Benjamin Britten.
Life at sea is hard. However little we know about, we can infer the cold in their bones in winter, the homesick during long crossings, the danger of storms. Technology, modern equipments and other facilities available in the 21st century relieve life in ships and make it safer, but even so. Now, let us imagin how life at sea was one hundred and fifty years ago, according to what literature and cinema explain.