Slow Listening Saturdays: Chris Thile

I’m a day late again, but I have my first orchestra reading of Ariadne as an excuse. Yesterday the Glimmerglass orchestra joined us for their initial rehearsals, first reading through Carousel. After that the strings joined me for a go at Ariadne. There’s a lot of information in that score but very satisfying and beautiful music for every musician – it’s chamber music on a big scale. So that’s how I spent my Slow Listening Saturday – with a bunch of musicians getting our ears deep into some Strauss.

So am I sending you Strauss today? Nope! Because what restored my soul at the end of a long, wonderful, challenging week was the huge musicianship of Chris Thile, the mandolin phenom at the head of Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers. I know I’m going mad with the links here, and you should treat yourself to all of them. This is the kind of musician who can grow in today’s environment, if she gets the chance to begin practicing early enough, a musician who commands every kind of style and sound. Not to mention gets around her instrument with jaw-dropping ease.

I first discovered this dude in the early Nickel Creek days, and ever since I’ve listened to something of his almost every day. If you have any doubts about bluegrass or pop, start with this, a recording of a complete Bach sonata for violin which Thile plays on mandolin. Watch how a soloist in total command can play notes as if they are words, speech too wonderful to be bound by simple text and human ideas.

Share the Slow. Ramp back the speed of those ears of yours. Don’t they deserve some uninterrupted minutes of music? Don’t people you know need this too?

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