Today I’m playing Keane’s 2004 song Somewhere Only We Know. It was covered by Lily Allen and used in the 2013 John Lewis Christmas advert (I’ve already played this year’s John Lewis song!) I hope you enjoy this song. If it’s your first time on the site, find out why I’m playing a tune a day here or see all of my November songs.
B flat major
Today’s song is Half The World Away. This song was originally by Oasis, but it has been in the forefront of my mind over the past few days since a cover by Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora was featured in this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert, released on Friday. The original version was used as the theme tune to The Royle Family.
Noel Gallagher admitted that the tune of Half The World Away was “adapted” from Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s This Guy’s In Love With You, even commenting “I’m surprised he hasn’t sued me yet”! There seems to be no hard feelings: Gallagher sang This Guy’s In Love With You live in 1996 at a Burt Bacharach concert, accompanied by Bacharach himself on the piano!
Today is Remembrance Sunday and I thought it would be appropriate to play this piece which combines the hymn tune St Clement or This Day Thou Gavest Lord Has Ended and The Last Post. Unfortunately I didn’t have a good trumpet/bugle sound to use for The Last Post, but I think the Oboe works quite well.
Here’s another song from the musical Chess today: Pity The Child. This is the song performed by Freddie Trumper, the American Chess champion, as he reflects on his difficult childhood and the lack of support from his parents.
Today’s tune is the beautiful Humming Chorus from the Puccini opera Madame Butterfly. We were recording Coffee Break Italian yesterday and talking about Opera in our “caffè culturale” segment and this got me thinking about some of the beautiful music from Italian opera, so I decided to play this piece today.
It’s used as an entr’acte between Acts II and III of the opera. Pinkerton’s ship has been sighted. Butterfly, his Japanese wife, has waited three years for his return. She puts on her bridal gown and keeps vigil through the night. The haunting voices offstage hum this song in the the stillness. I hope you enjoy this one!
This is the final song in my small collection of songs from the musical Martin Guerre. Don’t tells of the forbidden love between Bertrande and Arnaud who is assuming the character of Martin Guerre.
There’s more Martin Guerre here and if it’s your first time on the site, find out why I’m playing one song a day for the whole of 2015 or listen to my October songs here.
We’re in the middle of the Rugby World Cup and this afternoon Scotland beat Japan 45-10 at Kingsholm. I’ve decided therefore to play the official theme of the Rugby World Cup, World In Union, written by Charlie Skarbek to a theme from the Jupiter movement of Holst’s The Planets suite.
This song has been recorded by many artists for subsequent tournaments including Ladysmith Black Mambazo and P J Powers for the 1995 tournament in South Africa, Bryn Terfel and Shirley Bassey for the 1999 tournament in England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and Hayley Westenra for the 2011 tournament in New Zealand.
This beautiful song dates from 1952 when it was first recorded by Sue Thompson and soon after by Patti Page. You Belong To Me has subsequently been recorded by many artists, including Michael Bublé, Carla Bruni, Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, Vonda Shepherd and Rod Stewart. It’s actually Ben Taylor’s version which I’ve been listening to recently which made me decide to play the song today.
Today’s song is Andrea Bocelli’s Mille Lune Mille Onde (“A thousand moons, a thousand waves”) from his 2001 album Cieli di Toscana (“Tuscan skies”). It was written by Francesco Sartori, Claudio Corradini and Lucio Quarantotto, the same writing team behind the beautiful Con Te Partirò. I had never heard this song until last week when my mum mentioned it! Curiously it is the official song of all the Barilla pasta TV adverts – conjuring up images of moon-shaped pasta and wavy tagliatelle…
Today’s song is especially for my Mum who celebrates her birthday today – I hope you like my song choice, Mum!
Begin the Beguine is a fantastic song by Cole Porter, dating from 1935. He wrote the song aboard a Cunard Pacific cruise between Indonesia and Fiji in 1935 and it was introduced in the musical Jubilee which opened on Broadway later that year. One of the things I like most about this song is its irregular structure. Most popular songs of the era would have two or three 8-bar segments arranged in A-A-B-A. However this song is structured as A-A-B-A-C1-C2, with the first five segments having 16 bars, and the last having 28. As a result it’s pretty difficult to remember the structure unless (like I was!) you are following the music. In his book about American Popular Song, musicologist Alec Wilder described it as “a maverick, an unprecedented experiment and one which, to this day, after hearing it hundreds of times, I cannot sing or whistle or play from start to finish without the printed music … about the sixtieth measure I find myself muttering another title, End the Beguine.”
It was probably the version by Julio Iglesias which reached No.1 in the UK in 1981 which first brought this song to my attention, and when researching the song for today I discovered that Japanese author Haruki Murakami wrote a short story entitled Julio Iglesias in which his recording of Begin the Beguine became unbearable to a group of sea turtles! My favourite reference, however, to the song is when Sebastian in the Disney version of The Little Mermaid sings “Under the sea, under the sea, when the sardine begin the beguine it’s music to me”.
To hear more August songs, click here. If it’s your first time on the site, find out more about why I’m trying to record a piano tune every day here.