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Thomas J. West Music

Live webcam private music lessons, music education articles, compositions, clinician services, reviews

Great Performances

Performances that inspire and impress. Enjoy.

 
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  • Great Performances - Gustavo Dudamel Dan...
    by ★ Owner on September 20, 2010 at 9:13 PM
    2294 Views - 0 Comments

    If you are not familiar with Gustavo Dudamel, the Sim?n Bol?var Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, and El Sistema, take a look at this amazing performance. The first time I was exposed to Ginastera's Danza Finale was the rendition that the Phantom Regiment drum and bugle corps put on the field in 1993. I loved it then, but this performance of the original orchestral work is not only musically excellent, but it encapsulates the spirit of the composition. Seeing Dudamel conduct in person is definitely on my to-do list.

  • Great Performances - Cee Lo Green Thank ...
    by ★ Owner on May 9, 2011 at 12:55 PM
    2269 Views - 0 Comments


    The moment I saw this video, I started posting it to my site before it had even finished. Cee Lo Green, host of the hit television show The Voice and singer of the massive hit single "Forget You" took that hit song and rewrote the words to use as a tribute to volunteer firefighters everywhere.


    I find it very interesting that Cee Lo Green catapulted himself into the limelight with a song about his teen angst that features explicit and suggestive lyrics, and now he is turning that attention in many ways into a way to spread the wealth emotionally and socially. The original song itself is incredibly addictive, and the "clean" version has been all over the radio. The original YouTube video with the explicit lyrics has over 54 million views as of this posting.


    Cee Lo Green's tribute to firefighters is part of an effort by the Duracell company entitled Power Those Who Protect Us. Yet another great cause to support.

  • Bobby McFerrin - My Favorite Things
    by ★ Owner on August 11, 2009 at 5:44 PM
    2261 Views - 0 Comments

    This quite simply is the result of an incredible natural ability coupled with a rich body of knowledge in all styles and forms of music. Superb!

  • Great Performances - Paul Simon Fan Perf...
    by ★ Owner on May 15, 2011 at 8:25 PM
    2258 Views - 0 Comments

    What would you do if one of your musical idols invited you to the stage to perform one of his songs? That is exactly what happened to Rayna Ford, a fan from Newfoundland who attended Paul Simon's performance in Toronto, Canada on May 7, 2011. Ford called out from the audience for Simon to play his song "Duncan" saying something to the effect that she had learned how to play guitar on that song. In a moment of pure spontaneity, Paul Simon called her to the stage, handed her a guitar, and let her perform the song herself. [source NPR]. What a fantastic, indelible life experience for Rayna, and what a moment of magnanimous music making for the Grammy-award-winning music icon.

  • Great Performances For Valentines - The ...
    by ★ Owner on February 14, 2011 at 1:02 PM
    2247 Views - 0 Comments

    The history of Valentine's Day and Saint Valentine is extremely interesting to me. Such strange obscurity and juxtaposition of ancient pagan festivals, the Catholic Church's attempts to cover up paganism with their own holidays, and even the fact that there were 14 different Saint Valentines all martyred in ancient Rome have led to yet another commericialized celebration involving superficial sentimentality and plenty of processed sugar.


    Despite this, Valentine's Day invites us to pause and take time to consider those we love in our lives, particularly those with whom we share the most intimate connections. Those closest to us know us in a way that no one else can, and it is in them that we see our own attachments and limited perceptions reflected back to us.


    This performance, from last year's Valentine's Day, is by one of my most favorite performing ensembles, The King's Singers. This prodigious group has been the epitome of technical perfection and expressive close harmony singing for decades. This performance of Gustav Holst's "I Love My Love" shows the sextet as they normally perform - in small venues with no amplification (the microphones are for recording purposes only).


    I saw the King's Singers live about 15 years ago and was absolutely stunned by their artistry. Share this video with someone you care about today.

  • Great Performances - Gershwin Plays I Go...
    by ★ Owner on September 27, 2010 at 7:41 AM
    2231 Views - 0 Comments

    Here is some rare footage of the incomparable George Gershwin performing one of his best known compositions "I Got Rhythm" from the Broadway show Girl Crazy in 1930, which is the same show that spawned another Gershwin hit "Embracable You." With technical ability like this, it is easy to see how Gershwin could produce a composition like the fabled "Rhapsody in Blue." Special thanks to my sister for sending me this rare footage via Facebook.

  • Great Performances - Mariinsky Clarinet ...
    by ★ Owner on May 12, 2011 at 10:41 AM
    2210 Views - 0 Comments

    I have a tradition on Facebook of posting a YouTube video to my friends' walls on their birthday. Today, one of my friends from my days at Penn State got this video on his wall. He and I were both clarinetists and played together in practically every band on campus as well as both studying under clarinet professor Smith Toulson. Mr. Toulson also directed a clarinet choir made up of students from his studio. This piece was part of our repertoire. We didn't play it nearly this fast (or this cleanly). Great stuff - enjoy.

  • Great Performances - Esperanza Spalding ...
    by ★ Owner on May 1, 2011 at 7:10 PM
    2208 Views - 0 Comments

    This video was posted in the Music Professional Learning Network by Dr. Joe Piasno tonight, and I had to share it. Esperanza Spalding was the "Who is that?" name at the Grammys this past year, and she is simply fantastic. A lot of people can't sing as well as she can. A lot of people can't play the bass guitar as well as she can. There's even fewer people who can do both at the same time. Definitely going to have to catch some tickets to her show when she comes through Philadelphia.

  • Great Performances - Swingle Singers Pe...
    by ★ Owner on December 3, 2011 at 8:55 AM
    2202 Views - 0 Comments

    Close harmony singing is a personal joy of mine - one that I have been actively engaged in on and off for the past 20 years. Over the past three years, I have made a return to contemporary a cappella singing after a long haitus. Coming back to a cappella in the age of Social Media has brought me all sorts of new access to groups and fellow enthusiasts that I have never had before. I mean, seriously - I'm Facebook friends with people like Barry Carl from Rockapella and I'm talking to members of The Swingle Singers on Twitter.

     

    This is the Swingle Singers' latest music video. It is a charming and poignant setting of the classic Christmas carol "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". The introduction depicts a walk through a snowy field with the winter wind blowing - all done with the human voice. The setting itself arranged by group member Clare Wheeler features tight contemporary harmonies that are my favorite musical sounds. I am a huge fan of the legendary Singers Unlimited, and this arrangement definitely has the influence of Gene Puerling floating among its harmonic and phrasing choices.

  • Great Performances - The Combined Academ...
    by ★ Owner on February 7, 2011 at 12:51 PM
    2153 Views - 0 Comments

    Last night, The Star-Spangled Banner, the official anthem of the United States of America, was sung by pop singer Christina Aguilera for the opening of Super Bowl XLV. Ms. Auguilera's rendition was, at best, a display of vocal agility and at worst, a self-important display with obvious flaws, including the incorrect lyrics being sung.


    The National Anthem is a difficult song to sing, even when it is done traditionally. The majority of Americans do not even know the words, let alone attempt to sing them. Many celebrity singers have opened events with its performance over the years, to varying levels of success and attention. Basically, no one complains when you do a nice, traditional job on the Anthem, but everyone cries foul when it is misrepresented.


    My two favorite renditions of The Star-Spangled Banner are both also performances that occurred at Super Bowls. The first is from Super Bowl XXXIX, when the combined Academy Choirs from the four branches of the U.S. Armed Services along with the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets performed a very traditional yet stirring rendition.

  • Great Performances: Bobby McFerrin's Gra...
    by ★ Owner on January 5, 2013 at 8:32 AM
    2151 Views - 0 Comments

    Bobby McFerrin is one of my personal heroes - a musician whose technique is unquestionable, artistry is apparent, and who embodies the music he performs with every note. This video was shared on his Facebook page last evening for its 25th anniversary. Bobby won a Grammy for Best Jazz Solo Vocal for this performance. His acceptance speech also exemplifies his gracious nature and the musicianship that literally can't stay inside his mind - plus who wouldn't want to get their Grammy from Miles Davis in a xylophone suit? Enjoy Bobby's performance earlier in the broadcast of Round Midnight.

  • Great Performances - The Hellcats Drum C...
    by ★ Owner on April 13, 2011 at 3:13 PM
    2134 Views - 0 Comments


    Precision, consistency, and pagentry. The Hellcats Drum and Bugle Corps is a ceremonial unit attached to the U.S. Marine Corps Band at West Point. Here, their drum line puts on an exhibition performance at the 2010 Drum Corps International World Championships. These men are carrying on a legacy in rudimental drumming that stretches all the way back to the founding of West Point in 1778. Learn more about the Hellcats here.


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