« Links With Your Coffee | Main | A Year in Reading - 2009 »

Gypsy's music for math and science buffs

This topic was inspired by the science comic. This is probably a limitless topic, but these 3 can give you a push.

I'd be quite remiss if J.S. Bach weren't included in this post. Elder Bach was into numerology and found crafty ways to work it and other types of symbolism into his music. Since I'm a big movie buff, I decided to recommend the sub-text for 32 Short Films about Glenn Gould, Bach's Golberg Variations, BWV 988. I have the Vladimir Feltsman recording; a lot of people swear by Gould's 1981 recording, others stick to the 1955 debut recording. Since it was originally written for harpsichord, here's the link to Wanda Landowska's 1933 remastering.

Fast forward to the 20th century. Edgar Varese's Ionisation for percussion ensemble has always fascinated me. I used to own this recording on LP; I managed to pick up the same recording on CD with Robert Craft conducting years later. There are 5 other pieces on the recording, all with science or math related monikers. Varese wasn't so interested in relaying science through music as he was picking different ways to title his expressive compositions.

Lastly, to incorporate a piece suggested by Mitchell: Philip Glass, Einstein on the Beach. Einstein was only 4 years older than Varese, so I'm counting their contemporary lives as a little link in the chain. Einstein's big quote regarding music is

If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.

Mitchell, you can chime in on your recording, but if I can scrape up enough dough for recordings this season, I plan to but this one.

I'll be back to posting on Thursdays next week (umm - hopefully) for your weekend diversions. The last bit has to do with a plea for help with the semi-conductor joke. I'll start with mine, as it's only OK, then go on with the rest:

A room temperature semi-conductor walks into a bar...

The bar tender says "We don't serve room temperature semi-conductors here." The room temperature semi-conductor replies, "That's funny. My orchestra just told meI couldn't serve them."

and in an effort to warm up, has too many drinks. Then he becomes a conductor.

The bartender asks "How are you feeling tonight?" The semiconductor replies "I'm neutral."

challenge round was to combine music and science:

The bartender asks: "We just got some new music in. How do you like it?" The semiconductor replies: "It resonates right through me."

and says "if you want to see a superconductor, put me on ice..."

So there you have it. The non-musicians (including the one who contributed 2 responses above) win the humor game!



I'm a fan of Gould's 1981 recording. In general I prefer Bach's music performed on modern instruments. A friend of mine swore by the Landowka recording on the harpsichord, and now I have my own copy. Thanks Gypsy.

Good deal Norm.

I forgot to include the link to TMBG's latest. More from the pop world.

My son recently introduced me to the "Here Comes Science" DVD what a wonderful job the Giants have done. Everyone should include it in their solstice gift giving for their children, nephews and nieces.

I gave it to the only kid in my life shortly after it came out. It really is a great peice of work. I was a little shocked that it compares Angels to fairies and make believe.

But... They aren't Giants.

"They Might be Giants"

TMBG has a bunch of children's producitons. I think the first was No!, which is doubles as both animated CD ROM and CD recording. They also have one out on the ABCs. Their music style is conducive to the format. Fun stuff, and makes for excellent stocking stuffers.

Actually that is the very recording on which I cut my teeth. Bravo, good list. But if you're saving up money to buy Philip Glass, I highly recommend Glass Box.

happy holidays everyone!

Thanks Mitchell.


Support this site

Google Ads

Powered by Movable Type Pro

Copyright © 2002-2017 Norman Jenson


Commenting Policy

note: non-authenticated comments are moderated, you can avoid the delay by registering.

Random Quotation

Individual Archives

Monthly Archives