Matthew’s Monday Movie: “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

O Brother, Where Art Thou? was released in the year 2000 by the Coen brothers.  It is a comedy/satire based on Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey.  It depicts aspects of magical realism during the depression in Southern Mississippi. The musical score is a driving force that is characterized as “ole timey” Southern Folk music that sets the tone of the film.

O Brother, Where Art Thou tells of adventure, temptation, and redemption. The movie stars George Clooney as Ulysses Everett McGill: a fast-talking, wise-cracking everyman who is always the smartest man in the room and on a mission to be reunited with his wife and children. His two bumbling sidekicks are Pete (John Turturro) and Delmar O’Donnell (Tim Blake Nelson); both are small time crooks who are manipulated by Everett for the promises of fortune. Through their haphazard adventures, they find themselves challenged by roadblocks. The trio encounter characters that are archetypes  straight out of Homer’s Odyssey.  These include: a cyclops, sirens, and a character akin to Poseidon or Satan. Throughout these misadventures, the trio experiences both highs and lows as divine providence (or luck) brings them to redemption.

This film earned 72 million dollars with only a 26 million dollar budget. The soundtrack won a Grammy for album of the year; it borrows heavily from both Primitive Baptist, African-American, Bluegrass, and Delta Blues.  The hit song, “Man of Constant Sorrow” was widely acclaimed by music critics and crossed over into multiple public venues.  It reached number 35 on U.S. County Music Billboard. O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a truly timeless period piece that the entire family can enjoy, and a personal favorite of mine!

*It is rated PG 13 due to some mild language and suggestive scenes.  It is available at the Union University Library.

 

 

Top 5 Music Databases

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Did you know that you can stream music online, for free, via the library? We have access to various music databases and their resources. Listed below are 5 of the best music databases that you can use here at Union.

 

Naxos Music Library

The Naxos Music Library is the world’s largest online classical music library. Currently, it offers streaming access to more than 46,000 CDs with more than 653,000 tracks, standard and rare repertoire. It also includes classical, jazz, classic pop, rock, and world music labels with more labels joining every month.

 

Fine Arts and Music Collection (Gale)

With more than 150 full-text magazines and journals covered in databases such as the Wilson Art Index and RILM, this collection will provide support for research in areas such as drama, music, art history, and filmmaking.

 

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New Mozart Edition

This project of the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum and The Packard Humanities Institute provides access to digital editions of Mozart’s works for personal study and educational use. PDF files of the works are available under the “Table of Contents” link.

 

Oxford Music Online

Includes the Oxford Dictionary of Music, Grove Music Online, and the Oxford Companion to Music. Search more than 50,000 signed articles and 30,000 biographies contributed by over 6,000 scholars from around the world, Grove Music Online is the unsurpassed authority on all aspects of music.

 

RLM Abstracts of Music Literature

RILM, a comprehensive, ongoing guide to publications on music from all over the world, is an indispensable tool for scholars, students, librarians, performers, teachers, and music lovers. RILM includes over 620,000 records; over 30,000 new records are added every year, covering all document types: articles, books, bibliographies, catalogues, dissertations, Festschriften, iconographies, critical commentaries to complete works, ethnographic recordings, conference proceedings, electronic resources, reviews, and more.

 

Featured Book: “The Illustrated History of Rock Music”

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It was a revolution. It changed the lives of a generation. By extension, it changed the lives of their children. It spread across the world. It altered the course of history…Rock & roll changed everything.

Jeremy Paschall begins his book The Illustrated History of Rock Music with this exciting refrain. Full of bold (and sometimes grainy) photos of musicians and influencers, this book divides the history of rock into categories based on years. Considering the copyright date is 1978, the reach of the book only extends into the seventies. Despite the limitations, Paschall recounts the blistering speed of rock music’s ascent with clarity and passion.

 

From The Ed Sullivan show, to Chuck Berry, to Elvis Presley, to Cher, to David Bowie: this book has it all. Paschall also talks about the different cultures that inspired classic rock as we know it today. Much like the literary canon, the popular music canon builds off of the innovators who came before them, and, in turn, paves the way for a generation of new musicians.

 

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You can check out The Illustrated History of Rock Music from the Oversize books section of the library.

*Be forewarned that some of the themes and photos in this book are more graphic in nature, due to the colorful history of rock ‘n’ roll.

 

Featured Book: “This Is Your Brain On Music” by Daniel J. Levitin

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When you think about music, do you imagine Madonna or Mozart? Jazz or classic rock? What makes you like the genres that you do?

In his book This Is Your Brain On Music, rocker-turned-neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin strives to answer these questions by analyzing how the human brain responds to music. First, Levitin breaks down the fundamentals of music, defining “pitch,” “rhythm,” “timbre,” and more. Then, Levitin explores cognitive functions, describing the brain’s neural organization of music.

The music-to-brain research explains everyday phenomena, such as:

  • how composers exploit the way our brains make sense of the world
  • why we emotionally attach to music we listen to as teenagers
  • why 10,000 hours of practice- not talent- makes virtuosos
  • how insidious jingles (aka ear worms) get stuck in our heads

This Is Your Brain On Music is currently in our New Books section on the 2nd floor. If you want to learn more about how your brain responds to your favorite songs, check it out!

Featured Music: The Beach Boys

Looking for a great soundtrack to highlight the last days of summer? The library owns a two-part collection of the Beach Boys’ famous singles. The band’s tight harmonies and beach party music created many memorable hits like “I Get Around,” “Wouldn’t It Be  Nice,” and “God Only Knows.” 20 Good Vibrations, The Greatest Hits: Volume 1 and Volume 2 are available for check out; the two CDs are located in the CD collection on the second floor.

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Recently acquired book Catch A Wave: The Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson by Peter Ames Carlin details even more about the history of the band, focusing on Brian Wilson in particular. Check out this biography in the music books (M) section on the library’s second floor.

 

Spotlight on The Naxos Music Library

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The Naxos Music Library is the world´s largest online classical music library. Currently, it offers streaming access to more than 46,000 CDs with more than 653,000 tracks, standard and rare repertoire. It also includes classical, jazz, classic pop, rock and world music labels with more labels joining every month.

The Union University Library subscribes to this essential resource, so these songs are available for students and faculty. Simply go to uu.edu/library and click on the “Databases, E-Books, & Media” link under the “Research” tab. From the Media tab, users can access the Naxos Music Library.