I’ve opted to forgo my usual Thursday afternoon run until tomorrow (no point in both running and spinning today seeing as how I have a long four hours on the bike this coming Saturday), which means this afternoon all I have to accomplish is this Day 52 of my 100 Day Challenge. And this afternoon it’s more Jazz Boner I picked up from last weekends Record Fair in St. Catharines, the ‘Such Sweet Thunder‘ album by Duke Ellington.
I’ve really been enjoying Duke Ellington lately and I was very excited when I found this last weekend. Released in 1957, the album is a twelve part suite based on the work of William Shakespeare and – get this – dedicated to the “Shakespearean Festival” in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, which Ellington himself attended in 1956 inspiring him to write/record this album; hence m also classifying this as a Canadiana album.
That’s cool, right?
Along with Billy Strayhorn, Ellington wrote this piece in 1957 and the album name comes from a line of Puck’s in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’:
“I never heard so musical a discord, such sweet thunder.”
Ellington said of the work, that it was his “attempt to parallel the vignettes of some of the Shakespearean characters in miniature—sometimes to the point of caricature.”
‘Such Sweet Thunder’ was premiered at the “Music for Moderns” concert at New York’s Town Hall in April of 1957, but without the suite’s final number, which had not even been written yet.
Also, this is the early stereo recording, but due to problems with the production, it was only issued in mono when it came out in 1957. It wasn’t until Sony started to look into their vaults during the 1999 Ellington Centennial that a stereo version of the album was issued.
That just makes this album all the more cooler in eyes though.