Film Music Fridays: Ennio Morricone

With a career that spans over fifty years and hundreds of film scores, Italian composer Ennio Morricone has produced some of the most well-recognised music in the film industry. Most famous for composing the scores to many of Sergio Leone’s westerns, he has also found enormous success composing for Quentin Tarantino and Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso. Twelve tracks are featured as YouTube videos and the remainder of the playlist can be found in the Spotify Playlist Link below.

Spotify Playlist Link: Ennio Morricone

Ten Song Taster

1. ‘Cinema Paradiso Theme’ (from Cinema Paradiso)

2. ‘Deborah’s Theme’ (from Once Upon A Time in America)

3. ‘The Braying Mule’ (from Django Unchained)

4. ‘Mucchio Selvaggio’ (from My Name Is Nobody)

5. ‘The Ecstasy of Gold’ (from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly)

6. ‘Guns For San Sebastian’ (from Guns For San Sebastian)

7. ‘For A Few Dollars More Theme’ (from For A Few Dollars More)

8. ‘Il Vizietto’ (from La Cage aux Folles)

9. ‘Once Upon A Time In America Theme’ (from Once Upon A Time In America)

10. ‘Once Upon A Time In The West Theme’ (from Once Upon A Time In The West)

[Or if you sign into Spotify you can listen to the whole playlist here]


A Calm and Not Quite Collected Mix

Love this.

Tales from an unsuccessful grownup

Image”Music is an escape. It silences the world and worries.”

Foy Vance – Guiding Light

Sam Smith – Lay Me Down

Bon Iver – Holocene

Daughter – Peter

Lewis Watson – Bones

Bastille – Overjoyed Acapella

Ben Howard – Black Flies

James Vincent McMorrow – Someone Like You

Mumford and Sons – Reminder

James Blake – A Case of You

Sam Smith – Latch Acoustic

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20 Great Songs: Folk

the civil wars

This selection of songs are made up of the whole spectrum of folk; from Nick Drake to Johnny Cash to contemporary indie/rock crossovers. Enjoy!

Spotify Playlist Link: Folk

  1. The Civil Wars – From This Valley
  2. Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
  3. Nick Drake – ‘ Cello Song
  4. Odetta – Hit Or Miss – Live
  5. Vandaveer – However Many Takes It Takes
  6. Baden Powell – Samba da Benção
  7. Passenger – Life’s for the Living
  8. Eddie Vedder – Rise
  9. Johnny Cash – Girl From The North Country
  10. Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait
  11. The Tallest Man On Earth – I Won’t Be Found
  12. James Yorkston – Summer Song
  13. Ron Pope – Virginia
  14. Joan Baez – Blowin’ In The Wind
  15. Noah And The Whale – Introduction
  16. Bombay Bicycle Club – Rinse Me Down
  17. Daughter – Youth
  18. Alela Diane – The Wind
  19. John Mayer – Wildfire
  20. Penguin Café Orchestra – Air a Danser

20 Great Songs: Musicals


Journeying through the variety of styles in the musical genre, the earliest song on the list is Irving Berlin’s ‘Top Hat’ (1935) with the playlist travelling through many different great musicals from the proceeding 75 years. The songs are deliberately not listed in chronological order to keep it flowing and maintain variety:

Spotify Playlist Link: Musicals

  1. Seasons Of Love (from RENT)
  2. Put On Your Sunday Clothes (from Hello! Dolly)
  3. I Get a Kick Out of You (from Anything Goes)
  4. Top Hat, White Tie and Tails (from Top Hat)
  5. Good Morning (from Singin’ In The Rain)
  6. The Trolley Song (from Meet Me In St. Louis) – Performed and re-recorded by the John Wilson Orchestra
  7. Some People (from Gypsy)
  8. Defying Gravity (from Wicked)
  9. Barn Dance (from Seven Brides For Seven Brothers) – Performed and re-recorded by the John Wilson Orchestra
  10. Prologue And Tradition (from Fiddler On The Roof)
  11. America (from West Side Story)
  12. You Can’t Stop The Beat (from Hairspray)
  13. I’ve Just Seen A Face (from Across The Universe)
  14. There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This (from Sweet Charity)
  15. Can You Feel the Love Tonight (from The Lion King)
  16. Bring Him Home (from Les Miserables)
  17. Belle (from Beauty And The Beast)
  18. Omigod You Guys (from Legally Blonde: The Musical)
  19. Don’t Rain On My Parade (from Funny Girl)
  20. Let’s Go Fly A Kite (from Mary Poppins)

20 Great Songs: Piano

Invented by expert Italian harpsichord maker Bartolomeo Cristofori, the modern piano is celebrated for its resonant sound and versatility of style. This list of great piano pieces encompasses music starting from the 1600s up to the present day. The pieces are listed with the earliest at the beginning and the most recent at the end but are in no particular order, instead arranged in a way to maintain interest when listening to them all in succession (scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full Spotify playlist).

Ten Song Taster

Domenico Scarlatti’s Piano Sonata in E major K380

This performance by Vadim Chaimovich elegantly captures the rhythmic precision of the Baroque period.

Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op.27 No.2 – “Moonlight”, Mov 3. 

This electrifying performance of the third movement of one of Beethoven’s most famous piano sonatas is by Valentina Lisitsa. The tempestuous energy of this piece has led to comparisons with a storm.

Schubert’s Impromptu in G-flat major, Op. 90 No.3

Full of flowing melodic lines made up of arpeggios and broken chords, contrasting against the languid melody line, this is one of the first pieces to be composed in the unusual key of G-flat major. Performed by Polish classical pianist Krystian Zimerman.

Yiruma’s Fotografia

South Korean composer and pianist Yiruma has achieved widespread fame via YouTube with his “contemporary classical” style of composition. Speaking to, he discusses his inspiration for writing:

I try to recall the memories of my past, my childhood, sometimes my lovers … But it’s all my surroundings that inspire me. That’s the beginning point of my composition, really.

Liszt’s La Campanella

The third of Franz Liszt’s six Grandes études de Paganini, this playful and energetic piece is characterised by large interval jumps and bare octaves. Performed here by Yundi Li.

Chopin’s Waltz in E minor 

Full List 

[You can click on each song individually and a new Spotify link will open in your browser]

  1. Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 1 a 1 Clav
  2. Mozart: Concerto for Two Pianos in E Klat, K.365: Rondo (allegro)
  3. Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major Op. 106 Hammerklavier: I. Allegro
  4. Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.14 in C sharp minor, Op.27 No.2 -“Moonlight” – 3. Presto
  5. Liszt: La campanella in G-Sharp Minor from Grandes études de Paganini, S 141/3
  6. Schubert: Impromptus, D. 899 (Op. 90): Impromptu No. 3 in G-Flat Major: Andante
  7. Chopin: Nocturne for Piano, No. 8 in D flat Major, Op. 27,2
  8. Chopin: Scherzo No. 2 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 31
  9. Stravinsky: Les 5 doigts pour piano solo
  10. Chopin: Waltz No.14 in E minor, Op.posth.
  11. Pärt: Für Alina, for Piano Solo
  12. Albeniz: Asturias
  13. Kaempfert: Strangers in the Night – Live Recording
  14. Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 7 In B Flat Major, Op. 83: III. Precipitato
  15. Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22: III. Presto
  16. Einaudi: Berlin Song
  17. Ravel: Piano Concerto in G – 2. Adagio assai
  18. Yiruma: Fotografia
  19. Adams: Phrygian Gates
  20. Poulenc: 2 Novelettes: Novelette No. 2 In B Flat Minor: Tres Rapide Et Rythme

Spotify Playlist

20 Great Songs: African

This feel-good list of songs encompasses a mixture of African music traditions with a choral focus. You can listen to the full Spotify playlist can be found at the bottom of the page.

N.B. Check out FOLI’s ‘There is no movement without rhythm‘. Not a song but still an interesting video.

Ten Song Taster

1. Thina Simnqobile – Soweto Gospel Choir

2. Pata Pata – Miriam Makeba

3. Tuli Tuli – Kenyan Boys Choir

4. Mori Keke Kan – King Sunny Ade

5. Jesu – Malawi Mouse Boys

6. He Lives In You – Lebo M  (from The Lion King 2)

7. Misahotaka Ny Akama – Rajery

8. Samite Of Uganda – Njabala

9. Famou – Sekouba Bambino

10. Dinosaur On The Ark – The Very Best*

Spotify Playlist Link: African

(Where some of the tracks were not available on Spotify they have been replaced by similar tracks)

20 Great Songs: Road Trip

After painstakingly putting together a great California road-trip playlist last summer, here is a selection of some of my favourites to inspire or add to your own road-trip playlist. Admittedly some of the tracks are a bit female-centric (with Shania, Carly Rae Jepson and Vanessa Carlton all making an appearance) but fun all the same!

Ready-to-go Spotify Playlist Link: American Road Trip

1. The Who – Baba O’Riley

2. Dario G – Sunchyme

3. Canned Heat – Going Up The Country 

4. Jo Dee Messina – Heads Carolina, Tails California 

5. Rascal Flatts – Life Is A Highway 

6. Leighton Meester – Summer Girl

7.Sugarland – It Happens 

8. Shania Twain – Man! I Feel Like A Woman!

9. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe

10. Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles

11. The Allman Brothers Band – Jessica

12. Bryan Adams – Summer Of ’69

13. The Beach Boys – Surfin’ U.S.A. 

14. The Soggy Bottom Boys – I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow

15. Starship – We Built This City

16. The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

17. Canned Heat – On The Road Again

18. Wilson Pickett – Mustang Sally

19. America – Ventura Highway

20. Faces – Ooh La La

Full List:

  1. Dario G – Sunchyme – Sash! -Rmx-Edit 
  2. The Who – Baba O’Riley – Original Version
  3. Canned Heat – Going Up The Country 
  4. Jo Dee Messina – Heads Carolina, Tails California
  5. Rascal Flatts – Life Is A Highway 
  6. Leighton Meester – Summer Girl 
  7. Sugarland – It Happens
  8. Shania Twain – Man! I Feel Like A Woman!
  9. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
  10. Vanessa Carlton – A Thousand Miles 
  11. The Allman Brothers Band – Jessica
  12. Bryan Adams – Summer Of ’69
  13. The Beach Boys – Surfin’ U.S.A.
  14. The Soggy Bottom Boys – I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow 
  15. Starship – We Built This City 
  16. The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)
  17. Canned Heat – On The Road Again
  18. Wilson Pickett – Mustang Sally – Remastered Single Version
  19. America – Ventura Highway
  20. Faces – Ooh La La