Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Music #8: Mannheim Steamroller: Sonata

Chip Davis aka Mannheim Steamroller
[Note: I am a music lover and so decided to bring that into my blog by presenting a song that I have enjoyed or have recently been listening to for your enjoyment as well.  If you are interested to check out the other songs I have introduced in the "Monday Music" series then please click here.  In addition there are other songs sprinkled around in previous posts if you want to hunt for them.]

I was introduced to the music of Mannheim Steamrollers when I attended BYU as a Freshman circa. 1980.  At that time we were listening to records on a turntable and cassette tapes [obviously long before YouTube and digital music MP3s].  One of the guys down the hall had brought a nice stereo and had a collection of Mannheim Steamrollers' Fresh Aire Series of records.  To me their music really was a breath of fresh air.  That series eventually grew to eight records I believe but at the time had just the first few.  I listened to that music and it was like opening a new world of music to me.  To me it sounded totally different and I loved it. 

Since that time I have been enjoying their music and sometimes after a period of infrequent listening I rediscover it again.  Naturally that is what has happened here recently for me.  This song is from their first album entitled Fresh Aire.  If you enjoy some contemplative instrumental music you  may enjoy this. 

Mannheim Steamroller: Sonata

Mannheim Steamroller is best known for their Christmas music, of which they have put out several albums and may be the most frequently listened to Christmas music in existence.  Almost certainly you have heard their Christmas music which is played in many stores over the Christmas season.  In addition there are many knockoffs and wannabes of their type of music.

Lisa and I have enjoyed their music so much that we have gone to their Christmas concert twice since we were married.  The first time became known as our most expensive date in probably the first 15-20 years that we were married.  I would recommend their Christmas concert for it's beautiful music and to create some fun memories. 

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia that gives more detail: 

Mannheim Steamroller began as an alias for record producer/composer Chip Davis. The name "Mannheim Steamroller" comes from an 18th-century German musical technique, Mannheim roller an crescendo passage having a rising melodic line over an ostinato bass line.

Chip Davis produced an unusual album of classical music performed entirely by Davis and musical collaborator and keyboardist Jackson Berkey, using electric bass (played by Eric Hansen) and synthesizers.
Since no major label would handle its distribution, Davis founded his own music label, American Gramaphone (a play on the classical record label Deutsche Grammophon), to release the album. The result, Fresh Aire, was released in 1975 under the pseudonym Mannheim Steamroller, in the hopes of the album being a best seller. Fresh Aire II was subsequently released in 1977 and Fresh Aire III was released in 1979. The first four Fresh Aire albums constituted a "four seasons" exploration, with Fresh Aire being spring, Fresh Aire II being fall (less obviously than the others), Fresh Aire III being summer, and Fresh Aire IV being winter. All four of these albums maintained the blend of baroque classical music, light jazz, and a light sense of humor.
Jackson Berkey

1 comment:

  1. that's cool to learn a little more of the history of mannheim steamroller! i didn't know much about them before except that they had cool Christmas music :) i like the fresh aire song you put on here, but i still like their Christmas music better :) can't beat great Christmas music! it brings me such a happy warm feeling to listen to Christmas music - probably because of all the wonderful Christmas memories from growing up! :) hey remember that mannheim steamroller vhs video we used to have? i remember watching that together as a family with all the lights off when i was a kid :) that was fun!


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