Winners 12-7

From: Dennis Wenner

1) Elgar: Nimrod from Variations on an Original Theme for orchestra, Op. 36 ("Enigma"), Pierre Monteux.

The "burning bush" of music—three minutes of inspirational music that can last a lifetime.

2) Beethoven: 6th Symphony, 4th movement, Norrington.

This movement follows the "storm," and reminds us there is light following the storm.

3) Enya: "On Your Shore" from Watermark speaks to the mystical power of love.

4) Joni Mitchell: "A Case of You" from Blue speaks to love and its power over us.

5) Jennifer Warnes: "I'm Dreaming" from Jennifer Warnes transports us to another place and time when new love begins.

From: Sarah Clement

My five offerings, which came to me off the top of my head just now as I closed my eyes and remembered the songs or albums that most affected me as I grew up (I graduated high school in 1971 and college in 1975):

1) Lou Reed: "Walk on the Wild Side" from Transformer.

2) Bob Dylan: "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go," from Blood on the Tracks.

3) Creedence Clearwater Revival: "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?"

4) Cat Stevens: "Wild World" from Tea for the Tillerman.

5) Van Morrison: "Madame George" from Astral Weeks.

These songs/albums still just send me far, far away, even heard on a crappy stereo.

From: Roger Miller

Hi John,

Here is my list for the Mystic Chords Competition:

1) J.S. Bach: "Goldberg" Variations, Glenn Gould (1981).

What else needs to be said?

2) Mahler: Symphony No. 1, Bruno Walter conducting.

Given Walter's association with Mahler, this recording as close to source as one can get.

3) Joni Mitchell: "Urge For Going."

Tom Rush's version is particularly evocative.

4) Lennon & McCartney: "In My Life."

Judy Collins has a nice version, but the Beatles' is classic.

5) Miles Davis: Kind Of Blue.

As with Gould's Goldbergs, what else needs to be said?

Thanks for the fun competition.

From: Larry Coben

1) Bruce Springsteen: "Thunder Road" from Born to Run.

Jersey power poetry. First listened to this cut with a girl who was scared and thinkin' that maybe we weren't that young anymore.

2) Mozart: "Confutatis" from Requiem, Peter Schreier, Dresden State Orchestra w/ Leipzig Radio Chorus.

Immediate connection to the finest cinema portrayal of the composition of great music yet produced.

3) Bob Dylan: "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" from Live 1964 Concert at Philharmonic Hall.

I was there. Darkness at the Break of Noon and suddenly you knew that the rules of songwriting had changed.

4) Otis Redding: "These Arms of Mine" (1962) from Dreams to Remember, The Otis Redding Anthology.

Roadie sticks around the studio, starts to sing, and leaves his heart all over the floor. He takes us with him, every time.

5) Johnny Griffin: "The Way You Look Tonight" from A Blowing Session.

Griffin, Mobley, Coltrane on saxes, with Lee Morgan, Paul Chambers and Art Blakey. Master class in Bop. Oh man, I dig this music! Jaw-dropping.

From: Wayne Fukuhara

Hi John-

Please consider the following five items for your "Mystic Chords of Memory" contest.

1) "Year of the Cat," Al Stewart and Peter Wood. From Al Stewart, Year of the Cat. The title song from Stewart's superbly crafted album was his breakthrough hit in America.

2) A Charlie Brown Christmas, Vince Guaraldi. Guaraldi's sensitive jazz imagery makes this album a winner any time of the year.

3) "Shipbuilding," Clive Langer and Elvis Costello. From Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Punch the Clock. A tricky rhythm sung so beautifully by Costello you'd never guess the lyrics are about the Falkland Islands crisis. With trumpet solo by Chet Baker.

4) "There We Are," James Taylor. From James Taylor, JT. "Walk with me and I'll tell you my life story/Walk with me and I'll tell you my dreams of glory."

5) "Sometimes in Winter," Steve Katz. From Blood Sweat and Tears, Blood Sweat and Tears. The entire album is worthy of this list, but Steve Katz's vocals combined with a beautiful flute solo give this song a particular poignancy.

Thanks for another super fun and intriguing contest!

Peter J. Lynch

Dear Sirs:

Here are my Mystic Chords arranged in chronological order as I encountered the music.

1) Jo Stafford: "No Other Love" (1950; 78 RPM single Capitol Records #1053). Re-issued on No Other Love (1998; CD, Entertainers Label B00000QZ1)

My first love song coincided with my first girlfriend. Learning that it was adapted from Chopin's etude in E, opened my eyes to classical music

2) Modest Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov (Rimsky-Korsakov version) from Excerpts from Boris Godunov; Leopold Stokowski, San Francisco Orchestra, San Francisco Opera Chorus (1952; LP, RCA Victor LM1764) Re-issued (2003; CD, Cala Records).

Listening to late night music lying in a hospital bed after an emergency appendectomy on prom night, this music changed my mind about opera.

3) Derek and the Dominos: "Layla"; from Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970; LP, Polydor 2-3501).

A 15-year old runaway girl living with us introduced this song, and rock in general, to us. Through this, she offered more to us than we offered her.

4) Dimitri Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No.1, Op. 99, David Oistrakh, Dimitri Metropolis, New York Philharmonic Orchestra (1956; LP, Columbia); reissued on Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 & Violin Concerto No. 1 (1998; CD, Sony MHK 63327).

This awakened me to a great concerto and a great composer, proving to me that beautiful music was written after the 19th century.

5) The Airborne Toxic Event: "Sometime Around Midnight"; from The Toxic Airborne Event (2008; CD, Majordomo records).

This insightful rock ballad about a lost relationship brings back melancholic memories of my earlier similar losses.