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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best "Pacific 231" I've heard, May 9, 2010
This review is from: Railroad Rhythms: Classical Music About Trains (Audio CD)
Admittedly I'm a sucker for this kind of novelty collection, but I really enjoyed this one. A collection of short pieces that were mostly unfamiliar to me. I found them approachable and accessible. But they are not by any means just Pops-concert marshmallow fluff. Most of them do not belong to the "light" music genre.

Despite the title, do not expect too much in the way of literalistic choo-choo and clackety-clack. Oh, sure, you get a bit of that in some of them, but I don't think many of us could guess the theme of the album just by listening to the music, unless we actually knew some of the pieces. "Pacific 231" is probably more evocative of train travel than most of the other pieces, and even it was famously written as abstract music, with the title added on as a casual afterthought.

I found Leonard Bernstein's "Subway Ride & Imaginary Coney Island" particularly baffling in this regard. It's a lovely piece, but it reminds me more of a ride on a swan boats in Boston's Public Garden than any subway I've ever ridden.

I like this recording of "Pacific 231" better than any other I've heard, and I've heard about five or six, starting with an LP made by Cook Recording back in the late 1950s. Simply, it brings out all sorts of things in the music I've never heard before. There's quite a lot going on underneath the main "tune." This train isn't going as buckety-buckety hell-for-leather as some other Pacific 231's but there's an overwhelming sense of power.

Is the inclusion of the Dvor'ák Humoreske a sly joke? The program notes, translated from an unspecified language, presumably German, say only that "the railroad fanatic Antonin Dvo'ák seems ... to create a feeling of delight at being able to reach the fresh air at a summer resort with the help of a train." Does this piece, then, have a legitimate railroad connection, other than the one I know? It is, of course, the tune to which kids used to sing "Passengers will please refrain from flushing toilets while the train is standing in the station (I love you)."

And do I dare mention that as I write this (May 2010), the Musical Heritage Society is offering this recording at a much lower price?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great to fall asleep to, November 23, 2009
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This review is from: Railroad Rhythms: Classical Music About Trains (Audio CD)
I bought this to play when I need to relax and start to fall asleep. It does a good job - I know music is very personal and subjective - so my 4 stars could be some else's 1 star. So listen to the samples before you buy this!
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Railroad Rhythms: Classical Music About Trains
Railroad Rhythms: Classical Music About Trains by Railroad Rhythms (Audio CD - 2006)
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