Elgar’s Enigma Variations
Elgar has been one of our Ten Pieces composers. He is was the most famous English composer of his time. He composed in the late romantic era.
In 1899 Elgar wrote an orchestral piece called the Enigma Variations. There is a main tune, and then a series of variations on the tune. Each variation describes one of his friends, but he did not say which friends they were: he only put their initials or nickname at the top of each variation. This is why the piece is an enigma (a “puzzle” or “secret”). People have managed to work out who each friend was, but the meaning of the main tune is still a puzzle. This music made Elgar very famous.
Yehudi Menuhin & Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar has also been one of our Ten Pieces composers.
Ravi Shankar was a famous sitar player while Yehudi Menuhin was a famous violin player. These two important 20th-century musicians met in India in 1952 and were brought together (mostly) by a love of music and yoga. The two played, collaborated and toured together for the rest of their lives, exchanging the techniques, ideas and philosophies of their respective musical traditions.
Yehudi once said, “In the 43 years of our friendship, Ravi and I have never had an argument. Certainly, there have been many exchanges of ideas, but there is simply no room in either of our lives for an argument.”
Here they are practising and making music together:
High Mountains and Flowing Water (高山流水)
The tune originally was two separate compositions. Both were based on the legendary friendship between Guqin master Yu Boya and Zhong Ziqi. The music “High Mountain and Flowing Water” represents cherished friendship in traditional Chinese culture. Although the piece usually performed today is not the same with that Yu once played almost 3,000 years ago, it still conveys the same idea – the magnificence of high mountains and the power of moving waters.
Saint-Saëns - Carnival of the Animals
Carnival of the Animals is a set of pieces that Saint-Saëns wrote as a bit of fun just for his friends. Saint-Saëns even requested that it was never published or performed throughout his lifetime as he thought the work detracted from his 'serious' image!
Each of the music's 14 movements represents a different animal, including a lion, donkey, and elephant, as well as fossils, an aquarium, and an aviary.
This piece is called Aquarium:
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a male choral group from South Africa that sings in the vocal styles of isicathamiya and mbube. They were formed by Joseph Shabalala in 1960 and later became one of South Africa’s most prolific recording artists.
In this song, they sing about how different colours don’t matter in a friendship.
You’ve Got A Friend in Me
Composer and songwriter Randy Newman wrote and recorded the song for the movie Toy Story.
Pixar Virtual Choir:
DCONSTRUCTED - You've Got A Friend In Me (from "Toy Story") (Alfred Montejano Hyper Remix)
The band Imagine Dragons was first formed by friends who met at university. Their song Believer is a Go Noodle favourite at Drake:
Lean on me
Bill Withers who wrote this song, grew up in a town where friends helped one another when times were hard.
This Song Around The World, "Lean On Me," was released for The Art of Saving a Life campaign! The support of our Playing For Change global family just goes to show the amazing impact art can have on people everywhere.
Throughout history, tribes have formed in New Zealand with great values, mainly friendship, brotherhood, and family. The inhabitants of these lands take pride in their tools, architecture, and their ancestral rituals.
The Haka Ka Mate -which is the original Haka – is composed of a Maori leader “Te Rauparaha”. It is meant to serve as an initial ceremony: fighters and wrestlers used it to warm up, celebrating life over death; it’s accompanied by circular movements, and composed as a chant.
New Zealand’s national rugby team, the All Blacks, has been doing their very own version of the Haka for the past four decades. Written by Derek Lardelli in 2005, it’s called the “Kapa o Pango” and it’s the ultimate show, even if you’re not into sports. It is mainly intended to intimidate, but on the other hand, it is a ritual of trust and friendship, which protects them from a great battle. Perhaps this is the secret of their success as a team.