Program 2
"Discs for Dishwashing"

MUSIC: Mac the Knife from The Threepenny Opera [DGG 423 255-2, Band 2 starting at 26 seconds] [Up then under]

The music in the background is "Mac the Knife" from the Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill. The program you are listening to is Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman.

Can you guess the theme of today's program by our theme music? Well, no, we are not devoting the next hour to the music of Kurt Weill, although that's not a bad idea for the future. And no, we are not going to be listening to 20th Century German operettas. Instead, the next hour will be devoted to "Discs for Dishwashing," and that's why I thought it would be appropriate to start off with "Mac the Knife."

MUSIC: [fades out]

Today's program is about compact discs which will help turn the dishwashing chore into a well, almost a pleasure. Not that I think dishwashing is such drudgery.

Dishwashing may not be as glamorous as cooking, as much fun as sex, as much exercise as jogging or as relaxing as a whirlpool bath, but it does have its advantages.

Like sex, dishwashing is most enjoyable when it's not performed routinely three times a day, and is both dirty and clean, depending on how you look at it.

Like jogging, dishwashing keeps you on your feet and facilitates creative daydreaming. But unlike running, you can do it comfortably no matter what the weather is like outside. And there is much less chance of keeling over with a heart attack. In fact, dishwashing never killed anyone, even though most people avoid it like the plague.

Like whirlpool baths, dishwashing permits you to play with hot water and soapy suds. And there is no law against doing it in the nude, although I'll admit it's not common practice, and I wouldn't tell my neighbors, if I were you.

Dishwashing - like reading, writing, speaking, and composing great music - separates human beings from the lower forms of life. There is some question as to whether certain animals speak, but no creature has ever been found which washes dishes.

Of course, it is nearly impossible to listen to music with the dishwasher going. Whatever you put on becomes a Concerto for Dishwasher and Orchestra. So I suggest that you play CDs only when you are washing everything that won't go in the blasted machine and, then again, when you are drying and putting the dishes away.

What kind of music goes best with dishwashing? For me it's compositions which are light, happy and loud. For others it's anything by Philip Glass recorded in the Hollywood Bowl.

Let's start off with a composition which is clearly appropriate. Without it, dishwashing would be totally impossible. It's by George Frideric Handel and it's called Water Music.

MUSIC: Water Music by Handel [Telarc CD-80344]

That was the Alla Hornpipe movement from the Water Music Suite in D Major by George Frideric Handel, as performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke's, conducted by Charles Mackerras. It is from a Telarc CD with a clever title: "Handel Bars: Popular Works of George Frideric Handel." It also includes six choruses from the Messiah, music for the Royal Fireworks, and other selections.

You are listening to "Discs for Dishwashing" on Compact Discoveries. I'm Fred Flaxman.

OK, we've started with the water we need for dishwashing. Next we'll wash a pan. The Pan Americana by Victor Herbert, to be precise. Although Herbert was born in Dublin, Ireland, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1896. He became world famous for his operettas, including The Fortune Teller, Babes in Toyland, The Red Mill and Naughty Marietta. But he also produced a considerable amount of concert music - concertos, symphonic poems, suites, overtures, and one of the earliest film scores.

Herbert's orchestral miniatures have become classics. The one we'll listen to now, Pan Americana, was written for the 1902 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. It combines Indian, ragtime and Cuban themes. Herbert predicted the music would be a hit and, at the time, it was. But, chances are - unless you are a centenarian with superb early childhood recall - you have never heard it before and it will become a compact discovery.

MUSIC: Victor Herbert's Pan Americana [Naxos 8.559026, Band 6]

That was Victor Herbert's Pan Americana as performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava, conducted by Keith Brion. It is a Naxos American Classics release.

You are listening to "Discs for Dishwashing" on Compact Discoveries. I'm your dishwasher, Fred Flaxman. In case you've just joined us, you've missed the water and a pan, but you're in time for one of my very favorite pieces, Midsommarvaka, Op. 19, by Hugo Alfvén.

What, you might ask, does this have to do with dishwashing? Well, maybe you think I'm stretching the point a bit, but this piece is a dish - a Swee-dish to be exact. In fact it is also known as the Swedish Rhapsody No. 1.

MUSIC: Swedish Rhapsody No. 1 by Alfvén [BIS CD-725, Band 1]

That was Midsommarvaka, Swedish Rhapsody No. 1, Op. 19, by Hugo Alfvén, performed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Neeme Järvi. I'm Fred Flaxman and this is Compact Discoveries.

[Optional One-Minute Break, not included in timings]

We're talking about "Discs for Dishwashing" this hour on Compact Discoveries. You've just heard a Swee-dish. Next we'll listen to a Yid-dish. This should be particularly useful when washing kosher dishes.

MUSIC: Davrath sings Razhinkes Mit Mandlen ("Raisins and Almonds") [Vanguard Classics OVC 8058/9, CD 1, Band 18]

Netania Davrath sang Razhinkes Mit Mandlen ["Raisins and Almonds"]. It is a song about what you have to rinse out before you put the dishes in the dishwasher. The conductor was Robert DeCormier. The song is from a two-CD set on the Vanguard Classics label of Netania Davrath singing Russian, Israeli, and Yiddish Folk Songs.

This Compact Discoveries hour is devoted to "Discs for Dishwashing."

Next, the Suite for Wind Orchestra from "The Threepenny Opera" by Kurt Weill. My excuse for including this delightful piece on the program today is found in the second movement: the music to Mac the Knife.

MUSIC: Kurt Weill's Suite for Wind Orchestra from "The Threepenny Opera" [DGG 423 255-2] [TT=53:26]

David Atherton led The London Sinfonietta in the Suite for Wind Orchestra from "The Threepenny Opera" by Kurt Weill. The Mac the Knife theme in the second movement was my excuse for including this piece on our program today devoted to "Discs for Dishwashing."

Many people like to sing while they are washing the dishes, so I thought we might conclude this program with my very favorite song by Edward Grieg. It is his most famous song, and it has been recorded more than a hundred times over the years. The words are from a poem by Hans Christian Andersen. It is called Jeg elsker Dig, which means "I Love You."

"You have become thought of my thought," they say. "You are my heart's first love. I love you, as no one here on earth. I shall love you through time and eternity!"

Those are the complete lyrics to this very short piece. What we don't know is what inspired such passion. I, of course, have a theory. I think the object of all this affection must have been a real dish! And I'll bet she was a great dishwasher, too! Not to mention the spooning which must have been going on. All of which more than qualifies this CD as a Disc for Dishwashing! [54:40]

MUSIC: Jeg elsker Dig by Edward Grieg [DGG D174269, Band 24]  [56:12]

Jeg elsker Dig [Yie elsker Die]- I Love You. The music was by Edvard Grieg. Words by Hans Christian Anderson. Anne Sofie Von Otter was the mezzo-soprano; Bengt Forsberg, the pianist. This was from a Deutsche Grammophon recording devoted to Grieg songs.

And this past hour has been devoted to music we thought was vaguely relevant to the not-so-serious topic of "Discs for Dishwashing." We have presented such sparkling clean compositions as "Mack the Knife" by Kurt Weill and Water Music by Handel, a Swee-dish composition, a Yid-dish song, and Victor Herbert's Pan Americana.

If you have some thoughts on other pieces which would make relevant "Discs for Dishwashing," or would simply like to share your reaction to Compact Discoveries with me, please get in touch. My e-mail address is That's All that with no spaces. And no dishes to put away afterwards.

MUSIC: Mac the Knife from The Threepenny Opera [DGG 423 255-2, Band 2] under:

Compact Discoveries is made possible by the members of WXEL-FM and the financial support of Barry and Florence Friedberg, Maurice and Thelma Steingold, and an anonymous donor. The program was written and produced by your guide, Fred Flaxman, and is a production of WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida.


  ©2009 Compact Discoveries