Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in E-flat (“Carnival at Pest”) performed by Georgia & Louise Mangos, piano four-hands [Cedille CDR 90000 052] [11:02]
Mikis Theodorakis: excerpts from Carnaval: Ballet Suite for Orchestra performed by the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer [Intuition Classics, INT 3348 2]
MUSIC: clip from Hill: Carnival Symphony [under the following]
Welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman, and our theme for this hour is “More Carnival Classics.”
Why “More Carnival Classics”? Wasn’t one hour of music inspired by carnivals enough? Well, no, I don’t think it was. There’s enough beautiful carnival-inspired music to fill at least three hours without it getting at all repetitive or tedious, and I’ll tell you why. Carnival music by one composer has virtually nothing in common with carnival music by another composer beyond the use of the word itself and -- generally but not always -- a light, happy feeling to it.
I remember watching a Leonard Bernstein children’s concert many years ago when he had the New York Philharmonic play an excerpt from Rossini’s William Tell Overture and asked his young audience what it made them think of. They shouted back, “The Lone Ranger!”
Well, Bernstein said, Rossini could not possibly have been thinking about the Lone Ranger when he wrote that piece since he lived a century earlier. He , in fact, was thinking about someone called William Tell. Bernstein went on to explain that music really has no extra-musical meaning beyond what we choose to give it.
And that is the case with all this so-called carnival music. I’m sure that if you didn’t know in advance that these pieces had something to do with carnivals, you would never guess it. In addition, they differ from each other in orchestration, which allows me to present a nice variety of music on this theme.
So, for example, during the next hour we are going to hear the complete, 20-minute Symphony Number Five in A Minor by Alfred Hill, which is subtitled “The Carnival.” It is a delightful, tuneful work which is performed by a full symphonic orchestra. Chances are it will be a real compact discovery for you.
Then we’ll listen to two pianists on a single keyboard playing the Hungarian Rhapsody Number Six by Franz Liszt. This piece is also known as the “Carnival at Pest.”
That piano work will be followed by excerpts from a ballet for orchestra by Mikis Theodorakis called Carnaval. It will be performed by a symphonic orchestra conducted by the composer. That is also likely to be a compact discovery for almost everyone listening to this program.
MUSIC: fades out
O.K., so let’s get started with the Carnival Symphony by Alfred Hill.
Alfred Francis Hill was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1870, but his family moved to New Zealand two years later. He studied in Leipzig, Germany, where he became a violinist with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in concerts conducted by Tchaikovsky, Brahms and other leading composers of the time. These composers remained strong influences on him when he returned to New Zealand and Australia and throughout his life, which ended in 1960.
The Carnival Symphony is his fifth of 13 symphonies. It was composed in 1955, but was derived from a string quartet which was written in 1912. It is performed in this Marco Polo compact disc by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wilfred Lehmann.
MUSIC: Hill Symphony No. 5 (“The Carnival”) [20:21]
Alfred Hill’s Symphony No. 5 in A Minor, “The Carnival,” performed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wilfred Lehmann on a Marco Polo compact disc.
We are listening to “More Carnival Classics” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.
Next the Carnival at Pest, also known as the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in E-flat by Franz Liszt. It is the longest and least folk-like of Liszt’s rhapsodies. We’ll hear it in Liszt’s version for piano duet, performed by sisters Georgia and Louise Mangos on a Cedille compact disc. As Henry Fogel wrote in the booklet accompanying this CD: “The virtuosity and range of color in ... Carnival at Pest is a test of any pair of pianists’ abilities to get around the keyboard without hurting each other!”
MUSIC: Liszt: Carnival at Pest [11:02]
Franz Liszt’s Carnival at Pest, his Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 in E-Minor. This was his version for two pianists on one keyboard. The pianists were the Mangos sisters, Georgia and Louise.
You are listening to “More Carnival Classics” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.
[optional break not included in the total timing of the program]
The longest work in this hour is the Carnaval Ballet Suite for Orchestra by
the Greek composer, Mikis Theodorakis, who was born in 1925. In fact,
the piece is longer than the time remaining in this hour, so I’ll
be able to bring you only excerpts.
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