Program 102
"Even More Carnival Classics"


Play List:

Robert Schumann: Carnaval, Op. 9, performed by John Robiletté, piano [Pro-Arte Fanfare CDS 3464, tracks 4-19] [29:51]

Robert Schumann: Carnaval, Op. 9, performed by the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Eiji Oue [Reference Recordings RR-79CD, tracks 1-4] [10:03)

Johann Strauss I: Vienna Carnaval: Waltz performed by the Camerata Cassovia conducted by Christian Pollack [Marco Polo 8.225213, track 5] [6:50]

Rene Touzet: Cascabel (Carnival Bells) performed by Maria Letona, piano [Tempo Primo TP-002, track 14] [2:33]


MUSIC: clip from Schumann: Carnival, Op. 9 [under the following]

Welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman, and our theme for this hour is “Even More Carnival Classics.”

Why “Even More Carnival Classics”? Wasn’t two hours of music inspired by carnivals enough? Well, no, definitely not. You see, I’ve reserved the best for last -- one of the most famous carnival pieces ever created -- Robert Schumann’s Carnaval, Opus 9. And we are about to listen first to the 20 miniature pieces that Schumann wrote for the piano, then to four of these pieces as orchestrated by Maurice Ravel.
MUSIC: fades out

According to the composer himself, all of Schumann’s later piano music was inspired by his love for his wife, Clara. But Carnaval, his Opus 9, a much earlier composition, came out of a youthful infatuation with another woman: Enestine von Fricken.

The piece is subtitled Dainty Scenes on Four Notes. The four notes, using the German letters for those notes, spell the name of Ernestine’s home town. All 20 of these short musical pictures are built on one or another of three, short melodic fragments. Each of these fragments is a transformation of those four notes. The individual titles of the pieces refer sometimes to real people, who are sometimes disguised, and at other times to fictional characters.

Carnaval begins with a preamble as the cast gathers for fun and games. Taking their bows first are the traditional carnival characters Pierrot and Harlequin. Then there are two characters that Schumann invented and used all his life to represent his inner and extroverted selves. There is “Coquette,” who might be Ernestine herself; the later Estrella certainly is. Dead in the middle of the suite, however, we are fascinated to meet “Chiarina,” a pseudonym for Clara Wieck, who Schumann already knew, but with whom he had not yet fallen in love.

There are more fantasy characters -- Pantaloon and Columbine -- and musical sketches of Schumann’s very real fellow composers Paganini and Chopin. These, incidentally, are the only two times that Schumann abandons his four-note motif.

Here, then, is Robert Schumann’s Carnaval, Op. 9, as performed by ther American painist John Robiletté on an Intersound Fanfare compact disc.

MUSIC: Schumann: Carnival” performed on the piano

Robert Schumann’s Carnaval, Op. 9 performed by pianist John Robiletté.

We are listening to “Even More Carnival Classics” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional one minute break not included in total timing]

Vaclav Nijinsky, the leading dancer of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, asked Maurice Ravel to orchestrate Schumann’s Carnaval for Nijinsky’s new ballet company, following Nijinsky’s dismissal by Diaghilev after the two tangled over the dancer’s marriage. These orchestrations were premiered in London on March 2, 1914, but were later lost, except for these four pieces. We hear them now as performed by the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Eiji Oue on a Reference Recordings compact disc.

MUSIC: Schumann/Ravel: Carnaval

Four pieces from Robert Schumann’s Carnaval as orchestrated by Maurice Ravel and performed by the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Eiji Oue.

You are listening to “Even 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 Vienna Carnival Waltz, Opus 3, by Johann Strauss the First, was one of the few carnival-inspired pieces of music that was actually intended for performance at a carnival, in this case one which took place in 1828. We hear it now as performed by the Camerata Cassovia under the baton of Viennese native Christian Pollack on a Marco Polo compact disc.

MUSIC: Johann Strauss I: Vienna Carnival Waltz, Op. 3

The Vienna Carnival Waltz
by Johann Strauss the First. Christian Pollack conducted the Camerata Cassovia.

We’ll close this hour of “Even More Carnival Classics” and conclude the entire series of three hours devoted to carnival-inspired music with bells ringing. They are Carnival Bells, of course, and they were created by Cuban composer Rene Touzet. Here’s Maria Letona on the piano.

MUSIC: Touzet: Cascabel (Carnival Bells)

Cascabel -- Carnival Bells -- by Rene Touzet performed by Maria Letona.

MUSIC: same clip as opening [under the following]

You have been listening to “Even More Carnival Classics” for the last hour on Compact Discoveries.

This is Fred Flaxman hoping that you have enjoyed our selections and that you’ll let me hear from you. You can reach me in care of the Compact Discoveries website at www.compactdiscoveries.com. You can also use the website to view complete scripts for these programs, including information on every CD used. And you can stream this and other Compact Discoveries programs on demand at the Public Radio Exchange website, www.prx.org.
Compact Discoveries is distributed via the Public Radio Exchange.

MUSIC
: ends at 56:30

ANNOUNCER: Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by Story Books, publishers of The Timeless Tales of Reginald Bretnor, selected and edited by Fred Flaxman. Samples and ordering available at www.bretnor.com. [0:15]

RECORDING ENDS at 56:45


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