"Even More Carnival Classics"
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
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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