"The Color of Music, Part 2:
1. Chopin: Etude in G-flat, Op. 10 (“Black Keys”), performed by Yukio
Yukuyama, piano [Sony Classic SK 62605, track 5] [1:30]
2. Griffes: The White Peacock, performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic
Orchestra conducted by JoAnn Falletta [Naxos 8.559164, track 1] [5:37]
3. Pinkard, Bernice & Casie: Sweet Georgia Brown, performed by Stéphane
Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin, violins [Angel CDM 7243 5 66830 2 0, track 16]
4. Wood: A Brown Bird Singing, performed by the Czecho-Slovak Radio
Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), conducted by Adrian Leaper [Marco Polo
8.223402, track 9] [5:14]
5. Stephen Foster: Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair, performed by Angèle
Dubeau & La Pietà [Analekta AN 28724, track 13] [3:11]
6. Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves, performed by Margaret
Campbell and Colin Lilley, flutes; Audrey Douglas, harp [Nimbus NI 5019, track
7. Leroy Anderson, orchestrator: The Wearing of the Green, from “The
Irish Suite” performed by Leroy Anderson and his Orchestra [MCA Classics
MCAD2-9815-B, track 23] [3:04]
8. Reinhold Glière: The Russian Sailor’s Dance from Act 1 of The Red
Poppy, performed by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel
[Telarc CD-80625, track 12] [3:32]
9. Victor Herbert: The Red Mill, selections, performed by the Razumovsky
Symphony Orchestra conducted by Keith Brion [Naxos 8.559025, track 10] [10:00]
10. Henry Mancini: theme from The Pink Panther performed by the Boston
Pops Orchestra conducted by John Williams [Philips 80002606-02, track 10] [3:13]
11. Shostakovich: “Polka” and “Dance” from The Age of Gold Ballet Suite, Op.
22a, performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christopher
Lyndon-Gee [Naxos 8.553126, tracks 7, 8] [1:51 and 2:14]
MUSIC: clip from the beginning of Victor Herbert’s The Red
Mill [under the following]
Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide Fred Flaxman,
and for the next hour I’m planning to present to you “The Color of Music, Part
2: The Competition.”
“The Color of Music, Part 1” was devoted entirely to pieces that have blue in
their titles: works such as Leroy Anderson’s Blue Tango, Gershwin’s
Rhapsody in Blue, and Johann Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz. There was
enough beautiful music inspired by things blue and the blues mood to more than
fill an hour. But that doesn’t seem to be the case for other colors, when I look
at the computer catalog of the more than two thousand CDs I have in my personal
So I decided to hold a sort of mock competition. I located and listened to every
piece in my own collection which had some relation to the colors black, white,
brown, gray, yellow, green, red, pink, purple, silver and gold. I couldn’t find
any pieces in chartreuse, magenta, or cyan, even though my computer’s printer
seems to prefer colors like that which are difficult to spell, pronounce,
remember and afford when reordering.
I held a competition within each color category and served as both judge and
jury. During the next hour I’ll tell you the names of the nominees and play the
winning compositions of each color from which winners were selected.
MUSIC: fades out
Let’s begin with the color black. The nominees were the Black Waltz by
Zamfir, Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones, Blackbird by the
Brazilian composer Pernambuco, “The Morning of the Carnival” from the film score
to Black Orpheus by another Brazilian composer, Luiz Bonfa, and finally,
Chopin’s Etude in G-flat, Opus, 10, known as the “Black Keys” etude. May
I have the envelope please?
SOUND: tearing open of the envelope
Ladies and gentlemen, in second place: Bonfa’s theme from Black Orpheus!
And in first place: Chopin’s “Black Keys” etude!
SOUND: Applause [which fades out under the following]
MUSIC: Chopin: Etude in G-flat, Op. 10
Chopin’s Etude in G-flat, Opus 10, the “Black Keys” etude, performed by
Japanese pianist Yukio Yokoyama on a Sony Classics compact disc.
You are listening to Compact Discoveries. I’m Fred Flaxman. The theme for
this hour is “The Color of Music, Part 2: The Competition.” You just heard the
winner of the black division.
Next we go from black to white. There was one nominee in the gray category, a
piano piece called Gray Clouds by Franz Liszt, but that piece did not
receive a first prize, so you won’t be hearing it now.
The nominees in the white category are The White Peacock by Charles
Griffes, White Christmas by Irving Berlin, and The White Rose by
John Philip Sousa. The envelope, please...
SOUND: tearing of envelope
And the winner is... The White Peacock by Charles Griffes!
SOUND: Applause [fades out]
MUSIC: Griffes: The White Peacock.
The White Peacock by Charles Griffes, performed by the Buffalo
Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by JoAnn Falletta on a Naxos compact disc.
Our theme for this hour of Compact Discoveries is “The Color of Music,
Part 2: The Competition.” The Griffes piece was the winner in the white
Next we move on to the color brown. The nominees were Sweet Georgia Brown
by the American team of Pinkard, Bernice and Casie (that sounds like a law firm,
doesn’t it?); Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair by the American composer
Stephen Foster, A Brown Bird Singing by the British composer Haydn Wood;
and the Saxophone Waltz by Tom Brown. And the winner is...
SOUND: envelope being opened
Well, ladies and gentlemen, we have an extraordinary three-way tie this time,
eliminating only one nominee, Tom Brown’s Saxophone Waltz. So let’s
listen to all three winners, starting with Sweet Georgia Brown
as performed by violinists Stéphane Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin on an historic
Angel compact disc called “The Very Best of Grappelli and Menuhin.” You can get
complete details on this recording and all CDs used on Compact Discoveries
by going to the Compact Discoveries website: www.compactdiscoveries.com.
MUSIC: Sweet Georgia Brown
Sweet Georgia Brown as performed by violinists Stéphane Grappelli and
Yehudi Menuhin. Well you might say that I cheated with that one, since brown is
used as a person’s surname rather than as a color. But wasn’t the color the
origin of the family name?
In any case, in the next two pieces, the word brown is clearly used as a color,
not as a name. First, there’s Haydn Wood’s A Brown Bird Singing. Then
Stephen Foster’s Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair.
The British composer Haydn Wood lived from 1882 until 1959. He was known chiefly
as a composer of light music and A Brown Bird Singing
was one of his biggest hits. Here it is performed by the Czecho-Slovak Radio
Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava conducted by Adrian Leaper.
MUSIC: Wood: A Brown Bird Singing
Music of the British composer Haydn Wood. You heard A Brown Bird Singing
played by the Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava conducted by
Adrian Leaper on a Marco Polo compact disc.
You are listening to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman,
and the theme for this hour is “The Color of Music, Part 2: The Competition.”
The third winner in the brown category is Stephen Foster’s well-known Jeanie
with the Light Brown Hair. We’ll hear it in an arrangement by Louise-Andrée
Baril, performed by the Canadian group, Angèle Dubeau and La Pietà, on an
Analekta compact disc.
MUSIC: Foster: Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair
Stephen Foster’s Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair
performed by Angèle Dubeau and La Pietà. Foster’s famous song was one of three
winners in my mock “Color of Music” competition for best piece in brown.
There were two nominees in the yellow category, both more than twenty minutes
long. And I didn’t consider either of them worthy of a first place award. So you
won’t be hearing The Yellow River Piano Concerto by a Chinese
collaborative of composers, nor will we listen to Theme in Yellow by the
American composer Leo Sowerby.
Perhaps if I had had the Beatles Yellow Submarine in my collection the
results would have been different.
Let’s move on to the green category. The nominees are Leroy Anderson’s
orchestration of The Wearing of the Green, Vaughan Williams’s
orchestration of Greensleeves, and Gustave Holst’s Brook Green Suite.
SOUND: Opening of envelope
And the winner is... Well, once again we have a tie for first place: The
Wearing of the Green and the Fantasia on Greensleeves.
First we’ll listen to the Vaughan Williams piece as performed by the English
String Orchestra under the baton of William Boughton on a Nimbus recording.
We’ll follow that with the MCA classics CD of Swedish-American composer Leroy
Anderson conducting his own orchestra in The Wearing of the Green from
his Irish Suite.
MUSIC: Vaughan WIlliams: Fantasia on Greensleeves
MUSIC: Leroy Anderson: The Wearing of the Green
Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Greensleeves
was performed by the English String Orchestra conducted by William Boughton.
That was followed by Leroy Anderson conducting his own orchestra in The
Wearing of the Green from his Irish Suite.
You are listening to “The Color of Music, Part 2: The Competition” on Compact
Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.
[optional one-minute break not included in total timing]
We move now to the red category, in which we have two nominees: The
Russian Sailor’s Dance from “The Red Poppy” by Reinhold Glière, and The
Red Mill by the Irish-born American composer Victor Herbert. The envelope,
SOUND: Envelope opening
...Once again, we have two winners: both nominees have obtained first place
Sound: applause [dies down under]
So let’s hear, first, the Russian Sailor’s Dance
from “The Red Poppy” ballet by Reinhold Glière, as performed by the Cincinnati
Pops Orchestra conducted by Erich Kunzel; then selections from Victor Herbert’s
The Red Mill
performed by the Razumovsky Symphony Orchestra conducted by Keith Brion. The
first is from a Telarc recording; the second, a Naxos CD.
The Red Poppy, which dates from 1926 in the communist period, is about
the triumph of the Chinese proletariat. The Red Mill dates from 1906 and
is about the misadventures of two penniless Americans traveling in Old Holland.
Victor Herbert’s gift for bright and cheerful melodies can be heard throughout.
MUSIC: Glière: Russian Sailor’s Dance
MUSIC: Herbert: The Red Mill
Victor Herbert’s The Red Mill. It was performed by the Razumovsky
Symphony Orchestra conducted by Keith Brion. Before that we heard
Reinhold Glière’s Russian Sailor’s Dance from his ballet “The Red
You are listening to “The Color of Music, Part 2: The Competition” on
Compact Discoveries. I’m Fred Flaxman, your guide as well as the
judge and jury of this mock competition.
We have four more categories to take care of in this hour: pink, purple,
silver and gold. There is only one nominee in the pink category, and
that is The Pink Panther
by Henry Mancini. The performance by the Boston Pops Orchestra conducted
by John Williams would certainly deserve first prize, even if it had
MUSIC: Mancini: The Pink Panther
The theme for The Pink Panther by Henry Mancini. The Boston Pops
Orchestra was conducted by John Williams on a Philips compact disc.
Do you know of any other pieces of music with pink in their titles? If
so, please let me know. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is only one nominee in the purple category as well. That is the
theme music to the movie The Color Purple. But I don’t consider
this piece to be first prize material, so let’s move on to the silver
category. There we have four nominees: the overture to Kurt Weill’s
The Silver Lake; the traditional Christmas song, Silver Bells;
Silver Spring by Mason and the Silver Strand Waltz by the
Brown Brothers. We don’t have a winner in this category either.
Finally, we’ll go for the gold. The nominees are the theme music for the
film On Golden Pond, the Golden Spur March by the Brown
Brothers, and the Age of Gold ballet suite by Dmitri
Shostakovich. The envelope, please...
SOUND: envelope opening
And the winner in the gold category is... The Age of Gold by
SOUND: Applause [fades out under]
The Age of Gold was an attempt by the Leningrad Theatre Commission to
create a truly Soviet ballet. The story was originally about the success
of a Soviet football team attending the Golden Age Industrial Exposition
in a Western capitalist city. Here the evils of fascism were exposed,
but the heroes of communism prevailed in a final dance of solidarity
between Western workers and the football players.
This libretto was not a success, so when the ballet was revived at the
Kirov in 1982 it came with a new libretto now set in a Russian Black Sea
resort in 1923, where young communists opposed the surviving elements of
bourgeois capitalism -- criminals who met in The Golden Age nightclub.
We’ll listen to the polka and dance from The Age of Gold as performed by
the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christopher Lyndon-Gee.
MUSIC: Shostakovich: Polka and Dance from “The
Age of Gold” ballet suite
The polka and dance movements from The Age of Gold Ballet Suite
by Dmitri Shostakovich. Christopher Lyndon-Gee conducted the New Zealand
That concludes this hour of Compact Discoveries. Our theme was
“The Color of Music, Part 2: The Competition.”
This program, like its predecessor, “The Color of Music, Part 1,” is
dedicated to Simon Corley in Paris, France, who suggested the color
theme. He listens to these programs at prx.org. This is Fred Flaxman,
thanking you for listening. Compact Discoveries is distributed to
public radio stations and to listeners directly via the Public Radio
PROGRAM ENDS at 58:00
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