Program 109
"On the Right Track"

Play List:

1. Villa-Lobos: The Peasants’ Little Train, from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 2 for Chamber Orchestra (1930), performed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Schermerhorn [Naxos 8.557460, track 7] [4:26]

2. Villa-Lobos (arrangement by Tim Ries): The Peasants’ Little Train, from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 2 for Chamber Orchestra, performed by Auréole [KOCH International Classics KIC-CD-7570, track 14] [4:47]

3. Rossini: Un petit Train de Plaisir, comico-imitatif, performed by Paolo Giacometti, piano, with Tido Visser, voice (in French), with English translations added to the radio program by Fred Flaxman which do not exist on the recording [Channel Classics CCS 16098, track 14] [10:55]

4. Honegger: “Pacific 231” Mouvement symphonique, performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Takuo Yuasa [Naxos 8.555974, track 6] [6:17]

5. René Guy Cadou, Jacques Douai: Les petits trains, performed by Jacques Douai [EPM 980532, Disque 2, Track 25] [1:55]

6. Percy Grainger: Train Music (1901), performed by the City of Birminham Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle [EMI Classics CDC 7243 5 56412 2 9, track 5] [1:35]

7. Duke Ellington: Take the “A” Train, performed by the Marshall Turkin Classic Jazz Ensemble from their album, “A Duke Ellington Jam” [Cool Breeze Recordings, Sarasota, Florida, track 5] [2:31]

8. Reg Briggs, Ted Heath: Night Train to Scotland from “Portrait of England,” performed by Ted Heath and His Orchestra, from the album “Ted Heath and his Music: So Easy: Original 1948-1952 Recordings” {Naxos Nostalgia 8.120717, track 3] [2:48]

9. Vivian Ellis: Coronation Scot, performed by the Sidney Torch Orchestra, from the CD: “On the Right Track: Classic Railway Music” [This England/Evergreen, track 1] [2:55]

10. Jack Beaver: Golden Arrow, performed by the New Century Orchestra, from the CD: “On the Right Track: Classic Railway Music” [This England/Evergreen, track 3] [1:51]

11. Charles Williams: Rhythm on Rails, performed by the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra, from the CD: “On the Right Track: Classic Railway Music” [This England/Evergreen, track 5] [2:26]

12. Clive Richardson: Running off the Rails, performed by the New Century Orchestra, from the CD: “On the Right Track: Classic Railway Music” [This England/Evergreen, track 7] [1:40]

13. Malneck, Trumbauer: Choo Choo, performed by Pat O’Malley and Leslie Sarony with Jack Hylton, from the CD: “On the Right Track: Classic Railway Music” [This England/Evergreen, track 9] [3:10]

14. Murray, Marshall: On the 5:15, performed by the American Quartet, from the CD: “On the Right Track: Classic Railway Music” [This England/Evergreen, track 11] [2:49]

Script:

MUSIC: clip from opening of Coronation Scot [under the following]

Hello and welcome aboard Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman, and the theme for this hour is “On the Right Track.” We’ll hear music inspired by railroad trains from composers who were born in Brazil, Switzerland, Italy, France, Australia, the United States, and Great Britain.

The rhythms of machines and engines have fascinated composers for about two centuries now. Every country, it seems, has contributed its share of railway music, Great Britain more than most. We’re going to end in England with the short, light, tuneful, pieces that 20th Century British composers were so good at turning out, but we’ll start with classical pieces by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Arthur Honegger, and Gioacchino Rossini.

MUSIC: fades out

Villa-Lobos wrote a series of pieces he called Bachianas Brasileiras, pieces which were inspired both by Bach and by Brazil. The second of these works was written for chamber orchestra in 1930. It is in four movements. The last, a toccata, is called “The Peasant’s Little Train” in English. We are going to hear this four-minute work twice, first as Villa-Lobos wrote it, performed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra directed by Kenneth Schermerhorn on a Naxos compact disc, then in a very beautiful and different arrangement by Tim Ries for the chamber music group known as Auréole on a Koch International Classics CD. I love both versions and hope you do too.

1. MUSIC: Villa-Lobos: The Peasants’ Little Train, performed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra

2. MUSIC: Villa-Lobos: The Peasants’ Little Train, performed by Auréole

The Peasants’ Little Train by Heitor Villa-Lobos. First you heard the original orchestration by the composer performed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra under Kenneth Schermerhorn’s direction. Then, an arrangement by Tim Ries for the chamber music group, Auréole.
You are listening to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman. The theme for this hour is “On the Right Track,” in other words, music inspired by trains.

Next we turn to the humorous piano music of Gioacchino Rossini. The original title is in French, except for one word in Rossini’s native Italian. It is called Un petit train de plaisir, comico-imitatif. I’m going to translate that as A Pleasure Train, comically imitated.

The pianist in this Channel Classics recording is Paolo Giacometti. Tido Visser is the voice in French and I’ll add my own voice with translations into English.

3. MUSIC: Rossini: Un petit train de plaisir

Rossini’s Pleasure Train played by Paolo Giacommetti on the piano with Tido Visser the voice in French to which I added an English translation.

You are listening to Compact Discoveries and our theme for this hour, “On the Right Track” -- music inspired by trains. So far we’ve heard from a Brazilian and an Italian composer. Next, all on board for Switzerland and the music of Arthur Honegger, his “Pacific 231” Mouvement symphonique, performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Takuo Yuasa. This is as graphic a musical depiction of a train in motion as you’re likely to find in any country.

4. MUSIC: Honegger: Pacific 231

Arthur Honegger’s Pacific 231, performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Takuo Yuasa on a Naxos compact disc.

This is “On the Right Track” -- music inspired by trains -- on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m Fred Flaxman.

Sound: train engine

O.K. We’ve taken the train to Brazil, Italy and Switzerland. As Arthur Honegger spent much of his life in Paris, let’s go to France next for a classic song about The Little Trains poet René Guy Cadou remembers from his youth. The words are symbolist and not easy to translate, but they start off something like this: “Do you remember the gentle little trains going along the seaside? You travel with your father and see a herd of cattle taking a walk. You are in a bistro near a mechanic,” and so forth. Believe me, they sound a lot better in French! Our singer is the late Jacques Douai, who was known for singing poetic songs, both ancient and modern.

5. MUSIC: Jacques Douai sings Les petits trains

Jacques Douai sang Les petits trains -- The Little Trains. This was from a two CD set on the EPM label: “Jacques Douai: 50 ans de chansons, de Paris à Montréal.” The words were by René Guy Cadou.

Jacques Douai, whose real name was Gaston Tanchon, was born in 1920 in Douai, France, which is where he got his stage name. He died in 2004. He was nicknamed “the troubador of modern times” because he sang poetic songs by Prévert, Aragon, Ferré and Trenet, as well as poets of the Middle Ages. He received the grand prize for recordings from France’s Académie Charles Cros in 1955, 1962, and 1968. In most of his recordings, unlike the one we just heard, which had piano accompaniment, he accompanied himself on the guitar.

Now that I’ve told you more about Jacques Douai than you may have wanted to know, I’m going to perform a minor miracle. I’m going to take you on a side rail to Australia where Australian composer Percy Grainger offers this train music. Strangely enough, it is called Train Music.

It was written when Grainger was only 18, and was inspired by a noisy and uncomfortable train trip he took in Italy in 1900. Grainger began scoring it the next year for a huge orchestra of about 150 players. His aim was not just to imitate a train but to attempt to illustrate the many associations of a train journey, including the heat, the smell, and the changes of scenery. He continued work on the piece from time to time, but in the end its sheer size defeated him, and the piece remained fragmentary. The version heard on this CD is a reduction of the mammoth score for a standard symphonic orchestra.

6. Grainger: Train Music

Percy Grainger’s Train Music, performed by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Simon Rattle on an EMI Classics compact disc.

You are listening to Compact Discoveries. Our theme for this hour is “On the Right Track,” and I’m your conductor, Fred Flaxman.

[optional one minute break not included in total timing]

From Australia it is impossible, of course, to take a train to the United States. Nevertheless, that is our next stop. We are going specifically to New York for a ride on a different kind of train -- the subway. In fact, even more specifically, we’re going to Take the A Train.

7. MUSIC: Ellington: Take the A Train

Duke Ellington’s Take the A Train. We heard the Marshall Turkin Classic Jazz Ensemble. It included John Lamb on bass, who was formerly with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Dave Williams on piano, Hank Bredenberg on trombone, Jeff Plotnick on drums, and Marhall Turkin on clarinet. The piece was recorded by Cool Breeze Recordings at the Levis Jewish Community Center in Boca Raton, Florida. My thanks to Marshal Turkin for supplying the recording.

Now let’s cross the Atlantic and end our program in the land that probably produced more train-inspired music than any other: Great Britain. We’ll start with Ted Heath’s interpretation of Night Train to Scotland by Reg Briggs. This is from a Naxos Nostalgia compact disc originally recorded in 1949 by London Records.

8. MUSIC: Ted Heath: Night Train to Scotland

Night Train to Scotland by Reg Briggs as performed by Ted Heath and his Orchestra. For the rest of this hour we’re going to hear as much music as I can fit in from a CD called “On the Right Track: Classic Railway Music,” issued in England by the quarterly magazine, This England. The CD presents vintage recordings of mainly British pieces, ranging from On the 5:15 (dating from 1914), through popular dance band numbers of the 20s and 30s. Many of the pieces are British light orchestral miniatures of the 30s and 40s. I’m going to play them without interruption and let you know what you hear when you’ve heard it all.

9. MUSIC: Vivian Ellis: Coronation Scot

10. MUSIC: Jack Beaver: Golden Arrow

11. MUSIC: Charles Williams: Rhythm on Rails

12. MUSIC: Clive Richardson: Running off the Rails

13. MUSIC: Malneck, Trumbauer: Choo Choo

14. MUSIC: Murray, Marshall: On the 5:15


Six pieces from the British CD: “On the Right Track: Classic Railway Music.” You heard Coronation Scot by Vivian Ellis, performed by the Sidney Torch Orchestra... Jack Beaver’s Golden Arrow, performed by the New Century Orchestra... Rhythm on Rails by Charles Williams, performed by the Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra... Clive Richardson’s Running off the Rails, performed by the New Century Orchestra... Choo Choo by Malneck and Trumbauer, performed by Pat O’Malley and Leslie Sarony with Jack Hylton... and On the 5:15 by Murray and Marshall, performed by the American Quartet. I hope you enjoyed these selections.

Sound: train engine

This is Fred Flaxman, thanking you for listening. 

Compact Discoveries is distributed via the Public Radio Exchange.

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 bretnor dot com, b-r-e-t-n-o-r dot com. [0:15]

RECORDING ENDS at 58:54


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