Program 111
"A Catalog of Music, Part 2"

1. MUSIC: clip from the beginning of Leroy Anderson’s The Waltzing Cat, performed by Leroy Anderson and his Orchestra [MCA Classics MCAD2-9815-A, track 11]] [under the following]

The music in the background is The Waltzing Cat by Leroy Anderson, one of many composers to be inspired to write music about our favorite feline friends over the centuries. Other 20th Century composers to write cat music include Jerome Kern, who wrote The Cat and the Fiddle... Ernesto Lecuona, who wrote The Black Cat... Villa Lobos, who wrote The Cat and The Cat’s Miaow... Aaron Copland, who made an arrangement of the folk-song I Bought Me a Cat... Garrison Keillor, who put out an entire CD called Songs of the Cat... and, of course, Andrew Lloyd Webber, who wrote the musical, Cats. Stay tuned and we’ll sample all of this and more during the next hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman, and the theme for this hour is “A Catalog of Music, Part 2, 20th Century.”

MUSIC: fades out

The last piece I played on “A Catalog of Music, Part 1,” was The Cat and the Mouse by Aaron Copland. So I thought it would be appropriate to pick up where I left off and start this hour with Aaron Copland’s arrangement for voice and piano of I Bought Me a Cat. This recording features baritone Edward Crafts and pianist Noel Lester. The Centaur CD is called “Purrfectly Classical,” spelled p-u-r-r-fectly, and I’ll be using several other cuts from this recording later on.

2. MUSIC: Copland: I Bought Me a Cat, performed by Edward Crafts, baritone, accompanied by Noel Lester, pianist [Centaur CRC 2511, track 34] [2:14]

Aaron Copland’s arrangement of I Bought Me a Cat. Edward Crafts was the singer, accompanied by Noel Lester on the piano.

Another American composer who wrote at least two cat-inspired pieces was Leroy Anderson. Let’s hear them both. First, his mini-ballet, The Pussy Foot; then one of his most famous pieces, The Waltzing Cat. We’ll hear both as conducted by the composer on MCA Classics digitally remastered compact disc recordings.

3. MUSIC: Leroy Anderson: The Pussy Foot, performed by Leroy Anderson and His Orchestra [MCA Classics MCAD2-9815-B, track 13] [2:44]

4. MUSIC: Leroy Anderson: The Waltzing Cat, performed by Leroy Anderson and His Orchestra [MCA Classics MCAD2-9815-A, track 11]
[2:39]

Two works by American composer Leroy Anderson. First we heard The Pussy Foot from the musical comedy, Goldilocks. Then The Waltzing Cat. Leroy Anderson conducted his own orchestra on these MCA Classics CDs.

You are listening to Compact Discoveries. I’m your cat lover, Fred Flaxman. The theme for this hour is “A Catalog of Music, Part 2: 20th Century.”


5. MUSIC: Gustavino: Gato, performed by pianist Noel Lester [Centaur CRC 2511, track 9] [2:03]

Gato / Cat by Carlos Gustavino, played by Noel Lester. And here’s Noel Lester again, this time from an Élan compact disc, with a ragtime piece called Kitten on the Keys by Zez Confrey. This piece premiered at the same now-famous Paul Whiteman concert at New York City’s Aeolian Hall in 1924 that witnessed the first performance of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

6. MUSIC: Confrey: Kitten on the Keys; Noel Lester, piano [Élan CD 82296, track 5] [3:21]

Zez Confrey’s Kitten on the Keys -- a cute name for a cute ragtime piece. The pianist was Noel Lester. It is from his “Rags to Riches: An American Album” on the Élan label.

In case you just tuned in, we are exploring 20th Century music inspired by cats on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

Another American, Jerome Kern, who lived from 1885 until 1945, wrote a Broadway musical called The Cat and the Fiddle. It premiered at the Globe Theatre in 1931 and recounts the professional battles and romantic entanglements of Shirley and Victor, rival composers. She’s an American “pop” song writer and he’s a Belgian classical composer. We’re going to listen to the overture, which was orchestrated for 18 instruments by Robert Russell Bennett. It uses three pianos, which is unusual, to say the least. The performance is by the National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by John McGlinn on an EMI compact disc.

7. MUSIC: Kern: Overture to Cat and the Fiddle; National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by John McGlinn [EMI CDC 7 49630 2, track 1] [3:43]

The overture to Jerome Kern’s musical comedy The Cat and the Fiddle. The National Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by John McGlinn.

Time now for a Dog-Cat Polka by another American composer, George Antheil.

8. MUSIC: Antheil: Dog-Cat Polka, performed by pianist Noel Lester [Centaur CRC 2511, track 28]

George Antheil’s Dog-Cat Polka played by Noel Lester.

Have you heard about Garrison Keillor’s Grandmother’s cat?

9. MUSIC: Keillor: The Grandmother’s Cat, sung by Garrison Keillor [RCA Victor 09026-61161-2, track 14] [5:01]

The Grandmother’s Cat -- humor from Garrison Keillor. He did an entire CD called “Songs of the Cat” on the RCA Victor label, from which that piece was taken.

All of the music about cats that you have heard so far was written by humans, but I do have one example of a Piece for Piano, Four Paws, composed by a cat. His name is Ketzel, and it was transcribed by his friend, Morris Cotel, immediately after it was played for him by Ketzel in 1996.


10. MUSIC: Ketzel/Cotel: Piece for Piano, Four Paws, performed by Noel Lester [Centaur CRC 2511, track 22] [0:39]

Piece for Piano, Four Paws by Ketzel the cat, transcribed by Morris Cotel and performed on a Centaur CD by Noel Lester. The CD is called “Purrfectly Classical.”

You are listening to “A Catalog of Music, Part 2: 20th Century” on Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional one-minute break not included in overall program timing]


Now, after that brief pause for cat paws, we continue with human music about our feline friends, turning to Latin-America for one piece by the Cuban composer, Ernesto Lecuona, and two pieces by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.

11. MUSIC: Lecuona: Black Cat; Thomas Tirino, piano [BIS CD-774] [1:03]

12. MUSIC: Villa-Lobos: Cat Miaow; Sonia Rubinsky, piano [Naxos 8.570008, track 24] [1:45]

13. MUSIC: Villa-Lobos: The Cat; Sonia Rubinsky, piano [Naxos 8.570008, track 19] [1:45]

Three piano pieces inspired by cats. The last two were by Villa-Lobos. They were called Cat Miaow and The Cat. They were both performed by Sonia Rubinsky on a Naxos CD devoted to the piano music of Villa-Lobos.

The first piece was by Ernesto Lecuona. It is called Black Cat and it was played by Thomas Tirino on a BIS compact disc -- one of five devoted to the complete piano music of the Cuban composer.

Let’s have some more orchestral cat music now. For that we turn to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats. First we hear The Jellical Ball, then Memory, both performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Ian Hughes on a Pro-Arte compact disc.

14. MUSIC: Lloyd-Webber: Jellical Ball from Cats; BBC Concert Orchestra; Ian Hughes, conductor [Pro-Arte CDD 503, track 7] [3:31]

15. MUSIC: Lloyd-Webber: Memory from Cats; BBC Concert Orchestra; Ian Hughes, conductor [Pro-Arte CDD 503, track 2] [4:17]

Two pieces from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Cats. First you heard the Jellical Ball; then Memory. Both were played by the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Ian Hughes.

During the past hour, as well as in “A Catalog of Music, Part 1,” I presented a lot of musical cat meowing. Now, for a change of pace, we’re going to hear a Cat Dreaming. The piano piece is by Alan Hovhaness, but if I didn’t know who the composer was, I’d guess Eric Satie.

16. MUSIC: Hovhaness: Cat Dreaming; Noel Lester [Centaur CRC-2511, track 17] [5:00]

Cat Dreaming by Alan Hovhaness with no help, I assume, from Sigmund Freud. The pianist, once again, was catmeister Noel Lester.
Here’s a cute little cat piece by Bohuslav Martinu [BOH-hoo-slahf MAHR-tee-noo] called March of the Cats on the Midnight Solstice.

17. MUSIC: Martinu: March of the Cats on the Midnight Solstice; Noel Lester, piano [Centaur CRC 2511, track 14] [1:20]

Martinu’s March of the Cats on the Midnight Solstice. The pianist was Noel Lester, who will perform one final piano piece for us from his “Purrfectly Classical” CD: a work by Elie Siegmeister called Our Cat. Short as this composition is, it is in three parts: “Catching a Mouse,” “Unraveling a Ball of Thread,” and “Sleepy Time” (in parenthesis: “All Day”).

18. MUSIC: Siegmeister: Our Cat; Noel Lester, piano [Centaur CRC 2511, track 8] [2:55]

Our Cat by the American composer Elie Siegmeister. Noel Lester, who specializes in performing American music, was the pianist.

If you were with me from the beginning of this hour, you’ve listened to a lot of different kinds of musical cats. What kind of cat are you?

19. MUSIC: Billy Jonas: What Kind of Cat Are You? performed by Jonas [Bang a Buck Music, Track 1] [3:17]

What Kind of Cat Are You? written and sung by Billy Jonas from a Bang a Buck Music CD. And that concludes “A Catalog of Music, Part 2: 20th Century.”


MUSIC: clip from the beginning of Leroy Anderson’s The Waltzing Cat, performed by Leroy Anderson and his Orchestra [MCA Classics MCAD2-9815-A, track 11]] [under the following]

I hope you’ve enjoyed these selections and that you’ll contact me to let me have your reaction to this and other Compact Discoveries programs. I can be reached via the Compact Discoveries website: compactdiscoveries.com.

I would like to thank my granddaughter, Brittany Jencks, for suggesting the Billy Jonas piece, Eleanor Anderson for supplying the Leroy Anderson recordings, and Jim MacKenzie for audio editing this hour.

You can stream this and other Compact Discoveries programs on demand at prx.org. Some of the recordings for this hour of Compact Discoveries were provided by ArkivMusic.com.

Compact Discoveries is distributed internationally by the Public Radio Exchange.

MUSIC: fades out

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.

PROGRAM ENDS AT 58:00

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