Compact Discoveries®
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited by Fred Flaxman
©2008 by Fred Flaxman

Program 144
"More Moon Music"

MUSIC: Leroy Anderson: Lazy Moon performed by Leroy Anderson and his Orchestra [MCA Classics MCDAD2-9815-B, track 10] [under the following]

Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

For centuries the moon has inspired music. So much music, in fact, that I devoted a previous hour exclusively to music about moonlight. Yet I left many moonlight pieces out for lack of time, not to mention music inspired by moonbeams, moonglow, moon flowers (whatever they are), paper moons, blue moons, lazy moons, voyages to the moon, moon love, moon river, and even moonshine. So this hour will be devoted to “More Moon Music.” It will include pieces that are classical, works that were once very popular, and jazz.

MUSIC: fades out

But we are going to start out with two short excerpts from a piece of music by Tchaikovsky that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with our theme: these clips are both from the second movement of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. Can you guess what relationship this music has with our “moon music” theme? [1:15]


MUSIC: Tchaikovsky: two excerpts from Symphony No. 5 performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Christoph Eschenbach [Ondine ODE 1076-5, track 2] [2:30]

A beautiful, melancholy theme from the second movement of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. It was excerpted from an Ondine compact disc recording by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. Do you know what this has to do with our “moon music” theme? Here’s the answer: [0:17]

MUSIC: Glenn Miller: Moon Love performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra [RCA Victor / BMG Classics 09026-68490-2, track 8] [2:51]

Moon Love from the RCA Victor / BMG Classics CD “Glenn Miller’s Greatest Hits.” The melody was stolen — or should I say borrowed — from the second movement of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. I love Glenn Miller, but I must admit that I prefer the Tchaikovsky original.


OK, some more questions for you now. I’m going to play an entire piece for piano and orchestra. Can you identify the piece, the composer, and what it has to do with our “moon music” theme? [0:29]

MUSIC: Addinsell: Warsaw Concerto performed by the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra conducted by William Hudson with pianist Santiago Rodriguez [Élan CD 82268, track 1] [7:55]

Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto. It was performed by the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra conducted by William Hudson with pianist Santiago Rodriguez. The reason the piece is included in this hour devoted to “More Moon Music” is that it is from the 1941 motion picture “Dangerous Moonlight”.

From now on I’m not going to keep you guessing about the connection of the music to the moon. The word “moon” will appear in every title until the end of this hour.
We’ll start with a lovely little piece by a living composer — Peter Breiner — called The Half-Moon Climbs. I think a better translation would have been The Half-Moon Rises. In any case, it is from Breiner’s very interesting suite called Songs and Dances from the Silk Road.

Each of the pieces in this suite is based on a folk-song from along the Silk Road. In this case it is a Uygur song that became popular in the 1940s. It is about the half-moon climbing up into the sky and shining onto a girl’s dressing-table, and a boy who can no longer suppress his feelings towards her. He serenades her through the window. The recording is from a Naxos release with violinist Takako Nishizaki and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Judd. [1:19]

MUSIC: Breiner: The Half-Moon Climbs from Songs and Dances from the Silk Road performed by violinist Takako Nishizaki and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Judd [Naxos 8.557348, track 3] [4:27]

The Half-Moon Climbs by Peter Breiner. Violinist Takako Nishizaki performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Judd.

The American composer Leroy Anderson seems to have written an orchestral miniature on just about every subject imaginable, from typewriters to sand paper. So it’s not surprising that he wrote a piece about a Lazy Moon. It is from the one musical comedy he wrote which was produced on Broadway: Goldilocks. As the show opens, the heroine stars in a musical within a musical called Lazy Moon.

In this arrangement Anderson has the percussionists playing actual tap shoes. Here he conducts his own orchestra on an MCA Classics compact disc recording. [0:46]

MUSIC: Anderson: Lazy Moon from the Leroy Anderson Collection, conducted by the composer [MCA Classics MCAD2-9815-B, Disc 2, track 10] [2:19]

Leroy Anderson’s Lazy Moon. The composer conducted his own orchestra.

Up next is In Moonlight by Edward Elgar. This tune was originally part of Elgar’s tone poem In the South, written in 1904. It formed a section called “conto popolare” — popular song. In the original it was scored for solo viola and orchestra. Elgar then made several arrangements, including one with lyrics taken from a Shelley poem. The version we’re going to hear is for cello and orchestra. Natalie Clein is the cellist. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is conducted by Vernon Handley. [0:36]

MUSIC: Elgar: In Moonlight performed by cellist Natalie Clein with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conducted by Vernon Handley [EMI Classics 5099950140923, track 5] [3:16]

Edward Elgar’s In Moonlight. Natalie Clein was the cellist with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conducted by Vernon Handley on an EMI Classics compact disc.

You are listening to “More Moon Music” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional one-minute break not included in total timing]

The Bohemian Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu is better known for his orchestral and chamber music than he is for his piano compositions, even though he wrote about 80 of them. One of these is called The Fifth Day of the Fifth Moon.

The title refers to a long-established holiday in the Chinese lunar calendar which commemorates the suicide by drowning of the Chinese poet Qu Wan, who lived in the fifth century B.C. He did this in protest of government corruption. (Nothing new under the Chinese sun, is there?) Qu Wan is remembered to this day by the annual Dragon Boat Festival.

The Fifth Day of the Fifth Moon will be played by Giorgio Koukl, a Czech-born pianist who lives in Lugano, in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino in southern Switzerland. [1:06]

MUSIC: Martinu: The Fifth Day of the Fifth Moon, performed by pianist Giorgio Koukl [Naxos 8.557918, track 28] [2:57]

Martinu’s The Fifth Day of the Fifth Moon. The pianist was Giorgio Koukl on a Naxos compact disc.

The Italian composer Ruggero Leoncavallo, who lived from 1857 until 1919, and who is best known for his opera Pagliacci, also wrote piano music that was influenced by the moon. In his case it was a waltz. He called it Valse à la lune: Sérénade française. Here it is performed by Marco Sollini. [0:30]

MUSIC: Leoncavallo: Valse à la lune: Sérénade française performed by pianist Marco Sollini [Bongiovanni GB 5578-2, track 6] [6:08]

Leoncavallo’s Moon Waltz / Valse à la lune. The pianist was Marco Sollini on a Bongiovanni compact disc made in Bologna, Italy. That piece doesn’t sound that hard. Maybe even I could learn it.

British light music composer Richard Addinsell also wrote a moon-related waltz: The Invitation Waltz from Ring Round the Moon. Ring Round the Moon was originally by the French playwrite Jean Anouilh. But Addinsell’s music was written for the 1950 production of Christopher Fry’s adaptation, starring Paul Scofield and directed by Peter Brook. In this Marco Polo recording we hear the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Alwyn. [0:42]

MUSIC: Addinsell: Invitation Waltz from Ring Around the Moon, the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Alwyn [Marco Polo 8.223732, track 2] [3:39]

Richard Addinsell’s Invitation Waltz from Ring Around the Moon, the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Alwyn.

As you can imagine, there have been many popular moon-inspired songs over the years. Let’s listen to three of the most famous ones next: Irving Berlin’s Moonshine Lullaby, Rodgers and Hart’s Blue Moon and Arlin and Harburg’s It’s Only a Paper Moon. [0:25]

MUSIC: Berlin: Moonshine Lullaby sung by Christine Andreas [PS Classics PS-208, track 1] [3:53]

MUSIC: Rodgers and Hart: Blue Moon performed by Glen Gray and His Casa Loma Orchestra [Chestnut CN1016, track 16] [3:12]

MUSIC: Arlin & Harburg: It’s Only a Paper Moon performed by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra [Pro-Arte CDX 010, track 8] [3:09]

Three popular classics. First we heard Irving Berlin’s Moonshine Lullaby sung by Christine Andreas on a PS Classics compact disc. Then we listened to Blue Moon by Rodgers and Hart in an historic recording by Glen Gray and His Casa Loma Orchestra on a Chestnut CD. Finally I played for you a Pro-Arte CD of Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra performing It’s Only a Paper Moon by Harold Arlin and E. Y. Harburg.

MUSIC: Traditional: When the Moon Goes Down performed by the Golden Gate Quartet [Past Perfect 205725-203, track 13] [2:23]

Our Compact Discoveries hour devoted to “More Moon Music” concluded with the Golden Gate Quartet singing the traditional spiritual When the Moon Goes Down.

MUSIC: Hudson & Delange: Moonglow, performed by The Marshall Turkin Classic Jazz Ensemble [track 11] under the following:


We’re going out with Moonglow by Hudson and Delange as performed by the Marshall Turkin Classic Jazz Ensemble. Hope you’ve enjoyed the wide variety of music I presented during the last hour. If you missed any of it or would like to hear it again, go to compactdiscoveries.com on the internet where you can stream most Compact Discoveries programs on demand. Look for program number 144. Thanks for listening!

This program is a presentation of WPVM, Asheville, North Carolina, a broadcast service of the Mountain Area Information Network. [0:33]

MUSIC: Fades out at 57:30

ANNOUNCER [Steve Jencks]: 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; and by Educate Yourself for Tomorrow, an on-line guide to 37 different Liberal Arts courses for personal development, including “Mozart and the Evolution of Western Music.” On the web at onlinehumanities.com.

Program Ends at 58:00

 
  ©2008 Compact Discoveries