Program 153
                                   "Winter"

Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman. And this is “Winter!”

MUSIC: Lully: excerpt from Isis: Scène du froid: L’hiver qui nous tourmente performed by Les Arts Florissants conducted by William Christie [Warner Classics 2564 69667-4, CD2, track 14]

Brrrrrrr! That’s the coldest music I ever heard! But it’s very appropriate to the season. It is called L’hiver qui nous tourmente, which is French for Winter which torments us. And that is, in turn, from Scène du froid -- Cold Scenes -- from Jean-Baptiste Lully’s opera Isis. That little excerpt is from a Warner Classics album recorded by Les Arts Florissant conducted by William Christie.

I couldn’t think of a more appropriate introduction to the “cold” section of this hour of “Winter” music.

MUSIC:
Johnny Mercer & Hoagy Carmichael: excerpt from In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening performed by Bing Crosby with Fred Astaire [EMI Capitol 72438-59808-2-4, CD2, track 19]

MUSIC: Frank Loesser: Baby It’s Cold Outside performed by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan [Verve B000003N4M, track 11]

Two cool songs about cold. First we heard an excerpt from In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening by Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael as performed by Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Then Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan sang Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

You are listening to “Winter” on Compact Discoveries. I’m Fred Flaxman, trying to help you get through at least one hour of the season with hot music.

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


When we think of winter, the first thing that comes to mind may be cold, but the second may well be snow. So let it snow!

MUSIC: Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn (arr. Claire Fischer): Let it Snow! performed by Chanticleer and the Chanticleer Holiday Orchestra conducted by Joseph H. Jennings [Warner Classics 2564 69667-4, CD1, track 20]


Let it Snow! by Julie Styne and Sammy Cahn, arranged by Claire Fischer. That was performed by Chanticleer with the Chanticleer Holiday Orchestra conducted by Joseph H. Jennings. This is from a two-CD Warner Classics release called “Winter Classics.”

The British composer, Ronald Binge, lived from 1910 until 1979. He wrote a great deal of light orchestral music, including our next piece, The Dance of the Snowflakes. In this Marco Polo compact disc recording, the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Ernest Tomlinson.

MUSIC: Binge: The Dance of the Snowflakes, the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ernest Tomlinson [Marco Polo 8.223515, track 15] [3:32]

Ronald Binge’s The Dance of the Snowflakes. The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Ernest Tomlinson.

Let’s go a bit further back in time now and listen to a piano piece by Franz Liszt called Chasse-neige / Snow-Whirls. The pianist/composer Busoni called this étude “the noblest example, perhaps, amongst all music of a poeticizing nature -- a sublime and steady fall of snow which gradually buries landscape and people.”

Today the term “chasse-neige” is used only to mean “snow-plow,” but in the early 19th Century it indicted a violent, swirling snowfall. The piece begins with a lulling motion, but then builds increasingly in complexity and tempestuousness. It’s performed by Jenö Jandó [JEE-nur Jahn-doh] on a Naxos release.

MUSIC: Liszt: Chasse-neige from Etudes d’exécution transcendante performed by Jenö Jandó [Naxos 8.553119, track 12] [5:17]

Chasse-neige / Snow-Whirls by Franz Liszt. The pianist was Jenö Jandó.

Snowdrops are next. They were formed in 1926 by British composer William Alwyn, who lived from 1905 until 1985. They are played by Ashley Wass.

MUSIC: Alwyn: Fancy Free: Snowdrops performed by pianist Ashley Wass [Naxos 8.570359, track 14] [1:44]
Snowdrops by William Alwyn. The pianist in this Naxos recording was Ashley Wass.

Selim Palmgren, who lived from 1878 until 1951, was a Finnish composer, pianist and conductor. He studied with Ferruccio Busoni, and in 1921 came to the United States where he taught composition at the Eastman School of Music. He returned later to Finland. Most of his works were for piano. Here’s one example. It’s called Snowflakes. The pianist is Izumi Tateno.

MUSIC: Palmgren: Snowflakes performed by pianist Izumi Tateno [Warner Classics 2564 69667-4, CD2, track 13]

Selim Palmgren’s Snowflakes performed by pianist Izumi Tateno.

You are listening to “Winter” on Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

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


One more snowy piano piece now, this one by someone you are more likely to have heard of than Palmgren -- Claude Debussy. It’s from his Children’s Corner suite, and it’s called The Snow is Dancing. Monique Haas is the pianist.

MUSIC: Debussy: Children’s Corner: The Snow is Dancing performed by Monique Haas, piano [Warner Classics 2564 69667-4, CD1, track 13]

Claude Debussy’s The Snow is Dancing from his Children’s Corner suite. The pianist was Monique Haas.
That concludes the snowy piano music section of this hour.

The famous song Winter Wonderland was first published in 1934. It was composed by Felix Bernard, who lived from 1897 until 1944, only about 47 years. The lyrics were by Richard B. Smith, who lived an even shorter life, from 1901 until 1935. The song was recorded by the Andrews Sisters, Perry Como and many others. We’ll listen to Natalie Cole’s recording with the Vienna Symphony conducted by Vjekoslav Sutej. I hope I came close on that one.

MUSIC: Felix Bernard & Richard B. Smith: Winter Wonderland sung by Natalie Cole with the Wiener Symphoniker conducted by Vjekoslav Sutej [Warner Classics 2564 69667-4, CD2, track 20]

Natalie Cole sang Winter Wonderland.

MUSIC: Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Winter: Largo performed by Chen Yue, bamboo flute (xiao) and Lars Hannibal, guitar [OUR Recordings 8.226901, track 17] [2:49]

The Largo from the Winter concerto from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi. This was an arrangement for bamboo flute and guitar. The flutist was Chen Yue; the guitarist, Lars Hannibal. This was from an OUR recording from Denmark called “Spirits: East Meets West.”

Vivaldi wasn’t the only composer to write a piece of music called The Four Seasons or The Seasons. Tchaikovsky and Glazunov were also taken with this idea. It’s not surprising, considering the climate in their country. In fact there were so many Russian composers writing music inspired by winter, that I’ve devoted another Compact Discoveries hour to them. That program is called “A Russian Winter.”

One of the more recent composers to write a composition called The Four Seasons was Astor Piazzolla. His winter movement is called Invierno Porteño -- “Winter of Buenos Aires.” In this performance Daniel Barenboim is the pianist with Rodolfo Mederos on bandoneon and Hector Console on bass.

MUSIC: Piazzolla: The Four Seasons: Invierno Porteño; Daniel Barenboim, pianist; Rudolfo Mederos, bandoneon; Hector Console, bass [Warner Classics 2564 69667-4, CD1, track 16] [3:47]

Astor Piazzolla’s Invierno Porteño from The Four Seasons. Daniel Barenboim was the pianist; Rudolfo Mederos played the bandoneon; and Hector Console was on bass.

Because Ernst von Dohnányi [Ehrnst fun DOHKH-nah-nyee] was a brilliant pianist, outstanding conductor and distinguished teacher, he had little time to compose. His total output comes to no more than 48 pieces, and he is remembered mostly for just one work, his charming Variations on a Nursery Song. But he composed many fine works for solo piano, full of the long, sweeping melodies that characterize his music. And although he died in 1960, his music continued in the tradition of the great romantic era, often using the folk songs of his native Hungary.

In 1905 he composed a suite of ten piano pieces called Winter Dances. We’ll conclude this hour of “Winter” music with three pieces from this suite. The pieces all have names which don’t appear to have anything to do with winter. For example the one’s we’ll hear are called “Dedication,” “Music of the Spheres,” and “Great Company.” These are lovely pieces, and if you hear anything winterish in any of them, please let me know!

The pianist in this Naxos compact disc recording is Lawrence Schubert.

MUSIC: Dohnányi: Winter Dances: I: Widmung, played by Lawrence Schubert [Naxos 8.554800, track 2] [2:02]

MUSIC: Dohnányi: Winter Dances: V: Sphärenmusik, played by Lawrence Schubert [Naxos 8.554800, track 6] [6:12]

MUSIC: Dohnányi: Winter Dances: VIII: Tolle Gesellschaft, played by Lawrence Schubert [Naxos 8.554800, track 9] [3:01]

Three Winter Dances by Ernst von Dohnányi [Ehrnst fun DOHKH-nah-nyee] as played by the American pianist Lawrence Schubert.

And that brings this hour of winter music on Compact Discoveries to an end. I hope you enjoyed it. If you missed any of this hour or would like to hear it again, go to www.compactdiscoveries.com on the internet where you’ll find links to stream most Compact Discoveries programs on demand without charge. Look for program number 153. At the web site you’ll also find scripts for every Compact Discoveries program with complete information on every selection. There are some new features there as well, including my lists of recommended orchestral music, concert DVDs, and CDs and DVDs of classics for kids.

This is Fred Flaxman thanking you for listening and for supporting your local public radio station. It is that kind of support which makes the broadcast of this program possible in your community. Production of this program was made possible in part by a contribution from Marvin and Isabel Leibowitz.

MUSIC: Lully: excerpt from Isis: Scène du froid: L’hiver qui nous tourmente performed by Les Arts Florissants conducted by William Christie [Warner Classics 2564 69667-4, CD2, track 14]

ANNOUNCER [Steve Jencks]: Compact Discoveries is a production of Compact Discoveries, Incorporated, a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization located at 36 Pickens Lane in Weaverville, North Carolina, and on the web at compactdiscoveries.com. These programs are distributed to public radio stations nationwide through PRX, the Public Radio Exchange.

Program Ends at 58:00


 
  ©2009 Compact Discoveries