Program 162
"Swingling Encores"


MUSIC: Debussy: opening of Clair de lune performed by The Swingle Singers [Virgin Classics 50999 966956 2 3, CD 3, track 13] [under the following]

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

This is the third and final hour that I’m devoting to the music of the British-based, multinational a capela group called The Swingle Singers. The first was devoted to the music of Mozart; the second was devoted to the music of Bach. This final hour, which I’m calling “Singling Encores,” will feature the music of several composers, namely Rossini, Debussy, Gershwin, Sondheim, and Tchaikovsky. Once again you’ll have eight singers — two each of sopranos, altos, tenors and bass baritones — and, once again, I’ll go back and forth between the Swingle Singers’ unique interpretations of the composers and the composers’ original scoring.

MUSIC: ends

Let’s start most appropriately with an overture, in this case perhaps the most famous opera opening ever written: Rossini’s William Tell Overture. First we’ll hear the very abbreviated version of the Swingle SIngers from their set of four compact discs on the Virgin Classics label. Then we’ll listen to an excerpt from the original piece as performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra conducted by Yoel Levi.

MUSIC: Rossini: William Tell Overture excerpt performed by The Swingle Singers [Virgin Classics 50999 966956 2 3, CD 3, track 1] [2:59]

MUSIC: Rossini: William Tell Overture excerpt performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra conducted by Yoel Levi [Telarc CD-80334, track 1]
[3:10]

Two abbreviated versions of Rossini’s William Tell Overture. First you heard the Swingle Singers’ version, then the original orchestration as performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra conducted by Yoel Levi. That was from their 1994 Telarc recording of seven Rossini overtures.

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

As this is the third hour I’ve devoted to the Swingle Singers, I’m not going to devote any time to giving you the history of this group. If you missed the first hour, where I went into that in some detail, you can always hear it by going to compactdiscoveries.com on the internet. That was program 160 and it was called “Swingling Mozart.” You can hear the second hour the same way, of course. That was called “Swingling Bach” and it was program number 161. You can hear this program again through compactdiscoveries.com as well, any time you feel like it, 24/7. It, logically enough, is program 162.

Let’s get back to the music now with the Swingle Singers’ version of “Summertime” from George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess. We’ll jump from that right to the “Summertime” track from the complete opera as performed at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera with the London Philharmonic conducted by Simon Rattle and soprano Harolyn Blackwell.

MUSIC: Gershwin: “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess performed by The Swingle Singers [Virgin Classics 50999 966956 2 3, CD 3, track 11] [3:26]

MUSIC: Gershwin: “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess performed by the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, soprano Harolyn Blackwell and the London Philharmonic conducted by Simon Rattle [EMI Classics 7243 5 56220 0, CD 1, track 2]
[3:28]

“Summertime” from Porgy and Bess, music by George Gershwin. You heard it first as sung by the Swingle SIngers, then as performed by the Glyndebourne Festival Opera with the London Philharmonic conducted by Simon Rattle. The soloist was Harolyn Blackwell. That was from an EMI recording of the complete opera on three compact discs issued in 1989.

Claude Debussy is up next with one of his most famous pieces: “Clair de lune” from his Suite Bergamasque. The Swingle Singers version will be followed immediately by the original piano composition as performed by Jacques Rouvier on a 1985 Denon compact disc from Japan.

MUSIC: Debussy: “Clair de lune” from Suite Bergamasque performed by The Swingle Singers [Virgin Classics 50999 966956 2 3, CD 3, track 13] [4:40]

MUSIC: Debussy: “Clair de lune” from Suite Bergamasque performed by Jacques Rouvier [Denon 33C37-7734, track 3] [4:25]

Claude Debussy’s “Clair de lune” from his Suite Bergamasque. The Swingle Singers’ version was followed by the original piano composition as performed by Jacques Rouvier.
You are listening to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide Fred Flaxman. And this hour is devoted to “Swingling Encores’ featuring the Swingle Singers.

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


MUSIC: Sondheim: “Another Hundred People” from Company performed by The Swingle Singers [Virgin Classics 50999 966956 2 3, CD 3, track 12] [2:00]

MUSIC: Sondheim: “Another Hundred People” from Company performed by Pamela Myers and the Vocal Minority from the Original Broadway Cast [Sony Masterworks Broadway 88697 49914 2, track 7] [2:42]

Stephen Sondheim’s music and lyrics for “Another Hundred People” from Company. It was performed first by The Swingle Singers on a Virgin Classics release, then by Pamela Myers and the Vocal Minority from the Original Broadway Cast on a Sony Masterworks Broadway reissue.

I’m going to conclude this hour of “Swingling Encores” with the Swingle Singers’ condensed version of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture followed by Tchaikovsky’s complete, unadulterated original as performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Georg Solti on a London digital compact disc recording from 1987.

Tchaikovsky was very skillful at producing popular works on demand. In fact he prided himself on being a true professional who could always provide music to order if the offer was sufficiently attractive. His 1812 Overture is a case in point. It was commissioned for the 1882 Moscow Exhibition.

Though Tchaikovsky himself described the result as “very noisy” and “with no artistic merit in it,” the piece proved highly successful in appealing to the patriotic sentiment of the time because Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow in 1812 had been one of the most glorious events in their nation’s recent history.

MUSIC: Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture performed by The Swingle Singers [Virgin Classics 50999 966956 2 3, CD 3, track 15] [7:55]

MUSIC: Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by SIr Georg Solti [London 417 400-2, track 1] [14:54]

Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture performed first in an abbreviated version by the Swingle Singers, followed by the original orchestration with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Georg Solti on a London digital compact disc recording from 1987.

MUSIC: Debussy: opening of Clair de lune performed by The Swingle Singers [Virgin Classics 50999 966956 2 3, CD 3, track 13] [under the following]

And that concludes this hour of Compact DIscoveries devoted to “Swingling Encores” sung by the Swingle Singers paired with the original music by Rossini, Debussy, Gershwin, Sondheim, and Tchaikovsky. I hope you enjoyed the music. This is your guide to the discovery of music classics, Fred Flaxman, reminding you to check out the Compact Discoveries website at www.compactdiscoveries.com.

There you will find links to stream all the Compact Discoveries programs on demand, including this one, which is number 162. There you will also find articles on compact discs, a basic music library, and recommended concert, opera and ballet digital video discs.

Until next time, then, thank you for listening.

ANNOUNCER (Steve Jencks): Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by Story Book Publishers and their latest offering, a tongue-in-cheek memoir by Compact Discoveries host Fred Flaxman called “Sixty Slices of Life ... on Wry: The Private Life of a Public Broadcaster.” Information and ordering at sixtyslices.com.

And by the financial support of the Puffin Foundation, Isabel and Marvin Leibowitz, Barry and Florence Friedberg, and an anonymous donor from Palm Beach, Florida. And by contributions to local public radio stations by listeners like you.

Total Program Timing: 57:00

 
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