Compact Discoveriesģ
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited
by Fred Flaxman

©2012 by Fred Flaxman

Program 195
"Strange Musical Animals"


MUSIC: Saint-SaŽns: introduction to Carnival of the Animals performed by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jahja Ling, with pianists Jon Kimura Parker and Orli Shaham [San Diego Symphony, SDS-1001, Track 26]


Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. Iím your guide, Fred Flaxman. If you are a regular listener to this program, you know that I just love discovering new music to present to you, especially when it is written by a living American composer who writes music that we can enjoy together even on first listening.

Well, stay with me for the next hour and youíll not only hear delightful new music by Lucas Richman. Youíll also hear it mixed with the clever, funny, highly imaginative poetry of the Poetry Foundationís very first Childrenís Poet Laureate, Jack Prelutsky. And, as if all this werenít intriguing enough, the composition will be performed by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra from a world-premiere recording conducted by Jahja Ling.

The music in question is called Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant, and it features such strange musical animals as the Pop-up toadsters, the Circular Sawtoise, the Clocktopus, and the Ballpoint Pen-quins. So if there are any children in your household, call them quickly so they donít miss a beat!

While youíre doing that, let me tell you a bit about Jack Prelutsky. Growing up in the Bronx, New York, he was an average writer as a youth and rarely wrote poetry. When he entered New Yorkís High School of Music and Art, music became the focus of his life.

Prelutskyís life changed when, on a whim, he wrote rhymes to accompany a dozen imaginary creatures he had sketched for the fun of it. He took his verses to an editor at Macmillan Books, who loved them and believed he had a natural gift for poetry.

Prelutskyís first book of original poems, called A Gopher in the Garden, appeared in 1967, and since then he has written or anthologized more than 70 books of poetry for children.

Lucas Richman, the composer who the San Diego Symphony commissioned to write the music for Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant, has served as Music Director for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra since 2003 and as Music Director and Conductor for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra since 2010. In 2011 he received a Grammyģ Award in the category of Best Classical Crossover Album for having conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Christopher Tinís classical/world fusion album, Calling All Dawns.

This recording is conducted by Jahja Ling, the Music Director of the San Diego Symphony, and the poetry is recited by the poet himself, Jack Prelutsky. So, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, letís Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant!

MUSIC: Lucas Richman/Jack Prelutsky: Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant performed by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jahja Ling [San Diego Symphony, SDS-1001, Tracks 1-24]

Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant. Music by Lucas Richman. Poetry written and read by Jack Prelutsky. The San Diego Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Jahja Ling.

You are listening to ďStrange Musical AnimalsĒ on this hour of Compact Discoveries. Iím your guide, Fred Flaxman.

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

This very same recording from the San Diego Symphony features many more strange musical animals, but this time they were created by the French composer, Camille Saint-SaŽns. You have undoubtedly heard his Carnival of the Animals before. However, you are not likely to have heard it perfomred with new poetry written for the piece and read once again by Jack Prelutsky. I donít have enough time to play the entire work for you. For that youíll want to purchase the San Diego Symphony Orchestra CD. But Iíll get in whatever time permits.

The San Diego Symphony is conducted once again by Jahja Ling. The pianists are Jon Kimura Parker and Orli Shaham.

MUSIC: Saint-SaŽns: Carnival of the Animals performed by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jahja Ling [San Diego Symphony, SDS-1001, Tracks 25, etc.]

Excerpts from The Carnival of the Animals. Music by Camille Saint-SaŽns. Poetry written and read by Jack Prelutsky. The San Diego Symphony was conducted by Jahja Ling. The pianists were Jon Kimura Parker and Orli Shaham.

And that concludes this hour of Compact Discoveries. My thanks to the San Diego Symphony Orchestra and their Director of Education and Outreach, Adrienne Valencia, for granting permission to broadcast their recording, to the National Endowment for the Arts and JP Morgan Chase for funding the commission of Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant, and to the Linden Root Dickinson Foundation, the Poetry Foundation, Phyllis and Daniel Epstein, and the musicians of the San Diego Symphony for providing major funding for the recording, and to you for listening. This is Fred Flaxman hoping that youíll join me again next time for more Compact Discoveries.

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 ďSixty Slices of Life ... on Wry: The Private Life of a Public Broadcaster.Ē And by the financial support of Isabel and Marvin Leibowitz, and an anonymous donor from Palm Beach, Florida. And by contributions to local public radio stations by listeners like you. Thank you. [0:28]

Total Program Timing: 58:00