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

©2014 by Fred Flaxman

Program 232
"Cinderella"

MUSIC: excerpt from Prokofiev: Cinderella Suite No. 1, Op. 107, performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine conducted by Theodore Kuchar [Naxos 8.553273, Track 20] [over the following]

Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman. The next hour will be devoted to music inspired by the European folk tale, Cinderella. This world-famous story of unjust oppression was published by Charles Perrault in France in 1697, and by the Grimm brothers in their collection, Grimms’ Fairy Tales.

Earlier than that, Giambattista Basile, a Neopolitan soldier and government official, wrote a book called The Story of Stories which featured the tale of Cenerentola, featuring a wicked step mother and step sisters, magical transformations, a missing slipper, and a hunt by a prince for the owner of the slipper.  It was published after Basile’s death in 1634.

MUSIC:
Fades out

The story has inspired music, paintings, ballets, plays, and films ever since.  And a good way to start this hour, I think, would be with Rossini’s overture to La Cenerentola, which is Italian for Cinderella.

La Cenerentola was first staged in Rome in 1817. Rossini is said to have written the opera in three weeks. The overture, which Rossini borrowed from his recently composed La gazette, is popular on its own at concerts. Here it is performed by the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra conducted by Christian Benda on a Naxos compact disc.

MUSIC: Rossini: Overture to La Cenerentola, performed by the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra, conducted by Christian Benda [Naxos 8.570935, track 3]  [8:09]

Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola Overture. Christian Benda conducted the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra. Rossini’s opera is based on the fairy tale, “Cinderella,” as is this hour of Compact Discoveries.

Our next Cinderella composer, Eugen d’Albert, almost defies the usual nationality categories. Although he was born in Glasgow in 1864, he was not Scottish. His father grew up in London, but was not English. The family was of Italian and French origin, but his father married an English woman in Britain. In 1881 Eugen d’Albert received a scholarship allowing him to study in Vienna, where he met Brahms and played for Liszt, who took him to Weimar, Germany, as a pupil. There he became court pianist and made a successful début in Berlin.

By this stage in his career d’Albert had adopted the German form of his given name, and in the following years felt himself to be German, with German and French more familiar to him as languages than English had become. For the next half-century d’Albert enjoyed an international career as a pianist, with concert engagements throughout Europe and in America.

D’Albert’s orchestral suite, Aschenputtel, the name for "Cinderella" in German, dates from 1924. It is in five movements: Aschenputtel at the hearth; The Little Dove in the Ashes; Ball at the King’s Palace; The Prince and the Knight with the Wicked Sisters; and Aschenputtel’s Wedding Polonaise and Peasant Dance.

In this Naxos compact disc recording, Germany’s oldest radio orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, Leipzig, is conducted by Jun Märkl.  Märkl also has an interesting nationality background. He was born in Munich to a German father and a Japanese mother — both professional musicians, of course.

MUSIC:
Eugen D’Albert: Aschenputtel Suite, performed by the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jun Märkl [Naxos 8.573110, Tracks 6-10]  [15:34]

Eugen D’Albert’s Aschenputtel / Cinderella Suite, opus 38.  The MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Jun Märkl.

You are listening to music inspired by the “Cinderella” story on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

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

The 20th Century Russian composer, Sergey Prokofiev, wrote an entire ballet based on the story of Cinderella. It was commissioned by the Kirov Ballet in 1940, but its creation was delayed until 1944 by the invasion of the Soviet Union by Germany. It was first staged at the Bolshoy Theatre in Moscow in 1945.

Several months later Prokofiev arranged three orchestral suites from the ballet, basing them largely on the pieces he had transcribed for solo piano. He explained that the suites were not simply mechanical excerpts from the original ballet score, but had been reworked and recast in symphonic form. There are changes in orchestration and subtle variations in tempi, with fragmentary ideas from the score condensed into short melodic  movements.

The seven movements are marked: Introduction; Pas de Châle / Dance of the Shawl; The Quarrel; Fairy Godmother and the Fairy Winter; Cinderella Goes to the Ball; Cinderella’s Waltz; and Midnight. In this Naxos compact disc recording, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine is conducted by Theodore Kuchar.

MUSIC:
Prokofiev: Cinderella Suite No. 1, Op. 107, performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine conducted by Theodore Kuchar [Naxos 8.553273, Tracks 15-21]  [23:26]

Sergey Prokofiev’s Cinderella Suite No. 1, Op. 107, performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine conducted by Theodore Kuchar.

You are listening to music inspired by the “Cinderella” story on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

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

When I was growing up in the New Jersey suburbs of Manhattan, Rodgers and Hammerstein were the biggest names on Broadway. They were responsible for one musical hit after another, including Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, and The King and I. CBS, the Columbia Broadcasting System, wanted to take advantage of those big names for the new medium of television. So they commissioned Rodgers and Hammerstein to create a new musical especially for TV. The result was Cinderella. It aired live on March 31, 1957. Over 107 million people watched that night, when the population of the United States was only 170 million.

It took more than a half-century for this TV musical to début on Broadway, which it did on March 3, 2013. The new version was brought into the 21st Century. Cinderella has more control over her own destiny. She is more active, and she is in a world that feels more contemporary, while still honoring the fairy tale.

We’ll conclude this hour devoted to music inspired by Cinderella with the Overture to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella from the 2013 Original Broadway Cast Recording as released on a Ghostlight Records compact disc.

MUSIC:
Rodgers & Hammerstein: Overture to Cinderella, performed by the orchestra of the original 2013 Broadway cast recording [Ghostlight Records 8-4472, Track 1]  [2:26]

The Overture to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella from the 2013 Original Broadway Cast Recording.

And that concludes this Compact Discoveries hour devoted to music inspired by “Cinderella.”   If you missed any of this program or would like to hear it again, you can stream it on demand without charge at compactdiscoveries.com. You can also see the script there for information on every recording used. This is program number 232.

You can reach me through the website or directly at fred@compactdiscoveries.com. I truly enjoy hearing from listeners all over the world who hear the program either on their local public radio station or via the SKY.FM Compact Discoveries Channel on the internet. In any case, thank you for listening now, and I hope you’ll tune in again. This is Fred Flaxman, your guide to Compact Discoveries.

ANNOUNCER (Tana Flaxman): Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by an anonymous donor from Palm Beach, Florida. And by the financial support of Isabel and Marvin Leibowitz. And by ArkivMusic dot com, the online store for classical music CDs, DVDs, downloads, and over 10,000 on-demand reissued titles. That’s A-r-k-i-v Music dot com.


Program Ends at 58:00