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

©2014 by Fred Flaxman


Program 238
"The Year 1914 in Music"

MUSIC: excerpt from Blake: Fizz Water,  performed by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, directed by Rick Benjamin. [New World Records 80731-2, Track 19]  [under the following]

On January 1st, 1914, the first scheduled airline flight took place, which was between Saint Petersburg and Tampa, Florida.  1914 was also the year that the Ford Motor Company raised the wages of its workers from $2.40 an hour for a nine-hour day to $5 an hour for an eight-hour day. And it was the year that the first steamboat passed through the Panama Canal, and the year that Charlie Chaplin introduced “The Tramp” in the movie, “Kid Auto Races at Venice.”

In 1914 construction began on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. It was the year of the first successful blood transfusion, which happened in Brussels, Belgium. Believe it or not, 1914 was the year the very first movie in color, “The World, the Flesh & the Devil,” was shown in London, England.

On April 11, 1914, George Bernard Shaw’s play, “Pygmalion,” premiered.  The next month the British House of Lords rejected women’s suffrage and the U.S. Congress established Mother’s Day, which President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed on May 9th.

But perhaps the most famous event of 1914 took place the next month, on June 28, when Franz Ferdinand, the Archduke of Austria, and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated in Sarajevo by a young Serbian nationalist. It was the spark that lit World War 1.

The next hour of Compact Discoveries will be devoted to “The Year 1914 in Music.” After all, it was the year “By the Beautiful Sea” by Harold Atteridge and Harry Carroll was published, the year of “Play a Simple Melody” and many other songs by Irving Berlin, the year of the “Saint Louis Blues” by W. C. Handy, and “They Didn’t Believe Me” with music by Jerome Kern.

Classical music making its début in 1914 included Variations on a Nursery Song by Dohnányi, which I played on a previous program, Frederick Delius’s First Violin Sonata, George Enescu’s Second Symphony, Charles Ives Third Violin Sonata, Alexander Scriabin’s Five Piano Preludes, Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1, Ralph Vaughan Williams Symphony No. 2, Erik Satie’s Sports et divertissements, Jules Massenet’s opera Cléopatre, and Claude Debussy’s Six Épigraphes Antiques.

Other music making its premiere in 1914 included Maurice Ravel’s Trio for Piano, Violin, and Cello, The Oceanides by Jean Sibelius, Scott Joplin’s Magnetic Rag, Eubie Blake’s Fizz Water, and Spooks: A Midnight Chase by Harry Alford — all of which you’ll hear if you stick with me for the next hour. I’m your guide to good music, Fred Flaxman.

MUSIC: Fades out

Let’s start with Ravel’s Trio. It is dedicated to Ravel’s counterpoint teacher, who insisted that the basis of any composer’s talent was the ability to write a good eight-bar melody. The four-movement piece is played here by the Nash Ensemble, one of Britain’s best-known chamber groups. Their name comes from the beautiful Nash Terraces around the Royal Academy of Music. This is from a 1988 CRD Records compact disc made in England.

MUSIC: Ravel: Trio for Piano, Violin and Violoncello in A Minor  performed by the Nash Ensemble [CRD 3446, Track 3]  [20:38]

Maurice Ravel’s Trio for Piano, Violin, and Cello in A Minor performed by the Nash Ensemble.

You are listening to an hour of music composed in 1914 on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’s The Oceanides was inspired by Greek mythology — the title refers to the feminine spirits that animate the waters. The piece was the result of  a commission by a wealthy, music-loving American businessman for a festival held at his estate in Norfolk, Connecticut in 1914. For the occasion, Sibelius conducted an elite orchestra composed of members of the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Boston Symphony. The piece is performed here by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Colin Davis on a 1999 RCA Victor/BMG compact disc.

MUSIC: Sibelius: The Oceanides, Op. 73  performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Colin Davis [RCA Victor/BMG 09026-68770-2, Track 4]  [10:57]

Jean Sibelius’s The Oceanides. The London Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Sir Colin Davis.

Scott Joplin’s Magnetic Rag, written the same year as Sibelius’s Oceanides, is considered by some to be Joplin’s masterpiece. According to one critic, it shows the heights to which Joplin might have climbed had it not been for his premature death, after a long illness, in 1917. The recording we’ll hear is by pianist Daniel Blumenthal.

MUSIC: Joplin: Magnetic Rag,  performed by pianist Daniel Blumenthal [Pavane Records ADW 7317, Track 17]  [5:17]

Scott Joplin’s Magnetic Rag from 1914. The pianist was Daniel Blumenthal.

You are listening to an hour of music composed in 1914 on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

I have two more short American pieces from 1914 to play for you to complete this hour: Fizz Water by Eubie Blake, and Harry Alford’s Spooks: A Midnight Chase, both performed by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, directed by Rick Benjamin.

James Hubert Blake, better known as Eubie Blake, was an American composer, lyricist, and pianist of ragtime, jazz, and popular music. He lived from 1887 until 1983. In 1921, Blake and his long-time collaborator Noble Sissle wrote the Broadway musical Shuffle Along, one of the first Broadway musicals to be written and directed by African-Americans. Blake's compositions included such hits as, "Bandana Days", "Charleston Rag", "Love Will Find A Way", "Memories of You" and "I'm Just Wild About Harry". The musical Eubie!, which opened on Broadway in 1978, featured his works.

Blake submitted Fizz Water to a New York publisher in 1914. It was to be the first of Blake’s nearly 70 years’ worth of publications.

MUSIC: Blake: Fizz Water, performed by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, directed by Rick Benjamin. [New World Records 80731-2, Track 19]  [2:26]

Eubie Blake’s Fizz Water, performed by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, directed by Rick Benjamin.

We have been listening to music created in 1914 on this hour of Compact Discoveries, and we have one final selection to offer: Harry Alford’s Spooks: A Midnight Chase from the CD album, “Minding the Score: The Music of Harry Alford.” Alford was an American arranger and composer of band marches and other music who lived from about 1879 — the date is uncertain — to 1939.

Spooks: A Midnight Chase is one of Alford’s original pieces, rather than an arrangement of someone else’s works. In this 1914 work, Alford demonstrates his masterful command of a small orchestra. With just 12 players he creates an amazing number of moods, sounds, and effects.

MUSIC: Harry L. Alford: Spooks: A Midnight Chase,  performed by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, directed by Rick Benjamin. [New World Records 80743-2, Track 15]  [3:52]

Harry L. Alford’s Spooks: A Midnight Chase, performed by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, directed by Rick Benjamin.  This was from a 2013 New World Records compact disc.

And that concludes this hour devoted to “The Year 1914 in Music.” If you missed part of the program or would like to hear it again, you can stream it on demand at compactdiscoveries.com. This is program number 237. And this is your guide to Compact Discoveries, Fred Flaxman, thanking you for listening.

MUSIC: excerpt from Eubie Blake: Fizz Water, performed by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, directed by Rick Benjamin. [New World Records 80731-2, Track 19]

MUSIC: Fades out

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, Art and Eva Stevens, and 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