Compact Discoveries
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, recorded and edited by Fred Flaxman
©2003 by Compact Discoveries, Inc.

Program 39
"Leftover Birds"

MUSIC: Six Brown Brothers: At the Chicken Chaser's Ball performed by the Royal City Saxophone Quartet [CBC Records MVCD 1160, track 3] under the following:[2:28]

FLAXMAN: Welcome to Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman. The music in the background is At the Chicken Chaser's Ball by the Six Brown Brothers, performed by the Royal City Saxophone Quartet, from the CBC Records compact disc "Smiles and Chuckles."

A recent Compact Discoveries hour was devoted to "The Birds and the Bees." There was so much interesting bird music that I was not able to squeeze into that program, I decided to devote this hour to "Leftover Birds" starting with this Canadian recording of At the Chicken Chaser's Ball.

MUSIC: continues until the end of the piece

FLAXMAN: At the Chicken Chaser's Ball from "Smiles and Chuckles: Celebrating the Music of the Six Brown Brothers," performed by the Royal City Saxophone Quartet on a CBC compact disc.

Who, you might ask, are the Six Brown Brothers? Well, in the early 1900s there was a saxophone craze in North America, and it may have been started by the Six Brown Brothers. They grew from two to six between 1903 and 1911. By 1921 they were said to be the best-paid musical act in the world. They performed to audiences from England to Australia, as well as in Canada and the U.S.
But let's turn to some more classical bird music right now: "Hens and Roosters," "The Cuckoo in the Woods," and the "Aviary" from the Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns.

MUSIC: Saint-Saëns: "Hens and Roosters" from The Carnival of the Animals performed by Katia and Marielle Labèque, pianos, Richard Stoltzman, clarinet, Victoria Mullova, first violin, Alexej Nagovitsyn, second violin, Yuri Bashmet, viola [RCDJ 68861-2, track 2] [0:58]

MUSIC: Saint-Saëns: "The Cuckoo in the Woods" from The Carnival of the Animals performed by Katia and Marielle Labèque, pianos, Richard Stoltzman, clarinet [RCDJ 68861-2, track 9] [2:22]

MUSIC: Saint-Saëns: "Aviary" from The Carnival of the Animals performed by Katia and Marielle Labèque, pianos; Benoit Fromanger, flute; Victoria Mullova, first violin; Alexej Nagovitsyn, second violin; Yuri Bashmet, viola; Misha Maisky, cello; Gary Karr, bass [RCDJ 68861-2, track 10] [1:16]

FLAXMAN: There you have it: a plethora of "Leftover Birds" from The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns. First we heard "Hens and Roosters." Then "The Cuckoo in the Woods." And finally "The Aviary." You heard Katia and Marielle Labèque, duo pianists; Benoit Fromanger, flute; and Richard Stoltzman, clarinet.

Next, we turn to Glinka's Variations on the Song "The Nightingale" by Alexander Alabiev [Al-AH-bee-F]. Victor Ryabchikov [Ri-AH-chi-koff] is the pianist. The song is about a girl who asks a nightingale where it is flying. She says that her crying prevents her from sleeping at night, and that the nightingale can fly anywhere in the world, but never find anyone more miserable than she is, because her lover left her.

MUSIC: Glinka: Variations on the Song "The Nightingale" by Alexander Alabiev performed by Victor Ryabchikov [BIS BIS-CD-980, track 9] [6:56]

FLAXMAN: Mikhail Glinka's Variations on the Song "The Nightingale" by Alexander Alabiev. Victor Ryabchikov was the pianist.

MUSIC: Stravinsky: The Song of the Nightingale [excerpt under the following] performed by the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Eiji Oue [Reference Recordings RR-70CD, track 2]

FLAXMAN: Stravinsky also wrote music called The Song of the Nightingale, which you hear in the background now. It is a symphonic poem turned ballet based on his first opera, Le Rossignol - The Nightingale. That, in turn, is based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen. In this recording, Eiji Oue conducts the Minnesota Orchestra on a Reference Recording.

MUSIC: Fades out

FLAXMAN: You are listening to "Leftover Birds" on Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman.

The instrument that comes closest to the sound of a bird is undoubtedly the flute. As proof, I propose Pan et les oiseaux - Pan and the Birds, by Jules Mouquet, who lived from 1867 until 1949. The flutist is Marc Grauwels. The Orchestre symphonique de la Radio & Télévision Belge is conducted by André Vandernoot.

MUSIC: Mouquet: Pan et les oiseaux, Op. 15 performed by Marc Grauwels, flute, with the Orchestre symphonique de la Radio & Télévision Belge conducted by André Vandernoot [Naxos 8.555977, track 3] [6:53]

FLAXMAN: Pan et les oiseaux - Pan and the Birds by Jules Mouquet. Marc Grauwels was the flutist. The Orchestre Symphonique de la Radio & Télévision Belge was conducted by André Vandernoot.

Our theme this hour on Compact Discoveries is "Leftover Birds." I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman, and we are listening to music which is about birds and which I didn't manage to get in when I did a previous program on "The Birds and the Bees."

Lots of composers were inspired by larks. Tchaikovsky wrote a Song of the Lark for piano. Hoggie Carmichael wrote a piece called Skylark. And David Brubeck composed Strange Meadow Lark. We'll listen to the opening of the Brubeck piece now, followed by two versions of the Tchaikovsky - the original version for piano and a transcription for string quartet. We'll conclude the lark section of this hour with the piece by Hoggie Carmichael as performed by violinists Stéphane Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin. Ready? Let's take flight!

MUSIC: Brubeck: Strange Meadow Lark [excerpt] performed by the Dave Brubeck Quartet [Columbia CK 40585, track 2] [about 2:00]

MUSIC: above fades out and into

MUSIC: Tchaikovsky: Song of the Lark performed by Luba Edlina, piano [Musical Heritage Society MHS 512374W, track 22] [1:04]

MUSIC: Tchaikovsky: Song of the Lark performed by members of the Borodin Trio and others [Musical Heritage Society MHS 512374W, track 46] [1:08]

MUSIC: Carmichael: Skylark performed by violinists Stéphane Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin [Angel 7 2435-66830-2, track 7] [4:50]

FLAXMAN: Skylark by Hoagie Carmichael, performed by violinists Stéphane Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin on an Angel release. Before that you heard Tchaikovsky's Song of the Lark performed by pianist Luba Edlina in the original version followed by a transcription for string quartet played by members of the Borodin Trio. We started this lark section of "Leftover Birds" with an excerpt from Dave Brubeck's Strange Meadow Lark performed by the Dave Brubeck Quartet on a Columbia CD.

In case you just tuned in, you are listening to Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman, and the theme for this hour is "Leftover Birds" - music about birds which I didn't manage to squeeze in on the hour I devoted to "The Birds and the Bees."

From larks we turn next to birds in general and Franz Liszt's Legend No. 1: St. François d'Assise - La Prédication aux oiseaux - Saint Francis of Assisi: The Sermon to the Birds. What's this all about?

Well, it's something like this: St. Francis, perhaps after having a bit too much wine, started to preach to the birds on the ground. Those in the trees flocked to him. "My dear little birds, you are much beholden to God," he said. "God gives you rivers and fountains for drinking and tall trees for your nests. He clothes you and your young ones. Therefore, beware of the sin of ingratitude. The birds bowed their heads. Beneath avian flutters and twitters, the saint's voice can be heard in the left hand, delivering the music of an earlier Liszt choral setting of St. Francis's Hymn to the Sun. Our pianist in this Protone recording is James Raphael.

MUSIC: Liszt: Legend No. 1: St. François d'Assise - La Prédication aux oiseaux , performed by James Raphael, piano [Protone NRPR 2204, track 6] [9:05]

FLAXMAN: James Raphael was the pianist in Franz Liszt's Legend No. 1: St. François d'Assise - La Prédication aux oiseaux - Saint Francis of Assisi: The Sermon to the Birds.

You are listening to Compact Discoveries and I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman. This hour is devoted to "Leftover Birds."

The French composer Clément Janequin, who lived from 1485 until 1558, wrote at least 20 pieces which were about birds. Let's listen to the opening of Le Chant des Oyseaulx - The Song of the Birds performed by the Ensemble Clément Janequin on a Harmonia Mundi compact disc.

MUSIC: Janequin: Le Chant des Oyseaulx performed by The Ensemble Clément Janequin [Harmonia Mundi France, track 1] [Excerpt]

FLAXMAN: The Song of the Birds by Clément Janequin performed by the Ensemble Clément Janequin on a Harmonia Mundi compact disc.

You have been listening to "Leftover Birds" on Compact Discoveries this hour - music inspired by birds, part two as it were. There could actually be parts three and four, at least, so full is the classical repertoire of bird music. In fact, I'm planning an additional hour devoted entirely to "Swan Songs," to include music by Saint-Saëns, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and others.

MUSIC: Hahn: Frontpiece from Le Rossignol Éperdu [Ivory Classics 72006, disc 1, track 1]

FLAXMAN: If we had several more hours to devote to music for the birds - or, at least, music about birds - I could play for you the complete two-CD set of piano music by Reynaldo Hahn called Le Rossignol Éperdu - The Bewildered Nightingale. It contains no less than 53 poems for piano. Earl Wild has recorded these pieces for Ivory Classics and you hear the opening movement now.
MUSIC: Above fades out

MUSIC: Marcilly: L'oiseau en fête performed by Jacques Israelievich, violin, and Stephanie Sebastian, piano [Fleur de Son FDS 57933, track 14] [excerpt]

FLAXMAN [over the beginning of the above music]: Paul Marcilly wrote a bird piece called L'oiseau en fête. It is played here by Jacques Israelievich on the violin and Stephanie Sebastian on the piano.

MUSIC: fades out

MUSIC: Poulenc: Les deux coqs performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg conducted by Jonathan Darlington [Timpani TC1041, track 7] [under the rest of the program]

FLAXMAN [over the above music]: I'll bring to an end this Compact Discoveries program devoted to "Leftover Birds" now with Two Roosters by Francis Poulenc from his ballet Les Animaux modèles.

Compact Discoveries is produced and presented by yours truly, Fred Flaxman, who you can reach in care of this station or through the Internet at www.fredflaxman.com. That's www-dot-f-r-e-d-f-l-a-x-m-a-n-dot-c-o-m.

Compact Discoveries is made possible in large part by the generous, caring listeners who support public radio financially as well as morally and aurally. It is a production of Compact Discoveries, Incorporated, and is a presentation of WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida.

MUSIC: ends at 58:00


 
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