Compact Discoveries
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited by Fred Flaxman
©2004 by Compact Discoveries, Inc.

Program 61
"Swingin' Classics"

MUSIC: Carmen Cavallaro's rendition of Mozart: Turkish March [Polydor POCP-1645, track 14] [under the following]

Welcome to Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide Fred Flaxman, and during the next hour we're going to explore "Swingin' Classics" -- Big Band-era music based on classical music. We'll hear Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata as he wrote it and as interpreted by Glenn Miller. We'll hear Tchaikovsky, Khachaturian and Rimsky-Korsakoff in renditions by Glenn Miller, Freddy Martin and Alvino Rey. And we'll listen to Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey doing tunes taken from Carl von Weber and Rimsky-Korsakoff.

I hope you can stay with me for the entire hour, because this is going to be a lot of fun!

MUSIC: above piece fades out

Let's start with an excerpt from Beethoven's famous Moonlight Sonata, followed immediately by Glen Miller's version of the same tune. The pianist is Israela Margalit.

MUSIC: Beethoven: excerpt from Moonlight Sonata; Israela Margalit, pianist [Chandos CHAN 8582, track 1]

MUSIC: Glenn Miller's rendition of theme from Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata [RCA Bluebird 9785-2-RB, CD 3, track 9]

A theme from Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, first played the way Beethoven wrote it by pianist Israela Margalit on a Chandos compact disc. Then by Glenn Miller from an RCA Bluebird compact disc called "Glenn Miller: The Popular Recordings, 1938 - 1942."

Next an excerpt from the second movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 followed by Moonlove, as Glenn Miller called his version of that piece.

MUSIC: Tchaikovsky: excerpt from Symphony No. 5, 2nd Movement; André Previn conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra [Telarc CD 80107, track 2]


MUSIC: Glenn Miller's Moonlove [RCA Bluebird 9785-2-RB, CD 1, track 15]

Glenn Miller's "Moonlove" was preceded by the classical piece from which it was adapted, the second movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5, as performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by André Previn on a Telarc compact disc.

One more piece by Tchaikovsky now: an excerpt from his Piano Concerto No. 1. First we'll hear it as Tchaikovsky wrote it, performed by pianist Emil Gilels with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta on an old CBS Masterworks compact disc. Then by Freddy Martin and His Orchestra on a Jasmine CD.

Freddy Martin was born in 1909 in Cleveland, Ohio. He grew up in an orphanage in Springfield, Ohio, following the death of his parents when he was only four. As a teenager he went back to Cleveland where he lived with relatives while attending high school. To help pay for his keep, he sold musical instruments in his spare time. That's when he learned to play the tenor saxophone. After graduation he played with several bands before forming his own group in 1931.

It was the adaptation of classical music themes, played in dance tempo, which made the band's reputation. Their 1941 recording of the theme from Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 became one of the nation's biggest sellers and was then adapted as the band's theme song.

MUSIC: Tchaikovsky: excerpt from Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat; Emil Gilels; New York Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta [CBS Masterworks MK36660]


MUSIC: Freddy Martin's Tonight We Love [Jasmine JASMCD 2554, track 3]

The theme from Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat. The original version was performed by pianist Emil Gilels with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Zubin Mehta. Then we heard Freddy Martin's treatment of the same theme, which he called "Tonight We Love."

Freddy Martin's first engagement was at the Bossert Hotel in New York. It lasted from 1931 until 1934. That was followed by appearances in several other hotels in Manhattan. After a lengthy stay at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, Martin settled on the West Coast, playing at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco before moving to Los Angeles. He was to become a fixture at the Coconut Grove in the Ambassador Hotel there for more than a quarter century.

Other Freddy Martin hits based on classical pieces include Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2, which we hear next, followed by the Sabre Dance Boogie, from the original by Khachaturian, and Bumble Boogie, based on Rimsky-Korsakoff's Flight of the Bumble Bee. Big Band leader Alvino Rey also did a Bumble Boogie, so I'll throw in his rendition to end this set.

MUSIC: excerpt from Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2; Cicile Licad, pianist; Claudio Abbado conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra [CBS Masterworks MK 38672]

MUSIC: Freddy Martin's Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 [Jasmine JASMCD 2554, track 7]

MUSIC: Khachaturian: "Sabre Dance" from the Gayne Ballet Suite; Vienna State Opera Orchestra; Vladimir Golschmann, conductor [Vanguard Classics OVC 5010, track 1]

MUSIC: Freddy Martin's Sabre Dance Boogie [Jasmine JASMCD 2554, track 20] [2:44]

MUSIC: Rimsky-Korsakov: Flight of the Bumblebee; James Galway, flute; National Philharmonic Orchestra; Charles Gerhardt, conductor] [1:09]

MUSIC: Freddy Martin's Bumble Boogie [Jasmine JASMCD 2554, track 3] [2:50]

MUSIC: Alvin Rey's Bumble Boogie [Hindsight HCD-249, track 9] [2:18]

Two Big Band versions of Rimsky-Korsakoff's Flight of the Bumblebee. They were both called Bumble Boogie. The first rendering was by Freddy Martin and His Orchestra on a Jasmine compact disc. The second was by Alvino Rey and His Orchestra on a Hindsight CD. Alvino Rey was the only musician ever to build a Big Band around the guitar, and he used a 12-string instrument that was played flat -- not held like ordinary classical or electric guitars.

The classical flute version of Rimsky-Korsakoff's Flight of the Bumblebee was performed by James Galway with the National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Charles Gerhardt.

The music began with an excerpt from Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with Cicile Licad as the pianist and Claudio Abbado conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Then we heard Freddy Martin's rendition of the same music.

That was followed by Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance" from the Gayne Ballet Suite with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Golschmann. Then came Freddy Martin's Sabre Dance Boogie.

My name is Fred Flaxman. The program is Compact Discoveries, and this hour is called "Swingin' Classics."

[optional break not included in total timing]

Next we turn to the music of Carl Maria von Weber and his piano piece, Invitation to the Dance as brilliantly orchestrated by Hector Berlioz. This is paired with Benny Goodman's Let's Dance. In this case the Big Band version doesn't take the main theme from the Weber, which sounds like this:
MUSIC: main theme from Weber: Invitation to the Dance ; CSR Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava conducted by Ondrej Lenard [Naxos 8.550081, track 1]

But rather a secondary theme, which sounds like this:

MUSIC: secondary theme from Weber: Invitation to the Dance ; CSR Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava conducted by Ondrej Lenard [Naxos 8.550081, track 1]

Benny Goodman turned that theme into this:

MUSIC: theme from Benny Goodman: Let's Dance [Master 19 900/1, track 15]

Keeping this tune in mind, let's listen to the complete Weber Invitation to the Dance followed by the complete Let's Dance from Benny Goodman.

MUSIC: Weber: Invitation to the Dance; CSR Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava conducted by Ondrej Lenard [Naxos 8.550081, track 1] [9:24}

MUSIC: Benny Goodman: Let's Dance [Master 19 900/1, track 15] [2:36]

Weber's Invitation to the Dance. The classic version was performed by the CSR Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava conducted by Ondrej Lenard on a Naxos compact disc. Then we heard Benny Goodman's rendition, which he called Let's Dance.

We conclude this hour of "Swingin' Classics" with a song from Rimsky-Korsakoff's opera Sadko. First we'll hear the theme from the song as arranged for violin and piano by Fritz Kreisler and performed by Takako Nishizaki and Wolf Harden. That will be followed by Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra playing his version, which he called Song of India.

MUSIC: theme from "Hindu Song" from Sadko by Rimsky-Korsakoff, arranged by Fritz Kreisler, with Takako Nishizaki, violin, and Wolf Harden, piano [Naxos 8.556674, track 10]

MUSIC: Tommy Dorsey's Song of India [Collectables COL-CD-2815, track 4] [3:05]

Tommy Dorsey's Song of India on a Collectables label CD, and the music from which it was derived: a song from Rimsky-Korsakoff's opera Sadko.

MUSIC: theme from "Hindu Song" from Sadko by Rimsky-Korsakoff, arranged by Fritz Kreisler, with Takako Nishizaki, violin, and Wolf Harden, piano [Naxos 8.556674, track 10]

I hope you've enjoyed this hour of Compact Discoveries which I called "Swingin' Classics." I'd like to thank Michael and Sandra Rose of the Michael Rose Orchestra for not only the theme for this hour's program, but also for supplying the CDs of the Big Band music which made this production possible.

If you have an idea for a theme for a future Compact Discoveries program, I'd love to hear from you. You can get in touch with me through the Compact Discoveries website: www.compactdiscoveries.com.

Compact Discoveries is a production of Compact Discoveries, Inc., and a presentation of WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida.

MUSIC: fades out and program ends at 58:00 [timing without optional breaks]

 
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