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

Program 64
"Music for Autumn"

MUSIC: Kosma: excerpt from Autumn Leaves, performed by Richard Hayman and his Orchestra [Naxos 8.555009, track 4] [under the following]

Welcome to Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide Fred Flaxman, and during the next hour let's celebrate autumn together with music inspired by the season. This will include Autumn Leaves by Joseph Kosma, as interpreted by Richard Hayman and his Orchestra, jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli with classical violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and French singer Jacques Douai... "Autumn Song" from The Seasons by Tchaikovsky, "Autumn" from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi, and Autumn Colors by Zamfir. These are all my personal favorites of the many pieces by many composers with autumn as their theme.

MUSIC: above piece fades out

But first, one of the most exciting tributes to autumn ever composed: Alexander Glazunov's "Autumn" from his Opus 67, The Seasons. This was written for the Russian Imperial Ballet and first produced in St. Petersburg in February, 1900. There is no story to this ballet, but rather a series of tableaux, one for each of the four seasons, set to music that seems to continue the tradition established in the three ballets of Tchaikovsky.
"Autumn" starts off with a wild bacchanale which comes back at the end when the piece ends with falling leaves. The stage grows dark and we see the stars as they circle the Earth.

MUSIC: Glazunov: "Autumn" from The Seasons, Op. 67; Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava) conducted by Ondrej Lenard [Marco Polo 8.223136, tracks 14, 15, 16] [10:10]

"Autumn" from Alexander Glazunov's The Seasons played by the Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava conducted by Ondrej Lenard on a Marco Polo compact disc.

You are listening to Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman, and this hour is devoted to "Music for Autumn."

Next we turn to Tchaikovsky and his "Autumn Song" from his musical interpretation of The Seasons. Tchaikovsky's composition is divided into 12 pieces -- one for each month of the year -- rather than one piece for each season. This is from a superb Telarc compact disc collection called "Autumn Songs: Popular Works for Solo Piano." The performer is Irish pianist John O'Conor.

MUSIC: Tchaikovsky: Autumn Song from The Seasons (October); John O'Conor, pianist [Telarc CD-80391, track 11] [4:16]

Tchaikovsky's "Autumn Song" from The Seasons, where it represents October. John O'Conor was the pianist on a Telarc compact disc.

Antonio Vivaldi was also inspired by the seasons of the year and composed a little concerto for each of them. This collection is known as The Four Seasons. Whereas Glazunov's The Seasons was a ballet written for a full orchestra, and Tchaikovsky's The Seasons was written for piano, Vivaldi's Four Seasons are composed for strings and keyboard instrument.

Vivaldi prefaced each three-movement concerto with a sonnet explaining the music. Musicologists think Vivaldi may have written the sonnets himself. Autumn brings a good harvest with songs and dancing by the peasants. As the autumn air changes, so does the music, and a deepening slumber overtakes everyone. The hunt at early dawn is imitated by the violins.

In this performance James Brooks-Bruzzese conducts the Hungarian Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra.

MUSIC: Vivaldi: "Autumn" from The Four Seasons; James Brooks-Bruzzese conducts the Hungarian Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra ["Seasons of Change," tracks 7, 8, 9] [10:31]

"Autumn" from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi. James Brooks-Bruzzese conducted the Hungarian Viruosi Chamber Orchestra.

My name is Fred Flaxman. The program is Compact Discoveries, and this hour is devoted to "Music for Autumn."

[optional break not included in total timing]

Gheorghe Zamfir is a composer and performer of music for the panpipe. Are you familiar with the panpipe? If not, where have you been for the last 6,000 years? In fact the panpipe is probably the oldest musical instrument on earth. It has existed as long as nature, since the first reeds broken by the wind began to whisper the first notes. Some 500 years ago the Roumanians removed the instrument from the forests and brought it down to the plains.

Zamfir was born in near Bucharest in Roumania in 1941, where he was surrounded from childhood by folk-melodies and gypsy dance music. He started his musical education on the accordion at the age of 14. When the accordion class was abolished, he switched to the panpipes class, proving, I guess, that budget cuts in the music program sometimes bring unintended good results. Zamfir later entered the Bucharest Conservaotry.

By 1979 Zamfir's fame was established throughout the world by his many recordings. He earned more than 30 gold and platinum records. As you'll hear in a moment, his sound is unique, especially when combined with a full symphony orchestra. It's difficult to say whether this music is classical or popular. Whatever you call it, I think it is very pretty. In keeping with our autumn theme, here's Zamfir's Couleurs d'automne (Autumn Colors). Zamfir is the panpipes soloist with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo conducted by Lawrence Foster.

MUSIC: Zamfir: Couleurs d'automne ; Gheorghe Zamfir, panpipes with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo conducted by Lawrence Foster [Philips 412 221-2, track 6] [7:18]

Gheorghe Zamfir played the panpipes in his own composition, Autumn Colors. Lawrence Foster conducted the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo on a Philips compact disc.

I think Zamfir serves as a perfect bridge between classical and popular music. On the popular side of the bridge we find Richard Hayman and his Orchestra performing Autumn Leaves by Joseph Kosma. Kosma was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1905. He immigrated to France in 1933 and died in Paris, in 1969, after writing the scores for some of the most famous French films.

MUSIC: Kosma: Autumn Leaves; Richard Hayman and his Orchestra [Naxos 8.555009, track 4] [3:41]

MUSIC: Kosma: Autumn Leaves; Stéphane Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin [Angel CDM 7243 5 66830 2 0, track 3] [4:42]

Autumn Leaves by Joseph Kosma. It was performed first by Richard Hayman and his Orchestra on a Naxos compact disc; then by violinists Stéphane Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin on an Angel CD.

You are listening to Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman. And this hour is devoted to "Music for Autumn."

[optional break not included in the total timing]

Also on this last CD is another work related to autumn: it's by Vernon Duke and its called Autumn in New York.

MUSIC: Vernon Duke: Autumn in New York; Stéphane Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin [Angel CDM 7243 5 66830 2 0, track 8] [4:19]

Stéphane Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin played Autumn in New York by Vernon Duke. Grappelli was one of the few Europeans in jazz to gain the respect usually reserved for great American musicians, and he did it on an instrument not normally associated with jazz.

Grappelli's mother died when he was only three years old. As his father was not able to care for him, he was put in an orphanage. Trying to find an alternative to the orphanage for his son, his father spoke to Isadora Duncan, who owned a dancing school, and asked if she would take on a new student. She accepted Grappelli and he remained at the school until it closed at the outbreak of World War I.

When his father returned from the front, he brought with him a three-quarter violin, but there was no money for lessons. So father and son learned to play the scales together at home. When Grappelli was 14 he got a job in the pit band of a movie house where he learned to play and read music proficiently. It was about this time when he was first introduced to jazz. He then decided to teach himself piano as well. Grappelli later said: "In the cinema, I had to play Mozart principally, but was allowed some Gershwin in funny films. Then I discovered jazz and my vocation and kissed Amadeus goodbye."

For our final selection on this hour devoted to "Music for Autumn," I turn again to the beautiful French song by Joseph Kosma. This time we'll hear it sung with the lyrics from the poem by Jacques Prévert. Here is Autumn Leaves -- Les feuilles mortes -- sung in French by my favorite singer of ancient and modern poetic French songs, Jacques Douai. It is from a two-record EPM recording from France called "Jacques Douai: 50 ans de chansons" (50 Years of Songs).

MUSIC: Kosma/Prévert: Les feuilles mortes; Jacques Douai [EPM 980682, CD 2, track 1] [3:12]

Jacques Douai sang Les Feulles mortes -- Autumn Leaves. The words are from a poem by Jacques Prévert. The music is by Joseph Kosma.

I hope you've enjoyed this hour of Compact Discoveries which I called "Music for Autumn."

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. Or write me in care of this station. You'll find the script with music information for each Compact Discoveries radio program as well as a list of radio stations carrying the series at the Compact Discoveries website. The web address, once again, is www.compactdiscoveries.com. I hope you'll visit us soon.

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

MUSIC: excerpt from Kosma: Autumn Leaves; Richard Hayman and his Orchestra [Naxos 8.555009, track 4] music and program ends at 58:00 but can be faded out anytime after 57:00 [total timing without optional breaks]

 
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