Program 76
"Musical Beasts"

MUSIC: Rollinson: A Morning in Noah's Ark performed by the New Columbian Brass Band conducted by George Foreman [Dorian DOR-93201, track 2] [under the following]

Welcome to Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide Fred Flaxman, and this hour we are going to have a great time listening to "Musical Beasts." We're starting right in with A Morning in Noah's Ark, a humorous fantasy in four scenes written around 1900 by Thomas H. Rollinson. The New Columbian Brass Band is conducted by George Foreman on a Dorian compact disc.

MUSIC: comes up until the end of the piece

A Morning in Noah's Ark. This humorous fantasy in four scenes was written around 1900 by Thomas H. Rollinson. The New Columbian Brass Band was conducted by George Foreman.

In the score Rollinson calls for the band to make the sounds of several of the ark's passengers. In the old days these effects would have been produced vocally by members of the band or by the use of special instruments in the percussion section. In this recording one person voiced almost all of the animals: a master mimic of the menagerie named Woody Brooks.

That was our opening selection on this hour of Compact Discoveries, which is devoted entirely to "Musical Beasts."

We're going to hear quite a bit more from The New Columbian Brass Band, so let me tell you a little bit about it. The band was founded in 1992 by its conductor, historian George Foreman, and trumpet virtuoso Vince DiMartino. The band is dedicated to bringing back to life the sounds of what they call the "Golden Age of American Bands," a time when John Philip Sousa was the world's most popular entertainer, and more than 10,000 bands were active throughout the United States.

We're going to hear several cuts from the band's Dorian compact disc called "The Teddy Bears Picnic." Next up are Two Little Bullfinches by Henri Kling. Kling was born in Paris but spent most of his professional life in Geneva, where he was a professor of horn and music theory at the Geneva Conservatory. He was a serious composer who wrote four operas and a symphony as well as many shorter works. But these never became as popular as Two Little Bullfinches. In this recording the twittering birds are portrayed by cornetists Vince DiMartino and John Hagstrom.

MUSIC: Kling: The Two Little Bullfinches performed by the New Columbian Brass Band conducted by George Foreman with cornetists Vince DiMartino and John Hagstrom [Dorian DOR-93201, track 3]

The Two Little Bullfinches by Henri Kling. The New Columbian Brass Band was conducted by George Foreman on a Dorian compact disc.

You are listening to Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman, and I am devoting this hour to "Musical Beasts."

If you think that title is a slight exaggeration when applied to Two Little Bullfinches, I wonder what you'll think of using that program name for this next piece: The Glow-Worm... especially when you realize that a glow-worm is actually a firefly.

This familiar piece was written by Paul Lincke, a multi-talented German composer who played the violin and bassoon, conducted theater orchestras, and headed his own music publishing firm. He lived from 1866 until 1946. For a couple of years after World War One he conducted the theater orchestra at the Folies-Bergere in Paris. The Glow-Worm is based on a melody from his 1902 operetta Lysistrata.

Here, once again, is the New Columbian Brass Band conducted by George Foreman.

MUSIC: Lincke: The Glow-Worm performed by the New Columbian Brass Band conducted by George Foreman [Dorian DOR-93201, track 9]

The Glow-Worm by Paul Lincke. George Foreman conducted the New Columbian Brass Band on a Dorian compact disc. With a little imagination and a big sense of humor, The Glow-Worm qualifies for this Compact Discoveries program devoted to "Musical Beasts."

Our next musical beast is somewhat larger, but not too much more frightening. It is the turkey, and in this case, arguably the most famous turkey of them all: The Turkey in the Straw.

MUSIC: Bellstedt: Turkey in the Straw performed by the New Columbian Brass Band conducted by George Foreman [Dorian DOR-93201, track 11]

Turkey in the Straw performed by the New Columbian Brass Band conducted by George Foreman. The arrangement for band is from 1908 and is by the German-born cornet soloist Herman Bellstedt, Jr. He came to the U.S. at the age of nine with his family and settled in Cincinnati. He performed with several of America's leading professional bands, including John Philip Sousa's. He was known for his lightening fast tongue and his extensive range on the cornet.

O.K. now one last "Musical Beast" from the New Columbian Brass Band's album called "The Teddy Bear's Picnic." This is the last cut on that CD: Tiger Rag by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band from 1918. It was arranged for this recording by David Henderson. John Jenkins is the Dixieland clarinetist.

MUSIC: Tiger Rag performed by the New Columbian Brass Band conducted by George Foreman [Dorian DOR-93201, track 15]

Tiger Rag by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. This piece is from 1918, but it was newly arranged for this recording by David Henderson. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band achieved the distinction of being the first jazz band to make commercial recordings. Tiger Rag is one of the most familiar of all early jazz pieces. John Jenkins was the clarinetist in this Dorian CD.

You are listing to "Musical Beasts" on Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional 1-minute cutaway not included in the 58:00 total timing]

Next up, two "Musical Beasts" from an album called "Smiles and Chuckles: Celebrating the Music of the Six Brown Brothers." It is a Canadian recording on CBC records and it features the Royal City Saxophone Quartet.

Around 1915 people started talking about a saxophone craze in North America, and by 1917 Tom Brown claimed that the Six Brown Brothers had started it. Maybe they did. The Brown Brothers, growing steadily from two to six between 1903 and 1911, were by 1921 reputed to be the best-paid musical act on the stage.

I should mention that the Six Brown Brothers were real brothers, born between 1879 and 1890, all but one in Ontario. About 1895 they formed a boys' band under their father's direction.

Now its time to listen to the Royal City Saxophone Quartet, first playing the Bull Frog Blues, then Parade of the Elephants.

MUSIC: Tom Brown and Guy Shrigley (arr. Lester Brockton): Bull Frog Blues performed by the Royal City Saxophone Quartet [CBC Records Musica Viva MVCD 1160, track 11]

MUSIC: Ed Chenette (arr. G.E. Holmes): Parade of the Elephants performed by the Royal City Saxophone Quartet [CBC Records Musica Viva MVCD 1160, track 21]

Parade of the Elephants by Ed Chenette, as arranged by G. E. Holmes and performed by the Royal City Saxophone Quartet. Before that you heard the same quartet performing Bull Frog Blues by Tom Brown and Guy Shrigley.

What are elephants and bullfrogs doing on Compact Discoveries? Well, they're just two examples of the theme for this hour: "Musical Beasts." I hope you are enjoying these creative creatures.

I'm going to conclude this hour of "Musical Beasts" with a whole section devoted to... pigeons. First, we'll hear excerpts from André Messager's ballet about two pigeons which is known by its French title, Les deux Pigeons. We'll draw the hour to a close with another piece about pigeons, but that will be a surprise.

André Messager lived from 1853 until 1929. As you might guess from his name, he was a French composer. He was also an organist, a pianist, a conductor and an administrator, serving as manager at Covent Garden in London and director of the Opéra. As a composer he was known for his operettas and ballets.

The Two Pigeons was his best-known ballet. It premiered at the Paris Opéra in 1886. But the story is rather politically incorrect these days, perpetuating as it does a prejudice against gypsies. So I'll call it a love story between two pigeons, which it is in part.

In this recording of excerpts from the ballet, Sir Charles Mackerras leads the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

MUSIC: Messager: excerpts from Les deux pigeons performed by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras [EMI Classics 7243 5 75221 2 0, tracks 10, 11, 12, 13]

Excerpts from the ballet Les deux pigeons (The Two Pigeons) by André Messager. Sir Charles Mackerras conducted the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

The pigeon section of this Compact Discoveries hour devoted to "Musical Beasts" concludes with a song on this subject.

MUSIC: Tom Lehrer: Poisoning Pigeons in the Park, from "An Evening (wasted) with Tom Lehrer" [Reprise 6199-2, track 1]

Poisoning Pigeons in the Park, words, music and singing by Tom Lehrer, from his album, "An Evening (wasted) with Tom Lehrer" on the Reprise label.

MUSIC: Messager: excerpt from Les deux pigeons performed by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras [EMI Classics 7243 5 75221 2 0, track 10]

I hope you enjoyed this hour devoted to "Musical Beasts" and that you'll let me hear from you about this program and the Compact Discoveries series as a whole. You can contact me, Fred Flaxman, through the Compact Discoveries website: www.compactdiscoveries.com.

Compact Discoveries is a registered trademark and production of Compact Discoveries, Inc. This program is made possible in part by the members of WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida.

MUSIC: fades out and program ends at 58:00

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