Friday, July 30, 2021

Musical Comedies

No. 363 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. Mobile followers can listen to the montage on our Pod-O-Matic Channel, and desktop users can simply use the embedded player found on this page.


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This week’s montage is dedicated to musical comedies – in this context, comedy should be taken in the Latin or Greek sense of a play, not necessarily as something humorous. I think I much prefer the appellation musical theatre.

Musical theatre is the combination of music (singing), acting and dancing and performers in this genre are commonly referred to as ‘triple threats’. It is also one of the easiest forms of theatre to introduce people to as an audience member, as there as so many possible points of engagement.

Looking at it from the music angle, musical theatre can be thought of in the vein of operetta – as light affairs – Gilbert and Sullivan rather than Wagner. One could argue, however, that some musicals have all the panache and structure e of opera – think of Show Boat or West Side Story, with complicated subjects and sometimes using the trappings of opera –duets transforming into trios and quartets…

The tracks that form this week’s montage are instrumental – some overtures, memorable numbers and medleys from musicals of the Broadway (and London) stage and yje Silver Screen. The possible exception here are the Symphonic Dances from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story which sews together dance numbers from the musical into a coherent concert piece – which is something he did for some of the other musicals and film scores he collaborated on.

I think you will love this music too.

 

 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Brasil

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from August 9, 2019. It can be found in our archives at  https://archive.org/details/pcast319



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This week’s retro podcast is fairly recent (dating almost two years) and provides a musical travelog stop in Brazil.

The music of Brazil encompasses various regional musical styles influenced by African, American, European and Amerindian forms. Brazilian music developed some unique and original styles such as forró, repente, coco de roda, axé, sertanejo, samba, bossa nova and Brazilian versions of foreign musical styles, such as rock, soul, hip-hop, disco music, country music, ambient, industrial and psychedelic music, rap, classical music, fado, and gospel.

Samba has become the best form of Brazilian music worldwide, especially because of the country's carnival, although bossa nova, which had Antônio Carlos Jobim as one of its most acclaimed composers and performers, have received much attention abroad since the 1950s, when the song "Desafinado", interpreted by João Gilberto, was first released.

Instrumental music is also largely practiced in Brazil, with styles ranging from classical to popular and jazz influenced forms. Notable classical composers include Heitor Villa-Lobos, Carlos Gomes and Cláudio Santoro.

As is usually the case in our travelog series, we have works today from Brazilian composers (the aforementioned Jobim and Villa-Lobos) as well as Brazil-inspired compositions by Respighi, Milhaud and Constant Lambert.

As filler, I found the complete 1964 Jazz collaboration between Stan Getz and João Gilberto. Getz/Gilberto is considered the record that popularized bossa nova worldwide and was one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time, selling more than 2 million copies in 1964. It was included in Rolling Stone's and Vibe's lists of best albums of all time.


I think you will (still) love this music too

Friday, July 16, 2021

Antal Doráti (1906 –1988)

No. 362 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. Mobile followers can listen to the montage on our Pod-O-Matic Channel, and desktop users can simply use the embedded player found on this page.


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This week’s new montage pays tribute to a mainstay classical recording artist for several decades of the Twentieth Century, Hungarian-born conductor Antal Doráti.

Doráti made his conducting debut in 1924 with the Budapest Royal Opera. The closing work, Copland’s orchestral suite from Appalachian Spring, serves as a reminder that he has had a fine career as an opera and ballet conductor – most notably with the Ballets Russes (1937-41) and American Ballet Theatre (1941-45).

However, most of us know him for his many recordings - over the course of his career Doráti made over 600. With the Philharmonia Hungarica, Doráti was the second conductor to record the complete symphonies of Joseph Haydn – two of which are featured in this podcast. He also recorded an unprecedented cycle of Joseph Haydn's operas and Ottorino Respighi's Ancient Airs and Dances, Suites 1, 2 and 3.

The opening track of the podcast, Respighi’s suite The Birds, is part of a good number of recordings he made of this composer’s music for the Mercury and Decca labels with several orchestras, most notably the London Symphony and Royal Philharmonic.

He lived to make digital recordings, for English Decca Records (released in the U.S. on the London label), with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for Philips. We have featured some of these recordings – most notably that of Liszt’s Faust Symphony – in other montages.

I think you will love this music too.


Friday, July 9, 2021

Rivers

This montage from our Podcast Vault revisits a post from August 3rd, 2012. It can be found in our archives at  https://archive.org/details/Rivers_483



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This past Friday, we began programming montages from our musical passport series as daily podcasts. Today’s foray into the Podcast Vault features another selection from that series, with our 2012 look at rivers.

The montage features works inspired by rivers from birth the Old and New World: rhe Rhine, the Danube, the Nile, the St-Lawrence and the Mississippi are some of the well-known rivers illustrated here. The composers vary from the Romantic all the way to the modern.

When I went looking for filler material, I started thinking of other great rivers that may have inspired other classical works and in doing so, I stumbled onto this page. Some of the works overlap  with ours, but there were some from Russian composers that are worth honourable mention, From that page, I retained Dawn on the Moscow River which opens Mussorgsky’s unfinished opera Khovanshchina. The recording feaures Shostakovich’s orchestration of the passage, performed by the USSR State Academic Symphony Orchestra under Evgeni Svetlanov in a vintage Meloidiya recording.


I think you will (still) love this music too.