Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Year In Review and Look Ahead to 2022

 As I usually do this time of year, I issue a quick update on what we did last year and what we plan on doing next year on all our platforms.

2021 - or Year 2 of the Corona Virus Pandemic - has ha its ups and downs, though we have tried here to continue with our daily programming on For Your Listening Pleasure, with new releases nearly every week. We completed our complete recap of our montages in 2021, and started a partial recap of our Tuesday Blog / Once or Twice a Fortnight shares in the form of the 222 day binge challenge - which marks today day 122 with our repost f Die Fledermaus.

The first 100 days of 2022 will complete the chanllenge, whuke introducing two fixtured for the upcoming year :

  • Lundi avec Ludwig will replace Mozart Mondays with a weekly Beethoven program every Monday; and
  • The Opera Akphabet with 26 weekend programs that will explore the lyric repertoire every other week.
Here is our calendar for the first quarter (January - March)of 2022

And to complete, our annual YouTube collection of odds and sods

Happy New Year ad thanks for listening!


Tuesday, December 21, 2021

PTB Classic - Xavier Cugat

This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

My last Tuesday Blog for 2021 follows the classic format we brought back this year.

My mom would have been 90 this year, and in some small way, this post is a wink in her direction. As an awkward teenager, my mom tried to teach me (and my brother before me) what she thought to be a basic life skill – ballroom dancing. She tried her best to get us to learn the basic steps to Latin dances, particularly the cha-cha and rumba. Her go-to vinyl record was an old Mercury disk featuring Xavier Cugat and his orchestra.

Xavier Cugat (1900-1990) was a Calatan musician and bandleader who spent his formative years in Havana, Cuba. A trained violinist and arranger, he was a leading figure in the spread of Latin music. In New York City he was the leader of the resident orchestra at the Waldorf–Astoria before and after World War II. One of his trademark gestures was to hold a chihuahua while he waved his baton with the other arm.

Cugat recorded for Columbia (1940s and 1950s, and Epic), RCA Victor (1930s and 1950s), Mercury (1951–52 and the 1960s), and Decca (1960s). Cugat followed trends closely, making records for the conga, the mambo, the cha-cha, and the twist when these dances were popular. In 1940 his recording of "Perfidia" became a hit. In 1943 "Brazil" was Cugat's most successful chart hit. It spent seven weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard magazine National Best Selling Retail Records chart.

Past members of his orchestra have included Desi Arnaz, Lina Romay, Abbe Lane, Tito Rodriguez, Yma Sumac, Miguelito Valdés, Frank Berardi, Gene Lorello, George Lopez, Glenn E. Brown, Henry Greher, Isabello Marerro, James English, John Haluko, Joseph Gutierrez, Luis Castellanos, Manuel Paxtot, Oswaldo Oliveira, Otto Bolívar, Otto Garcia, Rafael Angelo, Richard Hoffman, Robert De Joseph, and Robert Jones.

Today’s share features two specific Cugat albums: a “Best Of” compilation and the record that my mother used for her lessons, “Viva Cugat”.

The Best Of Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra
  1. Sway [Norman Gimbel, Pablo Beltran Ruiz]
  2. Tequila [Chuck Rio]
  3. Fly Me To The Moon [Bart Howard]
  4. Brazil (Aquareia Do Brasil) [Ary Barroso]
  5. Desafinado [Antônio Carlos Jobim]
  6. Witchcraft [Cy Coleman]
  7. Green Eyes ("Aquellos Ojos Verdes") [Adolfo Utrera and Nilo Menéndez]
  8. Besame Mucho [Consuelo Velázquez]
  9. Yours (Quiéreme Mucho) [ Gonzalo Roig]
  10. Amor [Gabriel Ruiz, Ricardo Lopez Mendez]
  11. It Happened In Monterey [ William Rose, Mabel Wayne]
  12. Tea For Two [Vincent Youmans]
  13. What a Diff'rence a Day Made ("Cuando vuelva a tu lado") [María Grever]
  14. Papa Loves Mambo [ Al Hoffman, Dick Manning, and Bix Reichner]
  15. La cumparsita [ Gerardo Matos Rodríguez]
  16. El Cumbanchero [ Rafael Hernández]
  17. I've Got The World on a String [ Harold Arlen]
  18. Always In My Heart [ Ernesto Lecuona, Kim Gannon]

Spectrum Music 554 767-2
CD, Compilation
Released: 1998

Viva Cugat!
  1. Jungle Concerto [Xavier Cugat]
  2. The Peanut Vendor (El Manisero) [Marion Sunshine, Moises Simons, L. Wolfe Gilbert]
  3. Isle Of Capri [Jimmy Kennedy, Will Gross]
  4. Tropical Merengue (Amanecer Tropical) [Don Marsh, Lawrence Elow, Rafael Munoz]
  5. Nightingale [Fred Wise, George Rosner, Xavier Cugat]
  6. Perfidia [Alberto Dominguez]
  7. Siboney [Dolly Morse, Ernesto Lecuona]
  8. Jungle Drums (Canto Karabali) [Carmen Lombardo, Charles O'Flynn, Ernesto Lecuona]
  9. Anna (El Negro Zumbon) [Armando Trovajoli]
  10. Maria Elena [Lorenzo Barcelata]
  11. Poinciana (Song Of The Tree) [Buddy Bernier, Manuel Lliso, Nat Simon]
  12. Say Si Si (Para Vigo Me Voy) [ Al Stillman, Ernesto Lecuona, Francia Luban]

Mercury – SR 60868
Released: 1951, reissued 1961


Friday, December 17, 2021

Rafael Kubelik conducts Ma Vlast

No. 374 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. It can be found in our archives at


Blogger’s Note: As we review our many musical shares from our musical forum activities under our ongoing “222 Day Binge Challenge”, the Friday Blog and Podcast will revisit some themes from past Tuesday Blogs. Today’s montage is part of that exercise. The Tuesday post in question was issued on December 26, 2011. The programme reuses some of the same works and the below commentary is taken almost verbatim from the original post.

About the Work

Ma Vlast (transl. My Country, or My Fatherland) is a tone poem cycle by the Czech composer Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884). Though other Czech composers (Dvořák and Suk) wrote a lot of folk-inspired music from their homeland, Ma Vlast stands out as being more of a patriotic work, not unlike Sibelius' Finlandia, for instance.

The six tone poems that make-up Ma Vlast are a mix of folklore, legend and atmosphere. From the on-set, the poems were meant to be played as part of a larger group, and Smetana makes use of Leitmotivs and other such devices to sew the music together into one large fabric.

Of the lot, Vltava (The Moldau) is probably the most famous, having been recorded as a stand-alone piece by almost every major conductor. However, one cannot lose sight of the other five, as they all have their own charm and particular potency.

The Conductor

Czech conductor Rafael Kubelik (1914-1996) is a member of the great generation of conductors born between 1908 and 1920 which includes names like Bernstein, Karajan and Giulini. After graduating from the Prague conservatory, he gives his first performance as conductor with the Czech Philharmonic in 1937, and becomes its Principal Conductor in 1942, succeeding Vaclav Talich.

When the Communist regime takes hold in then-Czechoslovakia, he chooses exile and leaves his homeland in 1948 going first to England, then to the USA where he becomes the Music Director of the Chicago Symphony (1950–1953), then music director at Covent Garden (1955 -1958). He guest conducts regularly in Berlin and Vienna and, in 1961, begins a near-20 year tenure with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (1961–1979).

This particular relationship sees Kubelik record great repertoire from the classical, romanitic and Second Viennese periods. However, Kubelik's wheel-house repertoire remains Czech and Bohemian music by Dvořák, Janáček, Martinů et Smetana.

The Kubelik / Ma Vlast Marriage

While still in Prage in 1847, Kubelik sets up the "Prague Spring Music Festival". It is the tradition at this festival that Ma Vlast be played at the inaugural concert, and that Beethoven's Ninth be played at the closing concert.

There is no better match than that of Kubelik and Ma Vlast - the patriotic Czech work performed by the sensitive conductor, hopping all over Europe and North-America while longing for his homeland.

Today’s montage assembles the entire corpus of six tone poems, from six Kubelik recordings available commercially. They are (chronologically):

·         1938 with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
·         1953, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
·         1958, with the Vienna Philharmonic
·         1971, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra
·         1984, with the Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks
·         1991 with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

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

Friday, December 10, 2021

Rachmaninov, the Pianist

No. 373 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. It can be found in our archives at


Blogger’s Note: As we review our many musical shares from our musical forum activities under our ongoing “222 Day Binge Challenge”, the Friday Blog and Podcast will revisit some themes from past Tuesday Blogs. Today’s montage is part of that exercise. The Tuesday post in question was issued on January 2nd, 2012. The programme reuses some of the same works and the below commentary is taken almost verbatim from the original post.

 Today’s blog and podcast is dedicated to Sergei Rachmaninov - not as a composer, but as a concert pianist. This is nothing new - Liszt made a fine career as a concertist as well as in composing. Rachmaninov did what he had to do to "feed his family":

Rachmaninov possessed extremely large hands, with which he could easily maneuver through the most complex chordal configurations. As a pianist, Rachmaninov ranked among the finest pianists of his time, along with Leopold Godowsky, Ignaz Friedman, Moriz Rosenthal and Josef Hofmann, and is perhaps one of the greatest pianists in the history of classical music.

The 1917 Russian Revolution meant the end of Russia as Rachmaninov had known it. With this change followed the loss of his estate, his way of life, and his livelihood. On 22 December 1917, he left St. Petersburg for Helsinki with his wife and two daughters (on an open sled!)

He spent a year giving concerts in Scandinavia while also laboring to widen his concert repertoire. Near the end of 1918, he received lucrative American contract offers. Although he declined them all, he decided the United States might offer a solution to his financial concerns.

He departed for New York on 1 November 1918. Once there, Rachmaninov quickly chose an agent, and accepted the gift of a piano from Steinway before playing 40 concerts in a four-month period. At the end of the 1919–20 season, he also signed a contract with the Victor Talking Machine Company.

From the many recordings he left us, works I retained include a few of his won, but also works by Beethoven and Chopin.

Due to his busy concert career, Rachmaninov's output as composer slowed tremendously. Between 1918 and his death in 1943, while living in the U.S. and Europe, he completed only six compositions. The main work in today’s montage is Rachmaninov as soloist on his fourth piano concerto.


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

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Bizet, Seiji Ozawa, Orchestre National – Carmen / L'Arlésienne Suites

This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

This week’s Vinyl’s Revenge is one of many available couplings of Georges Bizet’s most popular suites from his stage works, notably his two suites from the incidental music he wrote for Alphonse Daudet's play L'Arlésienne and musical selections from his final opera, Carmen.

The incidental music Bizet composed for L'Arlésienne consists of 27 numbers (some only a few bars) for voice, chorus, and small orchestra, ranging from short solos to longer entr'actes. Bizet himself played the harmonium backstage at the premiere performance, which took place 1 October 1872 at the Théâtre du Vaudeville in Paris.

The play itself was not successful, closing after only 21 performances. The incidental music has survived and flourished, however. It is most often heard in the form of two suites for orchestra. Assembled by Bizet himself, L'Arlésienne Suite No. 1 uses a full symphony orchestra but without the chorus. The first performance was at a Pasdeloup concert on 10 November 1872. L'Arlésienne Suite No. 2, also written for full orchestra, was arranged and published in 1879, four years after Bizet's death, by Ernest Guiraud, using Bizet's original themes.

Ernest Guiraud, born in New Orleans, Louisiana, is also responsible for the remaining music on this Ozawa recording; Guiraud arranged twelve numbers from Bizet's opera Carmen into two orchestral Suites. Guiraud is perhaps most famous for constructing the recitatives—both beloved and criticized—that replaced the spoken dialogue in performances of Carmen for more than a century.

The original jacket notes suggest that the numbers from the Carmen suite were assembled by Mr. Ozawa himself.

Happy Listening!

Georges BIZET (1838-1875)
L' Arlésienne Suite No.1 (from the incidental music), op. 23bis
L' Arlésienne Suite No.2 (assembled by Ernest Guirard, 1879), GB 121b
Carmen Suites for orchestra No.1 and 2 (assembled by Ernest Guirard, 1885-86) Selections
  • Les Toréadors - Act I, Prélude (bars 1-119)
  • Prélude - Act I, Prélude (bars 121–48)
  • Aragonaise - Entr'acte before Act IV
  • Intermezzo - Entr'acte before Act III
  • Habanera - Act I, Aria (Carmen): L'amour est un oiseau rebelle
  • Danse Bohème - Act II, Gypsy Dance: Les tringles des sistres tintaient

Orchestre National de France
Seiji Ozawa, conducting
Label: Angel Records – DS-538096
Format: Vinyl, LP
Recorded: 25 & 26 June 1983, Salle Wagram, Paris


Internet Archive

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Remembering Bob Kerr (1919-2003)

No. 372 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Tuesday Blog. It can be found in our archives at


Blogger’s Note: As we review our many musical shares from our musical forum activities under our ongoing “222 Day Binge Challenge”, today's quarterly podcast revisits a Tuesday post originally issued on November 6, 2012. The programme reuses some of the same works and the below commentary is taken almost verbatim from the original post.

In the early 1980's, “CBC Stereo” was the FM classical music network that has since evolved into CBC Music. The CBC Stereo lineup used to feature shows originating from specific cities – not just the home office in Toronto. You had Mostly Music with Sheilagh Rogers emanating from Ottawa, Leon Cole’s Sountrack from Winnipeg, Bob Harding hosting Montreal Après-Midi and, of course, Bob Kerr and Off the Record from Vancouver.

Bob Kerr hosted Off the Record for nearly 40 years (the last 21 of which were heard coast-to-coast on the CBC Stereo network), and became known for his love of music and dislike of poorly produced albums, especially incomplete liner notes.

Born in Calgary, and educated in a boarding school in British Columbia, Kerr found his way to broadcasting after Arts studies in Edmonton and a stint in the Navy during World War II. Kerr began his broadcasting career with CFCN in Calgary in 1947. He moved to the West Coast in 1960, launching Off the Record from the CBC's studios in the Hotel Vancouver. When the one-hour Radio version was cancelled in 1976, a petition with 1070 signatures protested the decision. In its heyday, the 2-hour Stereo program (1:04 pm Monday-Friday) was prepared at Kerr’s home the preceding night. He remained a mainstay on the stereo network until his retirement in 1996.

"With his inimitable voice, distinct style and delightful character, Bob charmed listeners on a daily basis, sharing his erudite opinions and spinning songs from his formidable music collection," said at the time CBC Vice-President of Radio Jane Chalmers. The program's music came from his own library, which filled two rooms and an entire hall of his home.
Each program began with a warm "Good afternoon, friends," and ended with "A fond good afternoon"; the opening music was Antal Dorati’s recording of the Bergamasque from the Ancient Airs and Dances suite no. 2 by Respighi, and ended with Jean-François Paillard’s slow rendition of Pachelbel’s Canon.

Although his musical tastes could be eclectic at times, Kerr’s repertoire of predilection was English late Romantic and turn-of-the-century music. Moreover, every Thursday was “Organ Thursday”, sifting through recordings of Bach and the great French masters. Generally, Kerr would “feature” a major work every hour, filling the remainder of the time with his many reflections on the work, the recording he chose, showing sometimes his irascible side by poo-pooing the jacket notes or the quality of the vinyl pressing.

Our Playlist for today is, as I see it, a microcosm of what a Kerr program would have entailed, bookended by the Respighi and Pachelbel works mentioned above. I can almost certify I heard all of the chosen tracks on his show – including generous samplings of the Michael Rabin album.

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

Friday, November 19, 2021

Beethoven: 3 Trios

No. 371 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. It can be found in our archives at


Today’s Blog and Podcast is a “crossover” montage, intermingling our Friday series with an ongoing Tuesday Blog share discussed on November 2nd. As we deploy five CDs worth of Beethoven piano trios on our podcasting channel, part four of the set focuses on a pair of trios and a set of variations.

To begin today’s montage, the Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 11, is one of a series of early chamber works, many involving woodwind instruments because of their popularity and novelty at the time. The trio is scored for piano, clarinet (replaced here by the violin), and cello (sometimes replaced by bassoon). Beethoven dedicated this piano trio to Countess Maria Wilhelmine von Thun. The work is also sometimes known by the nickname "Gassenhauer Trio". A "Gassenhauer" usually denotes a (normally simple) tune that many people (in the streets, or Gassen) have taken up and sing or whistle for themselves. In the third movement , Beethoven provides nine variations on a theme from the then popular dramma giocoso “L'amor marinaro ossia Il corsaro” by Joseph Weigl. This particular melody, "Pria ch'io l'impegno" ("Before I go to work"), so popular it could be heard in many of Vienna's lanes.

In the same vein, the "Kakadu Variations" is the nickname given to Beethoven's set of variations for piano trio on the theme "Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu" by Wenzel Müller. The work is the last of Beethoven's piano trios to be published. The work is notable for the contrast between its solemn introduction and the lightweight variations that follow.

Beethoven  was known to recycle melodies, and circulated in many editions and arrangements for different forces. To conclude, the Septet in E-flat major, Op. 20 was one of Beethoven's most successful and popular works. The second movement of the Piano Sonata No. 20 shares a melodic theme with the Minuet of the Op. 20 Septet. In about 1803 Beethoven himself arranged the whole septet as a Trio for clarinet (again, replaced her by the violin), cello, and piano, and this version was published as his Op. 38 in 1805.


I think you will love this music too.

Friday, November 5, 2021

It's About Time

No. 370 of the ongoing  ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. It can be found in our archives at


Blogger’s Note: As we review our many musical shares from our musical forum activities under our ongoing “222 Day Binge Challenge”, the Friday Blog and Podcast will revisit some themes from past Tuesday Blogs. Today’s montage is part of that exercise. The Tuesday post in question was issued on March 13, 2012. The programme reuses some of the same works and the below commentary is taken almost verbatim from the original post.

As a smart man once told me, “Give a man a watch, and he knows what time it is. Give him two watches, and he can’t be sure anymore.”

At 2 AM this coming Sunday, continental North-America (except for the province of Saskatchewan and the state of Arizona) “fall backward” to Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time; gibven our current use of it,  DST is actually in effect more calendar days than Standard Time!

The common rationale for DST during the summertime is to ensure that evenings have more daylight and mornings have less. Modern DST was first proposed in 1895 and it was first implemented during the First World War. Many countries have used it at various times since then. In general, DST is in effect in the Americas, Europe and Southern Australia, with a few African and Asian countries doing so as well.

The practice has been both praised and criticized, especially on those calendar dates far removed from the Summer solstice, when young kids wait for school buses in darkness. Although an early goal of DST was to reduce evening usage of incandescent lighting, formerly a primary use of electricity, modern heating and cooling usage patterns differ greatly, and research about how DST currently affects energy use is limited or contradictory.

In Canada, there’s  been conversations about whether to abandon the practice completely – that would likely only happen in my opinion if America chooses to do so as well.

Today’s playlist is a collection of pieces of music that talk about clocks and time. From Haydn’s Clock symphony, to Leroy Anderson's Syncopated Clock. Of course, there are titles by Lukas Foss, Wendy Carlos and Ponchielli added to the mix.

Set your watches to proper time, and enjoy sleeping in the extra hour!

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

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Beethoven: Complete Piano Trios (Brilliant Classics)

This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.
Our Cover2Cover post this week is another Brilliant Classics share in our series of collections. It is a five-disk set featuring the complete Beethoven piano trios; this set contains also the shorter works for piano trio, arrangements, and the transcription of the Symphony No. 2 for piano trio, by Beethoven himself.

The following notes are from the official promotional page for this set:

The piano trio existed, in other guises, long before Ludwig van Beethoven got his hands on it. But he was the composer who would expand the genre beyond all recognition, using his relentless creativity to exploit the piano trio to its full potential.

Beethoven considered his first three piano trios worthy of his Opus one; after his first two trios in the style of Haydn he pens a third, which foretells – almost ten years in advance – the heroism of the composer’s ‘middle period’.

The 2 trios Op. 70 form a bridge to late Beethoven, and find an equivalent in the Rasumovsky String Quartets Op. 59. In the ‘Archduke’ he displayed the sheer symphonic power with which we now associate him.

The young French Trio Elegiaque has already received great critical acclaim for their recording of Messiaen and Dusapin (Diapason d’Or!). They played the Beethoven trio cycle several times in concert series, and their performances bear witness of their insight, enthusiasm and ensemble culture.

Programming Note: The single-track clip from YouTube will be deployed in five parts (one disc at a time) on our podcasting channel, including a “crossover” montage on a Friday later in November.

Happy Listening!

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Works for piano trio (piano, violin and cello)

Piano Trio in G, Op.1, No.2
Piano Trio in D, Op.70, No.1 ('Ghost')
Piano Trio in Eb, WoO38

Piano Trio in C-, Op.1, No.3
Piano Trio in Eb, Op.70, No.2
Variations on an Original Theme in Eb for Piano Trio, Op.44

Piano Trio in Eb, Op.1, No.1
Piano Trio in D (transcr. of Symphony No.2, Op.36, by composer)
Allegretto in Eb for Piano Trio, Hess48

Piano Trio in Bb, Op.97 ('Archduke')
Allegretto in Bb for Piano Trio, WoO39
Piano Trio in E-Flat Major, Op. 63, After String Quintet, Op. 4

Piano Trio in B-Flat Major, Op. 11 “Gassenhauer”
Variations in G on Müller’s Ich bin der Schneider Kakadu, for piano trio, Op.121a
Piano Trio in Eb, Op.38 'Piano Trio No.8' (Arr. from Septet, Op.20)

Trio Élégiaque
Laurent Le Flécher, violin
Virginie Constant, cello
François Dumont, piano
Brilliant Classics 94327
Recorded in 2012, released in November 2013

Official page -


Internet Archive


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Ballets français


This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

This week’s Tuesday post is another in our ongoing series Once Upon the Internet with three works taken from the Italian public domain music site LiberMusica. The common thread shared by the three works featured this week is French ballet music, emanating from two different eras.

André Ernest Modeste Grétry was a Belgian composer from the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, who worked from 1767 onwards in France and took French nationality. Staged during the French Revolution, his one-act opera La rosière républicaine lampoons of the well-established practice of entrusting religious authorities with the organization of "public holidays." We see a church transformed into a republican feast, replacing the “dismal emblems” by “the attributes of virtue and reason”, and the clergy become good republicans. The final ballet – featured here - (whose background is "too light to be seriously judged") was greatly appreciated.

The final two ballet suites are taken from two large classical ballets by Léo Delibes. Dr. Coppélius has made a life-size dancing doll. Coppélia is so lifelike that Franz, a village youth, becomes infatuated with it and sets aside his heart's true desire, Swanhilda. She shows him his folly by dressing as the doll, pretending to make it come to life and ultimately saving him from an untimely end at the hands of the inventor.

Sylvia's origins are in Tasso's 1573 play Aminta, which provides the basic plot of Delibes' work; Boy loves girl, girl captured by bad man, girl restored to boy by god.

Happy listening!

André-Modeste GRETRY (1741 – 1813)
La rosière républicaine, ou La fête de la vertu (1794)
Ballet suite
Orchestre de la Société Philarmonique de Paris
Roger Désormière, conducting

Le Chant Du Monde – LDY-8124


Léo DELIBES (1836-1891)
(*) Coppélia (suite from the ballet, 1883)
(**) Sylvia (suite from the ballet, 1880)
RIAS Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Anatole Fistoular (*) and Georges Sebastian (**), conducting

Remington – R-199-208

LiberMusica (*), (**)

Archive Page 

Friday, October 22, 2021

Francine Kay plays Debussy


No. 369 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. It can be found in our archives at


Original posts: TalkClassical; Blogger

The original post featured some keyboard works by Claude Debussy, including his second book of preludes. As I stated in the original post, these were composed about two years after the first book, between the last months of 1912 and early April 1913. The works in Debussy's second book of préludes are similar in intent to those of Book I (1907 - 1910). Several of them look ahead to Debussy's later style, in which the composer's earlier impressionistic, almost Romantic poetry was supplanted by a greater concentration upon technique and neoclassical objectivity.

In order to “stretch” the original share, I added Debussy’s cello sonata to open the A la Carte montage. Initially subtitled "Pierrot is angry at the moon," the Sonata for Cello and Piano does have in it some of the modern-day commedia dell'arte sensibility - a raw, heart-on-the-sleeve, dark humor. The Cello Sonata is the most unrefined, emotionally exposed of Debussy’s three sonatas - maybe even of all Debussy's works.

Canadian pianist Francine Kay received her early musical training at L’Ecole de Musique Vincent D’Indy in Montreal, where she studied with Sr. Rita de la Croix and Yvonne Hubert. A scholarship from the government of France took her to Paris to study with Yvonne Lefebure as part of “Juillet Musical”, held in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the birthplace of Debussy. She obtained her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees on scholarship at the Juilliard School, where she studied with Adele Marcus. Ms. Kay then pursued her studies with Marek Jablonski and Leon Fleisher.

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

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

A LA CARTE #2 - Bach: Cello Suites (Markevitch)

We are repurposing the music from a Once Upon the Internet post of Nov 18, 2014 as a new montage in our ongoing A la Carte series on For Your Listening Pleasure.

The following notes are an update with useful links we have created or discovered since the original post. 

The original post, featuring cello music by Beethoven and Bach, is being “mashed up” into a pair of new playlists, the first of which features Bach’s suites for solo cello.


This new musical share, in tandem with another playlist from the Once Upon the Internet series completes the set of six suites.


The second suite was taken from the complete set recorded by Mr. Markevitch, found on YouTube at the following URLs:


Volume 1 (Suites 1, 3, 5) -


Volume 2 (Suites 2, 4 6) -


Happy (further) listening!


Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)


Cello Suite no 2 in D Minor, BWV 1008 

Cello Suite no 5 in C minor, BWV 1011

Cello Suite no 6 in D major, BWV 1012


Dimitry Markevitch, cello


Archive Page - 

Friday, October 8, 2021

The museum ("Orchestra" Edition)

No. 368 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Friday Blog and Podcast. It can be found in our archives at


Blogger’s Note: As we review our many musical shares from our musical forum activities under our ongoing “222 Day Binge Challenge”, the Friday Blog and Podcast will revisit some themes from past Tuesday Blogs. Today’s montage is part of that exercise. The Tuesday post in question was issued on August 22, 2011. The programme is identical and the below commentary is taken almost verbatim from the original post.

In August of 2011, I shared an early montage of piano music inspired by painters and paintings. The three works on today’s montage are orchestral works also inspired by painters and paintings. To begin, here is a somewhat cheesy montage I found on YouTube that sets paintings to music…

Mathis der Maler (Matthias the Painter) is an opera by Paul Hindemith which focuses on the life of Matthias Grünewald, an actual historical figure who flourished during the Protestant Reformation, and whose art was an inspiration to many creative figures living in the early 20th century. Hindemith composed his Mathis der Maler symphony in 1934, before he had completed work on the opera.

(Matthias Grünewald - Half length portrait of a man with a pinfeather looking up, 1529)

Aldo Rafael Forte was a long-time member of the United States Air Force, the last 16 years spent as Composer/Arranger with the Air Combat Command Heritage of America Band based out of Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, renamed USAF Heritage of America Band about 10 years ago. Forte wrote a number of challenging wind band works for his charges, one of his most ambitious being Impressionist Prints, inspired by six Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters. The work consists of six contrasting sections depicting the work of the six painters. Impressionist Prints is dedicated to Major Larry H. Lang and the USAF Heritage of America Band. The group premiered and recorded the composition in October 2000, and was awarded First Place in the 2001 National Federation of Music Clubs American Music in the United States Armed Forces Composition Competition.

Here are a couple of the paintings depicted in Forte's work:

(Claude Monet - Le Parlement de Londres, Effet de Brouillard, 1903)

(Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec - Au Moulin Rouge, 1892)

Isle of the Dead (German: Die Toteninsel) is the best known painting of Swiss Symbolist Arnold Böcklin . Prints of the work were very popular in central Europe in the early 20th century - Freud, Lenin, and Clemenceau all had prints of it in their offices.

(Arnold Böcklin - Die Toteninsel, c. 1880)


Rachmaninov wrote a tone poem inspired by the painting, and it closes the montage.

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

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The Complete Gershwin (Siegel/Slatkin/St-Louis SO)

This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.
Our Vinyl’s Revenge for October is this VOX BOX collection issued in 1974 featuring all the major concert works for orchestra and piano and orchestra by George Gershwin.

The title of the 3-LP box set is a bit of an oversell, as these are not “all” the works for orchestra and piano and orchestra attributed to Mr. Gershwin. Absent in this set are his musical comedy overtures, orchestral settings from the Gershwin songbook and a version of Rialto Ripples for piano and orchestra. All of these were featured in other recordings which may be featured in future discussions.

Two works in this set are more rarely recorded. The Lullaby is a student work originally set for string quartet, and whose main theme gets reused in his 1922 one-act opera Blue Monday. I’ve heard this work in concert in 1987-88 and it was part of Erich Kunzel’s “Gershwin Centennial” anthology. The same goes for Catfish Row, the only “official” suite assembled and published by Gershwin himself from Porgy and Bess. The more recorded suite is the “Symphonic picture” which was arranged by his long-time orchestrator, Robert Russell Bennett.

At the time of this recording, Leonard Slatkin was Walter Susskind’s assistant in Saint-Louis. He would return to the orchestra a few years later as music director (1979–1996). Slatkin in a recent interview explained Susskind asked him to take on the project as he was better suited for American repertoire.

Born into a musical family, Internationally acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Siegel studied with Rudolf Ganz in his native Chicago, with the legendary Rosina Lhévinne at The Juilliard School and, as a Fulbright Scholar, with Ilona Kabos in London. Siegel has been soloist with the world’s great orchestras. A passionate communicator as well as a performer, he hosts Keyboard Conversations, a travelling concert-with-commentary, in major American cities.

For those who follow our podcasting channel, this musical share will be deployed in two parts: today (Sides A, B and D) and next Tuesday (Octiber 12, sides C, E and F).

Happy Listening

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937)

Concerto in F, (1925) *
Trumpet – Susan Slaughter

Lullaby (1919) [Version for string orchestra]
Cello – Yuan Tung
Violin – John Korman

Cuban Overture (1932)
Catfish Row: Symphonic Suite from Porgy and Bess (1935-36)
Piano – Barbara Lieberman
Banjo – David Mortland

An American in Paris (1928)
Clarinet – George Silfies

Shall We Dance (1937 film) - Promenade (Walking the Dog)
Clarinet – George Silfies

Rhapsody in Blue, (1924) *
Second Rhapsody (1931) *
Variations on "I Got Rhythm" (1934) *

* Piano – Jeffrey Siegel
Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
Leonard Slatkin, conducting

VoxBox – QSVBX 5132
Format: 3 x Vinyl, LP, Stereo, Quadraphonic
Box Set, Album, Quadraphonic
Year – 1974
Discogs -

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Quartets by Dvořák

This is my post from this week's Tuesday Blog.

This week’s Tuesday Blog is a variation on our PTB Classic series, with a return to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s on-line library of chamber performances and three works for string quartet by Anonin Dvořák.

A viola player himself, Dvořák felt a natural affinity to writing for strings. His chamber work is heavily inspired by folk culture (Czech, and later American), while also maintaining his Czech roots. Over a period of thirty years, Dvořák composed over forty chamber music works. Like Schubert, Dvořák turned to the string quartet early in his career; both had one sound practical reason for choosing this medium at the start of their careers: it was relatively easy to get quartet music played.

The two quartets shared here are mature works; the tenth, subtitlesd “Slavonic”, owes its nickname to the dedicatee. Indeed Jean Becker, the leader of the Florentine Quartet, had asked specifically for a "Slavonic Quartet" in the wake of Dvořák's "Slavonic Dances" and "Slavonic Rhapsodies").

The String Quartet No. 14 was the last string quartet completed by Dvořák, finished his Fourteenth Quartet in 1895, when he had returned to Bohemia after his visit to America. This Quartet marked an important point in Dvořák's development because he would devote himself almost exclusively to writing explicit program music, namely symphonic poems and operas, afterwards.

Dvořák's String Quartet movements now bearing the title Cypresses (Czech: Cypřiše) are String Quartet versions of 12 of his 18 love songs, B11, of 1865 -also titled Cypresses. The 12 pieces he selected for arrangement from B. 11 are Nos. 2–4, 6–9, 12, 14, and 16–18; the original songs are for solo voice and piano, and are settings of poems by Gustav Pfleger-Moravsky from the collection "Cypresses" (hence the title).

In his ongoing survey of string quartets, Merl’s blog has discussed the three works we are sharing today. Here are the pertinent links:

String Quartet No. 10, Op. 51 -

String Quartet No. 14, Op. 105 -

Cypresses, B.152 -

Happy listening!

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
String Quartet No. 10 in E♭ major, Op. 51 [B. 92] (Slavonic)
Borromeo String Quartet

Cypresses, B.152 (arr. from Cypresses song cycle, B. 11)
Musicians from Marlboro

String Quartet No. 14 in A♭ major, Op. 105 [B. 193]
Borromeo String Quartet

Archive page -

Friday, September 24, 2021

Gundula Janowitz sings Schubert

No. 367 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Tuesday Blog. It can be found in our archives at


A few words about our new “A la Carte” series:

As we curate our Tuesday Blog playlists, and in particular the ones we explored under Project 366, we found that some fell well-short of our 60-75 minute runtime, others far exceeded that same runtime. In an effort to better fit our preferred time boxing, I decided to recast selected playlists by “mashing them up” with other playlists, or mixing and matching them with new related material..

This week’s offering is a straight “upsized” version, where I added a few tracks to an otherwise unchanged playlist.

Original posts: TalkClassical; Blogger

As I stated in the original post, Schubert's body of work includes over 600 songs for voice and piano. That number alone is vastly impressive - many composers fail to reach that number of compositions in their entire output, let alone in a single genre. But it isn't just the quantity that's remarkable: Schubert consistently, and frequently, wrote songs of such beauty and quality that composers such as Schumann, Wolf and Brahms all credited him with reinventing, invigorating and bringing greater seriousness to a previously dilletante musical form.

Gundula Janowitz officially retired from the stage in 1990 and, according to most accounts, gave occasional recitals until around the middle of that decade with her final recital –captured for posterity in a bootleg recording - in September 1999.

To her Schubert credits we have studio recordings from 1977-78 (with Irwin Gage at the piano) and a late-career recital with Charles Spencer at the piano re-issued on The Nuova Era and Brilliant Classics labels.

The filler tracks are three selections from a collection of settings of Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship attributed to the character Mignon.

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


Friday, September 10, 2021

Paganini: Violin Concertos Nos. 2 & 5

No. 366 of the ongoing ITYWLTMT series of audio montages is this week's Tuesday Blog. It can be found in our archives at



Today’s Blog and Podcast is a “crossover” montage, intermingling our Friday series with an ongoing Tuesday Blog share discussed on September 7. As we deploy three CDs worth of Paganini concertos on our podcasting channel, part two of the set focuses on concertos 2 and 5.

As we wrote this past Tuesday, Paganini’s output for the violin has many memorable pieces; most of them intended to display Paganini’s virtuosity and “devilish” ability on the instrument. Surprisingly, his concertos don’t get as much attention in that regard. Some will argue that they are indeed designed to showcase the soloist yet don’t give much attention to the orchestral part of that “duel”. There is, however, a notable twist here…

The third movement of Paganini's Second Concerto owes its nickname "La Campanella" or "La Clochette" to the little bell which Paganini prescribes to presage each recurrence of the rondo theme. The character of the bell is also imitated in the orchestra and in some of the soloist's passages featuring harmonics. The outcome is a very transparent texture, which gains extra charm of gypsy coloration of the rondo theme. This movement has served as the basis of compositions by other composers, such as the Étude S. 140 No. 3 "La campanella" by Liszt, and Johann Strauss I's Walzer à la Paganini Op. 11.

The Violin Concerto No. 5 was composed in 1830. It is in fact the last concerto of Paganini (the concerto #6 was partly written in 1815 and is sometimes referred to as “#0”). This concerto by the most famous of all violin virtuosi can be called a monologue for the violin because only the solo part exists; the orchestral score either was not written down or has not yet been discovered., the concerto can be performed if suitably reconstructed.

In 1958 Vittorio Baglioni entrusted this task to Federico Mompellio on behalf of the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, and in September 1959, the concerto received its premier performance. Franco Gulli was the soloist and Luciano Rosada the conductor. The success of this performance induced Guli to present the concerto in many European cities.

I think you will love this music too