Tune in for musical fun facts and vignettes of unique
music every night at 6:00pm with Exploring Music!
Questions? Comments? Musical Ideas? Email host
Lisa Bergman at email@example.com.
Erik Satie: Limp Preludes for a Dog
Standard titles for pieces in classical music are pretty boring, aren’t
they? Suite No. 4. Symphony No. 1. Concerto in A. But there are some very
notable exceptions. There’s nothing stale, for example, about
“Unappetizing Chorale,” “She Who Talks Too Much,” and “Agreeable
Despair.” It’s easy to imagine the avant garde, Belle Époque French
composer Erik Satie was the man to come up with such odd names!
Listen to one of his odder-titled pieces, “Limp Preludes for a Dog,” here.
Richard Wagner: Die Walküre, Act III: "Wo ist Brünnhild?"
In 1956 at London's Royal Opera House, the man performing the bass
role of Wotan in “Die Walküre” was in a hurry to get onstage. He quickly
grabbed his cloak from its pink, fluffy hanger in the dressing room,
strolled onstage and began to sing…only to realize a moment later than
he’d taken the coat hanger with him! We can say with certainty that’s the
only time an audience has laughed at the very serious character of
Wotan in Wagner’s “Ring” operas.
George Frederich Handel: Keyboard Suite No. 1 in
B Flat, HWV 434: I. Prelude
Scarlatti and Handel were both keyboard superstars of their time, wowing
audiences with their technical and improvisational skills. Once, they both
attended a masquerade party, unaware of each other’s presence. Sitting
at the harpsichord in a black mask was a man who played so
extraordinarily that Scarlatti, looking on, exclaimed, “this must be the
devil himself or that famous Saxon!” Well, he got it right the second time:
it was Handel!
Leroy Anderson: Clarinet Candy
What’s about 26 inches long, uses a single reed and is often called a
licorice stick? The clarinet! This instrument has found its way into jazz
halls, symphonies, marching bands and klezmer bands due to its
versatile sound. It can sound sad and soulful, sensual and acrobatic, or
just plain silly, as in Leroy Anderson’s piece “Clarinet Candy.”
Douglas Moore: The Ballad of Baby Doe: Gold is a
Fine Thing ("Silver Aria")
Belle “Bubbles” Miriam Silverman was the busiest soprano in the world
for a time. She sang one role 64 times in the space of two years. She
appeared on multiple talk shows all over the world, was awarded the
Presidential Medal of Freedom, was called “an empire unto herself,” and
took over as general director of the New York City Opera after her
“retirement.” So why doesn’t that name ring a bell? Because it’s her birth
name, not the stage name by which everyone in the world knows her: