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Second Inversion – Rethink Classical


You love classical music, the entire depth and breadth of it, including much of the great classical music being composed and performed today. Our library of well over 180,000 performances can deliver with that special spark of something new and different. Steve Reich. Tin Hat. Brooklyn Rider. Bela Fleck.   Our Seattle Symphony and Seattle Opera broadcasts offer exciting new music and some hot and up and coming performers, too.

It’s All About Supporting What You Believe In

Classical music has become so much more than the storied composers and orchestral works that have existed for hundreds of years. Today, new music is being made that bends the norm – classical with a twist. You may not find it in mainstream broadcasts, but KING FM is committed to changing that by bringing you Second Inversion, a multimedia-infused contemporary classical channel. Having a vision for the next era of classical music takes listener support to make it a reality. Lend your support today.

KING FM Second Inversion

Second Inversion is our online music station dedicated to rethinking classical music.  The project is built on a foundation of classical music with the intent to explore the vast range of music in and beyond the genre.  There’s a focus on today’s classical music, a mix for those that find inspiration in a wide variety of genres, delivering a diverse, rich, and user-centered listening experience.  It’s new, unusual and rare, and available for you right now, online or in the Second Inversion smartphone app.

Enjoy our on-demand Second Inversion library of more than 80 live, local and contemporary performances through YouTube.

On-Stage with KING FM and Second Inversion 

Sometimes you just gotta hear it live, which is why we bring you our Second Inversion concerts through our local concert series On-Stage with KING FM.  The hosts of Second Inversion line up the best and serve it on the fabulous new Resonace at Soma Towers stage.  Our next concert is Second Inversion Presents: Earth Day Celebration with the Ecco Chamber Ensemble on Saturday, April 21, 7:30 pm Come hear it live, or enjoy one of our recent concerts below.

It’s All About Supporting What You Believe In

Classical music has become so much more than the storied composers and orchestral works that have existed for hundreds of years. Today, new music is being made that bends the norm – classical with a twist. You may not find it in mainstream broadcasts, but KING FM is committed to changing that by bringing you Second Inversion, a multimedia-infused contemporary classical channel. Having a vision for the next era of classical music takes listener support to make it a reality. Lend your support today.


What’s your preference? Family friendly classical music? Relaxing music? Intellectually stimulating music? Modern classical? Classical music in the Northwest? Click one of these links for content curated for you.


Relax, We Have Just the Right Music



Classical KING FM is your calm in the storm. You can depend on our great music every day of the year. No stress, no politics, just your favorite music.

We are sure you won’t be surprised to hear that research shows this music is an effective aide in helping improve sleep patterns and reduce stress.  We all need help with that.  It’s also true that having the right soundtrack for the office, whether at home or at work, is as mind clearing as yoga, as much of a breath of fresh air as a hike in the mountains.   Break through the mental blocks, shove distraction into the corner, feel refreshed, and use Classical KING FM as your pathway to a clearer mind… and a more productive and lower stress day.

Your Support Matters

The classical music you hear on KING FM is your indispensable daily soundtrack. It calms, uplifts, and creates peace. Without the public’s support, this great music would not be available. In fact, 79% of our funding comes from our listeners. This is music worth supporting, isn’t it? Your donation right now can make such a difference. Make this your moment.

Classical Music at Work

Of course, we are there for you on the radio at 98.1, but we also have a growing library of on-demand music for you, available on your computer, phone, smart tv or tablet.   Here are some of our favorites, chosen especially for you by our KING FM hosts, to create the perfect at-work soundtrack!  Not too sleepy, not too bombastic, it’s just right!

KING FM’s Evergreen Channel is our station that plays music specifically designed to reduce stress and to aid in keeping your focus.  Listen online right now, or use the KING FM Smartphone app to listen just about anywhere.

Here’s a collection of pieces that could do wonders for you from the KING FM NW Focus Live archives.   Local performers, great performances.  Perfection.

We also recommend our playlists designed for reading.  You’ll find several of them here.

Your Support Matters

The classical music you hear on KING FM is your indispensable daily soundtrack. It calms, uplifts, and creates peace. Without the public’s support, this great music would not be available. In fact, 79% of our funding comes from our listeners. This is music worth supporting, isn’t it? Your donation right now can make such a difference. Make this your moment.

Perfect for Families


Spending time with children can, of course, be rewarding,  but hectic comes to mind as well!  Classical KING FM is a soundtrack for home, the car or at work, with music that helps you find your center and helps you relax.  You also know it’s music you can share with all the children in your life.  What a gift for all of you.  Join us on the radio, but we also recommend these on-demand classical music options.

Listener Supported Classical Music

Preserving the legacy of classical music for future generations takes support from the community. Over 79% of KING FM’s funding comes from listeners like you and that means ongoing programs such as Explore Music with Lisa Bergman and providing 17 instrument petting zoos in 2016-2017 that reached 2,701 children and their family members. Classical music matters. Arts education matters. Build a legacy for generations today and tomorrow by becoming a KING FM member today.

Young Artist Awards

The KING FM Young Artist Awards, presented in partnership with the Seattle Chamber Music Society and now in its sixth season, strives to give talented young musicians a bigger stage. This competition is one element of our promise to the community of more support for arts education, community partnerships with the arts, and more live broadcasts. The competition is open to musicians (solo instrumental, vocal, or chamber groups) ages 6-20 in two age divisions – 1) ages 6-15 and 2) ages 16-20. Through a combination of world-class judges and listener votes, 10 finalists are chosen and perform live on the air before a winner in each of two age divisions is crowned. Click here for more information.

The 2017 Young Artist Awards competition is presented by Classical KING FM 98.1 in partnership with BECU and the Seattle Chamber Music Society

Kid Friendly Classical Music for the Car

 


What better way to acclimate young ears to the glorious strains of classical music than by tuning in to KING FM? Lay the foundation gently: put classical music on in the background as you make dinner. Play it in the car as you’re driving to soccer practice. It’ll simply become a part of their lives, a daily soundtrack. If you’re interested in classical music, they’re apt to appreciate it, too.

Make it a Bedtime Lullaby

 


Tired of standard fare when putting your children to bed? Have them fall asleep, instead, to classical music. Good tunes to make that happen? Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata, Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1Clair De Lune by Claude Debussy, and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major.  You’ll find all those works, and more, on our on-demand classical music relaxation centered Classical KING FM Evergreen Channel. Turn on the night light AND the Evergreen Channel. They’ll be snoozing in no time. (Plus you’ll be opening their ears and minds to the wonderful world of classical music.  A gift for a lifetime!)

Enjoy this Family Friendly Playlist as Chosen by the Hosts of KING FM



Don’t start with Charles Ives for a 3-year-old. Don’t even start with Beethoven’s 9th. They need to grow into those things. Start with the classics we know they’ll like, for example, Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, Camille Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals, and Georges Bizet’s Carmen Suite #1: Les Toreadors.  Our always updating playlist above should do the trick.  It will do wonders for you, too.

Music for Dinner, including Explore Music with Lisa Bergman

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Tune in every night during dinner, then, at 6 they’ll hear Explore Music,  a two-minute listening adventure packed with fun facts and stories about great classical music!

Browse our Explore Music archive to hear all of the episodes on-demand, anytime!

Have the Kids Play Along



The little ones want to bang pots and pans to Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man? Tell them to knock themselves out! They want to dance to Johann Strauss’s polkas? Okay! Do they want to play-act after hearing Mendelssohn’s Wedding March? Make it so. When kids are allowed to play along to the music, they’ll begin to see that music as an ice cream-like treat rather than a broccoli-like prescription.

Listener Supported Classical Music

Preserving the legacy of classical music for future generations takes support from the community. Over 79% of KING FM’s funding comes from listeners like you and that means ongoing programs such as Explore Music with Lisa Bergman and providing 17 instrument petting zoos in 2016-2017 that reached 2,701 children and their family members. Classical music matters. Arts education matters. Build a legacy for generations today and tomorrow by becoming a KING FM member today.


What’s your preference? Family friendly classical music? Relaxing music? Intellectually stimulating music? Modern classical? Classical music in the Northwest? Click one of these links for content curated for you.


Intellectually Stimulating Music!


Like you, we love classical music.  It’s the perfect soundtrack for so much of our lives.  At times it can be inspirational, at others relaxing, and sometimes it’s even challenging!  Does Mozart, and a lot of other classical music, make you smarter?   New research confirms that some of our favorite classical music really does improve concentration and learning, but we knew that already, didn’t we!  Of course, we are there for you on the radio at 98.1, but we also have a growing library of on-demand music for you, available on your computer, phone, smart tv or tablet.   Here are some of our favorites, chosen especially for you by our KING FM hosts, to keep your mind in gear!

Listener Supported Classical Music

KING FM reaches not only the Pacific Northwest, but also across the United States and world. Whether you are a radio or online listener, classical music can take your mind on a journey to places you have never been – from vibrant Vienna where Mozart composed most of his works to Tchaikovsky’s humble beginnings in Russia. KING FM continues to play these great performances thanks to listener support. If you have not joined our community of supporters, your donation right now can make such a difference. Make this your moment.

Seattle Symphony Music and Video Inspiration

The Seattle Symphony opens its new season on September 16th with renowned soprano and Grammy Award winner Renée Fleming.  Of course you’ll hear it live on Classical KING FM!  More details here soon.

In the meantime, these two videos are a great sampling of the exciting new directions seen at the Seattle Symphony.

Enjoy KING FM’s Seattle Symphony Podcast, with host Dave Beck – Insight from KING FM’s Dave Beck, Seattle Symphony Music Director Ludovic Morlot, and others.

Do you love symphonic music?  Listen to KING FM’s Seattle Symphony Channel, hosted by Dave Beck.  It’s available in the Classical KING FM smartphone app, or listen here right now.

The Seattle Symphony previews its coming season, and there are some amazing performances!

Seattle Opera

It’s an exciting time for opera in Seattle, with highly acclaimed productions at Seattle Opera and their new opera center is under construction on Mercer Steet.  The experts at Seattle Opera also host our KING FM Saturday Night Opera broadcasts at 8pm.

What goes on backstage during a production at Seattle Opera?  It is quite the parade.  Literally.   Costumes?  You’ll have to see them to believe them.

Never been to the opera before?  You have a treat in store, especially with this excellent guide from Seattle Opera:

The Seattle Opera 2017-2018 Season features must-see favorites from Verdi, Puccini, Mozart and Rossini, as well as a hidden gem from Berlioz.

Chamber Music

Seattle is such a chamber music town, especially in the Summer!  Upcoming on KING FM you’ll hear broadcasts from Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, Icicle Creek, and more.  Here are a few of our favorite chamber music pieces, compiled as a perfect soundtrack for reading:

Listener Supported Classical Music

KING FM reaches not only the Pacific Northwest, but also across the United States and world. Whether you are a radio or online listener, classical music can take your mind on a journey to places you have never been – from vibrant Vienna where Mozart composed most of his works to Tchaikovsky’s humble beginnings in Russia. KING FM continues to play these great performances thanks to listener support. If you have not joined our community of supporters, your donation right now can make such a difference. Make this your moment.


What’s your preference? Family friendly classical music? Relaxing music? Intellectually stimulating music? Modern classical? Classical music in the Northwest? Click one of these links for content curated for you.


Mayor Murray Names June 30 Bryan Lowe Day in the City of Seattle

The career of retiring KING FM Program Director defined radio innovation and musical friendship
By Geoffrey Larson

Bryan Lowe, who became Program Director of 98.1 Classical KING FM in 2006, retires today after a 37.5-year broadcasting career under the KING call letters. Bryan was bitten by the bug early: as a boy, he acquired a toy broadcasting kit that he saw on the back of Boys’ Life magazine, and spent many hours pretending to be a DJ, mostly imitating his favorite KING FM announcers. Growing up, Bryan played French horn in Seattle Youth Symphony. His first radio experience came at Mercer Island High School, which had a ten-watt radio station with a classical library made up of the old mono recordings from a defunct classical station. As a freshman at Washington State University, Bryan became a staff announcer at KWSU, which was mostly classical.

Bryan worked at several stations at once starting out, which broadcast various combos of Classical, Rock, Easy Listening, Jazz and Country: KWSU, KRPL, KRPL FM, KNOI, KQQQ and KUGR, even serving as a disco DJ on country music night at the local disco.

A polarloid of Bryan Lowe on his first day as a KING TV intern.

Bryan became an intern for KING TV on a show called How Come?, hosted by the late Al Wallace.  When he saw there was an opening at KING FM (then owned by KING Broadcasting Company, which also operated the television station), he applied, and landed his dream job in classical radio.

The original KING Broadcasting building in Seattle, demolished in 2016. The KING FM classical station was housed in a two-room studio in the basement.

Through his years at Classical KING FM, Bryan has hosted every radio shift on the station and was responsible for a number of pioneering uses of technology. KING FM became one of the first classical stations in the country (and the first radio station in Seattle) to play a CD when Bryan slipped in the disk in 1981, and Bryan also initiated KING’s pioneering internet broadcasts, leading the way for radio online even before graphic interfaces were the norm. KING FM’s first online broadcast was in December 1995, and the first KING FM full-time online channel launched in early 1996, one of the first online streams in the world, and the variety of online music streams was soon expanded to multiple channels. KING FM currently serves more than 8 million hours of classical music a year through online streaming.

An early photo of Bryan Lowe in KING FM’s Harrison St. Studio, and some of the equipment present in Master Control in 2000.

Bryan additionally hosted the last Jazz After Hours program, and shared classical music in grade school classrooms for three years. His personal touch charmed audiences, and he got to know many long-time KING FM listeners personally. Bryan remembers meetings and interviews with many notable musicians in the industry, such as Igor Kipnis, Allen Hovhaness, George Zamfir (panpipe player in Picnic at Hanging Rock), Hailey Mills, Mark O’Connor, and many more.

KING FM Host Marta Zekan and Bryan Lowe in Voice Track Studio 2 in 2015.

At KING FM and among those who know him well, Bryan’s reputation as a hobbyist is legendary. Cultivating a collection of rare and interesting instruments, Bryan is the owner of one of only a handful of Cristal Baschets in the world, along with other instruments such as the Theremin, sheng, and new keyboard inventions. His passion for classic automobiles has seen anything from a Ford Model T to an old meter maid car appear in his garage, and he plans to stay busy in retirement with his work on shanty boats and other watercraft. On Youtube, he can be seen flying though the sky in a powered parachute.

Bryan demonstrates his theremin in a space-themed PBS special on the left, and plays his Cristal Baschet on the right.

As KING FM Program Director, Bryan oversaw major changes to the station in 2011, when KING switched from a commercial format to listener-supported. He increased support of community organizations with programs like NW Focus, Musical Chairs, Seattle Symphony Spotlight, and Live and Local Broadcast Concerts. He will continue a relationship with KING FM in his retirement, but also leaves behind a legacy of technology, community-minded programming, and musical friendship.

 

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Take me to your leader

(As I wrote the title I thought of the Tom Lehrer song that includes the line, “…take me to your lieder.”  A joke that goes totally flat today.)

I just got back from watching/listening to Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” presented by Pacific NW Ballet.  Wonderful.  And as I watched and listened to Allan Dameron play (Phew, not once every couple of nights but sometimes twice a day!) I wondered, what is the conversation like between pianist and stager of the ballet.  Of course the choreography dictates just about everything but are there areas of interpretation that are…um…negotiable?

I suppose the same could be asked (I have) of Emil DeCou, conductor of the PNB orchestra.   Take Bizet’s Symphony in C.  It’s an orchestral piece.  But it’s also a ballet.  Is there any difference in how one conducts it in either context?  Emil’s answer is more complex than I can go into – or even precisely understand.  But the answer, in a nutshell is, UH YEAH!

Can I close, dear listener, by asking what you think about ballet on the radio.  Does it work?  Is it better than not?  We really would like to know.  I’m sure you can guess my bias and it’s partly because the PNB Orchestra was reviewed the NY Times as the best ballet orchestra in America.  And I think anything live beats anything recorded, no matter the flaws.  What do you think?

 

The Power of Music

Classical KING FM host Lisa Bergman and I just had the most wonderful conversation about the power of music.  I’m sure you know what I mean, as it’s universal, and it’s one of the aspects of music that I think we all love.    Having spent our lifetimes directly involved in music, we had countless stories to share with each other about music and first loves, pieces that remind us of those now gone, and remembering the magic of hearing something beautiful for the first time.    What a gift we can all share with music, and for us, especially in classical music, which has so much depth and breadth and power.

I remember my first glimmers of romance, perhaps in middle school, when I just started to notice the girls in the horn section of my orchestra.  There were stirrings of something that had me seeing them in a new way, and the soundtrack was classical music!  😉   To this day I think of one of my favorite horn section friends when I hear a piece we were playing together, and she had the big solo.  Quite literally we were making beautiful music together, though at that age it meant literally that.  But that was more than enough at the time!

At the time I probably thought it so fitting that Howard Hanson’s Symphony #2 was called “The Romantic”.    Even though the video above is from decades after my experience, t’s a puppy love that is fun to remember, and the music brings it all back every time I hear it.  I love my wife of 32 years, and always will, but this music is such a nice memory of a time and a frame of mind that is long gone.

Is there a piece that does that for you?  Happy?  Sad?  Romantic?   What is your memory and the music that triggers it?  I’d love to share it here, and will share just your first name, or call you “anonymous” if you prefer!   Write me at bryanl@king.org.

Bryan Lowe
Classical KING FM host

Stunning Music You Simply Must Hear – Part 3

I call this series “Stunningly Powerful Pieces You May Not Know But That Bryan Lowe Would Love For You to Hear at Least Once in Your Lifetime”.  That’s a big promise, done a little tongue in cheek, but if you are ready for a bit of an adventure, I’ll do my best to deliver.    Part one featured Ravel’s masterpiece, Concerto for the Left Hand, while part two explored Cunning Little Vixen by Janacek. (link) –

I knew the first two pieces wouldn’t be enjoyed by absolutely everyone, as they both overflow with intensity and cutting edge genius for their day.   Today my “must hear” work will suit just about everyone when played by at least once of the instruments below.   It’s Mysterious Barricades by Couperin.  Compared to the previous works I’ve shared it sounds simple, yet there is something about it that I find so beautiful as well as universal and timeless.

Les Barricades Mystérieuses, what we call The Mysterious Barricades, was composed in 1717 for the harpsichord by François Couperin as the fifth piece in the second book of works by the composer.  There’s a lot of music there, but only harpsichordists can name any of the others in the collection.  THIS is the piece that has been adapted for virtually every instrument you can think of short of Theremin, and that instrument may next!

Let’s get right to it with a performance for harpsichord, as Couperin intended.  Then we will go pretty far afield with other performances.

It’s really worth remembering that music notation, how the composer leaves his/her intentions on a sheet of paper, can be very imprecise.   It’s shocking sometimes to hear just how different performances of a given piece can be.   The woman above gives me a great sense of the mystery we see in the title, while the rapid pace and lack of rhythmic lilt below, I guess you could say, reminds me more of something along the lines of a butterfly or even a bee flying from flower to flower across a field.   The energy is totally different.

I was talking with one of our own music experts, Christophe Chagnard, about this, and he reminded me that much of the music from this time was written as dance music, which means that Couperin would not have taken so many liberties with the tempo of the piece.  I’d also guess that he wouldn’t try to race through it!

What of the name of the piece itself?  Mysterious Barricades.  What does that even mean?   There is no consensus on this, but the ideas for Couperin’s intentions are fascinating in their own right. Some say it eludes to a common way of referring to women’s eyelashes among the Salonnière of the 17th century.  I can imagine that in this next performance.  Elegant dances, fluttering eyelashes and looks of near forbidden longing.  Or is it just me? 😉  Some even say it is inspired by women’s chastity belts, so…

Or does the name refer to:

  • Impeded communication between people?
  • The barricade between past and present and future?
  • The unknown jump from life to death?

I’ll let you decide for yourself, though I’d love for any of these to be “true”.  We will most likely never know.

Let’s hear a few more performances.  I’ll turn next to the guitar, and there are a LOT of performances to be found along those lines.  Banjo, even.  I’m trying to control myself on how many verisons I share, but I simply have to share this link, as I love the enthusiasm this performer has for the piece.  Then there is this guitarists lovely performance at Versailles.

I’ve always been a sucker for marimbas and vibraphones, so let’s hear one of those performing this beautiful piece.

So how to end this look at one of my favorite pieces? I found performances for accordion, cello ensembles and on and on. Check them out on YouTube. But I’ve decided to close with an animated visualization of the music itself, one that is suggestive if not literally accurate. Does this approach help you figure out what the title means to you?

So which is YOUR favorite?  Let me know below.  More favorites to come.

Bryan Lowe
Classical KING FM Host

Stunning Music You Simply MUST Hear – Part 2

I call this series “Stunningly Powerful Pieces You May Not Know But That Bryan Lowe Would Love For You to Hear at Least Once in Your Lifetime”.  That’s a big promise, done a little tongue in cheek, but if you are ready for a bit of an adventure, I’ll do my best to deliver.    Part one featured Ravel’s masterpiece, Concerto for the Left Hand. (link)

This time I tackle Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen, an opera about a cartoon fox, and about love and loss.  More on that in a moment.  A reminder that this series tackles pieces I consider stunningly beautiful, but somewhat challenging for some listeners.  While that is the perfect pairing for me, your mileage, as they say, may vary.  I really hope, though, that you find something that touches your life as much as these pieces have impacted mine.

Leos Janacek.  This is a composer that may not be familiar to you if you haven’t done a dive into the deep end of the classical music pool.   He’s written some stunning masterpieces, but let’s just say my attorney wife loves to have KING FM on while she works, but she would run to turn off the radio with much that Janacek wrote.  His music can be the deep end of the pool.  But that end is best end for excitement, in swimming and in music.   Let’s not float lazily in the shallow end for this work.

Many consider Janacek the greatest Czech composer of the 20th century.  While he started composing in a traditional manner for his day, he quickly set off on his own pathway, inspired by native folk melodies and by the cadence of the Czech language itself.   Setting aside the technical aspects of what that means, just know his music can give the effect of spurts and stops and starts… just like language.  But within his music I feel he was a master of stunningly beautiful melodies… with a twist and a stumble now and then.  Life and language, and Janacek’s music, can be like that.

Janacek’s housekeeper was reading a serialized comic about a fox in the local paper, enjoying it a great deal, and said something about “wouldn’t this make a great opera?!”   Well, the rest is history.   It’s important to note that there is a significant portion of Janacek’s music inspired by his undying and unrequited love for a much younger married woman, Kamila.   At this point, Janacek is in his 70’s, and knows their love is not to be.  You can feel that in his telling of the story of a “vixen”, the name for a female fox.

As you listen think of an unbelievably strong love in the hands of a man who sees his life coming to a close, with a sense of both loss and hope.  And remember those Czech language patterns amidst the beautiful melodies.   I must also add… this singer is FABULOUS!  What a voice.

I find that music so powerful and filled with a love of life, especially in that final scene.  After Janacek heard the dress rehearsal of that final scene in the first production, he said: ”This they have to play for me at my funeral.”  And they did.

Bryan Lowe
Classical KING FM Host

Stunning Music You Simply MUST Hear

Let’s call this series “Stunningly Powerful Pieces You May Not Know But That Bryan Lowe Feels You Must Hear at Least Once in Your Lifetime”.  That’s a big promise, done a bit tongue in cheek, but if you are ready for a bit of an adventure, I’ll do my best to deliver.   This series won’t be an easy stroll for those who like their classical music to be “pretty and that is that”.   There’s a time and a place for that line of thinking, in fact, a lot of times in our lives “pretty” is the ideal in classical music.  But, this is a step in a different direction.  I consider these pieces stunningly beautiful, and challenging.  The perfect pairing for me.  I hope you find something in these pieces, too.

Let’s dive in and get things going this time with Ravel‘s Concerto for the Left Hand.

Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein lost his right arm in World War One, just as he was beginning his career as a concert pianist.  In an effort to rebuild his life and career after his injuries, he commissioned several composers to write concertos that used just the left hand.   It’s not a small order, reducing the huge capabilities of a concert grand to a single arm, and the stories say Wittengenstein wasn’t impressed by several of the efforts, including Ravel’s.   Regardless, many consider this piece to be one of the great works of classical music.  I certainly do.   It’s the story of a challenge overcome, of a Phoenix rising from ashes, a journey clearly heard within the music itself.

As a side note, M.A.S.H., that classic TV series of a few decades back, featured an episode revolving around the story and the piece.  A young soldier is patched up pretty well by the medics, but he seems devastated.   Then, the medics learn he was a concert pianist.  That’s something especially understandable for the classical music loving Major Winchester.  He then remembers this piece by Ravel.  He finds hope.  Honestly, while I’d heard the piece before that and enjoyed it, it was this TV episode that really opened my eyes and ears to the power of the piece.  A great M.A.S.H. episode and music of Ravel at its center.  Perfection!  I’ll add that this piece is in clear contention for my favorite piece of music of all time, and I love a LOT of music!

Watch this video, and remember as the music begins, the darkness of a concert pianist losing an arm to the pointlessness of war, then rediscovering himself and his love of music, through this piece.  You’ll hear it, even if Wittgenstein himself, did not.

For extra credit listening, we have two performances of Wittgenstein himself performing the work.   Honestly, there are better pianists you can hear online, but we owe a debt of gratitude and admiration to the man for his sacrifice and for making this piece possible through his commission.

A video with just the piano highlights featuring Wittengenstein.  It is silent for the first few seconds.

Next, a complete performance broken down into two videos, but no video of the man himself.

Well, I can’t control myself when it comes to this piece, so I’ll add one more video.  Pianist Leon Fleisher experienced his own health issues that made his right arm useless due to a condition that was eventually diagnosed as focal dystonia.  Once again, Ravel, and Wittgenstein came to the rescue as Fleisher resumed his career with repertoire for the left hand.

Oops, I mean, two more.

Hear more performances of Ravel’s music from the KING FM studios here.

More to come, including string quartets by Janacek, songs by Strauss, and more.   I’d love your suggestions for other pieces to feature.  Share your ideas at Bryanl@king.org.

Bryan Lowe
Classical KING FM Host