Tue Dec 1 14:47:25 EST 2009
>From: Dan.Strassberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>To: Boston Radio Interest <email@example.com>
>Sent: Tue, Dec 1, 2009 9:29 am
>Subject: All-classical 99.5
>Well, it's 9:00AM, and the first piece Cathy Fuller is playing is a
>symphonic arrangement of Tea for Two! Fine with me, but I can't wait
>to hear Mr Glavin demonstrate that he is as adept at venting his
>spleen at the WGBH Foundation as he was at excoriating Nassau and
>Charles River Broadcasting before it. Never mind that the symphonic
>arrangement was by Shostakovich; I can't imagine Laurence accepting
>Tea for Two as classical.
>Dan Strassberg (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Oops, there goes Dan again, attempting to guess at my opinions and thoughts. First, about any
song from the "Great American Songbook", I've attended several performances in Boston,
Shelburn Falls, Ma and NYC, by William Bolcom and Joan Morris that were filled with music by
popular American songwriters from mostly the first half of the 20th Century. No doubt, Mr.
Bolcom's preferences for Gershwin and Cole Porter caused pieces by those gentlemen to
predominate. "Tea for Two" would have fit right in. There's a conservatory-trained actor named
and I've attended three of his performances at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge. (He owes
us his take on Beethoven, which he hasn't done here ye. The L-man is selling tickets all over town, with the Boston Symphony
Orchestra and Boston Conservatory of Music featuring his pieces and TWO (click-click) ensembles doing the Complete String
Quartets. But I digress...one of the major genres of classical composition is the Theme and Variations form. One encounters
it WITHIN longer pieces, but there are significant standalone Theme and Variations goung back to the Baroque period
and right on up to the Twentieth Century. Very often, the composer selects something well-known and much-liked by
his or her contemporaries, and then creates an ever increasingly-complex set of variations on it. The aforementioned
Beethoven did it with a waltz by Diabelli (the story behind it engendered a Broadway play called "33 Variations"
George Gershwin himself wrote variations on his song "I Got Rhthym"
American iconoclast and insurance agent Charles Ives
wrote a set of variation on "America" for pipe organ, later transcribed by William Schuman (not to be confused with
German -born Composer Robert Schumann). I've heard all of the above pieces, either live (the Ives Variations for organ
in the Methuen Memorial Concert Hall) or on radio or records. The Shostakovich would not have troubled me at all.
BTW, a while later, Cathy Fuller played Vincent D'Indy's (pronounced like 'dandy' but Frenchified) "Symphony on a French
Mountain Air", which is also a symphonic piece based on a popular-style melody (the word 'air' refers to a song not to the
atmosphere. "Danny Boy" is sometimes called "Londonderry Air".)
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