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A Little Traveling Music, Please

Rivers, boatmen, water-borne vessels and wanderers, farewells, fair maidens and sightseers on the move. This week, Bill calls up "A Little Traveling Music" from the pens of Handel, Smetana, Duke Ellington and more.

 
Program 1

Musicians are often found on the road, either traveling to join a new orchestra or moving towards a new inspiration.  Reflections from such travels infuse themselves into their works, as we will discover throughout the week. 

We leave the port with a nautical voyage by Mendelssohn, taking us to a past once explored by Beethoven, and continue streaming along three different takes on a barcarolle--otherwise known as a Venetian gondolier's song.  Gershwin brings Americana to the City of Lights, and Schickele concludes with a ragtime tune for brass. 

Mendelssohn: Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage
Leipzig Gewandhaus/Masur
Berlin Classics 0091572
11:02
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Offenbach: Barcarolle from Tales of Hoffman
Brussels National Opera Orchestra & Chorus/Cambreling; Norman, Murray, soloists
EMI 49641
4:18
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Chopin: Barcarolle, Op. 60
G. Ohlsson, p.
Arabesque 6686
8:38
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Menotti: Barcarolle fr. Sebastian
Philadelphia/Ormandy
CBS 45660
3:40
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Gershwin: An American in Paris
LSO/Previn
EMI 66943
18:01
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Schickele: A Little Moseying Music
The Chestnut Brass Company
Newport 85638
2:28
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Program 2

The slow pace of sea travel gives one plenty of time to ponder on a tune.  This segment is filled with aquatic adventures and river reveries, beginning Copland's arrangement of "The Boatman's Song" from Old American Songs.  Just across the pond is Vltava in present-day Czech Republic, its beauty captured by Smetana.  Wagner brings us to a scene at the Rhine.

Copland: “The Boatman’s Song” fr. Old American Songs
Columbia Symphony Orchestra/Copland; Warfield, bar.
CBS 42430
3:12
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Smetana: Die Moldau from Má Vlast
Czech Phil/Neumann
Supraphon 11 0711-2
12:32
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Wagner: Dawn & Siegfried’s Rhine Journey from Götterdämmerung
CSO/Reiner
RCA 63301-2
13:11
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Ibert: Escales (Ports of Call)
National Orchestra l’ORTF/Martinon
EMI 64276
15:23
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Grofe: New Orleans from Mississippi Suite
New York Phil/Kostelanetz
CBS 37759
4:05
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Program 3

In this section, Bill explores a variety of farewells.

Beethoven's farewell, Les Adieux, is marked by sorrow and joy as he bids adieux, misses, then reunites with a friend (in sections marked "Farewell," "Absence" and "Reunion."  Beethoven inadvertently wrote his own farewell, as he passed away before finishing a requiem mass. 

Mahler, too, left behind some unfinished works, one of them being "Das Lied von der Erde," the score of which he left to his wife Alma and friend Bruno Walter, who conducted its premiere six months after Mahler's death.  The song cycle, divided into six segments, is based off of a book of ancient Chinese poems.  We hear the last section, translated to "The Farewell," with the very same Bruno Walter conducting the New York Philharmonic.
 
We end with a light piano piece that blends the sweetness and sadness of leaving behind a beloved place.  English composer Peter Maxwell Davies, also the official composer of Queen Elizabeth II dedicates the piece to Stromness, the farthest north one can dwell while in the U.K. 
 

Beethoven: Sonata in E-flat, No. 26 Op. 81a, Les Adieux
Goode, p.
Nonesuch 79328
15:01, 2:10
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Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde No. 6, “Der Abschied”
New York Phil/Walter; Miller, a.
Sony 64455
29:00
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Davies: Farewell to Stromness
O’Riley, p.
CPI 3294112
3:29
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Program 4

We begin the next leg of our musical journey with Schubert's "Das Wandern" from his song cycle Die Schöne Mullerin. The first song in the cycle, “Das Wandern”, introduces us to a young miller boy as he proclaims his love for travel and the brook that is his guide.

The next segment of our journey is both dour and autobiographical. Mahler's "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen" is the song of a young boy who upon losing his love to another packs up his bags. Mahler saw himself in this character, as he had just experienced a breakup of his own.

Where Mahler wrote music to revel in heartbreak, Hadyn wrote this next symphony to solve it. Haydn's Farewell Symphony is both a treat to listen to and an ingenious ploy to get more vacation time.

Our next farwell is from Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, where two pairs of sweethearts bid farewell. The earnest beauty of the music is ironic, considering that in the next act the two men will return in disguise in order to test their lover's fidelity.

One of the prices of being a successful performer is constant travel. Lizst was one of the most successful composer-performer hybrids of all time, and so spent a lot time on the road. He transformed his experiences on the road into a series of piano works called Année de Pèlerinage. In this segment, we listen to two pieces from that collection, “Au Lac de Wallenstadt” and “Les Jeux d’eaux á la Villa d’Este.”

We close this segment with two of the most famous songs of travel in the repertoire, Vaughn William's "Whither Must I Wander?" and "The Vagabond" from the songs of travel.

Schubert: “Das Wandern” from Die Schöne Mullerin 
Fischer-Dieskau, br.; Moore, p.
EMI 75922
2:17
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Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
ECO/Tate; Allen, bar.
EMI 49943
17:02
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Haydn: Symphony No. 45, Farewell (excerpt) 
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Brown
Hänssler 98189
7:12
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Mozart: Cosi fan tutti (excerpt)
Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus/Böhm; Schwarzkopf, Ludwig, Kraus, Taddei, Berry, soloists
EMI 69330
2:00
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Liszt: Au Lac de Wallenstadt fr. Année de Pèlerinage
Watts, p.
EMI 64599
3:32
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Liszt: Les Jeux d’eaux á la Villa d’Este fr. Annee de Pelerinage
Kocsis, p.
Phil 420174
7:50
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Vaughan Williams: “Whither Must I Wander?” & “The Vagabond” fr. Songs of Travel
Terfel, bar.; Martineau, p.
DG 445946
3:57, 3:06
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Program 5

Handel: The Arrival of Queen Sheba fr. Solomon
Academy of Ancient Music/Hogwood
L’Oiseau-Lyre 410553
3:17
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Wagner: Walkürenritt from Die Walküre
Berlin Phil/Tennstedt
EMI 68616
5:06
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Prokofiev: Troika from Lt. Kije
St. Petersburg Phil/Temirkanov
RCA 60984
2:40
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Phillips: The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
Eastman-Rochester Orch/Hanson
Mercury 434319
5:22
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Delius: Walk to the Paradise Garden from A Village Romeo & Juliet
LSO/Barbirolli
EMI 62527
9:42
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Alkan: Le Chemin de fer
Martin/Ringeissen
Naxos 8.553434
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Honegger: Pacific 231
Bavarian Radio & TV Symphony Orch/Dutoit
Erato 33171
6:15
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Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras (excerpt)
French Radio National Orchestra/Villa-Lobos
EMI 761015
4:03
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Ellington/Strayhorn: Take the “A” Train
Duke Ellington Orchestra
2:56
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Adams: Short Ride in a Fast Machine
San Francisco Symphony/de Waart
Nonesuch 79144
4:14
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The Exploring Music streaming website is made possible by Mr. & Mrs. William Gardner Brown and Susan & Richard Kiphart.
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