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Autumn Leaves

Works inspired by sights, sounds and smells of nature at summer’s end, including selections by Vivaldi, Piazzola, Delius and Schubert.

 
Program 1

The musical experience of fall varies amongst artists, and this program begins with Glazunov's interpretation of "Herbst," or German for fall, as part of his ballet, The Seasons.  It starts off pompous, much like the last hurrah of summer, but mellows out into a languid tune.  Mahler, on the other hand, glumly reflects on "The Lonely One in Fall" from The Song of the Earth.  

Dvorak picks up the excitement with his sprightly rendition, and William Alwyn's song is "unashamedly romantic."  Tchaikovsky wraps up the hour with "Seasons"--no need to guess which one--and sections off the different themes by months: September, October, November and December.

Glazunov: Herbst fr. Die Jahreszeiten Op. 67
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Ansermet
Lon 430348
9:26
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Mahler: “Der Einsame Im Herbst” fr. Das Lied von der Erde
Philharmonia Orch/Klemperer; Ludwig, ms.
EMI 66944
10:05
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Dvorák: Four Autumn Leaves, B. 109 (excerpts)
Poroshina, p.
Brilliant 92606
4:06
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Alwyn: Autumn Legend for Cor Anglais and String Orchestra
City of London Sinfonia/Hickox; Daniel, eh.
Chan 8866
12:16
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Tchaikovsky: The Seasons, Op. 37B (excerpts)
Bronfman, p.
Sony 60689
13:59
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Program 2

Grieg creates a perfect storm with his autumnal overture, while Sibelius approaches a stormy scene from the perspective of a pensive wanderer.  

Composers often pay homage to other great works of art; here, Mark O'Connor to Vivaldi with "The American Seasons" and Ned Rorem to Robert Frost with "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."

As several hunting season dates fall within autumn, it's no wonder that the wild chase is popular in this genre, such as Mozart's "Hunt" quartet.  Impressionist composers Delius and Debussy paint their own lyrical landscapes.  

The segment closes with Kosma's "Autumn Leaves," originally titled "Dead Leaves," which is arguably the most famous fall song of all time (hence the trademark of this week).  Famed jazz singer Karrin Allyson delivers a pitch-perfect performance in both French and English. 

Grieg: In Autumn Overture, Op. 11
Royal Phil/Beecham
EMI 66966
11:19
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Sibelius: “Autumn Evening” Op. 38/1
City of Birmingham SO/Oramo; Mattila, s.
Warner Cl 80243
5:10
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O’Connor: Fall fr. The American Seasons
Metmorphosen Chamber Orch/Yoo; O’Connor, v.
Sony 89660
5:49
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Rorem: “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
Martineau, p.; Graham, ms.
Warner Cl 327484
1:54
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Mozart: String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major, K. 458, Hunt, I
Emerson String Quartet
DG 552302
8:21
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Delius: Autumn fr. North Country Sketches
Orch. of the Welsh Nat’l Opera/Mackerras
Lon 460290
8:11
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Debussy: Feuilles Mortes fr. Preludes, Bk. II
Ciani, p.
DG 453070
4:59
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Kosma: “Autumn Leaves”
Karrin Allyson, voc.; Ens.
Concord 4709
4:48
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Program 3

Autumn themes continue with varying emotions.  Giuseppe Verdi's peppy ballet was written after the French management of the Paris Opera demanded dance to be written into "Sicilian Vespers."  Schwantner wrote a piece for solo horn in "Beyond Autumn," and Bill shares a personal story with a solo horn player he admires.

The last quarter of the show takes on a very different atmosphere.  Piazzolla's "Fall Tango" transports us to Buenos Aires simmering down after a robust summer, and Bill shares a tune he learned from his grandma, reminiscent of one reclining on a patio in the last few days of an Indian summer.

Verdi: Les Vespres Siciliennes (excerpt)
Munich Radio Orch/R. Abbado
RCA 62651
9:22
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Schwantner: Beyond Autumn
Dallas Symphony Orch/Litton; Hustis, hn.
Hyperion 67493
17:22
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Brahms: “Herbstgefühl” Op. 48, No. 7
Hamburger, p.; Baker, ms.
BBC Legends 4200
4:20
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Ashmore: Autumn fr. Four Seasons
Guildhall String Ensemble/Salter; Stoltzman, cl.
RCA 60437
4:22
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Mendelssohn: Jägerlied fr. Songs Without Words, Op. 19, No. 3
Barenboim, p.
DG 469376
2:10
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Piazzolla: Otoño Porteño
Barenboim, p.; Mederos, band.
Teldec 13474
4:52, 2:43
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Herbert: Indian Summer
Holloway, a. sax.; Wess, t. sax.; Smith, org.
2:43

Program 4

Haydn composed his hunting piece at 74, a task he found difficult as his health was deteriorating.  The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra performs a "hound dog" aria, the hunters' chorus and the final celebration.

Autumn gets some cultural flavor on the piano--we experience the season in a Japanese village with Kainuma and in Warsaw with Ligeti (which we hear as a live performance in Carnegie Hall).  

Just as leaves change color in autumn, so do the interpretations of an autumnal composition.  We hear two versions of Brubeck's "Autumn in Our Town" and three performances of Duke's "Autumn in New York."

Haydn: Die Jahreszeiten (excerpts)
Freiburg Baroque Orch & RIAS Chamber Chorus/Jacobs; Petersen, s.; Güra, ten.; Henschel, bar.
HM 901829
2:12, 12:50
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Kainuma: Autumn in a Village
Uchiyama, p.; Mera, cten.
BIS 906
2:50
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Ligeti: Automne à Varsovie fr. Piano Etudes
Aimard, p.
Teldec 43088
4:26
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D. Brubeck: “Autumn in Our Town”
C. Brubeck, p.; von Stade, s.; Vinci, fl.
Telarc 80467
4:07
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D. Brubeck: Autumn in Washington Square
Dave Brubeck Quartet
Legacy 46189
5:29, 1:27
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Duke: Autumn in New York
Ens.; Upshaw, s.
Nonesuch 79531
4:24
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Duke: Autumn in New York
Bill Charlap Trio
Blue Note 97044
6:41
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Duke: Autumn in New York
Ens.; Fitzgerald & Armstrong, voc.
6:05
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Program 5

The last installment of "Autumn Leaves" starts off with a series of tone poems illustrating fall by the originial master of seasons--Vivaldi.  Thomson likewise produces a series of scenes: the cool wind blowing, a dialogue, a romantic scene and a bustling promenade.  

Grainger used to walk from city to city for his performances, collecting folk tunes along the way; the English folk tune in his "Harvest Hymn" is evidence of that.  Ives' "Halloween," which was never meant for the concert hall, evokes the image of a thousand bats clouding a night sky.  Autumnal appreciation week comes to a close with not one, but eight versions of the famous "September Song" by Weill, lyrics by Anderson.

Vivaldi: Autumn from the Four Seasons
English Concert/Pinnock; Standage, v.
DG 426802
10:22
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Grainger: Harvest Hymn
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
DG 469376
3:39
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Trad.: Autumn Moon on a Calm Lake
Lang, p.
DG 823300
4:03
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Thomson: Autumn (Concertino for Harp, Strings and Percussion)
LA Chamber Orch/Marriner; Stockton, harp
EMI 47715
8:58
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Vaughan Williams: “Linden Lea” from Songs of Travel
Burnside, p.; Williams, bar.
Naxos 8.557643
2:44
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Ives: Halloween
NY Phil/Bernstein
DG 429220
1:54
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Weill/Anderson: September Song (excerpt)
Brubeck, p.
Telarc 83670
:39
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Weill/Anderson: September Song (excerpt)
Ens.; Chet Baker, tpt.
OJC 087-2
2:22
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Weill/Anderson: September Song (excerpt)
Harry James Ens.
1:19
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Weill/Anderson: September Song (excerpt)
Ens.; Garner, p.
Savoy 17025
3:04
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Weill/Anderson: September Song
Ens.; Reinhardt, g.
Everest
2:32
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Weill/Anderson: September Song (excerpt)
The Four Freshmen w/ June Christy
Hindsight 235
2:22
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Weill/Anderson: September Song (excerpts)
Ens.; Sarah Vaughan, voc.
Polygram Records 543305
1:33, :24, :27
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Weill/Anderson: September Song
Ella Fitzgerald
Polygram Records 839838
3:43
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