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Artists in Exile, Part I

On this edition of Exploring Music, the theme is "Artists in Exile", which refers to "how refugees from 20th Century war and revolution transformed the American arts." On this and the next program, you will hear stories of the appreciation of new places but also the terrible lonliness that comes from being in exile, forced from one's home by internal strife and placed thousands of miles away in a new world.

Program 1

This segment begins with a man who left his country of his own volition: Dvorák, who came from Czechoslovakia and spent some time in Spillville, Iowa. In line with his journey thousands of miles from home, we hear the lonely, forlorn second movement of his American Quartet in F Major. Dvorák had come to America on his own at the end of the 19th century, but during the 20th century many artists, scientists, and composers fled an unstable Europe to come to America. One of these was Bloch, and shortly after he came to America he composed Schelomo, which we hear. The segment ends with Prokofiev, who fled the Soviet Union after the Revolution, and arrived in America, where he was given several concert tours until he got a job in Chicago. We hear the piece that he wrote for the Chicago Symphony, the Love for Three Oranges suite.

Dvorák: Quartet in F major, American, Op. 96, III (excerpt), II
Takács Quartet
Lon 430077
1:12, 7:38

Bloch: Schelomo
Israel Philharmonic/Bernstein; Maisky, vc.
Lon 414166

Prokofiev: Love For Three Oranges Suite, Op. 33
National Symphony Orchestra/Slatkin
RCA 68801

Program 2

This segment focuses in on two composers, Korngold and Rózsa, both of whom had careers in Europe performing concert music, then came to America where they composed music for Hollywood movies. The first example is the Austrian Korngold, who composed and performed his first cantata at the age of 9. We first hear some bits from the score of the film Captain Blood, then his Violin Concerto in D Major, a piece that seems to have inspired future movie score composers like John Williams. Next is Rózsa, who wrote for films like The Thief of Baghdad, Ben-Hur, Ivanhoe, and the Hitchcock film Spellbound, which is heard here. The segment then closes with a Violin Concerto from Rózsa, sporting a distinctly Hungarian sound apart from the Hollywood sounds we have been hearing.

Korngold: Captain Blood (excerpts from the film score)
Brandenburg Philharmonic Orchestra/Kaufman
Marco Polo 8.223607

Korngold: Violin Concerto In D Major, Op. 35
LA Phil/Wallenstein; Heifetz, v.
Sony 61752

Rózsa: Theme, Variations and Finale (excerpt)
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/Sedares
Koch 7191

Rózsa: Spellbound Concerto
RCA Symphony Orchestra/Rabinowitz; Wild, p.
Ivory Classics 70801
8:00, 1:24

Rózsa: Violin Concerto, Op. 24, I
Dallas Symphony Orchestra/Hendl; Heifetz, v.
Sony 61752

Program 3

This segment focuses in on Rachmaninoff. As mentioned in the first segment, Rachmaninoff fled Russia after the Soviet Union was established, but he left with a solid backing behind him. As a result, he was very popular as soon as he arrived in America. We first hear the slow second movement from his Symphony no 3 in a minor, followed by the second movement of Symphonic Dances. Next is his big hit in the US: Rhapstody on a Theme of Paganini, loosely based on a little theme composed by the "devil on the violin." The segment then closes not with a Rachmaninoff composition, but with Rachmaninoff on piano, playing Schumann's "Chiarina."

Rachmaninoff: Symphony #3 In a minor, Op. 44, II
Philadelphia Orchestra/Dutoit
Decca 433181

Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances, II
Russian State Symphony/Polyansky
Chandos 9759

Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini, Op. 43
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Reiner; Rubinstein, p.
RCA 68886

Schumann: Chiarina fr. Carnaval, Op. 9
Rachmaninoff, p.
RCA 61265

Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody On A Theme of Paganini (excerpt)
Philadelphia Orchestra/Stokowski; Rachmaninoff, p.
RCA 61265

Program 4

This segment examines another Russian composor and a contemporary of Rachmaninoff's, Stravinsky. Perhaps most famous for his Rite of Spring, Stravinsky had many contacts in Paris, and thus had a place nearby to go to when the Russian Revolution struck. We first hear the first two parts from his Symphony of Psalms, the piece that first brought him to the United States, then move onto Jeu de cartes, the "Game of cards," a ballet based around a poker game...and featuring some very Hadyn-esque tonality. Next we hear the Concerto in E-Flat, known as "Dumbarton Oaks," composed just a year after Jeu de cartes, and then we end with the short second part of Four Norwegian Moods, simply titled "Song."

Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms, I & II
CBC Symphony Orchestra & Toronto Festival Singers/Stravinsky
Sony 64136

Stravinsky: Jeu de cartes
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Solti
Decca 443775

Stravinsky: Concerto in E-Flat, Dumbarton Oaks
Ensemble InterContemporain/Boulez
DG 447405

Stravinsky: Four Norwegian Moods, II. Song
New York Phil/Stravinsky
Sony 34136

Program 5

This week's final segment focuses on Bartók, a native of Hungary with a number of friends in America who urged him to move, which he eventually did. When he arrived, he composed the Concerto for Orchestra, which we hear. (This particular performance is conducted by Sir Georg Solti, a pupil of Bartók.) We hear the first three movements of this, Bartók's most popular piece. The program then closes with the second movement of Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 3, his very last piece, and an excerpt of the first movement.

Bartók: Concerto For Orchestra, Sz. 116
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Solti
Decca 470516
9:04, 12:45, 13:38

Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3, Sz. 119, II, I (excerpt)
LSO/Boulez; Grimaud, p.
DG 000388502


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