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American Masters, Part III

Our series celebrating American composers continues with more innovative works from the 20th century.

 
Program 1

The first program of this week includes: Franz Waxman (Four Scenes of Childhood: Bedtime Story and Humoresque); Don Gillis who organized NBC Symphony broadcasts with Arturo Toscanini (Symphony No. 5 1/2); Wayne Barlow (The Winter's Passed); the great novelist / composer Paul Bowles (the Mexican influenced Six Preludes for Piano, Concerto for Two Pianos and Blue Mountain Ballads - based on texts by Tennessee Williams); and Alec Wilder (Air for English Horn and Theme and Variations - both conducted by Frank Sinatra).

Franz Waxman: Four Scenes of Childhood for Violin and Piano
 I. Bedtime Story: The Fairy Princess – Andante
Geoffrey Applegate, vln.; Pauline Martin, pf.
Koch 7398
3:35
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Waxman: Humoresque – City Montage
London Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Litton; Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, v.;
Nonesuch 79464-2
1:58
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Don Gillis: Symphony No 5 1/2
 I. Perpetual Emotion
 II. Spiritual
 III. Scherzofrenia
 IV. Conclusion
Albany Symphony/David Alan Miller
Nonesuch 79464-2
14:38
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Wayne Barlow: The Winter’s Passed
Brooklyn Philharmonic/Michael Barrett; Bert Lucarelli, ob.
Koch 3-71872
5:25
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Paul Bowles: Six Preludes for Piano (excerpts)
 Huapango No. 1
 Orosi
 La Cuelga
Bennett Lerner, p.
Etcetera 1019
4:11
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Paul Bowles: Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, I
EOS Ensemble/Jonathan Sheffer; Alan Feinberg, Leslie Stifelman, pnos.
RCA 63685
4:35
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Paul Bowles (text by Tennessee Williams): “Cabin” & “Sugar in the Cane” fr. Blue Mountain Ballads
Samuel Ramey, bs.; Warren Jones, p.
Sony 68339
3:09
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Alec Wilder: Air for English Horn
The Alec Wilder Octet/Frank Sinatra; Mitch Miller, eh.
CBS 26417
2:37
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Alec Wilder: Theme and Variations
The Alec Wilder Octet/Frank Sinatra
CBS 26417
2:27
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Don Gillis: Bobby Socks (excerpt) fr. Star-Spangled Symphony
Sinfonia Varsovia/Ian Hobson
Albany 618
4:10
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Program 2

This hour features the work of a pair American composers whose work stretched far beyond the usual classical realms. New York born Bernard Hermann worked with Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock but also composed many remarkable non-film works (featured here are his Symphony No. 1 and For the Fallen - A Berceuse). Leroy Anderson's playfulness style is heard in a various works including The Syncopated Clock, Belle of the Ball, Harvard Sketches, The Classical Jukebox, A Trumpeter's Lullaby and The Typewriter.

Anderson: The First Day Of Spring (excerpt) 
BBC Concert Orchestra/Slatkin
Naxos 8.559313
1:20
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Bernard Herrmann: Symphony No. 1, II & III
Phoenix Symphony/James Sedares
Koch 7135
:51, 5:53, 8:37
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Herrmann: For The Fallen- A Berceuse
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/David Sedares
Koch 7224
6:55
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Leroy Anderson: The Syncopated Clock
St. Louis Symphony/Leonard Slatkin
RCA 668048
2:25
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Anderson: Belle Of The Ball
St. Louis Symphony/Leonard Slatkin
RCA 668048
2:37
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Anderson: Piano Concerto In C, II
BBC Concert Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin; Jeffrey Biegel, pf.
Naxos 8.559313
5:16
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Anderson: Harvard Sketches
 Freshman in Harvard Square
 Widener Reading Room
 Class Day Confetti Battle
BBC Concert Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin
Naxos 8.559357
4:46
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Anderson: The Classical Jukebox
BBC Concert Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin
Naxos 8.559313
3:06
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Anderson: A Trumpeter’s Lullaby
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra/Slatkin; Susan Slaughter, tpt.
RCA 939508
3:29
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Anderson: The Typewriter
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra/Slatkin; John Cassica, typewriter; Richard O’Donnell, bell
RCA 939508
1:49
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Program 3

"Conjure of a picture of Colonial Sanders, then put sandals on Colonial Sanders and take him out to the west coast, make him big, like a Buddha, infinitely kind, wise, full of merriment..." so begins Bill's hour on the great mid-20th century experimental composer Lou Harrision. In this hour you'll hear Harrisons Suite from the Marriage at the Eiffel Tower, Symphony on G, Six Sonatas, Suite for Violin, Seven Pastorales and Homage to Pacifica (In Honor of Chief Seattle).

Lou Harrison: Suite fr. The Marriage At The Eiffel Tower
 Overture
 March For The Marriage Of Frank And Anne Wigglesworth
 Waltz
 Blues For The Trouville Bathing Beauty
 Quadrille
Brooklyn Philharmonic/Dennis Russell Davies
Nimbus 2571
9:14
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Harrison: Symphony on G, III
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Gerhard Samuel
CRI 715
13:20
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Harrison: Piano Concerto, IV
New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra/Naoto Tomo; Keith Jarrett, p.
New World 80366
2:55
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Harrison: Six Sonatas: II & IV
John Schneider, just guitar; Amy Shulman, harp
Bridge 9041
5:23
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Harrison: Suite For Violin, Piano & Small Orchestra, IV-VI
New Japan Phil/Hughes; Lucy Stoltzman, v.; Keith Jarrett, p.
New World 80366
8:08
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Harrison: Seven Pastorales
 V. To John Cage
 VI. To My Mother
Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra/Dennis Russell Davies
Musicmasters 67089
5:13
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Harrison: Homage To Pacifica, In Honor Of Chief Seattle (excerpt)
Lou Harrison/Gamelan Si Betty, Berkeley Chamber
Musicmasters 67091
3:41
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Program 4

This hour focuses on a pair of American composers who came of age in the 1940s: Harold Shapero and George Rochberg, who despite being widely admired were unjustly accused of being 'copycats.' Shapero's Symphony for Classical Orchestra was called "the most beautiful orchestral piece written by an American composer" by André Previn. George Rochberg was a serial / twelve-tone composer who worked in Italy with Luigi Dallapiccola but after his teenage son developed a brain tumor and later died and he jettisoned serial music in favor of music that is in many ways Mahleresque. Bill plays excerpts from two enchanting pieces by Rochberg: Music for the Magic Theater and his String Quartet No. 3 which draws on themes from late Beethoven string quartets.     

Harold Shapero: Symphony For Classical Orchestra, II & III
L.A. Philharmonic/André Previn
New World 80373
20:37
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George Rochberg: Music for the Magic Theater, (excerpt)
New York Chamber Ensemble/Stephen Rogers Radcliffe
New World 80462
9:01
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George Rochberg: String Quartet No. 3, III
Concord String Quartet
New World 80551
15:55
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Program 5

The final episode the American Masters series focuses on the irrepressible Morton Gould, the New York born composer who began working as a staff pianist at Radio City Music Hall as a teenager and became a celebrated radio conductor (including the Chrysler Radio Hour). While many of his pieces are somewhat on the pop side, Bill highlights some of his lesser known works including excerpts from a Piano Concerto, Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, Fall River Legend, Benny's Gig for Clarinet and Double Bass (written for Benny Goodman for a trip to the Soviet Union in 1962), the Pulitzer Prize-winning Stringmusic and Boogie-Woogie Etude.  

Gould: Piano Concerto, II & III
Albany Symphony Orchestra/David Alan Miller; Randall Hodgkinson, p.
Albany Troy 300
13:59
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Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, II & III
Louisville Orchestra/Lawrence Leighton Smith; Robert Glazer, vla.
Albany Troy 013-014
14:11
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Gould: Fall River Legend (excerpts)
National Philharmonic Orchestra/Milton Rosenstock
Albany Troy 035
10:16
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Gould: Benny’s Gig for Clarinet and Double Bass (excerpts)
Larry Combs, cl.; Bradley Opland, db.
Summit 172
4:44
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Gould: Stringmusic- Prelude
Albany Symphony Orchestra/David Alan Miller
Albany 300
5:32
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Gould: Boogie-Woogie Etude
Michel Legrand, p.
Apex 49576
2:17
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