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Archives: November 2018

Puzzle for the Week of November 26

Gabriel Fauré 

Fauré, along with several of his French contemporaries, is invited to a private soirée by the Societé Nationale de Musique, of which he was a founding member. To maintain privacy, the organizers insist that the composers arrive at a back entrance, knock three times, and give a personal numerical pass-code to be allowed in. As Fauré arrives, he realizes with dismay that he left his invitation card at home, and his access code was written on it.

Fauré listens carefully as composers ahead of him knock thrice, then successfully give their code. Taffanel is admitted with the code 12112, and Franck is let in with the code 19118. Two more composers move forward and knock: Massenet enters with the code 12519 and Chausson 51920. By this stage, the quick-thinking Fauré has realized the logic and steps confidently up to the door.

What is Fauré’s pass-code?


By James Andrewes


Fauré’s passcode is 9512. Each composer’s code represents the last three letters of his first name, translated numerically into code, where A=1, B=2 etc.

9512, therefore, represents the letters I, E and L, which are the last three letters of Gabriel.
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Puzzle for the Week of November 19

    Martha Graham and her Music

One of Martha Graham’s notable quotes was “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” In this puzzle, you must find names of dances ‘hidden’ within sentences. For example, in the sentence “During the family’s trip to Manhattan, good times were had by all”, the dance tango is hidden, connected from the end of ‘Manhattan’ to the beginning of ‘good’.The name of the dance may be hidden either forwards or backwards within the sentences, so look carefully! Ignore punctuation and spaces between words. All hidden dances are at least six letters long.

1. We were ecstatic our antenna started to work again after going kaput last week.
2. It’s a fact that the more lobster an arrogant man eats, the more shellfish he becomes.
3. What a sad rascal the boy was after he was scolded by his parents for his behavior.
4. The pastel color schemes of the room added a sense of cozy decor to the house.
5. Together with the orchestra’s maestro, I kayaked down the Volga river.
6. The end of an era came quickly for the team’s coach after three successive losses.

1. Courante (ecstatic our antenna)
2. Bolero (more lobster)
3. Csárdás (sad rascal)
4. Zydeco (cozy decor)
5. Troika (maestro, I kayaked)
6. Macarena (an era came)

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“Dancing the Past” — Artbeat on WTTW (2000)

This segment of "Artbeat" shows the Joffrey Ballet in rehearsal for performances of Martha Graham's "Appalachian Spring" and features former Martha Graham Dance Company dancer Yuriko Kikuchi and members of the Joffrey Ballet. This program aired on WFMT's sister station, WTTW, on October 18, 2000.

Series Producer: Daniel Andries
Narrated by Fawn Ring
Produced by Gita Saedi
Camera: Emmett E. Wilson
Edited by Barbara E. Allen

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Puzzle for the Week of November 12

Music in the Time of War

Benjamin Britten, who wrote the mighty War Requiem heard in this week’s program, has an interesting feature to his name: his first and last names both begin with the same letter - B. This is not so unusual, as numerous other composers share this feature: Béla Bartók, Edward Elgar, George Gershwin, Modest Mussorgsky, William Walton, to name a few.

However, with Britten it goes one step further: his first and last names also both end with the same letter - n.

Several other composers share this rare ‘double’ feature, with their two names both beginning and ending with a shared letter. I have written four such composers below, but removed from their names all but two letters as hints. Can you identify them?

1. ________L__ ______________D__
2. ____O__________ ____B__________
3. ____R__ ________M________

4. ______M____ __A________



1. Cécile Chaminade
2. Giovanni Gabrieli
3. Toru Takemitsu
4. Thomas Tallis

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Puzzle for the Week of November 5

I Hear America Singing

After listening to this week’s Exploring Music programs, the poet Walt Whitman decides he would like to literally hear America singing in election week. He invites seven American composers - past and present – to sing a stirring concert of choral music. Ives, Copland, Amy Beach, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Irving Berlin, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, and Missy Mazzoli all accept Whitman’s invitation.
On arrival, the composers arrange themselves left to right according to their voice types, with the four women taking soprano and alto, and the three men tenors and basses. Initially, Whitman is unhappy with this line-up and proclaims: “No, this won’t work. Copland, you go on the left...” He continues to assign each composer a specific position in the chorus from left to right. When finished, he announces triumphantly: “Now I will hear America singing!”

In what order did Whitman place the composers from left to right, and why did this satisfy his desire to “hear America singing?”


Answer:   From left to right: Copland, Mazzoli, Zwilich, Seeger, Berlin, Ives and Beach.

“Initially, Whitman is unhappy....”

Whitman’s order is based on the initial letters of each composer’s first name: Aaron, Missy, Ellen, Ruth, Irving, Charles and Amy. Combined together from left to right, they spell AMERICA. Whitman can now literally hear AMERICA singing.

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