"A Musical Feast"
MUSIC: clip from Shostakovich Tahiti Trot performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons [EMI Classics 7243 5 55601 2 4, track 9] [under the following]
Welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your server, Fred Flaxman. I would like to invite you not just for Tea for Two, but for “A Musical Feast.”
It is a fact that all composers throughout history -- every single one of them, without exception -- ate food almost every day, and sometimes more than once a day. It is, therefore, a bit surprising that only a relative few of them were inspired to write music by what they ate.
We’re going to hear from several of these gastronomically-inspired composers in this hour of Compact Discoveries, including Shostakovich, Rossini, Saint-Saëns, Martinu, Richard Hayman, Billy Joel and Jacques Brel.
We’ll choose our menu from raisins and almonds, romantic hash, a stir-fry, peas, eels, beef-steak, vegetables, venison, salad and mountain cheese. For drinks we could choose coffee, tea for two, or rootbeer. For dessert we have a selection of totally nonfattening ice-cream, fruit basket, galette allemande, and wedding cake. We’re going to devour most of these goodies if you stay for the full course. So stay with me!
MUSIC: fades out
Before we begin, can I get you anything to drink? Might I suggest that the Rootbeer Rag by Billy Joel would be a sweet way to start our “Musical Feast?”
MUSIC: Billy Joel: Rootbeer Rag with Rich Ridenour, piano; the Grand Rapids Symphony conducted by John Varineau [Centaur CRC-2433, track 5] [2:54]
The Rootbeer Rag by Billy Joel. It was arranged by the pianist in this recording, Rich Ridenour. John Varineau conducted the Grand Rapids Symphony on a Centaur compact disc.
I’ll bring you the hors d’euvres now. Well, it takes a bit of poetic license to consider this as an appetizer: I’m talking about “Raisins and Almonds” -- as sung in Yiddish by Netania Davrath on a 1995 remastered Vanguard Classics release. This lullaby’s words are about a widow sitting in the holy temple with her little Jewish son in her arms. She rocks and sings him to sleep, telling him that under his cradle there is a pure little white lamb. The lamb will go off to market, and that will bring them a living, so the child can have raisins and almonds. So sleep, little child, sleep.
MUSIC: Goldfaden: Rozhinkes Mit Mandlen, sung by Netania Davrath with orchestra conducted by Robert DeCourmier [Vanguard Classics OVC 8058, track 18]] [3:18]
Rozhinkes Mit Mandlen -- Raisins and Almonds served as our public radio budget appetizer for this “Musical Feast” on Compact Discoveries. Netania Davrath was the singer while Robert DeCormier was the orchestra’s chef.
Time now for our main course. We have a choice today between Manuel Rosenthal’s Musique de table / Meal Music with its movements devoted to Russian salad, beef-steak, vegetables, cheeses, and more; Gerald Finzi’s Welcome Sweet and Sacred Feast; Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, and Martinu’s La Revue de Cuisine.
But as we don’t have the time to digest all of this, and I don’t have the stomach for some of these pieces, I suggest the Martinu without martini, whether you like it or not. I hope you do, but tastes do differ, in music as in food. I think it’s a fun piece.
The French word revue, like the English word "revue," has several meanings. So La Revue de Cuisine could mean Cooking Magazine. But the word revue also means a revue as in stage entertainment. The piece is divided rather strangely for a cooking magazine. Instead of recipes for hors d’euvres, main courses, salads and desserts, the four sections are marked Prologue, Tango, Charleston and Finale. That sounds more like a Broadway-type revue than a cooking magazine.
So, voilà Bohuslav Martinu’s Revue de Cuisine as performed by Chicago Pro Musica on a Reference Recordings compact disc.
MUSIC: Martinu: La Revue de Cuisine, performed by Chicago Pro Musica [Reference Recordings RR-2102, tracks 17-20] [13:58]
Bohuslav Martinu’s Revue de Cuisine. Our main course on this “Musical Feast” was catered by Chicago Pro Musica.
You are listening to Compact Discoveries. This hour is being devoted to “A Musical Feast.” I’m your server, Fred Flaxman.
[optional one-minute station break not included in the 58:57 total timing]
Still hungry for more delicious music? Chef Gioacchino Rossini has three appetizing dishes coming up: first Ouf! les petits pois, which means something like Finally the peas are here! ... Un sauté / a stir fry ... and Hachis romantique / romantic hash. This little collection demonstrates Rossini’s sense of humor as well as his keen interest in food and his extraordinary gifts as a composer for piano as well as opera.
MUSIC: Rossini: Ouf! les petits pois, performed by Paolo Giacometti, pianist [Channel Classics CCS 12398, track 10] [2:54]
MUSIC: Rossini: Un sauté, performed by Paolo Giacometti, pianist [Channel Classics CCS 12398, track 11] [4:35]
MUSIC: Rossini: Hachis romantique, performed by Paolo Giacometti, pianist [Channel Classics CCS 12398, track 12] [4:41]
Three delicious entrées by Gioacchino Rossini served by Paolo Giacometti on the piano from a Channel Classics compact disc. First we heard peas, then stir fry, and finally romantic hash.
This is “A Musical Feast” on Compact Discoveries. I’m your server, Fred Flaxman.
[optional one-minute station break not included in the 58:57 total timing]
Let’s leave plenty of room for desserts. After all, musical feasts are not only tasty and nutritious, at least for the soul, they are 100 percent non-fattening. Chef Rossini will offer the first of our musical desserts, a little German flat round cake he called Petite Galette Allemande.
MUSIC: Rossini: Petite Galette Allemande, performed by Paolo Giacometti, pianist [Channel Classics CCS SA 18003, track 15] [3:21]
Pianist Paolo Giacometti served up Gioacchino Rossini’s recipe for Petite Galette Allemande.
This was the first of our desserts on this “Musical Feast” hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your server, Fred Flaxman. Our next dessert is a French Pastry. The composer and orchestral chef for this tempting little morsel is Richard Hayman.
MUSIC: Hayman: French Pastry, performed by Richard Hayman and his Orchestra, [Naxos 8.555009, track 11] [1:35]
French Pastry, by Richard Hayman. Richard Hayman and his Orchestra were the cooks on this Naxos compact disc.
Would you like some tea for two with your next dessert? Dmitri Shostakovich, of all people, is the composer who cooked up this large orchestral recipe. He called it Tahiti Trot.
The original song is from Vincent Youmans’ 1925 operetta No, No Nanette. Shostakovich’s orchestration dates from 1928 when he was only 22 years old. He reportedly orchestrated the piece in 45 minutes on a bet with the conductor Nikolai Maiko. The arrangement became very popular in communist Russia, although it was considered a bit risqué. In 1929 Shostakovich was compelled by the authorities to apologize officially for having Maiko perform the work at a concert in Moscow. The following year Shostakovich daringly used it again, as an entr’acte in his ballet The Age of Gold. It is this full scoring for an orchestra that includes extra wind instruments that the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons serves you now.
MUSIC: Youmans/Shostakovich: Tea for Two/Tahiti Trot performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons [EMI Classics 7243 5 55601 2 4, track 9] [3:30]
The Tahiti Trot as orchestrated by Dmitri Shostakovich from Vincent Youman’s original Tea for Two. Mariss Jansons conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra in this EMI Classics compact disc.
You are listening to Compact Discoveries. If you just joined us, you missed the hors d’oeuvres, the entrée, a few vegetables and a couple of desserts on “A Musical Feast.” I’m your server, Fred Flaxman, and you are just in time for a Wedding Cake by French chef Camille Saint-Saëns.
MUSIC: Saint-Saëns: “Wedding Cake” Caprice-Valse, performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by André Previn with pianist Jean-Philippe Collard [EMI CDC 7 49757 2, track 4] [6:18]
“Wedding Cake” Caprice-Valse by Camille Saint-Saëns. The pianist was Jean-Philippe Collard. André Previn conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on this 1988 EMI compact disc.
Well it’s time now for our last meal on this “Musical Feast” Compact Discoveries program. The Last Meal / Le Dernier Repas is the name of this song by Jacques Brel. As it is sung in French, let me give you some idea of what he is saying.
With Brel’s last meal before dying he wants to see his brothers and his dogs and his cats and his women, all of whom he throws together, as well as the edge of the sea. With his last meal he wants to see his neighbors and then some pretend Chinese cousins. Then, being French Belgian, Brel sings of the wine he wants at his last meal, and the food, which includes a pheasant hen. Then he wants to be taken to the top of his hill to see the trees with their arms closing. And then he also wants to throw stones to the sky while shouting defiantly “God is dead” one last time.
Well there’s a lot more to this song than that, but that gives you a taste and it really sounds better in French than in English. So here’s our final treat on this “Musical Feast.” The Last Meal/Le Dernier Repas, words and music written by Jacques Brel in 1964, as sung by the one and only Jacques Brel.
MUSIC: Brel: Le Dernier Repas, performed by Jacques Brel [Universal 980 839-6, CD 2, track 19] [3:25]
Jacques Brel’s Le Dernier Repas / The Last Meal. This is Fred Flaxman hoping that you have enjoyed our “Musical Feast” on this hour of Compact Discoveries.
Compact Discoveries is a registered trademark and production of Compact Discoveries, Inc. Production of this program is made possible in part by the members of WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida.
MUSIC: up and fade out at 58:57
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