Notes on Music

Notes on Music is heard throughout the week on KLRE, Classical 90.5, and is written and voiced by Ray Moore.

Ray Moore is Professor Emeritus of Music and former Director of Choral Studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 

Dr. Moore received his Bachelor's degree in music from Texas Tech University, and both his Master's and Doctorate from Columbia University.

Moore has published a book, High Notes and Low, based on his Notes on Music spots. You can learn more about his book in this video:

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Notes on Music
3:07 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

"I can't reach the brakes on this piano!"

Liven up. Even Bach had a sense of humor.

These are some of the amazing statements accumulated by music teachers in Missouri:

 “I can’t reach the brakes on the piano.”  “A virtuoso is a musician with real high morals.”  “ A harp is a nude piano.”  “When electric currents go through guitars, they start making sounds.  So would anybody.”  And finally, “I know what a sextet is, but I’d rather not say.” 

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Notes on Music
3:02 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Classical Music and Higher Education

Let's make this a full house.

A national survey reported in The Classical Music Consumer Segmentation Study 2002, indicates that 40% of adults who have attended graduate school, and 25% with an undergraduate college degree, attended a classical-music concert in the past 12 months.

 In contrast, about 8% with only a high-school education attended. We need to work to improve these statistics!

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Notes on Music
2:43 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Classical Music for Couch Potatoes

His silhouette is unmistakable. Gounod's "Funeral March of A Marionette" has become forever linked with the opening crawl of the classic television program, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."

One doesn’t immediately associate classical-music composers with television theme songs, but it happens!

 Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #2 is used for Firing Line, Alfred Hitchcock used Charles Gounod’s Funeral March for a Marionette for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee announced The Green Hornet. You never know...

Notes on Music
2:36 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

John Cage: As Slow As Possible

John Cage, seen here in a moment of levity, is the composer of one the world's most ambitious pieces of music.

            Twentieth-century composer John Cage broke many music traditions, not the least of which was to designate his 1987 composition for organ, ASLAP, to be played as slowly as possible, hence the title’s acronym (As SLow aS Possible).

 

A performance of the piece was begun in 2001 in Halberstade, Germany, and is scheduled to last 639 years, ending in 2640!

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Notes on Music
2:30 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Cole Porter: Overcoming Adversity and Making Music

Cole Porter, composer of the musicals High Society and Kiss Me, Kate, strikes a pose with one of his hits.

While horseback riding in 1937, Cole Porter’s horse fell, throwing him to the ground, and then rolled over his legs, badly crushing them.

 The doctors wanted to amputate both but Porter refused to allow the operation. Although he was left in constant pain for the rest of his life, he continued to give us such wonderful musicals as Kiss Me, Kate and High Society.

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Notes on Music
2:12 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Edward Elgar: Inspired by Nature

Edward Elgar is surrounded in this colorized photo by lush greenery.

The Dream of Gerontius, composed by Edward Elgar in 1900, is an oratorio which relates the journey of a pious man’s soul from his deathbed to his judgement before God.

 While composing the work, Elgar would often walk from his cottage to a nearby village along a tree-lined lane. After one such walk he wrote, “The trees are singing my music.  Or have I sung theirs?”

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Notes on Music
2:07 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Meddling with Medleys

German composer Richard Wagner, seen in this caricature introducing various melodies into one of his many overtures.

In music, a medley consists of a number of different melodies presented one after the other within the same continuous piece of music.

 An example of this is often found in opera overtures, where the composer introduces the various melodies to be heard individually as the opera progresses. The term comes from Middle English and literally means “to meddle.”

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Notes on Music
1:58 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Harry S. Truman: "Music" Is His Middle Name?

President Harry S. Truman plays the piano in this photo from 1952.

A few composers are usually referred to by one or more of their initials, such as J.S. Bach or his son, C.P.E. Bach.  In these cases, the initials stand for actual names.

 It’s interesting that in the case of President Harry S. Truman, the “S” actually stood only for itself as an initial with no name represented.  His musical connection?  He enjoyed playing the piano.

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Notes on Music
1:52 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Pete Seeger: A Life in Music

Pete Seeger, icon of folk music, plays the banjo in this 1950s photo.

Pete Seeger was an American folk singer with a string of hit records in the 1950s singing with The Weavers.

As a songwriter, he penned such songs as Where Have All the Flowers Gone? and If I Had a Hammer.

It’s interesting that his father established the first musicology curriculum in the U.S., at the University of California, and his mother was a concert violinist who taught at Juilliard.

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Notes on Music
1:47 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Words of Criticism

"Rite of Spring?" More like "Riot of Spring," as seen in this caricature of Igor Stravinsky from 1913.

Composers are notorious critics of others’ music.

Saint-Saëns said of Ravel’s music:  “If he had been making shell casings during the war, it might have made for better music.” Rossini complained, “Wagner has beautiful moments but awful quarters of an hour.” And Benjamin Britten said of Stravinsky:  “I liked the opera very much.  Everything but the music.”

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