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
3:15 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Johannes Brahms A Carmudgeon?

Johannes Brahms

 Johannes Brahms was something of a carmudgeon and not always pleasant to be around.

When asked by a young woman which of his lieder, or songs, she should buy, he rather unpleasantly recommended some of his posthumous works.

Another lady asked how he wrote such “divine adagios.” He replied that his publisher ordered them that way!

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Notes on Music
3:02 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

A Farewell To Outstanding Classical Musicians

Sir Colin Davis, 1927-2013

2013 brought the deaths of many outstanding classical musicians: conductors Sir Colin Davis, James DePreist, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and Lawrence Leighton Smith; pianist Van Cliburn; composers Sir John Tavener, Robert Ward, and Harold Shapiro; cellist Janos Starker; and singers Deanna Durbin, Regina Resnik, and Risë Stevens.

We’ll miss them all.

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Notes on Music
2:53 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

The Devil’s Chord

In music a tritone consists of two notes that are three whole steps apart, such as “C” to “F#.”

Not found in either the major or minor scales, and due to its discordant sound, it has been called “the Devil’s Chord.”

This interval of notes was actually outlawed by the Catholic Church in the 17th century because it was felt only “pleasant intervals should be used to praise God.”

Notes on Music
2:35 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Tibetan Singing Bowls

Tibetan singing bowls, dating from 560 A.D. and used in Buddhist meditation, are large bowls played by striking the rim of the bowl with a padded mallet, or by rubbing the rim with various items to create friction.

The “singing” refers to the fact that they produce harmonic overtones creating the effect of up to three notes sounding simultaneously.

Quite a trick!

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Notes on Music
2:17 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Darius Milhaud

Darius Milhaud

Darius Milhaud was a French composer and teacher, and a member of Les Six, or The Group of Six, and one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century.

Interestingly, among his many students were a number who specialized in popular music and jazz, and include Bert Bacharach, Dave Brubeck, and Pete Rugolo.

A very eclectic man, indeed.

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Notes on Music
11:26 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Pleyel Declares Bankruptcy

One of the world’s oldest and most iconic piano makers, Pleyel, declared bankruptcy and closed its factory doors in Paris at the end of December, 2013.

Founded in 1807 by Ignaz Pleyel, a composer and music publisher, this emblematic brand had 200 years of history behind it and was a favorite of Chopin, Ravel, and Debussy.

What a shame!

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Notes on Music
2:16 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

All Things Frilly

Richard Wagner

            The Guardian newspaper of London recently published an article entitled “Wagner - Public Genius with a Private Passion for Bustles, Bows, and Bodices”, which indicated that the composer had an obsessive interest in feminine clothing. 

Indeed he wore tailor-made silk drawers, and even had a private room in his house dedicated to “all things frilly.”  Hummm...

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Notes on Music
2:14 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Name Day

            Works by Beethoven are as familiar to music listeners as those by any composer.  But I imagine not many of us have heard his seldom played concert overture, Zur Namensfeier, or Name Day Overture, composed in 1815. 

A “name day” celebrates the day associated with one’s given name, in this case, St. Francis of Assisi, the name day of the Austrian emperor Franz I.

Notes on Music
2:14 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Sir John Tavener

Sir John Tavener

            The classical music world lost a most distinguished composer this November, Sir John Tavener. 

At the age of 24 he was described by the British newspaper, The Guardian, as “the musical discovery of the year.”  During his career he became one of the best known and popular composers of his generation.  Knighted in 2000 for his services to music, he will be sorely missed.

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Notes on Music
2:12 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Dumbarton Oaks

            Wedding anniversary gifts are always special, and various years of marriage are usually marked by certain gifts:  crystal for the 15th, silver for the 25th, and so on. 

However, for his 30th anniversary, Robert Woods Bliss wanted to give his wife something very special:  he commissioned Igor Stravinsky to write a chamber concerto,  entitled Dumbarton Oaks, and named for his estate.

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