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
2:10 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

The Divine Bohemian

Josef Myslivecek

            Josef Myslivecek was a close friend of the young Mozart, and had great influence on his compositional style. 

He was a celebrated opera composer in Italy in the 1770s, but the Italians had trouble pronouncing his name and so simply called him “The Divine Bohemian.” 

He was tragically treated by a quack doctor who burned away his nose in a botched operation for syphilis. 

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Notes on Music
2:08 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

The March King

John Phillip Sousa

John Philip Sousa, the “March King”, was no teetotaler. 

In 1923, during the height of America’s temperance movement, he wrote a suite for ballet entitled People Who Live in Glass Houses, which included a movement entitled “Scotch, Irish, Bourbon and Rye.”  Dancers were outfitted in large bottles symbolizing the various drinks. 

Hey, John, I’ll drink to that!

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Notes on Music
2:07 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Pulling Strings

Gioachino Rossini

            Gioachino Rossini was a composer of many great operas, but was also quite a womanizer.  One of his “loves” was Maria Marcolini, the former mistress of Napoleon’s brother. 

When Napoleon, who had occupied northern Italy, mandated compulsory enlistment in the French Army, Marcolini was able to pull some strings to get Rossini an exemption.  Otherwise we’d be missing some very good operas!

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Notes on Music
2:04 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Children's Album

In 1878 Tchaikovsky wrote of his “idea to make a small contribution to the stock of children’s musical literature.”  He continues, “I want to create a series of individual pieces just for children.” 

And so his Children’s Album was born, which includes twenty-four movements for piano, with such titles as “Hobby-Horses” and “March of the Wooden Soldiers.”

Notes on Music
2:03 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Concert Attire

Valdimir Ashkenazy

Valdimir Ashkenazy, born in 1937 in Russia, but now a citizen of Iceland, is one of the world’s premier concert pianists, and a fine conductor as well. 

Ashkenazy does not like to wear ties, and so always performs in a tux and white turtleneck sweater, one of only a few to alter the traditional concert attire!

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Notes on Music
2:00 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Dress for Success

Beethoven was not know for the tidiness of his clothing. While on one of his long walks, he was arrested in a small town, as he was thought to be a vagrant. 

It was not until a music director of a nearby town actually identified him as the great composer that he was released.  Mortified, the villagers bought him a new set of clothes and sent him on his way.

Notes on Music
1:59 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Frogs

Frog

 

I suppose we’re all aware of the names of categories which are assigned to birds and animals such as a gaggle of geese, a stand of flamingos, a murder of crows, a parliament of owls, and so on.  However, there appears to be only one species that is associated with music.  It seems that a group of frogs croaking together is called a “chorus.”  I wonder why? 

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Notes on Music
1:54 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

The Butterfly's Ball

The Butterfly’s Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast is an 1802 poem by William Roscoe which tells the story of a party for insects and other small animals. 

In 1901, British composer Frederic Cowen used this story for a concert overture entitled The Butterfly’s Ball.  While not a very inspired composition, it does prove that almost anything can be set to music!

Notes on Music
2:32 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Queen of Sheba

Ottorino Respighi

            A 1932 ballet by Ottorino Respighi entitled Queen of Sheba recounts the tale of her visit to King Solomon, and was quite a grand affair. 

In addition to the orchestra, an offstage band and chorus, a wind machine, narrator, tenor, and a sitar and other exotic instruments were added. 

The cast featured nearly a thousand performers.  There were, however, only eleven performances.  I wonder why?

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Notes on Music
1:46 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

The People's Opera

New York State Theater

            Dubbed “The People’s Opera” by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia when it was founded 70 years ago, the New York City Opera has unfortunately closed its doors and is initiating the Chapter 11 process, says Managing Director, George Steele. 

It’s the place where exciting young singers like Beverly Sills and Placido Domingo made their New York debuts and will be sorely missed.  What a terrible shame!

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