Folk Songs, Flutes, and Crimes – Houston Public Media

In this week’s episode of Music in the making, Joshua Zinn serves us a selection of both new and old music from the Shepherd and Moores Schools of Music!

Percy Grainger – Molly on the Shore
Wind ensemble from the Moores school; David Bertman, conductor
Moores Opera

Percy Grainger was known for his interest in English folk tunes. However, it is interesting to note that Grainger was born in Australia. Therefore, his interest in folk tunes was not inspired by a love for his homeland. On the contrary, he became more interested in folk music when he moved to London and developed as a composer. His most famous track is a “smash up” of two Irish tunes, “Molly on the Shore” and “Temple Hill”. Although originally written for strings, his arrangements of this work for orchestra and orchestra have become the most popular.

Franz Doppler – Paraphrase on La Sonnambula
Leone Buyse and Sergio Pallottelli, flutes; Robert Moeling, piano
Duncan Recital Hall

While it can be difficult to find music for virtuoso flute duets, 19th-century composer Franz Doppler wrote the majority. The reason is that Franz and his younger brother Karl were skilled flautists. With Franz’s music for this ensemble, the two brothers were able to tour all over Europe, giving concerts of their own works. This particular work is an arrangement of themes from the opera by Vincenzo Bellini The Sonnambula.

David Lang – cheating, lying, stealing
Contemporary ensemble AURA: Alexandra Doyle, bass clarinet; Andrew Cavazos, cello; Jessica Myers, piano; Allen Vinson, marimba and percussion; Justin Grubbs, percussion; Zachary Bass, percussions; Alejandro Basulto-Martínez, conductor
Moores Opera

Smooth Criminal: Photograph by David Lang

When David Lang was composing this next piece, he began to question the motivations of other composers, past and present. He believed that most composers wrote music to share something they were proud of, whether it was sensitivity, nobility, or great skill. In this work, Lang experimented to see what would happen if a composer wrote a piece capitalizing on their negative qualities. This led to work cheat, lie, steal, who leans on the darker side of music with a confident feeling of “swagger”.

Samuel Barber – Violin Concerto
the Texas Music Festival Orchestra; Glenn Dicterow, violin; Franz Anton Krager, conductor
Moores Opera

When it came to writing his violin concerto, Samuel Barber couldn’t take a break. He went to Switzerland in 1939 to start writing this work for the violinist Iso Briselli. However, due to the threat of WWII, he had to return home to finish it there. When he submitted what he had written, Briselli was unhappy with the Third Movement and ultimately decided not to create it. Months later and without a violin to play his work, Berber organized a private performance with a student violinist and the Curtis Institute Orchestra. Eugene Organdy heard about this new concerto and scheduled a public premiere with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Albert Spalding, which launched the concerto’s international fame.

This episode originally aired on Sunday, March 20, 2016. Catch Music in the making every Sunday at 7:06 p.m. on Classical 91.7.

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