The Gathering Storm: Music from the Great Depression to WW II

July 31, 2019, 7:00 pm

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“Brother, can you spare a dime?” To ask this question is begging for money, but to sing these words expresses the deep personal hardships of the Great Depression.

With the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression settling in, orchestras and record companies closed their doors, composers stopped getting commissions, and musicians joined the unemployment lines. Interestingly, during these hard times millions of people had a radio and they couldn’t get enough of the free entertainment. CBS, NBC, and many other stations acquired the bankrupt recording companies and started employing musicians in big bands, operas, and orchestras. This unique twelve years ended with the start of WW II and Dmitri Shostakovich composing his seventh symphony dedicated to the city of Leningrad. This week on Exploring Music we will hear composers like Benjamin Britten, Samuel Barber, Dmitry Shostakovich, and Aaron Copland express these hard times.


Episode 1

Irving Berlin: “Puttin’ On the Ritzfrom The Irving Berlin Songbook
Fred Astaire, vocal
Itunes; 2:53

Howard Hanson: Symphony No. 2, “Romantic”
I. Andante Con Tenerezza
III. Allegro con brio

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra/ Leonard Slatkin, conductor
EMI 47850; 15:52

Igor Stravinsky: Symphony Of Psalms
II. Expectans Expectavi Dominum

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/ Robert Shaw, director
Telarc 80105; 6:14

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fantasia On Greensleeves
New York Philharmonic Orchestra/ Bernstein
David Nadien, violin
CBS 44724; 5:00

William Walton: Viola Concerto In A Minor
I. Andante Comodo

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, André Previn, conductor
Nigel Kennedy, viola
EMI 49628; 8:47

Heitor Villa-Lobos: “The Little Train of the Caipira” from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 2
London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Eugene Goossens, conductor
Everest 9007; 4:41

Jay Gorney and Yip Harbourg: “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”
Rudy Vallée, vocal
Itunes; 3:37

Episode 2

“Minnie The Moocher”
Cab Calloway and His Orchestra
Itunes; 3:24

Maurice Ravel: Piano Concerto in G
I. Allegramente; II. Adagio Assai; III. Presto

London Symphony Orchestra/ Claudio Abbado, conductor
Martha Argerich, piano
DG 423665; 22:14

Paul Hindemith: Konzertmusik For Brass & Strings, Op. 50
II. Lebhaft, Langsam

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra/ Herbert Blomstedt, conductor
London 433 809; 8:39; 00:43

Richard Strauss: Act 1: “Ich Danke, Fräulein” from Arabella
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/ Christoph Eschenbach, conductor
Barbara Bonney, Renée Fleming
London 466314; 10:33

Duke Ellington: “Mood Indigo”
Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins
Itunes; 5:58

Episode 3

Maurice Ravel: “Chanson à boire”
Orchestre De l’Opéra De Lyon/ Kent Nagano, conductor
José Van Dam, vocal
Virgin 59236; 1:45

Paul Hindemith: 1. “Engelkonzert” from Mathis Der Maler
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/ Paul Hindemith, conductor
DG 427 407; 9:00

Aaron Copland: Symphony No. 2, “Short Symphony”
III. Presto E Ritmico

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
DG 427 335; 5:43

Aaron Copland: “El Salón México”
New York Philharmonic Orchestra/ Leonard Bernstein, conductor
Sony 64059; 11:27

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem
I. Agnus Dei  II. Beat! Beat! Drums!

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/ Robert Shaw, conductor
Carmen Pelton. soprano, Nathan Gunn, baritone
Telarc 80479; 6:43

Paul Hindemith: Trauermusik
I. Langsam; II. Ruhig Bewegt
III. Lebhaft; IV. Sehr Langsam

English Chamber Orchestra/ Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Cecil Aronowitz, viola
EMI 65079; 8:02

George Gershwin: “I Loves You, Porgy”
Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro, Paul Motian
ITunes; 2:40 excerpt

Episode 4

Béla Bartók: Music For Strings, Percussion & Celesta, SZ 106
4. Allegro Molto

Chicago Symphony Orchestra/ Fritz Reiner, conductor
RCA 5604; 6:42

Sergei Prokofiev: Opening of Lieutenant Kijé Suite
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/ Fritz Reiner, conductor
RCA 5605; 4:13

Sergei Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet
Montagues And Capulets

Leningrad Philharmonic/ Evgeni Mravinsky, conductor
Russian Disc 11180 (Live); 4:43

Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5
IV. Allegro Non Troppo

Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra/ Yevgeny Mravinsky, conductor
Russian Disc 11180; 10:53

Roy Harris: Symphony No. 3
New York Philharmonic Orchestra/ Leonard Bernstein, conductor
DG 419 780; 18:33

Harold Arlen, Yip Harburg: “Over the Rainbow”
Judy Garland, vocal
The Wizard of Oz (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Episode 5

Erich Wolfgang Korngold: “Main Title” from The Sea Hawk
André Previn: London Symphony Orchestra
DG 471347; 3:00

Igor Stravinsky: I. Moderato Alla Breve from Symphony In C
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/ Georg Solti, conductor
Stravinsky: Symphonies
London 458898; 9:36

Béla Bartók: III. Allegro assai from Divertimento
English String Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin, conductor
Nimbus 5086; 6:48

Paul Hindemith: Nobilissima Visione
Giotto frescoes, Santa Croce, St. Francis of Assisi
I. Eineitung Und Rondo

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra/ Herbert Blomstedt
London 433 809; 7:21

Benjamin Britten: Sinfonia da Requiem
II. Dies Irae: Allegro con fuoco

The New York Philharmonic/ John Barbirolli, conductor
BBC 4013; 4:43

Sergei Prokofiev: “The Battle on the Ice” from Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/ Fritz Reiner, conductor
RCA 5605; 13:39

Joe Garland: “In the Mood”
Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
Itunes; 3:36