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

November 25, 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 Ritz” from The Irving Berlin Songbook
Fred Astaire, vocal
The Irving Berlin Songbook
Verve Records 829 172 2

Howard Hanson: Symphony No. 2, “Romantic”
I. Andante Con Tenerezza
III. Allegro con brio
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin, conductor
Barber: Violin Concerto; Hanson: Symphony No 2
EMI 47850

Igor Stravinsky: Symphony Of Psalms II. Expectans Expectavi Dominum
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Robert Shaw, director
Symphony Of Psalms / Gloria
Telarc 80105

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fantasia On Greensleeves
New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Bernstein David Nadien, violin
The Encore Collection, Vol. II
CBS 44724

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

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/André Previn, conductor; Nigel Kennedy, viola
Violin Concerto • Viola Concerto
EMI 49628

Heitor Villa-Lobos: “The Little Train of the Caipira”
from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 2

London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Eugene Goossens, conductor
Villa Lobos, Antill, Ginastera: Suites
Everest 9007

Jay Gorney and Yip Harbourg: “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”
Rudy Vallée, vocal
The Great Depression: American Music in the ’30s
Sony legacy

Episode 2

Irving Mills & Cab Calloway: “Minnie The Moocher”
Cab Calloway and His Orchestra
The Blues Brothers (Original Soundtrack Recording)
Atlantic ATl 50 715

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

London Symphony Orchestra/Claudio Abbado, conductor; Martha Argerich, piano
Piano Concertos • Menuet Antique • Le Tombeau De Couperin • Fanfare
DG 423665

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

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra/Herbert Blomstedt, conductor
Nobilissima Visione – Der Schwanendreher – Konzertmusik Op. 50
London 433 809
8:39; :43

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

Duke Ellington: “Mood Indigo”
Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins
His Master’s Voice CLP 1644

Episode 3

Maurice Ravel: “Chanson à boire”
Orchestre De l’Opéra De Lyon/Kent Nagano, conductor José Van Dam, vocal
Martin, Ravel, Ibert, Poulenc – Van Dam, Nagano
Virgin 59236

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

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

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Appalachian Spring • Short Symphony
DG 427 335

Aaron Copland: “El Salón México”
New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein, conductor
Copland Greatest Hits
Sony 64059

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
Barber, Bartok, Vaughan Williams
Telarc 80479

Paul Hindemith: Trauermusik
I. Langsam 
II. Ruhig Bewegt
III. Lebhaft
IV. Sehr Langsam
English Chamber Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim, conductor Cecil Aronowitz, viola
Matrix 7 – Schoenberg, Bartók, Hindemith
EMI 65079

George Gershwin: “I Loves You, Porgy”
Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro, Paul Motian
Waltz For Debby
WaxTime in Color 950621

Episode 4

Béla Bartók: Music For Strings, Percussion & Celesta, SZ 106
IV. Allegro Molto
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner, conductor
Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
RCA Victor 61504

Sergei Prokofiev: Lieutenant Kijé Suite
Excerpt of opening 
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner, conductor
Alexander Nevsky ● Lieutenant Kije ● Russlan And Ludmila: Overture
RCA 5605

Sergei Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet
“Montagues And Capulets”

Leningrad Philharmonic/Evgeni Mravinsky, conductor
Sergei Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet Suite No. 2; Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5
Russian Disc 11180 (Live)

Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5
IV. Allegro Non Troppo
Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra/Yevgeny Mravinsky, conductor
Sergei Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet Suite No. 2; Dmitri Shostakovich:
Symphony No. 5
Russian Disc 11180 (Live)

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

Harold Arlen, Yip Harburg: “Over the Rainbow”
Judy Garland, vocal
The Wizard of Oz (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Kid Rhino R2 72755

Episode 5

Erich Wolfgang Korngold: The Sea Hawk
“Main Title” 

London Symphony Orchestra/André Previn
Korngold: The Sea Hawk, Captain Blood
DG 471347

Igor Stravinsky: Symphony in C
I. Moderato Alla Breve

Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Georg Solti
Stravinsky: Symphonies
London 458898

Béla Bartók: Divertimento
III. Allegro assai 

English String Orchestra/Yehudi Menuhin
Bartok: Divertimento for Strings; Music for Strings, Percussion, & Celesta
Nimbus 5086

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

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra/ Herbert Blomstedt
Nobilissima Visione / Der Schwanendreher / Konzertmusik Op. 50
London 433 809

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

The New York Philharmonic/ John Barbirolli, conductor
In The South / Partita / Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra / Sinfonia Da Requiem
BBC 4013

Sergei Prokofiev:  Alexander Nevsky, Op. 78
“The Battle on the Ice”

Chicago Symphony Orchestra/ Fritz Reiner, conductor
Alexander Nevsky ● Lieutenant Kije ● Russlan And Ludmila: Overture
RCA 5605

Joe Garland: “In the Mood”
Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
In The Mood – 20 Original Big Band Hits
Jazzterdays JTD 102401