All Ear Worms

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Saturday, January 08, 2011

Ever since Hollywood invented talkies, there’s been a demand for music to enhance cinema. As a result, in the last century or so, the composer’s biggest venue has been the movie theater. Through film and TV, composers like Lalo Schifrin (Mission: Impossible), Carter Burwell (almost every Coen Brothers film) and Gershwin (countless films) have all penetrated our collective ear.

This week Terrance McKnight offers an Imani Winds performance of Schifrin's jazz-infused La nouvelle Orleans, a concert piece that conjures up a New Orleans funeral procession.

Educated by Messiaen and band mates with Dizzy Gillespie, film composer Lalo Schifrin has achieved household pop status with his Mission: Impossible theme song. Tongue and cheek references to the 8-note melody have come to represent all things stealthy.

There must be something to a guy who defined a genre of popular music with a song in an odd time signature. And birthed music almost too scary to listen to for The Exorcist. In the early 60’s, Schifrin’s score for the film was too scary for test audiences, disclosing in an interview that along with the images of the trailer, it was too "heavy and frightening, so most [of the audience] went to the toilet to vomit." Warner Brothers executives ended up rejecting his score completely.

Fear not. We'll show you Schifrin's sweet and tuneful side.

Also, we hear Carter Burwell’s Sweet Lorraine, Gershwin’s Someone to Watch Over Me via Keith Jarret, and Golijov’s Oceana: Call.


Excursions for Piano, Op. 20
Samuel Barber
Leo Smit, piano
Music Masters

Evening Song

Zoltan Kodaly
Crofut Consort
Julianne Baird, soprano

Nocturne No. 5 in B-flat

John Field
Miceal O'Rourke, piano

Improvisation No. 1

Yungchen Lhamo
Yungchen Lhamo, vocalist
WNYC Archives

Ritual Prayer
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett, piano

Someone to Watch Over Me

Ira Gershwin/George Gershwin
Keith Jarrett, piano

Sonata for Violin and Cello

Maurice Ravel
Nigel Kennedy, violin
Lynn Harrell, cello

Danzas espanolas: 'Andaluza' (Playera)

Enrique Granados
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Samuel Sanders, piano

Oceana: Call

Osvaldo Golijov
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra/Atlanta Symphony Chorus
Robert Spano, conductor
Luciana Souza, vocalist
Elizabeth Remy Johnson, harp
Jamie Haddad, percussion
Jay Anderson, bass
Scott Tennant / John Dearman, guitars
Gwinnett Young Singers
Deutsche Grammophon

Flight of Whispers
Jason Kao Hwang
Music for Homemade Instruments
New World

Sweet Lorraine
Carter Burwell
Stephane Grappelli, violin
Yo-Yo Ma, cello

City Life

Steve Reich
Steve Reich Ensemble
Bradley Lubman, conductor

La nouvelle Orleans
Lalo Schifrin
Imani Winds

Hosted by:

Terrance McKnight

Comments [6]

joyceantila from Plainfield, NJ

Earlier this evening you quoted Ralph Vaughan Williams saying that a composer should make his art the expression of the whole life or soul of a community or nation. .Whenever I listen to Sibelius, I realize how he embodies the Finnish soul. thank you for reconnecting me to my roots

Sep. 22 2011 08:57 PM
bob o

you were asking about virtuostic pieces for about c.v. alkan's symphony for piano or the 4 ages.mark andre hamelin has made a specialty of alkan.he plays this insane music with an enormous amount of sensitivity.

Jan. 13 2011 08:49 PM
Laura Babcock from West Milford, NJ

Hello, Terrance,
Usually I enjoy your program very much, and am "stretched" by some of the innovative things you play. However, the noise that is on right now is an insult to my ears....too repetitious, going nowhere except down the tubes, as far as I'm concerned! I'll admit that I'm not a fan of music such as Ravel's "Bolero," though I've come to appreciate some of its attributes...and I'm not much for John Adams, either. Maybe you can find something else to contrast to this.... I won't turn it off, as I try to learn from new experiences. But I hope you have something helpful to say when it's over. Keep on challenging us, but please, not with stuff that just bangs away at the same notes and rhythms endlessly!

Jan. 08 2011 11:43 PM
Paul from Manhattan

Why do we have this juvenile noise on a classical station? Why is this not confined to the Q2 stream if you have to have it at all? Who or what is forcing it on us?

Jan. 08 2011 11:38 PM
Dianne Chapitis from Toronto Canada

Hello Terrance

Your shows always feel like home. Thank you! Although technology can do wondrous things, so far it hasn't replaced the lushness of being in a richly resonant space with musical vibrations from fine instruments bouncing and moving in waves around and through us !

Jan. 08 2011 10:36 PM
Theresa Wright from Bergenfield, NJ

Hello Terrence McKnight,
Happy 2011! I am very happy that you got into this radio hosting and enjoy your selections. The Christmas glee club concerts I listened to 3 times . . . just wonderful. Keep up the great work!
Also, on those nights I need to concentrate . . . I just pop on the headphones and QXR and life is good while I do what mental work I have to. Regards, Terry Wright. supporter QXR and NPR

Jan. 08 2011 10:19 PM

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