Plan B

This episode originally aired on March 26, 2011.

« previous episode | next episode »

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Some musicians are known for their devotion to one thing. For example, Chopin composed almost exclusively for piano; Wagner specialized in Music Dramas; and Harry Burleigh was devoted to the Spiritual. But there are also many musicians who work professionally outside of music making: Charles Ives and Alexander Borodin are two examples.

Terrance McKnight explains: "I grew up hearing that one should always have a Plan B -- a way of making money when one’s chosen profession didn’t pay the bills. Growing up my brother taught me how to work on cars and to some degree that skill helped me get through college."

Similarly, Charles Ives believed that composers who wrote for a living weren’t able to write the music they believed in; musicians wouldn’t want to let their “children starve on his dissonances.” Ives sold insurance. Eric Satie composed the music he believed in and, as a result, lived an impoverished existence. In this week's show, Terrance mixes the consonant and the dissonant, the insurance salesman and the street musician.

It’s music for all vocations and all ears.


This Is My Story, This Is My Song
Fanny Crosby/Phoebe Knapp/Thelonious Monk
Straight, No Chaser
Thelonious Monk, piano
Charlie Rouse, tenor sax 
Larry Gates, bass 
Ben Riley, drums

Lefty's Elegy
Marc Mellits
Dominic Frasca, guitar

Adjustable Wrench

Michael Torke
London Sinfonietta
Kent Nagano, conductor

Work All de Summer
Paul Robeson, bass-baritone

One, Two, Three
Norman Yamada
Norman Yamada, organ, shortwave radio 
JD Foster, guitar
Chris Lightcap, bass 
Christine Bard, percussion 
Jim Pugliese, percussion

Five Tango Sensations: Fear
Astor Piazzolla
Kronos Quartet
Astor Piazzolla, bandoneon

Scherzo: Holding Your Own
Charles Ives
Kronos Quartet
Piano Trio
Charles Ives
The Monticello Trio

Jean-Philippe Rameau
Tzimon Barto, piano

Three Sarabandes
Erik Satie
Aldo Ciccolini, piano

Gavin Bryars
Bill Frisell, electric guitar
Alexander Balanescu, viola 
Roger Heaton, clarinet 
Gavin Bryars, bass

Christian Zeal and Activity

John Adams
San Francisco Symphony
Edo de Waart, conductor

I Wish I Didn't Love You So
Frank Loesser
Hazel Scott, piano

Comments [1]

Frank Feldman

Can anyone explain the success and appeal of Gavin Bryars' music to me? It sounds like amateurish noodling, but, clearly, I'm missing something. He gets very fine musicians to perform said noodling as well, so, apparently, they seem to get it.

Jul. 10 2011 10:15 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.