Pick the Piece that Makes Your Workday Fly By

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Right now the buzz is all about the cicadas, but birds’ songs are, for the most part, much more pleasant. Today’s Showdown celebrates the way birdsongs have inspired classical composers through the years.

We asked you to cast your vote for which one of three fine-feathered works you wanted to hear. You chose Ralph Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending and at noon we played a performance by violinist Iona Brown with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields under the direction of Sir Neville Marriner.


Comments [17]

Victor Goodstone from Brooklyn, U.S.A.

Makes my workday fly by?! How could you have possibly left out, "Flight of the Bumblebee"?!!!

Jun. 30 2013 11:16 PM
Francisca Sabadie from Scarsdale

I VOTED FOR THE Rautavaara because i find his music very interesting - and loved the snippet you played- even flew to Helsinki with a Finnish friend to hear his opera Rasputing

and unlike a lot of people, i find the Lark Ascending to be one of the most exasperating pieces of music WQXR ever forces me to listen to -besides, you play it often as you do the Respighi


Jun. 26 2013 11:39 AM
Fay from Greece

It's really difficult to decide. Every piece is extraordinary and unique in its way. But I think that I would choose the Cantus Arcticus after much thought, because the recording of real birds and putting them into a concert composition is something I have never heard from any other composer. The sounds of nature are blended with music and the effect is wonderful. Every time I listen to it I am thrilled.

Jun. 26 2013 11:32 AM
Korin from Jersey City

What, no Messiaen?

Jun. 26 2013 11:19 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau

I love the racket the cicadas make. Very disappointed that Long Island was not in the Brood 2 appearance. As for the music birds make, I once heard a nightingale in the Bronx. It was lovely. Very disappointed as well that we no longer have a lot of cardinals. With so many trees being cut down, I no longer hear their song in the mornings. I used to sit outside and mimic their song, and they would answer me.

Jun. 26 2013 11:00 AM
Carol Bartold from Bronxville, NY

Not only is The Lark Ascending the piece of music I go to to when I need a break from the world, this particular recording by Iona Brown is the one I swear by! So happy it's on the ballot today.

Jun. 26 2013 10:46 AM
Lara from NYC

Oh, the lark, please! So moving...can never hear it too much. It's what I want played at my memorial service.

Jun. 26 2013 10:43 AM
Janet in NYC from Manhattan

I love birds too! I would like to hear the Rautavaara: Concerto for Birds and Orchestra, "Cantus Arcticus"

Jun. 26 2013 10:28 AM
Toni from UWS

I'm chiming in with everyone else who feels the Rautavaara is a much more interesting choice today than the oft played Respighi and Vaughan Williams, much as I love those. Let's try something different!

Jun. 26 2013 10:27 AM
HYH from Purchase, NY

I'm with Bernie from UWS. Let's hear the Rautavaara!

Jun. 26 2013 10:22 AM
HYH from Purchase, NY

I'm with Bernie from UWS. Let's hear the Rautavaara!

Jun. 26 2013 10:22 AM
RKM from Brooklyn

I'm with Bernie. The Respighi and Vaughn Williams are often played and well-known. Let's go with something new and lesser-known, folks!

Jun. 26 2013 10:14 AM
Judith from Fort lee, NJ

Agree with you, Bernie!

Jun. 26 2013 09:44 AM

I'm going with the Respighi, in memory and appreciation of Robert J. Lurtsema. I spent 3 years in the Boston area. Not all of the time was pleasant, but when I discovered Morning Pro Musica on WGBH, I could always count on hearing the birds before 7 AM, and the Respighi was one of his morning themes.

Jun. 26 2013 09:30 AM
Shelly H. from Woodmere

I'm always mesmerized by that ascending lark. That piece works better than any Vallium, especially when the violin hits those high notes.

Jun. 26 2013 08:24 AM
Bernie from UWS

The Rautavaara is a gorgeous piece that far too few listeners probably know. It really deserves a chance.

Come on, folks. What do you say? Try something new this week? We can hear the other two (esp. the Vaughan Williams) just about any other time of the week on QXR.

Jun. 26 2013 08:04 AM
Martin Mendelson from Geneva, Suisse

I trust you know that, gram for gram, cicadas are the loudest sound producers of all animals barring electronic amplification.
One summer night, many years ago, my son accidentally set one loose in our cottage, where it settled up in the beams of the high ceiling. Around 3:00 in the morning it started singing. Immensely startling - a very, very effective alarm clock!

Jun. 26 2013 07:00 AM

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