A Summer Salute to the Rhapsody

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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

This week's Showdown celebrates the genre of rhapsody — "a musical composition of irregular form having an improvisatory character," according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary — and offers three classic performances of well-known favorites.

You told us it's Georges Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody in A, Op. 11/1 that makes you rhapsodize. At noon we played a recording of it by the RCA Victor Orchestra under the direction of Leopold Stokowski.

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Comments [11]

Miles from Montclair, NJ

A very difficult choice, but I'm voting for the Enescu. Aside from being a work with tremendous verve and sparkle, it was the favorite piece of a close friend and college classmate of mine who passed away prematurely in the '60s, while we were still at school. So Paul, this vote is for you.

Aug. 07 2013 11:58 AM

I voted for Enescu. While I like all three, Enescu is the least often performed live so I vote for it. I agree with Bernie from UWS and his comment about photo choices although I also understand why Bugs' picture is used.

BTW: WQXR, when will you allow the listeners the choice of showdown topic?

Aug. 07 2013 11:07 AM
Beatriz from Wetchester

Tough choices!! The 3 of them are great! What about playing all of them?

Aug. 07 2013 10:36 AM
Jakeadams from Fort Lauderdale

Gotta' go with Bugs as I work a 13+ hour day with WQXR to serenade me.

Aug. 07 2013 10:31 AM
Christopher St Clair from Brooklyn

Bugs is spot-on. It's impossible not to at least admire the Liszt; it's as stirring as it is melodic. Does it also suffer from bombast? Yep. Even in the academically-motivated hands of Alfred Brendel, who provided one of the most original and subdued readings of this work, some "it was a dark and stormy night" is unavoidable. And who better to judge our human pretensions than Mr. Bunny, who pauses in mid-bravura for a few refreshing bites of carrot?
That said, since the one piece I am barely familiar with is Enescu, I heartily vote for the work less heard.

Aug. 07 2013 10:25 AM
Carol Luparella from Elmwood Park, NJ

I enjoyed watching Bugs Bunny playing Liszt (I bet Lang Lang can't play like that!). It brings back memories of my first exposure to classical music, which was through those Saturday morning cartoons. It took me many years to develop a love for classical music, but those cartoons were a small beginning which has lead to great enjoyment and appreciation.

Aug. 07 2013 10:17 AM
Roni from Stamford

Does anyone know who were the real performers for the music behind the Bugs Bunny cartoon?
I have always been amazed by the use of classical music in those old-school cartoons. I think the performers never got enough credit...

Aug. 07 2013 09:33 AM
Lara from NYC

I'm with Bernie--the Enescu for sure. we don't hear it enough.

Aug. 07 2013 09:15 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau

I voted for the Enescu because this is a wild, melodic piece of Music. Very masculine too. Yes folks, I wrote in Masculine. Hope I spelled it right.

Aug. 07 2013 08:14 AM
Rowland Rodgers from Center Valley, PA

I'm torn. Enescu and Gershwin have been longtime favorites but in the end Gershwin wins!

Aug. 07 2013 07:17 AM
Bernie from UWS

I'm voting for the Enescu, simply because it's the one we hear by far the least otherwise. The Gershwin is a great piece but it's been completely overdone by pop culture. Ditto the Liszt.

By the way, I like the old-school cartoons as much as the next person but why do we get serious videos of the other 2 pieces and a silly Bugs Bunny take on the Liszt?

Aug. 07 2013 05:45 AM

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