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Program 549: Music of the Spheres

KALW Broadcast Date: March 1, 2019 | Host: Randall Wong

The first piece on the program Music of the Spheres is by Danish composer Rued Langgaard, a singular, visionary, and mostly forgotten composer. Music of the Spheres was composed 1916-18 and one could have expected it to bear some slight similarities to the late romantic idiom of contemporary composers such as Richard Strauss or Gustav Mahler. But rather than being composed in that idiom, the work is a singular work. There are no melodic developments or formal structures that one would expect.

Instead, it is built of static blocks of texture and sound which follow one another, completely rejecting any sense of conventional musical architecture. It includes additional future musical devices as tone clusters, polyrhythms, and polymeters. The overall sound of the work more resembles that of the minimalist composers of the 60s and 70s, than the late romantics, making this work about 60 years out of its time.

After that, some selections from the opposite end of the musical universe, Russ Garcia’s Fantastica: Music From Outer Space (1958). It is an LP collection of pieces inspired by space and a high water mark in the genre known as “Space Age Bachelor Pad Music.” This is music of the space race, the time of Sputnik, Mercury astronauts, and Yuri Gagarin and Laika – the first man and dog in space.

Program Audio

30-Second Spot

Track Info & Links

Title: Music of the Spheres
Composer: Rued Langgaard
Performers: Danish National Radio Orchestra and Choir, Gennady Roshdesvensky conducting
Recording Title: Langgaard: Music of the Spheres
Record Label: Chandos Records
Catalog Number: CHAN 9517


Title: Nova, Lost Souls of Saturn, Frozen Neptune, goofy peepl of Phobos, and Venus
Composer: Russell Garcia
Performers: Russell Garcia and his Orchestra
Recording Title: Fantastica: Music from Outer Space
Record Label: Liberty Records
Catalog Number: LST 7005

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