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Program 518: Forgotten Concertos

KALW Broadcast Date: June 1, 2018 | Host: Randall Wong

Gian Carlo Menotti was born in Cadegliano-Viconago, Italy in 1911 and made his way to the United States in 1928. A multiple Pulitzer Prize winner for his operas The Consul and The Saint of Bleecker Street, Menotti was almost universally scorned by “progressive” musicians and critics, and derided as derivative and overly sentimentalized. That being said, his works Amahl and the Night Visitors and The Medium hold a place as two of the most frequently performed 20th century operas to date. His Piano Concerto (1945) has sadly not had the same success as some of his operas. We will be listening to a 1961 recording of Earl Wild playing with Jorge Mester and The Symphony of the Air.

George Antheil was born in 1900 in Trenton NJ, the self-styled “Bad Boy of Music,” his legacy rests chiefly on his most notorious work of the 20s- Ballet Mécanique (for an ensemble including for 16 synchronized player pianos, 3 differently pitched airplane propellers, electric doorbells, 2 regular pianos, xylophones, and a siren) and which caused riots in the audience to break out. And recently come to light his work with Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr to develop a radio frequency hopping torpedo guidance system, a basis of modern cell phone. Antheil’s Piano Concerto No. 1 was composed in 1922 while he was living in Berlin and it is very reminiscent of the works of Stravinsky’s Russian Period. The recording we will hear will feature Markus Becker on piano with the North German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Eije Oue conductor.

Program Audio

30-Second Spot

Track Info & Links

Title: Piano Concerto
Composer: Gian Carlo Menotti
Performers: Earl Wild with Jorge Mester and the Symphony of the Air
Recording Title: Earl Wild plays the Aaron Copland Piano Concerto, conducted by Aaron Copland and the Gian Carlo Menotti Piano Concerto, conducted by Jorge Mester
Record Label: Vanguard Classic
Catalog Number: OVC4029


Title: Piano Concerto No. 1
Composer: George Antheil
Performers: Markus Becker with the North German Radio Philharmonic
Recording Title: George Antheil: Piano Concertos No. 1 and 2, A Jazz Symphony and Jazz Sonata
Record Label: CPO
Catalog Number: N/A

Tristan Murail headshot in black and white.
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