Catching up

  My thanks to every listener who's e-mailed rad...@wxxi.org about the morning mystery pieces on Classical 91.5.  It's a delight to explore old and new repertoire, and I'm excited that so many music lovers are getting up a little early to guess the name of the mystery work at 6:40 a.m.  (One man told me he set his alarm to wake him up at 6:39 and then fell back asleep. Ha!)

Here's the list of this week's selections, so far.

July 12       Scaramouche by Darius Milhaud

 Milhaud started his autobiography with this line: “I am a Frenchman from Provence and by religion a Jew.”   He was influenced by jazz, Brazilian pop, tangos, Renaissance, and Baroque melodies.  We heard his distinctive mix of sunshine and laid-back Mediterranean style in this exuberant work.

 July 13      The Red Pony Suite by Aaron Copland

 The Red Pony Suite comes from a film score by the composer known as “the dean of American composers.”  He wrote quite a bit of movie music, and The Red Pony is probably his most well-known score.  (I’m partial to “Our Town,” myself.)  As you listen, you might think you’re hearing folk songs, but they’re not.  Copland was quite proud of the fact that he spun original melodies that sounded organic.

 July 14     Hornpipe from Water Music by George Friedrich Handel

 We heard a tune by the composer who wrote “Messiah.”  He made a lot of money as a composer, and his reputation skyrocketed with the premiere of Water Music.  On July 20th, singers will read through the choruses in Handel’s Messiah during a one-time session in Kilbourn Hall at 7:30 p.m.

 July 15     Toccata from Symphony No. 5 by Charles-Marie Widor

 Charles-Marie Widor, born in 1844 in Lyon, played the organ and taught composition at the Paris Conservatoire.  But after he died in 1937, his style fell off the map except for a few select organ works.