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Five great classical pieces for morning radio

The first portion of my Radio Survivor classical music page is up, and I was thinking as I put it together about the classical tunes that I love to hear in the morning. Would one of you classical radio deejays out there please play some of these pieces?

“Bailero,” from Chants d’Auvergne. The composer Joseph Canteloube orchestrated these gorgeous folk songs for soprano over many years (from the 1920s through the 1950s). They are in the Occitan language, spoken in parts of France, Italy, Monaco, and Spain. “Bailero” remains the most famous of the Chants. Many sopranos have recorded it, among them Victoria De Los Angeles and Anna Moffo. I prefer Kiri Te Kanewa, who gives a rendition with tenderness and restraint.

Bela Bartok, Piano Concerto Number Three, second movement. The composer wrote this concerto in the last year of his life, 1945. The second movement is aptly titled Adagio Religioso. Bartok was a bit of a sampler. That slow string elegy at the beginning is borrowed from a section of a Beethoven string quartet (“Holy song of Thanksgiving.”) And if the gently frolicking middle section sounds to you like an assortment of birds chatting in a tree, that’s because it was: the forest stood outside of Bartok’s recovery room while he fought Leukemia. The composer listened and took notes.

Ralph Vaughn Williams, The Lark Ascending. United Kingdom classical listeners recently voted this English composer’s exquisite meditation for violin and orchestra their number one favorite composition. Here in the USA it hovers at around number 38. It’s very beautiful, but for some deejays it’s also very long: around 16 minutes. Please play it anyway. Your listeners will always thank you.

“Oh, what a beautiful morning,” from Oklahoma! by Rogers and Hammerstein. As Radio Survivor readers who follow my classical radio posts know, I’m flexible about musical categories. I just love this song with its optimistic words and feeling. ” . . . . oh the sounds of the earth, they’re like music . . . ” And guess who does a great rendition: Hugh Jackman, yes, The Wolverine. Enjoy!

The opening “Preludium” from Paul Hindemith’s Ludis Tonalis (Play of Tones). Hindemith wrote this amazing suite of preludes, interludes, and fugues in 1942. The Preludium has a marvelous soaring mood that will wake your audience up. Interspersed through the piece are touching sections like this Pastorale, perfect for morning pensiveness. Many pianists have performed this work, and who can argue with Sviatoslav Richter? But I still favor the rendition of one its earliest exponents: Jane Carlson.

Have a favorite classical radio morning piece? Please let me know.

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