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Cue Sheet – April 2011

ZUBIN IN THE TREES

On KUAT-FM, we're celebrating two April 29 occasions: Zubin Mehta's 75th birthday, and Arbor Day.

Mehta was a glamor boy in his Los Angeles Philharmonic Days--and you thought that started with Gustavo Dudamel--and made a few recordings there that caused quite a stir in the years on either side of 1970. When he moved on to the New York Philharmonic, though, his performances were often criticized as shallow and glib, although they were never less than professional. Since he left New York, Mehta has continued to perform and record elsewhere, notably with the Israel Philharmonic. Through the day, we'll be sampling each phase of his career, via the music of Liszt, Ravel, Smetana, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Richard Strauss, Beethoven, Bruckner, Verdi, Mozart and Stravinsky.

But it's not all Mehta all the time. The rest of the schedule is devoted to music in honor of Arbor Day, including tree-hugging pieces by the likes of Johann Strauss, Dvorak, Sibelius, Wagner, Hovhaness, Byrd, Bax, Shostakovich, Elgar, and many composers of lesser repute.

And in one case, we're getting double duty out of a piece: Zubin Mehta conducting Smetana's From Bohemia's Woods and Fields.

While you're listening, check out this online slideshow of the most famous trees in the world.

Classical Music,

BARD DAY

Barack Obama presented his legal birth certificate for all to see three years ago. William Shakespeare would not be able to do the same. There's no record of his birth, although there is a baptismal record, dated April 26, 1654. It was customary to baptize a child three days after birth, so we can guess at his birth date, but all we have for sure is his baptismal date, and that's why we're devoting April 26 entirely to music inspired by Shakespeare.

We have at least two days' worth of Shakespeare music in the KUAT-FM library, so I arbitrarily decided to feature all the music we have associated with select plays (and a few sonnets), and save the other plays for another year. We'll begin at 6 a.m. with that lighthearted trifle Macbeth as treated musically by Verdi, Sullivan (of Gilbert-and fame) and others. After the 7:01 news we'll check in briefly with The Taming of the Shrew before moving smartly along to As You Like It (scores by Walton and others). After the 8:01 news it's a Coriolanus overture--Castelnuovo-Tedesco's, not Beethoven's, which is not related to the Shakespeare play. And then, it's hour after hour of Romeo and Juliet, including Prokofiev's complete ballet score on that subject, the Berlioz "dramatic symphony" inspired by the play, a certain Tchaikovsky concert overture, the Symphonic Dances from Bernstein's West Side Story (the R&J story moved to 1950s New York City), and stray pieces by the likes of Svendsen, Bellini, Diamond, Delius, Lyatoshinsky, Kabalevsky, Gounod and even Liszt. That segment will stretch all the way to 4 p.m. After that, it's a close encounter with Sir John Falstaff, dalliance with a few other works, and finally a look at A Midsummer Night's Dream courtesy of Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Satie, Purcell and, of course, Mendelssohn.

radio-life,

DODGED THE BULLET

The Washington Post reports that, as the saner among us anticipated based on similar outbreaks of insanity in the past, public broadcasting has survived the threat to slash or eliminate its budget. So now we can relax ... for a while.

radio-life,

About Cue Sheet

James Reel's cranky consideration of the fine arts and public radio in Tucson and beyond.