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Posted on Sunday, September 25, 2005

26 September 2005, Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, Monday, Noon to 2:00PM, streaming on line @ www.wjffradio.org
Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf
Monday, 12 September 2005

050912

Good Afternoon, Lovers of Fine Music, and welcome to Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, where we will hear the best of 20th and 21st century classical music as well as interviews with occasional guests. Before we begin our program, let’s hear what Liberty Green has to tell us on her weekly Arts and Culture Calendar.

As always, Liberty, we all thank you for the time and effort you have put into producing the WJFF Arts and Culture calendar.


CD 1: Entire: Alban Berg (1885, Vienna – 1935, Vienna: Lyric Suite (1926). Kronos Quartet: David Harrington and John Sherba, violins; Hank Dutt, viola; Jennifer Culp, ‘cello; Dawn Upshaw, soprano. NONESUCH CD 79696-2

If ever a piece of music lends credibility to my thesis that Sigmund Freud essentially gave artists permission to create art out of their personal lives – their neuroses and psychoses, - in short, their pathologies – Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite is that piece. Berg composed his Lyric Suite after he had developed a grande passion for Hanna Fuchs-Robettin, sister of Franz Werfel. Their problem, of course, was that they were each married to someone else, and divorce was not an option for either of them. (Liner Notes, Greg Dubinsky).

No doubt many listeners will identify, for example the final movement – there are six – as a citation of the opening bars of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. Greg Dubinsky, in his liner notes, points out that there are quotations from Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde.

This is a superb piece. In a universe which allowed broadcasts of 20th and 21st century “classical music” to be broadcast as frequently as 19th century Romantic music is broadcast, this piece would be on everyone’s list of top ten favorites. I invite you to enjoy a superb performance by the Kronos Quartet accompanied by Dawn Upshaw, who sings a selection from Beaudelaire’s Les fleurs du mal (1857): In fact, Berg had cut this piece out of the piece because he felt that the Viennese, whom he considered to be scandal mongers, would have seized upon it as gossip material. Kronos has put it back, and we’ll hear it.



To you, you sole dear one, my cry rises
Out of the deepest abyss in which my heart has fallen.
There the landscape is dead, the air like lead
And in the dark, curse and terror well up.

Six moons without warmth stands the sun.
During [the other] six darkness lies over the earth.
Even polar land is not so barren –
Not even brook and tree, nor field nor flock.

But no terror born of brain approaches
The cold horror of this icy star
And of this night a gigantic Chaos!

I envy the lot of the most common animal
Which can plunge into the dizziness of a senseless sleep…
So slowly does the spindle of time unwind!

(Transl. from the French into German by Stefan George (1891);
transl. from the German by Douglass M. Green).

Time: 1. Allegretto giovale 02’55
2. Andante amoroso 05’40
3. Allegro misterioso 03’20
4. Adagio appassionato 05’08
5. Presto delirando 04’27
6. Largo desolato 05’18

Total time: 27’15


CD 2: Disc 2, Bands 4-8: Béla Bartók (1885, Nagyszentmiklós – 1945, NY): Quartet No 4 (1928). Emerson String Quartet: Eugene Drucker and Philip Setzer, violins; Lawrence Dutton, viola; David Finckel. ‘cello. Deutsche Grammophon CD 423657-2.

Herman Conen, in his liner notes, writes that Béla Bartók heard Berg’s Lyric Suite at a concert in Baden-Baden in July 1927, at which he played his own (and only) piano sonata. So profound was the impression of Berg’s piece that – although Bartók had not written a quartet since his Second Qauartetin 1917 – he responded with not one but two works. Less than two months after the Baden-Baden concert, his quasi one-movement Third String Quartet was completed. But the impulse remained strong, and in September 1928, he followed it with the Fourth Quartet. Both new works were premiered in Budapest by the Waldbauer Quartet in Budapest in March 1929.

Time: 4. Allegro 05’38
5. Prestissimo, con sordino 02’47
6. Non troppo lento 05’12
7. Allegretto pizzicato 02’41
8. Allegro molto 05’05

Total time: 21’23

Running time: 48’38

CD 3: Bands 1,2,3: Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905, Munich – 1963, Munich): String Quartet No. 1- Carillon (1933, 1945-46). Zehetmaire Quartette: Thomas Zehetmair and Ulf Schneider, violins; Ruth Killius, viola; Françoise Groben, ‘cello. ECM Records New Series CD ECM 1727.

Our next offering is Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s First String Quartet, subtitled Carillon, which the composer composed in 1933 and revised in 1945-6. Herman Conen, translated by Eileen Walliser-Schwarzbart, writes “[after Beethoven’s] brilliant advances and professionalism marking above all his late quartets, which Bartók and Hartmann venerated throughout their lives) . . . [it] took the challenge of life itself, of an era rife with unprecendentedly traumatic critical potential, for a new chain of inspiration to be set off and the genre to be led out of its introversion.”

Conen continues in his Liner Notes: “Hartmann’s First Quartet was … the first work that knew from the start would have no chance of being performed in Germany for some time to come. Long before the Nazis took power in January 1933, the enfant terrible of Munich’s musical scene recognized that the era of stylistic randomness was over. In a reign of terror, stylistic pluralism – which he had exercised to the hilt and would practice again after the war … ceased to be authentic.” There can be little doubt that Hartmann was influenced by both Berg’s Lyric Suite and Bartók’s Fourth Quartet, as you may soon judge for yourself.

We’ll hear the Zehetmair Quartette perform Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s First String Quartet on an ECM New Series CD.

Time: 1. Langsam – Sehr lebhaft 08’18
2. Con sordino 07’01
3. Con tutta forza 05’45

Total time: 21’04

Running time: 69’42

CD 4: Bands 1-5: Benjamin Britten (1913, Suffolk – 1976, Aldeburgh): On This Island (1937). Bernice Bramson, soprano; Nancy Revsen, piano. ABCD SP 9007.

Recently, I received a copy of a CD containing 28 songs performed by the late soprano Bernice Bramson. Her performance of Benjamin Britten’s On This Island, five songs set to poems by W. H. Auden is quite lovely and beautifully focused, I think. Perhaps just as important, the soprano’s diction is clear, something that does not always happen when a soprano vocalizes art songs. This is the first time Ms. Bramson has been the featured artist on a recording; unfortunately the recording came out posthumously.

Time: 1. Let the Florid Music Praise 03’25
2. Now the Leaves Are Falling Fast 01’41
3. Seascape 02’04
4. Nocturne 04’14
5. As It Is, Plenty 01’25

Total time: 12’49

Running time: 82’31

CD 5: Band 10: Joan Tower (*1938, New Rochelle): Rain Waves (1997): The Verdehr Trio: Walter Verdehr, violin; Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr, clarinet; Silvia Roederer, piano. Crystal Records CD943.

It’s already been quite a few years since we had the pleasure of listening to an interview with Joan Towers, an eminent professor at Bard College and a truly super composer. We’ll end today’s program with a performance of Rain Waves, which she wrote in 1997 and dedicated to the Verdehr Trio, who perform it today, “in admiration of their unfailing support of the music of our time, and their devoted efforts to give a composers’ new work ‘life’ through their worldwide performance tours and recordings.” Professor Towers describes Rain Waves as follows: “[The piece] explores the motion of a wave form. Starting with a pointillistic ‘rain’-type pattern, the notes float upwards and downwards in increasing intensities. In the less ‘staccato’- like and more flowing sections, there is a sense of a ‘wind’ pushing the notes into longer and wider arched patterns – perhaps like the undulating sheets of rain created in a light southern tropical rainfall.” The piece is, it seems to me, impressionistic in a particularly focused way, if that be not an oxymoron.

Time: 10. Rain Waves 11’36

Total running time: 94’07



We have come to the end of our abridged version of Monday Afternoon Classics today. We have managed to broadcast three string quartets: Lyric Suite by Alban Berg; string Quartet No. 4 by Béla Bartók; String Quartet No. 1 by Karl Amadeus Hartmann; Benjamin Britten’s On This Island; and Joan Tower’s Rain Waves. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed today’s selections and that you will tune in next week for more great 20th and 21st century “classical” music. Until then, this is Gandalf thanking you for listening and wishing you all the joy of New Music!
:: :: ::

Posted on Sunday, September 04, 2005

050905 Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, www.wjffradio.org
Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf
Monday, 05 September 2005

050905

Good Afternoon, Lovers of Fine Music, and welcome to Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, where we will hear the best of 20th and 21st century classical music as well as interviews with occasional guests. Before we begin our program, let’s hear what Liberty Green has to tell us on her weekly Arts and Culture Calendar.

As always, Liberty, we all thank you for the time and effort you have put into producing the WJFF Arts and Culture calendar.

Today we celebrate a holiday we call Labor Day, although it is at least questionable whether many, if any of us have the working person in mind as we enjoy a final, four day holiday that marks the end of summer vacation for students and teachers and the beginning of the new school year. Before I begin today’s program, I want to recall briefly the history of Labor Day.

The following information exists on the ONLINE NEWSHOUR website http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/september96/labor_day_9-2.html The comments, I believe, were made by Jim Lehrer.

The observance of Labor Day began over 100 years ago. Conceived by America's labor unions as a testament to their cause, the legislation sanctioning the holiday was shepherded through Congress amid labor unrest and signed by President Grover Cleveland as a reluctant election-year compromise.

Here, in brief, is a history of events leading up to the creation of Labor Day:

Pullman, Illinois was a company town, founded in 1880 by George Pullman, president of the railroad sleeping car company. Pullman designed and built the town to stand as a utopian workers' community insulated from the moral (and political) seductions of nearby Chicago.

The town was strictly, almost feudally, organized: row houses for the assembly and craft workers; modest Victorians for the managers; and a luxurious hotel where Pullman himself lived and where visiting customers, suppliers, and salesman would lodge while in town.

Its residents all worked for the Pullman company, their paychecks drawn from Pullman bank, and their rent, set by Pullman, deducted automatically from their weekly paychecks. The town, and the company, operated smoothly and successfully for more than a decade.

But in 1893, the Pullman company was caught in the nationwide economic depression. Orders for railroad sleeping cars declined, and George Pullman was forced to lay off hundreds of employees. Those who remained endured wage cuts, even while rents in Pullman remained consistent. Take-home paychecks plummeted.

And so the employees walked out, demanding lower rents and higher pay. The American Railway Union, led by a young Eugene V. Debs, came to the cause of the striking workers, and railroad workers across the nation boycotted trains carrying Pullman cars. Rioting, pillaging, and burning of railroad cars soon ensued; mobs of non-union workers joined in.

The strike instantly became a national issue. President Grover Cleveland, faced with nervous railroad executives and interrupted mail trains, declared the strike a federal crime and deployed 12,000 troops to break the strike. Violence erupted, and two men were killed when U.S. deputy marshals fired on protesters in Kensington, near Chicago, but the strike was doomed.

On August 3, 1894, the strike was declared over. Debs went to prison, his ARU was disbanded, and Pullman employees henceforth signed a pledge that they would never again unionize. Aside from the already existing American Federation of Labor and the various railroad brotherhoods, industrial workers' unions were effectively stamped out and remained so until the Great Depression.

It was not the last time Debs would find himself behind bars, either. Campaigning from his jail cell, Debs would later win almost a million votes for the Socialist ticket in the 1920 presidential race.

In an attempt to appease the nation's workers, Labor Day is born. The movement for a national Labor Day had been growing for some time. In September 1892, union workers in New York City took an unpaid day off and marched around Union Square in support of the holiday. But now, protests against President Cleveland's harsh methods made the appeasement of the nation's workers a top political priority. In the immediate wake of the strike, legislation was rushed unanimously through both houses of Congress, and the bill arrived on President Cleveland's desk just six days after his troops had broken the Pullman strike.

1894 was an election year. President Cleveland seized the chance at conciliation, and Labor Day was born. He was not reelected.

In 1898, Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor, called it "the day for which the toilers in past centuries looked forward, when their rights and their wrongs would be discussed...that the workers of our day may not only lay down their tools of labor for a holiday, but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it."

Labor Day: a good-bye to summer. Almost a century since Gompers spoke those words, though, Labor Day is seen as the last long weekend of summer rather than a day for political organizing. In 1995, less than 15 percent of American workers belonged to unions, down from a high in the 1950's of nearly 50 percent, though nearly all have benefited from the victories of the Labor movement.

And everyone who can takes a vacation on the first Monday of September. Friends and families gather, and clog the highways, and the picnic grounds, and their own backyards -- and bid farewell to summer.

Isn’t it amazing that we do little more than grumble when the CEO of a company who has been on the job for only a few months and is forced to resign manages to exit with a golden parachute worth tens of millions of dollars, but we save our wrath for working people who would like their wages to bring them up to a standard of living that outdistances poverty! Our neglect has come acropper. All of us know by now that most of the 150,000 people who did not evacuate the City of New Orleans couldn't, because they had no means of transportations. Surely we all bear some of the guilt here.

CD 1: “The Internationale:” Best of Communism: Gong HCD 37898. Singers not identified.

Not too many years ago, I probably would have been shut down for playing The Internationale on the air. It seems tome, however, a fitting way to celebrate the workers who toil all over the world in the face of low wages and, often, scorn.

Time:1 The Internationale 01’43

CD 2: Bands 1 – 39: Frederic Rzewski (*1938, Westfield, MA) http://composers21.com/compdocs/rzewskif.htm The People United Will Never be Defeated! (1975). Sergio Ortega (1938, Chile – 2003, Chile) http://www.guardian.co.uk/chile/story/0,13755,1053211,00.html composed the song upon which these variations are based. Marc-André Hamelin, piano. Hyperion CDA 67077.

Our next offering is a set of 36 variations by Massachusetts native Frederic Rzewski, pronounced ZHEV’ski) that are based upon a Chilean song entitled ¡El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido! Rzewski, who was born a year before I was in 1968, finished these variations in 1975 and, according to the liner notes, stand “as a watershed achievement during the time from 1971-1976 [sic] when [he] was living in New York, a period when the composer became more and more concerned with the question of language.' It seemed to me,’ Rzewski wrote in a programme autobiography, ‘there was not reason why the most difficult and complex formal structures could not be expressed in a form which could be understood by a wide variety of listeners.

“The song on which the variations are based was written by Sergio Ortega, a Chilean composer whose work was part of the cultural movement inspired by the formation of the Unidad Popular in 1969, together with the left coalition under Salvadore Allende’s leadership. Its music represented a fusion of classical forms with popular melodies, or, conversely, employed traditional folk instruments in classically oriented contexts. Three months before Augusto Pinochet’s military coup, Ortega heard a street singer in front of the Palace of Finance in Santiago shouting, ‘¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido! a well known Chilean chant for social change. The chant stuck in Ortega’s mind. A few days later he sat at his piano, and tune emerged in a flash. The song was performed in public two days later by the group Quilapayun and quickly became an anthem for the Chilean Resistance.” (Liner notes by Jed Distler, 1999). Frederic Rzewski turned the original tune into a set of 36 variations, which he called The People United Will Never Be Defeated. We’ll hear pianist Marc-André perform them now.

Time: 1-36: Variations 57’18

Running time: 59’01

We have just heard Marc-André Hamelin perform all thirty six variations of Frederic Rzewski’s monumental piano work based on a song by the Chilean composer Sergio Ortega. I hope you enjoyed the piece as much as I did. I know the music stirred my blood and got me thinking about much of how the world is on this Labor day.

CD 2: Entire: Bob Ostertag (*Albuquerque, NM) http://detritus.net/ostertag/home.html; http://detritus.net/ostertag/ All the Rage (1992) http://detritus.net/ostertag/home.html. Kronos Quartet: David Harrington and John Sherba, violins; Hank Dutt, viola; Joan Jeanrenaud, ‘cello. Elektra Nonesuch, 9 79332-2.

Our next selection, All the Rage, by Bob Ostertag, was, according to the composer’s liner notes, “developed from a recording [he] . . . made of a riot in San Francisco in October, 1991, which followed California Governor Pete Wilson’s veto of a bill designed to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination.” The New York Times, writing about the world premiere of All the Rage, wrote: “Bob Ostertag’s All the Rage turned the evening (no date given) on its head with a devastating roar of gay anger. Of recent concert pieces having to do with AIDS, All the Rage seems by far the most powerful example. Mr. Ostertag’s stern, purifying gaze has swept away the sentimentality and melodrama that have compromised more famous compositions in the genre.” (On line. Cf. above link).

Why am I broadcasting this particular piece on Labor Day? Because much of the nation is engulfed with rage at the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the national government’s response to it. Is there any possible connection between the national government’s treatment of the gay community and its treatment of hurricane victims? I leave that to you, the listeners, to decide.

One further note: “This composition was written for Kronos. The commissioning of All the Rage was made possible by a grant from “Meet the composer/Reader’s Digest Commissioning Program, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund in cooperation with Lincoln Center, Wexner Center, and San Antonio Performing Arts Association.” I find it highly ironic that I will have to sit by the broadcasting board, carefully listening for two moments during which a unacceptable word is softly spoken in order to bleep it out. I ask you: what are the obscenities that we should be offended by today?

Time: 1. All the Rage 16’17

Running time: 75’18

CD3: Band 7: Joseph Bertolozzi (*1959, Poughkeepsie, NY): The Contemplation of Bravery (2001): Mark Robbins, horn; Seattlemusic; Joel Eric Suben, conductor. Blue Wings Press bluewingpress@aol.com CD BWP 8806.

According to his website, Joseph Bertolozzi, who was born in Poughkeepsie in 1959, a year after his parents and sister emigrated to the United States from Monsagrati (Lucca), Italy, “counts the music of Messiaen, Stravinsky, Wendy Carlos, Scriabin, The Beatles, the progressive rock group Yes, and keyboardist Rick Wakeman as his foremost influences.

Here’s what the liner notes to The Contemplation of Bravery tell us:

The Contemplation of Bravery was commissioned for the Bicentennial of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and premiered March 18, 2001 in Eisenhower Hall by the USMA Concert Band.

“’No marches! We have enough marches, and from the best! Do something different for us.’ That was the advice Bertolozzi received from the West Point Band before beginning work. “In any event, it was my intention to write something beautiful, so I introduced an introspective , meditative point of view into the genre of military music. surely there are times when soldiers must think hard on their responsibility to perform their duty in the face of personal danger. This to me is the essence of bravery: to knowingly put one’s self at risk. I wanted to present my impression of someone meditating on the circumstances that require them to relinquish their safety for a greater good.’” (Anonymous Liner Notes)

This piece also seems appropriate in the ace of recent events in the Gulf Coast area. Although I’d bet that the composer, Bertolozzi, did not contemplate some of the fallout from these events, it is probably necessary and useful to remember that the armed forces cannot give themselves orders to do anything. Here is an excerpt from Paul Krugman’s September 2, 2005 Op Ed piece, “A Can’t Do Government”:

“Even military resources in the right place weren’t ordered into action. ‘On Wednesday,’ said an editorial in The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Mississippi, ‘reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics! Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!” repeats Krugman, who continues: [m]aybe administration officials believed that the local National Guard could keep order and deliver relief. But many members of the National Guard and much of its equipment- including high-water vehicles – are in Iraq. ‘The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission,’ a Louisiana Guard officer told reporters several weeks ago.’”

Let’s listen to Mark Robbins play the horn and Joel Eric Suben conduct Seattlemusic in a performance of Joseph Bertolozzi’s The Contemplation of Bravery.

Time: 7. The Contemplation of Bravery 09’06

Running time: 84’24

CD 4: Band 5: Frank Zappa (1940, Baltimore – 1993,?) http://www.hotshotdigital.com/WellAlwaysRemember.3/FrankZappaBio.html: “The Beltway Bandits” from Jazz from Hell (1994): Ensemble Modern, Jonathan Stockhammer, direction. Ensemble Modern Plays Frank Zappa. RCA Red Seal CD 82876-59842-2

What could be a more appropriate piece to end today’s session with than the Ensemble Modern’s performance of “The Beltway Bandits” from Frank Zappa’s Jazz from Hell. Gail Zappa’s liner notes, which Frank Zappa’s widow wrote in 2003, have this to say about “The Beltway Bandits”: “In 1994, a certain record company demanded a definition of ‘classical music’ as it applied to Frank Zappa. They were serious. And heavily armed with multiple MBAs and lawyers by the horde. And I had intellectual properties to protect, grand rights to preserve, and, ridiculously, art and cultural prejudice to overcome. For me this was literally a defining moment, with Nature herself in her own handwriting revealing another tiny secret: ‘Jazz from Hell” is the only possible answer.’”

Let’s listen to this mad, wonderful piece as we contemplate our own world.

Time: 5. The Beltway Bandits 03’37

Total running time: 88’01

We have come to the end of another Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf. Today we have heard “The Internationale,” Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated, 36 Variations on a piece by Chilean composer Sergio Ortega; Bob Ostertag’s All the Rage; Joseph Bertolozzi’s The Contemplation of Bravery; and Frank Zappa’s “The Beltway Bandits.” I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed today’s selections and that you will tune in next week for more great 20th and 21st century “classical” music. Until then, this is Gandalf thanking you for listening and wishing you all the joy of New Music!





Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf
Monday, 05 September 2005

050905

Good Afternoon, Lovers of Fine Music, and welcome to Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf, where we will hear the best of 20th and 21st century classical music as well as interviews with occasional guests. Before we begin our program, let’s hear what Liberty Green has to tell us on her weekly Arts and Culture Calendar.

As always, Liberty, we all thank you for the time and effort you have put into producing the WJFF Arts and Culture calendar.

Today we celebrate a holiday we call Labor Day, although it is at least questionable whether many, if any of us have the working person in mind as we enjoy a final, four day holiday that marks the end of summer vacation for students and teachers and the beginning of the new school year. Before I begin today’s program, I want to recall briefly the history of Labor Day.

The following information exists on the ONLINE NEWSHOUR website http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/september96/labor_day_9-2.html The comments, I believe, were made by Jim Lehrer.

The observance of Labor Day began over 100 years ago. Conceived by America's labor unions as a testament to their cause, the legislation sanctioning the holiday was shepherded through Congress amid labor unrest and signed by President Grover Cleveland as a reluctant election-year compromise.

Here, in brief, is a history of events leading up to the creation of Labor Day:

Pullman, Illinois was a company town, founded in 1880 by George Pullman, president of the railroad sleeping car company. Pullman designed and built the town to stand as a utopian workers' community insulated from the moral (and political) seductions of nearby Chicago.

The town was strictly, almost feudally, organized: row houses for the assembly and craft workers; modest Victorians for the managers; and a luxurious hotel where Pullman himself lived and where visiting customers, suppliers, and salesman would lodge while in town.

Its residents all worked for the Pullman company, their paychecks drawn from Pullman bank, and their rent, set by Pullman, deducted automatically from their weekly paychecks. The town, and the company, operated smoothly and successfully for more than a decade.

But in 1893, the Pullman company was caught in the nationwide economic depression. Orders for railroad sleeping cars declined, and George Pullman was forced to lay off hundreds of employees. Those who remained endured wage cuts, even while rents in Pullman remained consistent. Take-home paychecks plummeted.

And so the employees walked out, demanding lower rents and higher pay. The American Railway Union, led by a young Eugene V. Debs, came to the cause of the striking workers, and railroad workers across the nation boycotted trains carrying Pullman cars. Rioting, pillaging, and burning of railroad cars soon ensued; mobs of non-union workers joined in.

The strike instantly became a national issue. President Grover Cleveland, faced with nervous railroad executives and interrupted mail trains, declared the strike a federal crime and deployed 12,000 troops to break the strike. Violence erupted, and two men were killed when U.S. deputy marshals fired on protesters in Kensington, near Chicago, but the strike was doomed.

On August 3, 1894, the strike was declared over. Debs went to prison, his ARU was disbanded, and Pullman employees henceforth signed a pledge that they would never again unionize. Aside from the already existing American Federation of Labor and the various railroad brotherhoods, industrial workers' unions were effectively stamped out and remained so until the Great Depression.

It was not the last time Debs would find himself behind bars, either. Campaigning from his jail cell, Debs would later win almost a million votes for the Socialist ticket in the 1920 presidential race.

In an attempt to appease the nation's workers, Labor Day is born. The movement for a national Labor Day had been growing for some time. In September 1892, union workers in New York City took an unpaid day off and marched around Union Square in support of the holiday. But now, protests against President Cleveland's harsh methods made the appeasement of the nation's workers a top political priority. In the immediate wake of the strike, legislation was rushed unanimously through both houses of Congress, and the bill arrived on President Cleveland's desk just six days after his troops had broken the Pullman strike.

1894 was an election year. President Cleveland seized the chance at conciliation, and Labor Day was born. He was not reelected.

In 1898, Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor, called it "the day for which the toilers in past centuries looked forward, when their rights and their wrongs would be discussed...that the workers of our day may not only lay down their tools of labor for a holiday, but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it."

Labor Day: a good-bye to summer. Almost a century since Gompers spoke those words, though, Labor Day is seen as the last long weekend of summer rather than a day for political organizing. In 1995, less than 15 percent of American workers belonged to unions, down from a high in the 1950's of nearly 50 percent, though nearly all have benefited from the victories of the Labor movement.

And everyone who can takes a vacation on the first Monday of September. Friends and families gather, and clog the highways, and the picnic grounds, and their own backyards -- and bid farewell to summer.

Isn’t it amazing that we do little more than grumble when the CEO of a company who has been on the job for only a few months and is forced to resign manages to exit with a golden parachute worth tens of millions of dollars, but we save our wrath for working people who would like their wages to bring them up to a standard of living that outdistances poverty! What is even more incredible is the fact that millions of impoverished people can’t wait to re-elect the very politicians who have managed to keep them “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen” for lo these many years!

CD 1: “The Internationale:” Best of Communism: Gong HCD 37898. Singers not identified.

Not too many years ago, I probably would have been shut down for playing The Internationale on the air. It seems tome, however, a fitting way to celebrate the workers who toil all over the world in the face of low wages and, often, scorn.

Time:1 The Internationale 01’43

CD 2: Bands 1 – 39: Frederic Rzewski (*1938, Westfield, MA) http://composers21.com/compdocs/rzewskif.htm The People United Will Never be Defeated! (1975). Sergio Ortega (1938, Chile – 2003, Chile) http://www.guardian.co.uk/chile/story/0,13755,1053211,00.html composed the song upon which these variations are based. Marc-André Hamelin, piano. Hyperion CDA 67077.

Our next offering is a set of 36 variations by Massachusetts native Frederic Rzewski, pronounced ZHEV’ski) that are based upon a Chilean song entitled ¡El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido! Rzewski, who was born a year before I was in 1968, finished these variations in 1975 and, according to the liner notes, stand “as a watershed achievement during the time from 1971-1976 [sic] when [he] was living in New York, a period when the composer became more and more concerned with the question of language.' It seemed to me,’ Rzewski wrote in a programme autobiography, ‘there was not reason why the most difficult and complex formal structures could not be expressed in a form which could be understood by a wide variety of listeners.

“The song on which the variations are based was written by Sergio Ortega, a Chilean composer whose work was part of the cultural movement inspired by the formation of the Unidad Popular in 1969, together with the left coalition under Salvadore Allende’s leadership. Its music represented a fusion of classical forms with popular melodies, or, conversely, employed traditional folk instruments in classically0oriented contexts. Three months before Augusto Pinochet’s military coup, Ortega heard a street singer in front of the Palace of Finance in Santiago shouting, ‘¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido! a well known Chilean chant for social change. The chant stuck in Ortega’s mind. A few days later he sat at his piano, and tune emerged in a flash. The song was performed in public two days later by the group Quilapayun and quickly became an anthem for the Chilean Resistance.” (Liner notes by Jed Distler, 1999). Frederic Rzewski turned the original tune into a set of 36 variations, which he called The People United Will Never Be Defeated. We’ll hear pianist Marc-André perform them now.

Time: 1-36: Variations 57’18

Running time: 59’01

We have just heard Marc-André Hamelin perform all thirty six variations of Frederic Rzewski’s monumental piano work based on a song by the Chilean composer Sergio Ortega. I hope you enjoyed the piece as much as I did. I know the music stirred my blood and got me thinking about much of how the world is on this Labor day.

CD 2: Entire: Bob Ostertag (*Albuquerque, NM) http://detritus.net/ostertag/home.html; http://detritus.net/ostertag/ All the Rage (1992) http://detritus.net/ostertag/home.html. Kronos Quartet: David Harrington and John Sherba, violins; Hank Dutt, viola; Joan Jeanrenaud, ‘cello. Elektra Nonesuch, 9 79332-2.

Our next selection, All the Rage, by Bob Ostertag, was, according to the composer’s liner notes, “developed from a recording [he] . . . made of a riot in San Francisco in October, 1991, which followed California Governor Pete Wilson’s veto of a bill designed to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination.” The New York Times, writing about the world premiere of All the Rage, wrote: “Bob Ostertag’s All the Rage turned the evening (no date given) on its head with a devastating roar of gay anger. Of recent concert pieces having to do with AIDS, All the Rage seems by far the most powerful example. Mr. Ostertag’s stern, purifying gaze has swept away the sentimentality and melodrama that have compromised more famous compositions in the genre.” (On line. Cf. above link).

Why am I broadcasting this particular piece on Labor Day? Because much of the nation is engulfed with rage at the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the national government’s response to it. Is there any possible connection between the national government’s treatment of the gay community and its treatment of hurricane victims? I leave that to you, the listeners, to decide.

One further note: “This composition was written for Kronos. The commissioning of All the Rage was made possible by a grant from “Meet the composer/Reader’s Digest Commissioning Program, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund in cooperation with Lincoln Center, Wexner Center, and San Antonio Performing Arts Association.” I find it highly ironic that I will have to sit by the broadcasting board, carefully listening for two moments during which a unacceptable word is softly spoken in order to bleep it out. I ask you: what are the obscenities that ought to be bleeped out today?!

Time: 1. All the Rage 16’17

Running time: 75’18

CD3: Band 7: Joseph Bertolozzi (*1959, Poughkeepsie, NY): The Contemplation of Bravery (2001): Mark Robbins, horn; Seattlemusic; Joel Eric Suben, conductor. Blue Wings Press bluewingpress@aol.com CD BWP 8806.

According to his website, Joseph Bertolozzi, who was born in Poughkeepsie in 1959, a year after his parents and sister emigrated to the United States from Monsagrati (Lucca), Italy, “counts the music of Messiaen, Stravinsky, Wendy Carlos, Scriabin, The Beatles, the progressive rock group Yes, and keyboardist Rick Wakeman as his foremost influences.

Here’s what the liner notes to The Contemplation of Bravery tell us:

The Contemplation of Bravery was commissioned for the Bicentennial of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and premiered March 18, 2001 in Eisenhower Hall by the USMA Concert Band.

“’No marches! We have enough marches, and from the best! Do something different for us.’ That was the advice Bertolozzi received from the West Point Band before beginning work. “In any event, it was my intention to write something beautiful, so I introduced an introspective , meditative point of view into the genre of military music. surely there are times when soldiers must think hard on their responsibility to perform their duty in the face of personal danger. This to me is the essence of bravery: to knowingly put one’s self at risk. I wanted to present my impression of someone meditating on the circumstances that require them to relinquish their safety for a greater good.’” (Anonymous Liner Notes)

This piece also seems appropriate in the ace of recent events in the Gulf Coast area. Although I’d bet that the composer, Bertolozzi, did not contemplate some of the fallout from these events, it is probably necessary and useful to remember that the armed forces cannot give themselves orders to do anything. Here is an excerpt from Paul Krugman’s September 2, 2005 Op Ed piece, “A Can’t Do Government”:

“Even military resources in the right place weren’t ordered into action. ‘On Wednesday,’ said an editorial in The Sun Herald in Biloxi, Mississippi, ‘reporters listening to horrific stories of death and survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and performing calisthenics! Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!” repeats Krugman, who continues: [m]aybe administration officials believed that the local National Guard could keep order and deliver relief. But many members of the National Guard and much of its equipment- including high-water vehicles – are in Iraq. ‘The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission,’ a Louisiana Guard officer told reporters several weeks ago.’”

Let’s listen to Mark Robbins play the horn and Joel Eric Suben conduct Seattlemusic in a performance of Joseph Bertolozzi’s The Contemplation of Bravery.

Time: 7. The Contemplation of Bravery 09’06

Running time: 84’24

CD 4: Band 5: Frank Zappa (1940, Baltimore – 1993,?) http://www.hotshotdigital.com/WellAlwaysRemember.3/FrankZappaBio.html: “The Beltway Bandits” from Jazz from Hell (1994): Ensemble Modern, Jonathan Stockhammer, direction. Ensemble Modern Plays Frank Zappa. RCA Red Seal CD 82876-59842-2

What could be a more appropriate piece to end today’s session with than the Ensemble Modern’s performance of “The Beltway Bandits” from Frank Zappa’s Jazz from Hell. Gail Zappa’s liner notes, which Frank Zappa’s widow wrote in 2003, have this to say about “The Beltway Bandits”: “In 1994, a certain record company demanded a definition of ‘classical music’ as it applied to Frank Zappa. They were serious. And heavily armed with multiple MBAs and lawyers by the horde. And I had intellectual properties to protect, grand rights to preserve, and, ridiculously, art and cultural prejudice to overcome. For me this was literally a defining moment, with Nature herself in her own handwriting revealing another tiny secret: ‘Jazz from Hell” is the only possible answer.’”

Let’s listen to this mad, wonderful piece as we contemplate our own world.

Time: 5. The Beltway Bandits 03’37

Total running time: 88’01

We have come to the end of another Monday Afternoon Classics with Gandalf. Today we have heard “The Internationale,” Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated, 36 Variations on a piece by Chilean composer Sergio Ortega; Bob Ostertag’s All the Rage; Joseph Bertolozzi’s The Contemplation of Bravery; and Frank Zappa’s “The Beltway Bandits.” I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed today’s selections and that you will tune in next week for more great 20th and 21st century “classical” music. Until then, this is Gandalf thanking you for listening and wishing you all the joy of New Music!
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