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Classical Notes

Classical Notes: August 21, 2012 Archive

Phyllis Diller: Composer and Harpsichord(!)

Posted at 8:49 AM on August 21, 2012 by John Birge (0 Comments)

Props to my colleauges Lynne Warfel and Tom Crann for pointing out that before the late comedienne Phyllis Diller ever considered a career in comedy, she wanted to be a classical musician. She played piano as a girl, and after graduating from high school in Lima Ohio, Phyllis Diller went to Chicago to study piano at Sherwood Music Conservatory of Columbia College. She still played in her private life, and owned a custom-made harpsichord, which once appeared on Liberace's variety show:

She was a pretty good composer, too!

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On the Air This Week

Posted at 10:39 AM on August 21, 2012 by Rex Levang (0 Comments)
Filed under: On the air

Highlights from August 21 to 28

Tuesday, 8 pm: Debussy: Pelléas et Mélisande.
Thursday, 3 pm hour: Regional Spotlight: Alumni of the St. Olaf Cantorei.
Friday, 8 pm: The Mozart Festival, Part 4.
Sunday, 6 am: Pipedreams: Northern Lights.
Sunday, noon: From the Top.
Sunday, 1 pm: SymphonyCast: From this year's BBC Proms: the BBC Philharmonic, in a program including Mahler's Seventh.
Monday, 7 pm: Roll Credits.

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Postcards from Debussy: Day 3

Posted at 9:41 PM on August 21, 2012 by John Birge (0 Comments)

Inspired by Debussy's 150th birthday anniversary this week, every morning at 8:30 we'll play a composition by Debussy inspired by some specific place. Today it's his piano piece, "Pagodas." And what do Pagodas and the Eiffel Tower have in common? This:


The Eiffel Tower was the symbol of the 1889 Paris World Exhibition, where Claude Debussy experienced the revelation of the amazing music of the Javanese Gamelan. It's a story well-told in detail here, but hear the results in this performance of "Pagodas."

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