Today in 1967, the musical You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown opened off-Broadway at Theatre 80 in the East Village. On today's "A Day in the Life", we hear our favorite Peanuts characters come to life in the world of musical theatre.
Today in 1866 a 650-ton, iron-hulled ship named the Libelle ran aground on a reef off the coast of Wake Island, an atoll some 2300 miles west of Hawaii, one of the most isolated land masses on the planet. One of the only reasons we even know about the wreck of the Libelle is because among its passengers was English soprano Anna Bishop, perhaps the most travelled vocalist of the 19th century. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we explore the globe-trotting life and career of Anna Bishop.
It was on this day in 1966 that London's "The Evening Standard" published an article titled "How does a Beatle Live? John Lennon Lives Like This". In it, John Lennon is quoted as saying he believes The Beatles are more popular than Jesus. On today's "A Day in the Life," we dive into the fallout that followed.
Today in 1956, Carl Perkins’s recording of “Blue Suede Shoes” entered the Billboard Hot 100 charts. On today's "A Day in the Life," we learn what Johnny Cash has to do with the song and we discover that another song entered the charts on this day in 1956 whose singer would go on to record his own, even more popular, version of "Blue Suede Shoes".
On this day in 1933, Fiorello Henry La Guardia's term as a U.S. Congressman for New York's 20th district came to an end. That end marked a new beginning; later that year, La Guardia won election as mayor of New York — a role in which he served until 1945. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we learn about La Guardia's advocacy for music and we discover which tunes he conducted for the New York Philharmonic.
Today in 1973 jazz bassist Jimmy DeBrest, also known as “Spanky”, passed away at the age of 36. Though he wasn't tremendously well-known, he played a foundational role as a sideman in the post-bop era of jazz. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore DeBrest's work alongside Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, and John Coltrane.
It was on this day in 1692 that Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba were arrested for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. The arrests heralded the beginning of the famed Salem Witch Trials which, when all was said and done, resulted in the execution of 20 people accused of practicing the devil's magic. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we listen to the 1962 Pulitzer Prize winning opera, "The Crucible" adapted from Arthur Miller's play by American composer Robert Ward.
It was on this day in 1969 that "Everyday People" by Sly and the Family Stone entered its third consecutive week at number one on the US Billboard charts. On today's "A Day in the Life," we talk about the family that made up the band and the band's philosophy of equality and racial solidarity.
Today is Leap Day, it's the extra day we add to the end of February every four years to keep the calendar year synced up with the solar year. On today's "A Day in the Life," we leap into an exploration of the rhymes and rhythms associated with these calendar shenanigans.
It was on this day in 1980 that Gordie Howe, also known as Mr. Hockey, scored his 800th goal in the National Hockey League, becoming the first player ever to reach that rare landmark. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we take a listen to the song that was played to celebrate that goal and more.
Today in 1919, the Grand Canyon officially became a national park. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we travel the path once trod by the Griswold's and Thelma and Louise to one of America's most iconic natural wonders. The soundtrack for our voyage is Ferde Grofe's "Grand Canyon Suite" from 1931.
It was on this day in 1977 that "Blinded by the Light" as performed by Manfred Mann's Earth Band reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was a cover of a 1973 release by none other than Bruce Springsteen. On today's "A Day in the Life," we learn what the Boss thought about Mann's version and why he thought it was more successful than the original.
Today in 1967, a tune performed by jazz saxophonist Canonball Adderley hit #11 on the popular music charts. The song, "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" was written by keyboardist Joe Zawinul who was known for his work with Miles Davis, particularly on the album Bitches Brew. On today's "A Day in the Life," we examine the song's structure and learn about the rumored connection Ray Charles has to the tune.
On this day in 2002, Leo Ornstein died at the age of 108. Ornstein was a piano virtuoso and a pioneer of modernist music. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we explore the long and prolific career of the great pianist and composer.
It was on this day in 2005 that American musician, songwriter, and producer Brian Joseph Burton, also known as Danger Mouse, released "The Grey Album." The album was a mash-up of The Beatles' "White Album" and Jay Z's "Black Album". On today's "A Day in the Life," we learn how "The Grey Album" came to be.
Today in 1940 folk singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie wrote the lyrics to a song that would become known as “This Land is Your Land.” Most people are familiar with the song, but what not everyone might realize is that it started life as a protest against Irving Berlin’s song, “God Bless America.” On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore Guthrie's critique through a set of early lyrics that didn't make the cut for the final version we're now familiar with.
Today in 1930, Russian composer Igor Stravinsky told a reporter at the Prague Press that he “recognized only half-tones as the basis of music.” He was speaking in response to hearing the music of Czech composer Alois Hàba—one of the foremost composers of quarter-tone music between the world wars. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we dissect the debate between the proponents of half-tone traditionalism and the advocates of quarter-tone sonic deviation.
It was on this day in 1987 that American artist, Andy Warhol died in New York City following gall bladder surgery. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore the world of music that orbited the Warholian sphere.
Today in 1992, Crazy for You, the Tony award winner for best musical that year opened on Broadway. It was a surprise hit given what else was playing on the so-called “Great White Way” at the time. On today's "A Day in the Life," hear the tunes and learn which 1930 Ira and George Gershwin musical it was based on.
It was on this day in 1950 that filmmaker John Hughes was born in Lansing, Michigan. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore the music of such John Hughes classics as "The Breakfast Club" and "Ferris Bueller's Day off".
On this day in 1977, A Symphony of Three Orchestras, by the American composer Elliott Carter, had its world premiere, with Pierre Boulez conducting the New York Philharmonic. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we delve into Carter's symphony and examine the possibility that there may exist a parody of the minimalism that was so fashionable at the time.
It was on this Day in 1966 that Brian Wilson went into the studio and began recording the song that would become Good Vibrations. On today's "A Day in the Life," we explore the inspiration for the song and its sonic ingredients.
On this day in 2005, “Circus Maximus,” the third symphony of American composer John Corigliano and one of the most influential of recent symphonic works, had its world premiere. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life," we learn that Corigliano's work draws parallels between the high decadence of ancient Rome and our present culture. Oh, and there's also a shotgun blast at the end!
It was on this day in 2005 that Yusuf Islam, the British singer and songwriter previously known as Cat Stevens won a lawsuit against two British newspapers that had accused him of ties to terrorism. On today's "A Day in the Life," we trace the career of Stevens/Islam and explore the transformation that led to his embrace of Islam.
This episode on Critical Karaoke, we’re talking with banjo superstars Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn on the subject of arrangements—musical, personal, and otherwise. We cover a range of topics with this married musical couple, from collaboration on their self-titled duet album, to ambassadorship and humanitarian work, to raising a child together. In addition to their own recordings, we delve into the music of the Flecktones, Béla Bartok, Doc Watson, and many others. Plus: Special live in-studio recordings of “New South Africa” and “What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?”