Exploring Music

Archive for the ‘Let Us Know…’ Category

Gastronomic delights

In many parts of the country, Exploring Music airs right around mealtime, and many listeners have written in to let us know that we join them at the dinner table. (They also write in to let us know we join them in the shower, but that’s another story…)

Always the gastronome, Bill McGlaughlin offhandedly solicited some culinary suggestions in our recent “Arias and Barcarolles” week, and we’re happy to share this submission from Loann Scarpato. She tunes in via WRTI in Philadelphia, and shared the recipe for what sounds like a very delicious soup.

Acorn Squash Vegetable Soup

2 large leeks
1-1/2 Tbsp butter
2 acorn squash, approx. 18 oz each, cooked, seeds and skin discarded, flesh pureed
5-1/3 cups chicken stock
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 oz sliced mushrooms
6 canned plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
4 oz fresh spinach, cut into thin strips

Trim roots and most of green leaves from leeks. Chop finely, wash well and drain, and cook in butter in large pot until soft, about 3 min. Add pureed squash to pot with stock and seasonings; cook 10 min. Stir mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach into soup; remove from heat. Let stand 2-3 min. before serving.

Yields 2 quarts.
Source: “The Cuisinart Cook,” Oct. 1987

As a main course, Producer Cydne Gillard tracked down this intriguing ravioli recipe from Nicolo Paganini, courtesy of the Library of Congress and NPR.

Paganini’s Ravioli

2 lb. lean beef
1 1/2 lb. flour
1/2 lb. lean veal
A calf’s brain
Lugano sausage
an onion
three eggs
pinch of borage

For a pound and a half of flour, two pounds of good lean beef to make the sauce, place in the frying pan some butter, then a small amount of finely chopped onions, and brown slightly.

Put in the beef, and cook till it begins to take on a bit of color. For a thick sauce, take a few pinches of flour and gradually sprinkle them into the meat juices to brown, then take some tomatoes, break them up in water, pour some of the water into the flour in the frying pan and mix well to dissolve. Finally add some finely chopped and pounded dried mushrooms, and that’s the meat sauce.

Now for the pasta. To lift the eggless dough: a little bit of salt in the pasta will help with its consistency.

Now for the filling. Using the same pan as for the meat, in the sauce, cook half a pound of lean veal, then remove, chop it and pound it. Take a calf’s brain, cook it in the water, then remove the skin covering the brain, chop and pound well, separately take a little lugano sausage, remove the skin, chop and pound separately. Take a good pinch of borage, boil, squeeze out thoroughly and pound as above.

Take three eggs, sufficient for a pound and a half of flour. Beat them thoroughly and add the various ingredients listed above, which should be pounded again, adding a little Parmesan cheese to the eggs. And that’s the filling.

For a ravioli, cut the pasta slightly wet, and leave for an hour covered to give thin sheets.

If there’s still room for dessert, there’s always Justi Mahler’s Marillenknoedel, which her brother, Gustav, immortalized in his song cycle “Des Knaben Wunderknödel”.

Justi Mahler’s Marillenknoedel


2.2 lbs. potatoes
8.75 oz. flour
One egg
Pinch of salt
3.15 oz. butter
3.5 oz. bread crumbs
13 oz. apricots

Preparation: Place the potatoes, cut and peeled, through a mill once, then work them into the flour, egg and salt on a cutting board while they are still warm to make a smooth paste.

With a rolling pin, or by hand, knead the paste, flatten it and cut into fine slices, carefully enclosing an apricot in each slice. Then let the knoedel cook for five to 10 minutes in a sauce pan of boiling salt water. Drain. During this time, melt the butter in a frying pan and brown the bread crumbs over a low flame. Then roll the knodel in bread crumbs and sprinkle with sugar before serving.


One may:

—use cream cheese in place of the potatoes, so as to augment the amount of flour

—replace the apricots with prunes or cherries

—add yeast to the paste

—place a cube of sugar inside each apricot slice

—serve the knoedel with ground poppy seeds in place of bread crumbs, moistening them afterwards with butter and sugar


Bon appétit!

Posted by Jesse McQuarters (Producer, Exploring Music)

Rachmaninoff quotes/pictures

Cydne Gillard found some fantastic quotes about this week’s composer, Sergei Rachmaninoff:

I am a Russian composer, and the land of my birth has inevitably influenced my temperament and outlook. My music is the product of my temperament, and so it is Russian Music. I never consciously attempt to write Russian music; or any other kind of music, for that matter. I have been strongly influenced by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov, but I have never consciously imitated anybody. I try to make my music speak simply and directly that which is in my heart at the time I am composing. If there is love there, or bitterness, or sadness, or religion, these moods become part of my music, and it becomes either beautiful or bitter or sad or religious. For music is as much a part of my living as breathing and eating. I compose music because I must give expression to my feeling, just as I talk because I must give utterance to my thoughts.”

The New Book of Modern Composers, David Ewen. Knopf. 1961

“Some people achieve a kind of immortality just by the totality with which they do or do not possess some quality or characteristic. Rachmaninov’s immortalizing totality was his scowl. He was a six-and–a-half-foot-tall scowl.”


“Although certain of his works have enjoyed a phenomenal vogue with the public, Rachmaninov has no proper place in a book on contemporary music.”

Introduction to Twentieth Century Music, Joseph Machlis. W.W. Norton. 1961

And be sure to look through all three pages of some very interesting pictures posted to Rachmaninoff.org:    http://is.gd/4XmMz

Rachmaninoff's hand

Rachmaninoff's hand

Suggest some music for an upcoming theme!

We’re hard at work on another new theme for EM, focusing on the members of the wind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn).

What is YOUR favorite music for these instruments?  Orchestral excerpts, concertos, solo works, chamber music- anything is game.  Let us know in the comments section!

Excerpt from classical music score

Share your Exploring Music theme ideas in the comments below.

Blog Search & Navigation

Twitter Updates

Drop Us a Line

Help us go exploring

We value your comments

Jesse McQuarters

Meet the producers