Exploring Music

Archive for the ‘Listener Feedback’ Category

“You and the Night and the Music” books

Countless composers have been inspired to write music based on poems and literature, but last week Bill turned the tables and explored authors that were driven to set pen to paper by beautiful music. Here’s the list of books that Bill read from, all worthy of further investigation.

Louis de Berniers: The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts (1990)

Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord (1991)

The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman (1992)

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (1994), originally published as Corelli’s Mandolin in the US

Aldous Huxley: Point Counter Point (1928)

T. S. Eliot: Four Quartets (1945)

Leo Tolstoy: Kreutzer Sonata 1889

Rita Dove: Sonata Mulattica, 2009

Aleo Carpentier: Baroque Concert 1974

Rita Dove: Sonata Mulattica, 2009

Vikram Seth: An Equal Music, 1999

Paul Adam: The Rainaldi Quartet: 2004
Paganini’s Ghost: A Mystery (2010)

Gerald Elias: Death and the Maiden
The Devil’s Trill 2009

Josef Skvorecky: Scherzo capriccioso (Dvorak In Love): 1984

Milan Kundera: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting: 1979

E. M. Forster: Howard’s End: 1910

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)

fantastic Virgil Thomson podcast

Yale has launched an ambitious series of netcasts to share its wealth of historical recordings with the public. The school is among a handful of pioneers in the field of university podcasting, offering not only lectures, but also live music performances of historical and contemporary significance.

Vivian Perlis and Libby van Cleve of the Oral History of American Music (OHAM) Project at Yale have compiled a 20-minute program of musical excerpts from OHAM’s archives and interviews.  Particularly interesting is the podcast of Virgil Thomson, featured on Friday’s Exploring Music program.

Go to Apple’s iTunesU site or the School of Music Netcasts.

Another tidbit- a picture of Orson Wells and Virgil Thomson found by Producer Cydne Gillard:

Orson Wells and Virgil Thomson

submitted by a listener…

I think Exploring Music has some of the most brilliant and creative listeners in the world- I just had to share a few poems that a listener from Pittsburgh wrote up for Bill. Thanks, Billy!

Kudos for Tchaikovsky
It was back in “1812”
We were swimming in that lovely “Swan Lake”
When young “Peter” jumps up and says
I must go now! because I have a date

Now if my memory serves me correctly
His girlfriend’s name was Judy
And I tell you my fair-weathered friends
This girl was a “Sleeping Beauty”

She had beautiful long blonde hair
And eyes that you could stare at for hours
And oh! that pretty young face
Made you wanna dance the “Waltz of the Flowers”

But like everything that goes with age
So did her youthful physique
We never saw Judy again
But man she had a nice “Pathetique!”

Peter didn’t take that too lightly
It was a painful and emotional ride
In fact he got so deep in depression
He contemplated committing suicide

Kind of like “Romeo and Juliet”
Except “that one” ended a little more tragic
I guess when you draw the “Queen of Spades”
The most you can hope for is some magic

We never again heard from Peter
Except that he grew old and tired and weary
But there was a rumor that he became a writer
And wrote something called “The Sugar Plum Fairy”


Listener Feedback

McLachlan - Highland Warrior

McLachlan - Highland Warrior

I just got a letter from a lovely woman in Houston. She mentioned that she’d been born in Edinburgh, which may account for manner in which she at first spelled my name — McLaughlan — undoubtedly more common that the version which I inherited.

I once looked up the matter on the internet and found an article claiming there are over four hundred variants of MacLachlan. Here’s a link for anyone who might not have enough to do: http://www.maclachlans.org/question.html.

That same search produced a splendid jpg.

Looking at the figure of a Highland warrior brings back the memory of a time when I was returning to the mainland from the Isle of Skye. (I’d been on the road for a month and a half with the St. Louis Symphony and entourage, all two hundred of them, and a week on remote islands with more sheep than people seemed a good change of pace.) I stopped into a little shop by the ferry terminal and the shopkeeper became very animated. He pointed a finger and said, “Don’t move, I’ve got something to show you.”

He returned a minute later with book on the Highlands open to a page showing a warrior in full regalia. “It’s yourself, don’t you see? From your clothes you might be Canadian or American, but your people are from here.”

The print he showed me is remarkably like the jpg above. My brothers and sister would agree that we’ve become less warlike over the years.

In any case, here’s my correspondence with Kathleen Anderson:

([email protected]) on Monday, December 01, 2008 at 11:20:36
Name: Kathleen Anderson
Your Home Station & City: KUHF Houston, Tx

Question or Comment: I sent a message to one website and got a reply to check this one.  I had checked this one and was unable to find the info. I was seeking.  I wanted to know the name of the singer who sang a song on Bill McLaughlan’s show (I think in Sept.) The name of the song was “That Day”.  The singer is apparently Bill’s sweetie so I assume he had the info. I need.  I loved the song and would like to know if there is a CD with that song on it.  I would appreciate if you could give me the info I need.  I did not find it on any of the playlists.

Thanks Kathleen Anderson

From: William McGlaughlin Date: December 1, 2008 1:41:31 PM EST

Hi Ms. Kathleen, (my daughter’s name, by the way)

Sorry if we’re late getting back to you. We’ve got a very small staff and sometimes things get past us.

“That Day” was indeed sung by my inamorata, Karrin Allyson. It comes from a Concord Jazz Album called “From Paris to Rio”, a collection of French and Brazilian material. Except for the last piece, which is Italian. Don’t ask. It just seemed to fit.

The melody is composed by Ennio Morricone for the movie “Cinema Paradiso”, a real heartbreaker. Or at least it seemed to work that way on Stan Dunn. Mr. Dunn, a celebrated Bay Area jazz disc jockey (KJAZ for many years), wrote beautiful lyrics to Morricone’s tune and gave them to Karrin, who loved them. Me too. When it came time to record the album, I added a string quartet arrangement.

I just looked the album up on Amazon — It’s Audio CD 1999. Thanks for taking the time to write and I’m delighted you enjoyed the recording,

Bill McGlaughlin

Date: December 2, 2008 11:24:25 AM EST

Dear Bill, thank you so much for this wonderful reply.  I will certainly get the CD. I listen to your show as often as I can.  I love it and think you are doing a terrific job. You mentioned Autumn in the reply and I did love that series and was so delighted that you  played  “Autumn in New York” a great favorite of my late husband and myself.  I also enjoyed the Brubeck number – an other favorite.  I was fortunate to hear him in person in New York in 1956 –  we were both so young.  I got his autograph on a business card which I kept for years but gave it to my son just recently as he was going to a concert given by Mr. B in Santa Fe.  He got his autograph on the same card more than forty years later.

You are a great host.  When I first heard you I thought you sounded like Martin Scorcese – you still do.  I loved the weeks you dedicated to Mahler .  That was easy to like as he is a  favorite of mine.  In some shows you present music I normally would not be interested in but you are so enthusiastic about the works and while  I may not fall in love with them I do develop an appreciation for them.  Keep up the great work.  (I wonder if you plan to make CD’s of the shows as it would be a wonderful musical education for everyone.)

By the way we have another degree of connection – besides the name Kathleen – I am a Scot – born and bred in Edinburgh.  I came to this country as a lass and met my husband here – in Texas no less. Again thank you for the information re the song and Ms Allyson – she has a lovely voice.  I look forward to many more hours of listening to your show, Kathleen

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