Someone asked Jay to name one composer whose music he would take with him to a desert island. He names him (Bach). He also says farewell to Marcello Giordani, the Italian tenor, and Jessye Norman, the American soprano. We also get an opera overture, a Beethoven overture, some Gershwin—and “Take This Job and Shove It.” Quite a menu, quite a program.

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That’s what Jay calls a Bach piece arranged for organ by Jean Guillou: pure joy. There is some more pure joy in this episode too—including the final movement of Brahms’s Horn Trio, which Jay plays to honor Myron Bloom, the great French-horn player who died on September 26. He also honors, at the end, Christopher Rouse, the American composer, who died on September 21. Music, said Rouse, in a statement to be issued after his passing, “has given me life and a reason for living.”

Jay also plays some Ella Fitzgerald, some Leontyne Price, and more. There is also a tale from opera lore: about Rudolf Bing and George Szell, who were too big for the same town.

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Jay does, and you will too. “Who Cares?” is a Gershwin song, which Gershwin arranged for piano (alone). Jay has André Watts play this. He later has Ella Fitzgerald sing the song, accompanied by another André, Previn. In between, he talks about Gabriel Fauré, and plays him. He talks about Arcadi Volodos, than whom there is no better pianist in the world, Jay says. We hear Volodos in Bach—Bach arranged by Samuil Feinberg, an earlier Russian pianist. We hear more Bach, played by Feinberg himself. And some Callas. And some Offenbach. A wonderful menu of music, with tasty comments to go with it.

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As Jay tells us at the beginning, he has been reviewing from two summer festivals: the Mostly Mozart Festival (New York) and the Salzburg Festival, in Mozart’s hometown. He discusses and plays a variety of music performed at these festivals: Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Enescu – and Mozart, for sure.

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Jay revisits some old favorites and hails at least one new favorite.

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Or rather, three nominees. Plus, Gerard Schwarz, the trumpeter/conductor whom Jay interviewed recently on his “Q&A” (here). This episode provides beauty, wonder, excitement, controversy, solace – it’s music.

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Jay says “Happy Independence Day” with a buffet of American music, starting with “The Banjo” and ending with “America the Beautiful.” In between, you will have many melodies, many voices, all adding up to America. Have a great one.

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Introducing this episode, Jay says, “Gonna throw a little ballet at you” – and he does. Some music from ballets. He also throws in some arias, some jazz, and more. An interesting, diverse, soul-pleasing episode. 

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Jay discusses, and plays, an old song: “A Soft Day.” You also have a little music from Brazil. And a composer who escaped the Nazis. And some Cole Porter. Also, what about the question of Wagner? Can you listen to him, SOB that he was? Finally, Franco Zeffirelli died – which leads to a reflection on him, and to an aria. In short, there’s plenty to think about in this episode, and plenty to hear.

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From Norway, a story about Mrs. Grieg – and some music by Mr. From Israel, some thoughts about Bruch, Bloch, and others. This episode also includes a dollop of Rameau, a spiritual, a heavenly piece by Chopin, and more. Food for thought and soul.

This is a podcast of The New Criterion.

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Jay Nordlinger begins a new podcast, a music ’cast. As he says, he’ll talk about music – make some points, tell some stories, tell some jokes – but mainly play music. Because why talk when you can listen? He begins this inaugural episode with the song from which he swipes his title (“Music for a While”). There is also some piano music by Prokofiev – music seldom heard. Jay remembers a couple of musicians who have died recently. And he closes with a song from “Kiss Me, Kate,” which is back on Broadway.

“Music for a while,” goes Henry Purcell’s song, “shall all your cares beguile.”

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