Actually, Jay says “an ingenious, joyful jolt.” He is speaking of the Toccata in G by Théodore Dubois. That’s how the podcast begins. We also get Grieg (and a memory of a TV game show, long ago). Lead Belly (singing “Study War No More”). Mozart, Hahn, and “America” — a fugue on “America,” which is also known as “My Country, ’Tis of Thee” (and as “God Save the Queen” by some of our cousins).

Dubois, Toccata in G

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In honor of Independence Day, Jay does an all American program: ending with “Plenty Good Room,” the spiritual. He begins with some ballet, cowboy style: “Hoe Down” (Copland). Along the way, we have songs, piano pieces, an aria, some bluegrass—Happy Fourth, to all.

Copland, “Hoe-Down,” from “Rodeo”

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This episode begins with a shout — “a shout of joy on the organ,” Jay says. It also has a poem, written and recited by Langston Hughes. And a song, setting that same poem. The episode includes a little Broadway — and other curiosities, finds, and wonders. Enjoy “music for a while.“

Hughes-Manz, “God of Grace and God of Glory”
Langston Hughes, “I, Too”
Margaret Bonds, “I, Too”
Frederic Rzewski, “The People United Will Never Be Defeated!”
Coleman-Stewart, “Thank God I’m Old”
Herbert Murrill, “Carillon”
Handel, “O Lord, whose mercies numberless,” from “Saul”
Trad., arr. Bonds, “This Little Light o’ Mine”

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“Got a real smorgasbord for you,” says Jay—“even more than usual. An almost wacky variety.” He begins with Rachmaninoff, turns to Satie, then to a classic American song, then to Satie again, then to Penderecki, and on to Fauré and Busoni (no, not Bach-Busoni). Some interesting issues, points, personalities, and, of course, music.

Rachmaninoff, “Spring Waters

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Jay begins with some festive music: specifically, the “Festive Overture” of Shostakovich. He has a showtune: “Some Other Time.” He has an Aretha Franklin hit, about zoomin’. He has a spiritual: “Ain’t Got Time to Die.” Some French organ music. And more. He ends with Karel Ančerl, the great Czech conductor who endured horror and produced much beauty and brilliance.

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Jay plays some music by a Bach son. There is also Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saëns, and other composers. The episode ends with a tribute to Rosalind Elias, the late American mezzo-soprano: the thirteenth and last child of Lebanese immigrants.

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Jay’s previous episode was devoted to music of spring. As he points out, it’s still spring—and there’s a lot of spring music out there. So he goes a second round. This round serves up Schubert, Mahler, Copland, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and more. A colorful, happy bouquet.

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Jay has seven pieces—songs, an opera aria, a piano piece, a violin sonata, and a violin concerto. All in honor of spring. It has sprung, whether the pandemic likes it or not. Happy spring, everyone.

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The title of this episode pretty much tells its story. Jay plays balm-like music, and delight-giving music—heavy on the Bach. At the beginning of the show, he asks, “Need I say that music is extra-important in these strange and trying times?” He answers, “Of course I don’t.”

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Lots of parents now have kids at home, in need of schooling. A friend of Jay’s asked him, “Could you put together a little program for my kids?” Here it is: Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Chopin, and worthy others. A neat, balanced smattering. For “kids” of all ages.

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Jay ends this episode with the beloved theme song to “The Jeffersons,” “Movin’ on Up.” It was co-written and sung by Ja’net DuBois, who died recently. Also in this episode you have two arias by Handel; a piano piece by Ravel, miraculously played; some little-known Mozart, which is knockout; and yet more. Take a break away, as Jay says.

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This episode begins with a song by Giuseppe Martucci, sung by Rosa Feola, the young Italian soprano. It ends with an aria by Giacomo Puccini, sung by Mirella Freni, the legendary Italian soprano who died in recent days. In between is a smorgasbord, including Haydn, Mozart, and a couple of British songs that Jay and others love.

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Mariss Jansons, the great Latvian conductor, born in 1943, died toward the end of last year. Jay talks about him, relating stories both from him and about him. (Jay interviewed Jansons twice, ten years apart.) And, of course, we hear music—from Jansons and his orchestras.

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Jay begins with a Schubert work, and some singers and pianists who have performed it. He moves on to a funky, frenetic thing called “Techno-Parade.” Later, there is some Wagner by a great new singer. There is some immortal Rachmaninoff. And, at the very end, a song by the late Jerry Herman: “It’s Today,” from “Mame.” A diverse, appetizing musical menu.

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Jay plays his favorite Christmas tracks: from Bach to gospel to jazz and beyond. Performers include Hermann Prey, James Cleveland, George Shearing, Heidi Grant Murphy, and Leontyne Price. A gift of a podcast.

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Jay went to the ballet in Kyiv, for “Carmen Suite” and “Scheherazade.” He said, “It was the most erotic evening you could ever spend alone.” He plays some music from “Carmen Suite” in this episode, plus Bach, Scriabin, and Glass. And Frank Bridge, that half remembered and estimable English composer. There is much beauty, and much of interest, in this episode.

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This episode begins with a liturgical piece by James MacMillan—a living composer—and ends with another liturgical piece by Wynton Marsalis—another living composer. In between, you’ve got some Saint-Saëns, some Sibelius, and some other music. Jay says some provocative—possibly offensive—things about a couple of cello concertos. Otherwise, it’s sweetness and light, mainly. A good show.

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Jay ends with “Rustle of Spring,” the piano piece by Christian Sinding. It used to be universally known. It deserved to be. Jay also plays Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Shostakovich, Amy Beach, Havergal Brian, and Jörg Widmann. He tells some stories, makes some points. A rich and diverse world, music.

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Tchaikovsky, Piano Concerto No. 1
Brian, Double Fugue in E flat
Widmann, “Con brio
Brahms, Violin Concerto
Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5 (Bernstein, New York Philharmonic)
Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5 (Maazel, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
Beach, “Ah, Love, but a Day
Sinding, “Rustle of Spring

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When Harriet Cohen finishes playing her arrangement of Bach’s “Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier,” Jay says, “Holy stuff.” There is other stuff too in this episode: including “Tain’t What You Do (It’s How You Do It).” There may also be a little Beach Boys, classically performed. Jay likes that opening Bach piece so much, he ends with it, too: in a different version.

Bach-Cohen, “Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier

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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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