From the Radio Show Piano Puzzlers!

puzzlers

 

The Piano Puzzlers book is available in the O’Connor Music Studio library if you’d like to give any a try.  Piano Puzzlers as heard on American Public Media’s “Performance Today.” Includes 32 tunes with songs by Gershwin, Berlin, Arlen, Porter, Rodgers, Fats Waller, Lennon & McCartney, and others disguised in the styles of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Janacek, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bartok, and Copland.

Includes an introduction by Fred Child, host of “Performance Today” as well as background info by Bruce Adolphe. “Bruce Adolphe has taken a common musician’s party game and elevated it to high art and truly funny musical slapsticks. The Piano Puzzlers are a unique combination of extraordinary insight into the styles of many composers subtle, expert workmanship and great, great fun!”

From http://jasonmorris.blogsome.com/2008/08/08/piano-puzzlers/

If you’re a music geek (like me), I have a program for you. Now, let me be clear, to fully qualify as a music geek…you must have a fond appreciation for classical music (no, Poison, Quiet Riot, and Zepplin do not count as classical music). So, if you’re a “music geek” without an appreciation for classical music…well, I hate to burst your bubble…but, you’re not truly a music geek. Instead, you’re a music appreciator, but not a geek. So, if you just listen to indie music and scowl at anything on a label larger than Matador…don’t bother following the link I’ll provide…the fun will be lost on you…And, you probably won’t have a chance.

Every Wednesday night, on my way home from WNL, I turn on my local NPR station to listen to Piano Puzzlers on Performance Today. It’s absolutely incredible. A pianist/composer (Bruce Adolphe) takes a familiar folk or pop tune and sets it inside a classical masterpiece (or in the style of a particular composer). Sometimes it’s easy…sometimes it’s ridiculously difficult. There are days when I say, “got it” on the first pass. Then there are days when I say, “what the heck?” And, more often than not, I’m able to get either the popular/folk tune or the composer.

This is sad to admit, but there are nights when I’ll slow down on the drive home or sit in the car in the driveway to finish an episode. In fact, I get a little worked up if someone stops me after WNL…as I might miss the beginning of Piano Puzzlers (it usually hits around 8:20pm on our local station).

Take a listen to some of the archives and see if you can figure it out! It’s really cool…but probably only appreciated by music geeks (the kind of people that listen to NPR for their musical programs and not just the snipets of cool indie rock between segments on All Things Considered…which is a great show too).

Play Piano Puzzlers HERE!

September 5 ~ in Music History

 

OCMS 1735 ~ Johann Christian Bach, German composer
J.C. Bach was one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s sons. After he moved to London, he became known as the London Bach.
More information about J.C. Bach

OCMS 1791 ~ Giacomo Meyerbeer, German Composer
More information about Meyerbeer

OCMS 1912 ~ John Cage, American avant-guarde composer, pianist and writer
Read quotes by and about Cage
More information about Cage

• 1934 ~ Carol Lawrence (Laraia), Singer, actress

• 1939 ~ John Stewart, Singer with The Kingston Trio; songwriter

• 1945 ~ Al Stewart, Singer, guitarist with Time Passages

• 1946 ~ Freddie Mercury (Bulsara), singer, Queen, (1975 UK No.1 single ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ also UK No.1 in 1991, plus over 40 other UK Top 40 singles. 1980 US No.1 single ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’). Solo, (1987 UK No. 4 single ‘The Great Pretender’). Mercury died of bronchio-pneumonia on November 24th 1991 aged 45, just one day after he publicly announced he was HIV positive.

• 1946 ~ Loudon Wainwright III, Songwriter, singer

• 1956 ~ Johnny Cash hit the record running with I Walk the Line. Cash’s debut hit song climbed to #17 on the pop music charts.

• 1969 ~ Dweezil Zappa, Musician: guitar: MTV; son of musician Frank Zappa, brother of singer Moon Unit Zappa

• 1972 ~ Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway won a gold record for their duet, Where is the Love. The song got to number five on the pop music charts and was one of two songs that earned gold for the duo. The other was The Closer I Get To You in 1978.

• 2002 ~ Florence Lessing, a dancer who performed in films, nightclubs and Broadway musicals died. She was 86. Lessing worked with the famous jazz-dance choreographer Jack Cole, who spotted her as a teenager in an East Indian dance class. Lessing, Cole, and the teacher of the class, Anna Austin, formed a trio that performed at the Rainbow Room in 1938 and in the musical “Moon Over Miami” in 1939. Lessing went on to perform in many Broadway shows, including “Windy City,” choreographed by Katherine Dunham, and “Sailor Beware” and “Kismet,” both choreographed by Cole. She appeared in the 1952 film musical “Just for You,” which was choreographed by Helen Tamiris and starred Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman. Lessing, who studied a wide variety of dance forms, choreographed two of her own nightclub acts in the mid-1940s and taught dance at several schools.

• 2003 ~ Gisele MacKenzie, a singer-actress who became one of early television’s biggest stars through her appearances on “Your Hit Parade,” died. She was 76. Once known as Canada’s first lady of song, MacKenzie moved to Los Angeles with her family in 1951. In 1952 and 1953 she toured with Jack Benny, who recommended her for a spot on “Your Hit Parade.” In 1957, she left the show to headline her own musical variety program, “The Gisele MacKenzie Show.” It lasted half a year. She returned to weekly television in 1963 as a regular on “The Sid Caesar Show.” She also appeared on radio in Los Angeles with Edgar Bergen and Morton Downey. She was a regular on Bob Crosby’s Club 15 show and a featured performer on radio’s “The Mario Lanza Show.” She continued to appear regularly on television into the 1990s, on such shows as “Studio One,” “The Hollywood Squares,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “MacGyver” and “Boy Meets World.”