Tuesday, 9 November 2010

More Musical Trivia

Viola players are often the butt of jokes by other instrumentalists in the orchestra. One of these is 'Why do viola players stand for long periods outside people's houses?' The answer: 'Because they can't find the key and don't know when to come in'.

Erik Satie was noted for giving peculiar titles to his works. These included Veritable Flabby Preludes for Dogs'; 'Sketches and Exasperations of a Big Boob made of Wood'; 'Waltz of the Chocolate with Almonds'; 'Three Pear-shaped Pieces'; 'Menus for Childish Purposes'; and 'Five Grins or Mona Lisa's Moustache'.

Some composers included popular songs in their music. Among these are Shostakovich whose Jazz Suite includes 'Tea for Two'. In the 'Carnival of the Animals' Saint-Saens played the Can-can very slowly to represent the tortoise. Best of all is Walton's 'Facade' which includes 'I do like to be beside the seaside'.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic is the oldest operating professional symphony orchestra in the UK. It was established in 1853, thirteen years after the Liverpool Philharmonic Society.

Rachmaninov was not only a brilliant composer but also a fine conductor and concert pianist. On one occasion, at a concert in New York, he was playing alongside the violinist Fritz Kreisler. Kreisler got in a muddle with the music and, panic-stricken, whispered to Rachmaninov 'Where are we?' Back came the whispered reply 'Carnegie Hall'.

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