Monday, June 29, 2020

Fourth of July Playlist Suggestions For You!

As America prepares to celebrate July 4th under unique circumstances, music is always a constant in our lives. We’ve asked WGUC listeners and staff for their ideas for an All-American playlist, and we appreciate all the input. You’ll notice a bit of a mix…certainly classical is well represented, but we left the question open-ended, so you’ll see a few other possible new favorites!

Some chose simply the piece, others the performance. Either way, we hope you enjoy, and we hope you have a wonderful weekend.

From our listeners:

Nancy: “Grand Canyon Suite” by Ferd GrofĂ©
Harold: “Fourth of July” by Charles Ives
Patrick: “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan
Martha: “Nonet” by Samuel Coleridge Taylor
Ralph: “Definitely ‘1812 Overture’ by the CSO with cannons!”
Gretchen: “1812 Overture” with real cannons by the Cincinnati Symphony
Suzanne: “New Morning for the World” by Joseph Schwanter
Debbie: “Fanfare for the Common Man” by Aaron Copland
Carol: “Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copland
Valerya: “1812 Overture” by the Cincinnati Symphony
Marisa: “The Lark Ascending” by Andrew Litton, performed by the London Philharmonic with guest Nicola Benedetti

From our staff:

Pam Temple: “Fourth of July” by Dave Alvin
Bill Rinehart: “1941 March” by John Williams
Brian O’Donnell: “Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier” performed by Mark O’Connor and James Taylor (heard at the end of each episode of the PBS series “Liberty! The American Revolution”)
Suzanne Bona: “Ballad for Americans” by Paul Robeson
Elaine Diehl: “American Canvas” by Jennifer Higdon; “Rolling River: Sketches on Shenandoah” by Peter Boyer; “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” by Peter Boyer; “Afro-American Symphony” by William Grant Still
Robyn Carey Allgeyer: “Fanfare for the Common Man” by Aaron Copland, performed by the Cincinnati Pops, conducted by Erich Kunzel
Julie Coppens: “America the Beautiful” performed by Keb Mo’; “Black, Brown and Beige” by Duke Ellington
Lee Hay: “Have a Little Faith” by Mavis Staples
Oakley Scot: “American Tune” performed by Allen Toussaint
Stephen Baum: “A Lincoln Portrait” by Aaron Copland
Jessica Lorey: “Simple Gifts” by Alison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma, arranged by John Williams for the first inauguration of President Barack Obama

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Faux Frenchmen

The Faux Frenchmen (l-r): Brian Lovely, Don Aren, Paul Patterson and George Cunningham

I am in awe of these musicians. I’ve seen them perform dozens and dozens of times and they never ever cease to amaze me. They make it look so easy.

The Faux Frenchmen, playing music inspired by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli’s Hot Club of France quintette, are guitarists Brian Lovely & George Cunningham, bassist Don Aren and violinist Paul Patterson and they joined us for a live session in our Corbett Studio earlier in 2020, adapting the Hot Club’s instrumentation and style in forging their own re-Americanized take on gypsy jazz.

Sit back and enjoy The Faux Frenchmen’s performance.

~ Brian O’Donnell

Monday, June 15, 2020

A Fanfare For A Fanfare

If you’ve ever tuned into 90.9 on a Friday evening, you know I’m a BIG fan of Pops music. With that in mind, I wanted to take a look at a piece of music that epitomizes “Pops”: Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.

Eugene Goossens, conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, wrote to Aaron Copland about an idea he wanted to put into action for the 1942–43 concert season. During World War I he had asked British composers for a fanfare to begin each orchestral concert. It was received by the audiences in England with so much enthusiasm that he wanted to repeat the procedure in World War II, with American music.

Yes. You read that correctly. The idea for this famous piece started right here in Cincinnati.

Vice President Henry A. Wallace proclaimed in a famous 1942 speech that this was the dawning of the "Century of the Common Man" and with that phrase, Copland had his inspiration.

Since it’s premiere (in Cincinnati) in March of 1943, it’s become more popular than Goosens or Copland could have ever imagined. From popular music (Emerson, Lake and Palmer anyone?), to sporting events, to movies, even at NHL hockey games, this piece’s ability to inspire is endless.

In my mind, the most fitting use was on September 21, 2012, when it was played at Los Angeles International Airport as the Space Shuttle Endeavour touched down after its final flight. I can’t think of another piece of music that encompasses the triumph of space flight and the Space Shuttle program.

A fanfare is a piece of music usually introducing an event or another piece of music but Fanfare for the Common Man has the strength and grace to stand alone.

The next time you’re searching for some inspiration, sit back and play it. (and don’t be afraid to crank up the volume)

- Andy Ellis

You can learn more about Aaron Copland and fanfares at

Monday, June 8, 2020

Meet Stephen Baum

As WGUC's Recording/Master Engineer, Stephen Baum experiences first-hand every Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival concert, Cincinnati Opera performance and many other local performances.

This weekend, we listen to his work with the final broadcast in WGUC's Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra concert series. And, you have been hearing Stephen talk with local arts leaders about their current and future activities in WGUC's weekday feature, Cincinnati Spotlight Intermission.

Music Director Jessica Lorey met him in the studio to learn more about the work he does, his career and his life outside the studio.

Monday, June 1, 2020

One Minute; One Instrument - Every Note Counts: Elaine Diehl's Conversation with Peter Boyer

Each day at the conclusion of his Coronavirus briefing, Gov. Mike DeWine shares music or poetry from the Buckeye State to provide inspiration and hope, and to end on an upbeat note. Earlier this month the Governor shared Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, who commissioned the piece in 1942.

The CSO and POPS are carrying on the tradition, commissioning new music from over a dozen composers with the aim: To inspire and uplift, and to help us make sense of this moment in our shared history through the universal language of music. One of the composers they invited to participate is Peter Boyer

I began our conversation by asking Mr. Boyer, where was he when the pandemic shut everything down? 

I then asked him to explain exactly what the CSO Fanfare Project is, and how he came to be involved:

He talked about the process of rehearsing and recording cross country with CSO:

The Fanfares were restricted to 60 seconds in Length. I asked the Composer how difficult that made the process:

Then I asked him about his choice of instrument:

Since I had Peter Boyer on the phone, I took the opportunity to ask him about the piece that introduced me to his music, the gorgeous, Rolling River: Sketches on Shenandoah

He went on to talk about writing on American Themes and being inspired by this country:

I ended our interview with the question… what’s next for Peter Boyer?

Maestro LOUIS Langree said, about The Fanfare Project, "I can’t imagine a better way to continue our anniversary celebration than using Aaron Copland’s iconic masterpiece to inspire today’s composers to write new work that helps us reflect on this time and to unite around music at a time when we cannot be together in person.” 

My guest has been Peter Boyer, who contributed his piece, Fanfare for Tomorrow to the Project.