High Fives

April 10, 2015
 

We still can count them on the fingers of one hand. That suggests a small number. But now we’ve run out of fingers on that hand. And as humble a number as “5” may be, it’s really 5 years – well over 1100 Classic Mornings

In anticipation of the 5th anniversary of Classic Mornings on April 1st, I had thought about classical music associations with the number “5.” Some of those made their way into the anniversary program and some didn’t. Obvious candidates included great “5”s like Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 or Piano Concerto No. 5 (also known as the “Emperor”), Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.  I chose the slow middle movement and finale of Beethoven’s concerto and the slow movement of Tchaikovsky’s symphony.

The number “5” also suggests quintets. Boccherini and Mozart came to mind for their string quintets, Schubert and Schumann for their piano quintets. There are lots of woodwind and brass quintets as well. I included the finale of Mozart’s one and only quintet for clarinet and strings on the anniversary program.

It wasn’t an all “5” program. That might have gotten old – in a different sort of way than Classic Mornings having turned 5 years old. But right from the outset, I planted the suggestion of “5”s. That was during the Classic Morning Prelude.  Last year I had written about having to celebrate the program’s anniversary on April Fools Day. In short, it invites a touch of mischief.This year I came up with a musical quiz, involving 3 superstar performers. I asked what they have in common. Listeners heard performances featuring recorder player Michala Petri, pianist Murray Perahia & violinist Sarah Chang. Once I identified all 3 performers, I asked again what they all have in common. I was imagining all sorts of online research, head scratching, etc.

So what do they have in common?  Probably many things, but for the purpose of that morning, they all were 5 years old at one point in their lives. Yes, I could have chosen any 3 performers – who were at least over the age of 5. In case anyone thought that celebrating “5” wasn’t all that special, I wanted to assure them that it was a big deal for Classic Mornings to turn “5.”  Don’t simply take it from me. Ask any 4-year-old who’s anticipating a 5th birthday or a 5-year-old who just reached that milestone.

I noticed that the traditional anniversary gift for 5 years was something made of wood. So I played a piece by the English composer Haydn Wood –“An 18th Century Scherzo” – just for fun. And I’m sure I thanked listeners well over 5 times for being such a supportive audience over the past 5 years!

Speaking of support, once again you have a chance to contribute during our upcoming spring pledge drive, which begins on Saturday April 11th. It’s scheduled for 6 days. Can we reach our goal in 5? As soon as we do, the drive will come to an end.

It seems there’s no end to the musical celebrations on Classic Mornings or to the new recordings that we hear on the program these days.  I’m just as excited as I ever was about being with you each morning for all of that and more! Join me Monday through Friday from 9 to noon, with the Classic Morning Prelude just before at 8:50 on FM 90.9 and online at will.illinois.edu.


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These programs are partially sponsored by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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