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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

From Stravinsky to Mars

It’s an 1980s pop music cliche that dates back to 1910.

If you listen to the first few seconds of Bruno Mars’ “Finesse” (hint: listen to the Cardi B remix) you’ll hear a sound that immediately creates a sense of 80s hip-hop nostalgia. Yes, Cardi B’s flow is very Roxanne Shante, but the sound that drives that nostalgia home isn’t actually from the 1980s.

Robert Fink and the inventor of the Fairlight CMI, Peter Vogel, help me tell the story of the orchestra hit - a sound that was first heard in 1910 at the Paris Opera where the famed 20th century Russian composer Stravinsky debuted his first hit, The Firebird.

The video above is, in short, a history of the original orchestra hit sample from The Firebird Suite to the 1982 hit “Planet Rock” to “Finesse.” And as a treat, here’s a playlist of way more songs with orchestra hits than you probably wanted.


Monday morning class.

Performing the first movement of Bach's Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D minor, BWV 1052, with Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic. Gould's performance begins at 18:03.


Originally aired on January 31, 1960 on CBS Television as part of its Ford Presents series, this program was entitled "The Creative Performer." The entire show is actually three performances — by Gould, the soprano Eileen Farrell (singing the "Suicidio!" aria from *La Gioconda*), & Igor Stravinsky (conducting the last three scenes of his ballet *The Firebird*) — punctuated with scintillating musicological lectures by Maestro-Professor Bernstein, who is arguably the star of the show.


Though I recommend watching the program in its entirety, here's a time-stamped playlist, in case you'd like to jump to any given section:

1. Leonard Bernstein, on the vagaries of score notations: 0:00 - 12:56
2. Leonard Bernstein, intro to Gould: 12:57 - 18:02
3. Glenn Gould: 18:03 - 27:08
4. Leonard Bernstein, intro to Farrell: 27:09 - 33:46
5. Eileen Farrell: 33:47 - 38:24
6. Leonard Bernstein, intro to Stravinsky: 38:25 - 40:05
7. Igor Stravinsky: 40:06 - 51:06
8. Closing Credits: 51:07 - 52:24


Thanks go to two intrepid Gouldians who did the heavy lifting to track down, acquire, & beautifully digitize this rare masterpiece. Without them, we wouldn't be here enjoying it.

John Adams - Scheherazade.2

Há momentos em que as coincidências acontecem. A verdade é que já tinha comprado bilhetes para este concerto quando li o livro do Salman Rushdie (já com tradução portuguesa) mas agora que volto a pensar nisso, Xerazade e os seus Jinns andam a aparecer bastante na minha vida. Diz a apresentação do concerto:

Essential American composer John Adams brings his own take on storytelling to the Barbican including a new dramatic symphony for violin and orchestra.

Performed by close collaborator and new music champion Leila Josefowicz, Adam’s latest work takes the idea of the original Scheherazade into the present day and “imagines a modern woman storyteller/hostage whose strength of character and powers of endurance are tested over and over”. There are more traditional tales to be told in the first half with Ravel’s youthful ballet score Mother Goose, featuring Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb and Beauty and the Beast.

Para a semana vou, então, ouvir "Scheherazade.2" de John Adams, um dos meus compositores contemporâneos favoritos, dirigida pelo próprio, com uma primeira parte dedicada a Ravel. A peça teve estreia mundial em Nova Iorque com Alan Gilbert a dirigir a New York Philharmonic e está aqui abaixo a partir do minuto 55.

Leila Josefowicz is the soloist in the World Premiere of Scheherazade.2 by John Adams. Also featured is The Enchanted Lake by Anatoly Lyadov and Petrushka by Igor Stravinsky. Music Director Alan Gilbert conducts. The program is hosted by Alec Baldwin and produced by Mark Travis.


00:00:00: Billboard and intro to Lyadov
00:02:00: LYADOV: The Enchanted Lake
00:09:05: Back-announcement and intro to Stravinsky
00:11:39: STRAVINSKY: Petrushka
00:47:20: Back-announcement and intro to Adams
00:55:45: ADAMS: Scheherazade.2
01:44:59: Back-announcement and credits
TRT: 01:47:15