Elect a Clown, expect a Circus. Makes me want to yell “Fucik!”

June 6, 2016 at 10:38 am

It’s crass, it’s low-brow, but yes, I said it.

Julius Fučík is known as the “Bohemian Sousa”. Like Sousa, he was a military band conductor and composer, and wrote prolifically. While many of his marches remain popular in Europe, the only march of his Americans really know is the Entrance of the Gladiators. Fučík wrote the piece with ancient Roman gladiators in mind, but unfortunately, it quickly became so strongly associated with circus clowns that it’s nearly impossible for us Americans to hear it without thinking of dancing elephants.

So whenever a certain clown makes a fool of himself and the nation he represents, just shout “Fučík!” at the top of your lungs, play this piece, and hope we all survive the next four years.

Joking aside, this march has a really cool trio section, starting at 1:25.


Mother’s Day Weekend

May 7, 2016 at 2:06 pm

If you are a mother or like a mother to someone, Happy Mother’s Day!

Antonín Dvořák wrote a sweet little song which is perfect for this day. “Songs My Mother Taught Me” describes the tender voice of the author’s mother singing songs with tears in her eyes – and now the teary-eyed author is singing those same songs to her child.


The Sweet Spot

January 19, 2016 at 11:00 am

One of the challenges of being a composer is finding that sweet spot where good music lies. If your style is too conservative, audiences will be bored – they’ve heard this before. If you writing is too progressive, audiences will put off – they don’t understand it. There’s also an argument that there is a finite number of melodies that can be composed, and what does one do when they’re all used up?

Sometimes, the best stuff is the simplest stuff. The main theme to the second movement of Dvořák‘s New World Symphony is so simple that it might as well be a nursery rhyme or a preschool song. But it continues to stir the souls who hear it, over a century after it was composed. It’s a bit to the right of the sweet spot, but boy is it sweet.