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Composers Datebook™ is a daily two-minute program designed to inform, engage, and entertain listeners with timely information about composers of the past and present. Each program notes significant or intriguing musical events involving composers of the past and present, with appropriate and accessible music related to each.Read more »
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Cocteau and Glass
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Jean Cocteau was a French novelist, playwright, stage and film director, poet, essayist, painter, set designer, and actor. And if that wasn’t enough, at the end of the First World War, Cocteau also became the unofficial spokesperson for “Les Six,” or “The Six,” a group of young composers that included Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Arthur Honegger, Louis Durey, Germaine Tailleferre, and Georges Auric.
In 1945, Cocteau directed his own cinematic adaptation of the classic fairytale “Beauty and the Beast,” and in 1950, a modern-dress retelling of the ancient Greek myth of “Orpheus.”
Decades after Cocteau’s death in 1963, the American composer Philip Glass prepared new musical accompaniments to both these classic films.
In an interview Glass said, "For me, Cocteau has always been an artist whose work was central to the 'modern' art movement of the 20th century. More than any artist of his time, he again and again addressed questions of art, immortality and the creative process.”
This music is from Glass’s version of Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast,” which debuted in Gibellina, Italy on today’s date in 1994. The original soundtrack for Cocteau’s film was replaced by synchronized live performances by the singers and instrumentalists of the Philip Glass ensemble, who accompanied a screening of Cocteau’s uncut 95-minute film during a series of live performances.
TIME magazine called this new version of “Beauty and the Beast” (quote), "An exhilarating and original ride... Remarkable not only in conception but also in execution, brimming with freshets of melody and surging with Wagnerian power in conjuring up a magic kingdom."Read more »
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Daily Classical Music Update
A couple minutes of daily knowledge about classical composers. Topical and timely. Always learning something new.
Date published: 2014-05-08