Archive for the 'WPA' Category

Works Progress Administration Presents - 1938 Series, Pgm 46

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Here's the last transcription I'll be posting for now in the series "The Works Progress Administration Presents", a program featuring musical ensembles of the Federal Music Project and information about programs and services of the WPA to help communities with the Depression.

In program 46 of the 1938 series, we hear the Commonwealth Symphony and State Chorus of Boston, conducted by A. Buckingham Simpson, performing excerpts of Bizet's "Carmen".  The program was transferred directly from an original RCA Victrolac pressing, matrix MS 013478.

I have one more program in the series, featuring a Federal Music Project group performing folk music of Mexico, but it's badly pressed and doesn't have the best sound - if someone is interested, I can post it on the blog at a later time.

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Works Progress Administration Presents - 1937 Series, Pgm 6

Friday, September 12th, 2008

I had someone write who enjoyed hearing the classical music program "The Works Progress Administration Presents" a few weeks ago, so here's another episode.  The program featured WPA-sponsored musical ensembles from the Federal Music Project performing contemporary and classical works and has a few words about WPA programs in your area.

Program six of the 1937 series features the Federal Music Project Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Samuel Gardner, with works by Hayden and Mozart.

The program was transferred from RCA Victrolac pressing, matrix MS 04978.

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The Works Progress Administration Presents - 1938 Series, Pgm 53

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Continuing from our previous post on the series "The Works Progress Administration Presents", we have another rare recording of a lesser known composer.

Program 53 of the 1938 series features the Forum String Quartet of Boston performing the Lento from the String Quartet, Opus 96 by Dvorak and the Allegretto movement from the Creole Quartet by Harry Newton Redman.  This appears to be the only known recording of a work by Redman, who was a member of the New England Conservatory of Music.

Directly transferred from RCA Victrolac pressing, matrix number MS 013489.

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The Works Progress Administration Presents - 1937 Series, Pgm 10

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

Here's a little something for you classical music buffs out there.

"The Works Progress Administration Presents" was a series syndicated from 1936 to 1938 featuring WPA sponsored orchestral, vocal and chamber groups performing contemporary and standard classical works. The program was part of the Federal Music Project, directed by Nikolai Sokoloff, a Russian-American conductor and violinist. Each quarter hour program includes a commercial promoting some aspect of the WPA's work in local communities or programs that unemployed workers could take advantage of.

In program 10 of the 1937 series, we hear the Los Angeles Grand Opera Group performing selections from the first and third act of the opera, "Fernando del Nonsensico" by composer Felix Borowski. The piece is a satire of grand opera that references "Lucia", "Aida", "Carmen", and other popular works.

The Federal Music Project in Los Angeles produced the opera in February, 1936 and this was the radio premiere of the work. Borowski was newspaper critic at the Chicago Sun and professor of theory and counterpoint at the Chicago Musical College. This is the only known recording of "Fernando del Nonsensico".

I recently obtained five programs from this series and would like to hear more - though the groups mostly tackle standard repertoire, they occasionally work in lesser known compositions from contemporary composers.

The program was directly transferred from RCA Victrolac pressing, matrix number PMS 09299. (Note that the disc has a slight warp.)

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