Classical Music with John Rittmeyer

Weekdays 3-7pm

John Rittmeyer will ease you through the afternoon and evening from 3 to 7 pm.

Graeme Richardson / Ice Music

Some of the "coolest" music being made this time of year is heard at a mountaintop ice igloo concert hall in Lulea, Sweden, presented by the ICEstrument Orchestra.  

The instruments are made of ice, and the music is played at subfreezing temperatures so the instruments don't melt. This is apparently not much of a problem at this northern latitude.

carnegiehall.org

German bass Kurt Moll has died at the age of 78.

It was Moll's voice that most entranced me when, many years ago, I bought my first opera recording, Mozart's The Magic Flute. The sound of his deep and resonant voice as the fatherly and wise Sarastro impressed me so much. It made me realize that it isn't all about just the tenor and the soprano.

color photo of Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian and Errol Flynn as Robin Hood in The Adventures of Robin Hood
Warner Bros. Pictures / Wikimedia Commons

The first Academy Awards given for music in films, a practice that began in 1934, named only the head of the music department of the studio instead of the individual composer.

Max Steiner (see the first in this pair of blog posts), who wrote the music for King Kong (1933), was the head of the music department for RKO Pictures when his score for the 1935 film The Informer won that year, so technically he may have been the first composer to be named for the awards.

black-and-white photo of Fay Wray as Ann Darrow in 1933 King Kong film
Radio Pictures / Flickr

With the Academy Awards coming up this Sunday, I got to thinking about music in movies. This first of two blog posts offers a few personal—and maybe quirky—reflections on music from the early days of sound movies and a few old classic films that made innovative use of sound, especially symphonic music from three very talented composers.

Johann Sebastian Bach
Portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann / Wikimedia Commons

If Ludwig van Beethoven's longing for love was not completely fulfilled in his life, except through the great music he left us, there were other composers who were perhaps a bit luckier in love during their lifetimes.

Every January, when I take down the holiday decorations that adorn my apartment walls, I’m always struck by how abruptly empty my home feels in comparison. A similar feeling comes when I look at my calendar, which seems to shift from endless holiday parties and seasonal social engagements to not much of anything overnight.

A Tuscan vineyard at sunset.
Pixabay

It's been reported again, this time by CBS News.  We already knew classical music was good for humans and animals and can soothe the savage beast, but Mozart's music can encourage the noble grape.  I had heard Mozart was supposed to make your kids smarter, but apparently his music can help grapes reach their full potential too.