Many years ago, I had a favorite program, Our World, with Linda Ellerbee and Ray Gandolf. One night there was an episode about Sir Edmund Hillary and his ascent up Mount Everest. In the background they played the most gorgeous music. I said to myself, “I know that.” I mean I did and I didn’t. I had heard the music from the Broadway show Kismet but this was not Kismet. It was the same yet different. The next day I called the station and spoke with a producer on the show. Can you imagine, they actually answered the phone in those days. I told him how much I loved the show and that the music from that show set my heart a-fire. He said it was the Polovetsian Dances by Aleksandr Borodin. That day I went out and bought the disc and it has been a favorite of mine ever since. My daughter and I would dance to it when she was very small. We would laugh and dance.
But here’s the thing, Aleksandr Borodin who composed this masterpiece was a chemist first; a chemist who became a composer of extraordinary talent. My husband had been a chemist before he became a lawyer, but I wonder how many chemists became composers in this life. I bet not too many.
Some of the music from the Polovetsian Dances was used in the Broadway show, Kismet. Stranger in Paradise is one of those pieces. Another one of my favorite Borodin pieces is the finale or allegro from The Symphony No. 2.
If you are one of those people who think that you don’t like classical music, well, I invite you to listen to our two-hour salute to some of the most beautiful music ever composed. Many of you know Bolero by Maurice Ravel, or Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy. These classical pieces have become part of the mainstream but did you know that many successful movies featured classical music in their soundtracks. In fact, the amazing Richard Strauss composed the music for 2001 Space Odyssey and the haunting Afternoon of a Faun by Debussy is the running theme music in Portrait of Jennie, one of my all-time favorite movies.
Movies, Broadway, Singers and Beyond will pay tribute to some of these beautiful pieces on Friday, October 24th, at 1pm Eastern Time / 10am Pacific Time. Some you will know. Some will be new…some might even become favorites…because that’s how it happens. And isn’t it thrilling when it does!