Dancing and Diamonds
Suite of Old American Dances (Robert Russell Bennett):
Cakewalk, Schottische, The Western One-Step, Wallflower Waltz, Rag
Robert Russell Bennett (1894-1981) is best known for his work as an arranger and orchestrator of Broadway shows such as Oklahoma!, Showboat, The Sound of Music, Camelot, My Fair Lady, television and motion pictures, but he was a prolific composer in his own right, writing concerti, symphonies, art songs, chamber music, operas, incidental music for stage plays, along with music for concert band.
Bennet moved to New York City in 1916 and found work as a music copyist. His responsibilities soon expanded to arranging and orchestrating as he made connections with some of the most popular Broadway composers, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Kurt Weill, Jerome Kern, and Richard Rodgers among others. Some of the composers passed music to Bennett that needed little more than an orchestration, while others depended on Bennett to bring a bare melody to completion. Richard Rodgers said of Bennett, "I give him the credit for making my music sound better than it was."
After hearing the Goldman Band perform in 1948, Bennett was inspired to write the Suite of Old American Dances. Originally titled Electric Park after an amusement park he visited as a child in Kansas City, the music recalls dance forms popular at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Ancient Aires and Dances, Suite No. 1 (Ottornino Resphigi):
Balletto, "Il Conte Orlando", Gagliarda, Villanella, Passo mezszo e mascherada
Suite No. 1 was composed in 1917. It was based on Renaissance lute pieces by Simone Molinaro, Vincenzo Galilei (father of Galileo Galilei), and additional anonymous composers.
Palladio (Karl Jenkins):
Perhaps one of Jenkins most recognised works is the first movement of the "Palladio" suite, inspired by 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio and in the style of a concerto grosso. This piece, in varying arrangements, has served as the music for DeBeers television advertisements since the company's "Shadows and Light" campaign in the mid-1990s.
Adagio in G Minor ~ on a theme by Albinoni (Remo Giazotto):
The Adagio in G minor for violin, strings and organ continuo, is a neo-Baroque composition popularly attributed to the 18th-century Venetian master Tomaso Albinoni, but composed by the 20th-century musicologist and Albinoni biographer Remo Giazotto and based on the purported discovery of a manuscript fragment from Albinoni. This work's use in over 20 films, numerous television shows and performance versions by performers from The Doors to Sarah Brightman make this a true diamond of the string orchestra repertoire.
Sampson and Delilah (Camille Saint-Saens):
From the final scene of the opera, a musical interlude is played as the scene changes to the temple of Dagon, where the Philistines are preparing a sacrifice to commemorate their victory. The priests and priestesses of Dagon sing softly, reprising the song to spring from act 1. The music turns savage as the priests dance a wild Bacchanale. Following the dance, Samson enters led by a boy. He is ridiculed by the High Priest and the crowd. Dalila taunts Samson further by recounting to him the details of her devious plot in a variant of her love song. When the priests try to force him to kneel before Dagon, he asks the boy to lead him to the two main pillars of the temple. Samson prays to God to restore his strength, and pulls down the pillars and the temple with them, crushing himself and his enemies.