Between 1941 and 1944 WQXR invited noted composers, conductors, music educators, critics, philosophers, news commentators, and lyricists to write essays on a variety of music and radio related topics for WQXR Program Guide. We're currently reprinting a new one each week and have compiled them into this 'cluster' for your reading pleasure.
Polish composer, pianist and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski died June 29, 1941. The following tribute was published in the August, 1941 WQXR Program Guide. Here is its introduction:
Mr. Steinway, President of Steinway & Sons, was an intimate friend of Paderewski. The following is based on a talk he gave over WQXR on the evening of July 1st, 1941 during the broadcast of a program honoring the memory of the great pianist-composer.
From the September, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
Alec Templeton is one of the few great artists who is equally at home in the realm of the popular as he is among the classics. His thorough musicianship has won for him an outstanding place on the air and in the concert hall, and we know that his thoughts on the music of today will be stimulating. When we asked Mr. Templeton the other day what we should say about him in this introduction, he said, "Say I am a devoted listener to WQXR." We say so proudly.
From the March, 1942 WQXR Program Guide:
Irwin Edman, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University and author of Philosopher's Holiday, Fountainheads of Freedom, and other books, has on various occasions spoken over WQXR and is, as the following indicates, one of its devotees.
From the May, 1944 WQXR Program guide:
Roy Harris, who is well known to our audience, is a Westerner by birth and upbringing. He resides in Colorado Springs, where he holds the post of Composer-in-Residence to Colorado College. Rated by such publications as Time, Life and The Christian Science Monitor as "America's Leading Symphonic Composer," Harris has written six symphonies and a great deal of choral and chamber music. He has been recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Because National Music Week is celebrated this month, we asked Mr. Harris to write about American music and we feel sure his opinions will arouse your interest in contemporary composers.
From the August, 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
The Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra tells in this article how music appreciation is spread through the use of records. Though Russian by birth, he has done much to advance the cause of American composers during his years of conducting orchestras in the United States and Europe. This month New York welcomes him as guest conductor at the Stadium Concerts.
Pioneering news commentator Quincy Howe (1900-1977) was on WQXR between August, 1939 and June, 1942. His essay for the September, 1941 WQXR Program Guide was introduced this way:
Mr. Howe needs no introduction to the WQXR audience for he has been the station's news commentator since the outbreak of World War II. In addition to his radio duties, he is Editor-in-Chief of Simon & Schuster, and is the author of numerous books, the latest being "The News and How to Understand It."
[Editor's Note] Composer Aaron Copland wrote the following for the WQXR Program Guide in June, 1942. It was, of course, the early months of the United States' involvement in World War II and the reader should keep that in mind. As well, Copland's use of 'Negro' for 'African' or 'African influenced' was common for the time in which he wrote, as was the phrase, 'serious music' for what is now generally referred to as classical music. The program guide prefaced the article with this introduction:
Aaron Copland, gifted American composer and writer on music ("Our New Music" and "What to Listen for in Music") writes about the place of Latin American countries in the world's musical scene, and of the increasing influence being exerted by the composers of our sister republics.
For the January, 1944 of the WQXR Program Guide, the station's announcers got together and wrote the following:
Have you ever thought: "I could be a radio announcer. My friends say my voice over the telephone is good"? Maybe you could--and then again maybe you couldn't. And after reading this article cooperatively written by members of the WQXR staff--maybe you wouldn't even if you could.
WQXR News Commentator Lisa Sergio wrote the following article for the WQXR Program Guide in April, 1943. As a woman in the almost exclusively male domain of news commentary, Sergio distinguished herself as the only woman Variety included in its 1945 analysis of 30 popular radio news commentators. Her essay is a brief reminder of just how far women have come in the field of journalism. The guide prefaced the piece with this introduction:
Because many people wonder how it feels to be a woman radio commentator, we asked Miss Sergio to write the following article. She need no introduction to the WQXR audience, which listens to her regularly at 7 o'clock every evening, Monday through Friday, nor to her morning audience at 10 A.M. on Monday and Friday.
From the December, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
When you think of interesting approaches to music you think of Mme. Stokowski, whose Layman's Music Course at Town Hall, New York, has been famous for years. To know why she is so successful in her method, we suggest you listen to her WQXR program every Sunday morning at 10 A.M.
From the October 1941 WQXR Program Guide:
Mr. Spaeth, radio's famous "Tune Detective" , is an author, music critic and commentator of wide reputation. He addresses this message to WQXR's listeners as President of the National Association for American Composers and Conductors.
From the February, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
You or we may not agree with everything [or anything] that Sir Thomas Beecham says about women in music, but we know his comments will interest you. This article is condensed from the original which appears in the recently published "Vogue's First Reader." We wish to express our thanks to the publishers for their permission to reprint it.
From the June 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
Mr. Caesar has been before the public as lyricist and librettist for twenty-five years. Among his better-known lyrics are "Tea for Two," "Sometimes I'm Happy," "Lady Play Your Mandolin," "Swanee," "Crazy Rhythm," and a series of children's songs. "Sing a Song of Safety," in wide use throughout our public school system. He is a member of the Board of Directors of ASCAP, and a former president of the Songwriters' Protective Association.
From the November, 1942 WQXR Program Guide.
We take pleasure in presenting another article from the pen of America's outstanding popularizer of good music, Dr. Sigmund Spaeth. He last appeared in these columns with a strong plea for the American composer. This time he takes up the cause of the interpreting artist, whose work is of such importance in the fields of radio and records alike. Dr. Spaeth recently began a new series of programs over Station WQXR, sponsored by the Columbia Recording Corporation. These broadcasts are heard every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evening from 7:30 to 8 o'clock under the title of "Dr. Sigmund Spaeth and His Record Library." The detailed programs for November will be found in this issue.
From the April, 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
Mr. Barzin, conductor of the WQXR Orchestra, is also conductor of the National Orchestral Association. He is one of the few men regularly conducting both for radio and for the concert hall. He has certain ideas about leading an orchestra over the air waves which we hope will throw new light on broadcasting musical programs.
Howard Harold Hanson (1896-1981) was a composer, conductor, educator and music theorist. He was Director of the Eastman School of Music for 40 years and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for his Symphony no. 4. A year earlier he wrote the following essay which appeared in the March, 1943 WQXR Program Guide.
The great Russian-born composer, pianist and conductor Sergei Rachmaninoff died at the end of March, 1943 at the age of 70. Charles O'Connell, then RCA Victor's Music Director, composed this personal tribute for the May, 1943 WQXR Program Guide.
From the August, 1942 WQXR Program Guide:
Editorial Note: Occasionally we receive letters from listeners who protest angrily against our broadcasting German music either orchestral or vocal. Because of the democratic implications of the problem, we have asked Ernest Angell, President of the Council for Democracy, to present his views, which he does in the following article. The Council for Democracy is dedicated to a fighting faith in democracy, and hence Mr. Angell's comments represent the considered opinion of real fighters for our present way of life.
From the July, 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
Mrs. Sternberger has been a WQXR commentator for over four years, presenting her "Washington Front" program each Monday through Friday at 5:15 P.M. Before coming to radio she was a newspaper-woman whose travels had taken her to all major European countries, most of Asia and part of South America.
Because of the great interest in the news at this time,we have asked Mrs. Sternberger to give her views on what she feels a commentator's responsibility is to the listening public in this crisis.
In the April, 1942 WQXR Program Guide, distinguished American pianist and composer Abram Chasins wrote about the obligations of performers, composers and listeners to the art of music. In July, 1943 he was appointed WQXR's Music Consultant, and in 1946, its Music Director, a post he held for nineteen years.
From the September 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
On a certain afternoon in June, WQXR broadcast about eight minutes of the 30-minute 'Lyric Suite' by Alban Berg. As this is an ultra- modern work, we asked the audience to write and tell us what they thought of it and whether they wanted us to play it in full at some future time.
From the October, 1944 WQXR Program Guide:
The success which has attended the presentation on Broadway of new forms of music of great composers such as Bizet, Johann Strauss and Grieg has aroused a certain amount of resentment among music purists. As one of them remarked about Carmen Jones: "The orchestration of Bizet's music was expert and adequate, but I still prefer my Bizet straight, if you don't mind."
From the October, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
The author of this peek behind the scenes at WQXR is one of our program editors. His specialty is the lighter classics, and he knows that kind of music from Arensky to Ziehrer. Among the WQXR programs Mr. Simon produces are Just Music, The Maxwell House Dinner Concert, The American Express Cavalcade of Music and The Operetta Scrapbook.
From the February, 1943 WQXR Program Guide:
Prof. Moore as head of the Music Department of Columbia University is not only famous as an educator but also well known as a composer and writer. He is the composer of "The Devil and Daniel Webster" and as the author of "From Madrigal to Modern Music," is particularly well qualified to write on this subject.
From the October, 1942 WQXR Program Guide:
We asked Mrs. Lytle Hull to write this because she is in close touch with efforts to bring more and better music to the public. She is the Director of the Philharmonic Symphony Society, the President of the New Opera Company, and the Acting President of the Musicians Emergency Fund.
From the January, 1941 WQXR Program Guide:
Mr. Ganz is conductor of the Young People's Chorus of the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Society. He is a pioneer in the field of children's concerts, having directed such concerts for the past eighteen years. The Young People's Concerts from Town Hall, New York, January 13th and February 17th at 3:45 P.M. will be broadcast by WQXR.
From the March, 1941 WQXR Program Guide:
The magic of radio has broadened the ranks of the Metropolitan Opera audience until it extends from coast to coast and beyond to the countries of South America. But radio has not been able to bring back to our stage the great voices of the past which were stilled before opera performances went on the air, nor can it repeat an opera again and again to satisfy the appetite of the enthusiast.
From the April, 1941 WQXR Program Guide:
Mr. Hutcheson is President of the Juilliard School of Music in New York. In addition to being a great pianist and teacher, he is the author of numerous books on music, including the recently published "A Musical Guide to Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung."