1 Dec 2017

You Hum It, We'll Name It!

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 3:08 pm on 1 December 2017

Clarissa Dunn from RNZ Concert is back with us to answer your classical music queries. Listeners sung, hummed and whistled classical pieces they couldn't name, and our Concert team found the music.

Arman wanted to know which Beethoven masterpiece Iranian garbage trucks used to play as a gentle reminder for people to bring our their rubbish.

It was 'Für Elise', a piano piece that many people have learned at least the first few bars of.

Listener Richard returned with his guitar and played the piece he'd previously whistled, which had left us stumped.

This time we recognised it as Romance /Spanish Romance. It's known by many different titles.

The jury's still out on who composed it. Some say Spanish guitarist Narciso Yepes, but a recording of it was made well before Yepes was even born.

Gavin from Timaru sang us something with a really distinctive rhythm so it wasn't too tricky to figure this out - 'In the Hall of the Mountain King' by Grieg.

"Kids absolutely love this music, it's so characterful. It's the kind of music you play when you're trying to sneak up behind someone."

It comes from music Grieg composed for Ibsen's play Peer Gynt. At this point in the story Peer has abandoned the troll princess and the music of the mountain people becomes more and more frenzied as it grows in volume. At the end of the movement, Peer is nearly killed by the angry trolls.

Quentin sang something in his car.

"His tone sounds almost Wagnerian, but this tune comes from Mendelssohn's 'Hebrides Overture'."

The German composer Mendelssohn went on an OE in his early 20s. He toured Scotland and fell in love with the Hebrides, an archipelago off the NW coast of Scotland. And while he was there the opening bars of this music just came into his head.

"Sometimes I think this undulating music like a big swell, can make you a little weak on your feet so just try and breathe deeply."

Gavin from Timaru whistled us another tune.

"This is a real ‘earworm’ – a tune that burrows its way into your head."

It's the music that often Hollywood studios reach for when they want music for a fine dining scene. It's the Minuet from Boccherini's 'String Quintet in E major'.


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Photo: Youtube

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