Leftover music to go with your turkey and potatoes

Friday, November 28, 2008

For some people, the best thing about Thanksgiving dinner is the leftovers. But it isn’t just turkey and potatoes that qualify as leftovers. When it comes to music, methodical composers have for centuries written leftover songs. Sometimes the composer doesn’t like the tune and sometimes the audience doesn’t. For some insight into musical leftovers the Takeaway talks to Terrance McKnight, host of WNYC’s Evening Music.

"It didn't really have any staying power outside of the Cotton Club, so Ellington stuck it in the fridge. Two years later, he brought it back out and called it Lazy Rhapsody. He didn't change a note. Same music. Different title."
—Terrance McKnight on musical leftovers

"Leftover" music Terrance McKnight brought along:

  • "Leonore II" and "Leonore III," overtures written by Beethoven for his opera Fidelio, which he later discarded because he didn’t like them.
  • "Overture, Fidelio" was the version Beethoven eventually used for his opera.
  • Tchaikovsky's "Canzonetta. Andante"
  • Tchaikovsky’s “Meditation in D Minor.”
  • Duke Ellington's "Swanee River Rhapsody:" no one liked it. Three years later, he renamed it to "Lazy Rhapsody," but otherwise left it completely unchanged... and under that name, it was a big success.


Terrance McKnight


Noel King

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