I'll give you three notes

Years ago I was a contestant in a live, Jeopardy-like quiz show hosted by conductor Peter Bay and the RPO at the Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center.   Fresh out of college, I thought I knew a lot about music.  Boy, did I eat humble pie. 

 

Here’s how it worked. The orchestra would play an excerpt from a piece, and then the three contestants, sitting onstage with microphones, would guess the name and composer.  The funny thing was, I knew some of the obscure works.  But the Obvious Top Ten classical works (Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance and Pachelbel’s Canon, for example) left me scratching my head. I came in second.

 

Rimsky-KorsakovRimsky-KorsakovToday’s mystery piece, from 1887, might have left many Classical 91.5 listeners scratching their heads.  Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol is the kind of work everyone knows but nobody can name. 

 

The clue, that it’s based on Spanish folk melodies, might have thrown some people off, since the composer was the youngest of the Russian composers known as “The “Five,” a driving force for nationalism in Russian music.

 

A listener e-mailed me to ask if it was ok if he Googled the clues for the answer. TOTALLY! This is all for fun. Nobody’s onstage. 

 

On Monday, you can guess a work by a composer who thought of himself as a craftsman, not a genius.

»