Secrets of What Makes Music Great

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Acclaimed composer, conductor, and author Rob Kapilow brings his popular series “What Makes it Great: Secrets of Beethoven, Mozart and Gershwin” to Arizona. Kapilow unravels the mysteries surrounding some of our most well-known classical and contemporary musical pieces by showing audiences “what they are missing.” His teachings and demonstrations allow audiences to hear the music in a different way and provide an “a-ha” moment. He will deconstruct Somewhere Over the Rainbow for us ahead of his concert at MIM.

ROB KAPILOW IS AN ACCLAIMED COMPOSER, CONDUCTOR AND AUTHOR WHO UNRAVELS THE MYSTERIES OF WELL KNOWN CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY MUSIC. THE SHOW IS TITLED WHAT MAKES GREAT SECRETS OF OF BEETHOVEN, MOZART AND GERSHWIN. AND YOU CAN SEE THE PERFORMANCE THURSDAY NIGHT AT THE MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM AND MEET ROB KAPILOW RIGHT NOW. AS HE JOINS US HERE ON ARIZONA HORIZON, YOU AND ALL 88 KEYS OF THAT KEYBOARD.
ROB KAPILOW: WE ONLY BRING 88
TED SIMONS: GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. YOU BASICALLY SHOW AUDIENCES WHAT THEY'RE MISSING IN MUSIC? TALK TO ME ABOUT THAT.
ROB KAPILOW: YEAH. I THINK SOMETIMES MUSIC GOES BY SO FAST AND THERE ARE SO MANY FANTASTIC THINGS THAT GO ON THIS. IS REALLY A SHOW ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEARING AND LISTENING. REALLY SEEING ALL THE FANTASTIC THINGS THAT ARE IN THE MUSIC THAT WE THINK WE HAVE HEARD ALL OUR LIVES.

TED: WE DO MISS A LOT, CORRECT?

ROB KAPILOW: WE DO MISS A LOT.

TED: DO PEOPLE WHO CONSIDER THEMSELVES CONNOISSEURS AND HE SEASON TICKETS TO THE SYMPHONY, DO THEY MISS MUSIC TOO.

ROB KAPILOW: MY GOAL IS NOT ONLY TO GET THE CONNOISSEURS TO SEE WHAT THEY MISSES BUT THE PERFORMERS THEMSELVES. ONE OF MY FAVORITE AUDIENCES ARE ACTUAL MUSICIANS THEMSELVES.

TED: I WAS GOING TO ASK THIS. CAN A COMPOSER MISS THIS STUFF? CAN I WRITE THE GREAT TED SYMPHONY NUMBER ONE AND ROB KAPILOW COMES AND SAYS THIS IS WHAT HE MEANT HERE. I DIDN'T KNOW THAT?

ROB KAPILOW: ABOSULTEY, LIKE A PSYCHIATRIST DO YOU WHAT YOU DO IN NORMAL LIFE AND COME IN AND SHOW YOU WHAT YOU HAVE MISSED IN YOUR OWN DAILY INTERACTIONS.

TED: PERFORMERS ARE OUT THERE AND THEY HAVE PLAYED THIS PIECE FOREVER AND OVER. THEY HAVE AH-HA MOMENTS TOO.

ROB KAPILOW: THEY DO HAVE AH-HA MOMENTS AND ITS OFTEN THINGS WE THINK WE KNOW THE BEST. THE PEOPLE WE THINK WE KNOW THE BEST ARE THE PEOPLE WE KNOW THE LEAST. SOMETIMES IT'S THE MUSIC WE THINK WE KNOW THE BEST THAT WE KNOW THE LEAST.

TED: HOW DID YOU DISCOVER THE AH-HA MOMENT.

ROB KAPILOW: I WAS VERY FORTUNATE. I DROPPED OUT OF COLLEGE DON'T TELL MY MOTHER. I DROPPED OUT OF COLLEGE TO STUDY WITH THIS FAMOUS TEACHER, HER NAME WAS NADIAS BOULANGE AND I WENT THERE AND I HAD THIS INCREDIBLE AH-HA MOMENT. I WAS 19 AND SHE WAS ABOUT 250 YEARS OLD. I WENT TO THIS FAMOUS APARTMENT WHERE SHE TAUGHT GERSHWIN,COPELINE, BERSTAINT, TO EVERYONE AND I SAT DOWN TO PLAY THIS MOZART PIECE FOR HER. AND SHE HIT ME AND SHE SAYS KAPILOW, THIS IS GROTESQUE, SHE SAYS YOU PLAY THIS EXQUISITE PASSAGE AS IF IT WERE THIS. NOW DID YOU HEAR THE DIFFERENCE, TED?

TED: NO.

ROB KAPILOW: NEITHER DID I. I LIKE TO TELL MYSELF HERE RECOVERING FROM BEING BEING CALLED KAPILOW AND GROTESQUE IN THE SAME SENTENCE NOT TO MENTION BEING HIT BY A WOMAN WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE BLIND BUT HIT ME IN THAT PLACE THAT HURTS. SHE WENT ON TO EXPLAIN MOZART WOULD HAVE NEVER WRITTEN THIS, REPEATING THAT NOTE INSULTS THE LISTENER. ONCE YOU HAVE SAID THIS WHY SAY IT AGAIN? MOZART GOES WHICH IS SO BEAUTIFUL AND HE WOULD NEVER HAVE WRITTEN A PLAIN CHORD LIKE THIS. HE HAS ONE NOTE SO YOU CAN HEAR THE DIFFERENCE.
TED SIMONS: OH, SURE.
ROB KAPILOW: THIS IS ORDINARY, THIS IS GREAT. SO INSTEAD OF THIS, ORDINARY. HE DOES THIS -- WHICH IS SO BEAUTIFUL. AND THEN NOT THIS BUT THIS -- THAT NOTE IS SO FANTASTIC.

TED: AREN'T THOSE NOTES THERE ON THE SCORE?

ROB KAPILOW: THEY ARE THERE BUT, YOU KNOW, IT'S INTERESTING. I AT THE TIME WAS ACTUALLY PREPARING FOR A COMPETITION. I HAD BEEN PLAYING THAT PIECE FOR MONTHS. HEARING THOSE NOTES GO BY BUT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEARING AND LISTENING. I HAD BEEN HEARING THEM GO BY BUT I NEVER REALLY REGISTERED THEM IN THE SAME WAY THAT YOU HEARD THEM WHEN I FIRST PLAYED IT.

TED: YES.

ROB KAPILOW: BUT THEY DIDN'T REGISTER. THAT'S WHAT THIS WHOLE SERIES IS ABOUT. GETTING PEOPLE WHO HEAR WITH NEW EARS WHAT'S GOING BY THEY NEVER NOTICED.

TED: KIND OF LIKE SPEED READING THE GREAT GATSBY.

ROB KAPILOW: WHEN YOU GO TO A GREAT ENGLISH CLASS YOU TAKE THAT GREAT GATSBY APART WORD FOR WORD YOU THINK ABOUT THAT LIGHT, THE GREEN LIGHT AND THINK ABOUT IT IN A DIFFERENT WAY. IT'S ABOUT PAYING ATTENTION.

TED: AT THE MIM DO YOU SIT THERE WITH THE PIAN-.

ROB KAPILOW: OH NO, ITS FANTASTIC. WEVE GOT ACTUAL STRING QUARTET. ITS MOZARTS, EINE KLEINE NACHTMUSIK- EVERYONE KNOWS IT -- IT'S ON EVERY CELL PHONE RING TONE.

TED: SURE.

ROB KAPILOW: WE WILL TAKE IT APART FOR AN HOUR, BIT BY BIT, JUST LIKE THAT. LITTLE PASSAGES, PUTTING IT BACK TOGETHER. SLOWING IT DOWN. I RECOMPOSE HOW A WORSE COME POSER MIGHT HAVE COMPOSE IT JUST LIKE SHE DID FOR ME. PLAY THE WHOLE PIECE WHAT YOU HOPEFULLY HEAR WITH NEW EARS AND THAT 20 MINUTES GO BY IN A TOTALLY DIFFERENT WAY AND WE HAVE A QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION.

TED: I KNOW YOU HAVE OVER THE RAINBOW WHICH WE'RE ALL FAMILIAR WITH. WE WILL HEAR IT IN A SECOND. IT'S GREAT IF YOU FIGURE THIS OUT. IF GO SEE JOE SMITH WHO IS THE NEXT BIG THING AS FAR AS CONCERT MEANISTS AND HE DOESN'T FIGURE IT OUT AM I SITTING IN THE AUDIENCE GOING YOU MISSED IT, JOE. YOU MISSED IT?

TED SIMONS: THAT'S WHAT WE WANT. WE WANT AN AUDIENCE SO AWARE THAT THEY ACTUALLY KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. ONCE YOU START TO HEAR WHAT I'M GOING TO SHOW NEW MOZART, YOU WILL HEAR IT EVERYWHERE. IT WILL LITERALLY CHANGE THE WAY YOU HEAR. IF YOU HAVE A GREAT FOOTBALL ANNOUNCER AND THEY SHOW YOU WHAT GOES ON IN THAT PLAY THAT GOES BY SO FAST BUT THEN THEY SLOW IT DOWN. WATCH THE TACKLE. ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU REALIZE YOU MISSED THE WHOLE THING. ONCE YOU HEARD IT IN THIS ONE PROGRAM YOU WILL HEAR IT EVERYONE.

TED: WE HAVE SOME 4 ODD MINUTES HERE. OVER THE RAINBOW, NIGHT MUSIC WITH MOZART MAYBE NOT EVERYONE KNOWS. BUT AS FAR AS OVER THE RAINBOW I THINK WE GET IT OR DO WE GET IT?

ROB KAPILOW: YOU DON'T GET IT AT ALL. THE GREAT THING ABOUT THIS IS THIS OPENING HAS ONLY TWO IDEAS. THE FIRST ONE I'M GOING TO CALL LEAP. THE SECOND ONE I'M GOING TO CALL CIRCLE AND YEARN. ITS IMPORTANT YOU LEARN THIS TECHNICAL VOCABULARY. IT STARTS OFF BIG LEAP FOR MUSICAL THEATER SONG. A WHOLE OCTAVE. BIG LEAP. IT'S A LEAP BETWEEN TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS. THIS NOTE IS DOROTHY'S TROUBLED REALITY. IT'S KANSAS. IT'S NO FLOWERS. IT'S THE BLACK AND WHITE OF THE BEGINNING OF THE FILM. THIS NOTE IS HIGHER. IT'S MORE ETHEREAL. IT'S WHERE SHE WANTS TO ESCAPE TO. IT'S OZ. IT'S THE KEY TO THE WHOLE INCORPORATE SONG. YOU WON'T GET FULL MEANING UNTIL LAST NOTE. KANSAS, OZ. THE OTHER IDEA IS WHAT I CALL CIRCLE AND YEARN BECAUSE IT STARTS ON A NOTE. CIRCLES BACK TO IT - AND THEN YEARNS. THAT'S CIRCLE AND YEARN. THOSE ARE THE ONLY TWO IDEAS. NOW THERE ARE THREE LEAPS. FIRST LEAP IS BIG SOMEWHERE -- NEXT LEAP IS SMALLER AND LOWER WAY UP. THIRD LEAP IS LOWER AND EVEN SMALLER -- HER DREAMS ARE CONTRACTING LIKE THOSE LEAPS. THAT'S THE FIRST ONE. NOW THE CHORDS UNDERNEATH IS WHAT MAKES THIS A SONG OF YEARNING. HE COULD HAVE EASILY WRITTEN FOR WAY UP HIGH. SOMETHING NICE AND CHEERY ºº BUT LISTEN TO THE BEAUTIFUL HARMONY UNDERNEATH THIS I MEAN, THAT YEARNING IN THE HARMONY IS WHAT MAKES IT SO BEAUTIFUL. WE GOT TWO CIRCLES AND YEARNS. LAND THAT I HEARD OF. THEN WE CIRCLE AND YEARN AGAIN. CIRCLE -- YEARN AND WE'RE BACK. THE TROUBLE IS WE ARE STUCK IN KANSAS. WE STARTED FROM KANSAS, WE WENT TO OZ, WE WENT DOWN A SCALE -- WE'RE STILL STUCK IN KANSAS. SECOND VERSE, SAME MUSIC, WE'RE STILL STUCK IN KANSAS AT THE END. DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE THERE IS A B SECTION. WE DON'T HAVE TIME. IF WE WOULD HAVE LONGER I WOULD DO IT. LET ME GET TO THE END.

TED: OKAY.

ROB KAPILOW: HE COMES BACK AND REPEATS THE MIDDLE B SECTION ALL ALONE JUST IN THE ORCHESTRA. SHE IS THINKING OUT LOUD. HOW CAN I EVER GET THERE? HOW AM I GOING TO GET TO OZ? WE COME BACK TO THE MIDDLE MUSIC, HAPPY LITTLE BLUE BIRDS FLY. IF IT COPIED THE WAY IN THE MIDDLE IT WOULD GO -- BUT INSTEAD IT GOES -- AND THEN ONE LAST SCALE. REMEMBER KANSAS OZ. ONE LAST SCALE -WHERE DOES SHE GET TO? OZ. ON THE LAST NOTE FROM KANSAS TO OZ, FROM LOW C TO HIGH C FROM, REALITY TO FANTASY.

TED: DOES THE COMPOSER KNOW THIS WHEN HE IS COMPOSING THIS.

ROB KAPILOW: THERE IS KNOWING AND KNOWING. HE KNOWS IT INTERNALLY HASN'T ARTICULATED IT. THE POINT OF THIS PROGRAM IS TO ARTICULATE IT SO YOU CAN KNOW IT.

TED: I WILL TELL THAT YOU IS ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING. WITH CLASSICALY MUSIC YOU MUST HAVE A TREASURE TROVE OF EXAMPLES. MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM THURSDAY NIGHT, CORRECT?

ROB KAPILOW: CORRECT.

TED: YOU CAN PLAY US OUT HERE?

ROB KAPILOW: ABSOLUTELY.

TED: THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

ROB KAPILOW: IF YOU MISS IT THURSDAY WE ARE HERE IN FEBRUARY WITH GESHWIN AND MARCH WITH BEETHOVEN.

TED: FAIR ENOUGH.

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