Five O’Clock Favorite

The Five O’Clock Favorite is driven by listener suggestions! We’d love your participation.

Suggestions are easiest to honor if they’re 20 minutes or less.

Due to the interest in the program, it may be a week or two before you hear your selection on-air.
Air date: July 18, 2024

Nutcracker Suite, Peter Tchaikovsky

Suggested by Elizabeth in Portland, Oregon

How about a little Christmas in July? I'd love to hear the Snowflake Waltz from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite to help us ease out of the recent Heat Wave. I love watching the snowflakes dance at the end of Act I!

Air date: July 17, 2024

Dance of the Paper Umbrellas, Elena Katz-Chernin

Suggested by Loris in Portland, Oregon

I heard this performed by the Oregon Symphony last Fall and was so impressed. I'd love to hear it again.

Air date: July 16, 2024

Cat Duet, Gioacchino Rossini

Suggested by Crystal in Portland, Oregon

I heard this on All Classical when I was driving home from work one day. It made me laugh, even though I was stuck in rush hour traffic. Could you play it for everyone who has had a long hard day at work and needs a good laugh?

Air date: July 15, 2024

Piano Concerto No. 2: II.Larghetto, Frederic Chopin

Suggested by Tessa in Beaverton, Oregon

I'd love to hear a performance of this work by Benjamin Grosvenor. It was the last concert I attended with my husband, who passed unexpectedly in April. I have a new job and every night at five when I drive home, I listen to the 5 O’clock Favorite. It would be wonderful to listen knowing it is in his honor.

Air date: July 11, 2024

Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in the Mirror), Arvo Part

Suggested by Michael in Vancouver, Washington

My wife passed away in November 2019 from breast cancer. I am retired and living with my grief every day. She was a lifelong Portland resident and reminisced often about Mr. Moon, the Children's Parade, Elephant and Castle, Beef and Brew, etc. She also often mentioned how she loved the soft warm mist-like rain as it was so calming and reassuring. I don't know of any specific song that might covey this however I'm sure you would.

[Christa's reply to Michael]
In reading Michael's message, I thought about how, in grief, time takes on a different shape... and that slowing of time caused me to remember a piece of modern dance that I was lucky to experience back in the year 2000 performed by the Shen Wei Dance Ensemble. The work I'm recalling was a world premiere called "Near the Terrace," which was set to Arvo Part's "Spiegel im Spiegel," or "Mirror in the Mirror." The music itself is haunting... repetitive and very slow. The choreography was very slow, too, and actually very simple as far as the dancers' movement. Walking, bending... deliberate movements. They moved like statues -slowly- and seemingly delicately floated and hovered over a blue-lit stage. It almost appeared as if they were underwater. Every movement was excruciatingly, beautifully slow. So, Michael, when you speak of your beloved wife and your grief, I immediately thought of this piece of music... and how time, in grief, can feel like it stands still. And because I associate that dance with water, I'm now also imagining the soft warm mist your wife enjoyed, calming and reassuring.

Air date: July 10. 2024

The Planets: Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity, Gustav Holst

Suggested by Olivia in Portland, Oregon

[Olivia made a contribution and attached this request, without a specific story]

Air date: July 9, 2024

The Armed Man (A Mass for Peace): Benedictus, Karl Jenkins

Suggested by Kirke in Albany, Oregon

It's a very quiet piece with a mix of cello and gentle chorus with full orchestra behind. I expect this to bring a sigh from Christa and probably many listeners. :)

Air date: July 8, 2024

Marble Machine, Martin Molin (Wintergatan)

Suggested by Kurt in Albany, Oregon

This piece of music is most amazing! My wife sent me this YouTube video knowing that I like obscure stuff. It's crazy to think that this entire piece of music is being played by marbles. The engineering of the machine that does this is absolutely beautiful and phenomenal. I never tire of listening to this song even though it is repetitious, which of course it has to be based on the design of the machine. If you haven't seen the video for this, you need to. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I do.

Air date: July 4, 2024

Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 1, Joan Tower

Suggested by Amy in Portland, Oregon

I love American composer Joan Tower's "answer" to Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man. She wrote 6 of these fanfares, each tribute to "women who take risks and are adventurous", and each dedicated to an inspiring woman in music. I'd like to hear the first of these fanfares, which Joan Tower dedicated to conductor Marin Alsop.

Air date: July 3, 2024

Breathing Light, Nitin Sawhney

Suggested by Pie in Portland, Oregon

When I first hear this I thought that it was fun and beautiful at the same time. You can forget life's problems and listen to this on your way home from work especially if it was a bad day.

Air date: July 2, 2024

Piano Sonata No. 14, “Moonlight”: 1. Adagio Sostenuto, Ludwig van Beethoven

Suggested by Wendy in Tigard, Oregon

Today would have been my mom's 81st birthday. She passed away 3 months ago, and the grief hits a little harder today. However, one of the thousands of lessons she taught me is that music has the power to heal. Example: she was having an MRI, and the technician asked her if she wanted to listen to music. She asked for classical music, and the first song she heard was Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. A feeling of peace washed over her, and she was able to stay calm and still. Every time I hear the Moonlight Sonata, I think of her telling me that story. I have always loved that piece, but it has affected me more since my mom passed away. Every note has always been hauntingly beautiful, but when I listen to it now, I feel like Beethoven is pouring his grief into each note. How can grief be so beautiful? I have been on this journey of grief for 3 months, and I am striving to find beauty in it. I see the beauty she created in my siblings, and the legacy of love that my parents shared with us after 62 years of marriage is astounding. I guess the beauty in my grief is that I recognize that I am the luckiest girl in the world to have received her love for 50 years. While you play the Moonlight Sonata today, I will feel calm and still, and I will remember how much I love her, and that is beautiful.

Air date: July 1, 2024

Der Freischutz: Overture, Carl Maria von Weber

Suggested by Dave in Federal Way, Washington

As a fellow horn player, I'm sure you [Christa] appreciate a good horn chorus as much as I do! This particular overture doesn't seem to be played very often, and I'd just like to hear it.

Air date: June 27, 2024

Carmen: March of the Toreadors, Georges Bizet

Suggested by Alexander in Vancouver, Washington

I'd like to hear this because it’s simply a good and iconic piece of music. This song is significant to me because I remember first hearing it during a Formula 1 race and I took a liking to it, but I then heard it again when it was featured in a horror indie game called Five Nights at Freddy’s. The former gave the music a feel to as if you were watching a race at high stakes, while the latter gave it an eerie yet nostalgic charm to it.

Air date: June 26, 2024

Ill Wind (based on Mozart’s Horn Concerto No 4), Michael Flanders & Donald Swann

Suggested by John in Gresham, Oregon

About 35 years ago I was playing in the Yaquina Chamber Orchestra and we did a concert of comedic music. Our then guest conductor David Ogden Stiers programmed the 4th Mozart Horn concerto with words, and he sang the whole thing, even the cadenza. A British duo named Flanders & Swann first did this in the 60's. To this day I smile when I hear Mozart's whole 4th Horn concerto.

Air date: June 25, 2024

It’s a Small World – Variations (arr. Thomas Rheingans), Richard Sherman; Robert B Sherman

Suggested by Elizabeth in Portland, Oregon

Richard Sherman, one of the composers of It's a Small World. passed away this past May. This version not only honors Sherman, but many other composers with strong legacies. Thomas Rheingans is an exceptional musician and came to this arrangement by wondering, 'what if that song were written by Mozart, or Beethoven, or Sousa?' It's a delightful piece and I'd love to share it with others.

Air date: June 24, 2024

Piano Sonata No. 29 in B Flat, “Hammerklavier”, Op. 106: 4th movement, Ludwig van Beethoven

Suggested by Diane in Anchorage, Alaska

I would like a second chance to hear the fourth movement from Beethoven's “Das Hammerklavier” under circumstances not as traumatic as the first time I heard it. Here is what happened.

We moved to Alaska when the Alyeska pipeline was under construction and all the arts were flush with oil money. In 1983, as I recall, I read that pianist Peter Serkin was coming to Anchorage for a live performance of Das Hammerklavier. The press release stressed what a rare event this would be, due to the reputation of the performer and the length (45 minutes) and difficulty of the piece. My husband was interested, too, so I visited the ticket office and studied the seating plan of the venue. Front row seats were still available.

What a great time to introduce our 11-year-old daughter and her 6-year-old brother to full-on concert-going! I said to myself. I purchased 4 front and center seats.

The night of the performance we reviewed concert comportment with the kids at home and settled into our seats at the West High auditorium. But when Peter Serkin came on stage and saw two young children in the front row, his expression of sheer horror almost knocked me out.

Dear God, what have I done? I said to myself. And moreover, done to a world class artist? And after he had worked so hard to prepare one of the most difficult pieces in the piano repertoire? And traveled so far to perform it? He was clearly alarmed. I was devastated.

The welcoming applause died away. Serkin seated himself on the piano bench and as he began to play, a miracle began to take place. Awash in the sound and the sight of this ordinary man wrestling with a Steinway a few feet in front of their noses, the two children were motionless. No twisting, no squirming, not a sound out of either one. While the youngsters sat enrapt in the power of the music (and their father enjoyed the evening, too) their mother heard the entire performance in a state of anxiety and hypervigilance unparalled in her dull life right up to that very evening.

Later on, I figured out what must have happened. The muse Euterpe, goddess of music, had to have been in the audience, disguised perhaps as an Arco secretary or a BP accountant. As a minor goddess, Euterpe’s role is to ensure the pleasure of the top gods in the pantheon, the heavies. Euterpe doesn’t give a fig about the happiness of mere mortals, but she cares deeply about pleasing the VIPs. And the VIPs were in the audience that night, too – Zeus, Hera, Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite, Ares, Apollo, Demeter, Hades, Hermes, Poseidon. They had come down en masse from Parnassus, disguised as Alaskans, dressed in Carhartts and Woolrich bush tuxedos, expecting a bravura performance. Euterpe was there to make sure they got one.

I remember the third movement, the adagio, as the nadir of my suffering, when even a yawn from a tired child could have marred the evening. At some point, little brother had dozed off, but – mirabile dictu – he was not snoring, as was his usual wont. Again, we have Euterpe to thank.

I have never again heard Das Hammerklavier. I would welcome an opportunity to revisit the last movement in hopes that the final notes might bring back some of the release I experienced at the end of that nerve-wracking concert forty years ago.

Air date: June 20, 2024

Fermi’s Paradox, Ronn McFarlane

Suggested by Annie in Portland, Oregon

When I first heard this composition by lutenist Ronn McFarlane, I was captivated by the music without really understanding the title. After some Googling, I'm now even more taken with this piece. (Fermi's Paradox is the discrepancy between the lack of conclusive evidence of advanced extraterrestrial life and the apparently high likelihood of its existence. In other words: if there are billions of planets in the universe that are capable of supporting life, and millions of intelligent species out there, then why have none visited Earth?)

Air date: June 19, 2024

He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands, Traditional Spiritual

Suggested by Vincent in Portland, Oregon

On this Juneteenth, I'd like to suggest we hear a spiritual to commemorate the emancipation of the 250,000 slaves that occurred in Texas on this date in 1865.

Air date: June 18, 2024

The Planets: Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity, Gustav Holst

Suggested by Dan in Vancouver, Washington

To any parents out there who may be fans of a certain animated canine family (Bluey), this piece will sound familiar as it is featured heavily in the episode "Sleepytime." This piece has become one of my favorites, as it reminds me to cherish every moment in the parenting journey, even as my daughter (who is 10) reaches new levels of independence in her life (Yay!) becoming less reliant on her parents (bittersweet boo!). The music typically moves me to shed a tear, and I expect hearing it played now will do the same. And so I dedicate this piece to Autumn, the best daughter this dad could hope to raise.

Air date: June 17, 2024

On The Town: Times Square, Leonard Bernstein

Suggested by Doug in Portland, Oregon

Bernstein composed beautifully for dancers. This selection from On The Town demonstrates both his talents and the wonderful, manic energy of New York.

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