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: May 26, 2023

Also Sprach Zarathustra, Richard Strauss

Suggested by Jeff in Portland, Oregon

Richard Strauss penned "Also Sprach Zarathustra" in 1896. His tone poem was based on Nietszche's "Thus spake Zarathustra."
In our lifetime, this haunting music was used by Stanley Kubrick in his masterpiece "2001, A Space Odyssey." That film was, in fact, a real mind-blower for a generation of moviegoers. Famously - and mysteriously - the film ends on a truly disturbing note. Arthur C Clarke, of course, wrote the story that freaked us ALL out just a little.

Turns out Zarathustra was the founder of Zoroastrianism, the world's first known monotheistic religion, pre-dating Judaism, Christianity and Islam, now the world's major monotheistic faiths. Known, among other things, to revere Fire, Zoroastrianism holds important tenets. Among which: "The purpose of humankind, like that of all other creation, is to sustain and align itself to aša. For humankind, this occurs through active ethical participation in life, ritual, and the exercise of constructive/good thoughts, words and deeds." "Aša" itself is difficult to pin down, but suffice to say it's a Good Thing.

Strauss' composition ought be a haunting 5 o'clock favorite for anyone who remembers Kubrick's motion picture and might even encourage us all to investigate Zoroastrianism, which exists to this day and numbers its adherents in the tens of thousands.

Air date: May 25, 2023

Etude in E, Opus 10, No. 3, Frederic Chopin

Suggested by Thom in Portland, Oregon

This piece carries a special place for my wife and me.

In the very last episode of the very last season of the animated science fiction show Futurama, two of the main characters, Leela and Fry, have a date at a high rise in New New York. Without spoiling the episode, the two essentially 'break space and time', causing their reality to 'pause' for an indefinite amount of time, but with themselves still subject to the laws of time, and so still age. They take this opportunity to quite literally walk the earth together, even traversing the world's oceans on-foot. Chopin's Etude Op. 10, No.3 plays over a montage of the two experiencing this time freeze together, enjoying their one-on-one company.

Near the end of the episode, they are in their 70s and have returned to the original building they were going to have their date at all those years ago, while everything around them is still frozen. The two share celebratory glasses of champagne while reminiscing of their travels. Fry says, "It was a good life, kinda lonely though?" to which Leela replies, "I was never lonely, not even for a minute."

The sentiment of Chopin's Etude Op.10, No.3 has become a reminder of our own relationship and the time we've spent together. We're grateful for our past, and excited for whatever we have left to experience together into our old age. Maybe this is more of a visual thing but, for me, the emotions which this etude conjures are those of a life well lived, defined by being with someone who makes that time better than if it'd been without them, and is one in which you never find yourself bored with that person's company. The piece makes me feel lucky that I seem to have found that person. I never get tired of hearing or playing this piece.

Air date: May 24, 2023

Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra in E flat, Johann Baptist Vanhal

Suggested by Alejandro in Hillsboro, Oregon

In memory of my late dog Forest, who used to love this piece and made him bay. Sure other listeners will appreciate it.

Air date: May 23, 2023

The Planets: Mars, the Bringer of War, Gustav Holst

Suggested by Drew in Portland, Oregon

We recently purchased a new house, but the process was anything but smooth. It was a fight from start to finish: getting the price right, getting critical repairs made, the threat of litigation, numerous delays. It's been a battle from start to finish. Our moving day was yesterday. and we would love to hear Holst's "Mars, Bringer of War" as a perfect capper to this whole process.

Air date: May 22, 2023

William Tell Overture, Gioacchino Rossini

Suggested by Marvin in Portland, Oregon

We loved watching the Lone Ranger as kids and the William Tell Overture as its theme music really added some pep to the experience. Can you tell me how this music was chosen for the show?

Air date: May 19, 2023

The Windmills of Your Mind, Michele Legrand

Suggested by Jeff in Portland, Oregon

Growing up, I found this piece mesmerizing; I even set out to memorize the lyrics. Long since forgotten, the lyrics are substantially in service to the music, which is beautiful.

Air date: May 18, 2023

The Constant Nymph: Tomorrow, Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Suggested by Andrew in Portland, Oregon

The album "The Sea Hawk", an anthology of Korngold's film music conducted and produced by his son, was a fundamental part of my father's car music rotation. While every piece on that album is superlative, this one -- written as a song for a film about a songwriter experiencing writers' block -- has always sat differently with me for the same indefinable reasons that any great piece of music does. During the lockdown, I began my graduate research at PSU and someone had wheeled a piano into the lecture hall across from my office. I spent months learning this piece, which is somewhat virtuosic on the piano, and really got a feel for the way Korngold's chord voicings drove the extravagance of much of his music. It is a song about loss and love, themes which were particularly important in the dark days of 2020 and 2021. In addition to the engrossing mezzo-soprano solo at the end, the entire work is a masterclass in orchestration and opened my eyes to 20th century composition.

Air date: May 17, 2023

Peer Gynt: At the Wedding (Prelude to Act 1), Edvard Grieg

Suggested by Caleb in Portland, Oregon

My husband Evan and I just got married on May 6th! Classical music is a big part of our lives; we even met at the University of Portland playing together in the Wind Symphony. We're also big fans of Grieg and are always listening to his piano concerto and string quartet. We even named our adopted gray cat Grieg. (The composer and our cat look alike in my eyes, but Evan doesn't see it.) We couldn't stop listening to this prelude leading up to our own wedding and thinking about how the main theme encapsulated our fullness of energy and spirit and how the clarinet and oboe solos reflected the quieter and more heartfelt emotions we shared about the special day. Thankfully our wedding went much more smoothly than in Peer Gynt, granted that was already a pretty low bar!

Air date: May 16, 2023

German Requiem: Movement 5 “Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit”, Johannes Brahms

Suggested by Sharon in Oregon

Ich will euch trösten, wie einen seine Mutter tröstet;
Thinking of my mom on Mothers Day and having sung Brahms Requiem in German with the Lewis & Clark Community Choir, I am reminded that "as one whose mother has comforted you, so will the Lord comfort you" (Isaiah 66:13). Wonderful words especially when your mother is gone. This is such a beautiful memory.
Happy Mother's Day to the many special mothers that I know, young and older!

Air date: May 15, 2023

Piano Concerto No. 25: Andante, W. A. Mozart

Suggested by Jennifer in Vancouver, Washington

I lost my mom in 2009. She was my kindred spirit, best friend and soulmate... the person who made my childhood dreams come true. We shared so many passions and common interests, one of the most vital being music. We both adored most everything Mozart. We were particularly fond of his Piano Concerto 25 in C major, K. 503, especially performed by Alicia de Larrocha. I can't describe the joy we shared in this music and the lasting memory of attending a live performance of this piece by Ms. de Larrocha at Avery Fisher Hall. This music and the memory of that occasion help to sustain me in a world without my mom.

Air date: May 12, 2023

The Long Road, Eriks Esenvalds

Suggested by Laredo in Vancouver, Washington

I first heard this piece when Portland State Chamber Choir came to my high school and performed it for our choir. This song tells the story of a woman who married her high school sweetheart. He died young and she mourns his loss, never marrying again. The song details her love for him throughout her life and how she feels his presence from the other side. There are flutes throughout this piece that symbolize that experience for her. To me this piece is extremely moving and beautiful. Thought I would share!

I love you night and day
as a star in the distant sky.
And I mourn for this one thing alone that to love, our lifetime was so short.
A long road to heaven’s shining meadow,
and never could I reach its end.
But a longer road leads to your heart,
which to me seems distant as a star, to me.

High above the arch of heaven bends and light so clear is falling. Like a flow’ring tree the world is blooming.
Overwhelmed, my heart both cries and laughs.

A long road to heaven’s shining meadow, and never could I reach its end.
But a longer road leads to your heart, which to me seems distant as a star.

Air date: May 11, 2023

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, Ralph Vaughan Williams

Suggested by Lunaea in Portland, Oregon

I heard this for the first time in the late 1970s, playing on the radio at a hippie herb store in Santa Cruz, California... and I was transfixed, standing among the fragrant jars, listening to the end to find out the name of the most beautiful music I'd ever heard.

Air date: May 10, 2023

Old American Songs, Set One: The Dodger, Aaron Copland

Suggested by Jeff in Portland, Oregon

This little gem was played on more than one occasion during Ed Goldberg's time hosting Saturday Matinée.

From 1950, and from a campaign song linked specifically with the 1884 election of Grover Cleveland, “The Dodger” satirizes several professions, but Copland retained only three in his version: the political candidate, the preacher, and the lover. All of which makes us think long and hard about hypocrisy generally, and draws our attention to the outright comedy that's part of our own everyday "dodgin' of so much." When life throws or drops some gnarly event at us, it's good to dodge it -- and laugh.

Air date: May 9, 2023

Empire of the Sun: Exultate Justi, John Williams

Suggested by Theo in Oregon

This piece embodies the joy, the beauty and life of Spring.

Air date: May 8, 2023

Howl’s Moving Castle: Merry-Go-Round of Life, Joe Hisaishi

Suggested by Steve in Salem, Oregon

I have a lot of favorite pieces by Joe Hisaishi, who scored many of the Studio Ghibli films, but this one is at the top. The music floats on feelings of sweet nostalgia, the drama of life, and heartfelt longing all at once, and never fails to be a fresh breeze to weary sails. Kind of like our wonderful hostess, Christa Wessel!

Air date: May 5, 2023

Symphony No. 3, “Organ”: Finale, Camille Saint-Saens

Suggested by Daniel in Vancouver, Washington

When I was 19 I fell in love and had a long distance relationship with a much older man. For spring break my freshman year of college, I visited his hometown and we spent a week together. The culmination of our visit was a trip to the Chicago Symphony to hear one of his favorite pieces of music, Symphony no 3 by Saint-Saëns. I had never heard such incredible music, and experiencing it live and in person was powerful to the point of being overwhelming. That trip was nearly 25 years ago, and though we didn’t last as a couple, the memory of seeing this piece performed live has remained a treasure in my heart.

Air date: May 4, 2023

Symphony No. 5: Movement 1, Ludwig van Beethoven

Suggested by Brian in Portland, Oregon

Many, many years ago, when I was a ninth grader in the high school band and orchestra at the Kamehameha Schools in Hawaiʻi, our band instructor David Lorch introduced us to a surprise guest instructor -- Leonard Bernstein! We didn't know how famous Mr. Bernstein was, but the deference that Mr. Lorch gave Mr. Bernstein told us that this was a VERY IMPORTANT PERSON.

Mr. Bernstein spoke with us about the role of music and the arts in a great society, about the importance of civil rights (this was the height of the Vietnam War), and told us that we, as Native Hawaiian children, were equal in potential to any other musician, without regard to their race, who aspired to be a member of a great orchestra anywhere in the world.

Mr. Bernstein then said "Let's play some music". He sang the first 8 notes of Beeethoven's 5th Symphony, and asked if we were familiar with it. We excitedly agreed! Then he hummed the first note to give us a starting pitch and raised his baton. One of my classmates raised his hand and said "We don't have the sheet music!" Mr. Bernstein smiled, looked at us, and said "You don't need the sheet music. Listen with your ear, and play with your heart."

He again raised his baton then began. Amazingly, almost all of us hit the correct notes. We played the first 20 measures or so of Beethoven's 5th Symphony with amazing passion. Mr. Bernstein paused, put his baton down, clapped for us and said "Bravo". He asked how we felt. There was an amazing sense of joy, of accomplishment in the room. And Mr. Lorch was simply beaming! Mr. Bernstein thanked us, and said to always remember that feeling of playing from the heart.

That one experience firmly cemented my lifelong love of music.

Air date: May 3, 2023

Rhapsody in Blue, George Gershwin

Suggested by Diane in Newport, Oregon

As I started a jog down the Red Jacket Trail when I lived in Minnesota, the music Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin came on. Just as it started, going from low to high note, a BLUE tanager flew right over my head from in back and high up in front of me. I thought, "That's God's choreography."

Air date: May 2, 2023

The Black Stallion: Main Theme, Carmine Coppola

Suggested by Les in Oregon City, Oregon

This brief piece from the soundtrack to The Black Stallion is a lilting sarabande, and much like composer Erik Satie's Gymnopedies. Carmine Coppola's melody is warm and contemplative.

Air date: May 1, 2023

Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture, Peter Tchaikovsky

Suggested by James in Aloha, Oregon

I am 8 years old and I listen to All Classical Portland in the car with my Mom and Dad. I wanted to request this piece because I thought it was EPIC when I first heard it and I really want to hear it again. Thanks a lot.

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