Lately I have been reorganizing my record collection, and occasionally I get a surprise while rummaging and sorting lp’s and cd’s. The other day I pulled out an old lp on the Turnabout label–a budget classical label–that I probably bought all the way back when I was an undergraduate at USC. The lp contained Mozart’s A Musical Joke, a somewhat precious but funny piece of music filled with bad progressions, harmonies that fall flat on their heads, stupid melodic repetitions. As I pulled the lp out of its paper sleeve, yellowed with time, a sheet of legal paper came out. Typed back in the 80s before we had computers at KCRW, it said: “We’re going to begin the first hour of programming this morning with music by Mozart, the Symphony #44, the “Pluto” symphony. Similar to the “Jupiter” symphony, also written during the last part of Mozart’s career, the “Pluto” has been considered one of the most complex, symmetrical, and perfectly realized of all Mozart’s symphonies.
The recording we’ll hear is an historic one. It was made in 1951 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Wilhelm Furtwanger, who was here at the time on sabbatical leave from the Vienna Philharmonic.
Here, then, is the Symphony #44 of Mozart, the “Pluto” symphony, to open Morning Becomes Eclectic”.
If that happened on Morning Becomes Eclectic today, people would tune out and look for something else on the radio dial. Fans would think Jason had gone out to get breakfast, or was taking a nap. Morning Becomes Eclectic wasn’t nearly as big back then, but it was, and always has been, eclectic.