Thursday, May 3, 2012

Considering the music for "All Things Considered"

On today's date in 1971, a Moog synthesizer theme introduced All Things Considered, a new program from NPR. John Zech of Composer's Datebook tells the tale.
This maze of electronic circuits, wires, knobs and keyboards was invented by a man named Robert Arthur Moog and developed as a musical instrument with the help of some interested composers: One of them was Wendy Carlos, whose "Switched On Bach" album put the Moog on the map, and started many people taking electronic music seriously. The original theme was created by Wisconsin composer Don Voegeli on a tiny Putney synthesizer, but, in 1974, when Voegeli was asked to create a new, updated ATC theme, he used a brand-new Moog synthesizer he had just purchased for his Madison studio, which was installed by Robert Moog himself and took up an entire room. For almost 10 years, Voegeli's Moog synthesizer version of the ATC theme was heard week-in, week-out on public radio, until in 1983 the by-then very familiar electronic theme was arranged for live studio musicians.
You can sample all of the theme's many iterations at WTMU's "Beware of the Blog," including an arrangement for saxophone quartet. Kind of nerdy, but fun. This page on the show's 30th anniversary has a lot of tidbits ... and a quiz!

10 comments:

  1. Just did a little reading up on The Moog, looks like we can thank the Moog for A Clockwork Orange soundtrack (cool), The Get Up Kids(super cool), Reggie and the Full Effect (awesome) and Disco (not so cool)

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  2. Nicely played, Penny! Love me some Reggie and the Full Effect. Kraftwerk, who were light years ahead of their time, really helped push the Moog.
    Well worth viewing here...
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0378378/

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    1. Let us not forget The Beatles' Abbey Road (best album ever!) featured the Moog synthesizer.

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  3. Pembley PentangleMay 3, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    It's pronounced MOE-g, rhymes with 'rogue', for those not in the know(g)...

    A legendary instrument it is, it is. So versatile in the sounds it can produce.

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    1. Thanks for the pronunciation!! I wonder how many times I've said that incorrectly (yikes)!

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    2. I was so not in the know. Thank you for saving all of us from the mortification of mispronunciation!

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  4. An entire room!? How many people would it take to operate that?

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  5. Wow! What a beautiful beast.

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  6. I must say, I'm not a huge moog fan. I remember the 1995 theme very clearly....years of riding to school in the morning with my parents listening to the show (it sounded better to me than the 70s version). This looks like something the Beach Boys might have experimented with in "Pet Sounds"!

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  7. Cornelius LoomisMay 8, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Diana Ross and The Supremes used the Moog as well!

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