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This is a place where our classical hosts, interns and artists can share their stories, viewpoints and point of view on topics related to classical music and the arts in general. Come back to this page often to read the latest and share your comments.

Curried Turkey and Musical Leftovers

Anna https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:And_Then_There_Were_Leftovers.jpg

This is the recipe for Curried Turkey Spread that my mom makes after Thanksgiving. 


¾ lb. Turkey
½ cup mayonnaise
8 ounce package cream cheese
3 tbl. Curry powder
3 tbl. Chutney
1 cup almonds

Combine all ingredients in food processor until smooth.  Serve with crackers or mini pit bread quarters.

Now that I am actually looking at the ingredients, it sounds a little weird. But I assure you, it is all but guaranteed to keep you standing in front of the refrigerator spooning it onto the crackers or eating it straight from the Tupperware the entire week after Thanksgiving (your experience may vary).

With that useful information passed on, I now give you few examples of brilliant ways that composers have taken old musical ingredients and turned them into something new:

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1910)

comes from - 

"Why Fum'th in Fight" by Thomas Tallis (1567)

"In ruhig fliessender bewegung" from Sinfonia, by Luciano Berio

is composed on top of: 

Scherzo, from Symphony No. 2, by Gustav Mahler

Which was already based on earlier music...Mahler reused his song "St. Anthony Preaches to the Fishes" for the Scherzo in his Second Symphony: 

"He is There," by Charles Ives

This four-minute song borrows tunes from FOURTEEN different songs - an especially impressive use of old ingredients to form a new stew. How many ingredients can you identify? You can find the answer here. This song is just one of many, many examples of Charles Ives's musical borrowing and reworking of other music - classical pieces, hymns, American songs, and marching tunes. You can get lost in that world with this excellent book. Or you could start with the Charles Ives Society website

These are just a few examples from many that could have been on this list. I am curious to hear other favorite examples of composers re-purposing other music (and any actual good recipes for leftovers!)  I hope you'll share some in the comments.

Mona Seghatoleslami is the host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. She also hosts the lunchtime concert series Live From Hochstein Wednesdays at 12:10 p.m., interviews musicians, produces special programs, and works on any project she can find that helps connect people and music in our community through WXXI.