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Dmitri Kabalevsky:
Musical Jokes

Even though classical music is sometimes referred to as "serious music," a lot of times it just isn't. Serious, that is -- classical composers wrote some very funny music.

Music heard in this episode:
Leopold Mozart: Toy Symphony
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A Musical Joke
Haydn: Symphony #90
Haydn: Symphony #94
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture
Schickele/P.D.Q. Bach: 1712 Overture
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Horn Concerto
Flanders and Swan: Ill Wind
Kabalevsky: Galop from The Comedians

Other shows about Dmitri Kabalevsky:
About Dmitri Kabalevsky
The Comedians Suite
What's a Galop
Incidental Music

Download this month's activity sheet

About Dmitri Kabalevsky
12/30/1904 - 2/14/1987
Born in Russia

Dmitri Kabalevsky was born in St. Petersburg, which was then the capital of Russia. He started playing the piano by ear when he was six. In 1918, after the Russian Revolution, the family moved to Moscow, where Dmitri finally started studying music -- including composition.

Kabalevsky lived in a difficult time and place for a composer. In the Soviet Union, the government told artists -- painters, writers, composers, you name it -- exactly what they were expected to create, and how it should look or sound. Kabalevsky managed to make the authorities happy as he continued to compose.

Kabalevsky wrote a lot of piano music, including pieces for children. He really enjoyed writing for children. Other Kabalevsky compositions include songs for children's chorus, and a set of songs for solo voice based on some wonderful Russian translations of Mother Goose rhymes. Of course, Kabalevsky also wrote plenty of adult pieces, including symphonies, concertos, and music for the theater.

See other composers born in Russia


This Week's Quiz:

1. Which family of musicians liked to write musical jokes?




2.Who wrote the Surprise Symphony?

Franz Joseph Haydn

Robert Schumann

Franz Schubert

Aaron Copland

3. Peter Schickele plays musical jokes under the name of

Chris Rock

Papa Haydn

P.D.Q. Bach

Flanders and Swan


Dmitri Kabalevsky
"Galop" from The Comedians

Composed in 1940
Performed by Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
Kenneth Jean, conductor

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