Monday, October 4, 2010

Brahms and Gold Records

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) a gold record is earned when a recording has sold one-half a million copies. The first gold record that was RIAA-certified was this 1958 gem from Perry Como:

 

Part of the credit for that golden record could have gone to Brahms because the tune was ripped cleanly from the Academic Festival Overture at [4:00]:


In 1993 a gold edition of the album "Fragile" by the band Yes was released. On it was this song called "Cans and Brahms" which is based on synthesized ideas from the third movement of the Brahms Symphony No. 4:

There was no Brahms on the Voyager Golden Record. Instead the classical music world was represented by three selections from Bach, two from Beethoven, an exerpt from The Rite of Spring, and a short work by Anthony Holborne. Oh, and the Queen of the Night Aria from Magic Flute:
 

This aria, "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" (The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart), must have been included just in case aliens in distant galaxies thought we came in peace. But Brahms himself wrote a song, "Gold überwiegt die Liebe" (Gold Prevails over Love), in which musical tears are shed over the decision to chose gold over love:

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