:: Radio

American Highways


Paul Wittgenstein’s arm was blown off in the first World War, and his career as a pianist seemed doomed. But against all odds (and helped by his immense family fortune) he overcame his handicap to become the first celebrity one-armed pianist. His repertoire, mostly new, came from Ravel, Britten, and Prokofiev whom he commissioned to write incredible piano concertos for left hand and orchestra.

In this episode of American Highways, pianist Guy Livingston brings us a melodramatic scene from MASH, as well as two immensely moving piano concertos.
More at

theme Music : Steve Reich. The Desert Music (1984)
First Movement (Fast).
Chorus of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Members of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Michael Tilson Thomas & William Carlos Williams.
(Nonesuch Records 79101)
1) Johnny Mandel / Michael Altman
Theme from M.A.S.H.
All Stars Orchestra
(All Stars 10573)
2) Neil Halstead
Wittgenstein’s Arm
Neil Halstead
(Brushfire Records B0017128-01)
3) Sergei Prokofiev
Concerto for Piano (left Hand) and Orchestra No. 4
I. Vivace
II. Andante
III. Moderato – Allegro Moderato – Meno Mosso – Andante – Allegro Moderato
IV. Vivace
Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa, conducting, Leon Fleisher, piano
(Sony Classics 47188)
4) Benjamin Britten
Diversions, Op. 21 for Piano (left Hand) and Orchestra
1. Theme. Maestoso
2. Var. I. Recitative. L’istesso Tempo (Maestoso)
3. Var. II. Romance. Allegretto Mosso
4. Var. III. March. Allegro Con Brio
5. Var. IV. Arabesque. Allegretto
6. Var. V. Chant. Andante Solennemente
7. Var. VI. Nocturne. Andante Piacevole
8. Var. VII. Badinerie. Grave
9. Var. VIII. Burlesque. Molto Moderato
10. Var. IXa. Toccata I. Allegro
11. Var. IXb. Toccata II. L’istesso Tempo – Cadenza. L’istesso Tempo – Andante Come Sopra – (Attaca)
12. Var. X. Adagio
13. Finale – Tarantella. Presto Con Fuoco
Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa, conducting, Leon Fleisher, piano
(Sony Classics 47188)