This week's contestant is Chuck Romportl from Hopkins, Minnesota. I was able to get the hidden song pretty quickly. The composer style, though, is in that area of which I generally have to toss a coin, and didn't get it. And in fairness, it's pretty tough. To my shock, the contestant actually guessed the composer style right off -- but didn't get the hidden song. Only on a second go-round, where pianist Bruce Adolphe brought the song out more, did he guess correctly.
From the archives. This week's contestant Walt Warren from Wheeling, West Virginia. I had a pretty good guess for the composer style -- the same one as Mr. Warren, and Bruce Adolphe said it was very close and could almost have been the right answer. But alas, I was wrong. As for the hidden song -- I could hear it, clearly in fact, and even was pretty sure I recognized it and where it might be from...but I just couldn't get it. But I don't feel badly because not only did Walt Warren not get it, but neither did host Fred Child. In fact, Fred didn't get it even after Bruce Adolphe gave some clues and the first world of the title. And when giving the answer, himself cried out, "Who would get that?!"
From the archives. The guest this week is Roger Reynolds from Ashland, Virginia. I got the hidden song almost immediately, and it's one of the least-hidden songs that Bruce Adolphe has done, so I suspect most people will get it. I have a feeling that the reason it's so lightly hidden is because it overlaps not a composer style, but an existing piece of music. Alas, as absolutely familiar and recognizable as that music is...I just couldn't name the composer.
From the archives, the contestants on today's Piano Puzzler are Beau Smith Pacheco from Addleboro, Massachusetts. For the longest time, I had hard time picking out the hidden song, though I thought I heard a couple possibilities. But a long ways in, it finally became absolutely clear, and I knew I had it right. As for the composer style, it danced between several possibilities...all of which were wrong. But the composer is very popular -- and one of my favorites. I just didn't think he wrote anything like this. One quibble -- not about the contest, but the discussion afterwards. The contestants didn't know the hidden song at all, though it's famous with several reasons why its pedigree should have helped -- yet neither host Fred Child or pianist Bruce Adolphe explained any of them. They only gave the name of the song. Not its larger context or perhaps who else famously recorded it, or maybe where it's from. (Sorry, I don't want to say more to give it away for those playing along.) At which point, if they had, the contestants might have said, "Ooohhhhh! Okay!! NOW I know what it is."
.The guest contestant -- not from the archives, but an actual new one! -- is Tim Rogers from Austin, Texas. As weird as the music is, I'd be shocked if one doesn't get the hidden song. As for the composer style, this is one of those who (for me) is always a toss-up between a few people. I took a guess on who struck me as closest -- and was wrong. Still, it's fun to hear arranger Bruce Adolphe describe his choices for what made it this composer.
From the archives. This week, the contestant is Mike Miller from New York, NY. I got the hidden song, though only from one passage where it was clear to me. The composer style is in a genre that's always tough for me, and it could have been between four or so. And I took a stab at one. I was wrong, but came pretty close -- I got the right country, period and style, and probably should have gotten it for all my limitations in that area. But alas didn't.
From the archives, this week's contestant is Eli Robbins from Peachtree City, Georgia. I was able to get the composer style quite easily, which is rare for me. Both the contestant and host Fred Child were stumped as for the hidden song -- as was I. That's because it is SO well-hidden. With a hint and bringing it out more the second go-round, the contestant got it -- but I still couldn't hear it. Only when composer Bruce Adolphe played it all through for a third time, was I able to focus it on it.
From the archives, this week's contestant is Andy Zerman from New York, NY. I was pleased, and a bit surprised that I got the composer whose style the song is written in. But I was stumped -- utterly stumped by the hidden song. No clue. Oddly, I thought it might be one of those 'trick songs' that pianist Bruce Adolphe sometimes does, where the song isn't a popular song, but something from the classical world. It wasn't that, but it turns out I had a good reason to think that. (I shall say no more.) Even when he slowed down the song and highlighted it, I didn't know. Only when I started at the main theme and focused on that did I guess it. That one theme, when you know what to listen for, is extremely clear. But the rest is very well hidden. Nice piece, though...
From the archives, this week's contestant is Sara Tillotson from Tulsa, Oklahoma. As I wrote previously, at first, I was able to pick out the hidden song by focusing on the proper hand which was playing the tune, though eventually it became perfectly clear without that. As for the composer style, I didn't have a clue -- the same as the contestant. To my surprise, my one offbeat guess was bizarrely close. I wouldn't have ever gotten it, though. It's tough. But perhaps you can get the era and type of music.
This week's contestant is Rob Scheinberg from Hoboken, New Jersey. The good news is that I got the composer style pretty quickly. It's someone that I often toss-up with one other composer, but I guessed the right one here. But I didn't have a clue with the hidden song. However, on the second pass, oddly enough I did think I had an idea of the composer of the hidden song, and was at least right about that. And when host Fred Child gave his first clue I immediately got it. That doesn't count, but it gives me tiny comfort.
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, is a regular columnist for the Writers Guild of America and was for the Huffington Post. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.
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