Composers Datebook®

Franklin's 'Falls Flyer'

Composers Datebook - June 9, 2024


The name Charles A. Lindbergh will forever be associated with two dramatic events: the first, Lindbergh’s historic nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic in the airplane The Spirit of St. Louis; the second, the kidnapping and murder of his infant son.

On today’s date in the year 2002, marking the centennial of Lindbergh’s birth and the 75th anniversary of his Atlantic crossing, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis premiered the opera Loss of Eden, a musical reflection on Lindbergh’s public triumph and personal tragedy.

Composer Cary John Franklin reworked themes from his opera into a chamber piece for oboe and guitar, Falls Flyer. The title refers to both Lindbergh, who was born in Little Falls, Minnesota, and to the line of speedboats marketed under that name from the 1930s to the 1950s, whose sleek lines were modeled after the open cockpit of Lindbergh’s first plane.

Franklin wrote, “Falls Flyer is derived from music that accompanies the major dramatic moments of the opera — the plane departing for Paris, the kidnapping, and the execution of the man convicted of the crime. The more lyrical sections suggest the serenity and solitude found floating through clouds — or drifting on the water.”

Music Played in Today's Program

Cary John Franklin (b. 1956): Falls Flyer; Klemp-Kachian Duo; Schubert Club/Ten Thousand Lakes 115

On This Day


  • 1810 - German composer and conductor Otto Nicolai, in Königsberg (Kaliningrad)

  • 1865 - French composer Alberic Magnard, in Paris. He was killed by German soldiers while defending his home in Baron, Oise, on Sept. 3, 1914.

  • 1865 - Danish composer Carl Nielsen, in Sortelung, near Norre Lyndelse, Funen

  • 1891 - American composer Cole Porter, in Peru, Indiana

  • 1912 - German-born American composer and pianist, Ingolf Dahl, in Hamburg

  • 1938 - American composer Charles Wuorinen, in New York


  • 1656 - burial date of English composer Thomas Tomkins, 84, in the village of Martin Hussingtree, near Worcester


  • 1860 - R. Schumann: Cello Concerto, posthumously, by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, at a concert commemorating the late composer’s 50th birthday anniversary (see June 8), with soloist Ludwig Ebert

  • 1902 - Mahler: Symphony No. 3 in Krefeld, Germany, at the Festival of the Allgemeiner Deutsche Musikverein, with the composer conducting

  • 1912 - At the home of L. Láloy in Bellevue, Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky perform a four-hand piano version of the latter’s new ballet score for The Rite of Spring, which the Ballet Russe would premiere the following year in Paris (May 29, 1913)

  • 1939 - Bax: Symphony No. 7 (dedicated to the American people), at Carnegie Hall by the New York Philharmonic, with Sir Adrian Boult conducting. This work was commissioned by the British Council as part of the British Exhibition at 1939 World’s Fair.

  • 1940 - Copland: Our Town orchestral suite (from the film score), on a CBS radio broadcast. A revised version of the suite was given its first public performance by the Boston Pops conducted by Leonard Bernstein on May 7, 1944.

  • 1951 - Haydn: opera Orpheus and Eurydice, posthumously, in Florence at the Teatro della Pergola. Haydn composed this opera in 1791 for performance in London, but the work was never staged in his lifetime.

  • 1966 - Britten: church opera The Burning Fiery Furnace, in Orford Church, near Aldeburgh


  • 1840 - Franz Liszt gives a solo performance at the Hanover Square Rooms in London billed as “Recitals.” This was the first time the term “recital” was used to describe a public musical performance, and it caused much discussion and debate at the time; Liszt is credited with both inventing and naming the now-common solo piano “recital.”

  • 1904 - The London Symphony gives its first concert, with Hans Richter conducting

  • 1912 - At the home of L. Láloy in Bellevue, Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky perform a four-hand piano version of the latter’s new ballet score for The Rite of Spring, which the Ballet Russe would premiere the following year in Paris (see May 29, 1913)

  • 1968 - Leonard Bernstein conducts the New York Philharmonic in the Adagietto movement from Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 at a memorial concert for Robert Kennedy at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York

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About Composers Datebook®

Host John Birge presents a daily snapshot of composers past and present, with timely information, intriguing musical events and appropriate, accessible music related to each.

He has been hosting, producing and performing classical music for more than 25 years. Since 1997, he has been hosting on Minnesota Public Radio's Classical Music Service. He played French horn for the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra and performed with them on their centennial tour of Europe in 1995. He was trained at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy.

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