My exposure to classical music as a child was limited. Like most babyboomers, my classical music education was supplied by cartoons, movies, and a few educational records in the house. Oh, and my maternal grandfather could play the slow movement to the Moonlight Sonata.
I had plenty of exposure to jazz, though, and that led me to the Swingle Singers and Switched-On Bach and George Gershwin's classical compositions, and in the 1970s, when LPs got really cheap on the eve of the introduction of CDs, I bought $1.99 classical LPs by the dozens.
You don't necessarily learn the classics the way a conservatory teaches them when you're buying LPs by the dozens, and I found myself attracted to American composers of the 20th century, some of whom are little-known to people with much better educations.
So it's fun now and then to do a whole edition of "Howard's Day Off" on some of these almost-forgotten composers, whose musical sensibilities may accord with yours because they were exposed to popular music that you also know.
Frank Zappa comes up a lot on the show - underlying his subversive political and cultural messages was an even more subversive slipping-in of jazz and classical music at his "rock concerts," and I like listening to his "Outrage at Valdez," and "Pound for a Brown."
Michael Torke is a living composer who spins beautiful orchestral music from tiny musical motifs, and I'll play "Ash" and "Purple" from his best album "Color Music," but also something newer called "Moorea - Green Cliffs," and in fact the desire to play this piece on the air inspired the whole show.
Other composers like Robert Moran, David Ward-Steinman, Ron Nelson, William McCauley and Russell Peck may be little known to most people who know a lot about classical music, but they all composed interesting pieces that intrigue the ear.
I'll throw in some Morton Gould, Samuel Barber and John Adams as well.
Howard's Day Off airs live 5am-7am HST Saturdays on KHPR Honolulu, KKUA Wailuku, and KANO Hilo, and streams on http://www.hawaiipublicradio - Max Cacas of Washington D.C. created the Howard's Day Off Listener Appreciation Society on Facebook, and dutifully copies all of these Music Posts over there for convenient perusal. Hawaii Public Radio is an independent nonprofit and the time for this program is donated.