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Oct 31
Halloween Moon
Sharp objects and sharp performances, in honor of Halloween. Josef Haydn was frustrated with a dull razor one morning, and offered to give his best string quartet for a decent shave. Someone produced one, and the "Razor" quartet was born. If that's not scary enough, we'll have music from Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd," the demon barber of Fleet Street.
Oct 30
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Rachmaninoff was only 22 when he wrote his first symphony, but conductor Valery Gergiev believes it can hold its own against any of the composer's later, more famous works. He says the symphony is filled with "emotional power and beautiful lyricism." Gergiev leads the London Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Rachmaninoff's First Symphony.
Oct 29
Anton Bruckner
They didn't have organized fan clubs back in the 1800s, but if there had been one for Wagner, Anton Bruckner would have been the president. He idolized Wagner, and wrote his seventh symphony as a tribute to him. We'll hear the Adagio from Bruckner's seventh symphony, performed by the Cleveland Orchestra and conductor Franz Welser-Most.
Oct 28
Andras Schiff
Pianist Andras Schiff joins the Budapest Festival Orchestra today for Dvorak's only piano concerto, with Ivan Fischer at the podium. It's a rare treat to hear a relatively unknown work by a famous composer, brought to life by one of the hottest pianists working today, in the composer's native country. You won't want to miss it.
Oct 27
When the Washington National Cathedral approached him to write a new work, Dominick Argento said no. He was grieving the death of his wife, and was done composing. They persisted, suggesting he write a memorial for his wife. The result was "Evensong - Of Love and Angels." Today we'll go to the premiere performance of Argento's loving tribute to his wife.
Oct 25
Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard's career is on the upswing. He's been busy making a name for himself with some great concerts lately. His recording of Bach's "Art of the Fugue" is a hot seller. Today we'll hear him in a performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Oct 24
Gil Shaham
Of all the works Max Bruch wrote, his most popular by far is his first violin concerto. Bruch himself was a little annoyed that the concerto seemed to eclipse his other works. Today we'll bring you a performance of the concerto with violinist Gil Shaham and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Mariss Jansons conducts.
Oct 23
ALBAN GERHARDT
Cellist Alban Gerhardt shares his thoughts on his performances with listeners through his blog - even his self-doubts. That kind of openness is a rarity these days. We'll hear a stunning peformance of Gerhardt performing Robert Schumann's cello concerto, from a concert with the KBS Symphony in Seoul, South Korea.
Oct 22
Ivan Fischer
Today we'll feature two performances of the Budapest Festival Orchestra led by conductor Ivan Fischer. Fischer founded the group, and this year is their 25th anniversary. We'll hear works by Sarasate and Brahms from a concert at the Edinburgh Festival featuring the happy couple - Fischer and his band from Budapest.
Oct 21
Valery Gergiev
Conductor Valery Gergiev is a hot commodity. He's one of the busiest conductors around, always in high demand. With four regular conducting gigs, he's been called the "hardest working man in show biz." Today we'll hear him conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in music from Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony from London's Barbican Hall.
Oct 20
Pierre-Laurent Aimard
Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard's career is on the upswing. He's been busy making a name for himself with some great concerts lately. His recording of Bach's "Art of the Fugue" is a hot seller. Today we'll hear him in a performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Oct 18
Today, we'll hear the king of instruments in the hands of a master. Organist Paul Jacobs joins the Pacific Symphony for a performance of Camille Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony from the Orange County Performing Arts Center in California. The occasion marked the debut of that new instrument -- all 4,322 pipes of it.
Oct 17
Georges Bizet
Georges Bizet's Symphony in C sat on a shelf at the Paris Conservatory for 80 years before it was discovered. Bizet wrote it while he was a student there. The world didn't find out about it until long after his death. We'll hear a performance of this teen-aged masterpiece by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York City.
Oct 16
Richard Strauss
When Richard Strauss compared himself to Napoleon and wrote a piece about himself, calling it "A Hero's Life," he had his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. Some of the critics didn't get the joke - Strauss parodied them in the piece. Today we'll hear music from "A Hero's Life" featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Oct 15
Today we'll feature two great symphonies, Schumann's Symphony No. 2 and Mozart's Symphony No. 40. Both were written during times of anguish in the composers' lives, but somehow each managed to find healing in the creative process. It's music to soothe the soul and challenge the spirit, today on Performance Today.
Oct 14
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky was quite the cosmopolitan. He lived all over the world, finally settling in the U.S. for the last three decades of his life. Today we'll hear his Italian Suite for violin and piano from a concert in Bucharest, Romania. Plus, Gershwin's Cuban Overture from Munich and an Argentinian tango from California.
Oct 13
Today, we'll hear the king of instruments in the hands of a master. Organist Paul Jacobs joins the Pacific Symphony for a performance of Camille Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony from the Orange County Performing Arts Center in California. The occasion marked the debut of that new instrument -- all 4,322 pipes of it.
Oct 11
george gershwin
Gershwin had it. Pianist Jon Kimura Parker has it. It's that masterful sense of timing, of where and when to place every note for just the right amount of swing. It's rhythm, and you'll have it too after listening to today's show. Pianist Jon Kimura Parker joins the Colorado Symphony for George Gershwin's Variations on "I Got Rhythm."
Oct 10
Dvorak
If there's an earthquake down under, will we feel it here in the U.S.? Definitely. Never one for small ambitions, Antonin Dvorak said he wanted his music to "shake the world." Today on PT we'll hear the West Australia Symphony Orchestra performing Dvorak's Seventh Symphony from a concert in Perth, Australia.
Oct 9
george gershwin
Gershwin had it. Pianist Jon Kimura Parker has it. It's that masterful sense of timing, of where and when to place every note for just the right amount of swing. It's rhythm, and you'll have it too after listening to today's show. Pianist Jon Kimura Parker joins the Colorado Symphony for George Gershwin's Variations on "I Got Rhythm."
Oct 8
Impressionism was all the rage in France a hundred years ago, but it didn't really catch on in America. Today on the show we'll be exploring impressionism - from both sides of the Atlantic. You may not be familiar with American impressionist composer Charles Griffes. We'll hear two of his works plus music by those more famous impressionists, Manuel de Falla and Maurice Ravel.
Oct 7
Life dealt the Orion String Quartet a bunch of lemons earlier this year when one of their members was stranded in Chicago and unable to get to their concert in San Antonio. So the remaining three members of the quartet had to scramble to put together a performance without him. We'll hear that trio performance today.
Oct 6
Heimbach power plant
Two giant turbines loom large on the stage. Black iron hooks and chains dangle from the ceiling. No, it's not a medieval torture chamber. It's a concert venue, although an admittedly unusual one. It's the Heimbach Power plant in Germany, site of the Spannungen Chamber Music Festival. We'll hear a Dvorak piano quintet from Heimbach today on PT.
Oct 4
Mozart
What's your favorite Mozart work? Mozart himself addressed that question, and he picked his Quintet in E-flat for Piano and Winds as his best. We'll hear it performed today by pianist Jon Kimura Parker and members of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, from a concert given in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Oct 3
Best to have your fire extinguisher at the ready. Today we'll feature an hour of both fiery and fire-inspired music in the second half of our show. From Stravinsky's Firebird ballet arranged for five pianos to the fiery "Devil's Trill" performed by violinist Joshua Bell, it'll be a scorcher on Performance Today.
Oct 2
Gustavo Dudamel
The young Venezuelan conductor is known for his energetic, gravity-defying conducting style. He stomps, he leaps, he grunts. Today Gustavo Dudamel puts in another aerobic workout conducting the Radio France Philharmonic in Zoltan Kodaly's "Dances from Galanta." Join us for Performance Today, and get your heart rate up.
Oct 1
Mozart
What's your favorite Mozart work? Mozart himself addressed that question, and he picked his Quintet in E-flat for Piano and Winds as his best. We'll hear it performed today by pianist Jon Kimura Parker and members of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, from a concert given in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.