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Mar 31
Anton Bruckner
People who are always changing their minds can be a little maddening to work with. "I want it this way. No, wait, how about that way. No, now that I think about it, this other way is much better. You know, I think I liked it better the first way." Anton Bruckner was one of those people. He revised his fourth symphony no fewer than seven times. Today's show features one of those revisions, as the Toronto Symphony and conductor Peter Oundjian perform the first movement from Bruckner's fourth.
Mar 30
Igor Stravinsky
When Igor Stravinsky completed the music for his ballet, "The Firebird," he criticized his own work for being unoriginal. However, it represented "good conditions for success," he said. Nowadays, we view Stravinsky as one of the most original (and successful) composers ever, constantly reinventing himself and his composing styles. Today's show features a suite from Stravinsky's "The Firebird," played by the Budapest Festival Orchestra and conductor Ivan Fischer.
Mar 28
Igor Stravinsky
Mar 27
James Galway
Before Irish flutist James Galway became an international star as a soloist, he held one of the most prestigious orchestral chairs in Europe. He was solo flutist with the Berlin Philharmonic. But it almost didn't happen. Galway won the position, but didn't like the way the audition was handled, so he initially turned it down. Today, we'll hear James Galway in two movements from a Mozart flute concerto, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Mar 26
Daniel Barenboim West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
Conductor Daniel Barenboim formed the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra with young musicians from several Middle Eastern countries. The group performed an historic concert in the Palestinian city of Ramallah on the West Bank, and we'll go there to hear performances of a Mozart Sinfonia Concertante and some of Sir Edward Elgar's "Enigma" Variations.
Mar 25
Cuckoo Bird
In 1927, Italian composer Ottorino Respighi wrote a suite of musical portraits. Not of kings or queens, mythological or historical figures. It was a suite of bird music, including portraits of the hen, the dove, the nightingale, and the cuckoo (pictured). As you enjoy the spring bird migration outside your window, you can listen to these charming settings of their music, performed by the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra and conductor Nicholas McGegan.
Mar 24
Mozart loved to hang out at the kegelstatt, or bowling alley. The story goes that he got the idea for a piece of music while bowling. And the "Kegelstatt" trio was born. Turns out, modern scholars don't think the story was true, but the name has stuck. Today, we'll hear the "Kegelstatt" trio performed by the Prima Trio in Palm Beach, Florida.
Mar 23
Johann Sebastian Bach
Bach's 324th birthday was two days ago, and we'll celebrate with music by Bach and music inspired by Bach. Almost every composer owes something to Bach's great legacy. Robert Schumann paid homage with a fugue based on the letters in Bach's name. Heitor Villa-Lobos wrote music that combined Brazilian folk melodies with Bach. Leonard Bernstein took a decidedly American approach, combining Bach with jazz. It's all on Monday's Performance Today.
Mar 21
Johann Sebastian Bach
Mar 20
Today marks the vernal equinox, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. We'll hear what spring sounds like to composers Vivaldi, Piazzolla, Debussy, and Schubert. Plus, we'll hear music about flowers, frogs, and California's Santa Ana Winds. Experience springtime and the joy of being reborn, on today's PT.
Mar 19
Ralph Vaughan Williams
The 1943 premiere of Ralph Vaughan Williams' fifth symphony had to be held in the afternoon, because German bombs often fell at night. The symphony represents the search for tranquility, peace, and happiness. It was an immediate favorite at its premiere, and has been ever since. On today's show, we'll hear a performance of the fifth symphony by the Swedish Radio Symphony and conductor Daniel Harding.
Mar 18
Planets Moon Sun Outerspace
The second hour of today's show features some especially heavenly music. We'll hear music inspired by the earth, the moon, and two of the planets - Mercury and Jupiter. And we'll finish with a performance by the Borealis Wind Quintet, named in honor of the aurora borealis - those ghostly, shimmery colored lights in the northern sky.
Mar 17
Shamrock
We're celebrating St. Patrick's Day today. We'll hear musicians from Ireland, like James Galway and Camerata Ireland. We'll hear music from Ireland, Bryn Terfel singing Danny Boy, and Irish tunes from the baroque to the modern. And some music inspired by Ireland, an American concerto for violin with Irish roots, by Mark O'Connor.
Mar 16
French horn players usually sit in the back of the orchestra. The bells of their instruments pointing backwards, their sound goes the wrong direction, towards the back of the stage. There's not much glory in that. But in today's show, the horn section of the German Symphony Orchestra moves to the front of the orchestra to perform Robert Schumann's Concert Piece for Four Horns in Berlin.
Mar 14
Sergey Prokofiev
Sergei Prokofiev was living in Paris when he started writing his second violin concerto. But he suffered an incurable bout of homesickness, and returned to Russia in 1935. On today's show, we'll feature this half-French, half-Russian concerto. Violinist Liza Ferschtman is making her PT debut with this performance, accompanied by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Yakov Kreizberg.
Mar 13
Sergey Prokofiev
Usually, overtures are relegated to the start of a concert. They make great appetizers, with the symphonies and concertos forming the entrees for the evening. But sometimes, overtures are so good that you can make a whole meal out of them. We've got three of them in the second hour of today's show, plus a few other tasty morsels.
Mar 12
Sergey Prokofiev
Sergei Prokofiev was living in Paris when he started writing his second violin concerto. But he suffered an incurable bout of homesickness, and returned to Russia in 1935. On today's show, we'll feature this half-French, half-Russian concerto. Violinist Liza Ferschtman is making her PT debut with this performance, accompanied by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Yakov Kreizberg.
Mar 11
Cesar_Franck
At age 43, Johannes Brahms completed his first symphony. That was ancient by the standards of the day. Today, we'll hear a first symphony written by a much older composer, the 66-year-old Cesar Franck. Turns out, it was the only symphony he ever wrote. The critics didn't like it much when it premiered in 1889. But the work has endured. Today, we'll hear a performance of the symphony by the Metropolitan Orchestra of Greater Montreal.
Mar 10
Today's show features two great symphonies - the Houston Symphony under Hans Graf, and the Cleveland Orchestra under Alan Gilbert. It also features two great symphonies - Tchaikovsky's second ("The Little Russian") and Dvorak's sixth. Plus, we'll hear an emotionally-charged performance by the young Ukrainian pianist, Alexander Gavrylyuk, playing music by Rachmaninoff.
Mar 9
Andre Mathieu
Most people have never heard of Canadian composer Andre Mathieu. Mathieu was a rising star in the 1930s and 1940s. But he led a troubled life, dropped out of the music scene, and died in obscurity in 1968. Some call him the Canadian Mozart, although his style is closer to Rachmaninoff, who called Mathieu a genius. On today's show, Alain Lefevre performs Mathieu's fourth piano concerto with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
Mar 7
Jean Sibelius
The Finnish nights were long and cold while Jean Sibelius was working on his seventh symphony. Especially since his wife was angry with him at the time. He turned to a new, more understanding companion - alcohol. Not exactly the prescribed formula for artistic success, but for Sibelius it seemed to have worked. Today's show features a 200 proof performance of the seventh by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in Amsterdam.
Mar 6
Many people remember sitarist Ravi Shankar as a figure from the 1960s flower-power era. He was good friends with the Beatles. But he's also a master of Indian classical music. He's still composing and performing at age 88. Today we'll hear the recent world premiere of Shankar's third concerto for sitar and orchestra. Shankar's daughter Anoushka performed on the sitar, along with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
Mar 5
Performance Today is commissioning a new poem about a piece of music. This week on Performance Today, we're airing our nominees for the project, and our listeners will choose the winner. Poet C.K. Williams will be writing the poem, to be aired on the show on April 1. Today's nominee is the second movement of Beethoven's seventh symphony, played by the Minnesota Orchestra.
Mar 4
Gustav Mahler
Today's show features performances that range from about as small as you can get (Jose Franch-Ballester on the solo clarinet) to enormous (the mighty Chicago Symphony Orchestra with the thundering finale from Mahler's first symphony). And yet, there are moments of both intimacy and power in each. Today's show explores the beauty of performances both large and small.
Mar 3
Jean Sibelius
The Finnish nights were long and cold while Jean Sibelius was working on his seventh symphony. Especially since his wife was angry with him at the time. He turned to a new, more understanding companion - alcohol. Not exactly the prescribed formula for artistic success, but for Sibelius it seemed to have worked. Today's show features a 200 proof performance of the seventh by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in Amsterdam.
Mar 2
joshua bell
Last week in London, violinist Joshua Bell gave a performance of Barber's violin concerto, while on tour with the Minnesota Orchestra. The critics loved it, using phrases like "ravishing form,""rapt, confidential beauty," and "sweetly sustained lyricism." Tune in to today's show to hear Bell play the Barber concerto with the Minnesota Orchestra and conductor Osmo Vanska, from a concert last week in London.