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Oct 31
Steve Reich
Earlier this month, we broadcast a performance of "New York Counterpoint," a 1985 minimalist classic by Steve Reich, with parts for 11 clarinets. Performance Today listeners responded in droves: some absolutely loved it, others...not so much. This weekend, Fred has PT listener comments about New York Counterpoint...and composer Steve Reich comments on the comments. Fred talks with Reich, who describes the piece and explains what he had in mind. (And...Reich says he doesn't compose "minimalist music," he simply composes "music.") Of course, we'll hear it again! Richie Hawley in concert in Santa Barbara, California plays "New York Counterpoint."
Oct 30
Gustavo Dudamel
28 year-old conductor Gustavo Dudamel lights up Disney Hall once again, this time conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic in an incandescent concert performance of the Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz.
Oct 29
The Oslo Chamber Choir
The Oslo Chamber Choir was founded as a purely classical ensemble 25 years ago. They have the beautiful rich sound of the best classical choirs, but they've also become intrepid musical adventurers. They'll join Fred in the studio for day 2 of music and conversation. Today, Norwegian folk music inspired by the calls of shepherds looking for lost sheep in the mountains, with vocal imitations of the sounds of wild Norway in the background. Plus, an innovative combination of Norwegian folk songs and sacred music by Rachmaninoff.
Oct 28
The Oslo Chamber Choir
The Oslo Chamber Choir was founded as a classical vocal ensemble 25 years ago. Then they added some Norwegian folk songs. Now, they're experimenting with laying the folk songs right on top of choral classics. The Oslo Chamber Choir joins Fred in the studio to explain, and to demonstrate their new versions of choral works by Anton Bruckner and Edvard Grieg; these are daring and hauntingly beautiful combinations.
Oct 27
When Mozart was writing his Symphony Number 29 in 1774, Australia was pretty much as it had been for the previous 40,000 years. Westerners wouldn't start arriving for another decade or more. Much has changed in the intervening centuries. Today, Australia is a thoroughly modern nation with a thriving arts scene. On today's show, we'll hear Richard Tognetti lead the Australian Chamber Orchestra in Mozart's 29th symphony, from a recent concert in Melbourne.
Oct 26
Steve Reich
Earlier this month, we broadcast a performance of "New York Counterpoint," a 1985 minimalist classic by Steve Reich, with parts for 11 clarinets. Performance Today listeners responded in droves: some absolutely loved it, others...not so much. Today, Fred has PT listener comments about New York Counterpoint...and composer Steve Reich comments on the comments. Fred talks with Reich, who describes the piece and explains what he had in mind. (And...Reich says he doesn't compose "minimalist music," he simply composes "music.") Of course, we'll hear it again! Richie Hawley in concert in Santa Barbara, California plays "New York Counterpoint."
Oct 24
American conductor James Levine is normally very busy this time of year. He's music director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York as well as the Boston Symphony. But Levine is out recuperating from back surgery. He was supposed to make his return to the podium this week, but Levine's doctors nixed that. He's under orders to take it easy for a while longer. The staff of PT wishes him a speedy recovery. In today's show, we'll feature a pre-surgery performance of Levine conducting the Boston Symphony in Haydn's Symphony Number 104.
Oct 23
Fleck Meyer Hussain Trio
When you think of three instruments that just naturally belong together, it's not likely your first thought would be banjo, string bass, and tabla (Indian drums). Banjoist Bela Fleck, bassist Edgar Meyer, and tabla player Zakir Hussain come from very different musical backgrounds, but they've formed a unique and compelling trio that is capturing the attention of music lovers. PT's Fred Child hosted a live event last Sunday in Miami, featuring interviews and performances by Fleck, Meyer, and Hussain. We'll hear highlights on today's show.
Oct 22
Rachel Podger
Violinist Rachel Podger was once told by her teacher that Baroque violin playing was only for those who can't play real violin. So she sneaked out and took Baroque violin lessons on the side. Podger has since become one of the great early music interpreters, and performs with London's Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in today's show. Podger is both soloist and conductor in a Haydn violin concerto.
Oct 21
American conductor James Levine is normally very busy this time of year. He's music director of the Metropolitan Opera in New York as well as the Boston Symphony. But Levine is out recuperating from back surgery. He was supposed to make his return to the podium this week, but Levine's doctors nixed that. He's under orders to take it easy for a while longer. The staff of PT wishes him a speedy recovery. In today's show, we'll feature a pre-surgery performance of Levine conducting the Boston Symphony in Haydn's Symphony Number 104.
Oct 20
Maurizio Pollini
Pianist Maurizio Pollini says it's his job as a performer to "make the sense clear: the necessity of the notes." Not just to get the notes right or even just to make them expressive or beautiful. He says he has to convince the listener of the rightness of what the composer wrote, so that it sounds as if no other notes could possibly follow. We think Pollini does a convincing job on Mozart's Piano Concerto Number 12, in a performance with the Vienna Philharmonic.
Oct 19
Valery Gergiev
Valery Gergiev is one of the most dynamic conductors of our time: expressive face, penetrating eyes, dramatic gyrations and leaps on the podium. But he also likes to be very precise -- he generally conducts, not with a baton, but with a toothpick held between his right thumb and forefinger. Last month, Gergiev opened the new season with the London Symphony Orchestra by using a toothpick to conduct "Daphnis and Chloe" by Maurice Ravel.
Oct 17
Jonathan Biss
The great young American pianist Jonathan Biss joins Fred in our studio to play, and talk about, music by Franz Schubert. For Biss, Schubert's music is infused with "joyful sadness and tragic joy," these two emotional poles interweave seamlessly. Jonathan Biss plays the opening movement from Schubert's A-Major Sonata. And also introduces us to quietly quirky works by his favorite living composer: Gyorgy Kurtag.
Oct 16
Franz Welser-Most
The Vienna Philharmonic is one of the great orchestras in the world...and one of the most unusual. They play horns and oboes no one else uses. All the major decisions affecting the orchestra are made by members of the orchestra. And they have no single conductor, they dispensed with that model in 1933. All their conductors are guests, serving at the pleasure of the orchestra. From a concert last month in Lucerne, Switzerland, the Vienna Philharmonic and guest conductor Franz Welser-Most perform the elegant (and cheeky) Symphony No. 98, by Haydn.
Oct 15
piano
We'll feature the wide emotional range of the piano in today's show, from two charming and reflective miniatures played by Stephen Hough and Jose Enrique Bagaria, to Beethoven's brooding and powerful third piano concerto. Alfred Brendel performs with Franz Welser-Most and the Cleveland Orchestra, in one of his last American appearances before he retired last year.
Oct 14
Valery Gergiev
Conductor Valery Gergiev brings a penetrating intelligence to the podium, but when the moment for music-making arrives, he also has a primal intensity that can produce riveting performances. From a concert last month in London, Gergiev leads the London Symphony in Claude Debussy's musical picture of the primal power of the sea, "La Mer."
Oct 13
Jonathan Biss
The great young American pianist Jonathan Biss joins Fred in our studio to play, and talk about, music by Franz Schubert. For Biss, Schubert's music is infused with "joyful sadness and tragic joy," these two emotional poles interweave seamlessly. Jonathan Biss plays the opening movement from Schubert's A-Major Sonata. And also introduces us to quietly quirky works by his favorite living composer: Gyorgy Kurtag.
Oct 12
Sergei Rachmaninoff
When Sergei Rachmaninoff's First Symphony premiered in 1897, the critics were ruthless. One of the kinder, gentler reviews compared the work to the seven plagues of Egypt. Rachmaninoff fell into an emotional abyss, and didn't compose anything for several years. Nowadays, the symphony is an audience favorite. We'll hear a blistering performance of Rachmaninoff's First Symphony, from London's BBC Proms. Gennadi Rozhdestvensky conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Oct 10
Gustavo Dudamel
Last night, Gustavo Dudamel made his debut as the new music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Host Fred Child was there, and will share his experience of the big event. We'll hear excerpts from Mahler's first symphony from the concert. Plus, our weekly 21st-century work is a charming string quartet by Paul Moravec called "Vince and Jan: 1945." It's based on a World War II-era photo of Moravec's parents, Vince and Jan (see sidebar at right).
Oct 9
Gustavo Dudamel
Last night, Gustavo Dudamel made his debut as the new music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Host Fred Child was there, and will share his experience of the big event. We'll hear excerpts from Mahler's first symphony from the concert. Plus, our weekly 21st-century work is a charming string quartet by Paul Moravec called "Vince and Jan: 1945." It's based on a World War II-era photo of Moravec's parents, Vince and Jan (see sidebar at right).
Oct 8
Gustavo Dudamel
The wait is almost over. Conductor Gustavo Dudamel is just about to take the helm as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His debut concert is tonight, and host Fred Child will be there. We'll be featuring a live webcast of the concert, and will include highlights on Friday's show. We'll get ready for the Big Event today by featuring several past performances with Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, including a high-energy performance of music from Berlioz'"Symphonie Fantastique."
Oct 7
Felix Mendelssohn
British composer and conductor Peter Maxwell Davies is considered a national treasure in the U.K. He celebrated his 75th birthday last month. The BBC Proms featured not one but two special concerts in Davies' honor. Davies humbly pronounced himself "thrilled to bits" at the honor. We'll hear a work from one of these concerts, where Davies conducted the Royal Philharmonic in Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture.
Oct 6
Zubin Mehta
Nothing but clarinets in hour 1, with single-reed masterpieces by Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Steve Reich. (Don't miss Sabine Meyer's stellar performance of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, or Richie Hawley's hypnotic performance of "New York Counterpoint" by Steve Reich.) In hour 2, Zubin Mehta conducts the Vienna Philharmonic in the Symphony No. 4, by Brahms. A concert last month at the BBC Proms in London.
Oct 5
Jean Sibelius
While Jean Sibelius was working on his fifth symphony, the Russians were occupying his native country of Finland. Food was scarce, his health was poor. Sibelius wrote in his diary: "In a deep valley again. But...God opens His door for a moment, and His orchestra plays the Fifth Symphony." Music direct from heaven (at least according to Sibelius) is on the way on today's PT, performed by Garry Walker and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Oct 3
Charles Ives
American composer Charles Ives had a day job selling insurance, so he could feed his family. But in his free time, he fed his own soul by writing music. Ives' third symphony is peppered with hymn tunes that most audience members of the day would have easily recognized. Today, those kinds of cultural references might not be so easily understood. See how many tunes you can recognize as the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya perform Ives' third, nicknamed "Camp Meeting."
Oct 2
Richard_Strauss
Tilting at windmills. Doing battle with a flock of sheep. Miguel de Cervantes' wildly delusional knight-errant, Don Quixote, has been a favorite literary character since he first appeared in 1605. Quixote puts in appearance on today's show in the form of Richard Strauss' tone poem of the same name. It calls for a solo cello and viola, portraying Don Quixote and his faithful sidekick, Sancho Panza. Cellist Tamas Varga and violist Christian Frohn are the featured soloists in this recent BBC Proms performance, with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Zubin Mehta.
Oct 1
Jaap van Zweden
For 16 years, Jaap van Zweden was concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. It's one of the best jobs a violinist could ever hope for...and van Zweden quit, so he could chase his dream of becoming a conductor. This past season, van Zweden was back in Amsterdam...conducting his old band-mates, as the current concertmaster soloed in the Violin Concerto by Samuel Barber.