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Apr 30
Mozart
Christoph Eschenbach is a 70 year-old conductor, originally from Germany. Lang Lang is a 27 year-old pianist, originally from China. For the last decade, Eschenbach and Lang Lang have shared a close musical friendship. Eschenbach says it's eerie, almost telepathic, how they sense each other's musical ideas. They just wrapped up an American tour with the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra. From a concert two weeks ago in San Diego, we'll hear their elegant performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 17.
Apr 29
Anonymous 4
The legendary early music vocal quartet Anonymous 4 joins Fred Child to talk about the simple, penetrating beauty of music from the Huelgas Codex, a 13th century manuscript discovered in a Spanish convent. Anonymous 4 talks about the remarkable history of this unique document, and sings highlights from the music. We'll also compare Tchaikovsky's bluebird melody from "Sleeping Beauty" with a real bluebird song, and hear Tchaikovsky's bird call from a concert in Bergen, Norway.
Apr 28
Bruce Adolphe
Every Wednesday, composer Bruce Adolphe joins host Fred Child and a PT listener for our Piano Puzzler. Bruce re-writes a familiar tune in the style of a classical composer, and plays his creation on the PT piano. Our listener tries to guess the hidden tune, and the composer whose style Bruce is mimicking. Play along in hour 1 of today's show! And in hour 2, enjoy a great young American ensemble, the Escher Quartet, playing Beethoven's String Quartet No. 8.
Apr 27
leif ove andsnes 02
Some pianists approach Rachmaninoff's second piano concerto as something to be conquered by force. They make it sound every bit as difficult as it is. But Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes overcomes all those technical difficulties and gets to the heart of the piece like few others can. We'll hear a performance by Andsnes and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Bergen, Norway.
Apr 26
Modest Mussorgsky
By one count, at least 80 different composers have made arrangements and orchestrations of Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition," a work for solo piano. That number is now up to 81, thanks to a new orchestration by Clarice Assad. We'll hear this terrific new arrangement for small orchestra, piano, and percussion, in a performance by the New Century Chamber Orchestra in Berkeley, California.
Apr 24
George Antheil
In 1924, American composer George Antheil was experimenting with jazz styles. He liked Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," but thought it was too pretty. So he began writing his own answer to Gershwin and the new world of jazz. The grittier, not-as-pretty result, Antheil's "Jazz Symphony," is in today's show. We'll hear a performance by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
Apr 23
Franz Schubert
"There where you are not, there happiness lies." Those are the closing lines from Franz Schubert's song, "The Wanderer." What started as a simple song of longing and loss turned into an orchestral barn-burner. Schubert liked the tune so much, he turned it into a piano piece. And then Franz Liszt got hold of it and made it into a showcase for piano and orchestra. Today, we'll hear a performance of "The Wanderer Fantasy" by pianist Antti Siirala and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, in concert in Stuttgart, Germany.
Apr 22
Baroque flutist Barthold Kuijken doesn't like the term "early music." He says, "It doesn't exist. Good music is born now." Kuijken is the world's foremost player of the traverso, the Baroque wooden flute, and a philosopher of music. He joins host Fred Child in the studio today for music and conversation about the Baroque flute, and performs works by Couperin and Telemann.
Apr 21
George Antheil
In 1924, American composer George Antheil was experimenting with jazz styles. He liked Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," but thought it was too pretty. So he began writing his own answer to Gershwin and the new world of jazz. The grittier, not-as-pretty result, Antheil's "Jazz Symphony," is in today's show. We'll hear a performance by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
Apr 20
Josefina Cermakova-Kounicova
It sounds scandalous: Antonin Dvorak wrote a set of sweet love songs for his wife's sister. But the story is innocent enough. The young Dvorak was head-over-heels for Josefina, and wrote her 18 love songs. She snubbed Dvorak, who eventually found love and life-long happiness with Josefina's younger sister, Anna. Dvorak later arranged his songs for string quartet -- we'll hear the Emerson Quartet in concert at the 2010 Savannah Music Festival, in Georgia, play half a dozen "Cypresses" by Dvorak.
Apr 19
Gabriel Faure
In 1923, composer Gabriel Faure was an old man who had seen much of his familiar world crumble away. The Romantic music of his youth had given way to a more angular, jarring, atonal style. He had just come through the devastation of World War I. And he was losing his hearing. But even so, he mustered his energy and wrote a gorgeous, heartbreaking trio for clarinet, cello, and piano. In today's show, we'll visit a New York performance by members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Plus, CMSLC musicians in a Mozart masterpiece for winds.
Apr 17
"True pleasure is a serious business." That phrase, or rather the Latin version of it, is inscribed in the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany. Otherwise known as the home of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, a group dedicated to the business AND the pleasure of music-making. In today's show, two performances by the Gewandhaus Orchestra, with Riccardo Chailly conducting. Soloist Janine Jansen joins them in Max Bruch's concerto for violin, AND his romance for viola.
Apr 16
Eric Whitacre
Choral composer Eric Whitacre says "I thought I was going to be a pop star...I never in my wildest dreams imagined I'd be a classical composer." Now at age 40, Whitacre has it all -- he's a kind of rock star of contemporary composers. He has a dedicated following among singers around the world. (Some young fans have even gotten Eric Whitacre tattoos.) Whitacre joins host Fred Child for a revealing interview about his creative process, and the stories behind his best-loved works.
Apr 15
"True pleasure is a serious business." That phrase, or rather the Latin version of it, is inscribed in the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany. Otherwise known as the home of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, a group dedicated to the business AND the pleasure of music-making. In today's show, two performances by the Gewandhaus Orchestra, with Riccardo Chailly conducting. Soloist Janine Jansen joins them in Max Bruch's concerto for violin, AND his romance for viola.
Apr 14
Jennifer Higdon
Last month, the London-based "Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment" played their first Beethoven symphony cycle in a decade. We're sampling three of their performances this week. Today: the most famous four notes in music, and the rest of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. Ivan Fischer conducting a performance at Queen Elizabeth Hall, in London. And more from 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning composer Jennifer Higdon. She spoke with PT host Fred Child shortly after she got the news. And we'll hear the rousing finish of her prize-winning Violin Concerto. Violinist Hilary Hahn in concert this season with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
Apr 13
Ton Koopman
The great harpsichordist and conductor Ton Koopman loves music by Bach. His email address even includes Bach's name, and an important date from Bach's life. So when Koopman finally got the chance to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic this winter, what music did he select to open the concert? Bach, of course. The Orchestral Suite No. 3. That performance highlights hour 1, and in hour 2, Ivan Fischer leads the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in what one critic called an "exuberantly subversive" and "charming" performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 1. From a concert last month in London. Plus, we'll have late-breaking news on this year's Pulitzer Prize winner for music.
Apr 12
Lang Lang
27 year-old Chinese pianist Lang Lang is on an American tour right now with an all-star youth orchestra: the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra from Germany. From their concert two weeks ago at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, Christoph Eschenbach conducts an electrifying performance of the Piano Concerto No. 3 by Prokofiev.
Apr 10
claudio abbado
Venezuela's Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra does a great job playing big, high-energy pieces. But at the recent Lucerne Easter Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland, they were able to show off their sensitive side as well. They gave a rousing performance of Tchaikovsky's sixth symphony, under the baton of conductor Claudio Abbado. Known for its mix of energy and pathos, Tchaikovsky's final symphony got its nickname "Pathetique" from the composer's brother Modest, at breakfast one Sunday morning.
Apr 9
Every summer a professional string quartet from New York City travels to the most remote area in the lower 48 states, the northeast corner of Arizona. They meet high school students from the Navajo and Hopi nations, as part of the Native American Composer Apprentice Project, which is part of the Grand Canyon Music Festival. But -- who is teaching whom? We'll hear from Navajo composer Mike Begay, and from members of the string quartet ETHEL. It's part two of this month's Performance Today feature "Music That Matters."
Apr 8
Mitsuko Uchida
Pianist Mitsuko Uchida has one of the most expressive faces in classical music. Vaulted brows, piercing eyes. Her features sometimes seem to have multiple emotions dancing across them at once. She brings that same depth and breadth of expression to playing piano. Mitsuko Uchida joins conductor Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic in concert in Berlin, playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3. And Part 1 of this month's "Music That Matters" feature: Native American high school students from rural Arizona and Utah meeting a string quartet from New York, and writing their own works for quartet, thanks to the Native American Composers Apprentice Project at the Grand Canyon Music Festival.
Apr 7
Ravi Shankar, the great Indian sitar player and composer, is 90 years old today. Still composing, still playing, still touring, even. He just wrapped up a tour of New Zealand and Australia. We'll celebrate his birthday by revisiting the world premiere performance of his newest sitar concerto, featuring daughter Anoushka Shankar as the soloist, along with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
Apr 6
Mitsuko Uchida
Pianist Mitsuko Uchida's playing has been described using all the usual superlatives, but the word that seems to crop up most often is "poetic." Uchida shares her poetry with conductor Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, in a performance of Beethoven's second piano concerto. And she'll be back again on Thursday's show for Beethoven's third concerto, from the same concert.
Apr 5
claudio abbado
Venezuela's Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra does a great job playing big, high-energy pieces. But at the recent Lucerne Easter Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland, they were able to show off their sensitive side as well. They gave a rousing performance of Tchaikovsky's sixth symphony, under the baton of conductor Claudio Abbado. Known for its mix of energy and pathos, Tchaikovsky's final symphony got its nickname "Pathetique" from the composer's brother Modest, at breakfast one Sunday morning.
Apr 3
Murray Perahia
Pianist Murray Perahia's playing has been described using words like "flawless" and "transcendent." In today's show, Perahia joins host Fred Child for an in-studio conversation about Bach and Chopin. He shares his thoughts on Bach's music ("full of emotions, but not Romantic"), and the ways that Bach influenced Chopin. He'll play part of a Bach partita and two Chopin works.
Apr 2
Sergey Prokofiev
Two of the world's major religions are in the midst of major holidays today, the Jewish Passover and the Christian Good Friday. In observance of Passover, Sergei Prokofiev's "Overture on Hebrew Themes" from Music@Menlo. And in observance of Good Friday, we'll go to a performance of Handel's "Messiah" in Berlin. Plus, our weekly 21st century work is a world premiere from Down Under.
Apr 1
The Parker Quartet
Critics were divided over Maurice Ravel's string quartet when it premiered. Some hated it. One critic said it had "about as much emotional nuance as an algebra problem." But Claude Debussy wrote to Ravel saying: "In the name of all the gods of music, and for my sake, don't change a note of what you have written." Luckily, Ravel listened to Debussy, and didn't change a thing. In today's show, PT's artists-in-residence, the Parker Quartet, plays Ravel's controversial masterpiece.