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Jun 30
Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring" is such a perfect marriage of music and theme that he must have had the name in mind all the while he was writing it. Right? Wrong. Turns out, Copland attached a name to the ballet only at the last minute. We'll hear Copland himself tell the story, from a 1980 interview. The Swiss Italian Orchestra gives a performance of Copland's greatest hit, in concert in Lugano, Switzerland.
Jun 29
Richard Strauss
Hour one features two musical punctuations. Richard Strauss' opera, "Capriccio," asks which is more moving - poetry or music? It ends with a question mark, leaving the audience wondering which of two suitors a woman will choose: the poet or the composer. And Wilhelm Stenhammar tacked a big exclamation point onto the title of his jubilant "Excelsior!" In hour two, music based on the works of William Shakespeare: Henry Purcell's "The Fairy Queen" and Erich Korngold's "Much Ado About Nothing."
Jun 28
Richard_Strauss
Is it a stupendous work of art, a shameless piece of self-promotion, or a mockery of the music business? Maybe it's all three. "Ein Heldenleben,""A Hero's Life," by (and about) Richard Strauss. Strauss told a friend "I don't see why I shouldn't write a symphony about myself, I find myself as interesting as Napoleon." Whether you take the grandiose plot seriously, or see it as Strauss poking fun at his critics, it's an astonishing and entertaining piece. Bernard Haitink conducts the Chicago Symphony, in concert at Orchestra Hall in downtown Chicago.
Jun 26
Bruce Adolphe
A pair of concert performances on the way from the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Hall, the gleaming stainless-steel concert hall on top of the hill in downtown Los Angeles. Leonard Slatkin leads Tchaikovsky's gloriously romantic "Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture," and Robert Spano conducts a bold and brassy performance of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 3. And Bruce Adolphe joins Fred Child and a PT listener for this week's Piano Puzzler.
Jun 25
Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom
England's Queen Victoria was a trend-setter in everything from fashion to manners to holiday customs. So when her daughter walked down the aisle to Mendelssohn's Wedding March, suddenly everyone started doing the same. We'll hear that trend-setting music, from a concert in Montreal. Igor Stravinsky was all about bucking trends, not setting them. He even defied his own trends, often changing his musical styles. Valery Gergiev leads the London Symphony Orchestra in a performance of his Symphony in C. Plus, cellist Natalie Clein fills in for an ailing Truls Mork on Elgar's Cello Concerto.
Jun 24
Martha Argerich
When music critic Alex Ross once tried to describe pianist Martha Argerich's playing, he bemoaned that his "well of superlatives had run dry." Argerich has been getting rave reviews, and exhausting everyone's supply of musical superlatives, since 1965. That was the year she took the world by storm, winning the Chopin Competition. We'll spend the bulk of hour one as Argerich devotees, focusing on her spectacular solo performances and collaborations with other artists. Plus, Rolf Lislevand on improvisation, and listener calls and emails.
Jun 23
Bruce Adolphe
A pair of concert performances on the way from the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Hall, the gleaming stainless-steel concert hall on top of the hill in downtown Los Angeles. Leonard Slatkin leads Tchaikovsky's gloriously romantic "Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture," and Robert Spano conducts a bold and brassy performance of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 3. And Bruce Adolphe joins Fred Child and a PT listener for this week's Piano Puzzler.
Jun 22
Yannick Nezet-Seguin
For the last three years, the Philadelphia Orchestra has been searching for a new music director. The search is over, and today we'll introduce you to him, Canadian conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin. We'll also hear him lead his other orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, in excerpts from Berlioz'"Symphonie Fantastique."
Jun 21
Debussy Claude
"I have embraced the summer dawn." French composer Arthur Honegger wrote those words upon completing his "Summer Pastorale." And if Honegger embraced the dawn, then perhaps Othmar Schoeck could say the same for the evening, with his "Summer Night." On this first day of summer, we'll hear both works. Plus, music for the hours in between: Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun."
Jun 19
Jonathan Biss
Pianist Jonathan Biss says that unlike Beethoven, who seemed to be writing for the whole universe, Robert Schumann was "just trying to reach one tormented soul." Biss says it's that personal aspect of Schumann's music that draws him in. On today's show, Biss plays Schumann's Piano Concerto with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, part of our continuing celebration of Schumann's 200th birthday this month.
Jun 18
Pepe Romero
Sunday is Father's Day. On today's show, guitarist Pepe Romero honors both his father and his son. He'll perform a work written by his father, Celedonio Romero, on a guitar that was built by his son, Pepe, Jr. Ian Watt says he got his start as a child, playing air guitar to his father's rock-n-roll records. Now he's a classical guitarist. We'll hear his performance at last year's Parkening International Guitar Competition. We'll also hear music by a 17-year-old kid who owed a lot to his dad, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Plus, it's the end of our two-week Robert Schumann bicentennial celebration.
Jun 17
Robert Schumann
Today's show features performances from special places, and also music about special places. From a lonely Scottish island (Peter Maxwell Davies'"Farewell to Stromness") to the top of a Norwegian mountain (Ole Bull's "A Mountain Vision"), we'll feature music that evokes that special sense of place. Plus, Robert Schumann's third symphony, about another very special place, the Rhine River.
Jun 16
In 1844, Robert Schumann had what we might now call a nervous breakdown. He was plagued with nightmares, hallucinations, panic, and despair. As he began to emerge from it, he wrote, "Drums and trumpets have been blaring in my head. I have no idea what will come of it." What came of it was his second symphony. In today's show, Hans Graf leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a performance, part of our week-long look at all the Schumann symphonies.
Jun 15
Clara Schumann
When Clara Wieck married Robert Schumann, she was an internationally-famous pianist, and he was a struggling young composer. With Clara's encouragement, Robert's career flourished. But at what price? While she continued to perform, she lost her own confidence as a composer, and eventually stopped writing. In today's show, we'll hear two of her works. Pianist Benjamin Hochman plays one of her romances in North Carolina, and Natalia Ehwald performs her piano concerto, along with the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Warsaw. Plus, we'll feature Robert Schumann's four symphonies, every day this week.
Jun 14
Jonathan Biss
Pianist Jonathan Biss says that unlike Beethoven, who seemed to be writing for the whole universe, Robert Schumann was "just trying to reach one tormented soul." Biss says it's that personal aspect of Schumann's music that draws him in. On today's show, Biss plays Schumann's Piano Concerto with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, part of our continuing celebration of Schumann's 200th birthday this month.
Jun 12
Robert Schumann
Today, we're continuing our PT party for Robert Schumann's 200th birthday. There's much about his life that's worthy of a Gothic novel: passion, romance, madness, death. If you add in a seance and a brush with Hitler's Nazi Germany, it could be a summer blockbuster. The funny thing is, it's all true. The seance and the Nazis don't enter the picture until 80 years after Schumann's death, and all center around the premiere of his violin concerto. All the details are in hour two, plus a performance by violinist Thomas Zehetmair and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Jun 11
Here on PT, we often talk about the meaning of music, what the composer was trying to say. Robert Schumann made it easy for us. He spelled it out, literally, in his music. In today's show, host Fred Child sits down at the PT piano, and demonstrates some of the hidden meanings in Schumann's music, where he used the notes of the scale to spell out words and names in his melodies. Plus, a string quartet by Schumann written during a creative outburst in the summer of 1842. The Takacs Quartet performs at the Aspen Music Festival.
Jun 10
Robert Schumann
Today, we're continuing our PT party for Robert Schumann's 200th birthday. There's much about his life that's worthy of a Gothic novel: passion, romance, madness, death. If you add in a seance and a brush with Hitler's Nazi Germany, it could be a summer blockbuster. The funny thing is, it's all true. The seance and the Nazis don't enter the picture until 80 years after Schumann's death, and all center around the premiere of his violin concerto. All the details are in hour one, plus a performance by violinist Thomas Zehetmair and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Jun 9
The young Robert Schumann wanted to be the greatest pianist in the world. And he had hopes of getting there, until the middle finger of his right hand went numb. We'll hear about the various therapies he tried(including a mechanical finger stretcher that did further damage, and holding his hand in the abdominal cavity of a freshly slaughtered calf) and then we'll revel in a piece he would never have written if his piano dreams had been realized: his Cello Concerto. Maria Kliegel solos with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, in concert in Dublin.
Jun 8
Robert Schumann
Today, the world is celebrating the 200th birthday of composer Robert Schumann. We know him as a great composer, perhaps the most Romantic of all the Romantic composers. But early in his life, he wandered a bit. He tried writing, he tried going to law school, he tried being a pianist - all before ultimately settling on composing. Our show is all-Schumann today, including a performance of his rarely-played Konzertstuck for four horns and orchestra, in a classic recording by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Plus, one of his unfinished symphonies, performed by conductor Roberto Abbado and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Jun 7
Maurice Ravel
Music of the morning and the night, in today's show. Ravel's second suite from "Daphnis and Chloe" begins just before dawn, to the gentle sounds of dew dripping off leaves and birds twittering in the trees. The Radio France Philharmonic performs this sumptuous ballet music in Paris. And pianists Jeffrey Kahane and David Riley play an intermezzo from Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Oregon Bach Festival.
Jun 5
Franz Schubert
Most of us have any number of unfinished projects around the house or at work. Empty photo albums, unwritten family histories, that pile of junk mail on the desk. Before you tackle any of it, tune into today's show and hear Franz Schubert's most famous loose end. Lorin Maazel leads the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony, from a recent concert in Munich.
Jun 4
Leos Janacek
In 1925, composer Leos Janacek was commissioned to write a fanfare for a gymnastics society. When he started working on it, his fanfare quickly grew into a full-blown orchestral work. But he kept the original brassiness: the work calls for 14 trumpets. We'll hear Janacek's Sinfonietta, from a concert by Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Plus, great Spanish music by a Frenchman: Maurice Ravel's "Rhapsodie Espagnole."
Jun 3
Johann Pachelbel
For the past 34 years, the Spoleto Festival USA has been one of the greatest summer arts festivals in the world. Host Fred Child is there, broadcasting from Charleston, South Carolina. He'll be bringing us great performances from Spoleto, and the stories behind them. One of those stories: the connection between Charleston and the Pachelbel Canon. Plus a terrific performance of a Haydn string quartet.
Jun 2
Ludwig van Beethoven
For Ludwig van Beethoven, the year 1802 was a year of both confidence and despair. He was on a creative high, composing almost non-stop. And yet, he knew he was going deaf. He wrote, "As the leaves of autumn fall and are withered, so has my hope been blighted." Out of that mix came the second symphony, full of audacity and wit. We'll hear a recent concert performance by Christoph von Dohnanyi and the North German Radio Symphony.
Jun 1
joshua bell
Most of us have any number of unfinished projects around the house or at work. Empty photo albums, unwritten family histories, that pile of junk mail on the desk. Before you tackle any of it, tune into today's show and hear Franz Schubert's most famous loose end. Lorin Maazel leads the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony, from a recent concert in Munich. Plus, Joshua Bell performs the Mendelssohn violin concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.