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Sep 30
Franz Joseph Haydn
In today's show, a performance of a Haydn symphony that had a Viennese audience laughing out loud. We'll let you in on the joke, as Daniel Barenboim conducts the Vienna Philharmonic in Haydn's "Farewell" symphony. Plus, pianist Yuja Wang gives a jaw-dropping performance of music from Stravinsky's ballet "Petrushka" in St. Paul.
Sep 29
Michael Tilson Thomas
Yesterday, we brought you Part I of Mahler's 8th Symphony, known as the Symphony of a Thousand. Today is the conclusion. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas leads the massed forces of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Pacific Boychoir, and the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Tilson Thomas calls the work an "allegory of the distressed soul finding its way through trials to...blessedness."
Sep 28
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler's monumental Symphony Number 8 (the "Symphony of a Thousand") is ambitious in almost every way. Not just its size (intended for an amassed orchestra and chorus of 1,000 people), but in its emotional and intellectual content. Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony have just completed a massive recording project, recording all of the Mahler symphonies. We'll feature Tilson Thomas and San Francisco in part one of the Symphony of a Thousand in today's show. Look for part two tomorrow.
Sep 27
Johann Sebastian Bach
Describing the vastness and mystery of Bach, pianist Simone Dinnerstein says, "If you...lie down in the country at night and...look up at the stars, and you don't know what any of it means...you're just looking at this huge vista, I would say that his music is like that." Dinnerstein shares some of that vastness and mystery in today's show, playing Bach's French Suite No. 5 in Berlin. Plus, conductor Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony perform Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony in Dallas.
Sep 25
Alan Gilbert
Last Wednesday was opening night for one of the top orchestras in the country: the New York Philharmonic. Alan Gilbert begins his second season as music director. To celebrate, we've got an all-New York hour of PT, including a highlight from last season. Alan Gilbert leads the New York Philharmonic in two movements from Mahler's Third Symphony, from a concert last September, on Gilbert's second day as music director. Plus, performances from the 92nd Street Y and New York's Columbia University.
Sep 24
osmo vanska
The only American orchestra to play at the Proms in London this year was the Minnesota Orchestra. They wrapped up the second of their two Proms concerts with a powerful and exciting performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. One critic called it "a Beethoven Ninth for our times." We'll hear the final two movements of the Ninth from that memorable Proms concert, as well as the last half of Anton Bruckner's massive Fourth Symphony. Music director Osmo Vanska led the performance.
Sep 23
Jean Sibelius
There's a word in the Finnish language called "sisu." It means a sort of grim determination in the face of adversity. Those who know the Finnish culture and personality say they're infused through-and-through with sisu. In today's show, Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen leading the New Zealand Symphony in the Third Symphony by fellow Finn Jean Sibelius. And a piece that Sibelius called festive, his Andante Festivo. But it's the kind of festive that only a Finn with a whole lot of sisu could have written.
Sep 22
Alan Gilbert
Tonight is opening night for one of the top orchestras in the country: the New York Philharmonic. Alan Gilbert begins his second season as music director. Host Fred Child will be there, as part of public television's "Live from Lincoln Center" series. To celebrate, we've got an all-New York hour of PT, including a highlight from last season. Alan Gilbert leads the New York Philharmonic in two movements from Mahler's Third Symphony, from a concert last September, on Gilbert's second day as music director. Plus, performances from the 92nd Street Y and New York's Columbia University.
Sep 21
Yannick Nezet-Seguin
It's not often that Beethoven is characterized as feminine. And yet conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin does just that when he describes the long, beautiful melodic lines in Beethoven's Third Symphony, the "Eroica." Nezet-Seguin brings out both the masculine and the feminine sides of Beethoven in a performance of the Eroica with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, at the Proms in London. And Herbert Blomstedt leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony, from a concert at Walt Disney Hall. Mendelssohn got the inspiration for the music while on holiday in Scotland.
Sep 20
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz' opera "Benvenuto Cellini" was an unqualified disaster. After the premiere, Berlioz wrote that the audience "hissed with admirable energy and unanimity." Undaunted, he decided to salvage what he could from the opera. He reworked a few themes from a carnival scene, added some new material, and called it the Roman Carnival Overture. It was an instant hit. Berlioz' recycled hit, plus pianist Mitsuko Uchida playing a Mozart concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra, coming up on Performance Today.
Sep 18
Franz Schubert
Recording technology has evolved a long way from the early scratchy mono recordings of a century ago. This weekend, PT listeners with surround sound technology can enjoy Franz Schubert coming at them from every direction. The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra plays his Second Symphony, recorded in surround sound. And don't worry. If you don't have surround sound, it will sound just like a regular broadcast. Plus, Joshua Bell plays Mendelssohn at Aspen.
Sep 17
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams began writing a cello concerto in the 1940s, but never finished. The fragmentary manuscript is in the British Museum in London. Cellist Steven Isserlis was thrilled to get a look at it recently, and asked composer David Matthews to take a peek. This year, Matthews incorporated that 4-minute fragment into a longer original piece that he calls "Dark Pastoral." On Friday's PT, the world premiere performance from a concert two weeks ago at the Proms in London. Steven Isserlis solos with the BBC Concert Orchestra. Also from the 2010 Proms, "Mashup" by Chris Willis, combining tunes from about a dozen and a half classical favorites.
Sep 16
Franz Schubert
Recording technology has evolved a long way from the early scratchy mono recordings of a century ago. In today's show, PT listeners with surround sound technology can enjoy Franz Schubert coming at them from every direction. The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra plays his Second Symphony, recorded in surround sound. And don't worry. If you don't have surround sound, it will sound just like a regular broadcast. Plus, more celebrations of the Mexican bicentennial: music by Silvestre Revueltas and Juventino Rosas.
Sep 15
"My friends and countrymen: the king exists for us no longer...The moment of our freedom has arrived, the hour of our liberty has struck." Those words marked Mexico's declaration of independence from Spain exactly 200 years ago. Today and tomorrow, PT is celebrating Mexico's bicentennial. We're featuring performances of Mexican music, by two Mexican conductors, and a Mexican symphony orchestra.
Sep 14
garrick ohlsson
Today on PT, we're revisiting some of our favorite performances from earlier this year. 2010 marked Frederic Chopin's 200th birthday, back in March. Of all the celebrations across the globe in his honor, one of the most memorable was from Chopin's home town in Poland. American pianist Garrick Ohlsson gave a very special recital there on Chopin's birthday. He played on an 1848 Pleyel piano once owned by Chopin, in a manor house in Chopin's home town. Plus, we'll return to the Aspen Music Festival to hear stories of Aspen from Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham, Ingrid Fliter, and others. And we'll hear Bell's performance of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto from Aspen.
Sep 13
Midori
Today and tomorrow on PT, we're revisiting some of our favorite performances from earlier this year. The great American violinist Midori joins host Fred Child for a full hour of music and conversation. Plus, PT visited the legendary Marlboro Music Festival in Marlboro, Vermont, this past summer. It's a rare "republic of equals," as its founder Rudolf Serkin called it, with young professionals and seasoned veterans playing side-by-side. We'll hear about the magic of Marlboro from the people who made it their home for seven weeks this summer.
Sep 11
Thomas Bloch
Every week, composer Bruce Adolphe joins PT host Fred Child with a Piano Puzzler. Bruce re-writes a familiar tune in the style of classical composer. A PT listener calls in and tries to guess two things: the name of the composer whose style Bruce is imitating, and the name of the hidden tune. Bruce Adolphe has a brand new puzzler this week, play along and see if you can name the composer and the tune. And our most unusual concert highlight of the year (so far!): Thomas Bloch plays his glass harmonica in a limestone cave in northeast Spain. Bloch plays an eerie 2-minute version of "Crystal Silence" by Chick Corea.
Sep 10
Miro Quartet
The Miro Quartet is quite serious about following Beethoven's musical directions, but we caught them this summer in California violating one of Beethoven's wishes. Beethoven wrote: "this quartet is for a small circle of connoisseurs, and is never to be played in public." And what did the Miros do? They played it at the 2010 Music at Menlo Festival, giving a brilliant performance of Beethoven's Op. 95 Quartet in F-minor. Plus Brian Newhouse joins PT host Fred Child to preview the live broadcast of the Last Night of the Proms from London on Saturday night. And great performances of American violin concertos by Gil Shaham and Leila Josefowicz.
Sep 9
Arvo Part
We're looking ahead to the birthday of the great Estonian composer Arvo Part, he turns 75 on Saturday. We'll trace the evolution of his "mystical minimalist" sound, and hear two gorgeous examples of his work from concerts last month at the BBC Proms in London: the final section from his 1982 piece "Passio," and the final section from his Symphony No. 4 from 2008. Plus: a "laugh-out-loud" Flute Trio by Joseph Haydn, from the 2010 Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina. (Spoleto chamber music host Geoff Nuttall told the audience to feel free to laugh during the wacky rondo section, and they did!)
Sep 8
Thomas Bloch
Every week, composer Bruce Adolphe joins PT host Fred Child with a Piano Puzzler. Bruce re-writes a familiar tune in the style of classical composer. A PT listener calls in and tries to guess two things: the name of the composer whose style Bruce is imitating, and the name of the hidden tune. Bruce Adolphe has a brand new puzzler this week, play along and see if you can name the composer and the tune. And our most unusual concert highlight of the year (so far!): Thomas Bloch plays his glass harmonica in a limestone cave in northeast Spain. Bloch plays an eerie 2-minute version of "Crystal Silence" by Chick Corea.
Sep 7
Piano Keys
Pianist Mitsuko Uchida joins PT host Fred Child to talk about Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24. (She says "It is very dark, incredibly tragic," but the lilt in her voice conveys the beauty of that darkness.) And we'll hear her concert performance with the Cleveland Orchestra. Plus two concerts in Vienna: Lang Lang plays Chopin's "Aeolian Harp" Etude in the sumptuous acoustics of the Golden Hall at the Musikverein, and Yefim Bronfman plays the Paganini Etude No. 2 by Franz Liszt, at the outdoor gardens of Schonbrunn Palace.
Sep 6
Jessye Norman
Soprano Jessye Norman is legendary for her operatic roles, but she grew up listening to (and loving) all kinds of music: jazz, blues, spirituals, the great American songbook. She performed recently in Berlin with a small jazz ensemble, and that concert is now a 2-CD set -- "Roots: My Life, My Music." PT host Fred Child talks with Jessye Norman about her earliest musical memories, and about the hidden meaning in spirituals. We'll sample highlights from her Berlin concert recording. And we'll hear from Norman's exquisite 1982 performance of the heartbreakingly beautiful "Four Last Songs" by Richard Strauss.
Sep 4
Bruce Adolphe
Composer Bruce Adolphe (pictured) joins PT host Fred Child with this week's Piano Puzzler. Bruce re-writes a familiar tune in the style of a classical composer. Play along as a PT listener tries to name the composer whose style Bruce is mimicking, and the hidden tune. Plus, a full hour of music inspired by castles, and recent concerts that took place inside castles. A castle-inspired symphonic poem by Arnold Bax, the Tokyo Quartet and Leif Ove Andsnes in concert at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, and Vivaldi's "Summer" in concert at the Castello di Amorosa (the "Castle of Love") in Napa Valley, California.
Sep 3
Valery Gergiev
Every now and then, there is a concert performance that galvanizes an audience. If you're there, you feel it happening -- you unconsciously lean forward in your seat, grip the arm rests, the hair on the back of your neck stands up. There was a concert three weeks ago in London that had that effect: the audience shouted and stomped their approval, the critics raved. The concert performance of the summer (so far!) at the 2010 Proms in London: Valery Gergiev conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in an epic performance of the Firebird, by Igor Stravinsky.
Sep 2
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Growing up, Russian pianist Denis Matsuev had a hard time deciding between music and sports. He did both for a long time. But after two broken arms (caused by sports, not music), his dad told him it was time to choose one or the other. Lucky for us, Matsuev chose the more skeletally-friendly of the two: music. We'll hear two by Matsuev, including Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini," from the Colmar International Festival in France.
Sep 1
Bruce Adolphe
Composer Bruce Adolphe (pictured) joins PT host Fred Child with this week's Piano Puzzler. Bruce re-writes a familiar tune in the style of a classical composer. Play along as a PT listener tries to name the composer whose style Bruce is mimicking, and the hidden tune. Plus, a full hour of music inspired by castles, and recent concerts that took place inside castles. A castle-inspired symphonic poem by Arnold Bax, the Tokyo Quartet and Leif Ove Andsnes in concert at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, and Vivaldi's "Summer" in concert at the Castello di Amorosa (the "Castle of Love") in Napa Valley, California.