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Jan 31
helene grimaud
Pianist Helene Grimaud says Beethoven's "Emperor" concerto is "totally exhilarating" for both soloist and listeners alike. She says that when she plays it, "It's like he's right there." Meaning Beethoven, of course. We'll hear Helene Grimaud channeling Beethoven, when she performs the Emperor Concerto in Beethoven's home town of Bonn, Germany. Plus, birthday wishes to composers Franz Schubert and Philip Glass.
Jan 29
glass
This weekend, we'll feature a two-part special event: music and conversation with composer Philip Glass. Glass joined PT host Fred Child for a live event in New York City. He talked about composers who've inspired him, his own experience of writing music, even his early days as a New York cabbie. The Glass Chamber Players, Trio Solisti, and violinist Maria Bachmann perform music by Glass and Maurice Ravel.
Jan 28
Philip Glass
Today we'll feature part two of music and conversation with composer Philip Glass, from a live event in New York. Host Fred Child asks Glass to describe what the experience of composing is about. Glass responds with one word, "fear," and talks about the audacity of composing, given the rich history of music that's come before him. The Glass Chamber Players and Trio Solisti perform music by Glass and Ravel.
Jan 27
glass
There's an urban legend about composer Philip Glass. The one about him driving a New York City cab just when his first opera was being staged at the Met. A passenger looked at his cabbie's license, and declared that he had the same name as a famous opera composer. Turns out, it's true. Glass says he didn't have the heart to tell her that famous composer was driving her home. Today and tomorrow, tune in for music and conversation with Glass from New York's Caspary Auditorium, hosted by Fred Child.
Jan 26
Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at age 17 was already nearly halfway through his life. Sergei Prokofiev at age 30 was also at about the halfway mark. Both were brash young men, risk-takers, convinced of their own greatness, perhaps even of their own immortality. In today's show, concertos by the 17-year-old Mozart and the 30-year-old Prokofiev, in great performances by violinist Steven Copes and pianist Yefim Bronfman.
Jan 25
Wendy Warner and Irina Nuzova
Cellist Wendy Warner and pianist Irina Nuzova join host Fred Child in the PT studios for conversation and music. Russian music, in particular. The duo has a new CD out featuring Russian cello music. Warner and Nuzova talk about what makes these pieces so special, and about the musical chemistry they felt the first time they played together.
Jan 24
Maurice Ravel
The story of Daphnis and Chloe goes back about 2000 years. He's a young goatherd, she's a young shepherdess. They know nothing about love, but they manage to learn a thing or two along the way. In 1912, Maurice Ravel wrote a ballet, setting this coming-of-age love story to music that's astonishing, ravishing. Nowadays, you're more likely to hear Daphnis and Chloe in a concert hall than at the ballet. In today's show, we'll hear a performance by the Radio France Philharmonic.
Jan 22
Musikverein Goldener Saal
Vienna's Musikverein is one of those spectacular old European concert halls. The walls and ceilings shimmer with real gold. And the acoustics are every bit as magnificent as the decor. Up until recently, pianist Lang Lang had never played there. He finally got his chance, playing a solo recital that included Beethoven's "Appassionata" Sonata. It's in today's show. Plus, we'll hear a performance from the Musikverein from a special New Year's Day concert. Daniel Barenboim and the Vienna Philharmonic rattled those golden walls and ceilings with Johann Strauss, Jr.'s "Thunder and Lightning Polka."
Jan 21
Ralph Vaughan Williams
If music for one orchestra is good, is music for two orchestras better? And what if we add a string quartet on top of that? Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote for this complex combination, and came up with one of the most hauntingly beautiful pieces of the 20th century. His Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, for two orchestras and string quartet, is in the show. Plus, a birthday tribute to the legendary tenor Placido Domingo, who turns 70 today.
Jan 20
Fritz Kreisler
From "The Chairman Dances," a surreal foxtrot by John Adams, to the rustic country dances that Bela Bartok was so fond of collecting, to an unusual marriage of Danish and Russian airs, we've got two hours of memorable dance music in today's show. Plus, Fritz Kreisler's naughty little secret: who actually wrote all those memorable little encores of his?
Jan 19
William Shakespeare's dramas have provided creative fodder for countless composers. Verdi's dramatic opera "Otello," Mendelssohn's gossamer incidental music to "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and Prokofiev's ballet "Romeo and Juliet," just to name a few. In today's show, two works of cross-pollination based on Shakespeare's plays: Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet" Fantasy Overture, and Three Dramatic Scenes, by Jules Massenet.
Jan 18
Musikverein Goldener Saal
Vienna's Musikverein is one of those spectacular old European concert halls. The walls and ceilings shimmer with real gold. And the acoustics are every bit as magnificent as the decor. Up until recently, pianist Lang Lang had never played there. He finally got his chance, playing a solo recital that included Beethoven's "Appassionata" Sonata. It's in today's show. Plus, we'll hear a performance from the Musikverein from a special New Year's Day concert. Daniel Barenboim and the Vienna Philharmonic rattled those golden walls and ceilings with Johann Strauss, Jr.'s "Thunder and Lightning Polka."
Jan 17
Martin Luther King Jr
On this Martin Luther King Day, our entire show is devoted to a celebration of the life of Dr. King. Music was an important force in the civil rights movement, and important in the personal life of Dr. King as well. We'll hear performances from the annual King Celebration concert in his home town of Atlanta. We'll hear classical musicians talk about what King's legacy means to them. And the great American soprano Jessye Norman sings a traditional spiritual.
Jan 15
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
It took almost three years to build Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee. And only a few days to nearly destroy it. Devastating floods hit the region last spring. Schermerhorn took on 24 feet of flood water. But after an intensive rehabilitation effort, the hall is back. PT host Fred Child was there last week to mark the event. We'll hear the Nashville Symphony in Beethoven's Fourth Symphony, from that special concert last week at the Schermerhorn.
Jan 14
Osvaldo Golijov
When we first aired a performance of Osvaldo Golijov's "Azul," we were flooded with listener calls and emails. They used words like wonderful, exciting, genius, original, electrifying, mesmerizing, and transformational. "Azul" is back on today's show, in a performance featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
Jan 13
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
It took almost three years to build Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee. And only a few days to nearly destroy it. Devastating floods hit the region last spring. Schermerhorn took on 24 feet of flood water. But after an intensive rehabilitation effort, the hall is back. PT host Fred Child was there last week to mark the event. We'll hear the Nashville Symphony in Beethoven's Fourth Symphony, from that special concert last week at the Schermerhorn.
Jan 12
Edward Elgar, bulldog
Edward Elgar populated his Enigma Variations with loving portraits of his wife, his friends, even a bulldog named Dan. In one variation, Elgar paints a comical portrait of a bruised doggie ego: Dan tumbles down a hill, falls into a river, waddles out, shakes himself off, and barks furiously. We'll hear a performance by the Swedish Radio Symphony that careens from the comical to the touching, just as Elgar intended.
Jan 11
Mozart
Times were tough for Mozart in the summer of 1788. His financial life was a shambles, and he was reduced to writing a series of pitiful letters to a friend, pleading for money. But at the same time, he was also writing his final three symphonies, each of them a masterpiece. He churned them out over the course of two months that summer. We'll hear Mozart's Symphony Number 39, from a concert by James Levine and the Boston Symphony.
Jan 10
Debussy Claude
The sea. It's where life on earth began. And by some measure, Claude Debussy's "La Mer" (the Sea) is where 20th century music began. Completed in 1905, it's an orchestral masterpiece, an amazingly complex piece of music with a disarmingly simple name. We'll hear a terrific performance by the London Symphony Orchestra and Antonio Pappano, from London's Barbican Hall.
Jan 8
alfred_brendel02
The legendary pianist Alfred Brendel retired from the concert stage two years ago, just shy of his 78th birthday. Said he wanted to go out while he was still on top of his game. In honor of Brendel's 80th birthday this past week, we'll hear performances from his final concert tour in 2008. By the way, Brendel may have retired from giving concerts, but he's still as busy as ever giving lectures, master classes, and writing poetry.
Jan 7
Daniel Barenboim
Daniel Barenboim is the pianist when baritone Thomas Quasthoff sings Schubert songs in Berlin. Then Barenboim will conduct the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a group he formed with young musicians from several Middle Eastern countries. They'll play music of Mozart and Elgar at an historic concert in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.
Jan 6
Trio Mediaeval
It's long been known that music has the ability to help transport us out of our daily lives. It's one of the reasons so many of us listen to it. In today's show, we have a whole hour of music about other realms of being, and higher planes of existence. "Visions of Another World," by Karim Al-Zand, "Music of the Spheres," by Josef Strauss, and a Transcendental Etude by Franz Liszt. Plus an ethereal Norwegian vision of heaven from the women of Trio Mediaeval.
Jan 5
alfred_brendel02
The legendary pianist Alfred Brendel retired from the concert stage two years ago, just shy of his 78th birthday. Said he wanted to go out while he was still on top of his game. Today, on Brendel's 80th birthday, we'll hear performances from his final concert tour in 2008. By the way, Brendel may have retired from giving concerts, but he's still as busy as ever giving lectures, master classes, and writing poetry.
Jan 4
Johannes Brahms
The last applause Johannes Brahms ever heard was for his Symphony No. 4. He was 63 years old and terribly sick, dying of cancer. He wasn't able to get out to hear music very often. But on a Sunday evening in March, 1897, he was feeling a bit better. Brahms went to a concert in Vienna. The Vienna Philharmonic was playing his Fourth Symphony. At the end of the performance, the applause was tumultuous, and Brahms wept openly. He died only a month later. On today's show, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony perform Brahms' Fourth, from a concert at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.
Jan 3
Heimbach power plant
Most classical music concerts take place inside the concert hall, essentially a glorified box. Many of those boxes are rightly revered and cherished for their history, architecture, and acoustics. But today, we'll go outside the box. Today's show features performances from unusual locations, including a barge, a night club, and a former power plant.
Jan 1
Fireworks
On this weekend's show, we'll look ahead to some of the stories we'll be covering in 2011, including Franz Liszt's 200th birthday. We'll hear three different versions of Greensleeves, which was once a popular New Year's tune. And what New Year's celebration would be complete without a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony? Roger Norrington leads the Orchestra of St. Luke's and the Westminster Symphonic Choir, from a concert at Carnegie Hall.