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Mar 31
Johannes Brahms
A Requiem is often a prayer for the souls of the dead. But in his German Requiem, Johannes Brahms chose words from the Gospel of Matthew that offer comfort to the living in the face of death. "Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted." On Thursday's Performance Today, music of survivors in a performance of Brahms' Requiem by the Dresden Staatskapelle in concert last month in Dresden, Germany.
Mar 30
Lee Hoiby
On today's program, PT remembers American composer Lee Hoiby who died on Monday at age 85. He was born in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of a used-car salesman. We'll also feature the music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, who reveled in breaking his father Johann Sebastian Bach's musical rules.
Mar 29
jonathon_haas
Ask any New York City police officer how you get to Carnegie Hall and they'll tell you: "Practice, man. Practice." On today's show, timpanist Jonathan Haas takes us inside his practice studio to demonstrate how to get a full, round tone without annoying the neighbors. We'll hear him perform a concerto for timpani by Georg Druschetzky and music from the first English folk revival, Delius' Brigg Fair.
Mar 28
Johann Sebastian Bach
He was an obscure dead composer, but Mozart loved his work. He even arranged some of the old guy's keyboard pieces for string quartet. In today's show, the Orion String Quartet performs some of those curious Mozart arrangements. And that nearly-forgotten composer? That would be Johann Sebastian Bach. Plus, highlights from an Alan Hovhaness centennial concert in Berkeley, California.
Mar 26
Leon Fleisher
In today's show, three compelling stories of musicians returning to performing after illness or injury. We'll hear from the young violinist Augustin Hadelich, severely burned in a fire when he was a teenager. Leon Fleisher spent decades as a left-hand only pianist, after losing the use of his right hand. After intensive therapy, he's now playing with both hands. And cellist Truls Mork is back after a mysterious illness sidelined him for a year and a half.
Mar 25
Whatever the enigma is behind Edward Elgar's "Enigma Variations" - and we've had theories posited on Performance Today - it's still magnificent music, a grand showcase for an outstanding orchestra. Peter Oundjian will lead one, the Toronto Symphony, at a concert in Toronto.
Mar 24
Emanuel Ax
In today's show, a glimpse into the lives of two great classical musicians, and how they prepare for a big concerto. Recently, host Fred Child visited violinist Gil Shaham and heard him practicing for an upcoming performance of the Walton Violin Concerto. We'll hear that performance, from a concert in Berlin. And pianist Emanuel Ax confessed that when he plays a big concerto, he's "just trying to get on the stage without tripping, and trying to get through the piece without being too, too scared." Ax gives a terrific performance of Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto in San Francisco.
Mar 23
Leon Fleisher
In today's show, three compelling stories of musicians returning to performing after illness or injury. We'll hear from the young violinist Augustin Hadelich, severely burned in a fire when he was a teenager. Leon Fleisher spent decades as a left-hand only pianist, after losing the use of his right hand. After intensive therapy, he's now playing with both hands. And cellist Truls Mork is back after a mysterious illness sidelined him for a year and a half.
Mar 22
Daniel Matsukawa
In response to the recent tragedy in Japan, many classical musicians around the world are organizing fundraising efforts. We'll feature one of the first, the members of the Berlin Philharmonic in a benefit concert just three nights ago. Plus, we continue our series on the art of practicing. This week, Philadelphia bassoonist Daniel Matsukawa shares one of his practicing strategies: always play at least one melody a day.
Mar 21
C.P.E. Bach
Anyone interested in learning the rules of harmony, how notes and chords fit together, need look no further than the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. He invented most of those rules. So maybe it's only natural that one of the early rule-breakers was one of his own children, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. C.P.E. Bach respected his father, but took his own music off in several new directions. In today's show, a couple of works by C.P.E. Bach, from a recent concert in London.
Mar 19
Gil Shaham
Today, we continue our series on how musicians practice. PT host Fred Child interviews violinist Gil Shaham, who describes himself as undisciplined about his daily practice routine. Somehow, the lack of discipline hasn't hampered Shaham, who remains one of the world's greatest violinists. He performs the Khachaturian Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Mar 18
Gabriel Faure
The spring and summer music festival season is fast approaching. PT will be visiting a number of them in the coming months, and featuring great festival performances on the show. In today's show, we'll hear a Faure Piano Quartet, from a great performance at last year's Spoleto Festival USA, held every May and June in Charleston, South Carolina.
Mar 17
Shamrock
St. Patrick is credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland. There are no snakes in today's show, either. And we'll gladly give St. Patrick credit for that. What we do have is great Irish music, and great classical music performed in concert by Irish musicians. All in honor of St. Patrick's Day.
Mar 16
Franz Joseph Haydn
A couple of musical protesters are in today's show. Hungarian conductor Adam Fischer recently resigned his post as conductor of the Hungarian State Opera in protest of new government media laws. The full story is in the show, plus a performance by Fischer and the Danish National Chamber Orchestra. And a performance of Haydn's Farewell Symphony, written as a protest to Haydn's boss, on behalf of a bunch of musicians who just wanted to go home.
Mar 15
Gil Shaham
Today, we continue our series on how musicians practice. PT host Fred Child interviews violinist Gil Shaham, who describes himself as undisciplined about his daily practice routine. Somehow, the lack of discipline hasn't hampered Shaham, who remains one of the world's greatest violinists. He performs the Khachaturian Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Mar 14
king's singers
The King's Singers recently joined host Fred Child in our PT studios for a special hour of music and conversation. Long-time bass Stephen Connolly describes the tight-knit group as "six voices trying to sing as one." The legendary vocal ensemble from London did just that, entertaining a small studio audience with a half dozen songs, including their signature piece, "You are the New Day."
Mar 12
Daniel Hope
Thirty years ago, violinist Daniel Hope was called on the carpet for a serious offense at his music school: unauthorized practicing of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. His teachers said he wasn't ready. Hope says he just couldn't help himself. Those dazzling melodies and dizzying runs: who wouldn't ache to be able to play that? These days, Hope is authorized to play whatever he wants. He'll play his childhood dream piece, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
Mar 11
Ryu Goto
He's only beginning to be known in this country, but in his native Japan, 22-year-old violinist Ryu Goto is a mega-star. He appears on national advertisements for a Japanese rail company. He's been the subject of an annual TV documentary since the age of 8. In today's show, we'll hear excerpts from Ryu Goto's smashing debut concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City, where he played works by Max Bruch and Nathan Milstein.
Mar 10
Robert Schumann
In today's show, two composers who couldn't be more different from each other. Robert Schumann was passionate, tormented, quixotic, the personification of the Romantic temperament. Joseph Haydn, on the other hand, had a solidly Classical personality: sturdy, good-natured, humorous, dependable. We'll hear two masterpieces from both ends of the personality spectrum, from concerts in Warsaw and Berlin.
Mar 9
Daniel Hope
Thirty years ago, violinist Daniel Hope was called on the carpet for a serious offense at his music school: unauthorized practicing of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. His teachers said he wasn't ready. Hope says he just couldn't help himself. Those dazzling melodies and dizzying runs: who wouldn't ache to be able to play that? These days, Hope is authorized to play whatever he wants. He'll play his childhood dream piece, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
Mar 8
Daniel Hope
Today we celebrate the 100th birthday of an American original, composer Alan Hovhaness. He was someone who drew his inspiration from the natural world, and from the musical traditions of the Far East. Hovhaness grew up on the east coast, but settled in the Pacific Northwest to be near his beloved mountains. In today's show, we'll hear Hovhaness' best-known work, the symphony he called "Mysterious Mountain."
Mar 7
Tchaikovsky
No one was harder on himself than Peter Tchaikovsky. He had this to say about his first symphony: "Despite all its glaring deficiencies I have a soft spot for it, for it is a sin of my sweet youth." Take that with the big grain of salt it deserves. Tchaikovsky's First, neither glaring nor deficient, is in today's show, from a concert in Hamburg, Germany.
Mar 5
Bill Kanengiser
Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes was a larger-than-life character who created larger-than-life characters, most notably, Don Quixote. Guitarist William Kanengiser was fascinated by 16th century Spain in which men clashed swords with Moorish soldiers and windmills, real and imagined, and he began collecting music from that era. The men of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet play music from the time of Cervantes from a live concert in South Carolina.
Mar 4
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky borrowed all of the tunes from his ballet, "Pulcinella," from Italian music of the eighteenth century. But he put his own musical fingerprints on it. It's a delightful mix of old and new. We'll go to New York to hear a performance of the "Pulcinella" Suite by the New York Philharmonic.
Mar 3
Shostakovich
Ever since Dmitri Shostakovich premiered his fifth symphony in 1937, critics and musicians have been arguing over what it means. The work is powerful; no one disputes that. But is it power that defies authority, or celebrates it? That's the sticking point. You can hear the final two movements on today's show and decide for yourself. Yuri Temirkanov leads the St. Petersburg Philharmonic of Russia, in concert in Birmingham, England.
Mar 2
Bill Kanengiser
Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes was a larger-than-life character who created larger-than-life characters, most notably, Don Quixote. Guitarist William Kanengiser was fascinated by 16th century Spain in which men clashed swords with Moorish soldiers and windmills, real and imagined, and he began collecting music from that era. The men of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet play music from the time of Cervantes from a live concert in South Carolina.
Mar 1
leif ove andsnes 02
Sergei Rachmaninoff didn't give his second piano concerto a nickname, but he might justifiably have called it his Concerto Hypnotica. He wrote it under the influence of hypnotic suggestion, after a particular nasty bout of writer's block. He even dedicated the piece to his hypnotherapist. Pianist Leif Ove Andsnes gives a mesmerizing performance of Rachmaninoff's Second, from a concert in Bergen, Norway.