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Jul 30
Marlboro Music Festival
This weekend on PT, we'll bring you great performances from the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. Founder Rudolf Serkin called it a "republic of equals," with young professionals and seasoned veterans making music together side-by-side. We'll meet co-artistic directors Mitsuko Uchida and Richard Goode, and hear performances from what one Marlboro board member calls "a summer camp for geniuses."
Jul 29
beethoven
All week long, we've been featuring stories about the Marlboro Music Festival, and all the great musicians who've been there. Today, the story of someone else who has supposedly walked the halls of Marlboro. Turns out, there's a ghost. In today's show, the story of Emily Mather, the ghost of Marlboro, and a performance of Beethoven's Ghost Trio.
Jul 28
Royal Albert Hall
Every summer in London, classical music becomes a pop-culture phenomenon, thanks to the festival called the BBC Proms. Prom is short for promenade, and if you're willing to prom, that is, stand during the concert, you can get in for about eight bucks. We'll get you in to the 2011 Proms for free, starting today. Renaud and Gautier Capucon play the Brahms Double Concerto with the Radio France Philharmonic.
Jul 27
Marlboro Music Festival
All week, PT has been taking a look at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. So what makes Marlboro so special to the musicians who go there? A combination of music and community. Pianist Jonathan Biss says that "Marlboro is real life. The rest of the world is just a nightmare." In today's show, great Marlboro performances of music by Robert Schumann, Richard Strauss, and Max Reger.
Jul 26
Franz Schubert
A sad, simple tune for voice and piano balloons into a showcase for piano alone. Which then morphs into a romantic barn-burner for piano and orchestra. In today's show, the story of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy, and two composers who, thankfully, just couldn't leave well enough alone.
Jul 25
Marlboro Music Festival
All this week on PT, we'll be bringing you great performances from the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. Founder Rudolf Serkin called it a "republic of equals," with young professionals and seasoned veterans making music together side-by-side. In today's show, we'll meet co-artistic directors Mitsuko Uchida and Richard Goode, and hear performances from what one Marlboro board member calls "a summer camp for geniuses."
Jul 23
Cameron Carpenter
Two musical games in the show today. Claude Debussy wrote music for a ballet about a game of tennis. Debussy called it simply Jeux, or Games. We'll hear a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. And Bruce Adolphe drops by for our weekly PT game, the Piano Puzzler. This week's very special guest is organist Cameron Carpenter.
Jul 22
The greatest musicians are part athlete and part story-teller. Able to pull off amazing technical feats, and to capture the emotional essence of the music at the same time. Cellist Yeesun Kim says she and the other members of the Borromeo String Quartet work on learning the narrative and drama of a piece, in addition to learning the notes. They play a Beethoven string quartet in today's show. Plus, Michael Tilson Thomas (pictured) tells the story of the life of a musician in his Notturno for solo flute and orchestra. Flutist Paula Robison performs it with the San Francisco Symphony.
Jul 21
Royal Albert Hall
The biggest summer music festival in the world, the BBC Proms, is underway in London. We'll have highlights from the 2011 Proms all summer long. And in today's show, we'll revisit some big moments from Proms of the past, including Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic performing Tchaikovsky's Tempest.
Jul 20
Cameron Carpenter
Two musical games in the show today. Claude Debussy wrote music for a ballet about a game of tennis. Debussy called it simply Jeux, or Games. We'll hear a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. And Bruce Adolphe drops by for our weekly PT game, the Piano Puzzler. This week's very special guest is organist Cameron Carpenter.
Jul 19
Bedrich Smetana
Czech composer Bedrich Smetana wrote a set of tone poems that he called Ma Vlast. A literal translation is My Country. But a more idiomatic translation might be My Homeland, a name that gives that sense of groundedness and belonging. Today and tomorrow, a look at Smetana's homeland. We'll hear four of the six pieces, including the most famous, The Moldau.
Jul 18
Modest Mussorgsky
Modest Mussorgsky's biggest hit wasn't a hit at all, as far as he knew. Mussorgsky wrote Pictures at an Exhibition as a work for solo piano. It wasn't even published until after his death. He had no way of knowing that his quirky piano piece would turn out to be one of the greatest orchestral hits of all time, thanks to Maurice Ravel and a host of other composers who've made orchestrations of it. The Vienna Philharmonic plays Ravel's version, in the Gardens of Schonbrunn Palace.
Jul 16
All week, we've been highlighting some of the winning performances from this year's Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Today, violin silver medalist Sergey Dogadin plays excerpts from the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. And the grand prize-winner, pianist Daniil Trifonov, plays Franz Liszt's "La Campanella."
Jul 15
All week, we've been highlighting some of the winning performances from this year's Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. Today, violin silver medalist Sergey Dogadin plays excerpts from the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. And the grand prize-winner, pianist Daniil Trifonov, plays Franz Liszt's "La Campanella."
Jul 14
Ernest Chausson
Ernest Chausson was plagued by doubt and self-criticism. He was given to beating himself with his fists when he was unhappy with his composing. His perfectionism got in the way of him finishing anything. And yet, he wrote beautiful music. Claude Debussy was his friend, and encouraged him, saying "you don't let yourself go enough." The story of Ernest Chausson's odd life and puzzling death, plus a performance of his Concerto for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet from the Spoleto Festival USA.
Jul 13
Lang Lang
The slow movement of Chopin's Second Piano Concerto is a passionate declaration of love by the smitten 19-year-old Chopin. Lang Lang was 12 when he first performed it. And what does a 12-year-old know about romance? Struggling to capture those emotions, so foreign to him, he asked his dad what to do. His advice: just think about the love you feel for your mom. The grown-up Lang Lang plays Chopin, in concert at the Concertgebouw.
Jul 12
Ravel
Maurice Ravel was 31 when he began writing a piece that he called simply, "La Valse.""The Waltz." He was 45 when he finished it. In those 14 years, everything changed: Ravel, Europe, and the piece itself. It began as a light tribute to carefree Viennese waltzes. Ravel set the piece aside, then saw the agony of World War I firsthand. When he came back to his waltz, the world was very different place. He was a very different man. And La Valse was no longer a light tribute. In 13 minutes, you'll hear the waltz slowly go delirious, spin out of control, and finally, fly apart into chaos.
Jul 11
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.
Jul 9
Debussy Claude
Claude Debussy once tried his hand at painting, but decided music had a much better way of depicting the glint of sunlight on water, the ever-changing undulations of the sea, and the smell of a salty mist shimmering in the air. In today's show, Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the New York Philharmonic in Debussy's masterpiece for the senses, "La Mer," or "The Sea."
Jul 8
Andre Mathieu
Was he the most talented unknown composer of the 20th century? Some called him the "Canadian Mozart." Andre Mathieu was an astonishing prodigy as a composer and pianist. He played his own compositions at Carnegie Hall when he was 11. He beat the young Leonard Bernstein in a composition competition when he was 13. But he was also deeply troubled. He withdrew from public life before his 20s, and died, already forgotten, at age 39 in 1968. We'll hear the Tucson Symphony in concert, playing a set of Ballet Scenes by Andre Mathieu.
Jul 7
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.
Jul 6
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.) 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.
Jul 5
Debussy Claude
Claude Debussy once tried his hand at painting, but decided music had a much better way of depicting the glint of sunlight on water, the ever-changing undulations of the sea, and the smell of a salty mist shimmering in the air. In today's show, Esa-Pekka Salonen leads the New York Philharmonic in Debussy's masterpiece for the senses, "La Mer," or "The Sea."
Jul 4
Among all the larger-than-life personalities in the music world, pianist Tzimon Barto just might be the largest. A body-builder who could probably bench-press the grand piano he plays on. Fluent in seven languages. Writes novels and poetry. A true original, we'll hear him playing music by another original - George Gershwin. The show is filled with great American music in honor of this most American of holidays.
Jul 2
Planets Moon Sun Outerspace
Their names come from Roman mythology. The ancients called them wandering stars, and assigned each its own personality. One is the bringer of war, while another brings peace. One is jolly and benevolent. Its neighbor is remote and mystical. Gustav Holst poured his passion for astrology into his greatest work, his orchestral suite called "The Planets." We'll hear a performance by Peter Oundjian and the Toronto Symphony.
Jul 1
The 2011 Tchaikovsky Competition wrapped up in Moscow yesterday. The competition, held every four years since it started in 1958, has a history of controversy. This year was no different. The story of one player escorted off the stage by security guards, another being insulted by a conductor during a recital, and a performance by one of the gold-medal winners, cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan, all in today's show.