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Nov 30
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg
Like plenty of other great ideas, at first glance, it might leave you scratching your head a bit. Start with an old chestnut by Antonio Vivaldi, the Four Seasons. And see it through an entirely different lens, the sultry, smoky Argentinian tango. Is that really such a good idea? Well, yes. Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg plays Astor Piazzolla's Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, from a concert in San Francisco.
Nov 29
Aaron Copland
Writers have always been advised to stick with what they know. Good thing Aaron Copland didn't follow that advice. After Benny Goodman asked him to write a clarinet concerto, Copland complained, "I can't play a note on the clarinet!" So maybe he couldn't play the clarinet. But he wrote a great concerto for it. Alan Kay performs it in today's show, from a concert at the Windham Chamber Music Festival.
Nov 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.
Nov 26
Maurice Ravel
Every time we air Maurice Ravel's Bolero, we get a lot of listener feedback. Some of you absolutely love it. Others absolutely hate it. We think anything that generates that much passion on either side is worth another look - and listen. Get ready to weigh in on the subject again. Bolero is back in today's show, from a concert in Dublin, Ireland.
Nov 25
Gustav Mahler
Usually, when we hear about some newly-rediscovered piece of music, it's in some dusty monastery in Europe. In today's show, the story of Gustav Mahler's Blumine, which went missing for about 80 years and turned up in the library at Yale University. We'll hear a performance of Mahler's lost-and-found work, from a concert by the New York Philharmonic.
Nov 24
Thanksgiving turkey
On Thanksgiving Day, we'll feature music with roots in early America. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and friends play a mix of bluegrass, classical, and Appalachian music. Plus, songs for the day from the men of the vocal ensemble Cantus. And Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, where villagers do a cheerful, thankful dance after a menacing storm is over.
Nov 23
Maurice Ravel
Every time we air Maurice Ravel's Bolero, we get a lot of listener feedback. Some of you absolutely love it. Others absolutely hate it. We think anything that generates that much passion on either side is worth another look - and listen. Get ready to weigh in on the subject again. Bolero is back in today's show, from a concert in Dublin, Ireland.
Nov 22
Paul Neubauer
Paul Neubauer is no stranger to risk-taking. He went from a nice safe prestigious orchestra job as principal violist with the New York Philharmonic to the far less certain life of a traveling viola soloist. In today's show, Neubauer takes musical risks with a set of three Gypsy-inspired works for viola and piano.
Nov 21
Simon Rattle
Conductor Simon Rattle joins us to introduce the Symphony No. 2, by Johannes Brahms. Rattle says "this is a work where real unalloyed joy comes out, and that, in all of Brahms' output, is fairly rare." Rattle also weighs in on Brahms' gruff, very German sense of humor. And we'll go to a concert in Berlin, with Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic, in the complete symphony.
Nov 19
Anderson & Roe
The days of a demure piano duo, each sitting motionless and politely covering half of a piano keyboard, are over. Enter the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo. Hands fly, arms tangle, and torsos collide as Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe attack the keyboard. Anderson & Roe will be in the PT studios, playing their unique arrangements of music by Rachmaninoff and Astor Piazzolla.
Nov 18
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Perhaps it's appropriate that the Los Angeles Philharmonic plays in a concert hall named for this country's most famous animator. In today's show, the L.A. Phil plays Edward Elgar's set of lovingly-drawn musical portraits of his friends and family, the Enigma Variations. We'll hear a concert performance from the orchestra's home, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
Nov 17
Maurizio Pollini
Pianist Maurizio Pollini has been accused of being stiff and unemotional on stage. One writer said, "There are morticians who go about their duties more chirpily than Pollini on the concert platform." That may be, but he manages to generate a lot of emotion in his performances. Pollini joins Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic for a lively - and emotional - performance of Beethoven's Second Piano Concerto.
Nov 16
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.
Nov 15
Strauss
If your critics are accusing you of writing extravagant, self-indulgent music, maybe the best response isn't to write an over-the-top work called A Hero's Life, casting yourself as the hero. And when folks question you about it, maybe you shouldn't compare yourself with Napoleon and Alexander in your defense. But then, maybe you're not Richard Strauss, who did exactly that. Was he for real, or was it all a big joke? The story in today's show, and a performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Nov 14
Anderson & Roe
The days of a demure piano duo, each sitting motionless and politely covering half of a piano keyboard, are over. Enter the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo. Hands fly, arms tangle, and torsos collide as Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe attack the keyboard. Anderson & Roe will be in the PT studios, playing their unique arrangements of music by Mozart and Michael Jackson.
Nov 12
Lisa Batiashvili
It's a dilemma that every working parent faces, how to do right by your children while honoring your job responsibilities as well. We'll hear how violinist Lisa Batiashvili and her husband, oboist Francois Leleux manage to juggle parenthood with the demands of a music career. And we'll hear Batiashvili on a night when Leleux was home with the kids while she played the Barber Violin Concerto in Paris.
Nov 11
Flag
Samuel Barber's "Night Flight," inspired by his army experiences in World War II, captures the mood of a nighttime mission. Alone at night, lost in the inky darkness of the sky. Flying over an unknown landscape, filled with unseen enemies. We'll hear it, in honor of Veterans Day today. Plus, Lee Hoiby's moving "Last Letter Home," sung by the men's vocal ensemble Cantus.
Nov 10
helene grimaud
Call it what you like, the conductor controversy or the soloist squabble or even the Mozart mess. In today's show we'll have the story behind the cadenza kerfuffle, a disagreement between pianist Helene Grimaud and conductor Claudio Abbado that resulted in a scuttled CD project and several cancelled concerts. And we'll hear the Mozart piano concerto that started it all.
Nov 9
Mark O'Connor
The Roma people (also known as Gypsies) have long lived on the fringes of Eastern European society. But even though they themselves have been marginalized, their influence on classical music has not. In today's show, we'll hear Haydn's "Gypsy Rondo" Trio and the world premiere of Mark O'Connor's "March of the Gypsy Fiddler."
Nov 8
Trojan Horse
When Hector Berlioz was writing his opera Les Troyens (the Trojans), he envisioned a drama on an epic scale. A little too epic, as it turns out. Because of its massive size and the forces needed to pull it off, Berlioz never saw a complete performance of it in his lifetime. We'll continue the grand tradition of shortchanging Berlioz' vision with a set of orchestral excerpts, from a concert in Switzerland.
Nov 7
Lisa Batiashvili
It's a dilemma that every working parent faces, how to do right by your children while honoring your job responsibilities as well. We'll hear how violinist Lisa Batiashvili and her husband, oboist Francois Leleux manage to juggle parenthood with the demands of a music career. And we'll hear Batiashvili on a night when Leleux was home with the kids while she played the Barber Violin Concerto in Paris.
Nov 5
Pablo Heras-Casado
Part of conductor's job is to be a glorified traffic cop, to make sure the music doesn't come apart at the seams. But even more important than that, it's to be a leader and a unifier, to convey an artistic vision to the orchestra. If the first part of the job description seems better-suited to younger people, it's the second part that has historically swung the baton in favor of the senior generation. Pablo Heras-Casado is a 34-year-old Spaniard who seems to have both halves in good order. Today, he leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Stravinsky's Firebird Suite.
Nov 4
Steven Copes
Violinist Steven Copes (pictured) has been the concertmaster of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra since 1998. In today's show, he does double-duty: performing with the SPCO in Prokofiev's Sinfonietta, and joining pianist Shai Wosner in the PT studios for a Beethoven violin sonata.
Nov 3
Pablo Heras-Casado
Part of conductor's job is to be a glorified traffic cop, to make sure the music doesn't come apart at the seams. But even more important than that, it's to be a leader and a unifier, to convey an artistic vision to the orchestra. If the first part of the job description seems better-suited to younger people, it's the second part that has historically swung the baton in favor of the senior generation. Pablo Heras-Casado is a 34-year-old Spaniard who seems to have both halves in good order. Today, he leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Stravinsky's Firebird Suite.
Nov 2
Rudolf Buchbinder
Where does genius come from? Sometimes, it seems to be a combination of nature and nurture. Mozart was a child prodigy who grew up in an intensely musical family. The only thing astonishing about his talent was its magnitude. Then there are great musicians who seem to spring from out of nowhere. Pianist Rudolph Buchbinder was a child prodigy who was raised in a non-musical household, a place where the family piano was nothing more than a piece of furniture. In today's show, Buchbinder plays a Mozart concerto, from a concert in Madrid.
Nov 1
Boston
Every summer at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, the emphasis is on rehearsals. Concerts are almost an afterthought. Musicians might put weeks of work into a piece of music, and never perform it. In today's show, we'll hear a quartet of Marlboro musicians who saw the process through to its conclusion, performing a Haydn string quartet on the road in Boston.