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Aug 31
joann falletta
Like a seasoned antique hunter with a nose for overlooked gems, conductor JoAnn Falletta has a real knack for bringing hidden treasures to light. In today's show, Falletta leads the Buffalo Philharmonic in Franz Schreker's "Prelude to a Drama." Schreker is largely forgotten today, but was an important opera composer in the early 20th century. Schreker's "Prelude to a Drama" comes from his opera "The Marked Ones."
Aug 30
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 Chicago.
Aug 29
scotland
Historically, the residents of Great Britain haven't always gotten along. Scotland and England, in particular, have a long and bloody history together. But never mind all that. There was a very friendly Scottish invasion in London recently. Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, Scottish conductor Donald Runnicles, and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland gave a concert at the Proms. We'll hear highlights, including Benedetti playing Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy.
Aug 28
Rudolf Buchbinder
Where does genius come from? Sometimes, it seems to be a combination of nature and nurture. And yet, there are great musicians who seem to spring from out of nowhere. Pianist Rudolf 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 Beethoven sonata, from a concert in Germany.
Aug 27
Susanna Malkki
The average worker in this country changes careers 3 to 5 times over the course of lifetime. Musicians tend to be far below that average. With the intense amount of time and energy invested in getting a job, few are inclined to walk away from it. But it's not unheard of. In today's show, the story of cellist Susanna Malkki, who gave up a big orchestra job and became conductor Susanna Malkki. She leads a performance of Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" from a concert in London.
Aug 25
Fossils
Evolutionary theory holds that life evolves from the simple to the complex. Over the course of eons, new life forms weave in and, more often than not, out of existence. Composer Fung Lam knew this when he wrote his new piece for orchestra, "Endless Forms." The title is a quote from Charles Darwin. Lam creates a number of musical ideas, some of which don't survive. Others, he says, "blossom into very different and contrasting creatures." We'll hear the world premiere, from a concert last month in London.
Aug 24
Fossils
Evolutionary theory holds that life evolves from the simple to the complex. Over the course of eons, new life forms weave in and, more often than not, out of existence. Composer Fung Lam knew this when he wrote his new piece for orchestra, "Endless Forms." The title is a quote from Charles Darwin. Lam creates a number of musical ideas, some of which don't survive. Others, he says, "blossom into very different and contrasting creatures." We'll hear the world premiere, from a concert last month in London.
Aug 23
Viennese Ball
Maurice Ravel was 31 when he began writing a piece that he called simply, "La Valse," a light tribute to carefree Viennese waltzes. He set the piece aside, then saw the agony of World War I firsthand. When the 45-year-old Ravel came back to his waltz, the world was different place. He was a different man. And La Valse was no longer a light tribute. In 13 minutes, you can hear the waltz slowly go delirious, spin out of control, and finally, fly apart into chaos.
Aug 22
Birthday Cake
How to sum up Claude Debussy in just a few words? A man who revolutionized 20th century music. Who broke all the rules for composing. Who said, in fact, that there was only one rule, and that was pleasure. A man who explored musical moods and colors and textures in a way no one ever had before. Today is Claude Debussy's 150th birthday. We'll celebrate with some of his greatest works, including a performance of La Mer from San Francisco.
Aug 21
Water Lilies
Claude Debussy once said that he hated the term impressionism. And yet, he also wrote to a friend, "You do me a great honor by calling me a pupil of Claude Monet." Conductor David Robertson shares his thoughts on the parallels between Debussy's music and Monet's painting, and leads the New York Philharmonic in a ravishing performance of Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun."
Aug 20
Debussy Claude
Fred Child hosted a very special live event in Boston recently. A three-hour tribute to the music of Claude Debussy, featuring pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin, clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, and saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky. We'll hear highlights today and tomorrow, and lots of Debussy all week long, in honor of his 150th birthday on Wednesday.
Aug 18
Aspen Music Festival
They call it a tent, but it's really much more than that. It has a solid roof, and can seat nearly 2,000 people. But it's the movable side panels that make the Benedict Music Tent such a favorite of Aspen concertgoers. When the weather is nice, those panels open up and allow the gorgeous sounds to waft out over the lawn. You can bring a picnic, bring the kids, even the family dog. Today, we'll meet some folks on the lawn outside the Benedict Tent, and hear highlights from the great concerts inside.
Aug 17
Elizabeth Aoki and Fred Child
Here at PT, we're in the business of bringing you amazing performances every day. But once in a while, we hear one that stops us in our tracks. Today, we'll hear from a young lady who brought down the house with her recent performance at the Aspen Festival, 9-year-old violinist Elizabeth Aoki. She sits down with host Fred Child for her first-ever interview. And with a future as bright as hers, it certainly won't be her last.
Aug 16
Fred Child
Three days ago, Fred Child hosted a very special onstage event at the Aspen Festival. Music and conversation with some Aspen all-stars, including Aspen music director Robert Spano, composer John Harbison, and 9-year-old Aspen student Elizabeth Aoki. Today and tomorrow, we'll bring you highlights from that special night at Aspen. Plus, violinist Gil Shaham talks about his lifelong association with the festival.
Aug 15
Violin and Case
There are about 600 students at the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado. For eight weeks, their schedules are jam-packed with lessons, classes, rehearsals, and concerts. But even so, many of the Aspen students find time for busking, performing as street musicians in and around Aspen. Today, we'll meet a few and hear what may be the most talented crop of buskers in the world.
Aug 14
Aspen Music Festival
They call it a tent, but it's really much more than that. It has a solid roof, and can seat nearly 2,000 people. But it's the movable side panels that make the Benedict Music Tent such a favorite of Aspen concertgoers. When the weather is nice, those panels open up and allow the gorgeous sounds to waft out over the lawn. You can bring a picnic, bring the kids, even the family dog. Today, we'll meet some folks on the lawn outside the Benedict Tent, and hear highlights from the great concerts inside.
Aug 13
Aspen
Summer is winding down in the Rocky Mountains. The wildflowers are just beginning to fade. But there is still one more week of great music at the 2012 Aspen Festival. PT host Fred Child is there. All week, we'll feature compelling interviews and terrific performances from a mile and a half above sea level at the Aspen Festival.
Aug 11
Bruce Adolphe
Aug 10
Mozart
Teacher and pupil both had wicked senses of humor. But the teacher always maintained a certain emotional distance in his music, more comedy and less pathos. It was the student who ventured into darker emotional corners. In today's show, a work by the student, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. His String Quartet No. 15 is almost unrelentingly dark. Mozart dedicated the work to his teacher, the sunny, funny Joseph Haydn.
Aug 9
sunrays
Scientists tell us life on earth evolved from a murky, primordial stew. Oxygen and hydrogen from the early atmosphere, iron and calcium from the bellies of exploding stars, a dusting of carbon from wayward meteors. At the dawn of the 20th century, Richard Strauss wrote an extravagant piece of music depicting the evolution of humanity, beginning in that murky darkness. We know "Also Sprach Zarathustra" for its 90-second opening. Today, we'll hear the entire half-hour-long tone poem, from a concert in London.
Aug 8
Bruce Adolphe
Aug 7
Mihaela Ursuleasa
The music world was saddened to learn of the death late last week of Romanian pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa. She was only 33, and died of an apparent brain hemorrhage. Mihaela Ursuleasa stopped by the PT studios in 2008 for music and conversation with host Fred Child. PT staffers remember her as being smart and talented and engaging. In today's show, we'll rebroadcast portions of that 2008 interview, and her performance of music by Rachmaninoff and Chopin.
Aug 6
Daniel Barenboim West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
In 1999, conductor Daniel Barenboim and his good friend, author Edward Said, decided to found an orchestra made of up both Israeli and Arab musicians. Lots of people said they were crazy. Others said it might lead to peace in the Middle East. Barenboim is too much of an optimist and just enough of a pessimist to believe either argument. Still, he says what it can do is open up the dialogue between the two sides of the conflict. All this week, we'll hear Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in symphonies by Beethoven, from the Proms in London.
Aug 4
Celil Refik Kaya
La Follia is an ancient tune, at least 500 years old. Over the centuries, hundreds of composers have tried their hand at arranging it. Roberto Sierra just might be the most recent in that long line of tunesmiths. His version is only about a decade old. We'll hear guitarist Celil Refik Kaya in Sierra's Folias, which earned him the gold medal at the 2012 JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Competition.
Aug 3
piano
The most compelling stories to come out of the London Olympics are the ones of triumph over adversity. Hard-fought victories, athletes overcoming setback or injury to win medals. Sergei Rachmaninoff battled overwhelming criticism and self-doubt when he was writing his second piano concerto. He even did what many athletes do to improve their mental game. He consulted a hypnotherapist. Today, we'll visit the other big event going on in London right now, the Proms. Kirill Gerstein plays Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2.
Aug 2
Ghost
The music-making at Marlboro is so terrific that at times it almost seems other-worldly. In today's show, the story of one Marlboro resident who truly is from another dimension. That is, if you believe in ghosts. We'll share the story of Emily Mather, the ghost of Marlboro, and hear a performance of Beethoven's Ghost Trio.
Aug 1
hourglass
Every summer, something strange and magical happens at Marlboro Music in Vermont. Festival co-director Mitsuko Uchida says, "Time passes very slowly in Marlboro, and at the same time very fast. You blink, and seven weeks are gone. But it seems as if you had eternity in your hands." In today's show, highlights from one of Mitsuko Uchida's Marlboro performances, teaming up with two young string players for a Schubert Adagio.