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Dec 31
Franz Welser-Most
At the annual New Year's concert in Vienna, the hall is even more resplendent than usual and the music is light and fun. Conductor Franz Welser-Most had the baton this year, which he says is tremendous fun despite being "the most stressful experience you can have in a conductor's life." He'll explain more on Tuesday's Performance Today, and we'll hear some New Year's concert highlights featuring Franz Welser-Most and the Vienna Philharmonic.
Dec 30
Rudolf Buchbinder
Rudolf Buchbinder grew up in a house with a piano, despite the fact that no one in his family played music. That piano became a source of inspiration for Buchbinder, who has grown up to have a tremendous career as a pianist. We'll hear him play Beethoven on Monday's Performance Today.
Dec 28
Franz Joseph Haydn
How many jokes still work after more than 200 years? If performed as the composer intended, the silly joke at the end of Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 90 never fails to get a laugh. We'll hear a performance of this piece featuring Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic on this weekend's Performance Today.
Dec 27
Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner's operas are so over-the-top, they're sometimes an inch away from being self-parodies. On Friday's Performance Today we'll hear the Cleveland Orchestra give a serious (and seriously great) performance of the Ride of the Valkyries, plus a bit of humor courtesy of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.
Dec 26
Franz Joseph Haydn
How many jokes still work after more than 200 years? If performed as the composer intended, the silly joke at the end of Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 90 never fails to get a laugh. We'll hear a performance of this piece featuring Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic on Thursday's Performance Today.
Dec 25
Danish Christmas tree
On Christmas Day, join us for a musical journey across the country and around the world. On Wednesday's Performance Today we're featuring our annual musical celebration of Christmas from concert halls, churches, and auditoriums near and far.
Dec 24
18th Century Christmas
On Tuesday's Performance Today we're featuring music for Christmas Eve from concert halls and churches around the world. From music that is fervent and passionate to music that is quietly reverent, we'll hear a wide range of heartfelt music for the Christmas season.
Dec 23
Celesta
Tchaikovsky heard something in Paris that amazed him. A new invention that looked like a small piano, but sounded like a delicate set of heavenly bells: the celesta. Tchaikovsky had one secretly sent home to Russia, and he wrote a perfect part for it in his new ballet, The Nutcracker. He was worried that another composer would get it first, so he kept the instrument hidden until the final rehearsal. Coming up on Monday's Performance Today, highlights from The Nutcracker performed by The Rotterdam Philharmonic.
Dec 21
Hakan Hardenberger
Hakan Hardenberger's father was always late getting Christmas presents. One Christmas Eve, he came across a music shop and decided to buy a trumpet for his 8-year-old son. Thanks to that last-minute present, young Hakan grew up to be one of the great trumpet soloists of our time. On this weekend's Performance Today, we'll hear Hakan Hardenberger perform Jean Francaix's Sonatine for Trumpet and Piano.
Dec 20
Lunar eclipse, winter solstice 2010
The winter solstice is almost upon us. In anticipation of the longest night of the year we're featuring music for and of the night on Friday's Performance Today, including music by American composer Morten Lauridsen.
Dec 19
Nutcracker
Conductor Simon Rattle has known The Nutcracker since he was a kid, and with each passing year he becomes more fascinated with the music. Coming up on Thursday's Performance Today, Simon Rattle conducts the Berlin Philharmonic in The Nutcracker "B-sides;" the sometimes overlooked, but still heart-tugging and toe-tapping dances from the rest of Tchaikovsky's beloved ballet.
Dec 18
Hakan Hardenberger
Hakan Hardenberger's father was always late getting Christmas presents. One year - on the day before Christmas - he came across a music shop. In that shop he saw a trumpet, which he decided to buy for his 8-year-old son. Thanks to that last-minute present, young Hakan grew up to be one of the great trumpet soloists of our time. On Wednesday's Performance Today, we'll hear Hakan Hardenberger perform Jean Francaix's Sonatine for Trumpet and Piano.
Dec 17
Richard Strauss
When the great German composer Richard Strauss was a baby, he cried when he heard the violin and smiled when he heard the French horn. (At least, according to his mother.) Maybe he reacted that way because his father was a horn player. On Tuesday's Performance Today we'll hear Richard Strauss' Horn Concerto No. 1, which he wrote at age 18 as a 60th birthday present for his father.
Dec 16
Menahem Pressler
Pianist Menachem Pressler was born on Dec. 16, 1923, which makes today his 90th birthday. Pressler is still as busy as ever, giving concerts around the world and teaching piano. On Monday's Performance Today, we'll hear him play a couple of heartfelt Intermezzos by Johannes Brahms, from a concert at the Music@Menlo Festival. And Pressler will discuss how music nourishes and sustains him; from his boyhood years in Germany to his 90th birthday and beyond.
Dec 14
Bruce Adolphe
In the spring of 2002 we went on the air with composer Bruce Adolphe with what we called a Keyboard Conundrum; he had taken a folk tune and re-written it in the style of a great classical composer. The very next week we called it the Piano Puzzler, and Bruce has been sharing these fun and entertainingly educational pieces on PT every week since. Coming up on this weekend's Performance Today, we'll hear another one of Bruce Adolphe's Piano Puzzlers. Play along to see if you can name the hidden tune and guess the name of the composer whose style Bruce is mimicking.
Dec 13
arcangelo corelli
If you're ever in Rome in December, you'll see bagpipers playing in the piazzas; it's an old Christmas tradition in Italy. But to really see the bagpipers in action, go to Mass. They play in front of nativity scenes, re-enacting the devotion of the shepherds at the birth of Christ. On Friday's Performance Today we'll hear Arcangelo Corelli's Christmas Concerto, his tribute to this Italian custom.
Dec 12
Alfred Nobel
The Nobel Prizes were given out this week in Stockholm, Sweden. Every year since 1994 there has also been a Nobel Prize Concert, which features both a big-name soloist and a big-name guest conductor leading the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. Coming up on Thursday's Performance Today, we'll hear a couple of highlights from the 2012 Nobel Prize Concert, including Christoph Eschenbach conducting the triumphant final movement of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1.
Dec 11
snow winter
January is not an ideal time to travel from London to Minnesota with delicate baroque instruments. Finely crafted instruments are not made to withstand Minnesota's wintery low humidity; bows can buckle and bridges can crack. As the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment quickly learned, there is nothing to do except to glue, humidify, and persevere. Coming up on Wednesday's Performance Today, Rachel Podger and members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment play a warm concerto by Antonio Vivaldi in concert in the Minnesota chill.
Dec 10
Claude Debussy
When war broke out in 1914, French composer Claude Debussy refused to go near a piano or compose any music; he said that France could neither laugh nor weep while so many of her sons were dying. As the war continued, however, Debussy decided to write music with an especially French feel as a way to "give proof, however small it may be...that French thought will not be annihilated." On Tuesday's Performance Today we'll hear Debussy's very French Sonata for Flute, Harp, and Viola from a concert in Oslo, Norway.
Dec 9
beethoven
Beethoven is a musical giant; a composer who revolutionized music for piano, string quartet, and orchestra. Coming up on Monday's Performance Today we'll hear his first symphony, which Beethoven wrote back when he was primarily known as a performer, not a composer.
Dec 7
Sergey Prokofiev
In 1916, critics complained that 26-year-old Sergei Prokofiev's music was too modern, too hard on the ears, and lacking a sense of history. So that summer Prokofiev left for vacation with a plan. On this weekend's Performance Today, we'll hear Prokofiev's classically-inspired rebuttal, his Symphony No. 1. Plus, composer Bruce Adolphe has this week's Piano Puzzler.
Dec 6
virgil thomson
If you walk through the city of Paris at night, the river is a brooding presence. American composer Virgil Thomson wrote that the Seine is "so deep and its face so quiet that it scarcely seems to move." On Friday's Performance Today, we'll hear Thomson's musical portrait of the river Seine performed by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Dec 5
Sang Yoon Kim
Performance Today has invited musicians from the top American music conservatories to perform in the PT studios. On Thursday's show, clarinetist Sang Yoon Kim is back as young artist in residence to play music by Charles-Marie Widor and share some unconventional ways to practice music.
Dec 4
Sang Yoon Kim
We're excited to showcase our third young artist in residence for the season, clarinetist Sang Yoon Kim. On Wednesday's Performance Today, we'll hear a virtuosic suite by Sarasate based on music from Carmen. Plus, composer Bruce Adolphe has this week's Piano Puzzler.
Dec 3
The Katona Twins
Peter and Zoltan Katona are a globetrotting guitar duo from Hungary. Their energetic playing spans numerous genres including flamenco, jazz, and Baroque music. On Tuesday's Performance Today, the Katona Twins perform two works of their own in Seattle, Washington.
Dec 2
Liszt
Franz Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 is dramatic, romantic, virtuosic music for piano and orchestra. On Monday's Performance Today, international superstar pianist Lang Lang teams up to perform it with a top American orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony.