Program Archives

Alexander Glazunov
09/19/18

Alexander Glazunov was quite confident at the age of 25, and for good reason: it was going on a decade since the successful premiere of his First Symphony, and he had composers like Rimsky-...

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
09/18/18

Tchaikovsky was pretty busy during the autumn of 1880. He was working on two pieces back-to-back, and to the composer, they were total opposites. One was an overture that he said he wrote “without...

Anton Bruckner
09/17/18

The Ninth – and final – Symphony by Anton Bruckner was left incomplete by the composer; when Bruckner died, three movements were finished. The fourth movement was a collection of nearly two...

Alexander Glazunov
09/14/18

Imagine this: beginning composition lessons with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov when you’re 14… writing your first symphony at the age of 15… and watching that symphony be premiered, conducted by Mily...

Richard Strauss
09/13/18

Richard Strauss’s tone poem Death and Transfiguration is a departure from his previous tone poems in a variety of ways. In this one, Strauss creates a concise narrative: the music is meant to...

Johannes Brahms
09/12/18

For Johannes Brahms, the symphony was the ultimate test of a composer’s abilities and the most suitable way of creating a legacy. And at one point the composer even said that he would never write...

Gabriel Faure
09/11/18

On the 17th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we are remembering  the victims and honoring the heroes with the Requiem by Gabriel Faure. Faure famously once said that he composed his...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
09/10/18

In the mid-1780s, the majority of Mozart’s income was actually generated by performing as a pianist, not composing. That isn’t to say he wasn’t prolifically composing during this time period: he...

Carl Goldmark
09/07/18

Completed in 1888, Carl Goldmark’s Rustic Wedding Symphony is not your usual 19th century symphony. It’s in five movements, not four, and none of them use the sonata form, which was often included...

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
09/06/18

Tchaikovsky’s Second Symphony, or the “Little Russian” as it has come to be known as, is the shortest of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies. However, its distinction is not the length of the work – it is...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
09/05/18

Mozart completed his only clarinet concerto just two months prior to his death and it has become one of the most enduring works in the solo clarinet repertoire. He composed the piece just shortly...

Sergei Rachmaninoff
09/04/18

Composed at the turn of the 20th century, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto is often described as the greatest piano concerto of all time. There’s much evidence of this- the piece is virtuosic...

Ludwig van Beethoven
08/31/18

There may not be a classical masterwork more iconic than Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. But it took a while for the piece to reach its current status. In his lifetime, Beethoven was known more for...

Antonin Dvorak
08/30/18

The Symphony No. 7 by Antonin Dvorak holds a special status amongst the composer’s nine symphonies. Compared to its neighbors, the sixth and eighth symphonies, the seventh is much gloomier and...

Gustav Holst
08/29/18

It may come as a surprise but Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite The Planets is not about the actual planets in our solar system – rather, he has composed music that takes on the personality of the...

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
08/28/18

One of the first critics to write about Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony noted that the orchestration was “essentially modern, and even ultra-modern.” This was ten years after the composer completed...

Ludwig van Beethoven
08/27/18

Like a lot of works in the 18th and 19th Century, Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto in C Major was misnumbered. He completed the concerto after what would become his 2nd piano concerto… evidently...

Hamilton Harty
08/24/18

Hamilton Harty composed his Irish Symphony for the 1904 Feis Ceoil, an annual festival of Irish music that began in 1897. Harty’s Symphony won the grand prize that year in the festival’s...

Edward Elgar
08/23/18

In many ways, Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto is a reaction to the First World War. He composed it in 1919, and it embodies a realization that life in Europe would never be the same. In fact, Elgar’...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
08/22/18

Mozart’s keyboard concertos are the most personal of his works: many of them were composed as a way of showcasing the composer’s own piano playing in public performances. The Piano Concerto No. 21...

Modest Mussorgsky
08/21/18

When Modest Mussorgsky completed his Pictures at an Exhibition in 1874, it wasn’t the version for orchestra we hear most often. It was actually an incredibly difficult suite for solo piano. The...

Ludwig van Beethoven
08/20/18

While Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is dark and driven, the Symphony No. 6 is like walking down the sunnier side of the same street. He did most of the work on the Sixth while he was completing the...

Victor Herbert
08/17/18

Victor Herbert was not just a composer; he was also a world-class virtuoso cellist, and he composed two cello concertos for himself to perform. The first was written and premiered in 1885 in...

Nicolo Paganini
08/16/18

Classical Music history has a long tradition of great instrumental soloists composing great works to showcase their instrument: composers like Rachmaninoff and Brahms are two great examples. Both...

Franz Joseph Haydn
08/15/18

Franz Joseph Haydn’s 45th Symphony, the “Farewell” Symphony, is one of the more theatrical and problem-solving symphonies from the 18th century… At the very end of the symphony, after a short...