Program Archives

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
12/14/18

Though it’s no mystery that Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for 4 Winds is charming, there is quite a bit of mystery surrounding it. The main problem is figuring out why the original...

Jean Sibelius
12/13/18

In the early-part of the 20th Century, composers like Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Bartok were doing pioneering work in forms outside of the symphony. The symphony was the most...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
12/12/18

Mozart composed all five of his violin concertos in a matter of months – between April and December of 1775. Each one is longer and seems to be more epic than the one that came before it, so it’s...

Mark O’Connor
12/11/18

Mark O’Connor’s Americana Symphony is a work that evokes images of the American expansion westward while fusing O’Connor’s folk roots with the sounds of the symphony orchestra. The work...

Edouard Lalo
12/10/18

Although Edouard Lalo was a Frenchman, he was of Spanish descent: he’s most famous for his Symphonie Espagnole for violin and orchestra, and Spanish idioms also fill the three movements of his...

Ludwig van Beethoven
12/07/18

Beethoven wrote his Tenth String Quartet around the same time he was writing his Symphony No. 5 and the Les Adieux Piano Sonata, and while those two works are dramatic and...

Vassili Kalinnikov
12/06/18

Vassili Kalinnikov composed his First Symphony shortly after resigning from his post as the second conductor of the Italian Opera in Moscow. He resigned due to health issues, and then moved to the...

Paul Dukas
12/04/18

The symphony wasn’t the most popular genre for French composers heading into the 20th Century; there’s really only a handful that we still listen to that were composed between 1885 and 1900. Even...

Ernest Chausson
11/30/18

Towards the end of the 19th century, French composers were churning out symphonies: the “Organ” symphony by Saint-Saens, the Symphony in g-minor by Lalo, the Symphony in D minor by Cesar Franck,...

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
11/29/18

The Piano Concerto No. 2 by Tchaikovsky often sits in the shadow of the composer’s mega-popular First Concerto, but there are some circles who believe the second is superior to the first...

Robert Schumann
11/28/18

A lot of the time when you hear of a work of music having a nickname, for example, Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata, that nickname was given by the publisher, not the composer. But in the case of...

Franz Schubert
11/27/18

In 1817, Franz Schubert composed a short song called “The Trout,” which told the story of an onlooker on a riverbank watching a “happy little fish” swimming in the river. The fish, a trout, is...

Felix Mendelssohn
11/26/18

In October of 1830, Mendelssohn went to Italy, a trip that last 10 months, and a trip in which he found himself starting out in Venice and travelling south to Rome, and then onward to Naples. The...

11/22/18

Tonight we are celebrating Thanksgiving with the Symphony No. 9 in e by Antonin Dvorak, From the New World, a work that is filled with American impressions. Dvorak was born in what is now...

Felix Mendelssohn
11/21/18

The Second Piano Concerto by Mendelssohn is a characteristic work from the composer: dramatic themes, virtuosic displays, and even some meditative moments. The work was premiered in 1837 with the...

Edvard Grieg
11/20/18

Throughout his career, Edvard Grieg tended to concentrate on smaller forms of music, as evident in a few of his more-popular works like the Lyric Pieces and Norwegian Dances....

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
11/16/18

For Mozart, the piano concerto was an opportunity to combine his two talents: In composing for the genre, he could be both Mozart the composer, and Mozart the pianist. It was also a way of making...

Richard Strauss
11/15/18

It may come as a bit of a shock, but Richard Strauss’s tone poem Also Sprach Zarathustra wasn’t always as popular as it is today. Well, Strauss can thank Stanley Kubrick for the boost in...

Ludwig van Beethoven
11/14/18

Beethoven’s Third Symphony, the Eroica, not only represented a turning point in the composer’s career, but is one of the few pieces of music that forever changed music history. At the...

Antonin Dvorak
11/13/18

Folk music, or at least folk-like style, is a focal point in much of the music Dvorak produced, and this is quite evident in his final piano trio, the Piano Trio No. 4 in e minor, or “...

Ludwig van Beethoven
11/09/18

Beethoven composed six pieces for his Opus 18 set of string quartets, and while it may be obvious that the Sixth quartet was the final one Beethoven composed, the numbers assigned to these pieces...

Antonin Dvorak
11/08/18

The Symphony No. 3 in E-flat by Dvorak comes at a time when the composer was falling out of the influence of Richard Wagner and more into his own unique voice, but there are still some...

Igor Stravinsky
11/07/18

The story of Pulcinella did not originate with Stravinsky, nor did it really originate with the great Russian impresario Sergei Diaghilev (though he is that one that brought it to Stravinsky’s...

Ludwig van Beethoven
11/06/18

In May of 1809, Napoleon’s army began to besiege Vienna. Despite this, a 39-year old Beethoven refused to leave the city, instead seeking shelter underground. Once the bombardment had ended,...

Nikolai Miaskovsky
11/05/18

The Violin Concerto in d-minor was the first concerto that Nikolai Miaskovsky composed. This was in 1938, and the composer had finished this work after studying the violin concertos of...