Program Archives

Vassili Kalinnikov: Symphony No. 2 in A
06/19/18

The story of Russian composer Vasily Kalinnikov is a tragically short one, not unlike the story of many artists throughout the ages. He lived a troubled life, growing up in poverty and dealing...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Clarinet Quintet in A K 581
06/18/18

No one is sure why Mozart was tasked to compose his Clarinet Quintet in A, though it was first premiered at the end of 1789 at a benefit concert for musicians’ widows and orphans. Interestingly,...

Arnold Schoenberg: Verklarte Nacht (Transfigured Night)
06/18/18

Arnold Schoenberg is perhaps best known for his revolutionary twelve-tone technique, a systematic approach to composition that utilized all 12 notes of the octave to create the music he wrote. But...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 26 “Coronation”
06/14/18

Mozart composed his 26th Piano Concerto around the same time he was writing dramatic operas such as The Marriage of Figaro and The Abduction from the Seraglio, and in a lot of ways, the concerto...

Franz Schubert: String Quintet in C Op. 163
06/13/18

The String Quintet in C by Franz Schubert was composed in the final weeks of his life. It’s rather unique in that rather than writing for a string quartet with an extra viola, which was common in...

Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony No. 104 in D “London”
06/12/18

Haydn’s 104th Symphony was first performed in London on an all-Haydn concert, conducted by the composer, in May of 1795. At this time in his life, he was working in London and not only was he...

Antonin Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 in e Op. 95 “From the New World”
06/11/18

Antonin Dvorak was born in what is now the Czech Republic, but in 1892, when he was about 50 years old, the composer moved to America to be the director of the National Conservatory of Music in...

Alexander von Zemlinsky: Die Seejungfrau (The Mermaid)
06/11/18

The Mermaid by Alexander von Zemilinsky was premiered on a concert in January of 1905 alongside a piece by the composer’s brother-in-law, Arnold Schoenberg. While it is a richly orchestrated tone...

Max Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1 in g Op. 26
06/07/18

Max Bruch’s First Violin Concerto had quite the evolution, having first been completed and performed in 1866, but withdrawn by the composer out of sheer dissatisfaction. It would then take two...

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 5 in D
06/06/18

Between 1938 and 1943, Ralph Vaughan Williams was quite busy on a variety of musical projects, including his earliest film scores, an opera, and music for the war effort. He was also composing his...

Edouard Lalo: Cello Concerto in d minor
06/05/18

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

Felix Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 2 in d-minor
06/04/18

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...

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D Op. 35
06/04/18

The story goes that Tchaikovsky once had a childhood nightmare in which he was violently being rubbed against a giant brick of rosin, and this resulted in an uneasy relationship with the violin...

Alexander Glazunov: Symphony No. 7 in F Op. 77 “Pastoral”
05/30/18

Alexander Glazunov’s Symphony No. 7 is titled the “Pastoral” symphony… and it is in the key of F major. That might sound familiar to you, because Beethoven Sixth Symphony is also the “Pastoral”...

Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Violin Concerto in D Op. 35
05/29/18

The story goes that when Erich Korngold was a young boy, his father showed his first compositions to Gustav Mahler – who responded to the young composer’s music by simply saying “A genius!”...

Alexander Borodin: Symphony No. 2 in b
05/29/18

It took Alexander Borodin nearly 8 years to complete his Second Symphony, and even after its premiere in 1877, the composer had to revise it because of its unpopularity. Nowadays, though, Bordin’s...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in d minor, Op. 125 “Choral”
05/23/18

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, whether he wanted it to or not, pushed the envelope forward in the world of Western Classical Music. Wagner once argued that Beethoven’s Ninth pointed the way to the “...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Flute and Harp Concerto in C major, K 299
05/22/18

In 1778, a 22 year old Mozart arrived in Paris with his mother after a prolonged stay in Mannheim. It was upon his arrival that he received a commission for the Flute and Harp Concerto from the...

Johannes Brahms: Piano Quintet in f Op. 34
05/21/18

The Piano Quintet in f minor by Johannes Brahms had a bit of a rocky history. First, Brahms imagined the work as a string quintet, but violinist Joseph Joachim claimed that the music wasn’t suited...

Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 2 in B-flat
05/21/18

Franz Schubert was quite the busy-body when he was 17. He had a full-time job as a teaching assistant, he attended lessons with Antonio Salieri twice a week, and he played viola in a student...

Robert Schumann: Symphony No. 2 in C Op. 61
05/16/18

Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 2 marked a new way of working for the composer. As a young composer, Schumann was a gifted improviser on the piano, which informed much of his earlier work, and he...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 41 in C K 551 “Jupiter”
05/15/18

The Jupiter Symphony is the largest and most complex symphony Mozart composed, completed in 1788. The symphony is characterized by its good humor, high-spirited energy, and the unusually grand...

Max Bruch: Scottish Fantasy Op. 46
05/14/18

When you think about concert music based off of Scottish fiddle tunes, you probably wouldn’t think that one of the best known pieces using those tunes is by a German composer. Well, it is - it’s...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat “Emperor”
05/14/18

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,...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C Op. 21
05/10/18

When the 29-year-old Beethoven composed and published his First Symphony, many listened on, oblivious to how the composer would soon transform the symphonic genre. While the work was often grouped...