Program Archives

Felix Mendelssohn
11/02/18

Felix Mendelssohn composed his Octet in E-flat when he was only 16 years old, a work that is at times symphonic, and other times intimate. One way of looking at the instrumentation of the work is...

Johannes Brahms
11/01/18

In his own words, Brahms described his Second Piano concerto as “very small,” featuring a “very small and pretty scherzo.” “Very small” is a bit off the mark – Johannes Brahms’s Piano Concerto...

Hector Berlioz
10/31/18

We are getting spooky this evening for Halloween starting at 6 PM with the perfect musical accompaniment to your trick-or-treating: favorites like Bach’s Toccata & Fugue, Wagner’s Ride of the...

Erich Wolfgang Korngold
10/30/18

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!”...

Charles Ives
10/29/18

American Composer Charles Ives did not spend his career composing music on commission – he spent his career as an insurance salesman. That’s probably how he was able to write music about, for...

Ludwig van Beethoven
10/26/18

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 “...

Edvard Grieg
10/25/18

Edvard Grieg composed one of his most important masterpieces at age 25: the Piano Conerto in a minor. It’s rather fitting, since the composer’s primary instrument was the piano, and he even...

Robert Schumann
10/24/18

Robert Schumann suffered all kinds of ailments throughout his lifetime – auditory hallucinations, depression, and even bipolar disorder. But in 1845, some of that changed – at least temporarily –...

Franz Schubert
10/23/18

Franz Schubert has two symphonies in the key of C-Major… his final symphony, the 9th , the “Great” C-major symphony, and the sixth, which is now known as his “Little C-Major” symphony. Well the...

Max Bruch
10/22/18

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...

Beethoven
10/19/18

Tonight on Classical WSMR, we’ll feature the only work Beethoven ever wrote for more than one solo instrument. His “Triple Concerto” for Violin, Cello and Piano has been recorded by some of the...

Carl Maria von Weber
10/18/18

The German Clarinet virtuoso, Heinrich Baermann inspired several works in the Classical realm. The composers who wrote with him in mind include Meyerbeer and Mendelssohn and Carl Maria von Weber,...

Alexander Zemlinsky
10/17/18

In 1939, Alexander Zemlinsky was fleeing from the Nazis and took two pieces of his symphonic tone poem, The Mermaid, based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale with him to the United States....

Saint-Saens
10/16/18

The Symphony number three, which features a famous organ solo, was to be the final symphony penned by Saint-Saens.  It was commissioned by The London Philharmonic Society, which also commissioned...

Beethoven
10/15/18

Like several of Beethoven’s works, the opus 104 String Quintet was a rearrangement of an earlier composition. But in this case, it wasn’t Beethoven who did the revamp. It was someone else, and isn...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
10/12/18

Mozart composed three piano concertos in 1785, the 20th, 21st, and 22nd, and often the last of those is eclipsed by the first two. This may be because the 22nd Concerto lacks the dramatic grandeur...

Alexander Borodin
10/11/18

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...

Johannes Brahms
10/10/18

The Third Piano Concerto by Brahms went through several transformations over the course of the nearly 20 years it took the composer to complete it. The first version of the work was completed in...

Richard Strauss
10/05/18

After World War I, Richard Strauss turned to the music of Francois Couperin for inspiration. Couperin, in his lifetime, composed more than 300 short works for the harpsichord, and Strauss...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
10/04/18

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...

10/03/18

At the start of 1791, when Franz Joseph Haydn arrived in England, he was already the most famous composer in Europe, and had been for a few years. It seemed obvious, then, that a suggestion would...

Beethoven
09/21/18

Beethoven composed his Septet in E-flat in 1799 and the work encapsulates all of the musical entertainments of that century – it sits in the Classical serenade and divertimento tradition....

Carl Nielsen
09/20/18

Danish composer Carl Nielsen believed that music was life – and his Symphony No. 4 is a musical manifesto to that belief. It was composed between 1914 and 1916, at the beginning of World War One,...

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...