Program Archives

03/12/18

On this date in 1845, Felix Mendelssohn’s only Violin Concerto was premiered. He completed the work in 1844, and to this day it is one of the most frequently performed of all violin concerti. The...

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in b Op. 74 “Pathetique”
03/12/18

There is much intrigue surrounding Tchaikovsky’s final symphony. In it, Tchaikovsky had developed a “private” and unpublished program – a narrative that only the composer knew about, but he drew...

Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Piano Concerto No. 3 in b-minor Op. 89
03/08/18

Johann Hummel’s piano sonatas are usually considered his most interesting compositions, but the piano concertos he produced are also an important part of the composer’s output. He completed the...

Gang Chen / Zhanhao He: The Butterfly Lovers (Concerto for Violin)
03/06/18

Long before Shakespeare wrote Romeo & Juliet, a similar story of star-crossed lovers emerged from China. It’s the story of forbidden love that ends in suicide, except in this version, after...

Camille Saint-Saens: Symphony No. 3 in c Op 78 “Organ”
03/05/18

Although Camille Saint-Saens is often considered a conservative composer for his time, his Third Symphony is all but conservative. It’s highly original and innovative in many ways, such as how the...

Hector Berlioz: Harold in Italy Op. 16
03/05/18

In the early 1830s, French composer Hector Berlioz won the Prix de Rome, a prize instituted by the French government, which allowed him to spend more than a year in Italy, studying in an...

Houston Symphony: Matthew Halls - Conductor
03/02/18

Matthew Halls - Conductor
Johannes Moser - Cello [Photo: Uwe Arens]

Cellist Johannes Moser shines in a performance of Haydn's elegant Cello Concerto No. 1.

SCHUBERT:...

Robert Schumann: Cello Concerto in a Op. 129
03/01/18

Our evening masterwork tonight is Robert Schumann’s Cello Concerto, which kind of has an interesting origin. During the time Schumann was coming of age, it was the era of piano virtuosi, such as...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A K 622
02/27/18

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 Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C, Op. 26
02/27/18

The Third Piano Concerto by Prokofiev was completed while he was on a vacation in France in the summer of 1921 right after the premiere of his Scythian Suite in Paris. At that point, he had been...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A Op. 92
02/26/18

The premiere of Beethoven’s seventh symphony was perhaps the most wildly successful of his career, and the work received repeat performances 3 times in the 10 weeks following the concert. The work...

Listeners Favorite Composers
02/20/18

During our Winter Campaign, we asked you about your favorite composer – and the votes are in!  All this week we’ll be unveiling your picks, one Evening Masterwork at a time – each night at 7 o’...

Giuseppe Verdi: I Vespri Siciliani: Four Seasons
02/14/18

Tonight on our Evening Masterwork, we feature a sort of piece within a piece. It is the Four Seasons ballet music from Verdi’s opera I Vespri Siciliani. It’s a part of the opera that is actually...

Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in a minor Op. 54
02/13/18

Robert Schumann’s only piano concerto was not always a concerto: in 1841 the composer produced a Fantaisie in a-minor for piano and orchestra, which later evolved into the first movement of his...

Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto in a Op. 16
02/12/18

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...

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D Op. 35
02/12/18

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...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 38 in D K 504 “Prague”
02/08/18

Three years separated Mozart’s 37th Symphony and his 38th, but at the age of 30, towards the end of 1786, he started composing his Symphony No. 38 for Prague. This was a city where Mozart was all...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in c Op. 37
02/07/18

Sometimes composers like to cut it close when it comes to finishing pieces, and in the case of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, he didn’t really cut it at all. The first rehearsal was at 8 in the...

Johannes Brahms: Violin Concerto in D Op. 77
02/06/18

When working on his Violin Concerto, Johannes Brahms enlisted the help of his violin virtuoso friend, Joseph Joachim, who would go on to premiere the work. The two corresponded by mail, and when...

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 1 in d Op. 13
02/05/18

While Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony is seen as a masterwork today, the story surrounding its premiere left a bit of a shadow on Rachmaninoff’s career. The story goes that during the premiere, the...

Max Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1 in g Op. 26
02/05/18

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...

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor Op. 23
02/01/18

Tchaikovsky had hoped that his First Piano Concerto would be premiered by Director of the Moscow Conservatory, Nicolai Rubinstein, but that did not happen. Tchaikovsky recounted the exchange with...

Alexander Glazunov: Piano Concerto No. 1 in f Op. 92
01/31/18

Around the time of the turn of the century, Alexander Glazunov was encountering a kind of artistic crisis. Because of the work required of him as director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, his...

01/29/18

The subject of fate, and fate itself, had haunted Tchaikovsky since 1876, when the composer saw Carmen and was struck by the “death of the two principals who, through fate, ultimately reach the...