Program Archives

Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra Op. 30
05/16/17

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...

Johannes Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 in d Op. 15
05/15/17

In 1854, Johannes Brahms began to compose a two-piano sonata, and soon realized that it needed more. He would transform the opening of that work into the first movement of a First Piano Concerto;...

Max Bruch: Symphony No. 3
05/15/17

Max Bruch’s third and final Symphony may have been composed when he was 45-years old, but he said much of the work is based on material from “my freshest and happiest of youth.” He had also...

Rimsky-Korsakov’s: Scheherazade
05/13/17

Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphonic suite Scheherazade is inspired by the Tales of the Arabian Nights. The music tells the story of the young bride Scheherazade married to an angry Sultan who...

Felix Mendelssohn : String Quartet No. 3 from his Opus 44
05/12/17

When you think of works by Felix Mendelssohn that qualify as a “Masterwork” his Symphony Nos. 3 and 4 probably come to mind.  But the composer was extremely prolific in chamber music as well. ...

Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Piano Concerto No. 3 in b-minor
05/11/17

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...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 in D Op. 36
05/11/17

At the time of writing his Second Symphony, Beethoven had not yet transformed into the mythic, dramatic Romantic composer we know him as today… but he was definitely on his way. It was during this...

Robert Schumann: Symphony No. 2 in C Op. 61
05/09/17

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...

Claude Debussy: String Quartet in g-minor, Op. 10
05/08/17

Debussy once said that “Music, by its very nature, is something that cannot be cast into a traditional and fixed form.” A great example of this is the composer’s only string quartet, a work that...

Franz Joseph Haydn: Violin Concerto No. 3 in A
05/03/17

Sometimes music gets lost for a while… and in the best cases it gets rediscovered. That was the case with Franz Joseph Haydn’s A-Major Violin Concerto, which was discovered in 1949, and estimated...

George Frideric Handel: Water Music Suite No. 1 in F
05/02/17

Handel wrote some of his Water Music when he first arrived in England in 1710 – but the earliest surviving score of his “Celebrated Water Musick” dates back to the 1730s. This music was featured...

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 in e Op. 27
05/01/17

The premiere of Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony was so disastrous that it left the composer in a state of chronic depression for the following three years – Rachmaninoff later recalled the premiere...

Cesar Franck: Symphony in d-minor
05/01/17

The only symphony by Cesar Franck is a bit of a rarity these days, which might have come as a shock to concertgoers, conductors, and orchestras in the early-20th century. In the heyday of...

Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life)
04/26/17

Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben, or “a hero’s life” in English, is self-referential, and Strauss received criticism for this upon the work’s premiere. Critics noted how the tone poem was “a...

Franz Schubert: Piano Quintet in A Op. 114 “Trout”
04/25/17

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...

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in f Op. 36
04/25/17

Like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, the theme of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 is fate. Tchaikovsky even said, “Basically, my symphony is patterned after Beethoven’s Fifth. Not Beethoven’s musical...

Edvard Grieg: Symphonic Dances Op. 64
04/20/17

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. However, it seems...

Johannes Brahms: String Sextet No. 1 in B-flat Op. 18
04/20/17

Brahms composed his first String Sextet during the summer, while he was vacationing on the banks of the Elbe River. The composer was in his 20s, yet this work is distinctly Brahms, and it even...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Quintet for Piano and Winds in E-Flat
04/18/17

Beethoven’s Quintet for Piano and Winds displays a strong influence of the elder Mozart and Haydn. The wind writing, in particular, brings to mind the serenades of Mozart. However, in this Quintet...

Amy Marcy Cheney Beach: Symphony in e Op. 32 “Gaelic”
04/17/17

The “Gaelic” Symphony by American composer Amy Beach was written just before the turn of the 20th century. As the nickname may suggest, four of the symphony’s themes draw from traditional Irish-...

Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 4 in c “Tragic”
04/17/17

No one really knows why Franz Schubert subtitled his Fourth Symphony “tragic:” some believe it was perhaps an attempt to attract a publisher, or maybe because it’s the first symphony he wrote in a...

Edouard Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole in d Op. 21
04/16/17

Edouard Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole is a quirky sort of piece as far as its structure goes: it is part symphony but mostly concerto. It’s also filled with Spanish-type idioms, as one would expect...

Alexander Glazunov: Symphony No. 2 in F-sharp minor, Op. 16
04/14/17

A 20-year old Alexander Glazunov completed his Symphony No. 2 in 1886, and dedicated it to the memory of Franz Liszt. He was a student at the time, but it was still an impressive follow-up to the...

Max Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 2
04/12/17

Most people are familiar with Max Bruch’s First Violin Concerto, and his Violin Concerto No. 2 usually sits in the shadow of the First… but it is still a masterwork. It’s premiere took place in...

Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 6 in d Op. 104
04/12/17

The Symphony No. 6 in d minor by Jean Sibelius is often overlooked compared to his other symphonies, but to many that are truly familiar with the composer’s work, it is his finest symphony. It’s a...