Program Archives

Felix Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3 in a Op. 56 “Scottish”
04/10/17

Felix Mendelssohn first got the idea for his third symphony while on a trip to Scotland. He was 20 years old at the time, and he wasn’t in any hurry to finish the symphony – he took 13 years to...

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 2 “London”
04/06/17

Ralph Vaughan Williams began work on his Second Symphony as early as 1908, and shared the first two movements with friends four years later, playing it on a battered upright piano. The Symphony...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 20 in d minor
04/05/17

In his lifetime, Mozart composed 27 piano concertos – and out of all of those, only two of them are in a minor key. This evening’s masterwork, the Piano Concerto No. 20 in d minor, is probably the...

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Guitar Concerto No. 2
04/04/17

The concerto as a genre seemed to speak to composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco much more than the symphony: he once said, “I found that the form of the Concerto did better correspond to my...

Vassili Kalinnikov: Symphony No. 1
04/04/17

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...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Op. 58
04/03/17

How exciting must it have been to be able to write music for an instrument as it was being developed? That was the case with most of Beethoven’s piano works, which reflected the piano’s state of...

Igor Stravinsky: Firebird Suite
04/02/17

When ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev was looking for a composer to score his 1910 ballet The Firebird, he tried to give the commission for a new score to well-known and established composers –...

Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D Op. 73
03/31/17

Johannes Brahms took quite a bit of time to compose his first symphony – nearly 20 years – so it may have been a shock when he churned out his second symphony essentially overnight. He composed...

03/30/17

Maurice Ravel completed his only String Quartet in 1903 and there are unavoidable similarities to Claude Debussy’s only String Quartet, which debuted 10 years earlier. Despite the two works being...

Robert Schumann: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat “Rhenish”
03/30/17

1850 was the year Schumann moved to Dusseldorf, in the Rhine-region of Germany. He had just accepted his appointment as Dusseldorf’s Municipal Music Director – something the folks in Dusseldorf...

Hector Berlioz: Harold in Italy Op. 16
03/28/17

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...

Richard Strauss: Oboe Concerto in D
03/28/17

Believe it or not, it was an American soldier serving in World War II that prompted Richard Strauss to compose an oboe concerto. At the time, the composer was 80 years old, and U.S. forces had...

03/27/17

Today is the birth anniversary of American composer Ferde Grofe, born on this day in 1892, and we’re celebrating tonight with his Grand Canyon Suite. When asked about the “Grand Canyon Suite” in a...

Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in a minor Op. 54
03/25/17

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...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 4 in B-Flat Op. 60
03/24/17

Beethoven’s even-numbered symphonies are often overshadowed by their odd-numbered neighbors. Robert Schumann even referred to Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony as a “slender Greek maiden between two...

Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 3 in D
03/23/17

In 1815, when Franz Schubert was only 18-years old, he was working full-time, year-round as a school teacher, taking twice-weekly composition lessons, and teaching his own students privately on...

Frederic Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 in e minor, Op. 11
03/22/17

Chopin wrote only two piano concertos in his lifetime, and they were composed as virtuoso showpieces for the travelling pianist. This showy-ness garnered a bit of criticism later on in the early-...

Isaac Albeniz: Iberia Suite
03/22/17

Iberia was originally a solo piano work by Isaac Albeniz that features a “wealth of imagery,” according to the composer’s French contemporaries. The work took three years to compose, totaling...

Antonin Dvorak: Symphony No. 8 in G Op. 88
03/21/17

Dvorak’s second-to-last symphony, the 8th Symphony, was a departure from the one that came before it. Whereas Dvorak’s Seventh was dramatic and somber, the Eighth is generally upbeat. In a lot of...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Op. 24 “Spring”
03/20/17

On this first day of Spring, we will hear the “Spring” Sonata by Beethoven, the Violin Sonata No. 5 in F. While we may think of a work like this as featuring the violin with piano accompaniment,...

Hamilton Harty: Irish Symphony
03/16/17

Irish composer Hamilton Harty composed his Irish Symphony as part of a 1904 competition that awarded a special price for a suite or symphony on traditional Irish airs. He not only won, but also...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 38 in D K 504, “Prague”
03/15/17

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...

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio in a, Op. 50
03/14/17

Tchaikovsky only has one chamber work featuring piano and strings: a Piano Trio, and initially, he had no interest in writing such a work. However, in March of 1881 Russian pianist Nikolai...

Frederick Delius: Florida Suite
03/13/17

Frederick Delius spent some time in Florida, and he composed his Florida Suite in 1886 while working on an orange plantation not far from Jacksonville. Delius actually only heard the work once in...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concert No. 1 in C, Op. 15
03/13/17

Like a lot of works in the 18th and 19th Century, Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto in C Major was misnumbered. He completed the concerto after what would become his 2nd piano concerto… evidently...