Classical Archives

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...
Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
06/01/18
Maureen Nelson – Violin [Photo: Courtesy of the artist] The musician-led Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra gives a sunny performance of Mendelssohn's...
Mozart: Oboe Quartet in F, K. 370
05/31/18
Mozart created a real showpiece for the oboe in this work.  It was written in Munich, where he had met an oboist who is described as extraordinary. ...
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...
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...
Sunday Baroque Listings: May 27, 2018
05/26/18
Hour 1: “Battaglia” is the Italian word for battle, and in music it refers to a composition that portrays the sounds and emotions of a battle. It was...
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...
Then & Now 5/22: Let's Have Chinese!
05/23/18
On this date in1999, the Houston Symphony, led by Christoph Eschenbach, gave the first performance of a work by the Chinese composer Bright Sheng.  “...
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...
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...
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...
Sunday Baroque Listings: May 20, 2018
05/18/18
Hour 1: For 12 years, violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann had exclusive use of a 1711 Stradivarias violin nicknamed the *“Lady Inchiquin” that had been...
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,...
Then & Now, 5/16: Bedrich Smetana
05/16/18
On this date in musical history, in 1868, Bedrich Smetana’s opera Dalibor made its premiere in Prague.   And around town this Saturday, you can hear...
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,...
Then & Now, 5/15: Royal Italian Opera
05/15/18
It's Tuesday, May 15th.  On this date in musical history, the Royal Italian Opera opened at London's Covent Garden in 1858.   And later this week,...
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...
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...
Then & Now 5/14: Felix Mendelssohn's Hebrides
05/14/18
On this date in music history, Felix Mendelssohn's Hebrides overture, also known as the overture to Fingal's cave premiered in London...in 1832.  It...
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...
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 in D Op. 43
05/09/18
In the early-part of the 20th Century, composers like Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Bartok were doing pioneering work in forms outside...
Cesar Franck: Symphony in d-minor
05/08/18
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...
Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations
05/08/18
The story goes that after a long day of teaching, Edward Elgar arrived at his home and sat down at the piano to play a little bit… and what he came...
Dominic Walker: Berlin and Bacharach
05/07/18
This week we’ll focus on two composers born this week in history, who have both significantly impacted the Great American Songbook: Irving Berlin,...
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3 in d-minor
05/07/18
Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto is famous for many reasons, one of which being the level of difficulty it presents to pianists. The notes on the...