Program Archives

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...

Anton Bruckner
09/17/18

The Ninth – and final – Symphony by Anton Bruckner was left incomplete by the composer; when Bruckner died, three movements were finished. The fourth movement was a collection of nearly two...

Alexander Glazunov
09/14/18

Imagine this: beginning composition lessons with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov when you’re 14… writing your first symphony at the age of 15… and watching that symphony be premiered, conducted by Mily...

Richard Strauss
09/13/18

Richard Strauss’s tone poem Death and Transfiguration is a departure from his previous tone poems in a variety of ways. In this one, Strauss creates a concise narrative: the music is meant to...

Johannes Brahms
09/12/18

For Johannes Brahms, the symphony was the ultimate test of a composer’s abilities and the most suitable way of creating a legacy. And at one point the composer even said that he would never write...

Gabriel Faure
09/11/18

On the 17th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we are remembering  the victims and honoring the heroes with the Requiem by Gabriel Faure. Faure famously once said that he composed his...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
09/10/18

In the mid-1780s, the majority of Mozart’s income was actually generated by performing as a pianist, not composing. That isn’t to say he wasn’t prolifically composing during this time period: he...

Carl Goldmark
09/07/18

Completed in 1888, Carl Goldmark’s Rustic Wedding Symphony is not your usual 19th century symphony. It’s in five movements, not four, and none of them use the sonata form, which was often included...

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
09/06/18

Tchaikovsky’s Second Symphony, or the “Little Russian” as it has come to be known as, is the shortest of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies. However, its distinction is not the length of the work – it is...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
09/05/18

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 Rachmaninoff
09/04/18

Composed at the turn of the 20th century, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto is often described as the greatest piano concerto of all time. There’s much evidence of this- the piece is virtuosic...

Ludwig van Beethoven
08/31/18

There may not be a classical masterwork more iconic than Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. But it took a while for the piece to reach its current status. In his lifetime, Beethoven was known more for...