Program Archives

Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in e Op. 98
10/02/17

Brahms completed his fourth and final symphony in 1885, and many of his contemporaries and audience-goers didn’t understand the work. The Fourth Symphony is rigorous in terms of its compositional...

Franz Schubert: String Quintet in C
09/28/17

The String Quintet in C by Franz Schubert was composed in the final weeks of his life. It’s rather unique in that rather than writing for a string quartet with an extra viola, which was common in...

Igor Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite
09/27/17

The story of Pulcinella did not originate with Stravinsky, nor did it really originate with the great Russian impresario Sergei Diaghilev (though he is that one that brought it to Stravinsky’s...

Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 4 in c “Tragic”
09/26/17

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...

Vassili Kalinnikov: Symphony No. 2 in A
09/25/17

The story of Russian composer Vasily Kalinnikov is a tragically short one, not unlike the story of many artists throughout the ages. He lived a troubled life, growing up in poverty and dealing...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Op. 53 “Waldstein”
09/25/17

Beethoven completed his 21st Piano Sonata in 1804, dedicating it to his friend and patron Count Ferdinand von Waldstein - hence the sonata’s nickname. It’s also one of the three notable piano...

Franz Schubert: Piano Trio No. 1 in B-Flat, Op. 99
09/21/17

Little is known about Franz Schubert’s Piano Trio No. 1 in B-flat, except for the fact that in his life time, the first trio was overshadowed by its companion, the Piano Trio No. 2. He also...

William Alwyn: Lyra Angelica
09/20/17

English composer William Alwyn was a bit of a Renaissance artist: not only was he a composer, he also wrote poetry and painted at an exceptional level. He began his studies in composition at the...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 21
09/19/17

When the 29-year-old Beethoven composed and published his First Symphony, many listened on, oblivious to how the composer would soon transform the symphonic genre. While the work was often grouped...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 16 in D, K. 451
09/18/17

Mozart’s time in Vienna kept him busy with concerts, commissions, and teaching engagements, and naturally all of this and more made him the local star in town. Mozart also needed music to play at...

Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 8 in b “Unfinished”
09/18/17

There are traces of what might have been the finished Symphony No. 8 in other works by Franz Schubert. For example, there’s some incidental music from his Rosamunde that is based on what would...

Antonin Dvorak: Moravian Duets
09/07/17

Today is the birth anniversary of Antonin Dvorak and we are celebrating with the Moravian Duets. The Moravian Duets actually consist of 23 songs originally composed for two voices with piano, and...

Johannes Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Op. 83
09/07/17

In his own words, Brahms described his Second Piano concerto as “very small,” featuring a “very small and pretty scherzo.” “Very small” is a bit off the mark – Johannes Brahms’s Piano Concerto No...

Richard Strauss: In Italy Symphonic Fantasy
09/05/17

Richard Strauss’s symphonic fantasy In Italy was a first important step towards the tone poem, a genre of orchestral writing that the composer would influence and ultimately perfect in his career...

Robert Schumann: Cello Concerto in a Op. 129
08/31/17

Part of the reason Robert Schumann became a composer was because he permanently damaged two of the fingers on his right hand at an early age, which effectively ended his hopes of becoming a...

Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in c Op. 68
08/31/17

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...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Triple Concerto in C Op. 56
08/29/17

What’s ironic about Beethoven’s Triple Concerto is that it isn’t actually a concerto at all: no real dialogue occurs between the orchestra and soloists, and the three soloists, on piano, violin,...

Charles Ives: Symphony No. 1
08/28/17

American Composer Charles Ives did not spend his career composing music on commission – he spent his career as an insurance salesman. That’s probably how he was able to write music about, for...

Johannes Brahms: Piano Quintet in f Op. 34
08/28/17

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 Joseph Joachim claimed that the music wasn’t suited...

Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 3
08/25/17

Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 3 was written a few months after his eighteenth birthday. Like his other early symphonies, it was not published during Schubert's lifetime.  The third is shorter than...

Ludwig van Beethoven: String Quartet No. 1 in F Op. 18 No. 1
08/24/17

There’s a little bit of Shakespeare in Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 1 from his Op. 18 set. In the second movement, sketches indicate that Beethoven intended for the music to depict the tomb...

Edward Elgar: Cello Concerto in e-minor Op. 85
08/23/17

In many ways, Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto is a reaction to the First World War He composed it in 1919, and it embodies a realization that life in Europe would never be the same. In fact, Elgar’s...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 36 in C K 425 “Linz”
08/23/17

We, of course, know that Mozart was a remarkable composer, but this evening’s masterwork was a remarkable feat for even Mozart. It’s his Symphony No. 36, which he composed from start to finish and...

08/21/17

Clara Schumann had quite a bit of influence over the creation of Robert Schumann’s Fantasy for solo piano. Prior to their marriage, the relationship suffered through some enforced separations –...