Program Archives

Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in a minor Op. 54
02/13/18

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...

Edvard Grieg: Piano Concerto in a Op. 16
02/12/18

Edvard Grieg composed one of his most important masterpieces at age 25: the Piano Conerto in a minor. It’s rather fitting, since the composer’s primary instrument was the piano, and he even...

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D Op. 35
02/12/18

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 resulted in an uneasy relationship with the violin...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 38 in D K 504 “Prague”
02/08/18

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...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in c Op. 37
02/07/18

Sometimes composers like to cut it close when it comes to finishing pieces, and in the case of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3, he didn’t really cut it at all. The first rehearsal was at 8 in the...

Johannes Brahms: Violin Concerto in D Op. 77
02/06/18

When working on his Violin Concerto, Johannes Brahms enlisted the help of his violin virtuoso friend, Joseph Joachim, who would go on to premiere the work. The two corresponded by mail, and when...

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 1 in d Op. 13
02/05/18

While Rachmaninoff’s First Symphony is seen as a masterwork today, the story surrounding its premiere left a bit of a shadow on Rachmaninoff’s career. The story goes that during the premiere, the...

Max Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1 in g Op. 26
02/05/18

Max Bruch’s First Violin Concerto had quite the evolution, having first been completed and performed in 1866, but withdrawn by the composer out of sheer dissatisfaction. It would then take two...

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor Op. 23
02/01/18

Tchaikovsky had hoped that his First Piano Concerto would be premiered by Director of the Moscow Conservatory, Nicolai Rubinstein, but that did not happen. Tchaikovsky recounted the exchange with...

Alexander Glazunov: Piano Concerto No. 1 in f Op. 92
01/31/18

Around the time of the turn of the century, Alexander Glazunov was encountering a kind of artistic crisis. Because of the work required of him as director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, his...

01/29/18

The subject of fate, and fate itself, had haunted Tchaikovsky since 1876, when the composer saw Carmen and was struck by the “death of the two principals who, through fate, ultimately reach the...

Antonin Dvorak: Symphony No. 8 in G Op. 88
01/28/18

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...

Claude Debussy: La Mer
01/25/18

Claude Debussy once said, “I was destined for the fine career of a sailor.” He wrote these words to a friend in September 1903, saying the only thing that kept him from being a sailor was...

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 1 in g “Winter Daydreams”
01/24/18

Unlike Tchaikovsky’s “Little Russian” or “Polish” symphonies, whose nicknames were given by critics at a much later date, Tchaikovsky named his First Symphony “Winter Dream.” He even went further...

Igor Stravinsky: Symphony in C
01/23/18

During the 20th Century, composers started looking back to the Classical period for guidance and inspiration, which produced a compositional trend known as Neoclassicism. One composer to do this...

Nicolo Paganini: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D
01/23/18

Classical Music history has a long tradition of great instrumental soloists composing great works to showcase their instrument: composers like Rachmaninoff and Brahms are two great examples. Both...

Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 7 in E
01/22/18

While Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 is rightly regarded as his “Unfinished” Symphony, there was another one that was also unfinished: the Symphony No. 7 in E. What Schubert did finish was a sketch of...

Johannes Brahms: Trio for clarinet, piano, & cello in a-minor
01/18/18

Johannes Brahms completed his String Quartet in G major halfway through 1890, when he was 57 years old, and at the time he thought it would be his final composition. He decided that piece would be...

Joaquin Rodrgio: Concierto Madrigal for two guitars
01/16/18

This evening’s masterwork is Joaquin Rodrigo’s “Concierto Madrigal” for two guitars, based on an anonymous Renaissance madrigal “Felices ojos mios,” or Happy eyes of mine. We know of the...

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat for violin & viola
01/16/18

The sinfonia concertante is an interesting genre that was popular mostly at the end of the 18th Century, heading into the 19th Century. It’s a type of work that features multiple soloists –...

Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 2 in B-flat D 125
01/11/18

Franz Schubert’s 2nd Symphony was not necessarily the masterwork to rank alongside Beethoven’s symphonies that it was trying to emulate. However, it’s a remarkable effort by an imaginative, 17-...

Camille Saint-Saens: Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Op. 103
01/10/18

Saint-Saens composed his Fifth Piano Concerto during a winter vacation in Egypt – it’s sometimes called the Egyptian concerto – and he was 60 when he finished it. Besides the more exotic...

Ernst Chausson: Symphony in B-flat Op. 20
01/09/18

Towards the end of the 19th century, French composers were churning out symphonies: the “Organ” symphony by Saint-Saens, the Symphony in g-minor by Lalo, the Symphony in D minor by Cesar Franck,...

Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life)
01/09/18

Ein Heldenlaben in English is “a hero’s life,” and it is self-referential. Strauss received criticism for this upon the work’s premiere: critics noted how the tone poem was “a monstrous...

Frederick Delius: Florida Suite
01/04/18

Our Evening Masterwork tonight is the music of Frederick Delius, his Florida Suite, which he composed in 1886 while working on an orange plantation not far from Jacksonville. Delius actually only...