Program Archives

Amy Marcy Cheney Beach: Symphony in e Op. 32 “Gaelic”
04/17/17

The “Gaelic” Symphony by American composer Amy Beach was written just before the turn of the 20th century. As the nickname may suggest, four of the symphony’s themes draw from traditional Irish-...

Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 4 in c “Tragic”
04/17/17

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...

Edouard Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole in d Op. 21
04/16/17

Edouard Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole is a quirky sort of piece as far as its structure goes: it is part symphony but mostly concerto. It’s also filled with Spanish-type idioms, as one would expect...

Alexander Glazunov: Symphony No. 2 in F-sharp minor, Op. 16
04/14/17

A 20-year old Alexander Glazunov completed his Symphony No. 2 in 1886, and dedicated it to the memory of Franz Liszt. He was a student at the time, but it was still an impressive follow-up to the...

Max Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 2
04/12/17

Most people are familiar with Max Bruch’s First Violin Concerto, and his Violin Concerto No. 2 usually sits in the shadow of the First… but it is still a masterwork. It’s premiere took place in...

Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 6 in d Op. 104
04/12/17

The Symphony No. 6 in d minor by Jean Sibelius is often overlooked compared to his other symphonies, but to many that are truly familiar with the composer’s work, it is his finest symphony. It’s a...

Ludwig van Beethoven: Septet in E-flat Op. 20
04/10/17

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....

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...