Afternoon Classical

Mon - Fri, 3pm - 4pm

Classical favorites personally selected by General Manager Gretchen Gondek.

Young Beethoven had applied to and been accepted by Mozart as a pupil, but B learned of his mother's impending death on his way to join M, so the two never met. However, B's appreciation of M's genius can be heard especially in the early piano concertos. The Third Concerto marks the point at which B's voice emerges fully from M's influence. It is, as one would imagine, a beautiful metamorphosis.

Written between Verdi's Aida and Otello, the Four Sacred Pieces were the pursuits of a retiree. Each composed at leisure and without the thought of a cycle. Today, however, they are most commonly heard as a cycle. Such is life. We hear them performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Ernst-Senff-Chor. Carlo Maria Giulini directs. 

Yesterday we played Beethoven's Third, the work that more than any other established the modern idea of Symphony. Today we hear Bruckner's First (Linz version), the beginning (OK, well there is the No. 0) of an oeuvre that returned the form to fashion after the death of Schumann.

Sir George Solti directs the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 

Like all beginnings of greatness, new understandings, revelations, Beethoven's Third Symphony is steeped in myth. It is so powerful that it almost needs the attachment of these stories, from the the composer's tearing of the title page off the completed symphony for his sudden disgust of Napoleon to its being composed while Beethoven considered suicide while at the healing baths of Heilignestadt, for us to comprehend its depth. They certainly prime us to hear this piece, which is the beginning of Symphony as we think of it. 

Wikimedia Commons

To mark the beginning of summer, we turn to a lesser heard piece--not Vivaldi, not Tchaikovsky, but Glazunov. Glazunov's "The Seasons," a ballet, is expansive, like a nice day in the sun. Here it is performed by the Royal Phiharmonic. Vladimir Ashkenazy directs.

Pianist Martha Argerich: 

Indeed, Chopin was 20. He was leaving Poland, a country itself like a beautiful poisoned flower at the time. He would never return.

Charles Dutoit directs the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Jorge Bolet. 

Raff's Im Walde

Jun 18, 2015

"Im Walde," Joachim Raff's third symphony, established the composer as a symphonic master during his lifetime. Beginning with golden bursts of horn and honeyed birdsong, it contrasts sharply with the Orientalism of his fellow Russian composers. The Bamberg Symphony performs under the baton of Hans Stadlmair. 

We hear the First Symphony of Mily Balakirev, the founder of The Five. Eugueni Svetlonov, who was the first to direct a recorded performance of Balakirev's First, directs today's version. It is performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Beethoven's Seventh

Jun 16, 2015

The volatility of Beethoven defines the public's caricature of the composer. His impassioned love of Napoleon before 1804, and his fiery hatred after, plays directly into this perception. We can hear these passions changing between The Eroica and the Seventh Symphony, the former composed when Napoleon was Beethoven's hope for an egalitarian Europe. The latter was debuted for the Austrian veterans upon Napoleon's defeat. We hear it performed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. Bernard Haitink directs.

The December 1875  edition of Nuvellist announced, "Our celebrated composer P. I. Tchaikovsky has promised the editor of Nuvellist, that he will contribute to next year's issues a whole series of his piano compositions, specially written for our journal, the character of which will correspond entirely to the titles of the pieces, and the month in which they will be published in the journal..." And so P.I. Tchaikovsky did.