Afternoon Classical

Mon - Fri, 3pm - 4pm

Classical favorites personally selected by General Manager Gretchen Gondek.

Franck's Symphony

Jan 12, 2016

Beethoven's Seventh

Jan 8, 2016


Annees de Pelerinage

Jan 7, 2016
Portrait of Marie d'Agoult
Wikimedia Commons

Liszt's Annees de Pelerinage brings us to the very heights of romanticism: Man as made of experience. We survive alpine storms and dip into cool tarns, our hearts are filled and broken, life is lived and shaped by the living. Today we hear this masterwork performed by Zoltan Kocsis.

The University of South Carolina

The founder and de facto leader of the Might Handful, Mily Balakirev's influence on musical history is maybe more famous, more discussed, than his music. But his music is very enjoyable. Today we hear his Symphony No. 1, performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra under the direction of Eugueni Svetlanov. 

Beach's "Gaelic" Symphony, the first American symphony composed by a woman, came about at a time when composers and critics were beginning to ask what "American" music should be. Dvorak offered the most stirring solution with his New World Symphony, which found inspiration and material in Native and African-American music. Beach, thoroughly of New England stuff, felt that an American music of the "North" should reach into the music traditions of England, Ireland, and Scotland - the Gaelic traditions.

Chopin wrote his Second Piano Concerto, the first that he wrote, as an ambitious young man of 20. Still living in Poland, the composer desired the fortune and notoriety of a traveling virtuoso, something he would find later in life, though the notoriety would be more for his compositions. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. It was in Poland that he composed this work, and it was composed, too, for a matter less materially ambitious: Chopin was in love with a young lady, though that young lady would not find out until much later when she was being read FC's biography.

By their beauty or depth, many symphonies may be said to have saved a life. Shostokovich's Fifth Symphony, however, saved the composer's life quite literally. His opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District received acclaim and ran successfully for two years, but its run was curtailed following a negative review in the State mouthpiece, Pravda​, which many attributed to the pen of Stalin himself.

Wikimedia Commons

Lament, rage, bombast, it's all there in Sir William Walton's First Symphony. Written on the bones of a failed relationship, the first three movements describe a bitter time, one that can only be brought to existence by a powerful love. The final movement, composed after the mess and in the swell of a new love, recalls that instigating feeling. It is performed, here, by the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Andre Previn.

So says Death in  Matthias Claudius's poem "Der Tod und das Madchen," the poem that inspired Schubert's song of the same name, composed in 1817. Seven years later the composer would revisit the song, extending the theme and tenor into String Quartet No. 14, D 810. The seven years that passed were not happy ones. Schubert had lost what little of his health remained, and he was without money, thanks in part to Anton Diabelli, the music publisher whose name has been immortalized by Beethoven's Diabelli Variations.