Handel and Haydn Society's "Mozart in Vienna"

Friday, February 10, 2012
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Lehninger Conducts Haydn, Turnage, and Strauss

Friday, January 6, 2012
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In Concert From Verbier, Switzerland

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
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The Verbier Festival, located in the Swiss Alps, was only founded in 1994.  But in the short time since, it's become everything a music festival should be:  a meeting space for superb musicians from around the world to collaborate, a training ground for the next generation of superb musicians, and, of course, a gorgeous location.

Each Wednesday at 2pm in June we've been enjoying highlights from the 2010 Verbier Festival, with the final installment today featuring music by Bizet and Brahms.  You can hear those performances here for one week after their broadcast.

Here is Verbier Festival Orchestra conductor Gábor Takács-Nagy, talking about why he loves the Verbier Festival.

Bizet - Symphony No. 1 in C, with the Verbier Festival Orchestra (shown) and conductor Gábor Takács-Nagy


Brahms - Piano Trio No. 2 in C, Op. 87, with violinist Leonidas Kavakos, cellist Frans Helmerson, and pianist Nicholas Angelich

(all photos:  Aline Paley & Nicolas Brodard for the Verbier Festival)

Boulez Conducts a 20th Century Collage

Friday, March 11, 2011
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Pierre Boulez harnesses the power and precision of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a concert performance of music that offers a wide range of 20th Century compositional voice.

The concert begins with Maurice Ravel's tribute to an earlier time and to friends lost during World War I, Le Tombeau de Couperin.

Next, Boulez and the CSO are joined by pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Tamara Stefanovich for Hungarian composer Béla Bartók's Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion and Orchestra.

The Principal Flutist of the CSO, Mathieu Dufour (left), takes center stage for the next piece, the Flute Concerto written by 50-year-old French composer Marc-André Dalbavie in 2006.

Rounding out the program is Igor Stravinsky's revolutionary take on a Russian folk tale, The Firebird.

Radu Lupu Plays Beethoven's Third

Thursday, February 3, 2011
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Homer and MacDowell

By Cathy Fuller   |   Friday, January 7, 2011
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When the Museum of Fine Arts opened its Art of the Americas Wing in November 2010, the vibrancy of that collection in its new space inspired thoughts about the music written at the same time as these incredible artworks were created. So I decided to experiment and look at specific pieces from the collection with music written around the same time.

This installment focuses on Winslow Homer, who was born here in Boston and spent his adolescence in Cambridge. His father disappeared to California to pan for gold, and when Homer was 19 when he began creating illustrations for sheet music covers at John H. Bufford’s lithography shop, one of which is at the bottom of this page.

At 21 he moved to New York and worked for Harper’s magazine as a “special artist” documenting the civil war.  By the end of his life, he was capturing the serenity and drama of the Maine Coast with oils.  His uncanny ability to convey the complex and stirring nature of the sea has made him one of the world’s most recognizable artists, and one of the most dramatic of those paintings is "The Fog Warning."

This painting puts you so close to the fisherman’s world, it feels as though you’re tipping the boat. The horizon threatens with fog and nightfall and the fisherman lifts his head to make the sensory calculations that a life at sea has taught him to make to get himself home.

"The Fog Warning" was finished in 1885, the same year that the American composer Edward MacDowell finished his Piano Concerto No. 1. It took two slightly desperate weeks to get it done. MacDowell’s teacher, Joachim Raff, had asked what music he’d written, and apparently, out of sheer intimidation, MacDowell blurted out that he had a piano concerto. (He hadn’t even thought about a concerto at that point!) Raff asked to see it the next Sunday. MacDowell finished only the first movement and managed to evade meeting his teacher. He put him off the next Sunday, too, and finally by the Tuesday after that, he had a piano concerto. Raff loved it, and sent MacDowell to Weimar to play it for Franz Liszt.

It’s not his finest – but it’s his first. And well worth hearing. Below is a clip from Seta Tanyel’s performance of MacDowell’s A minor Concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony and conductor Martyn Brabbins.

MacDowell: Piano Concerto No. I, I: Maestoto - Allegro con Fuoco (excerpt)

(image courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts)



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