Sveriges 100 mest populära podcasts

Sticky Notes: The Classical Music Podcast

Sticky Notes: The Classical Music Podcast

Sticky Notes is a classical music podcast for everyone, whether you are just getting interested in classical music for the first time, or if you've been listening to it and loving it all your life. Interviews with great artists, in depth looks at pieces in the repertoire, and both basic and deep dives into every era of music. Classical music is absolutely for everyone, so let's start listening! Note - Seasons 1-5 will be returning over the next year. They have been taken down in order to be re-recorded in improved sound quality!


iTunes / Overcast / RSS



The Degenerates: Music Suppressed By The Nazis

The center of Western Classical Music, ever since the time of Bach, has been modern-day Germany and Austria.  You can trace a line from Bach, to Haydn to Mozart to Beethoven to Schubert to Schumann, Brahms, and Wagner, and finally to Mahler. But why does that line stop in 1911, the year of Mahler?s death? Part of the answer is the increasing influence of composers from outside the Austro-German canon, something that has enriched Western Classical music to this day. There was also World War I getting in the way.  But after the war, one could have expected that this line would continue again.  The 1920?s in Germany and the rest of Europe were a time of radical experimentation, a flowering of ideas, a sort of wild ecstasy of innovation across all the arts. So why don?t we hear of these Austro-German experimenters and innovators anymore?  Because of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, and their Entartete, or Degenerate music.  Hitler?s worst crime was by no means his suppression of dozens of German, Austrian, and Eastern European composers, but it is a fact all the same that from the end of World War I until 1933, classical music in Germany and Eastern Europe(especially Czechoslovakia), was flourishing, with composers such as Zemlinsky, Krenek, Korngold, Schreker, Schulhoff, Haas, Krasa, and Ullmann taking up the mantle of the giants of the past and hoisting it upon themselves to carry it forward.     The Nazis silenced, exiled, or  killed off many of these musicians during the twelve years of 1933-1945, and those voices are forever lost, but the music they wrote before, during the War and the Holocaust, and after it, some of it masterpieces quite on the level of their predecessors, has been preserved.  So why then are these composers not better known? I?ve chosen 12 composers, all of whom were writing music at the highest level.  Some of them may be familiar to you, but many probably won?t be.  And through all of their trials and tribulations, one of the things I want to emphasize throughout these stories, even the bleakest ones, is that so many of them found the will to be able to compose this heart-rending, beautiful, and often optimistic music all as they witnessed unimaginable horrors. It may seem empty when the end for many of these artists was so horrific, but these compositions and the men and women who were behind them are a true testament to the resilience of the human spirit.  These artists created a life for their friends, neighbors, and fellow inmates in concentration camps.  They wrote music they knew would almost certainly not be heard in their lifetimes, from an urge that could not be destroyed, even by gas chambers. Join us to learn about them this week.
Länk till avsnitt

David Krauss, Principal Trumpet of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

David Krauss is the Principal Trumpet of the Met Opera orchestra, and in this conversation, we talked about his beginnings on the trumpet, the differences between playing in a symphonic orchestra vs. an opera orchestra, how to manage the vast distances between singers, the conductor, the orchestra, and the brass section, the specific skills an opera orchestra player has to have, and some funny/terrifying stories about on stage moments we both would rather forget! We also talked about David's podcast, Speaking Soundly. This was a really fun conversation and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Länk till avsnitt

Beethoven Op. 18 String Quartets, Part 2

Note: This episode will be a lot more enjoyable if you listen to Part 1 first!

As we turn towards the final three quartets of the set, we?ll see a lot of the same characteristics of the first 3; a perfect classical era proportionality, strong influences from Haydn and Mozart, and that perfect blend of vividly drawn but just very slightly restrained characters that marks Beethoven?s early period. But we also will see something else. We will see C Minor, Beethoven?s favorite key to depict drama and anxiety, we will see music that is almost impossibly charming and Mozartian coming from a composer as irascible as Beethoven, and then we will arrive at Op. 18 No. 6, perhaps the most emotionally complex and forward looking of the 6 Op. 18 quartets. We?ll take our same birds eye view of each of these quartets, as we did last week, but I will also do two more deep dives. We'll take apart the first movement of Op. 18 No. 4, and the last movement of Op. 18 No. 6, which is the movement that for many is the highlight of these quartets. Along the way, we?ll enjoy all of the quirky details of these three mini masterpieces, and see how Beethoven was starting to break the mold and set out onto his own path, one note at a time.

PS: All recordings used on the show for the last two weeks were done by The Cleveland Quartet - recordings of the complete quartets are available at

Länk till avsnitt

Beethoven Op. 18 String Quartets, Part 1

In 1798, Beethoven, all of 28 years old, was about to begin a project that would take him to the last days of his life, a project that would result in some of the most far-reaching, most cosmic, most life-affirming, most dramatic, and simply put, some of the greatest music he, or anyone else, ever wrote. This project that Beethoven was beginning was his first set of string quartets. Beethoven wrote/published 16 string quartets during his life, and they are both a superhuman achievement and yet also a testament to the ability of a single person to create music of vast complexity and the deepest of emotions, all for just 4 musicians.

To really understand Beethoven?s quartets, and his achievements with them as he progressed through his life, we have to start at the beginning. Beethoven was very rarely in the shadow of anyone during his life, but when it came to the string quartet, Beethoven still felt very much indebted to two of his colleagues, Haydn and Mozart. Haydn had essentially invented the genre of the string quartet, and by 1798 was beginning the massive project of cataloguing and writing out his 68 string quartets. Mozart had died only 7 years earlier, leaving us with some of the most pristine and gorgeous entries in this still relatively new at the time genre of instrumentation. 

Beethoven?s music is often separated in to early, middle, and late periods, and these string quartets are always placed into the early period, which makes sense considering his later works, but also belies the fact that Beethoven had already accomplished quite a bit by the time he turned 30! It?s safe to say that these pieces come near the end of this early period, where Beethoven was still working out how to embrace the classical traditions that he admired so much in composers like Mozart and Haydn, while also finding his own path as the creator of brand new traditions, smashing the rule book along the way.

So this week, I wanted to take you through an overview of these amazing works. We?ll talk about the genre of the string quartet itself, what Haydn and Mozart had essentially codified when Beethoven wrote his Op. 18s, and of course, what Beethoven did with this genre, even at this early stage, which is often absolutely astonishing in its creativity, intensity, and just plain excitement.

Länk till avsnitt

Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1

In almost every one of the past shows I?ve done about Shostakovich, the name Joseph Stalin is mentioned almost as much as the name Dmitri Shostakovich, and of course, there?s a good reason for that. Shostakovich?s life and music was inextricably linked to the Soviet dictator, and Shostakovich, like millions of Soviet citizens, lived in fear of the Stalin regime, which exiled, imprisoned, or murdered so many of Shostakovich?s friends and even some family members. Post his 1936 denunciation, Shostakovich?s music completely changed. Moving away from the radical experimentation he had attempted with his doomed opera Lady Macbeth of Mtensk, he adopted a slightly more conservative style, which he hoped would keep him in good stead with the authorities.

But the piece I?m going to tell you about today, his monumental first violin concerto, is a bit different. It was written just after World War II, between 1947 and 1948. And yet, it was not performed until 8 years later. Shostakovich himself withdrew the work and kept it ?in the drawer? along with his 4th string quartet and his song cycle From Jewish Folk Poetry.

When the piece was finally performed by its dedicatee, David Oistrakh, it was a massive success, and it remains one of the best ways to ?get into? Shostakovich?s music. It is a huge work, in 4 grand movements, and Shostkaocvich himself described it as a ?symphony for violin solo.? It features all of the qualities that make Shostakovich?s music so exciting, powerful, heartbreaking, and intense, while also allowing the listener, for the most part, to remove politics from the equation. While there are certainly encoded messages in the piece, one of which we?ll get into in detail, this is a piece that is as close to pure musical expression as any of Shostakovich?s post 1936 works, and so today I won?t be mentioning Stalin all that much, I won?t be mentioning the Soviet government every other sentence, and instead, we?ll explore what makes this concerto so fantastic, so emotionally powerful, and so rousingly exciting. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

10 Pieces You've (Probably) Never Heard, But Need to Listen To!

Everyone knows Gershwin?s Rhapsody in Blue.  Even if United Airlines hadn?t made the piece ubiquitous, it seems like the one piece of classical music almost everyone knows besides the beginning of Beethoven?s 5th symphony is Rhapsody in Blue.  But did you know that Gershwin wrote a second rhapsody for piano and orchestra?  

We know Shostakovich?s later works for their intensity, drama, and depth, but did you know that Shostakovich was a completely different composer when he was a young man?  That he wrote funny, sarcastic, and wildly experimental music?  

How about Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber and his Battalia a 10?  Or Ethel Smyth?s string quintet? Or the music of Teresa Carreno? Leonard Bernstein used to talk about the infinite variety of classical music because there?s simply an endless treasure trove of great and often totally unknown classical music out there.  So today, I want to take you on a bit of an archeological expedition, exploring 10 pieces you?ve (probably) never heard of, but really have to listen to.  My list includes some very recognizable names, including Ravel, Gershwin, and Shostakovich, but also some names you might know less well, like Anton Arensky, Milosz Magin, and Teresa Carreno. Join us and discover something new!

Länk till avsnitt

Ives, "Three Places in New England"

In 1929, the conductor Nicolas Slonimsky contacted the American composer Charles Ives about performing one of his works. This was a bit of a surprise for Ives, since he had a checkered reputation among musicians and audience members, if they even were familiar with his name at all. In fact, he was much more famous during his lifetime as an extremely successful insurance executive! Ives mostly composed in his spare time, and his music was mostly ignored or ridiculed as that of a person suffering from a crisis of mental health. Most of his music was never performed during his lifetime, and even today, he is thought of as a great but extremely eccentric composer, and orchestras and chamber ensembles often struggle to sell tickets if his name appears on the program. But for those who love Ives, there is an almost evangelical desire to spread his music to the world. I?m one of those people, and I?m finally fulfilling a pledge to myself to do a full show devoted to a single work of arguably the greatest and most under appreciated American composer of all time, Charles Ives. The piece I chose to talk about today is Three Places in New England, or the New England Symphony, a piece that is a perfect amalgam of what makes Ives such a spectacular composer - his radical innovations, his ahead of his time experiments, his humor, his humanity, his warmth, and the staggering creativity that marked all of Ives? great works. We?ll start with a little biography of Ives in case you?re not familiar with him, and then we?ll dive into Three Places in New England, and by the end, I hope , if you?re not already, that I will have converted you into an Ives fan for life! Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Louise Farrenc Symphony No. 3

In the mid 19th century, the way to make yourself famous in France as a composer was to write operas. From Cherubini, to Meyerbeer, to Bizet, to Berlioz, to Gounod, to Massenet, to Offenbach, to Saint Saens, to foreign composers who wrote specifically for the Paris Opera like Rossini, Verdi and others, if you wanted to be somebody, especially as a French composer, you wrote operas, and you wrote a lot of them. But one composer in France bucked the trend, and her name was Louise Farrenc. Farrenc never wrote an opera - instead she focused on chamber music, works for solo piano, and three symphonies that were in a firmly Germanic style. Writing in a style that was not en vogue in her home country, along with the obvious gender imbalances of the time, meant that you might expect that Farrenc was completely ignored during her life. But that?s not the case. She had a highly successful career as a pianist, a pedagogue, and yes, as a composer too. But after her death, her music was largely forgotten. Bu in the last 15-20 years there has been a concerted effort at bringing Farrenc?s music back to life, part of a larger movement to rediscover the work of composers who were unfairly maligned or treated during their lifetimes and after. One of Farrenc?s greatest works, and the one we?re going to be talking about today, is her 3rd symphony in G Minor. On the surface this is a piece in the mid-to-late German Romantic symphonic tradition, with lots of echoes of Mendelssohn and Schumann, but there?s a lot more to it than that. So today on this Patreon sponsored episode, we?ll discuss how Farrenc?s music fit into French musical life, how a symphony was a still expected to sound in 1847, and of course, this dramatic and powerful symphony that is only now beginning to find its rightful place on stage. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Saint-Saens, The Carnival Of The Animals

In 1922 a review appeared in the French newspaper Le Figaro: ?We cannot describe the cries of admiring joy let loose by an enthusiastic public. In the immense oeuvre of Camille Saint-Saëns, The Carnival of the Animals is certainly one of his magnificent masterpieces. From the first note to the last it is an uninterrupted outpouring of a spirit of the highest and noblest comedy. In every bar, at every point, there are unexpected and irresistible finds. Themes, whimsical ideas, instrumentation compete with buffoonery, grace and science. ... When he likes to joke, the master never forgets that he is the master.? You would think that this review came after a triumphant performance for Saint-Saens, and that he basked in the glory of the major success of what would become perhaps his most well known work, the Carnival of the Animals. But it just wasn?t the case. In fact, this review appeared after a performance of the piece given after Saint-Saens death, and there was a reason for that. Saint-Saens, after 3 private performances of the piece, forbade it from being performed publicly during his lifetime. Why? Well, he was concerned that this lighthearted piece would diminish his standing as a serious composer. Even in the mid 1880s when this piece was written, Saint-Saens began to evince the conservatism, musical and otherwise, that would mark his later career, to the point that he wanted Stravinsky declared insane and said this about Debussy: "We must at all costs bar the door of the Institut against a man capable of such atrocities; they should be put next to the cubist pictures." Why was Saint-Saens so opposed to modernism? Why was he so concerned with his reputation as a serious composer, to the point that he suppressed this wonderfully creative piece? And just what makes the Carnival of the Animals so fantastic and so much fun to listen to, as well as being so vivid in its portrayals of the animals it represents? Join us to find out!

Länk till avsnitt

Brahms Symphony No. 4

Welcome to Season 9 of Sticky Notes! We're starting with a bang this season with Brahms' incomparable 4th symphony. This symphony takes the listener on a journey that unexpectedly ends in a legendarily dramatic and stormy way. What would compel a composer like Brahms to write an ending like this? Was it a requiem for his place in music? For Vienna? For Europe? Or was it the logical conclusion to a minor key bassline he stole from a Bach Cantata? This is the eternal question when it comes to Brahms - logic or emotion? Well, usually the answer is a bit of both, and today we're going to go through this remarkable piece with all of this in mind. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Mozart, The Music, The Myth, The Legend, w/ Jan Swafford

"I think Mozart just really loved people." - Jan Swafford.

For the Season 8 Finale, I had the great pleasure of welcoming back Jan Swafford, the great writer on music, who has written a spectacular new biography of Mozart. In this conversation, we talked about who Mozart really was as a person, some of the myths that defined him during his lifetime and into the present day, and of course, the incomparable music that Mozart was able to create, sometimes on a whim or in a single afternoon. This is a conversation about a man who understood people perhaps better than almost any composer, and a musician who scraped and struggled during his life while achieving immortality through his creations. Please note that this will be the last episode of Season 8 and Season 9 will begin on September 8!

Länk till avsnitt

The Life and Music of George Gershwin

George Gershwin?s story is like the story of so many American immigrants.  His mother and father, Moishe and Rose Gershowitz,  were Russian Jews who came to New York City in the 1890s looking for a better life and to escape persecution at home. Soon they became the Gershwines, and in 1898, Jacob Gershwine was born. Later on he changed his name to sound just a little bit more American, and the name George Gershwin was on its way to immortality.  In just a few short years, the Gershowitz?s had become the Gershwins, and the story of George Gershwin was beginning to be written.  On today?s show we?ll talk about some of Gershwin?s greatest works, including his Concerto in F, Rhapsody in Blue, and Porgy and Bess, but we?ll also talk about the collision between Classical and Pop music, a Russian Jew imbibing the purely American form of Jazz, and Gershwin?s place in the modern classical and jazz repertoire, and in America. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Haydn Symphony No. 94, "Surprise"

If you want to understand how a symphony works, look no further than the works of the Father of the symphony, Joseph Haydn.

In 1790, a concert promoter and impresario named Johann Peter Solomon showed up un-announced at the Vienna home of the great composer Joseph Haydn.  He immediately told Haydn: ?I am Solomon from London and I have come to fetch you.?  What Salomon and Haydn were about to embark upon would be one of the greatest successes of both of their lives.  Haydn would end up making 2 visits to London, presenting an adoring audience with 12 symphonies, almost all of which are still regularly performed today.  But the most famous one is the one we?re going to be talking about today, the 94th symphony, nicknamed ?Surprise? or in the slightly drier German version: ?the one with the Drumstroke.?  The piece is famous for this surprise, which is now so well known that it rarely surprises anyone, though we?ll get into just how you might be able to do that in 2022.  But the entire piece is a masterpiece in its own right, and so today we?ll discuss all of the tricks and traps Haydn pulls with his audience, leading to one of the most enjoyable symphonies of his entire catalogue.

Länk till avsnitt

Derrick Skye: "Prisms, Cycles, and Leaps" w/ Derrick Skye

Derrick Skye is one of the most creative, innovative, and brilliant composers of our time. His orchestral work, Prisms, Cycles, and Leaps is a musical thrill ride spanning influences from literally all over the world, from West African Music, Balkan Folk Music, Hindustani Classical Music, all the way to Appalachan Folk harmonies. I had the great pleasure of talking my way through this piece with Derrick, exploring the mind-bogglingly complex rhythmic patterns, the melodic lines that blend cultures and harmonies, and the infectious joy of this unique piece. If you're not familiar wiith Derrick's music, trust me, take the time to get to know him and his music in this interview/analysis - you won't regret it!

Länk till avsnitt

The Music of Olivier Messiaen

There is one composer who I?ve never devoted a full show to that fills me with the same devotion and ecstasy as the people who claim that Wagner almost immediately dissolves them into tears. His music is widely played, but it has never been totally embraced by the wider classical music audience. There are a variety of reasons for this, but his uniquely 20th century language of tonality mixed with atonality mixed with something completely different from anyone who has ever written music makes it sometimes difficult to pin down his vast contribution to the world of music. His music is as deeply connected to his religious faith as any composer in history, and yes, that includes Bach. His music is as deeply connected to Nature as any composer who ever lived, and his music is tied directly to the colors he saw as he played and listened to it. His name is Olivier Messiaen, and he is one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. I wish I could describe to you the otherworldly feeling I get when I listen to his music, but for a very long time, I shied away from it.  Perhaps the reason is that it?s extremely hard to talk about Messiaen?s musical outlook without talking about his religious faith. I?m a non-religious Jewish person, so the depths of devotion that Messiaen describes regularly as his inspirations were and are foreign to me. And yet, the first time I heard his L?Ascension, every single hair on my body seemed to stand on end. I was completely blown away by these ravishing harmonies, how light seemed to shine off of them, how Messiaen translated his religious devotion into sound. I?ve not talked about Messiaen?s music on the show because it?s not easy to grapple with, but I can?t wait any longer. Today I?ll tell you a bit about Messiaen?s life, his upbringing, his musical and religious revelations, and then I?ll discuss some of his greatest pieces using three frameworks - religion, nature and specifically birdsong, and color. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Dvorak Symphony No. 8

Bucolic. Sunny. Cheerful. Joyous. Folksy. Ebullient. Thrilling. These are all words that I found while researching Dvorak?s 8th symphony. Dvorak?s gift for writing the most gorgeous of melodies is on full display in his 8th symphony, a piece that has been charming listeners ever since its very first performances. It is, on its surface, an uncomplicated piece, bursting at the seams with melody after melody after melody, almost mirroring one of Brahms? greatest one-liners, where he referred to his summer country home as a place where melodies were so heavily present thatt one had to be careful to avoid tripping on them! The overriding characteristic of this 8th symphony is joy, from its childlike key of G Major, to its raucous use of folk music, and even its smiling through tears slow movement.

Very often on this show I try to take pieces that are quite complicated and break them down for you to show you how to follow their twists and turns despite their complexities. But today, I?m going to do the opposite. Today, I?m going to take a piece that is, on its surface, quite simple, and I?m going to show you how this symphony is not quite as simple as it seems. It is a piece full of invention and of the scintillating energy of trying out new ideas. As Dvorak said, he would try to make this symphony ?different from the other symphonies, with individual thoughts worked out in a new way.? So today on the show we?re going to talk about how this symphony is different from other symphonies, and also how Dvorak constructs his chains of melodies that add up to the joyful whole of this piece, though tinged with the melancholy that is almost always present with Dvorak. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Mendelssohn Symphony No. 4, "Italian"

How does a composer capture the spirit of a country, especially if it's not his native land?  Mendelssohn, in his Italian Symphony, gives us one of the best examples of someone doing just that, giving us a tightly integrated, yet highly independent set of 4 snapshots from his travels all over Italy.  And yet, despite the piece being called the Italian Symphony and being indelibly associated with the country, the symphony remains a relatively traditional 4 movement German classical symphony.  What we hear then is a brilliant amalgamation of a symphony and a tone poem that is among the first of its kind.  The symphony tells no story, has no narrative, and yet, when we finish the breathless Tarantella that ends the piece, we feel like we?ve been flicking through a photo album of Felix?s vacation, smiling (mostly) all along the way. Today we?ll talk all about how Mendelssohn builds this symphony and how each movement captures such a distinctive character, while remaining Mendelssohnian to its core - kind, warm-hearted, and full of bubbling energy. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Brahms Piano Quartet in G Minor (+Schoenberg!)

Today I?m going to be talking about one piece, but in two different ways.  I?m going to start today with an in-depth look at Brahms? Piano Quartet in G Minor, an early piece of his that reveals an incredible sense of drama, drive, and creativity. This is very different music than I?ve talked about before with Brahms as this is decidedly the work of a young composer, without all the burnished maturity of Brahms? later music. This is also a great opportunity to revisit the bedrock of the Classical and Early Romantic eras, Sonata Form, a form that makes so many pieces from those eras intelligible and clear.  But I?m also going to be talking about another piece. Well, it?s the same piece, but to some people, it sounds so completely different that it constitutes a completely new piece entirely. To some others, myself included, it almost constitutes an entirely new Brahms symphony. What I?m talking about is the composer Arnold Schoenberg?s arrangement of Brahms?s Piano Quartet for a massive orchestra, filling the stage with instruments that Brahms never would have even conceived of! You don?t often think of Schoenberg and Brahms in the same breath, but Schoenberg was a devotee of Brahms? music, and often defended him against those who called him a crusty old conservative composer. But Schoenberg was still Schoenberg, and this arraangement of the quartet reflects that in a lot of ways. So along with an exploration of Sonata Form, I?ll save a look at the Schoenberg arrangement for the end of th show, since this is a great chance to look at orchestration and how a composer takes a piece written for 4 people and transforms it into a piece for 100. So today we?ll dive into this vast and complex piece, and along they way we?ll visit Schoenberg?s fascinating and sometimes downright wacky arrangement.  Join us!
Länk till avsnitt

Berio Folk Songs

In 1964, the popular 20th century composer Luciano Berio was commissioned by Mills College in California to write a piece for voice and chamber orchestra. What Berio came up with is one of his most remarkably creative works, which is really saying something considering the innovative and constantly evolving way that he wrote music. Berio once said:  ?My links with folk music are often of an emotional character. When I work with that music I am always caught by the thrill of discovery? I return again and again to folk music because I try to establish contact between that and my own ideas about music. I have a utopian dream, though I know it cannot be realized: I would like to create a unity between folk music and our music ? a real, perceptible, understandable conduit between ancient, popular music-making which is so close to everyday work and music.?

The words "thrill of discovery" are at the core of what makes the Folk Songs so wonderful and easy to listen to. They combine a modernist classical aesthetic with songs that are of such beauty that it is hard not be overwhelmed by them. Berio took 11 folk songs from 5 different regions of the world, from places as far away as the United States and Azerbaijan, and transformed them. He wrote: ?I have given the songs a new rhythmic and harmonic interpretation: in a way, I have recomposed them. The instrumental part has an important function: it is meant to underline and comment on the expressive and cultural roots of each song. Such roots signify not only the ethnic origins of the songs but also the history of the authentic uses that have been made of them.? Today on the show I?m going to take you through these 11 songs, going on a historical expedition to find some of their roots and to get as close to the original songs as I can, and then looking at how Berio re-worked these songs into this cycle that consistently stuns people with its beauty and creativity. If you?ve never heard these pieces before, get ready, because Berio will take you on a remarkable journey. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Prokofiev Symphony No. 5

It?s very easy to compare Sergei Prokofiev to Dmitri Shostakovich.  They are the two most famous representatives of Soviet and Russian music of the 20th century, they lived around the same time, and their music even has some similarities, but at their core, you almost couldn?t find more different people than Prokofiev and Shostakovich.  Shostakovich was neurotic, nervous, and timid.  Prokofiev was confident and cool.  Shostakovich was tortured by the Soviet government, and while Prokofiev certainly had his runins with Stalin and his crones , his life wasn?t so inextricably linked to the Soviet Union, besides the fact that he had the bad luck to die on the same day as Joseph Stalin, which made it so that there were no flowers available for his funeral. Prokofiev was able to travel, and see the world, generally without nearly as much interference as Shostakovich faced.  These two lives are reflected in two very different musical approaches.  Shostakovich's wartime symphonies are full of terror and violence, whlie Prokofiev wrote that his 5th symphony was a hymn to the human spirit. We don't know how much that reflects his true feelings, but its undeniable that there is a certain "optimism" to this symphony that both thrills and unsettles listeners to this day. It is also filled with traademark Prokofiev cynicism and sarcasm, and so we are left, as always, with a contradiction. What did Prokofiev mean with this symphony? Join us as we try to find out!
Länk till avsnitt

Mozart Piano Concerto No. 24

Imagine writing a concerto that prompted Beethoven to remark to a friend: ?we?ll never be able to write anything like that.  Or a piece that prompted Brahms to call it: ?a masterpiece of art, full of inspiration and ideas.?  Or had scholars and musicologists raving, saying things like: "not only the most sublime of the whole series but also one of the greatest pianoforte concertos ever composed" or "whatever value we put upon any single movement from the Mozart concertos, we shall find no work greater as a concerto than this K. 491, for Mozart never wrote a work whose parts were so surely those of 'one stupendous whole'."  I could go on and on, but the simple end to this story is that Mozart?s C Minor Piano Concerto has been considered one of the great achievements of humanity ever since it was premiered on either April 3rd of April 7th of 1786, performed by Mozart himself.  While we don?t know exactly how long it took Mozart to complete this concerto, it could not have taken more than a few months, and it came amidst him writing his 22nd and 23rd piano concerti, both masterpieces in their own right, and it was written just as Mozart was putting the finishing touches on his comic magnum opus, The Marriage of Figaro.  It?s almost a cliche at this point, but its one of those rare cliche?s that really deserves to be repeated:  If Mozart had written just one of those 4 pieces, his name would have been etched in history. Instead he was working on all 4 at the same time! Today, we?re going to be talking about the astonishing harmonic language of the piece, it?s skeletal manuscript, and how performers deal with the contradictions and quite frankly, missing pieces of this concerto. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

The Life and Music of Florence Price

Today I?ve got a pretty special show for you. It?s set up in two parts, with the first part featuring an interview, and the second part will be a more typical Sticky Notes analysis of a specific piece. Why did I set up the show this way this week? Well, I had the opportunity a few months ago to work with an extraordinary scholar and musician, Dr. Samantha Ege, who is the Lord Crewe Junior Research Fellow in Music at Lincoln College, University of Oxford,  and is also one of the foremost scholars on the music of Florence Price.

Florence Price is a composer who has been receiving a lot of attention over the last 5-7 years. As the first African American woman to have a major piece performed an orchestra, her first symphony was performed in 1933 by the Chicago Symphony, Price has become one of the most prominent figures in the revival of music written by Black composers as orchestras and performers not only in the US but all over the world attempt to diversify their programming. Price is part of a group of composers from the early twentieth century who were the first nationally successful Black composers. This group included luminaries such as William Grant Stiill, William Levi Dawson, and Nathaniel Dett, among others, and all of these composers have had their works rediscovered during this period, a truly exciting development that has brought a lot of neglected music back onto the concert stage. I?ve wanted to do a show devoted to Florence Price for a while, but when I got the chance to perform Florence Price?s Piano Concerto in One Movement with Dr. Ege, I knew I had to ask her to come on the show to tell the incredible story of this wonderful American composer. So the first part of the show is devoted to an interview with Dr. Ege going through Price?s background and talking about her writing style and approach to music. This was such a fun interview - Dr. Ege is a great teacher and I learned a ton about Price that I didn?t know about beforehand. The second part of the show will be an analysis of one of Price?s most rarely played, but in my opinion, one of her best, orchestral works, Ethiopia?s Shadow in America. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Mahler Symphony No. 9, Part 4

Mahler once said this to Bruno Walter, his protege and great advocate of Mahler?s works: "What one makes music from is still the whole?that is the feeling, thinking, breathing, suffering, human being?   You could almost just stop there with the last movement of Mahler 9.  This is music so full of feeling, thinking, breathing, suffering, but also of also acceptance and consolation, that words fail to describe its emotional impact. But as always with Mahler, this isn?t merely an emotional outpouring, a dumping of his innermost feelings onto the audience. It is a superbly paced, beautifully written movement, and despite its 25 minute length, and very stable and slow tempo, the movement does the seemingly impossible and feels both endless and compact at the same time.   So today, while of course we?ll talk about the emotional content of the music, I want to focus a bit more on how Mahler writes this music to make it so effective, and how he finds a way to reach the peaks of expression and the epitome of using silence as music. And finally, we'll explore how and to whom Mahler says goodbye to at the end of this symphony, as everything fades away. Join us!
Länk till avsnitt

Mahler Symphony No. 9, Part 3

It's easy to forget that Mahler, for all of his ubiquitous success nowadays, was much better known as a conductor during his life than as a composer.  He had basically one major success in his compositional career: a performance of his 8th symphony in Munich in 1910 that finally seemed to give him the approval he craved from the audience.  But for much of his compositional life, Mahler was misunderstood. His symphonies were either too long, too dense, too confusing, too esoteric, too vulgar, too banal, lacking in sophistication, or had too MUCH sophistication - the list goes on and on.  Mahler famously said in regards to his music that ?my time will come? and it certainly has come, with regular performances of his music all around the world.  But as we discuss the third movement of Mahler?s 9th symphony today, I want to keep reminding you that Mahler was really not a popular man.  Even as a conductor, he had bitter enemies that drove him out of his position as the Director of the Vienna Court Opera in 1907.  As a person, he could charitably be described as difficult, with moments of kindness followed by bouts of stony silence or fierce rages.  Mahler was a complicated man, and it's perhaps in this third movement that we can learn so much about this side of Mahler that doesn?t get talked about as much - that bitter, sarcastic, nasty side of him that many choose to ignore, preferring to focus on the love and warmth that he instills into much of his music.  In the third movement of his 9th symphony, Mahler seems to be letting out some of his rage and anger at the Viennese public, concerned in his mind only with intrigue and gossip, and those critics who trafficked in open Anti-Semitism in order to bring him down from his lofty perch.  But amidst all of this, Mahler continually grasps for order throughout the movement, only to find it ripped away from him.  This is the shortest movement of Mahler?s 9th symphony, but it is also the most dense.  So today, we?ll talk about that bitter pill that is this movement, a movement that is nevertheless relentless in its search for beauty, form, and order. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Mahler Symphony No. 9, Part 2

Remember where we ended in the first movement of Mahler's 9th symphony? After a 27 minute farewell which touched on the two poles of rage and acceptance, while filling in every conceivable emotion in between, we ended in total peace, calm, and acceptance .  

There is a lot about this symphony that is traditional - it has four movements, it's tonal(for the most part), it uses(mostly) traditional forms, but there is one thing about the symphony which is extremely unusual: the fact that it is bookended by two slow movements.  A traditional symphony takes the form of a moderately fast first movement, either a slow movement or a fast dance movement for the second movement, the same for the third(almost always the opposite of whatever the second movement was), and a fast last movement to send the crowd home happy.  Mahler,  using a form that he never used before, and would never be used again by any composer, writes a slow first movement, then 2 fast dance movements, followed by a slow final movement.  It's a fascinating formal design, but one that presents a lot of problems to solve; how do you contrast the two middle dance movements?  How do you create a sense of excitement when you?ve just finished a 27 minute slow movement which could easily be its own piece?  And perhaps most importantly, how do you conceive of the arc of a 16 minute dance movement, one that seems almost shockingly simplistic in its basic harmony and melody.  Well, Mahler finds a way through a combination of genuine joy, sarcasm, bitterness, and irony, emotions we will certainly be talking about as we take apart this second movement.

Länk till avsnitt

Mahler Symphony No. 9, Part 1

Two events, occurring on the same day, drove Mahler to the brink. His daughter Maria died at the age of just 4, and Mahler himself was diagnosed with a heart condition that would prove to be fatal. He became consumed even more so than he ever was before with the idea of death, the afterlife, and all the philosophical trials and travails that came with these thoughts.  These ideas of death did not come only from his own sense of loss and grief; they were about his place in history, and how he would be remembered. The 9th symphony explores all of these questions in a remarkably powerful way. The symphony sets up two poles: acceptance and struggle, and then wavers between them for its duration, vacillating between desperately clinging to life, and accepting and letting go.  Leonard Bernstein famously said that the symphonies' 4 movements represent 4 ways for Mahler to say farewell, but they could just as easily be 4 movements for Mahler to say he will be here forever. Join us today for part 1 to discuss the first movement of this monumental symphony!
Länk till avsnitt

Shostakovich String Quartet No. 4

Shostakovich is one of the easiest composers to do podcasts about because his life and his music is full of such incredible stories. But as easy as it is, it's also complicated. Shostakovich's music is sometimes heard as a musical history book, a testament, which it often is, but we should never lose sight of the fact that Shostakovich was a composer first, not a politician.  So today we're going to be looking at the 4th quartet in two contexts, the historical and the musical, and then try to see how one works(or doesn't) with the other.   How do you incorporate religion into music, and how do you handle the heavy burden that was laid down to you by masters of the String Quartet like Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert? How do you write political music without getting in trouble with the authorities? How do you speak out against injustice when it can put you in grave danger? Shostakovich, as always, has the answers. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Barber Adagio For Strings

Barber?s Adagio seems to access a deep well of sadness, heartache, passion, and nostalgia in the listener that is very difficult to explain.  As dozens of commentators have noted, there is nothing in particular in the piece which is particularly remarkable.  There are no great harmonic innovations, no formal surprises, nothing NEW, at all. In fact, the music was completely anachronistic for its time.  Despite all of that, or perhaps because of it, Barber?s Adagio has become perhaps the most well known piece of American classical music in the world.  It became even more famous after its use in the Vietnam War Movie Platoon.  It was played at the funeral of Franklin Roosevelt and Robert Kennedy, and was performed to an empty hall after the assassination of John F Kennedy.  A deeply emotional performance of the piece was done at the Last Night of the Proms, a traditionally celebratory affair, on September 12th, 2001.  Simply put, this piece has come to symbolize SADNESS in music.  But would it surprise you to hear that the Barber Adagio for Strings wasn?t originally for string orchestra at all?  That it was the second movement of a string quartet, sandwiched by movements that were much more modernist and ?forward-thinking? than its slow movement?  Would it surprise you that sadness might never have been the intention of Barber in the piece?  Well, let?s take a closer look at Barber?s Adagio this week - how the piece works, what originally surrounded it, it?s different arrangements, and its tempo. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Schubert Symphony No. 8, "Unfinished"

There are many reasons why Schubert?s Unfinished Symphony remains a mystery to this day -  the literally unfinished form, the unusual way of the symphony's emergencee into public consciousness, and probably most importantly, the character of the music itself, which seems to inhabit a different realm altogether, whether in its brooding first movement or the heavenly second movement.  When Schubert?s half-finished symphony was discovered, it had been sitting in a drawer of the minor composer Anselm Huttenbrenner for 43 years, unmissed and unheard by anyone.  The score was discovered by the conductor Johann von Herbeck.  Herbeck naturally considered the moment where he first held the score unforgettable, quickly organized a performance, and 37 years after Schubert?s death, the Unfinished symphony was heard for the first time.  But, the truth is that the fact that the symphony is unfinished isn?t really that special.  Composers started and failed to finish works all the time, whether they were songs, symphonies, operas, cantatas, or something else.  Most of those pieces are either ignored or are regarded as interesting curiosities by none but the most hardcore classical music lovers.  So why is this one different?  Why do these two movements rank up there with Bach?s Art of Fugue, Bruckner?s 9th symphony, Mozart?s Requiem and C Minor Mass, as pieces that are still performed today despite their unfinished nature.  Today, we?re going to find out.  We?ll explore the two existing movements of the symphony, take a look at the fragment of the third movement that Schubert started, stopped, and then tore out of the score, and also the speculative last movement, theorized by some enterprising musicologists.  But all along, we?ll marvel at Schubert?s lyricism, his endless creativity, and the powerful character of this unique symphony. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2

Brahms? two piano concertos could not possibly be any more different.  The first, written when Brahms was just 25, is dramatic, stormy, and impulsive.  This makes sense seeing at it was written practically as a direct response to the attempted suicide of his friend and mentor Robert Schumann.  The second, written 22 years later when Brahms was a seasoned and mature composer at the height of his abilities, was not, as far as we know, inspired by any specific event.  It is a warm, almost sun-tanned piece, but it also does something that makes it both the perfect piece to analyze on a show like this, but also makes it a rather elusive one that takes some baking to really understand and appreciate.  What Brahms does in the 2nd piano concerto is to distill everything that makes Brahms really Brahms into one 50 minute piece of music.  There?s continuous development, gorgeous melodic lines, contrasts of character, stern willful music immediately followed by tenderness, Hungarian music, light music - it?s ALL there - but here?s the key - it?s not an events based piece.  What I mean by that is that its not like Brahms moves from one character or personality trait to another like he?s putting together mismatching clothes.  Instead, he integrates all of these different facets of his music into the whole - one moment you are hearing stern and powerful music, and the next, almost without realizing, you are into some of the most tender music he ever wrote.  This is the power but also the complexity  of Brahms? 2nd piano concerto.  Join us to learn all about it!

Länk till avsnitt

Rachmaninoff: The Isle of the Dead

How do you orchestrate a painting? How do you take the detail and the visual imagery of a painting and translate that into something that is so vivid that even if you?ve never seen the painting before in your life, you can picture it as clearly as if it was right in front of you? Most people look at a painting for no longer than a minute or two at a museum, so how do you sustain that image over nearly 20 minutes of music? Well, to answer all of these questions, all you need to do is look at Rachmaninoff?s brilliant tone poem, The Isle of the Dead, which he wrote in 1908.  In 1907 Rachmaninoff saw a black and white reproduction of a painting by the Swiss artist Arnold Bocklin entitled The Isle fo the Dead. This painting had cause a storm of interest all across Europe. Vladimir Nabokov said that prints of the painting were found in every home of Berlin, Sigmund Freud owned a copy, as did Lenin. Bocklin painted 5 different version of the piece, but they all had the same theme - a desolate haunting image of a large rocky island, with a solitary boat with a coffin approaching it. It is said that the painting portrays the mythological river Styx, and even reproduced on the computer, it is a striking image. From that encounter, Rachmaninoff sat down and created one of his most underrated and enduring compositions, the masterful Isle of the Dead, which features a gigantic orchestra that very rarely shows off its full power, a rhythmic character that is both inevitable and unstable, and an unsettling and haunting theme that followed Rachmaninoff throughout his life, the Dies Irae. We?re going to talk all about this brooding and mysterious piece on this Patreon sponsored episode this week - join us!

Länk till avsnitt

The Music of Ukrainian Composers

While the inspiration for the show today is likely obvious, I?m also very happy to get the chance to share this wonderful music with you, separate from the current horrors going on right now.

Here?s a little quiz for you - name a Ukrainian composer. Were you stumped? Well, so are many people by that question. Despite a long line of brilliant composers throughout history, the music of Ukrainian composers has not entered the standard repertoire, except if you consider the contemporary composer Valentin Silvestrov. But Ukrainian music has a long and fascinating history, from the so called Big Three of the 18th and 19th centuries who were heavily influenced by the legendary Austro German composers but wrote in a highly unique style, to the nationalistic and folk inspired music of Lysenko, to the wild experimentation of Lyatoshinsky in the 20th century, all the way to the contemporary era  and the post modern work of Silvestrov.  Today on the show I?m going to take you through a history of Ukrainian classical music, and all along the way I?ll share the stories and the music of 6 of the most important Ukrainian composers.  You?re going to hear some of the most fascinating and touching music around, and you?re going to wonder how it?s possible that you haven?t heard this music before. Join us!

Link: (Documentary on Ukrainian Composers by Natalya Pasichnyk)

Länk till avsnitt

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5

In 1888, Tchaikovsky?s 5th symphony was premiered. It was enthusiastically received by the audience, and by Tchaikovsky?s friends. But Tchaikovsky?s nemesis, the critics, were not so happy with the piece.   One utterly tore apart the symphony, writing after a performance in Boston: "Of the Fifth Tchaikovsky Symphony one hardly knows what to say ... The furious peroration sounds like nothing so much as a horde of demons struggling in a torrent of brandy, the music growing drunker and drunker. Pandemonium, delirium tremens, raving, and above all, noise worse confounded!? Another wrote: ?Tchaikovsky appears to be a victim of the epidemic of the Music of the Future, that in its hydrophobia, scorns logic, wallows in torpor, and time and again, collapses in dissonant convulsions. Of basic inspiration in these people, who present interest at most as pathological cases, there is very little indeed.? 

Usually this is the moment where I quote Sibelius? brilliant: ?no one ever built a statue to a critic? line, but for once, Tchaikovsky somewhat agreed with his critics. He wrote to his legendary patron Nadezhda von Meck: ?I am convinced that this symphony is not a success. There is something so repellent about such excess, insincerity and artificiality.? Though he later changed his mind, the last movement of the symphony was always problematic for Tchaikovsky, and its been problematic for many performers and audience members to this day. Is the ending a profound expression of triumph over fate? Or is it hackneyed, over the top, and as Tchaikovsky said, excessive? Perhaps it?s the controversy over its ending, or perhaps something else, but ever since its premiere, Tchaikovsky?s 5th has been one of the most dependable audience favourites around the world. Today I?m going to take you through the genesis and the composition of this wonderful and polarising symphony. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Fauré Requiem

In 1902, the great French composer Gabriel Faure said this: ?It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience.  As to my Requiem, perhaps I have also instinctively sought to escape from what is thought right and proper, after all the years of accompanying burial services on the organ! I know it all by heart. I wanted to write something different."

Faure?s requiem is part of a long tradition of master composers addressing death through Requiems. Mozart, Brahms, Verdi, Britten, Berlioz, Beethoven(to a certain extent), and many many other composers all tried their hands at the Requiem, some of them keeping to Requiem Mass traditions, and some striking out completely on their own. Most notably, Brahms barely followed the traditional Requiem mass at all, preferring to use his own favorite biblical texts. Faure was also a composer who followed his own beat throughout his life, and perhaps one of his best known works is his modest and humble Requiem, which omits the fire and brimstone of famous requiems like Verdi?s, and focuses more on what he called the ?happy deliverance? of death.  What results is a remarkably inward looking piece, with only 30 or so measures sung at the loudest possible dynamic. It?s a piece that only lasts around 35 minutes, and was actually first performed as part of a liturgical funeral service.  Faure?s Requiem is music of mysticism and comfort, brilliantly conceived from start to finish in Faure?s own unique way. We?re going to talk a bit about Faure the man and the composer today, since it ties in so much to how he conceived of this requiem, and then of course, all about the Requiem itself on this Patreon sponsored episode. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Stenhammar Symphony No. 2

The year is 1910. Imagine that you are a young composer, and the music world is in flux all around you. Mahler is dying, and with his death many agreed that the great Austro-German symphonic tradition that stretched from the late 18th century with Haydn all the way through Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schubert and more, was over and done with. Wagner?s music dramas had inspired an entirely new style of music, and composers like Strauss, Liszt, and Berlioz had blown open the possibilities of what music could portray. But even their experiments had seemed to have reached a breaking point. For many composers, there seemed to be nowhere to go.  As the great Swedish conductor Herbert Blomstedt said: ?There was nothing to be done all the great melodies had all been written - what could one do. There was so much wonderful music but composers had to regroup and develop their own language and that wasn?t easy in 1910. Stravinsky found his own method inspired by Russian culture, Bartok was similar, Hindemith went to Baroque and the Renaissance. Schoenberg?s idea was: it?s all nonsense, we need to start from the beginning. Every composer has to make a new start.?  Over the next few weeks, I?m going to talk about composers who struggled with these questions, and the first one on the list is the most important Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar, who started out his life as a disciple of Wagner, but in the end rejected that influence and created a style all his own, which is perhaps best exemplified in his second symphony, which features the sounds of Swedish folk music, harmonies that stretch back not into the classical era but into the Medieval period, and a powerful resolve to not be like Wagner, but also to not even approach the idea of sounding like Schoenberg either. Stenhammar wrote to a friend as he began writing his G Minor symphony: ?In these times of Arnold Schoenberg, I dream of an art far removed from him, clear, joyful and naïve.? We?re going to discuss all of these roiling tensions this week, so please join us for a look at this underrated symphony!

Länk till avsnitt

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherezade

Rimsky-Korsakov, above anything else, is regarded as a master of orchestration, the art of creating orchestral sound and color. As Rachmaninoff said about Rimsky-Korsakov?s music: "When there is a snowstorm, the flakes seem to dance and drift. When the sun is high, all instruments shine with an almost fiery glow. When there is water, the waves ripple and splash audibly throughout the orchestra ? ; the sound is cool and glassy when he describes a calm winter night with glittering starlit sky." Nowhere is this gift more on display than in one of Rimsky-Korsakov?s seminal works, Scheherezade. But this work is far more than only orchestration. It is a shining example of a number of complicated facets of both Rimsky-Korsakov?s and Russian Nationalist music of the time. It also displays so many of the contradictions that marked this era of classical music, and in particular, Russian classical music. Rimsky-Korsakov originally gave the piece a clear narrative, but then withdrew it angrily, saying that any programmatic narrative was merely meant peripherally, and ?I meant these hints to direct but slightly the hearer?s fancy?All I had desired was that the hearer, if he liked my piece as symphonic music, should carry away the impression that it is beyond doubt an oriental narrative of some numerous and varied fairy-tale wonders and not merely four pieces played one after the other?? And that word, oriental, a complicated word in our modern times to be sure, plays a huge and unavoidable role in this piece. This was a time when Imperial Russia occupied lands in Central Asia, and when the Russian public became obsessed with so called ?oriental? literature and music. Composers drew liberally on these sources for their music, and Rimsky Korsakov?s mentor, the great composer Mily Balakirev, heavily encouraged Russian composers to use these sources as a way to set their music apart from German composers of the time. A group of composers, the not at all egotistically named ?Mighty Five? Balakirev, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, and Cesar Cui, almost all became famous through their use of Central Asian and Middle Eastern themes and stories. But no piece has captured the imagination of listeners around the world more than Scheherezade, a piece that drew upon the collection of Middle Eastern folk tales known and One Thousand and One Nights, and features some of the most legendary melodies in the history of Western Classical Music. We?re going to talk about all of this today on this Patreon sponsored episode, so please join us!

Länk till avsnitt

R. Nathaniel Dett: The Ordering of Moses

In May of 1937, R. Nathaniel Dett?s oratorio ?The Ordering of Moses? was premiered by the Cincinnati Symphony. The performance was carried live on national radio by NBC, but about 3/4?s of the way through the piece, the broadcast was halted due to unspecified scheduling conflicts, the origins of which remain mysterious and highly speculated on. And since its premiere, The Ordering of Moses has been performed only a handful of times, and never, as far as I can tell, outside of the United States. Well, that is going to change this February, as I?ll be conducting the UK premiere of the Oratorio with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and soloists Rodrick Dixon, Chrystal Williams, and  Eric Greene. Today on the show I?m going to tell you all about Dett?s remarkable story, his passionate advocacy for black folk music and spirituals, and the profoundly moving music that runs all the way through The Ordering of Moses. You won?t regret jumping into this rarely heard and rarely talked about gem of a piece, so come join us!

Länk till avsnitt

The Music of Ingram Marshall

?I never really thought of them as walls. I thought of them more as boundaries. Walls are a much more serious matter. You're not supposed to be able to get through, while boundaries at least you can crossover and I think the whole crossover thing is basically what the history of music in the second part of this century is about. It's about crossing over these boundaries.?

If there?s one quote that could sum up the music of the composer Ingram Marshall, it might be this one.

Last week I talked about Sibelius and our inability to place him in the typical classical music eras of Romantic or Modernist music. Well, Ingram Marshall?s music follows very much on that discussion, and it?s no surprise that Sibelius is one of Marshall?s favorite composers. I imagine most of you listening to the show today are not familiar with Ingram Marshalls? music, so today on this Patreon Sponsored episode, I?m going to briefly give you a background on this remarkable modern composer, and then we?ll finish the show with both an interview and an analysis of Marhsall?s work Flow with the great composer Timo Andres, who studied with Marshall and had some great insights on his music. You won?t regret diving into the remarkable work of Ingram Marshall, so come and join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Sibelius Symphony No. 5

Sibelius never gets mentioned on ?most? lists, the most innovative, modernistic, romantic, beautiful, conservative, ugly, violent, peaceful etc. In fact, no one is ever sure where to put him on these lists, and that?s partly due to that lifespan that began when Brahms was 32 and ended when Pierre Boulez was also 32 years old. And this uncomfortable place between Romantic and Modernist is exactly why Sibelius is, to me, one of the most interesting topics to cover on this show - and the perfect vehicle to explore Sibelius further is the 5th symphony, one of the most remarkable fusions of modernism and romanticism I?ve ever heard.

Länk till avsnitt

Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, Part 2

Last week I told you the story of the genesis of Shostakovich?s 5th symphony. We talked politics, but we also talked about just the music itself. Today, I?ll take you through the second half of the symphony, again first from a musical point of view. But by the end of the piece, the political conversation and the debate over the ending itself becomes unavoidable. There is no other piece whose character or even tempo is as debated as the ending of Shostakovich?s 5th, so we're going to have it out! Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, Part 1

Shostakovich?s life and career was so wrapped up with his relationship to the Soviet government that it is sometimes hard to appreciate that, all else aside, he was one of the great 20th century composers. His 5th symphony is the meeting point between Shostakovich's music and the political web he was often ensnared in, and it is a piece that is still being vociferously debated. This week we?re going to tell the story of the piece?s genesis, and then we?ll explore the first two movements of the symphony.

Länk till avsnitt

Ysaye Sonatas for Solo Violin

If you?re not a violinist, you might not be familiar with the name Eugene Ysaye. But this violinist and composer was called ?The King of the Violin? at the turn of the 20th century. Ysaye?s biggest compositional achievement was inspired by a performance by the legendary Joseph Szigeti in 1923. Enraptured, Ysaye went into his studio and 24 hours later (!), he emerged with 6 solo violin sonatas, each dedicated to one of his favorite violinists. Dive in with us this week to learn all about these amazing works!

Länk till avsnitt

Mahler Symphony No. 1, Part 2

This week, on part 2 of this look at Mahler 1, we're going to take a deep dive into the third and fourth movements of this massive and massively ambitious symphony. We'll talk about Frere Jacques, bizarre woodcuts, Klezmer bands, cries of wounded hearts, the most touching consolation, terror, rage, standing horn sections, and one of the most exhilarating endings of any symphony. Mahler's 1st symphony was one of the most ambitious statements a young composer ever made, so let's finish the journey together!

Länk till avsnitt

Mahler Symphony No. 1, Part 1

No one makes a grand statement quite like Gustav Mahler, and his first symphony, nearly an hour long, was one of the boldest statements ever made by a young composer. Today I?ll take a look at the history behind the early inspirations behind the piece, Mahler?s turbulent life, and the first two movements of the symphony. As the great Bernard Haitink said, Mahler had a talent for suffering, but this symphony is often full of a naivete and joy missing from Mahler's later works. Join us to find out more!

Länk till avsnitt

The Music of Heinrich Schutz (and Brahms!)

There are composers whose influence outstrips their popularity. The Baroque composer Heinrich Schutz falls into this group, due to his total focus on writing sacred vocal music. But for those who know his music, he is essential. He was the most important German composer before Bach and was vital to the development of music. Today I?m going to take you through some of Schutz?s greatest musical achievements, including his Muskalische Exequien, the piece that very likely inspired the Brahms Requiem. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Bartok Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste

Bartok?s Music for Strings Percussion and Celeste is a perfect encapsulation of Bartok?s musical output. Each movement provides us with a magnifying glass into some of the qualities that made Bartok one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. But for how spectacular a piece it is, it isn?t played as often as it should be, partly because of its extreme difficulty. Today, I?m going to talk you through what is perhaps Bartok's greatest piece, the unforgettable Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste.

Länk till avsnitt

Bach Transformed

Arrangements of Bach's music have been happening essentially since his music was ?rediscovered? by Mendelssohn in the 19th century. But Mozart and Beethoven arranged Bach's music too, and Bach himself would recycle works for different groupings of instruments. Today, I'm going to take a look at some of those arrangements, and what kind of insights we can gain into Bach's music, the styles of the times in which these arrangements were done, and even(!) whether we might prefer these new flavors. Join us!

Länk till avsnitt

Mendelssohn Symphony No. 3, "Scottish"

Mendelssohn was only 20 years old when he wrote to his friend Karl Klingemann: "...I am going to Scotland, with a rake for folk songs, an ear for the lovely, fragrant countryside, and a heart for the bare legs of the natives.? Over two months in 1829, Mendelssohn traveled through much of the Scottish Highlands, and it was on this trip that he found the inspiration for his beloved Scottish Symphony. But is this symphony all about Scotland? And how should we interpret this symphony in 2021? Join us this week!

Länk till avsnitt

Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances

Rachmaninoff?s music is often described as many different kinds of chocolate cake, but this piece, if it's chocolatey at all, would be that 85% dark chocolate - more bitter than sweet. It might be Rachmaninoff?s greatest orchestral work, and one that is inextricably linked to his tumultuous life. Throughout the Dances we hear references to war, to nostalgia, to Rachmaninoff's past failures, and so much more. This is one of the underrated masterpieces of the 20th century - join us to learn all about it!

Länk till avsnitt

Shostakovich Symphony No. 11, "The Year 1905"

In 1956, Dmitri Shostakovich wrote: ?I am now writing my 11th symphony, dedicated to the First Russian Revolution...I would like in this work to reflect the soul of the people who first paved the way to socialism.? Soviet loyalists were thrilled with the piece, but his friends were disappointed at this seemingly blatant act of propaganda. But quickly, a new and more subversive narrative emerged about this sprawling, cinematic, and elementally powerful symphony. Find out all about this masterpiece this week!

Länk till avsnitt
Hur lyssnar man på podcast?

En liten tjänst av I'm With Friends. Finns även på engelska.
Uppdateras med hjälp från iTunes.