English, Classical, 9 seasons, 222 episodes, 1 day 34 minutes
Sticky Notes: The Classical Music Podcast
English, Classical, 9 seasons, 222 episodes, 1 day 34 minutes
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!
Dvorak Symphony No. 9, "From the New World" - LIVE with the Aalborg Symphony!
I had the great joy to do my first ever live edition of Sticky Notes last month with the Aalborg Symphony in Denmark. For this concert, I chose a piece that is extremely close to my heart, Dvorak's New World Symphony. The story of the New World Symphony is a fascinating one. The symphony was the result of an extraordinary series of events, with Dvorak coming to America in 1892, meeting the great singer Harry Burleigh, and falling in love with a totally new, to him, genre of music: Black American and Native American folk music. Listening to Burleigh and other voices around America, Dvorak had discovered a new “American” sound for his music, and even though he would end up staying in the US for just three years, in that time he composed two of his most popular pieces, the American String Quartet, and the New World Symphony But of course, the New World Symphony isn’t really an American piece. It is a
16/11/2023 • 1 hour 42 minutes 5 seconds
Lutoslawski Concerto for Orchestra
Throughout the history of Western Classical Music, folk music has imprinted itself as an invaluable resource for composers from all over the world. In fact, it’s easier to make a list of composers who never used folk music in their compositions than it is to make a list of the composers who did! This tradition began long before the 20th century, but the work of composers like Bartok and a resurgence in the influence of nationalist music sparked a massive increase in composers using folk music throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. Bartok is thought of as the king of using folk music, as he was essentially the worlds first ethnomusicologist. But Stravinsky, who used dozens of uncredited folk tunes in his Rite of Spring, as well as Bernstein, Copland, Gershwin, Grainger, Vaughan Williams, Szymanowski, Dvorak, and so many others embraced folk music as an integral source for their music. This was in stark contrast to the second Viennese school composers like Schoenber
09/11/2023 • 1 hour 2 minutes 21 seconds
R. Schumann Piano Concerto
In January of 1839, Clara Wieck, Robert's future wife, wrote to Robert, “Don’t take it amiss if I tell you that I’ve been seized by the desire to encourage you to write for orchestra. Your imagination and your spirit are too great for the weak piano.” Clara knew that she would have struck a nerve with Robert, whose history with the piano was full of trials and tribulations. Robert had trained as a pianist, but a 3 year period of reckless amounts of practicing as well as the exacerbating effects of experimental devices meant to strengthen his fingers had destroyed his ability to play professionally. But already from the age of 17, in 1827, Robert had considered writing a piano concerto, probably for himself to perform. He made 4 further attempts to write a concerto, but it seems, like so many things in Schumann’s life, that his marriage to Clara was the final inspiration that he needed to get over the hump. It made sense, as Clara Schumann was possibly the greatest pianist
02/11/2023 • 48 minutes 17 seconds
Brahms Violin Concerto
Brahms’ violin concerto is one of the most difficult works for any violinist to tackle. It is as virtuosic as the hardest piece of Paganini as well as being as musically complex as a Brahms symphony. It takes most violinists years or even decades to feel comfortable with this piece, and many violinists consider it a kind of Mount Everest. Why? What makes this piece so complex, and yet so beautiful? What kind of choices do violinists make in their interpretations? For today, I'm not only going to tell you about this piece and how Brahms composed it, but I'm also going to compare 3 different recordings of the piece(Heifetz, Oistrakh, and Ferras) in order to show you the differences in interpretations between these 3 titanic violinists. We'll also talk about many of the topics we’ve covered before with Brahms; continuous development, gorgeous melodies, and that amazing Brahmsian quality of both respecting established forms while con
26/10/2023 • 50 minutes 26 seconds
What Does Music Mean?
Today is a bit of an unusual episode. Last month I was invited by the British Society of Aesthetics to address their annual conference. My task was to give a lecture on whatever topic I wanted, having to do with music. So, considering it was an Academic Philosophy conference, I chose the easiest and most straightforward topic possible - What Does Music Mean? Obviously, this is a topic that has been interrogated from just about every different angle, and I certainly would never claim to have all the answers. But for my lecture, I decided to focus on how to find meaning in these amazing works from a performer's perspective. How do I study and learn these pieces so that I can find the meaning that I think is inside of them? What does history teach us about these pieces and can we use history to find meaning in these works? To try to answer these questions I chose three pieces to explore - Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, Barber's Adagio for Strings, and Shostakovich's 5th Symphony.
19/10/2023 • 52 minutes 27 seconds
William Grant Still Symphony No. 1., "Afro-American"
On October 29th, 1931, The Rochester Philharmonic presented the world premiere of a new symphony by the composer William Grant Still. A symphonic premiere is always something to look out for in musical history, but this one had an even greater significance. The premiere of Wiliam Grant Still’s First Symphony, subtitled “Afro American,” was the first time a symphony written by a Black American composer was performed by a leading orchestra. William Grant Still was a man of many firsts, whether he was the first Black American conductor to conduct a major orchestra, the first to have an opera performed by a major company, the first Black American to conduct an orchestra in the South of the United States, and much more. Today we’re going to focus in on Grant Still’s first symphony, a piece that Grant Still had long thought about, conceptualized, and dreamed of. It was also a symphony wrapped up in the roiling currents of Black Ameri
12/10/2023 • 1 hour 6 minutes 34 seconds
(Part 2) - The Music of World War II and the Holocaust with "Time's Echo" writer Jeremy Eichler
This is another episode where I highly recommend listening to Part 1 from last week before listening to this episode! It was a great honor to speak with the critic and cultural historian Jeremy Eichler about his remarkable new book "Time's Echo." In today's episode, we speak about Richard Strauss' Metamorphosen, as well as the complicated and hotly debated questions about Strauss' activities during World War II. We also talk about Shostakovich and his 13th Symphony, entitled "Babi Yar," a piece of memorial for a place where no memorial had stood for decades. Finally, we speak about Benjamin Britten and his War Requiem. We talk about Britten's devout pacificism, about his visit to the Belsen Displaced Persons camp after World War II, and why his War Requiem seems to have more connection with World War I than with World War II. It was truly a joy to talk to Jeremy about all of these different great composers, as well as the memories they created with their works. Join us!
05/10/2023 • 55 minutes 13 seconds
The Music of World War II and the Holocaust with "Time's Echo" writer Jeremy Eichler (Part 1)
I had the great pleasure and honor this week(and next week) to speak with the author of the new book Time's Echo Jeremy Eichler. The book chronicles four composers and their varied reactions to World War II and the Holocaust, including Schoenberg, Strauss, Shostakovich, and Britten. This week we talked about the historical symbiosis between Germans and German Jews, the concept of Bildung, a central idea in German culture throughout the 19th and early 20th century, Mendelssohn's role in creating a sense of "German" music, Schoenberg's remarkable prescience about what lay in the future after the Nazis took power in Germany, his remarkable Survivor from Warsaw, the first major musical memorial to the Holocaust, and the almost hard to believe it's so wild story of the premiere of the piece. This is truly one of my favorite books about classical music that I've ever read, so I highly recommend picking it up. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!
28/09/2023 • 57 minutes 45 seconds
Mahler Symphony No. 4, Part 2
If you haven’t listened to Part 1 of this episode about Mahler's 4th symphony, I highly recommend doing that, as every movement of this symphony builds to the "Heavenly Life" of the last movement. On Part 2, we'll be going through the 3rd and 4th movements. Mahler told his friend Natalie Bauer-Lechner that the 3rd movement of the symphony was created by ”a vision of a tombstone on which was carved an image of the departed, with folded arms, in eternal sleep.” As you can imagine based on that description, there is an unearthly beauty to the slow movement of Mahler’s 4th. Much like the Heiliger Dankgesang movement from Beethoven’s Op. 132 string quartet I talked about a couple of weeks ago, we often get the feeling in the slow movement of Mahler’s 4th that we are listening to music that is coming to us from the other side. As the slow movement comes to its end, we are introduced to the last movement, a sublime and peaceful song Mahler entitled "The Heavenly Life." This is a
21/09/2023 • 59 minutes 48 seconds
Mahler Symphony No. 4, Part 1
After the truly heavenly slow movement of Mahler’s 4th symphony, a soprano emerges and sings a song literally called “The Heavenly Life.” It is a symphonic ending like no other, one that leaves the listener peaceful and contented after taking a long(but not as long as usual) and winding journey with Gustav Mahler and his 4th symphony. The 4th symphony is a symphony of moments, like the famous sleigh bells that begin the piece, and a symphony of long, massive, and momentous arcs, like in the timeless 3rd movement, which might be my single favorite movement of any Mahler symphony. But this symphony, so renowned for its contentedness and beauty also features complicated emotions, drama that clouds the blue skies, and a dark side that we never truly escape, perhaps not until the very end of the symphony. Mahler said that his symphony was “divinely serene, yet profoundly sad, it can only have you laughing and crying at the same time.” What a perfect way to define Mahler’s musi
14/09/2023 • 51 minutes 49 seconds
Beethoven String Quartet, Op. 132, Part 2
If you joined me last week, you heard about the severe intestinal illness that Beethoven suffered from during the year of 1825. Beethoven thought that he was near death; he was spitting up blood, in terrible pain, and regularly begged his doctor for help. Ensconced in Baden, a Viennese suburb known for its nature and calm, Beethoven slowly and miraculously recovered from the illness, giving him 2 more years to compose. These two years brought us the quartets Op. 130 Op. 131, Op. 135, a series of canons, sketches for a 10th symphony. and of course, Op. 132. Obviously, even as he suffered from this illness, Beethoven knew that he had much more in him left to compose. The 4 quartets he wrote upon recovery from this illness ALL rank in the top 10 of the greatest musical compositions ever written by anyone. During the slow movement of Op. 132, Beethoven takes the opportunity to thank the Deity, who or whatever that was to Beethoven, for his recovery. This 15-20 minute movement is
08/09/2023 • 44 minutes 37 seconds
Beethoven String Quartet, Op. 132, Part 1
I had long hesitated to write a show about any of Beethoven’s late string quartets. These are pieces that professional quartets spend the better part of their careers grappling with, struggling with, failing with, and much more rarely, succeeding with. They are some of the most extraordinary pieces of art ever conceived of. 5 quartets, Opus 127, Opus 130, Opus 131, Opus 132, and Opus 135, all written near or at the end of Beethoven’s life, arguably representing the pinnacle of everything Beethoven achieved. They explore not only every conceivable emotion, but they dig down into the core of those emotions, defiantly refusing to skim the surface and daring to ask and then answer the fundamental questions of life and death. Everyone has a favorite Late Beethoven Quartet, but mine has always been Opus 132, and so this week I’m taking the opportunity to take the leap into Late Beethoven. We’ll discuss Beethoven’s situation as he recovered from a life-threatening illness which he was
31/08/2023 • 45 minutes 1 second
Nielsen Symphony No. 4, "Inextinguishable"
At the top of the score for the Danish composer Carl Nielsen’s 4th symphony, he wrote: “Music is life, and like it, inextinguishable.” This could easily be the shortest podcast I’ve ever done. I could leave you with that quote and then play you the beginning of the symphony, and you would understand everything Nielsen wanted to portray in this remarkable music. But don’t worry, I won’t do that. Carl Nielsen’s music has never quite made it into the standard standard repertoire, but if there is one piece of his that is played more often than any other, it is his 4th symphony, subtitled The Inextinguishable. But as a whole, Nielsen’s 4th symphony is not easy to digest. It is a piece that is contradictory, in the sense that Nielsen uses an extremely small set of motives to write practically every note of music in the score, and yet sometimes the music can feel like a stream of consciousness. Nielsen himself wrote: “I have an idea for a new composition, which
24/08/2023 • 59 minutes 36 seconds
Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream
The stories, legends, and myths about the trials and travails of composers lives are legion, like Beethoven’s battles against fate, Mozart and Schubert’s struggles with finances, Brahms’ failures with women, Mahler’s troubles with just about everyone, and Shostakovich’s near fatal interactions with the government. These stories tend to add to the general understanding of these composers, and in fact they tend to enhance their reputations. We see their struggles in their music, and it makes us admire them more for overcoming them. With Mendelssohn, and to some extent Haydn as well, we have the opposite case. Mendelssohn grew up in a happy, wealthy German family, and it was only late in his life when he underwent any major struggles at all. Whether this happy upbringing contributed to the character of his music is anyone’s guess, but Mendelssohn seems to always get the short end of the stick when it comes to reputation, and I think that his generally cheerful music has a lot to
17/08/2023 • 52 minutes 41 seconds
Elgar Cello Concerto
Elgar's Cello Concerto was composed in the shadow of World War 1. It was a piece that marked a profound shift in Elgar's outlook on life and music, and was his last major work before a long silence caused by the death of his wife Alice. It is a piece of remarkable passion for a composer like Elgar, and never fails to move the audience with its combination of grief, melancholy, nostalgia, rage, but also tenderness. Elgar as a composer had been passed by with the invention of atonality and with composers like Stravinsky and Schoenberg pushing the boundaries of where music could go. Elgar stubbornly stayed true to his Romantic impulses, but the concerto also displays some of the inescapable influence of those composers. It is one of the most powerful pieces of the 20th century, but one of the reasons we know the piece so well is an unforgettable recording made in 1965 by Jacqueline Du Pre. It is very unusual for a piece to be so associated with a single performer, but Du Pre truly made
10/08/2023 • 52 minutes 24 seconds
Romeo and Juliet in Classical Music
The "love theme" from Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture is one of the most famous themes in the history of Western Classical Music. The story it accompanies might be the most famous Western play ever written. Just like Eine Kleine Nachtmusik seems to define the powdered wig era of classical music to the general public, the passionate theme from Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet seems to define romanticism in music because Tchaikovsky’s Overture-Fantasy captures Shakespeare’s masterpiece with a roiling and unstoppable intensity. But Tchaikovsky’s setting of Romeo and Juliet, while probably the most famous, is by no means the only reimagining of the play by classical composers. There have been nearly a dozen adaptations of Romeo and Juliet by classical composers, including overtures, ballets, suites, and operas. Romeo and Juliet, just like it has been for actors, directors, and the audience, is an inexhaustible source for composers in a way that few pieces of literatu
03/08/2023 • 49 minutes 19 seconds
Mozart Symphony No. 38, "Prague"
Very few cities have had a relationship with a single person, especially a foreigner, like the city of Prague and its love affair with Mozart. Here’s what Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart’s librettist for some of his greatest operas, said about it: "It is not easy to convey an adequate conception of the enthusiasm of the Bohemians for [Mozart's] music. The pieces which were admired least of all in other countries were regarded by those people as things divine; and, more wonderful still, the great beauties which other nations discovered in the music of that rare genius only after many, many performances, were perfectly appreciated by the Bohemians on the very first evening.” Mozart had been losing his popularity rapidly in Vienna, and so his trips to Prague were a boon to his self-esteem. He wrote in a letter, speaking of Prague’s euphoric reaction to his opera the Marriage of Figaro: "here they talk about nothing but Figaro. Nothing is played, sung, or whistled but Figaro. No o
27/07/2023 • 53 minutes 28 seconds
Jean-Louis Duport Cello Concerto No. 4
Thank you to Nicole for sponsoring today's show on Patreon! Have you ever heard of Jean-Louis Duport? I imagine that unless you are a professional cellist, or someone who studied cello as a child, you probably haven’t. Even though my sister is a professional cellist, I had never heard of him before I was asked to make this show. Duport is a historical figure who has been almost completely forgotten, though he was part of a fascinating group of musicians who encountered Beethoven, Frederick the Great, and even Napoleon! He and his brother Jean-Pierre were two of the greatest cellists of their era, and Jean-Louis lives on for cellists as the writer of a set of etudes or studies that are still used by cellists all over the world to refine their techniques. But Jean-Louis Duport also wrote 6 cello concertos, pieces which show his profound connection with the instrument, as well as his mastery of the style of his time. Today on the show I’ll take you through
20/07/2023 • 43 minutes 5 seconds
Brahms B Major Piano Trio
When we listen to the music of Johannes Brahms, we often are reminded of the image of the portly bearded Brahms at the piano, eyes closed in a soulful pose. Brahms’ works always, even in his youth, seemed to have a burnished maturity about them. As I’ve said many times on this show, Brahms’ music is often described as autumnal, and there’s a good reason for this, as its gentle melancholy is one of those things that never left Brahms even in his earlier works. But the piece we’re talking about today isn’t an early work, or a late work of Brahms. Actually, it’s both! Brahms’ B major trio is one of the rarest of rare pieces, in that it is published in two distinct versions, a version that Brahms wrote when he was just 20 years old, and a work that he heavily revised near the end of his career 35 years later, making changes that in some senses fundamentally recast the piece. At the same time, much of the original material is left in place, creating an unusual amalgam
06/07/2023 • 55 minutes 26 seconds
Sibelius Violin Concerto
There’s a joke among classical musicians that the only parts of a piece that matter are the beginning, the end, and one place in the middle. I don’t think its something that anyone really believes in, but the value of the beginning of a piece in setting the scene cannot be ignored, and the absolutely stunning opening of the Sibelius violin concerto is no exception. A soft carpet of violins slowly oscillating between two notes sets up the entrance of the violinist, who over the course of the concerto will do just about everything a violin is capable of doing, all in a concerto of both eye-popping difficulty, but also heartwarming AND heartbreaking warmth, passion and character. There is often what is described as the “Big 5” of violin concerti, which includes the concerti of Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn. The Sibelius violin <span style= "color: #222222; font-
29/06/2023 • 48 minutes 30 seconds
Ravel, Bolero + La Valse
Maurice Ravel the Magician, the Swiss Watchmaker, the aloof, the elegant, the precise, the soulful, the childlike, the naive, the warm, the radical, the progressive. These are all words that were used to describe a man of elegant contradictions throughout his life and into today. I talked a lot about Ravel’s skill with orchestration last week when we discussed Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, but Ravel's brilliance and creativity in terms of orchestral sound is absolutely unparalleled in musical history. But Ravel is somebody I’ve very rarely covered on the show, partly because he didn’t write very many large scale works that would cover a whole hour long episode. Well, it took 6 years for me to figure it out, but I realized a little while ago that I could cover two of Ravel’s shorter pieces and put them together on a double bill, so to speak. So today I’m going to tell you about Ravel’s most beloved and most despised piece, Bolero, and about my favorite piece of R
22/06/2023 • 54 minutes 58 seconds
Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition
Have you ever been to an art museum and wished that you had music to accompany your experience? Music that made the art you were looking at more vivid, more immediate, and more emotionally intense? Well, Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is the piece for you. Inspired by his late friend Victor Hartmann’s paintings and designs, Mussorgsky composed a series of 10 miniature pieces for piano based on Hartmann's works. Unlike many other collections of miniature pieces that have thematic or structural connections, Pictures at An Exhibition doesn’t feature that at all, keeping with Mussorgsky’s often rebellious ways as a composer. Instead, the music is connected by movements called Promenades, as if Mussorgsky literally walks you to the next painting at the exhibition. Mussorgsky’s remarkably imaginative piece is justly famous and often played by pianists, but what is perhaps the most fascinating thing about this piece is the creativity that it has inspired in other compos
15/06/2023 • 59 minutes 20 seconds
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4
Welcome to episode number 200 of Sticky Notes!! On December 22nd, 1808, a day that would live in classical music lore forever, Ludwig Van Beethoven sat down for his very last appearance as a solo pianist to play this new piano concerto, his 4th. This performance was not only the premiere of the new piano concerto, but the premiere of two new symphonies as well, the 5th and the 6th. It featured many other new works, and the concert itself lasted nearly 4 hours, all inside of the cold and dark Theater an Der Wien with an underprepared and underrehearsed orchestra. The concert, despite featuring 3 works that would go on to be some of the most performed works in the history of classical music, was not a success. It was too long and too cold, featuring too many premieres and too much difficult music. It was criticized severely in all quarters, and Beethoven considered the concert a failure. And even that new concerto, the one that surprised so many people wit
08/06/2023 • 59 minutes 57 seconds
Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8
What did Dmitri Shostakovich intend to portray in his music? There is probably no more debated a question in all of 20th century Western Classica lMusic than this one. On the surface, it seems to have an easy answer. Shostakovich portrayed his own thoughts and feelings in his music, just as any other composer would. And that is certainly true. Shostakovich, above anything else, was truly one of the great composers in history. HIs mastery of form, meldoy, strcuture, pacing, and his ability to find a near universal expression of grief and passion is practically unparalelled among composers. That much is clear to those of us who love Shostakovich’s music. But everything else, including that thorny question of what his music MEANS, is much, much, much less clear. Practically Shostakovich’s entire life was lived under the shadow of Soviet Russia, and naturally his musical career was lived under that shadow as well. This means that a sometimes impenetrable layer of secrecy, mystery, and d
01/06/2023 • 51 minutes 5 seconds
What Does a Conductor Really Do?
Have you ever wondered what it is that us conductors are really doing up there? Are we just waving our arms in time to the music? What role does the conductor actually play in a concert? How about a rehearsal? Do we also learn to be train conductors as well? Well, today's episode is about answering those questions! We'll talk about conducting on 3 different levels, including the basic level where we'll talk all about beat patterns, studying, rehearsals, concert programming, and more. We'll also talk about what I like to call the 30,000 feet level, where all of those basic decisions can help translate into musical ideas that inspire the orchestra and move the audience. And finally, we'll head to what the late great conductor Mariss Jansons called the Cosmic level, where true inspiration takes place. This can happen as little as once or twice in a lifetime in a concert, but when it does, there is nothing like it! We'll talk about all this, and more today - join us!
25/05/2023 • 47 minutes 34 seconds
All things Piano with Marc-André Hamelin
Marc-André Hamelin is one of the world's greatest living pianists. He is known as a virtuoso of the highest order and has made nearly 100 recordings spanning the gamut of the piano repertoire. In this conversation we talk about how Marc fell in love with Gershwin, piano rolls, Busoni, Godowsky, the nature of virutosity, Haydn, CPE Bach, programming, nerves on stage, and much much more! This was such a fun and wide-ranging conversation and I certainly learned a lot speaking with Marc about the piano. Join us!!
18/05/2023 • 53 minutes 7 seconds
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4
“This is Fate, the force of destiny, which ever prevents our pursuit of happiness from reaching its goal, which jealously stands watch lest our peace and well-being be full and cloudless, which hangs like the sword of Damocles over our heads and constantly, ceaselessly poisons our souls.” With this description, Tchaikovsky gave his patron Nadezhda von Meck a rare insight into the inspiration behind what he called the “nucleus” of his 4th symphony. Despite the fact that Tchaikovsky’s music is famously emotional, he usually did not like describing his programs using words. This is one of the contradiction of Tchaikovsky’s music for the modern listener: we have these letters where Tchaikovsky described the programs or stories behind many of his most famous pieces, and yet Tchaikovsky himself would not have necessarily wanted us to know them. Tchaikovsky’s 4th symphony is at the center of all of these contradictions. It is a symphony in the grand Romantic tr
11/05/2023 • 1 hour 1 minute
My 25 Favorite Moments in Classical Music (Part 2)
Last week we covered moments 1-15 in my top 25 favorite moments in classical music, going all the way up towards the end of the 19th century. This week we're going to explore 9 of my favorite moments from the wide world of 20th century music, and then, in a little twist, I'm going to look at 5 of my favorite moments from living composers. We're going to hear from Stravinsky, Mahler, Dawson, Barber, Shaw, Gruber, Widmann, Scriabin, Shostakovich, Debussy, Ravel, Chin, Skye, and more this week so join us to hear some amazing classical music moments!
04/05/2023 • 55 minutes 34 seconds
My Top 25 Favorite Moments in Classical Music (Part 1)
What MAKES a moment in a piece of classical music? Sometimes it’s the result of careful pacing from a composer, the slow build to a powerful release. Sometimes it’s about surprise, a sudden explosion, or even a sudden extinguishing of sound. Sometimes it’s about a harmonic transition, where the music lifts off the ground or is brought down to earth. Sometimes it’s the culmination of over an hour of effort, finally reaching the top of the mountain. Music lovers of all stripes often talk about their favorite moments in classical music, and a few weeks ago I got a message from Sam asking me what some of my favorite moments were in music. I realized that over 193 episodes of this show, I’ve often talked about my favorite moments in the pieces that I’m specifically covering that week, but I’ve never made a list so to speak of my top moments in classical music, and so this week, I’m going to attempt to do that. One of the reasons I’ve avoided this topic is because it’s so diffi
27/04/2023 • 52 minutes 50 seconds
Mendelssohn Octet in E Flat Major, Op. 20
From 1825-1827, Mendelssohn wrote 3 of his most beloved and most played works: his Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture, his String Quartet, Op. 13, and the piece were going to talk about today, his Octet. What is truly astonishing about these three pieces is that they were all written before Mendelssohn turned 18 years old. Mendelssohn was the greatest prodigy in the history of Western Classical Music, writing music so spectacular at such a young age that it almost overshadows his later, more mature, works. In my opinion, the greatest of these three towering early pieces from Mendelssohn is his octet. It is a piece of structural perfection, ingenuity, innovation, and most of all, it is a piece of such youthful enthusiasm that it is impossible to not put a smile on your face. We'll talk all about this piece today, from its soaring first movement, to its contemplative second movement, the brilliant third movement, and the bubbling last movement. Let's discuss this miracle of a
20/04/2023 • 1 hour 3 minutes 40 seconds
Mahler Symphony No. 5, Part 2
I left you last week after Part 1 of Mahler’s 5th symphony, dazed and defeated. There seems to be no hope, and no way out. But as many of you know by now, Mahler reaches for the entire emotional spectrum in his music, and what Mahler builds out of the ashes of the first two movements is a complicated, difficult, and fascinating Part II, and a warm, sunny, and loving Part III. Part II is a single movement, a massive 17 minute scherzo that serves as a bridge to Part III and also is practically a full piece on its own. Part III of course contains the famous Adagietto, a love letter that leaves the listener full of questions that Mahler attempts to answer in the 5th movement, a sunny romp and the most unquestionably cheery movement that Mahler ever wrote. Why does Mahler build the symphony this way? How does a performer or an audience member deal with these hugely varied emotions? And how does Mahler build his complicated scherzo, his apparent love letter to Alma, and his both h
13/04/2023 • 49 minutes 16 seconds
Mahler Symphony No. 5, Part 1
There is a thread of musical theory called Schenkerian analysis, based on the work of Heinrich Schenker. Schenker believed that musical works could be boiled down to their fundamental structures and harmonies. Entire works could be described with single chords. If Schenker had applied his analysis to Mahler’s 5th symphony, he might have played just two chords for you: a C# minor chord, and then a D Major chord. The reason why? Over the course of 70 minutes, Mahler takes the listener on a wild journey, starting in C# minor with a lonely military trumpet, and then ending in a glorious D Major coda that might be the most unambiguously sunny thing Mahler ever wrote: But of course, how we get there is the most fascinating part of this monumental symphony. Today, on Part I, I’m going to take you through Part I of the symphony, which encompasses the first two movements. Next week, we’ll take a look at Parts 2 and 3 together, which take up the final three movements of th
06/04/2023 • 58 minutes 20 seconds
Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht
I’m not sure there’s ever been a composer who changed as much throughout his or her life as Arnold Schoenberg. Schoenberg would become famous, or infamous, depending on who you talk to, for his invention of atonality; the equalization of all keys so that the system of harmony that had been followed, in one way or another, in Western music for nearly a thousand years, was banished. This invention radically changed the course of contemporary classical music, and it remains controversial to this day. Some people think Schoenberg ruined classical music forever with this invention, while others say he liberated it from convention. But all of these inventions were in the future for Arnold Schoenberg when he wrote his Verklarte Nacht, or Transfigured Night, for string sextet. This piece, written in just 3 weeks in 1899, is hyper-Romantic in every sense and
30/03/2023 • 57 minutes 39 seconds
What Does an Opera Director Really Do? W/ Tabatha McFadyen
Have you ever wondered what exactly goes on behind the scenes putting together an opera? Have you ever asked yourself how a director make decisions on how to interpret the libretto of an opera? Why do some productions look so completely different to others? What is "regie theater" and why it is so controversial? Well, all of these questions and more are answered by my guest today, the fantastic director, performer, and writer Tabatha McFadyen, who takes us through the process of directing an opera from first commission to first performance, a process that can take a few years of work! This was a fascinating conversationa and I myself learned a lot from it. Join us!
23/03/2023 • 59 minutes 49 seconds
The Life and Music of Clara Schumann
Clara Schumann, without a doubt, was one of the greatest pianists of all time. Schumann’s playing didn’t just leave critics and audiences in raptures, it also left other composers amazed that their music could sound so beautiful. Liszt called her the Priestess of the Piano, Chopin adored her playing, and Mendelssohn brought her over and over again to Leipzig to play concerts with the Gewandhaus orchestra. She toured practically her entire life while raising a family of 8 children, and taking care of her husband Robert, who dealt with a series of mental illnesses that ended in his tragic and untimely death. Simply put, Clara Schumann was a legend in her time. She was the first pianist to perform entire concertos and recital programs by memory, the first pianist to devote her work to both contemporary composers AND composers of the past, bringing Bach onto the recital stage. And on and on and on. But today I’m not goin
16/03/2023 • 48 minutes 33 seconds
So What's It Like To Be The Principal Horn Of The Berlin Philharmonic? W/ Stefan Dohr
Stefan Dohr is one of the greatest french horn players in the world today. He has been the Principal Horn of the Berlin Philharmonic, one of the world's greatest orchestras, since 1993. In this really fun interview, Stefan and I talked about how he switched to the horn after starting out on the viola, his most memorable performances, what's it like to actually play in the Berlin Philharmonic, how to blend sound between the different sections of the orchestra, and much much more. Stefan is one of the most engaging and fascinating musicians out there so I think you'll get a lot out of this conversation. Join us!
09/03/2023 • 49 minutes 6 seconds
Brahms Symphony No. 1
Brahms was only 20 years old when Robert Schumann wrote his famous Neue Bahnen(New Paths) article that proclaimed Brahms as the future of music and the heir of Beethoven. Beethoven had only been dead for 26 years at this point, and his shadow still loomed large over every single composer living in Germany, and beyond. Brahms knew that the most concrete way he would be compared with Beethoven would be through a symphony, and so…he studiously avoided writing one. It’s not like he didn’t try. Brahms began sketching symphonies only one year after the Neue Bahnen article, but he kept revising the sketches, or more often, burning them as inferior products. This would go on for 23 more years, until 1876. Brahms was 43 when he finally completed his first symphony, and it was worth the wait. What Brahms came up with would inspire symphonists to this day, and would carry on the tradition that Beethoven laid out with both a respectful and loving look back into the past, with a clear eye forw
02/03/2023 • 52 minutes 30 seconds
Debussy String Quartet
Just one year before Debussy wrote his legendary Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, he completed another groundbreaking work. It was a string quartet, which he expected to be the first of many. But in the end, it would be the only one he would ever write. If you aren’t familiar with Debussy’s music, this quartet might be the perfect place to start. In the string quartet, Debussy mastered for the first time many of the things that would mark his later orchestral masterpieces, like La Mer, Images, and of course the Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. It is full of the virtuosity and brilliance of a young composer, the experimentation of one of the true radicals of his time, and the sensual beauty from a composer who said that music should exist above all to give pleasure to the listener. Today I’ll take you through the piece, discussing Debussy’s Symbolist, NOT impressionist influences, his Brahmsian simultaneous embrace and destruction of musical form, and the vitality
23/02/2023 • 48 minutes 56 seconds
A Conversation with Martin Fröst: "The Highest Feeling You Can Get is that Someone Got Better"
Martin Fröst very well may be the greatest living clarinetist. His brilliant sound, feats of virtuosity, eclectic taste, and amazing performing ability has made him a superstar in the classical music world. I recently worked with Martin in Spain and a month later we had time to sit down and record a conversation at his home in Stockholm. This was a fascinating and wide ranging conversation talking about Martin's early experiences with the clarinet, his view on concert programming and how classical music could change, and his inspiring look at his new venture in conducting. I had such a great time in this chat and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. Join us!
16/02/2023 • 46 minutes 27 seconds
Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring, Part 2
By as early as 1909, composers like Mahler knew that tonality was reaching its breaking point, and composers like Debussy were experimenting with colors and ideas a composer like Brahms wouldn’t have dreamed were possible. Strauss was shocking the world in his own right with his erotic and disturbing opera Salome. Mirroring the roiling tensions all over the world, music was pushing and stretching at its boundaries in ways that it simply hadn’t before. The years from 1900-1914 were a powder keg for the world and also for music, and you could argue that Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring was the musical version of the explosion of that powder keg. And it still has a profound impact on music today. So as we go through Part II of the Rite of Spring, The Sacrifice - the narrative section of the piece - we’ll talk a little bit more about the riot that took place at its premiere, but also the reactions to the piece throughout the 20th century. We’ll also look at the influence the piece had
09/02/2023 • 44 minutes 6 seconds
Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring, Part 1
The most famous thing about Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring is the riot that took place at its premiere. Perhaps its overcompensating for classical music's reputation for being a bit stuffy, but musicians and musicologists LOVE talking about the riot at the Rite of Spring, and I’m no exception. But you might be surprised to know that the Rite Riot was by no means the only disturbance at a classical concert. There are myriad stories of chaos at concerts throughout musical history, but none of them are as famous as what happened on May 29th, 1913. We'll talk about the riot, why it happened, and its aftermath. We'll also discuss this groundbreaking piece, which was revolutionary in almost every way, while being more grounded in the past than you might think. As the great writer Tom Service says, “there’s nothing so old as a musical revolution.” Join us this week for part 1, the Adoration of the Earth!
02/02/2023 • 45 minutes 57 seconds
If you listened to my show last week about Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird, you know that Stravinsky’s life was never the same after the premiere of the ballet in 1910. Sergei Diaghilev, the founder of the Ballets Russes and Stravinsky’s greatest collaborator, said just before the premiere, “this man is on the eve of celebrity.” Diaghilev was absolutely right, as The Firebird made Stravinsky a Parisian household name practically overnight. Of course, immediately everyone wanted to know what was next. Stravinsky did too, and he was thinking that he needed to stretch himself even more, as even though the Firebird had caused a sensation, he still felt that it was too indebted to his teachers of the past like Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov and other Russian greats like Borodin or Mussorgsky. At first, Stravinsky dreamed of a pagan Rite, but quickly he changed course, wanting to write something that was NOT ballet music, and in fact would be a concerto for Piano and Orchestra. But i
27/01/2023 • 1 hour 3 minutes 4 seconds
Stravinsky: The Firebird
In 1906, the impresario Sergei Diaghilev created a sensation in Paris with an exhibition of Russian Art. This was the first time a major showing of Russian art had appeared in Paris, and from this point forward, the city was obsessed with Russian art, literature, and music. Diaghilev, ever the promoter, then put together the Ballets Russes, the Russian Ballet, in 1909, a company based in Paris that performed ballets composed, choreographed, and danced, by Russians. Over the next 20 years, the Ballets Russes became one the most influential and successful ballet companies of the entire 20th century, and a young composer that Diaghilev plucked from obscurity named Igor Stravinsky had a lot to do with their success. The first season of the Ballet Russes relied on the big names of Russian music, like Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky Korsakov, but Diaghilev was always restlessly searching for something new. For many years, Diaghilev had wanted to bring not only new Russian art, b
19/01/2023 • 45 minutes 59 seconds
Pavel Haas, Symphony
This February, I have the great honor of joining the Indianapolis Symphony for the North American premiere of Pavel Haas’ remarkable unfinished symphony. Pavel Haas, a Czech Jewish composer, wrote the existing music for his symphony between 1940 and 1941 before his deportation to the Terezin ghetto/concentration camp. He was a full participant in the well known cultural activities of the camp, but was unable to complete the symphony before he was murdered in Auschwitz in 1944. What Haas did manage to complete is not just a piece that is worth hearing as a historical curiosity, but is one of the towering testaments of both the time in which it was written, and of the unique and innovative Czech symphonic tradition. We are left with 1 fully completed movement, one fully sketched movement, and a "torso" of a third movement. The symphony was completed by the Czech composer Zdenek Zouhar after World War II. The story
12/01/2023 • 57 minutes 2 seconds
Vivaldi, The Four Seasons
Ask a non-classical music fan to name a piece of classical music. If they don’t say Beethoven 5, or the Ode to Joy, they probably will say The Four Seasons. They might not know that it was written by Vivaldi, but the Four Seasons are a set of pieces that have made that leap into popular culture in a way that almost no other classical composition has. The Four Seasons have been remixed, reimagined, rearranged, and recycled so many times that most classical musicians barely suppress an eye roll when they see them programmed or hear them mentioned. For some classical musicians, especially the ones that disdain anything to do with pop culture, the Four Seasons represent kitsch in classical music, an overplayed and overrated set of violin concertos that could easily be put away forever. But that’s a huge mistake on our part. For me, the Four Seasons are a masterpiece from a criminally underrated composer. They show a remarkable level of creativity, innovation, and ingenuity, a
22/12/2022 • 1 hour 5 minutes 30 seconds
Chopin Etudes (and Godowsky!)
You might be thinking, "Why on earth would anyone want to devote an entire podcast to etudes?" For most instrumentalists, etudes are the bane of our existence. They are studies, meant to develop technique on an instrument. Etudes are an essential part of any instrumentalists work, but they had never been known for their musical content. As a violinist, I had practiced dozens of etudes by Kreutzer, Rodé, Dancla, Sevcik, Schraideck, Kayser, Mazas, and more, lamenting the day I chose the violin as my instrument. But pianists have the same dreaded names, like Czerny for example. Chopin changed all of that. Chopin was the first composer to integrate musical content into his etudes, which meant that Chopin's etudes were both extremely difficult technical exercises, but they also were musically interesting enough to be performed live. LIke everything Chopin did on the piano, this was revolutionary, and Chopin's 27 etudes have been part of the piano repertoire e
15/12/2022 • 58 minutes 1 second
Schubert Cello Quintet
In the late summer or early autumn of 1828, Schubert completed an extraordinary work, his String Quintet in C Major. 6 weeks later, he was dead. Nowadays this piece is considered to be one of the most sublime 50 minutes to an hour that exists in all of music. But when Schubert completed this quintet, he sent a letter to the publisher Heinrich Albert Probst, to ask him to publish it. Schubert wrote: ‘Among other things, I have composed three sonatas for piano solo, which I should like to dedicate to Hummel. I have also set several poems by Heine of Hamburg, which went down extraordinarily well here, and finally have completed a Quintet for 2 violins, 1 viola and 2 violoncellos. I have played the sonatas in several places, to much applause, but the Quintet will only be tried out in the coming days. If any of these compositions are perhaps suitable for you, let me know.’ The quintet was ignored by Probst, and we
08/12/2022 • 58 minutes 14 seconds
The Music of Film Composers
Film music began as a solution to a problem. Early film projectors were really loud, therefore something was needed to cover up all the noise. In addition, silent movies apparently seemed a bit awkward without any musical accompaniment. Enter, usually, a pianist, who would improvise musical accompaniments to the events on the screen. None other than Dmitri Shostakovich got his first job as a cinema pianist, honing his improvisatory skills, and sometimes receiving cat calls and boos for his fantasy filled musings that tended to stray away from the action on the screen. Music in the silent film era had to help the audience in pointing out important moments to the audience, enhancing the emotional effects of the story, and most importantly, it had to give a certain musical line to every character, giving to them the emotional depth that the audience couldn't get since they weren’t going to hear their voice. To do this, early film composers turned to the idea of the Leitmotif, an i
01/12/2022 • 44 minutes 24 seconds
Along with Antonin Dvorak and Bedrich Smetana, Leos Janacek is known as one of the three great Czech composers. He was born in Moravia, part of the Austrian Empire at the time, and became passionately interested in studying the folk music of his Moravian culture. After World War I, when the empire collapsed and Moravia became incorporated into the new country of Czechoslovakia, those nationalistic sentiments only increased, and Janacek was the perfect person to express those feelings through his music, seeing as his interest in the folk music of his homeland had been a lifelong passion for him. Enter the Sinfonietta, written in 1926, commissioned by none other than a Gymnastics festival! A sinfonietta is usually a smaller scale piece than a symphony, shorter, with a lighter orchestration and a lighter touch. But Janacek was always a rebel, and his Sinfonietta is a symphony in all but name, featuring an absolutely massive brass section that lustily perfor
25/11/2022 • 50 minutes 23 seconds
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
17/11/2022 • 57 minutes 39 seconds
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!
03/11/2022 • 45 minutes 42 seconds
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, w
27/10/2022 • 1 hour 6 minutes 32 seconds
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 M
20/10/2022 • 1 hour 6 minutes 37 seconds
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 yea
13/10/2022 • 1 hour 9 seconds
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
06/10/2022 • 1 hour 2 minutes 37 seconds
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 wor
29/09/2022 • 1 hour 25 seconds
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 w
22/09/2022 • 57 minutes 31 seconds
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
15/09/2022 • 56 minutes 57 seconds
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!