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January 5 — January 11, 2009

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Monday, January 5
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SYNOPSIS:
Exploding Boulez ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Pierre Boulez (b. 1925):
explosante-fixe
Sophie Cherrier, solo midi flute; Ensemble Intercontemporain; Pierre Boulez, cond.
DG 445 833

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Boulez
An interview with Boulez

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1792 — American composer Peter Wolle, in New Herrnhut, St. Thomas, West Indies;
1871 — American composer Frederick Shepherd Converse, in Newton, Massachusetts;
1880 — Russian composer and pianist Nicolai Medtner, in Moscow (Julian date: Dec. 24, 1879);
1881 — Russian composer Nicolai Roslavetz, in Dushatino, Chernigov region, Ukraine (Julian date: Dec. 24, 1880);

Deaths:
1869 — Russian composer Alexander Dargomizhsky (Gregorian date: Jan. 17);
1970 — Catalan-born British composer Roberto Gerhard, age 73, in Cambridge, England;
1979 — American jazz composer and bassist Charles Mingus, age 56, in Mexico City;

Premieres:
1677 — Lully: opera "Isis," in Paris;
1727 — Bach: Sacred Cantata No. 58 ("Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid" II) performed on the Sunday after New Year's Day as part of Bach's third annual Sacred Cantata cycle in Leipzig (1725/27);
1745 — Handel: musical drama "Hercules" at the King's Theater in London (Gregorian date: Jan. 16);
1868 — Bruch: Violin Concerto in g, Op. 26 (final version), in Bremen, with Karl Martin Rheintahler conducting and Joseph Joachim the soloist; An earlier version of this work had been premiered on April 24, 1866, which Bruch substantially revised with the assistance of Joachim;
1884 — Gilbert & Sullivan: operetta, "Princess Ida," at the Savoy Theatre in London;
1932 — Ravel: Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, in Vienna, with Vienna Symphony conducted by Robert Heger, with Paul Wittgenstein (who commissioned the work) as soloist;
1941 — Mark Blitzstein: opera "No for an Answer," in New York City;
1949 — Henry Cowell: Symphony No. 5, at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., by the National Symphony, Hans Kindler conducting;
1949 — Morton Gould: symphonic suite, "Fall River Legend," Pierre Monteux conducting San Francisco Symphony Orchestra;
1961 — Easley Blackwood: Symphony No. 2, in Cleveland (commissioned by music publisher G. Schirmer to celebrate its centenary);
1962 — Ross Lee Finney: Piano Quintet No. 2, in Los Angeles;
1973 — Pierre Boulez: ". . . explosante/fixe" at a concert by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York City.


Tuesday, January 6
Play today's program

SYNOPSIS:
Frederick the Great's revenge? ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Carl Heinrich Graun (1703 – 1759):
Montezuma Overture
German Chamber Academy;Johannes Gortizki, cond.
Capriccio 60032

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Frederick the Great and his court composers
On Frederick the Great's opera house

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1835 — Russian composer César Cui (Gregorian date: Jan. 18);
1838 — German composer Max Bruch, in Cologne;
1850 — German composer and pianist Xaver Scharwenka, in Samter;
1872 — Russian composer Alexander Scriabin, in Moscow (Julian date: Dec. 25, 1871);
1920 — American composer Earl Kim, in Dinuba, Calif.;

Premieres:
1724 — Bach: Sacred Cantata No. 65 ("Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen" performed on the Feast of the Epiphany as part of Bach's first annual Sacred Cantata cycle in Leipzig (1723/24);
1725 — Bach: Sacred Cantata No. 123 ("Liebster Immanuel, Herzog der Frommen") performed on the Feast of Epiphany as part of Bach's second annual Sacred Cantata cycle in Leipzig (1724/25);
1735 — Bach: Part 6 ("Herr, wenn die stoltzen Feinde schnauben") of the 6-part "Christmas Oratorio," S. 248, on the Feast of the Epiphany in Leipzig;
1755 — Karl Heinrich Graun: opera "Montezuma" (with a French libretto by Frederick the Great) at the Royal Opera House in Berlin;
1863 — Brahms: Piano Sonata No. 3 in f, in Vienna;
1888 — Dvorák: Piano Quintet No, 2 in A, Op. 81, in Prague;
1924 — Ibert: "Escales" (Ports of Call), in Paris;
1950 — Poulenc: Piano Concerto, in Boston, by the Boston Symphony conducted by Charles Munch with the composer as soloist;
1967 — Elliott Carter: Piano Concerto, by the Boston Symphony conducted by Erich Leinsdorf, with Jacob Lateiner the soloist;
1991 — Michael Torke: "Bronze" for piano and orchestra, at Carnegie Hall in New York, by the American Composers Orchestra conducted by David Zinman and the composer as the piano soloist;
1999 — Christopher Rouse: "Kabir Padavali" for soprano and orchestra, in Minneapolis by the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by David Zinman, with Dawn Upshaw the soloist;
2000 — Bright Sheng: "Red Silk Dance" for piano and orchestra, by the Boston Symphony conducted by Robert Spano, with Emanuel Ax the soloist;


Wednesday, January 7
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SYNOPSIS:
Some fantastic Martinu ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Bohuslav Martinu (1890 – 1959):
Symphony No. 6 (Fantaisies symphoniques)
Czech Philharmonic;Vaclav Neumann, cond.
Supraphon 111895

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Bohuslav Martinu

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1899 — French composer and pianist Francis Poulenc, in Paris;
1917 — American composer Ulysses Kay, in Tucson, Ariz.;

Deaths:
1964 — American composer Colin McPhee, age 62, in Los Angeles;

Premieres:
1725 — Bach: Sacred Cantata No. 124 ("Meinen Hesum lass ich nicht") performed on the 1st Sunday after Epiphany as part of Bach's second annual Sacred Cantata cycle in Leipzig (1724/25);
1857 — Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 2 in A, in Weimar, with the composer conducting and his pupil, Hans von Bronsart, the soloist;
1895 — Brahms: Two Sonatas for clarinet and piano (Op. 120, no. 1 in f & No. 2 in Eb), in Vienna at a private performance for members of the Tonkünstler Society, with clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld and the composer at the piano; The first public performances of these pieces took place at the Rosé Quartet's chamber concert series on Jan. 8 (Sonata No. 2) and Jan. 11 (Sonata No. 1); See also Jan. 8 & 11 below for more information on early performances of these two sonatas;
1897 — Loeffler: “The Death of Tintagiles” for orchestra, by the Boston Symphony, Emil Paur conducting;
1898 — Glazunov: ballet "Raymonda" (Gregorian date: Jan. 19);
1898 — Rimsky-Korsakov: "Sadko," in Moscow at the Solodovnikov Theater, Esposito conducting (Julian date: Dec. 26, 1897;
1933 — Gruenberg: opera "Emperor Jones" (after the play by Eugene O'Neill), at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City;
1942 — Copland: "Statements" for Orchestra, at Carnegie Hall by New York Philharmonic conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos;
1952 — Gail Kubik: "Symphonie-Concertante" in New York City; This work was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1952;
1955 — Martinu: Symphony No. 6 ("Fantaisies symphoniques"), by the Boston Symphony, with Charles Munch conducting;
2000 — Danielpour: "The Night Rainbow," in Santa Anna, Calif., by the Pacific Symphony, Carl St. Clair conducting;


Thursday, January 8
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SYNOPSIS:
The Sessions Violin Concerto ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Roger Sessions (1896 –1985):
Violin Concerto
Paul Zukofsky, violin; French Radio-Television Orchestra; Gunther Schuller, cond.
CRI 676

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Roger Sessions
More on Sessions

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1792 — American composer and educator Lowell Mason, in Medford, Massachusetts;
1812 — Swiss composer and pianist Sigismond Thalberg, in Pâquis, near Geneva;
1896 — Czech composer Jaromir Weinberger, in Prague;
1899 — Russian-born American composer Alexander Tcherepnin (Gregorian date: Jan. 21);
1905 — Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi, in La Spezia;
1924 — Russian-American composer Benjamin Lees (née Lysniansky), in Harbin, Manchuria;
1924 — Austrian-born American composer Robert Starer, in Vienna;
1935 — The charismatic rock 'n' roll performer Elvis Presley is born in Tupelo, Miss.;
1937 — American composer Robert Moran, in Denver;

Deaths:
1713 — Italian composer and violinist Arcangelo Corelli, age 59, in Rome;
1831 — Moravian-born composer and violinist Franz Krommer, age 71, in Vienna;
1998 — British composer Sir Michael Tippett, age 93, in London;

Premieres:
1705 — Handel: opera "Almira" in Hamburg; This was Handel's first opera (see also Dec. 5 & 30 for related contemporary incidents);
1720 — Handel: opera "Radamisto" (2nd version), in London (Julian date: Dec. 28, 1720);
1735 — Handel: opera "Ariodante" in London at the Covent Garden Theater (Gregorian date: Jan. 19);
1843 — Schumann: Piano Quintet in Eb, Op. 44, at Leipzig Gewandhaus with pianist Clara Schumann;
1895 — Brahms: Clarinet Sonata, Op. 120, no. 1 (first public performance), in Vienna, by clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld, with the composer at the piano, as part of the Rosé Quartet's chamber music series; The first performance ever of this work occurred on September 19, 1894, at a private performance in the home of the sister of the Duke of Meiningen at Berchtesgaden, with the same performers; Brahms and Mühlfeld also gave private performances of both sonatas in Frankfurt (for Clara Schumann and others) on November 10-13, 1894; at Castle Altenstein (for the Duke of Meiningen) on Nov. 14, 1894; and on Jan. 7, 1895 (for members of the Vienna Tonkünstler Society);
1911 — Florent Schmitt: "La tragédie de Salomé" for orchestra, in Paris;
1927 — Berg: "Lyric Suite" for string quartet, in Vienna, by the Kolisch Quartet;
1928 — Hindemith: "Kammermusik" No. 7, Op. 46, no. 2, in Frankfurt, with Ludwig Rottenberg conducting and Reinhold Merten the organist;
1940 — Roger Sessions: Violin Concerto, by the Illinois Symphony conducted by Izler Solomon, with Robert Gross as soloist; The work was to have been premiered by Albert Spalding with the Boston Symphony under Koussevitzky in January of 1937, but did not take place);
1963 — Shostakovich: opera "Katerina Izmailova" (2nd version of "Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District"), in Moscow at the Stanislavsky-Nemirovich-Dachenko Music Theater;
1971 — Shostakovich: Symphony No. 15, in Moscow, by the All-Union Radio and Television Symphony, with the composer's son, Maxim, conducting;
1987 — Christopher Rouse: "Phaethon" for orchestra, by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Riccardo Muti conducting;
1988 — Schwantner: "From Afar . . . " (A Fantasy for Guitar and Orchestra), by guitarist Sharon Isbin with the St. Louis Symphony, Leonard Slatkin conducting;


Friday, January 9
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SYNOPSIS:
Singleton in Atlanta ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Alvin Singleton (b. 1940):
After Fallen Crumbs
Atlanta Symphony; Louis Lane, cond.
Nonesuch 79231

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Alvin Singleton
On Meet The Composer

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1839 — American composer John Knowles Paine, in Portland, Maine;

Premieres:
1724 — Bach: Sacred Cantata No. 154 ("Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren") performed on the 1st Sunday after Epiphany as part of Bach's first annual Sacred Cantata cycle in Leipzig (1723/24);
1880 — Rimsky-Korsakov: opera "May Night," in St. Petersburg (Gregorian date: Jan. 21);
1904 — Debussy: "Estampes," by Spanish pianist Ricardo Viñes, in Paris;
1909 — Ravel: "Gaspard de la Nuit," by Spanish pianist Ricardo Viñes, in Paris;
1937 — Schoenberg: String Quartet No. 4, in Los Angeles, by the Kolisch Quartet;
1939 — Bartók: "Rhapsody" (two movements) for clarinet, violin, and piano, in New York City, with clarinetist Benny Goodman, violinist Joseph Szigeti, and the composer at the piano; For the 1940 recording session of this work, commissioned by Goodman, Bartók added a middle movement and changed the title to "Contrasts";
1947 — Roger Sessions: Symphony No. 2, by the San Francisco Symphony, Pierre Monteux conducting;
1947 — Kurt Weill: opera "Street Scene," in New York City at the Adelphi Theater;
1948 — Walter Piston: Symphony No. 3, Serge Koussevitzky conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra; This work was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1948;
1976 — William Bolcom: "Seasons" for guitar, in New York City;
1987 — Joan Tower: "Silver Ladders," by the St. Louis Symphony, Leonard Slatkin conducting;
1988 — Alvin Singleton: "After Fallen Crumbs" for orchestra, by the Atlanta Symphony, Michael Palmer conducting.


Saturday, January 10
Play today's program

SYNOPSIS:
Handel in London ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
George Frederic Handel (1685 – 1757):
Bourrée from Rodrigo
Hallé Orchestra; Sir John Barbirolli, cond.
EMI 63956

George Frederic Handel (1685 – 1757):
Overture to Teseo
The English Concert;Trevor Pinnock, cond.
Archiv 419 219

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Handel's life and works
On Handel's house in London

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1910 — French composer and conductor Jean Martinon, in Lyons;
1916 — American composer Milton Babbitt, in Philadelphia;

Deaths:
1895 — French composer Benjamin Godard, age 45, in Cannes;
1941 — British composer Frank Bridge, age 61, in Eastbourne;

Premieres:
1676 — Lully: opera "Atys," in St. Germain;
1713 — Handel: opera "Teseo" at the Queen's Theater in London; On the second night of the performance, the theater manager, a certain Owen Swiney, flees to Italy with the box office receipts (Gregorian date: Jan. 21);
1867 — Verdi: opera "Don Carlos" (2nd Italian-language version in 4 acts), in Milan at the Teatro alla Scala;
1886 — first performance with orchestra of Bruckner: "Te Deum" in Vienna;
1897 — d'Indy "Istar" for orchestra, simultaneously by Willem Mengelberg in Amsterdam and Eugène Ysayë in Brussels;
1928 — Gershwin (and Sigmund Romberg): musical "Rosalie" at the New Amsterdam Theater in New York City; This show included the classic Gershwin songs "How Long Has This Been Going On?" and "Say So!";
1931 — Ives: “Three Places in New England,” in New York City, by the Chamber Orchestra of Boston, Nicholas Slonimsky conducting;
1934 — Franz Schmidt: Symphony No. 4, by Vienna Symphony, Oswald Kabasta conducting;
1960 — Stravinsky: "Movements," at Town Hall in New York, by pianist Margit Weber during a Stravinsky Festival, with the composer conducting;
1978 — Dutilleux: "Timbres, espaces, mouvement" for orchestra, in Washington, D.C.;
1987 — Joan Tower: "Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman" No. 1 (later dedicated to Marin Alsop), by the Houston Symphony, Hans Vonk conducting;
1998 — Kernis: String Quartet No. 2, at Merkin Concert Hall in New York, by the Lark Quartet; This work won that year's Pulitzer Prize for Music;


Sunday, January 11
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SYNOPSIS:
The murderous Mr. Copland ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Aaron Copland (1900 –1990):
Symphony for Orchestra and Organ
Wayne Marshall, organ; Dallas Symphony; Andrew Litton, cond.
Delos 3221

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
The Copland Collection at the Library of Congress
On Copland's own arrangement of his "Organ" Symphony (without the organ!)

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1856 — Norwegian composer Christian Sinding, in Kongsberg;
1875 — Russian composer Reinhold Glière, in Kiev, Ukraine (Julian date: Dec. 30, 1874);
1902 — French composer and organist Maurice Duruflé, in Louviers;
1944 — German composer York Höller, in Leverkusen;

Deaths:
1801 — Italian composer Domenico Cimarosa, age 51, in Venice;
1901 — Russian composer Vassili Sergeievitch Kalinnikov, age 34, in Yalta (Julian date: Dec. 29, 1900);
1954 — Austrian composer Oscar Straus, age 83, in Bad Ischl;

Premieres:
1754 — Rameau: opera "Castor and Pollux" (2nd version), in Paris at the Palais Royal Opéra;
1895 — Brahms: Clarinet Sonata, Op. 120, no. 1 (first public performance), in Vienna, by clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld, with the composer at the piano, as part of the Rosé Quartet's chamber music series; The first performance ever of this work occurred on September 19, 1894, at a private performance in the home of the sister of the Duke of Meiningen at Berchtesgaden, with the same performers; Brahms and Mühlfeld also gave private performances of both sonatas in Frankfurt (for Clara Schumann and others) on November 10-13, 1894; at Castle Altenstein (for the Duke of Meiningen) on Nov. 14, 1894; and on Jan. 7, 1895 (for members of the Vienna Tonkünstler Society);
1906 — Rachmaninoff: two one-act operas "The Miserly Knight" and "Francesca da Rimini" in Moscow (Gregorian date: Jan. 24);
1925 — Copland: Symphony for Organ and Orchestra, at Aeolian Hall in New York City by New York Symphony conducted by Walter Damrosch, with Nadia Boulanger the soloist;
1940 — Prokofiev: ballet, "Romeo and Juliet," in Leningrad;
1968 — Shchedrin: "Chimes" by the New York Philharmonic;
1976 — Broadway premiere of Sondheim: musical "Pacific Overtures";
1992 — John Harbison: song "The Flute of Interior Time" (text by Kabir, translated by Robert Bly), at the Shauspielhaus in Berlin, by baritone William Parker and pianist Allan Marks; This song became part of "The AIDS-Quilt Songbook" compiled by the late William Parker;
1997 — Henze: opera "Venus and Adonis," in Munich at the Bavarian State Opera;
2001 — American premiere of John Adams: oratorio "El Niño" at Davies Hall, San Francisco with Kent Nagano conducting the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the Piedmont Children's Choir and the same soloists as the Paris world premiere performance at. Théâtre du Chatelet in Paris on December 15, 2000.