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San Francisco Symphony Podcasts

Classical Music

Featuring music from Symphony concerts and recordings, and adapted from our award-winning program notes by James Keller and Michael Steinberg, SFS Podcasts with Rik Malone take you inside the music like never before.

Featuring music from Symphony concerts and recordings, and adapted from our award-winning program notes by James Keller and Michael Steinberg, SFS Podcasts with Rik Malone take you inside the music like never before.


San Francisco, CA


Featuring music from Symphony concerts and recordings, and adapted from our award-winning program notes by James Keller and Michael Steinberg, SFS Podcasts with Rik Malone take you inside the music like never before.






San Francisco Symphony Davies Symphony Hall 201 Van Ness Ave. San Francisco, CA 94102 (415) 552-8000


Stravinsky’s Firebird

Serge Diaghilev was turned down by four composers before turning to Igor Stravinsky to write the music for a new production by the Ballet Russe. Luckily, Stravinsky, eager to try his hand at a ballet, had already been working on the music for a month, and their artistic relationship went on to produce Petrushka and The Rite of Spring.


Ravel: Mother Goose

In a piece he first wrote for children to play on the piano, Maurice Ravel found magical new sounds for the orchestra.


Beethoven No. 7

The premiere of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 was perhaps his greatest rock-star moment. Buoyed by the excited troops in whose honor the concert was being performed, Beethoven “tore his arms with a great vehemence asunder ... at the entrance of a forte he jumped in the air” (according to orchestra violinist and composer Louis Spohr). The work’s explosive energy and Beethoven’s expansion of symphonic structures to emphasize certain key areas make Symphony No. 7 an important stepping stone on his...


Berg’s Three Pieces for Orchestra

In his Three Pieces for Orchestra, Alban Berg finally "graduated" from his studies with Arnold Schoenberg, and took his first giant step towards fulfilling his musical destiny.


Ravel La Valse

In 1906, Maurice Ravel made some sketches for a tribute to Johann Strauss, the Waltz King. By the time he got back to it, World War I had ravaged Europe, and Ravel's tribute had turned into something much darker.


Handel's Messiah

However you like your Messiah - big or intimate, modern or period, authentic or interpreted - when you listen you become part of an almost 300-year tradition of what may be classical music's most beloved masterpiece.


Bruckner Symphony No. 4

Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 "The Romantic" was a departure from his usual symphonic testaments of faith. It's a journey into the Age of Chivalry, of knights, quests, and - above all - the hunt.


Strauss: Metamorphosen

"Richard Strauss' Metamorphosen for 23 Solo Strings was his musical response to a life, and a world, gone to pieces."


Charles Ives Symphony No. 3 & 4

With 19th-century Americana spirit, MTT and the SF Symphony, pianist Peter Dugan, and the SFS Chorus’s musical candor and clarity add an evocative recording of Ives’s songful Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 to the SFS Media label’s Grammy award-winning discography.


Bach Orchestral Suite No. 4

Bach's Orchestral Suite #4 is a dazzling combination of rhythmic complexity and sonic brilliance; all the more amazing in that he wrote it (most likely) just for fun!


Shostakovich Symphony No.7 Leningrad

Shostakovich's 7th Symphony became a symbol of the wartime alliance between the US and the USSR. But the road to victory is never easy, and it wasn't long before both the musical and the political symbols of that alliance disappeared


Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition

Originally composed for solo piano (and later orchestrated by Ravel), Pictures at an Exhibition was written by Modest Mussorgsky after he visited a retrospective exhibit of the works of his friend Victor Hartmann. The collection of pieces represents a promenade from painting to painting, pausing in front of works called The Gnome, Ancient Castle, and Great Gate of Kiev. Mussorgsky was a member of a nationalistic, anti-conservatory group of young musicians, and he had an unusual ability to...


Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, Jupiter

Mozart's final symphony was nicknamed the "Jupiter," and - like the planet and the Roman god that share its name - it still stands out as one of the greatest of its kind.


Schumann Symphony No. 3

Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, Rhenish, completed in 1850 after his much-celebrated appointment as Municipal Music Director in Düsseldorf, reflects his optimism in the face of new challenges. Filled with spirited, glorious themes, Rhenish marks the high point in the life of a composer who struggled with mental illness.


Mahler Symphony No. 6

Mahler Symphony No. 6 In summer 1903, Mahler was at his happiest time of life. Married to the beautiful Alma and father to two healthy daughters, it doesn’t seem like the time when one would compose a symphony often called the Tragic. However, in an eerily prescient stroke, this is exactly what Mahler does. In the years that followed, Mahler suffered the death of a child, the loss of his position in Vienna, and learned of his debilitating heart disease—three blows of fate predicted by the...


Mozart Symphony No. 31

When Mozart went to Paris, he may not have found the job he was looking for, but he still found success, with his stylish Symphony No. 31.


Mahler Symphony No. 9

Mahler’s last complete work, the Symphony No. 9, was composed following a whirlwind period of great loss and supreme achievement, including the composition of his “symphony without a number,” Das Lied von der Erde. Symphony No. 9 reaches the greatest apex of Mahler’s compositional catalogue, exhibiting his characteristic subtle transition, expansion, and continuous variation at their fullest.


Mendelssohn Symphony No.4

On an extended journey through Italy in 1830 and 1831, Felix Mendelssohn began work on his Fourth Symphony. A wildly talented composer who wrote his famous Octet when he was only sixteen, Mendelssohn was prompted to finish the work when the London Philharmonic Society requested a symphony from him (and offered payment of a hundred guineas). Mendelssohn called it the jolliest music he had ever composed. Although he remained dissatisfied with the symphony and planned numerous revisions, the...


Mahler Symphony No. 7

Mahler's 7th is sometimes called "The Song of the Night," but it's really a journey from night into day, with some very interesting stops along the way.


Sibelius Symphony No. 2

At the close of the nineteenth century, Finnish natives were enjoying a renaissance of their native culture, in opposition to their Russian occupiers. Jean Sibelius was swept up in this nationalistic fervor, and composed several patriotic tone poems, including Finlandia. Symphony No. 2, misinterpreted at its premiere as a commentary on the Finnish political conflict, was composed mostly in Italy, where Sibelius was renting a studio. Working with fragments and sketches intended for four...