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San Francisco Symphony Podcasts

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Location:

San Francisco, CA

Description:

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.

Twitter:

@sfsymphony

Language:

English

Contact:

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


Episodes

Lutosławski’s Concerto for Orchestra

9/18/2017
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Witold Lutosławski was one of the great cultural figures of 20th century Poland, and his Concerto for Orchestra– based on a simple folk tune –was one of his first great successes; perhaps because his personal history mirrored that of his native land.

Duration: 00:13:24


Janáček’s "Taras Bulba"

9/18/2017
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Leos Janáček based his rhapsody Taras Bulba on one of the most brutal and unpleasant fictional characters ever created. But as a political symbol, it inspired him to write some of his most powerful music.

Duration: 00:12:55


Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique

9/18/2017
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A man spots a woman across the room at a party and falls instantly in love with her. In a fit of despair over his unrequited love, he poisons himself and fantastic dreams and visions result. This is the story, inspired by his own love for the actress Harriet Smithson, that Hector Berlioz portrays in his Symphonie fantastique, premiered in 1830. Using recurring musical motifs to represent characters and brand new instrumental colors, Berlioz worked on foundations laid by Beethoven to bring...

Duration: 00:12:22


Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10

9/18/2017
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Shostakovich's 10th Symphony is a vivid depiction of a life of not-so-quiet desperation in the old Soviet Union. It is as powerful a portrait of terror as has ever been composed.

Duration: 00:11:14


Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 2

9/18/2017
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Following the relative unpopularity of his Piano Concerto No. 1, Bela Bartók returned to his roots for the composition of his next piano concerto, which he called an “antithesis” to the first. This second concerto takes more of a classical form, with a sonata structure and a simpler treatment of the themes. Bartók was well-versed in this kind of writing, having himself made several student editions of music by Bach, Scarlatti, and Couperin. Despite the more traditional form, Bartók’s...

Duration: 00:11:35


Bernstein's "West Side Story"

9/18/2017
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Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story received its first Broadway performances in 1957. The musical tells the story of an impossible romance between two star-crossed lovers, Tony and Maria, the Romeo and Juliet of 1950s New York City.

Duration: 00:11:02


Berlioz's Romeo and Juliet

6/6/2017
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Inspired by a stage performance of Romeo and Juliet starring the same Harriet Smithson who inspired his epic romantic tale Symphonie fantastique, Hector Berlioz set out to compose a totally new kind of orchestra and chorus work: his Romeo et Juliette. In the forward to what he was careful not to call an opera but a “symphonie dramatique,” Berlioz tells of his decision to voice to the characters’ most intimate and sublime emotions not through words but “instrumental language, which is...

Duration: 00:11:09


Ives’ "The Unanswered Question"

6/6/2017
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In The Unanswered Question, Charles Ives tries to find the meaning of life, in a work that was decades ahead of its time.

Duration: 00:07:10


Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1

6/6/2017
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Beethoven's first piano concerto took Vienna by storm, and set the stage for even more musical revolutions to come.

Duration: 00:12:20


Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring"

6/6/2017
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Listen to a podcast of audio program notes about the The Rite of Spring, specially prepared for the San Francisco Symphony’s Stravinsky Festival in June 2013.

Duration: 00:12:02


Vivaldi's "Four Seasons"

5/16/2017
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Barking dogs, wind and rain, buzzing bees and slippery ice; they're all part of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, a work that—believe it or not—was almost unknown for 200 years.

Duration: 00:13:03


Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5

5/10/2017
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Perpetually self-conscious, Tchaikovsky worried in spring 1888 that his imagination had dried up, and that he had nothing left to express through music. Vacationing at his home in Frolovskoe provided all the inspiration he needed, and by August, his Symphony No. 5 was complete.

Duration: 00:02:59


Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3

5/10/2017
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Scotland—the country that gave us haggis, bagpipes, golf and Sean Connery among other world treasures—was also the inspiration for two of Mendelssohn's best-known works: his Hebrides Overture and Scottish Symphony. There are no actual Scottish tunes in the Symphony; in fact, Mendelssohn professed to dislike all Scottish music, especially the bagpipes. But it's hard to imagine the source of this tuneful work being anything other than the windswept heather of the Highlands.

Duration: 00:10:39


Berlioz's Requiem

4/28/2017
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The power of Hector Berlioz's Requiem comes not from his faith, but from his loss of it. His understanding of the human desire to believe brings the drama of the Mass for the Dead to life.

Duration: 00:12:22


Debussy's "La mer"

4/28/2017
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During childhood summers spent at the beaches at Cannes, Debussy learned to love the unpredictable and ever-changing sea. The most traditionally ‘symphonic’ of Debussy’s orchestral works, La mer is comprised of three sketches: From Dawn to Noon on the Sea, Play of the Waves, and Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea.

Duration: 00:10:09


Strauss' "Aus Italien"

4/17/2017
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Richard Strauss was just 22 when he wrote his musical travelogue Aus Italien, and—as he put it—"This is the first work of mine to have met with opposition from the mob, so it must be of some importance . . . The first step towards independence."

Duration: 00:12:38


Mahler's Symphony No. 1

3/21/2017
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Audiences were outraged at Mahler's Symphony No. 1 when it premiered in 1889; they had never heard anything like it. But he himself said "My time will come." And it certainly has.

Duration: 00:14:38


Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2

3/21/2017
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Sergei Rachmaninoff wrote his Symphony No. 2 while living in Dresden. At age 33, he was a sought-after conductor and pianist, and had relocated to escape the clamor for his talents. After completing the work, he declared he would never write another symphony, and waited almost thirty years to do so.

Duration: 00:13:09


John Cage's "The Seasons"

3/7/2017
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John Cage's ballet music The Seasons gurgles, twitters and shimmers with the sounds of nature, and—just like the first day of Spring—it was the first sign of a new type of artistic collaboration.

Duration: 00:07:19


Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra

3/7/2017
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After fleeing Hungary during World War II for the United States, Béla Bartók was commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky, conductor of the Boston Symphony, to write a piece for orchestra. This resulted in one of Bartók’s best-known works, the Concerto for Orchestra, which contains a parody of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7.

Duration: 00:13:29

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