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October 31-November 6, 2005

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Monday, October 31
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Photo
American composer Alan Hovhaness
SYNOPSIS:
Hovhaness in "Hooston" ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Alan Hovhaness (1911 – 2000): Symphony No. 2 (Mysterious Mountain)
London Symphony; John Williams, cond.
Sony Classical 62729

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Alan Hovhaness
On Leopold Stokowski

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1833 —Russian composer Alexander Borodin, in St. Petersburg (Gregorian date: Nov. 12);
1806—American composer Louise Talma, in Arcachon, France;
1949—Cuban-American composer and conductor Odaline de la Martinez, in Matanzas, Cuba;

Deaths:
1870—Hungarian composer Mihály Mosonyi (Michael Brand), age 55, in Pest;

Premieres:
1724 — Handel: opera "Tamerlano" in London at the King's Theater in the Haymarket (Gregorian date: Nov. 11); This was the London debut of the Italian tenor Francesco Borosini in a work by Handel;
1865 — Brahms: "Theme and Variations" in d (after slow movement of Brahms' String Sextet No. 1), in Frankfurt am Main;
1866 — Offenbach: operetta, "La Vie Parisienne," in Paris, at the Palais-Royal;
1875 — Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 4 in c, Op. 44, in Paris at a concert conducted by Edouard Colonne, with the composer as soloist;
1891 — Mascagni: opera "L'amico Fritz," at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome;
1924 — Hindemith: "Kammermusik" No. 2, Op. 36, no. 1, in Frankfurt, with Clemens Kraus conducting and Emma Lübbecke-Job the piano soloist;
1932 — Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 5, by the Berlin Philharmonic, Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting, with the composer as soloist;
1947 — Chávez: "Toccata" for percussion, in Mexico City;
1949 — Mark Blitzstein: opera "Regina," in New York City;
1955 — Hovhaness: Symphony No. 2 ("Mysterious Mountain"), by the Houston Symphony, Leopold Stokowski conducting;
1966 — Stravinsky: "The Owl and the Pussycat" (dedicated to Vera Stravinsky), in Los Angeles; This was Stravinsky's last composition;
1970 — Crumb: "Ancient Voices of Children," in Washington, D.C.;
1985 — Rorem: "String Symphony," by the Atlanta Symphony, Robert Shaw conducting.

Other:
1739 —Handel completes in London his Concerto Grosso in b, Op. 6, no. 12 (see Julian date: Oct. 20);
1933—Arnold Schoenberg, accompanied by his wife, baby daughter, and family pet terrier "Witz," arrives in New York on the liner Isle de France.


Tuesday, November 1
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Photo
Polish composer and pianist Frederick Chopin
SYNOPSIS:
Chopin gets out of town ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Frederick Chopin (1810 – 1849): Piano Concerto No. 2 in f, Op. 21
Martha Argerich, piano; Montréal Symphony; Charles Dutoit, cond.
Martha Argerich, piano; Montréal Symphony; Charles Dutoit, cond.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
A Chopin biography
A Chopin essay by David Dubal

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1877—English composer Roger Quilter, in Brighton;
1934—Welsh composer William Mathias, in Whitland, Dyfed.

Deaths:
1942—German composer Hugo Distler, age 34, commits suicide in Berlin;

Premieres:
1892 — Rimsky-Korsakov: opera “ Mlada,” at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, with Eduard Nápravník conducting and basso Fyodor Stravinsky (Igor’s father) singing the role of Mstivoy (Julian date: Oct. 20);
1948 — Copland: "The Red Pony" Suite (from the film of the same name), by the Houston Symphony, Efrem Kurtz conducting;
1964 — Virgil Thomson: "The Feast of Love," for baritone and chamber ensemble, at the 13th Coolidge Festival in Washington, D.C.;

Other:
1738—Handel completes Part II (“Moses’ Song”) of his oratorio “Israel in Egypt” (Gregorian date: November 12);
1830—Chopin’s friends in Warsaw throw a festival “bon voyage” dinner for the composer-pianist on the eve of his departure for Paris; As it turned out, he would never return to his native land.


Wednesday, November 2
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Photo
"Amadeus" movie poster
SYNOPSIS:
Mozart and "Amadeus" ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Wolfgang Mozart (1756 – 1791): Requiem, K. 626
La Chapelle Royale & Orchestre des Champs Elysees; Philippe Herreweghe, cond.
Harmonia Mundi 901620

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Wolfgang Mozart
On Antonio Salieri
BBC feature on "Rehabilitating Salieri"

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1739—Austrian composer and violinist Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf, in Vienna;
1752—Russian diplomat, violinist and music lover Count (later Prince) Andrei Razumovsky, in St. Petersburg (Julian date: Oct. 22) Razumovsky was the Russian ambassador to Vienna from 1783 to 1809; Beethoven dedicated his three String Quartets, Op. 59, to him, and (with Prince Lokowitz) his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies;
1880—English composer and conductor John Foulds, in Manchester;
1915—New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn, in Wanganui;
1929—American composer and conductor Harold Farberman, in New York;
1946—Italian composer and conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli, in Venice; Sinopoli died of a heart attack on April 20th, 2001, while conducting Verdi’s “Aida” at the German Opera in Berlin;

Deaths:
1960—Greek conductor (and composer) Dimitri Mitropoulos, age 64, of a heart attack, while rehearsing Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with the La Scala Orchestra in Milan;

Premieres:
1723 — Bach: Sacred Cantata No. 194 ("Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest") for the dedication of the Störmthal church and organ; Bach was in Störmthal to inspect the new organ;
1739 — Handel completes in London his Concerto Grosso in d, Op. 6, no. 10 (see Julian date: Oct. 22);
1873 — Brahms: "Variations on a Theme by Haydn," Felix Otto Dessoff conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra;
1877 — Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No. 4 in C minor, in Paris, composer at piano;
1882 — Dvorák: String Quartet No. 11, in Berlin;
1928 — American premiere of Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1, by Philadelphia Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski conducting;
1945 — Menotti: Piano Concerto, by the Boston Symphony with Richard Burgin conducting with Rudolf Firkusny the soloist;
1959 — Henry Cowell: "Variations for Orchestra," by the Houston Symphony, Leopold Stokowski conducting;
1978 — Druckman: Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, soloist Sol Greiyzer, with James Levine conducting;
1990 — Lou Harrison: Symphony No. 4, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, by the Brooklyn Philharmonic (with tenor Damon Evan), Dennis Russell Davies conducting;

Other:
1748—J.S. Bach writes a letter to his cousin, J.E. Bach of Schweinfurt, regarding a mishap concerning a cask of wine his cousin sent to Leipzig as a gift;
1900—French composer Vincent d'Indy reorganizes the Schola Cantorum of Paris as a music school;
1937—Artur Rodzinski conducts a "dress rehearsal" broadcast of the NBC Symphony, an orchestra formed specifically for Arturo Toscanini; Pierre Monteux led the first "official" broadcast on Nov. 13, 1937; Toscanini's debut concert with the NBC Symphony occurred on Christmas Day, 1937; Toscanini's final NBC Symphony broadcast, an all-Wagner program, occurred on April 4, 1954;
1979—Peter Shaffer's drama "Amadeus" premieres at the National Theatre in London, directed by Peter Hall, starring Simon Callow as Mozart and Paul Scofield as Salieri; The British composer Harrison Birtwistle acted as Music Director for this production.


Thursday, November 3
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Photo
Shostakovch (in a Russian firefighter helmet) on the cover of Time magazine
SYNOPSIS:
Shostakovich's Eighth and Ninth ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 – 1975): Symphony No. 8, Op. 65
Leningrad Philharmonic; Yevgeny Mravinsky, cond.
Philips 422 442
&
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 – 1975): Symphony No. 9, Op. 70
St. Petersburg Philharmonic; Yuri Termirkanov, cond.
BMG/RCA 68548

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Dimitri Shostakovich

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1587—Baptism of German composer and organist Samuel Scheidt, in Halle-on-Saale;
1801—Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini, in Catania, Sicily;
1911—Russian-American composer Vladimir Ussachevsky, in Hailar, Manchuria;

Deaths:
1939—French composer and organist Charles Tournemire, age 69, in Arcachon, France;
1993—Russian inventor Lev Sergeivitch Termen (anglicized to Leon Theremin), age 97, in Moscow; He invented the "theremin," an electronic instrument whose sound was either used or imitated (by specially constructed and easier to play electronic instruments) in any number of film scores ("Spellbound," "The Day the Earth Stood Still", etc.) and even in the Beach Boys' song "Good Vibrations";

Premieres:
1726 — Bach: Sacred Cantata No. 49 ("Ich gehe und suche mit Verlangen")performed on the 20th Sunday after Trinity as part of Bach's third annual Sacred Cantata cycle in Leipzig (1725/27);
1844 — Verdi: opera "I due Foscari" (The Two Foscari), in Rome at the Teatro Argentina;
1888 — Rimsky-Korsakov: “Scheherazade,” in St. Petersburg (see Julian date: Oct. 22);
1898 — Rimsky-Korsakov: opera “The Tsar’s Bride,” at the Solodovnikov Theatre in Moscow, with Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov conducting (see Julian date: Oct. 22);
1900 — Rimsky-Korsakov: opera “The Tale of Tsar Saltan,” at the Solodovnikov Theatre in Moscow, with Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov conducting (see Julian date: Oct. 21);
1927 — Hindemith: "Kammermusik" No. 5, Op. 46, no. 2, in Berlin at the Kroll Opera, with Otto Klemperer conducting and the composer the viola soloist;
1943 — Shostakovich: Symphony No. 8, at the Moscow Conservatory by the USSR State Symphony conducted by Yevgeny Mravinsky, for an invited audience of musicians, artists, critics, and journalists; The first public performance took place the following evening;
1945 — Shostakovich: Symphony No. 9, by the Leningrad Philharmonic, Yevgeny ravinsky conducting;
1946 — Prokofiev: opera "Betrothal in a Monastery" (or "The Duenna") in Leningrad;
1950 — David Diamond: Symphony No. 3, by the Boston Symphony, Charles Munch conducting;
1958 — Per Norgaard: "Constellations" for 12 solo strings, in Copenhagen;
2002 — Milton Babbitt: “From the Psalter,” David Lang: “how to pray,” and Shulamit Ran: “Supplications,” at Carnegie Hall in New York by soloists, the New York Virtuoso Singers and the American Composers Orchestra, Steven Sloane conducting;

Other:
1783—Mozart completes his "Linz" Symphony (No. 36 in C, K. 425) the day before its first performance in that Austrian town.


Friday, November 4
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Photo
Arts patron Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge
SYNOPSIS:
Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Igor Stravinsky (1882 – 1971): Apollo Ballet
Stockholm Chamber Orchestra; Esa-Pekka Salonen, cond.
Sony Classical 46667

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Essay "The Coolidge Legacy" by Cyrilla Barr
On Coolidge Auditorium

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1841—Polish pianist and composer Carl Tausig, in Warsaw;

Deaths:
1847 —German composer Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, age 38, in Leipzig;
1924—French composer Gabriel Fauré, age 79, in Paris;
1953—Music patroness and amateur composer Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, age 89, in Cambridge, Mass.; She organized concerts and music festivals in Washington, D.C., and her Foundation commissioned works from Bartók, Malipiero, Schoenberg, Copland, Hanson, Piston, and many others; The recital hall at the Library of Congress bears her name;
1957—French composer and writer, Marie Joseph Canteloube (de Malaret), age 78, in Grigny (Seine-et-Oise);

Premieres:
1732 — Handel: opera “Catone” in London at the King’s Theater in the Haymarket (Gregorian date: Nov. 15);
1783 — Mozart: Symphony No. 36 ("Linz"), by the orchestra of Count Thun in Linz;
1863 — Berlioz: "Les Troyens à Carthage" (The Trojans at Carthage), Part 2 (Acts 3-5) of the opera "Les Troyens" (The Trojans), in Paris at the Théatre-Lyrqiue; The complete opera was not staged in France until 1920;
1876 — Brahms: Symphony No. 1, in Karlsruhe, Germany, with Felix Otto Dessoff conducting;
1883 — Chabrier: "Espana" in Paris, with Charles Lamoureux conducting;
1890 — Borodin: opera “Prince Igor” (completed and arranged posthumously by Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov), at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg (see Julian date: Oct. 23);
1922 — Hindemith: String Quartet No. 3, in Donauschingen (Germany), by the Amar Quartet (with Hindemith as the violist);
1924 — R. Strauss: opera "Intermezzo," in Dresden at the Schauspielhaus;
1932 — Cowell: “Polyphonica” for 12 instruments, at the New School Auditorium in New York City, by the Pan American Association orchestra, Nicholas Slonimsky conducting; On this same concert was the premiere performance of “Those Everlasting Blues,” by Jerome Moross, with contralto Paula Jean Lawrence as the soloist;
1932 — Revueltas: "Ventanas" for orchestra, in Mexico City;
1948 — Schoenberg: "A Survivor from Warsaw" for narrator, chorus and orchestra, by the Civic Symphony of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with Kurt Frederick conducting;
1957 — José Serebrier: Symphony No. 1, by the Houston Symphony, Leopold Stokowski conducting;
1976 — Ned Rorem: “Women’s Voices,” at Alice Tully Hall in New York City, by mezzo Joyce Mathis and pianist Warren Wilson;
1993 — Bright Sheng: String Quartet No. 3, in Boulder, Colo., by the Takacs Quartet;
1993 — David Ward-Steinman: "Night Winds," for woodwind quintet, at the Festival of New American Music in Sacramento, Calif., by the Arioso Wind Quintet.


Saturday, November 5
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Photo
American composer Stephen Sondheim
SYNOPSIS:
Sondheim in the Woods ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Stephen Sondheim (b. 1930): Into the Woods
Original Broadway cast members
RCA 60752

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Sondheim
Amusing Sondheim "factoids"

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1494—German poet and songwriter ("Master Singer") Hans Sachs, in Nuremberg; He is the subject of German Romantic operas by Lortzig ("Hans Sachs," 1840) and Wagner ("Die Meistersinger," 1868);
1935—British composer Nicholas Maw, in Grantham, Lincolnshire; Maw now lives in Washington, D.C.;

Deaths:
1942—American songwriter and vaudevillian George M. Cohan, age 64, in New York City; He won the Congressional Medal for his patriotic song, "Over There" (recorded by Enrico Caruso among others);
1956—American jazz pianist and improviser Art Tatum, age 47, in Los Angeles;

Premieres:
1724 — Bach: Sacred Cantata No. 115 ("Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit") performed on the 22nd Sunday after Trinity as part of Bach's second annual Sacred Cantata cycle in Leipzig (1724/25);
1846 — R. Schumann: Symphony No. 2, by Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, conducted by Felix Mendelssohn;
1876 — Tchaikovsky: “Marche slav” in Moscow (Gregorian date: Nov. 17);
1888 — Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5, in St. Petersburg (Gregorian date: Nov. 17);
1895 — R. Strauss: tone-poem "Till Eulenspiegels Merry Pranks," in Cologne, conducted by Franz Wüllner;
1926 — de Falla: Harpsichord Concerto, with Wanda Landowska as soloist with the composer conducting;
1927 — Shostakovich: Symphony No. 2 ("To October"), by the Leningrad Philharmonic and Academic Choir, Nikolai Malko conducting;
1938 — Barber: "Adagio for Strings" and "Essay for Orchestra" No. 1, on a broadcast concert by the NBC Symphony, Arturo Toscanini conducting;
1943 — Martinu: Concerto for Two Pianos, with Luboshutz and Nemenoff Duo, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy conducting;
1987 — Broadway premiere of Sondheim: musical "Into the Woods";

Other:
1903—First concert by a 50-member Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (the current Minnesota Orchestra), conducted by Emil Oberhoffer, with Metropolitan Opera soprano Marcella Sembrich as guest soloist;
1955—Karl Böhm conducts a performance of Beethoven's "Fidelio" at the gala re-opening of Vienna Opera House (damaged by Allied bombs on March 12, 1945); During the rebuilding of the Opera House, performances had continued in two nearby Viennese halls: the Theatre and der Wien and the Volksoper.


Sunday, November 6
Play today's program

Photo
Some panels from the original Czech "Vixen" newspaper strip
SYNOPSIS:
Janáček and Daughtery read the funnies ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Leos Janáček (1854 – 1928): The Cunning Little Vixen Suite
Czech Philharmonic; Vaclav Neumann, cond.
Praga 250 100
&
Michael Daugherty (b. 1954): Metropolis Symphony
Baltimore Symphony; David Zinman, cond.
Argo 452 103

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Leos Janáček
On Michael Daugherty

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1814—Belgian inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax, in Dinant; He invented the instrument around 1840, and was granted a 15-year patent in 1846;
1854—American composer and bandmaster John Philip Sousa, in Washington, D.C.;
1860—Polish composer, piano virtuoso, and statesman, Ignace Jan Paderewski, in Russian Poland (Gregorian date: Nov. 18);

Deaths:
1672—German composer Heinrich Schütz, age 87, in Dresden;
1795—Czech-born German opera composer Jiri Antonin (Georg Anton)Benda, age 73, in Köstritz;
1893—Russian composer Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, age 53, dies of cholera after drinking un-boiled water during an epidemic in St. Petersburg (see Julian date: Oct. 25); Some speculate this was a deliberate and suicidal act;
1965—Franco-American composer Edgard (or Edgar) Varèse, age 81, in New York City;

Premieres:
1825 — Beethoven: String Quartet in a, Op.132, in Vienna, by the Schuppanzigh Quartet; The was the first public performance (The same players performed the work at a private performance two months earlier, on September 9, for an audience of fourteen at the Tavern Zum Wilden Mann in Vienna);
1891 — Tchaikovsky: symphonic balled “The Voyevode” in Moscow (Gregorian date: Nov. 18);
1902 — Cilea: opera, "Adriana Lecouvreur" in Milan at the Teatro Lirico;
1913 — Saint-Saëns: "Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso" for violin and orchestra, in Paris;
1924 — Janácek: opera "The Cunning Little Vixen," in Brno at the National Theater;
1935 — first complete performance of Walton: Symphony No. 1, by the BBC Symphony, Sir Hamilton Harty conducting; Harty had conducted the premiere performance of this work's first three movements (the fourth and final movement had not yet been written) on a London Philharmonic concert of Dec. 3, 1934;
1936 — Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3, by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski conducting;
1940 — Florence Price: Symphony No. 3, in Detroit, by the Michigan WPA Symphony, Valter Poole conducting; Also on the program was Price’s Piano Concerto (which had premiered earlier in Chicago) with the composer as soloist; First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt attended a rehearsal for this concert, and wrote favorably about Price’s Symphony in her national newspaper column “My Day” for November 14, 1940;
1943 — Orff: "Catulli carmina," in Leipzig at the Städische Bühnen;
1950 — Copland: Clarinet Concerto, on an NBC Symphony broadcast conducted by Fritz Reiner, with Benny Goodman as soloist;
1953 — Nikolaus Nakokov: Cello Concerto ("Les Hommages"), with Lorne Munroe, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy conducting;
1976 — Andrew Imbrie: opera "Angle of Repose," in San Francisco;
1999 — Elisabetta Brusa: “Adagio” for strings, by the Virtuosi of Toronto, Fabio Mastrangelo conducting;
2004 — Augusta Read Thomas: "Brass Rush" for brass band, by the Illinois Brass Band at the U.S. Open Brass Band Competition in Arlignton Heights, Il.

Other:
1717—J.S. Bach temporarily imprisoned by his employer, Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Weimar, who was upset that Bach had taken another post (with Prince Leopold of Coethen) without first securing the Duke's permission to do so.