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Mon. February 20

Meyerbeer - Les Huguenots
The dramatic events surrounding the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, in which approximately 3000 Protestants were murdered by Catholics, forms the setting for this historical ‘grand opera’ by Giacomo Meyerbeer. Protestant Raoul is in love with Catholic Valentine: an impossible love. Religion is not the only matter that keeps the two lovers apart, as Valentine has been promised to the Catholic Comte de Nevers, his enemy... This work enjoyed an incredible popularity after it premiered, but suffered oblivion shortly after. This production of the Deutsche Oper Berlin marks a triumphant comeback for this timeless work, presented in a contemporary setting. Recorded in the Deutsche Oper Berlin featuring Angela Denning, Lucy Peacock and Camille Capasso.
Now on
Abbado conducts Beethoven &…
Beethoven's large-scale Choral Fantasy is one of the composer's most impressive works. The Berliner Philharmoniker under the baton of Claudio Abbado perform this work, with its unusual forces of large choir, solo piano and vocal soloists, together with Abbado's partner in music of many years' standing, Maurizio Pollini, and a cast of first-rate singers. The programme includes Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy's Symphony no. 2 (Lobgesang).
Mozart's Final Symphonies
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his three last symphonies in the ridiculously short timespan of six weeks. These three symphonies – Symphony No. 29, 40, and 41 ‘Jupiter’ – had a revolutionary character: not only were they of unprecedented duration, but they also used many then-innovative chords and rhythms. Conductor Frans Brüggen and his Orchestra of the 18th Century performed these three masterpieces in ‘De Doelen’, Rotterdam, in March of 2010.
Brahms - Violin concerto part 1
Violin virtuoso Henryk Wieniawski thought the piece was impossible to play, his colleague Pablo de Sarasate did not want to play it because he as a soloist refused to stand and wait with his violin in hand for the second half’s oboe solo to finish, and conductors Hans von Bülow and Joseph Hellmesberger allegedly both said that it is ‘a piece against the violin’ instead of ‘a piece for the violin’. Johannes Brahms’ violin concerto may not have been popular with everyone, but in the meantime it has become part of the standard repertoire. Brahms wrote the piece in the summer of 1878 for his good friend Joseph Joachim who also performed it for the first time, on New Year’s Day of 1879 in Leipzig. In this broadcast: the first movement.
Dvorák – Symphony No. 6, part II
The Czech composer Antonín Dvorák dedicated his Symphony No. 6 to Hans Richter, who at that time was the conducter of the Wiener Philharmoniker. It is no coincidence Dvorák had the Wiener Philharmoniker in mind when he composed his Symphony No. 6. He even used German classical-romantic influences, interweaving his own Czech musicality. Dvorák did all this, hoping that Richter and the Wiener Philharmoniker would premiere his composition. Unfortunately, Richter was not charmed by the idea. Moreover, the orchestra was overworked at the time. The première was performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra - in 1882, Richter was to conduct the piece in London, albeit not with the Wiener Philharmoniker. The Wiener Philharmoniker first performed Dvorák’s Symphony No. 6 as late as 1942. Today’s broadcast is part of a series of all nine Dvorák Symphonies, which were performed by the Czech Philharmonic under the baton of the Czech conductor Jirí Belohlávek in 2014. Belohlávek won the Czech National Conducting Competitio
Liszt - Sonetto 123 del Petrarca
This work forms part of Franz Liszt’s ‘Années de pèlerinage’, a musical journey accompanying the composer’s travels with his beloved Marie d’Agoult. Where the first set focused on describing natural scenery, the pieces in this second set describe the artworks Liszt discovers. This program broadcasts Sonetto 123 as performed by Daniel Barenboim
Bortniansky - Kol vozliublenna seléniya…
Many 18th century Russian composers have been forgotten, but Dmitry Bortniansky (1751-1825) has escaped that fate. Bortniansky, who was very much loved and admired in his day, was as respected after death as in life: his chamber music and vocal compositions remained very popular. As Director of the Imperial Chapel Choir, he composed an impressive number of choral pieces, which unfortunately have not all survived. Among his published compositions are 35 sacred concertos, 10 concertos for double choruses, two complete liturgical works, several Cherubic Hymns, and countless settings of traditional orthodox chants. In Bortniansky’s works, the Russian choral composition got its classic shape: three parts in fast-slow-fast movements, augmented by elements of secular instrumental concerts and sacred vocal music.
Verbier 2009: Philippe Jaroussky
The French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky entered his successful singing career after a detour, playing the violin from age 11, to taking up piano lessons at age 15. Not until he met voice teacher Nicole Fallien at age 18, he decided to focus solely on singing. By now he has become one of the best-known classical singers of the world, celebrated by many for the clarity of his voice and his fresh performance, which doubtlessly helped in improving the image of early music. At the 2009 Verbier Festival he presented, together with pianist Jérôme Ducros, a varied programme of compositions by Gabriel Fauré, Camille Saint-Saëns, Cécile Chaminade, Reynaldo Hahn, and others.
Verbier 2007 - Bach & Beethoven
The Verbier Festival is an innovative music festival which was created in 1994. The greatest stars in classical music come here year after year. The Verbier Festival also relies on the talents of young artists from all over the world, forging links between the young and the great masters. The Verbier Festival creates, develops and promotes excellence in the field of performing arts. It offers a unique and welcoming artistic experience to its 40,000-strong audience every year. In 2007 there was a beautiful concert with master pianist Nelson Freire, playing Beethoven’s 'Sonata No. 2 ‘Waldstein’', Debussy’s 'Children’s Corner', Albéniz’ 'Tango' and Schumann’s 'Arabeske'.
Saint-Saëns - Piano Concerto No. 2
Camille Saint-Saëns’ Second Piano Concerto was written in great haste: Russian pianist, conductor and composer Anton Rubinstein asked the composer to arrange a concert in Paris. The Salle Pleyel, an important concert hall, was already fully booked and would only be available a month later, which bought Saint-Saëns enough time to compose a new piece from scratch. On the 6th of May 1868 his composition had its premiere, conducted by Rubinstein and with Saint-Saëns himself on piano. Because of the little time he had to study beforehand, the piece’s first performance was not a great success, though through time it has become his most popular piano concerto.
Beethoven - Symphony No. 7, second…
The year 1812 was a busy year for the well-known but deaf composer Ludwig van Beethoven. At last, Beethoven got the chance to meet that other famous German, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, but Goethe’s personality proved a disappointed to Beethoven. The composer was carrying on a hectic love life: in 1812 he wrote his famous letter to an anonymous ‘Unsterbliche Geliebte’ (‘Immortal Beloved’). Moreover, he was getting involved in the life of his younger brother, who was infatuated with a housekeeper. Yet despite his activities, Beethoven found the time to compose several new works, among which his Seventh Symphony. The piece was first performed in 1813, at a concert for the benefit of wounded soldiers; if ever an orchestra was an all-star ensemble, the orchestra that graced the stage that night certainly deserved that name: Louis Spohr was one of the violinists, and among the other orchestra players were Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Giacomo Meyerbeer and Antonio Salieri. In this broadcast: the second movement.
IVC masterclass
The International Vocal Competition’s-Hertogenbosch (IVC) was founded in 1954. Since then, it has been the Netherlands’ only international classical vocal competition featuring two categories: oratorio and Lied. This unique social institute is a vital part of the cultural life of the province of Noord-Brabant and the city of ’s-Hertogenbosch. Over the course of its existence, the IVC has built on its national and international prestige, with world-class winners such as Elly Ameling, Cora Burggraaf, Thomas Hampson, Howard Haskin, Robert Holl, Nelly Miricioiu, Jard van Nes, Lenneke Ruiten, Wolfgang Schöne and Elzbieta Szmytka.
Legato - World of the Piano
We live in a "renaissance of the piano”, as the New York Times has recently put it. With virtuosic flair and an eagerness to expand the repertoire, a new generation of pianists has revitalized the instrument’s appeal. In addition to the usual classics, they perform formerly scorned works or discover neglected composers. Legato is a series dedicated to presenting some of this new movement's most fascinating pianists – their individual approaches, their fresh ideas and their music. Each episode portrays an artist and shows an aspect of the world of the piano. The sum of these portraits provides viewers with an overall picture of the art of the pianist. Montréal native Marc-André Hamelin is internationally renowned for his musical virtuosity and refined pianism. The Times described one of his performances as “ultimate perfection”. He plays works by Haydn (Piano sonata in E major), Chopin (Piano sonata No. 3), Debussy (‘Préludes’, book two), Hamelin (Etude No. 7), as well as two short pieces by Gershwin (‘Do, Do, Do’ and ‘Liza’).
Verbier 2007 - Bartók & Schumann
The Verbier Festival is an innovative music festival which was created in 1994. The greatest stars in classical music come here year after year. The Verbier Festival also relies on the talents of young artists from all over the world, forging links between the young and the great masters. The Verbier Festival creates, develops and promotes excellence in the field of performing arts. It offers a unique and welcoming artistic experience to its 40,000-strong audience every year. In 2007 there was a beautiful concert with masters like Renaud Capuçon (violin), Martha Argerich (piano) playing Schumann's 'Sonata for violin and piano' and Bartók's 'Sonata for violin and piano'.
Beethoven - Egmont Overture
With its tale of a turbulent fight for freedom, Goethe’s play ‘Egmont’ surely captured the excitable imagination of Ludwig van Beethoven, whose own opera ‘Fidelio’ centers around a similar subject. ‘Egmont’ is set in 16th-century Holland, at a time when the Dutch were engaged in a War of Independence to free themselves from the yoke of Spanish occupation. Even while the catholic, Spain-supporting Count Egmont pleads for compassion, the Spanish King Philip II sends the grim Duke of Alba or ‘Iron Duke’ to deal with the Dutch insurrection. The latter eventually imprisons Egmont and orders the freedom-loving protagonist to be decapitated, which brings the play to a close. While Beethoven composed incidental music for the entire play, the overture is by far the most popular part.
IVC Finals duo
The International Vocal Competition’s-Hertogenbosch (IVC) was founded in 1954. Since then, it has been the Netherlands’ only international classical vocal competition featuring two categories: oratorio and Lied. This unique social institute is a vital part of the cultural life of the province of Noord-Brabant and the city of ’s-Hertogenbosch. Over the course of its existence, the IVC has built on its national and international prestige, with world-class winners such as Elly Ameling, Cora Burggraaf, Thomas Hampson, Howard Haskin, Robert Holl, Nelly Miricioiu, Jard van Nes, Lenneke Ruiten, Wolfgang Schöne and Elzbieta Szmytka.
Celibidache conducts Bruckner's…
In his day, Sergiu Celibidache was one of the world’s greatest conductors. He always had a special feeling for the music of Anton Bruckner. In Celibidache’s hands, Bruckner’s late-Romantic music unfolds into works of epic proportions. The conductor’s trademark tempos and broad orchestral sounds are perfectly suited for Bruckner’s large ‘cathedrals of sound’. Celibidache claimed that listeners could not obtain the “transcendental experience” of live music outside of the concert hall, and therefore made few recordings. Luckily for us, his few recordings that survive are wonderful: this Bruckner Symphony No. 8 is truly unforgettable.
Les Salons de Musique - Opus 2
The philosophy behind ‘Les Salons de Musique’ is to bring about original and exclusive meetings between preeminent musicians. These meetings take place in unusual and intimate venues. The musicians share their emotions with each other and with the audience: a recipe for unforgettable moments. Although Lise de la Salle is still a youngster, she is hardly the new kid on the block: the pianist, who was taught by Pascal Nemirovski from age 10, was unanimously elected as first of her class when she studied with Pierre Réach at the Paris Conservatory. At 15, Bruno Rigutto helped her develop her career, which led to performances in the world’s most prestigious music venues. She recorded her first CD in 2002, featuring compositions by Ravel and Rachmaninov. Later, she recorded a CD devoted to the music of Bach and Liszt. In 2011, she released an album with works by Chopin. The members of the Modigliani Quartet are also alumni of the Paris Conservatory. In 2004, 2005, and 2006, they managed to secure three prestigious awards.
Ravel - Sonata for violin and piano
"To my mind, the 'blues' is one of your greatest musical assets, truly American despite earlier contributory influences from Africa and Spain.” French composer Maurice Ravel was impressed with this new style of music and decided to incorporate it into his new Sonata for Violin and Piano. The composition’s second movement was even named ‘Blues. Moderato’.
Liszt Concours: Liszt - Concerto No. 1
Pianist Mariam Batsashvili studied successively at the E. Mikeladze Central Music School in Tbilisi with Natalia Natsvlishvili and at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt in Weimar with Grigory Gruzman. She won prizes from various competitions such as the First Prize at the International Franz Liszt Competition for Young Pianists in Weimar in 2011 and Second Prize at the María Herrero International Piano Competition in Granada in 2012. Aside from her native country Georgia, Mariam Batsashvili has performed in such countries as Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, Israel, South Africa and China, both in recitals and with orchestras. She was a soloist with the Erfurt Philharmonisches Orchester and with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra on numerous occasions.
Mendelssohn – Suite from A Midsummer…
Since Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer night’s dream’ was put to music by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, everyone assumes to know what elves are like. It appears they’re floating weightlessly through the air while they’re performing all kinds of mischief. What’s the connection between Shakespeare and Mendelssohn? As a 17-year-old, the young compose read Schlegel’s translation of the English comedy play. Shakespeare’s description of the supernatural inspired him to compose a fitting overture, although Mendelssohn wrote the remainder of this suite years and years later, in 1842. Whomever limits himself to this Overture and the all-too-familiar Wedding March, which are both part of this Suite, is missing out: the complete, 14-part composition, including parts for a narrator, a soprano, a mezzo soprano, a children’s and women’s choir is too delectable to be ignored. Schumann rightly described this piece as glowing with “the bloom of youth”.
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 20
A few days after the first performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, the composer’s father wrote to his daughter Nannerl: ,,I heard an excellent new piano concerto by Wolfgang, […] the copyist was still at work when we got there”. The story goes that Mozart completed the concerto on the 10th of February 1785 and performed the premiere in Vienna the very next day. Young Ludwig van Beethoven loved this concerto and played it regularly. He was not the only one to admire the concerto. According to conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim this piece was Joseph Stalin’s favorite composition.
The Archive - Arturo Benedetti…
When on stage Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (1920-1995) projected an aura and charisma that perfectly complemented his incomparable musical excellence. His personal life was shrouded in mystery often leading to the spread of rumours and wild speculation. Stories about his need for impeccably tuned and regulated pianos abound, and he would easily cancel recitals at the last moment if the instrument provided proved unsatisfactory. All of this, however, is secondary to what he accomplished at the piano - both in recital and in recordings: Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli – teacher of world-class pianists Martha Argerich and Maurizio Pollini - remains as much a legend today as he was during his lifetime. His stage presence, his attitude to the public, and his personal eccentricities all contributed to his reputation, but ultimately it was his piano playing and artistic integrity that set him apart. Performances by this consummate artist are perfectly suited to an audiovisual release presenting both the impeccable musician and the stage persona.
Schumann - Violin Sonata No. 1 part 3
Both of Robert Schumann’s Sonatas for Violin and Piano were composed when he was a conductor in Düsseldorf in 1851. This makes them different from his earlier chamber music pieces such as the Piano Quintet and the three String Quartets. The composer’s mental decline already becomes noticeable from his music. The first performance was in 1852, by his wife Clara Schumann and violinist Ferdinand David. In this broadcast: the third movement.
Beethoven - Sonata No. 7 Op. 30 part 1
Ukrainian violinist Valeriy Sokolov and French pianist David Fray represent a young generation of music heroes, and both musicians have a large following from all over the world. In this performance they play Ludwig van Beethoven’s ‘Seventh Violin Sonata’ (Op. 30 No. 2). The master composer from Vienna dedicated this piece to Tsar Alexander I of Russia. In his 30th opus, Beethoven brought together three violin sonatas, each of almost symphonic length. The Seventh Violin Sonata that is played here even shows the symphonic pattern. The piece consists of four contrasting movements: Allegro, Adagio, Scherzo and Finale together making up almost half an hour of chamber music brilliance. In this broadcast: the first movement.
Chopin - Andante spianato et grande…
There is always some confusion around Frédéric Chopin’s ‘Andante spianato et grande polonaise, Op. 22’. In the winter of 1830-1831 Chopin wrote a ‘Grand Polonaise’ for piano and orchestra and called it his opus 22. At a later time he composed an ‘Andante spianato’ and added it to the ‘Grande Polonaise’ as an introduction. These two combined made up a new composition, but he gave this opus the same number 22. To make matters even more confusing, Chopin wrote two different versions: one with orchestral accompaniment and one without. In this broadcast Evgeny Kissin plays the solo piano version.
Beethoven - Symphony No. 5, part III-IV
‘Ta-ta-ta-taa’. It is quite possibly the most famous opening sequence, to one of the most famous symphonies ever written. It has become impossible to think of concert halls today without Beethoven’s ‘Fifth’, but for a symphony this popular it had a rather disastrous opening night. December 22nd 1808 the piece was premiered, alongside the Sixth Symphony, the Fantasy in C minor for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra, and also the Fourth Piano Concerto and parts of the Mass in C. A concert marathon, in fact, and truly exhausting for the underpaid musicians. Vienna at that time was experiencing a gruesomely cold winter, meaning even the audience had a hard time in the unheated concert hall. Beethoven’s biographer Anton Schindler noted: “the reception accorded to these works was not as desired, and probably no better than the author himself had expected. The public was not endowed with the necessary degree of comprehension for such extraordinary music, and the performance left a great deal to be desired.” In this broadcast: the final two movements.
Verdi - I masnadieri
Crime does not pay: that is what Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘I Masnadieri’ (The Bandits) from 1847 boils down to. Carlo, the oldest son of count Massimiliano, has become involved with a local robbery gang. One fine day he decides that he has had enough of this life of crime, and he intends to leave the gang. Therefore, he decides to write to his father, begging his forgiveness. His younger brother, Francesco, sends a reply: Carlo had better keep away, as his father would never forgive him. This turns out to be a lie: Francesco wants Carlo out of the way, because he is after his father’s title and inheritance – and Carlo’s sweetheart, Amalia. Carlo, however, trusts his brother, and is convinced that he will never see his father and Amalia again. He vows to leave his old life behind, and to remain a robber until the end of his life. This vow turns out to have unforeseen consequences, especially when he meets Amalia again…
Truls Mørk plays Chopin and Dvorák
The Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk was the first Scandinavian ever to win the Moscow Tchaikovsky competition, a triumph that marked the start of his musical career. In this film, we visit Truls Mørk at his Scandinavian holiday home, from where we accompany him on his boat out at sea and on his walks along the coast. The focal points of the story are Antonin Dvorak’s Cello Concerto with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, as well as Mørk’s Chopin interpretations.
Beethoven - Symphony No. 4, third…
Robert Schumann once described Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony as ‘a slender Greek maiden between two Norse giants’. The ‘two Norse giants’ referred to the Third and Fifth Symphonies, which have an almost mythical reputation. Unintentionally, his description suggested that Beethoven’s ‘even’ Symphonies are not as profound as his ‘odd’ Symphonies. Beethoven received his commission for this Symphony because of another, ‘even’ Symphony. In 1806, Count Franz von Oppersdorf responded enthusiastically to Beethoven’s Second Symphony, and promptly offered the composer a large sum of money for a new one. In October of the same year, the Count received ‘his’ Symphony. Although Schumann’s description might seem accurate on a first hearing, the intense and tragic introduction of the Fourth Symphony illustrates that this Beethoven composition, too, is not in the least short of heartfelt emotion. In this broadcast: the third movement.