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Classical Breakdown

Author: WETA Classical

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John Banther takes classical music fans behind the scenes with interviews, deep dives, and analysis. Episodes released bi-weekly on Tuesdays. Produced by WETA Classical in Washington, D.C.
114 Episodes
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Can you believe it that summer is already here? This is the final episode of Season 5 and I have 4 recently released albums you need to listen to wherever the summer takes you!Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Who doesn't love the cello? But, where and when was it invented, and how did it evolve over the centuries? Amit Peled, cello soloist and professor at Peabody, tells us everything and performs music by Bach and Bloch!Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We enjoy a full performance of the Enigma Variations at the end of the episode, but first, we get into the people and places depicted in colorful detail in Elgar's masterpiece. John Banther and Evan Keely uncover hidden clues in the music, the types of people Elgar depicts, and what the Enigma could possibly be (but isn't).Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Real and fictional characters come to life in this incredibly challenging work for piano that also includes musical puzzles. John Banther and Linda Carducci explore all the characters and how Schumann depicts them in music, the ciphers, discarded movements, and more. plus we enjoy a full performance of it by Sergei Rachmaninoff!Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
She might have been the most influential person in music of the 20th century, and few would argue with you. John Banther and Evan Keely explore her life, music, and incalculable influence, but also some of the criticism her legacy has faced in the 45 years since her passing. Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We've come to know the concerto as a work showcasing a single soloist with (or sometimes against) an orchestra, but what if a work has not 1... but 4 soloists at the same time? And what if it is also bringing in ideas from the symphony? John Banther and Evan Keely take a look at one of the defining works in the genre, show you what to listen for, and discuss why Haydn might have written it in the first placeSupport Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
It's one of the most common musical instruments, but where did it come from and how did we get here? John Banther and Linda Carducci go on a journey through time to trace the evolution of the piano and its various forms. Plus, why is it so fun to see pianos fall from high places??Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
There aren't that many examples of a "concerto" for orchestra, and in Joan Tower's, it's an electrifying world of rhythm, motion, and even deception! John Banther and Evan Keely explore this concerto by one of the most successful and recorded American composers. Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Have you ever wondered how to record an orchestra but were too afraid to ask? Critically acclaimed recording engineer Charles Lawson spends his days recording the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He tells us how it all comes together, philosophy, and near disasters!Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We'll enjoy his Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" at the end, but first we look at his influential and controversial time in the United States, itself a journey that began decades prior. Join us to learn how he was discovered, his musical styles, and some pretty funny stories!Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We celebrate the music of living Black composers with 6 recommended works spanning violin and piano to the full orchestra! Go to the show notes page at classicalbreakdown.org for more information on these composers, links to recordings, and links to resources.Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The sounds of Hollywood are found throughout this enduring concerto. John Banther and Evan Keely show you moments in the music to listen for, how Korngold does things differently, which movies ended up in this concerto, and discuss why this concerto has remained so popular!Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We have a full symphony by Mahler to listen to after we enjoy highlights from the past 99 episodes! Let's take time to experience again the musicians who demonstrated their instruments, fascinating insights from guests, and our favorite moments from over the years. Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Few countries have elevated a composer like Finland and Jean Sibelius. John Banther and Evan Keely look into his breakout success, symphonies, dramatic life events, and how he incorporates Finnish culture into music. Plus, what do Sibelius, Gilmore Girls, and Lord of The Rings have in common?Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
You may not recognize the composer or piece, but this is a work that deserves your attention! John Banther and Evan Keely explore the poem and how it comes to life in the music, which operatic composer she's invoking, and why sea monsters have such short musical motifs.Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Feeling dramatic? Opera has you covered! John Banther and Linda Carducci go on a journey through time on the origins, evolution, and dramatic moments of this enduring musical art form. Plus, recommended listening for each time period along the way. Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
It's one of the more familiar works in the repertoire, but how well do you know the 3 major themes and Shakespearean connections? John Banther and Shakespeare enthusiast James Jacobs show you what to listen for, how much Tchaikovsky loved Shakespeare, theatrical elements in the music, and more!Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
She was a pioneering French composer who helped shape the sound of France's music post World War I, but she also faced extraordinary challenges. John Banther and Evan Keely explore her music, life events, give you 5 recommended works to listen to!Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
How easily can a genre of music be defined? John Banther and Linda Carducci explore the origins of the Nocturne and how it evolved from its simple defining characteristics over the next 200 years. Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Respighi is our tour guide as we explore 4 different scenes in Rome inspired by their iconic Stone pine trees. John Banther and Evan Keely explore his cutting-edge use of technology, how he uses ancient musical references, how he achieves some of these unique timbres, and more!Support Classical Breakdown: https://weta.org/donatefmSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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