Claim Ownership


Subscribed: 0Played: 0


Today I’ve got a pretty special show for you. It’s set up in two parts, with the first part featuring an interview, and the second part will be a more typical Sticky Notes analysis of a specific piece. Why did I set up the show this way this week? Well, I had the opportunity a few months ago to work with an extraordinary scholar and musician, Dr. Samantha Ege, who is the Lord Crewe Junior Research Fellow in Music at Lincoln College, University of Oxford,  and is also one of the foremost scholars on the music of Florence Price. Florence Price is a composer who has been receiving a lot of attention over the last 5-7 years. As the first African American woman to have a major piece performed an orchestra, her first symphony was performed in 1933 by the Chicago Symphony, Price has become one of the most prominent figures in the revival of music written by Black composers as orchestras and performers not only in the US but all over the world attempt to diversify their programming. Price is part of a group of composers from the early twentieth century who were the first nationally successful Black composers. This group included luminaries such as William Grant Stiill, William Levi Dawson, and Nathaniel Dett, among others, and all of these composers have had their works rediscovered during this period, a truly exciting development that has brought a lot of neglected music back onto the concert stage. I’ve wanted to do a show devoted to Florence Price for a while, but when I got the chance to perform Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement with Dr. Ege, I knew I had to ask her to come on the show to tell the incredible story of this wonderful American composer. So the first part of the show is devoted to an interview with Dr. Ege going through Price’s background and talking about her writing style and approach to music. This was such a fun interview - Dr. Ege is a great teacher and I learned a ton about Price that I didn’t know about beforehand. The second part of the show will be an analysis of one of Price’s most rarely played, but in my opinion, one of her best, orchestral works, Ethiopia’s Shadow in America. Join us!
Mahler once said this to Bruno Walter, his protege and great advocate of Mahler’s works: "What one makes music from is still the whole—that is the feeling, thinking, breathing, suffering, human being”   You could almost just stop there with the last movement of Mahler 9.  This is music so full of feeling, thinking, breathing, suffering, but also of also acceptance and consolation, that words fail to describe its emotional impact. But as always with Mahler, this isn’t merely an emotional outpouring, a dumping of his innermost feelings onto the audience. It is a superbly paced, beautifully written movement, and despite its 25 minute length, and very stable and slow tempo, the movement does the seemingly impossible and feels both endless and compact at the same time.   So today, while of course we’ll talk about the emotional content of the music, I want to focus a bit more on how Mahler writes this music to make it so effective, and how he finds a way to reach the peaks of expression and the epitome of using silence as music. And finally, we'll explore how and to whom Mahler says goodbye to at the end of this symphony, as everything fades away. Join us!
It's easy to forget that Mahler, for all of his ubiquitous success nowadays, was much better known as a conductor during his life than as a composer.  He had basically one major success in his compositional career: a performance of his 8th symphony in Munich in 1910 that finally seemed to give him the approval he craved from the audience.  But for much of his compositional life, Mahler was misunderstood. His symphonies were either too long, too dense, too confusing, too esoteric, too vulgar, too banal, lacking in sophistication, or had too MUCH sophistication - the list goes on and on.  Mahler famously said in regards to his music that “my time will come” and it certainly has come, with regular performances of his music all around the world.  But as we discuss the third movement of Mahler’s 9th symphony today, I want to keep reminding you that Mahler was really not a popular man.  Even as a conductor, he had bitter enemies that drove him out of his position as the Director of the Vienna Court Opera in 1907.  As a person, he could charitably be described as difficult, with moments of kindness followed by bouts of stony silence or fierce rages.  Mahler was a complicated man, and it's perhaps in this third movement that we can learn so much about this side of Mahler that doesn’t get talked about as much - that bitter, sarcastic, nasty side of him that many choose to ignore, preferring to focus on the love and warmth that he instills into much of his music.  In the third movement of his 9th symphony, Mahler seems to be letting out some of his rage and anger at the Viennese public, concerned in his mind only with intrigue and gossip, and those critics who trafficked in open Anti-Semitism in order to bring him down from his lofty perch.  But amidst all of this, Mahler continually grasps for order throughout the movement, only to find it ripped away from him.  This is the shortest movement of Mahler’s 9th symphony, but it is also the most dense.  So today, we’ll talk about that bitter pill that is this movement, a movement that is nevertheless relentless in its search for beauty, form, and order. Join us!
Remember where we ended in the first movement of Mahler's 9th symphony? After a 27 minute farewell which touched on the two poles of rage and acceptance, while filling in every conceivable emotion in between, we ended in total peace, calm, and acceptance .   There is a lot about this symphony that is traditional - it has four movements, it's tonal(for the most part), it uses(mostly) traditional forms, but there is one thing about the symphony which is extremely unusual: the fact that it is bookended by two slow movements.  A traditional symphony takes the form of a moderately fast first movement, either a slow movement or a fast dance movement for the second movement, the same for the third(almost always the opposite of whatever the second movement was), and a fast last movement to send the crowd home happy.  Mahler,  using a form that he never used before, and would never be used again by any composer, writes a slow first movement, then 2 fast dance movements, followed by a slow final movement.  It's a fascinating formal design, but one that presents a lot of problems to solve; how do you contrast the two middle dance movements?  How do you create a sense of excitement when you’ve just finished a 27 minute slow movement which could easily be its own piece?  And perhaps most importantly, how do you conceive of the arc of a 16 minute dance movement, one that seems almost shockingly simplistic in its basic harmony and melody.  Well, Mahler finds a way through a combination of genuine joy, sarcasm, bitterness, and irony, emotions we will certainly be talking about as we take apart this second movement.
Two events, occurring on the same day, drove Mahler to the brink. His daughter Maria died at the age of just 4, and Mahler himself was diagnosed with a heart condition that would prove to be fatal. He became consumed even more so than he ever was before with the idea of death, the afterlife, and all the philosophical trials and travails that came with these thoughts.  These ideas of death did not come only from his own sense of loss and grief; they were about his place in history, and how he would be remembered. The 9th symphony explores all of these questions in a remarkably powerful way. The symphony sets up two poles: acceptance and struggle, and then wavers between them for its duration, vacillating between desperately clinging to life, and accepting and letting go.  Leonard Bernstein famously said that the symphonies' 4 movements represent 4 ways for Mahler to say farewell, but they could just as easily be 4 movements for Mahler to say he will be here forever. Join us today for part 1 to discuss the first movement of this monumental symphony!
Shostakovich is one of the easiest composers to do podcasts about because his life and his music is full of such incredible stories. But as easy as it is, it's also complicated. Shostakovich's music is sometimes heard as a musical history book, a testament, which it often is, but we should never lose sight of the fact that Shostakovich was a composer first, not a politician.  So today we're going to be looking at the 4th quartet in two contexts, the historical and the musical, and then try to see how one works(or doesn't) with the other.   How do you incorporate religion into music, and how do you handle the heavy burden that was laid down to you by masters of the String Quartet like Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert? How do you write political music without getting in trouble with the authorities? How do you speak out against injustice when it can put you in grave danger? Shostakovich, as always, has the answers. Join us!
Barber’s Adagio seems to access a deep well of sadness, heartache, passion, and nostalgia in the listener that is very difficult to explain.  As dozens of commentators have noted, there is nothing in particular in the piece which is particularly remarkable.  There are no great harmonic innovations, no formal surprises, nothing NEW, at all. In fact, the music was completely anachronistic for its time.  Despite all of that, or perhaps because of it, Barber’s Adagio has become perhaps the most well known piece of American classical music in the world.  It became even more famous after its use in the Vietnam War Movie Platoon.  It was played at the funeral of Franklin Roosevelt and Robert Kennedy, and was performed to an empty hall after the assassination of John F Kennedy.  A deeply emotional performance of the piece was done at the Last Night of the Proms, a traditionally celebratory affair, on September 12th, 2001.  Simply put, this piece has come to symbolize SADNESS in music.  But would it surprise you to hear that the Barber Adagio for Strings wasn’t originally for string orchestra at all?  That it was the second movement of a string quartet, sandwiched by movements that were much more modernist and “forward-thinking” than its slow movement?  Would it surprise you that sadness might never have been the intention of Barber in the piece?  Well, let’s take a closer look at Barber’s Adagio this week - how the piece works, what originally surrounded it, it’s different arrangements, and its tempo. Join us!
There are many reasons why Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony remains a mystery to this day -  the literally unfinished form, the unusual way of the symphony's emergencee into public consciousness, and probably most importantly, the character of the music itself, which seems to inhabit a different realm altogether, whether in its brooding first movement or the heavenly second movement.  When Schubert’s half-finished symphony was discovered, it had been sitting in a drawer of the minor composer Anselm Huttenbrenner for 43 years, unmissed and unheard by anyone.  The score was discovered by the conductor Johann von Herbeck.  Herbeck naturally considered the moment where he first held the score unforgettable, quickly organized a performance, and 37 years after Schubert’s death, the Unfinished symphony was heard for the first time.  But, the truth is that the fact that the symphony is unfinished isn’t really that special.  Composers started and failed to finish works all the time, whether they were songs, symphonies, operas, cantatas, or something else.  Most of those pieces are either ignored or are regarded as interesting curiosities by none but the most hardcore classical music lovers.  So why is this one different?  Why do these two movements rank up there with Bach’s Art of Fugue, Bruckner’s 9th symphony, Mozart’s Requiem and C Minor Mass, as pieces that are still performed today despite their unfinished nature.  Today, we’re going to find out.  We’ll explore the two existing movements of the symphony, take a look at the fragment of the third movement that Schubert started, stopped, and then tore out of the score, and also the speculative last movement, theorized by some enterprising musicologists.  But all along, we’ll marvel at Schubert’s lyricism, his endless creativity, and the powerful character of this unique symphony. Join us!
Brahms’ two piano concertos could not possibly be any more different.  The first, written when Brahms was just 25, is dramatic, stormy, and impulsive.  This makes sense seeing at it was written practically as a direct response to the attempted suicide of his friend and mentor Robert Schumann.  The second, written 22 years later when Brahms was a seasoned and mature composer at the height of his abilities, was not, as far as we know, inspired by any specific event.  It is a warm, almost sun-tanned piece, but it also does something that makes it both the perfect piece to analyze on a show like this, but also makes it a rather elusive one that takes some baking to really understand and appreciate.  What Brahms does in the 2nd piano concerto is to distill everything that makes Brahms really Brahms into one 50 minute piece of music.  There’s continuous development, gorgeous melodic lines, contrasts of character, stern willful music immediately followed by tenderness, Hungarian music, light music - it’s ALL there - but here’s the key - it’s not an events based piece.  What I mean by that is that its not like Brahms moves from one character or personality trait to another like he’s putting together mismatching clothes.  Instead, he integrates all of these different facets of his music into the whole - one moment you are hearing stern and powerful music, and the next, almost without realizing, you are into some of the most tender music he ever wrote.  This is the power but also the complexity  of Brahms’ 2nd piano concerto.  Join us to learn all about it!
How do you orchestrate a painting? How do you take the detail and the visual imagery of a painting and translate that into something that is so vivid that even if you’ve never seen the painting before in your life, you can picture it as clearly as if it was right in front of you? Most people look at a painting for no longer than a minute or two at a museum, so how do you sustain that image over nearly 20 minutes of music? Well, to answer all of these questions, all you need to do is look at Rachmaninoff’s brilliant tone poem, The Isle of the Dead, which he wrote in 1908.  In 1907 Rachmaninoff saw a black and white reproduction of a painting by the Swiss artist Arnold Bocklin entitled The Isle fo the Dead. This painting had cause a storm of interest all across Europe. Vladimir Nabokov said that prints of the painting were found in every home of Berlin, Sigmund Freud owned a copy, as did Lenin. Bocklin painted 5 different version of the piece, but they all had the same theme - a desolate haunting image of a large rocky island, with a solitary boat with a coffin approaching it. It is said that the painting portrays the mythological river Styx, and even reproduced on the computer, it is a striking image. From that encounter, Rachmaninoff sat down and created one of his most underrated and enduring compositions, the masterful Isle of the Dead, which features a gigantic orchestra that very rarely shows off its full power, a rhythmic character that is both inevitable and unstable, and an unsettling and haunting theme that followed Rachmaninoff throughout his life, the Dies Irae. We’re going to talk all about this brooding and mysterious piece on this Patreon sponsored episode this week - join us!
While the inspiration for the show today is likely obvious, I’m also very happy to get the chance to share this wonderful music with you, separate from the current horrors going on right now. Here’s a little quiz for you - name a Ukrainian composer. Were you stumped? Well, so are many people by that question. Despite a long line of brilliant composers throughout history, the music of Ukrainian composers has not entered the standard repertoire, except if you consider the contemporary composer Valentin Silvestrov. But Ukrainian music has a long and fascinating history, from the so called Big Three of the 18th and 19th centuries who were heavily influenced by the legendary Austro German composers but wrote in a highly unique style, to the nationalistic and folk inspired music of Lysenko, to the wild experimentation of Lyatoshinsky in the 20th century, all the way to the contemporary era  and the post modern work of Silvestrov.  Today on the show I’m going to take you through a history of Ukrainian classical music, and all along the way I’ll share the stories and the music of 6 of the most important Ukrainian composers.  You’re going to hear some of the most fascinating and touching music around, and you’re going to wonder how it’s possible that you haven’t heard this music before. Join us! Link: (Documentary on Ukrainian Composers by Natalya Pasichnyk)
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5


In 1888, Tchaikovsky’s 5th symphony was premiered. It was enthusiastically received by the audience, and by Tchaikovsky’s friends. But Tchaikovsky’s nemesis, the critics, were not so happy with the piece.   One utterly tore apart the symphony, writing after a performance in Boston: "Of the Fifth Tchaikovsky Symphony one hardly knows what to say ... The furious peroration sounds like nothing so much as a horde of demons struggling in a torrent of brandy, the music growing drunker and drunker. Pandemonium, delirium tremens, raving, and above all, noise worse confounded!” Another wrote: “Tchaikovsky appears to be a victim of the epidemic of the Music of the Future, that in its hydrophobia, scorns logic, wallows in torpor, and time and again, collapses in dissonant convulsions. Of basic inspiration in these people, who present interest at most as pathological cases, there is very little indeed.”  Usually this is the moment where I quote Sibelius’ brilliant: “no one ever built a statue to a critic” line, but for once, Tchaikovsky somewhat agreed with his critics. He wrote to his legendary patron Nadezhda von Meck: “I am convinced that this symphony is not a success. There is something so repellent about such excess, insincerity and artificiality.” Though he later changed his mind, the last movement of the symphony was always problematic for Tchaikovsky, and its been problematic for many performers and audience members to this day. Is the ending a profound expression of triumph over fate? Or is it hackneyed, over the top, and as Tchaikovsky said, excessive? Perhaps it’s the controversy over its ending, or perhaps something else, but ever since its premiere, Tchaikovsky’s 5th has been one of the most dependable audience favourites around the world. Today I’m going to take you through the genesis and the composition of this wonderful and polarising symphony. Join us!
Fauré Requiem

Fauré Requiem


In 1902, the great French composer Gabriel Faure said this: “It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death and someone has called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience.  As to my Requiem, perhaps I have also instinctively sought to escape from what is thought right and proper, after all the years of accompanying burial services on the organ! I know it all by heart. I wanted to write something different." Faure’s requiem is part of a long tradition of master composers addressing death through Requiems. Mozart, Brahms, Verdi, Britten, Berlioz, Beethoven(to a certain extent), and many many other composers all tried their hands at the Requiem, some of them keeping to Requiem Mass traditions, and some striking out completely on their own. Most notably, Brahms barely followed the traditional Requiem mass at all, preferring to use his own favorite biblical texts. Faure was also a composer who followed his own beat throughout his life, and perhaps one of his best known works is his modest and humble Requiem, which omits the fire and brimstone of famous requiems like Verdi’s, and focuses more on what he called the ‘happy deliverance’ of death.  What results is a remarkably inward looking piece, with only 30 or so measures sung at the loudest possible dynamic. It’s a piece that only lasts around 35 minutes, and was actually first performed as part of a liturgical funeral service.  Faure’s Requiem is music of mysticism and comfort, brilliantly conceived from start to finish in Faure’s own unique way. We’re going to talk a bit about Faure the man and the composer today, since it ties in so much to how he conceived of this requiem, and then of course, all about the Requiem itself on this Patreon sponsored episode. Join us!
The year is 1910. Imagine that you are a young composer, and the music world is in flux all around you. Mahler is dying, and with his death many agreed that the great Austro-German symphonic tradition that stretched from the late 18th century with Haydn all the way through Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schubert and more, was over and done with. Wagner’s music dramas had inspired an entirely new style of music, and composers like Strauss, Liszt, and Berlioz had blown open the possibilities of what music could portray. But even their experiments had seemed to have reached a breaking point. For many composers, there seemed to be nowhere to go.  As the great Swedish conductor Herbert Blomstedt said: “There was nothing to be done all the great melodies had all been written - what could one do. There was so much wonderful music but composers had to regroup and develop their own language and that wasn’t easy in 1910. Stravinsky found his own method inspired by Russian culture, Bartok was similar, Hindemith went to Baroque and the Renaissance. Schoenberg’s idea was: it’s all nonsense, we need to start from the beginning. Every composer has to make a new start.”  Over the next few weeks, I’m going to talk about composers who struggled with these questions, and the first one on the list is the most important Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar, who started out his life as a disciple of Wagner, but in the end rejected that influence and created a style all his own, which is perhaps best exemplified in his second symphony, which features the sounds of Swedish folk music, harmonies that stretch back not into the classical era but into the Medieval period, and a powerful resolve to not be like Wagner, but also to not even approach the idea of sounding like Schoenberg either. Stenhammar wrote to a friend as he began writing his G Minor symphony: “In these times of Arnold Schoenberg, I dream of an art far removed from him, clear, joyful and naïve.” We’re going to discuss all of these roiling tensions this week, so please join us for a look at this underrated symphony!
Rimsky-Korsakov, above anything else, is regarded as a master of orchestration, the art of creating orchestral sound and color. As Rachmaninoff said about Rimsky-Korsakov’s music: "When there is a snowstorm, the flakes seem to dance and drift. When the sun is high, all instruments shine with an almost fiery glow. When there is water, the waves ripple and splash audibly throughout the orchestra … ; the sound is cool and glassy when he describes a calm winter night with glittering starlit sky." Nowhere is this gift more on display than in one of Rimsky-Korsakov’s seminal works, Scheherezade. But this work is far more than only orchestration. It is a shining example of a number of complicated facets of both Rimsky-Korsakov’s and Russian Nationalist music of the time. It also displays so many of the contradictions that marked this era of classical music, and in particular, Russian classical music. Rimsky-Korsakov originally gave the piece a clear narrative, but then withdrew it angrily, saying that any programmatic narrative was merely meant peripherally, and “I meant these hints to direct but slightly the hearer’s fancy…All I had desired was that the hearer, if he liked my piece as symphonic music, should carry away the impression that it is beyond doubt an oriental narrative of some numerous and varied fairy-tale wonders and not merely four pieces played one after the other…” And that word, oriental, a complicated word in our modern times to be sure, plays a huge and unavoidable role in this piece. This was a time when Imperial Russia occupied lands in Central Asia, and when the Russian public became obsessed with so called “oriental” literature and music. Composers drew liberally on these sources for their music, and Rimsky Korsakov’s mentor, the great composer Mily Balakirev, heavily encouraged Russian composers to use these sources as a way to set their music apart from German composers of the time. A group of composers, the not at all egotistically named “Mighty Five” Balakirev, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, and Cesar Cui, almost all became famous through their use of Central Asian and Middle Eastern themes and stories. But no piece has captured the imagination of listeners around the world more than Scheherezade, a piece that drew upon the collection of Middle Eastern folk tales known and One Thousand and One Nights, and features some of the most legendary melodies in the history of Western Classical Music. We’re going to talk about all of this today on this Patreon sponsored episode, so please join us!
In May of 1937, R. Nathaniel Dett’s oratorio “The Ordering of Moses” was premiered by the Cincinnati Symphony. The performance was carried live on national radio by NBC, but about 3/4’s of the way through the piece, the broadcast was halted due to unspecified scheduling conflicts, the origins of which remain mysterious and highly speculated on. And since its premiere, The Ordering of Moses has been performed only a handful of times, and never, as far as I can tell, outside of the United States. Well, that is going to change this February, as I’ll be conducting the UK premiere of the Oratorio with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and soloists Rodrick Dixon, Chrystal Williams, and  Eric Greene. Today on the show I’m going to tell you all about Dett’s remarkable story, his passionate advocacy for black folk music and spirituals, and the profoundly moving music that runs all the way through The Ordering of Moses. You won’t regret jumping into this rarely heard and rarely talked about gem of a piece, so come join us!
“I never really thought of them as walls. I thought of them more as boundaries. Walls are a much more serious matter. You're not supposed to be able to get through, while boundaries at least you can crossover and I think the whole crossover thing is basically what the history of music in the second part of this century is about. It's about crossing over these boundaries.” If there’s one quote that could sum up the music of the composer Ingram Marshall, it might be this one. Last week I talked about Sibelius and our inability to place him in the typical classical music eras of Romantic or Modernist music. Well, Ingram Marshall’s music follows very much on that discussion, and it’s no surprise that Sibelius is one of Marshall’s favorite composers. I imagine most of you listening to the show today are not familiar with Ingram Marshalls’ music, so today on this Patreon Sponsored episode, I’m going to briefly give you a background on this remarkable modern composer, and then we’ll finish the show with both an interview and an analysis of Marhsall’s work Flow with the great composer Timo Andres, who studied with Marshall and had some great insights on his music. You won’t regret diving into the remarkable work of Ingram Marshall, so come and join us!
Sibelius Symphony No. 5

Sibelius Symphony No. 5


Sibelius never gets mentioned on “most” lists, the most innovative, modernistic, romantic, beautiful, conservative, ugly, violent, peaceful etc. In fact, no one is ever sure where to put him on these lists, and that’s partly due to that lifespan that began when Brahms was 32 and ended when Pierre Boulez was also 32 years old. And this uncomfortable place between Romantic and Modernist is exactly why Sibelius is, to me, one of the most interesting topics to cover on this show - and the perfect vehicle to explore Sibelius further is the 5th symphony, one of the most remarkable fusions of modernism and romanticism I’ve ever heard.
Last week I told you the story of the genesis of Shostakovich’s 5th symphony. We talked politics, but we also talked about just the music itself. Today, I’ll take you through the second half of the symphony, again first from a musical point of view. But by the end of the piece, the political conversation and the debate over the ending itself becomes unavoidable. There is no other piece whose character or even tempo is as debated as the ending of Shostakovich’s 5th, so we're going to have it out! Join us!
Shostakovich’s life and career was so wrapped up with his relationship to the Soviet government that it is sometimes hard to appreciate that, all else aside, he was one of the great 20th century composers. His 5th symphony is the meeting point between Shostakovich's music and the political web he was often ensnared in, and it is a piece that is still being vociferously debated. This week we’re going to tell the story of the piece’s genesis, and then we’ll explore the first two movements of the symphony.
Comments (18)


It took me a second to realize who "WC" is. You're mispronouncing "Debussy", lol.

May 4th

Devin Leatherwood

What is the piece being played during the intro of the podcast?

Nov 13th

Nikhil Bhatt

Hey I just came across your podcast and it was really nice, thank you!

Jun 25th

New Jawn

You sound like such a tool with the throat-clearing pronunciation of Bach. Unless you are going to pronounce Polish composers the way Polish speakers would, Italian composers as would Italians, then stop with saying Bach as if you're battling COVID. It impresses not a soul. Good grief.

Apr 25th

Ini Periodi

Hi. I had really liked the episode called "History of classical music in 60 mins". Wanted to play it in my sociology class today for my students who are all tracing predominant ideas of each era and how they influenced various aspects of life. I'm not able to find the episode. Has it been taken down? :(

Oct 19th

Suzanne Dicker

This is such an excellent podcast! The question of attracting new audience members who feel they just don't understand classical music makes me think of religion. I think people go to concerts and go to church for the same reason. The silence just before and after a piece ends and the listening during a piece is a sacred, communal act. It does take a lot of Sunday school classes, family participation and commitment to create the practices and knowledge base to feel at home in a service at a house of worship. And most churches have to create engagement tools to attract new members. I see the concert hall as the new church for all people. Cultivating a community where the individual and collective mind can be elevated is surely something everybody craves. At the very end of the podcast, Joshua asked Zsolt what makes him an interviewer who can draw out even the stiffest musician. Zsolt described a friend who characterized his approach as "soulful listening". I agree! This approach is best explained by John O'Donohue who said, "The amazing thing about humans is that regardless of the morass of falsity that surrounds them, if they can be approached in a way where the true word of address to the soul is sounded, they are helpless but to react back with authenticity and integrity." Zsolt Bognar shows us this truth.

May 29th

Devin Leatherwood

love this piece, I'm curious to why such a bad recording was used?

May 28th

Suzanne Dicker

Great talk! I think that through streaming, if the regional audiences can become familiar with the personalities and abilities of the conductor and orchestra members, just as baseball fans become familiar with the individual players, attending actual live concerts will have the same interest and excitement as attending games in a professional ballpark. People want to feel connected. Responding to comments and questions before and after a streamed performance, is a wonderful engagement tool.

May 16th

Nicholas Morgan

Thank you so much for making these documentaries and producing them with much devotion and a lifetime of study - a lifetime so we may understand in this brief hour of time..

Feb 27th

Robert Howell

excellent discussion and analysis!

Feb 27th

Suzanne Dicker

This was such a lovely interview. Many parents would benefit from your parents' thoughts on raising children, especially musical ones. The incredible creativity of Donald in working with Alisa is priceless. Humor and imagination combined with devotion to child and music!

Jan 29th

Frank cooper

does a conductor hear all the music being played? can they hear each instrument, or even each section at once? is that possible?

Sep 5th



Sep 5th
Reply (1)

Gale Fonder

Great podcast. Love for classical music re-ignite after listening to you.

Oct 20th

Evelyn Herrera

Great intro. to this topic. couldn't really hear the similarities and differences in the selected samples of music. may be if I. listen to whole pieces, I may understand better. where can I find a song list used in this podcast?

Oct 8th

Sungeun Jin

Finding this podcast is the best thing that happened to me this year! I recently developed my liking to the world of classical music and wanted to learn more about it to better enjoy and appreciate. Yet it wasn't easy to find a suitable source that's informative, educational, entertaining and kind enough to someone like me who has no musical training until I found this one! Thoroughly enjoying all the episodes so far and can't wait for more.

Apr 1st

Emily Y

Wow!!!! I am only through the first episode but I am loving this podcast. It is interesting, informative, and entertaining! I listen to classical music all the time but have never learned much at all about the composers, history, or pieces themselves, so I am just so glad this exists. And I'm so happy that in this first episode you address how lively and enthusiastic it often is, it's not just "relaxing" music like a lot of non-listeners might think. I love how you point out the themes and repetition that I often have trouble hearing (especially in Shostakovich's piece because it has so much going on). I am beyond excited to listen to more episodes.

Jul 22nd
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store