Schumann Symphony No. 3, "Rhenish"
Sticky Notes
by Joshua Weilerstein
4d ago
In 1850, Robert Schumann accepted a position as the new Music Director in Dusseldorf. This job had a lot of responsibilities, including conducting the city orchestra. Schumann, along with his wife, the legendary pianist Clara Schumann, and their 7 children moved to Dusseldorf. The city made a huge to do about the Schumann’s arrival, welcoming him with balls, speeches, and parades. This was a new adventure for the Schumann family, and Robert, at least at first, was invigorated. He loved the less reserved personality of the residents of Dusseldorf, and he was deeply inspired by the Rhine river ..read more
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Beethoven String Quartet, Op. 59, No. 1
Sticky Notes
by Joshua Weilerstein
2w ago
In 1806, the 36 year old Beethoven received a commission from the Russian ambassador in Vienna, Count Andreas Razumovsky. Razumovsky wanted a set of string quartets for what would soon be his house string quartet which included some of the finest players Vienna had to offer. As part of his commission, Razumovsky asked Beethoven to include a Russian theme in each one of the quartets. Beethoven obliged him in 2 of the quartets, and the Razumovsky quartets, Op. 59 1, 2, and 3, were born. 1806 was near the height of Beethoven’s astonishing so called Middle Period, where the scale of his music dras ..read more
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Ethel Smyth Serenade in D
Sticky Notes
by Joshua Weilerstein
1M ago
I’ve mentioned Ethel Smyth a few times in the past on this show. This is partly because of her music, and partly because she remains one of the most interesting people who ever lived. She was a composer of course, but she was also a conductor and an author, as well as a political activist. Specifically, she was a suffragette, fiercely advocating for the rights of women to vote in her home country of the UK. As a composer Smyth wrote dozens of works, all of which are starting to become better known as performers and administrators look to bring more music by female composers onto concert stages ..read more
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Dvorak Cello Concerto
Sticky Notes
by Joshua Weilerstein
1M ago
When you think of the genre of the concerto, you might be thinking of something like this: virtuoso fireworks, perhaps over romantic gestures designed simply to show the soloist off, and a rather pedestrian orchestral part, giving the soloist all of the spotlight while the conductor and orchestra are mere accompanists.  Of course, this is a huge generalization and it isn’t true about many concertos.  But of all of the concertos that I conduct regularly, and hear regularly, there is one that always stands out as the exception to the rule: Dvorak’s Cello Concerto.  The Dvorak dese ..read more
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Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from Westside Story
Sticky Notes
by Joshua Weilerstein
2M ago
We're back! Welcome to Season 10! Leonard Bernstein to his wife: "These days have flown so -- I don't sleep much; I work every -- literally every -- second (since I'm doing four jobs on this show -- composing, lyric-writing, orchestrating and rehearsing the cast). It's murder, but I'm excited. It may be something extraordinary. We're having our first run thru for PEOPLE on Friday -- Please may they dig it!."  Westside Story ran for 732 performances, spawned a movie that won 11 Academy Awards, and is still a go to on every list of the greatest Broadway Musicals ever written.  The ..read more
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Dvorak Symphony No. 9, "From the New World" - LIVE with the Aalborg Symphony!
Sticky Notes
by Joshua Weilerstein
3M ago
I had the great joy to do my first ever live edition of Sticky Notes last month with the Aalborg Symphony in Denmark. For this concert, I chose a piece that is extremely close to my heart, Dvorak's New World Symphony. The story of the New World Symphony is a fascinating one. The symphony was the result of an extraordinary series of events, with Dvorak coming to America in 1892, meeting the great singer Harry Burleigh, and falling in love with a totally new, to him, genre of music: Black American and Native American folk music. Listening to Burleigh and other voices around America, Dvorak had d ..read more
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Lutoslawski Concerto for Orchestra
Sticky Notes
by Joshua Weilerstein
4M ago
Throughout the history of Western Classical Music, folk music has imprinted itself as an invaluable resource for composers from all over the world. In fact, it’s easier to make a list of composers who never used folk music in their compositions than it is to make a list of the composers who did! This tradition began long before the 20th century, but the work of composers like Bartok and a resurgence in the influence of nationalist music sparked a massive increase in composers using folk music throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. Bartok is thought of as the king of using folk music, a ..read more
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R. Schumann Piano Concerto
Sticky Notes
by Joshua Weilerstein
4M ago
In January of 1839, Clara Wieck, Robert's future wife, wrote to Robert, “Don’t take it amiss if I tell you that I’ve been seized by the desire to encourage you to write for orchestra. Your imagination and your spirit are too great for the weak piano.” Clara knew that she would have struck a nerve with Robert, whose history with the piano was full of trials and tribulations. Robert had trained as a pianist, but a 3 year period of reckless amounts of practicing as well as the exacerbating effects of experimental devices meant to strengthen his fingers had destroyed his ability to play profession ..read more
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What Does Music Mean?
Sticky Notes
by Joshua Weilerstein
4M ago
Today is a bit of an unusual episode. Last month I was invited by the British Society of Aesthetics to address their annual conference. My task was to give a lecture on whatever topic I wanted, having to do with music. So, considering it was an Academic Philosophy conference, I chose the easiest and most straightforward topic possible - What Does Music Mean?  Obviously, this is a topic that has been interrogated from just about every different angle, and I certainly would never claim to have all the answers. But for my lecture, I decided to focus on how to find meaning in these amazing wo ..read more
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William Grant Still Symphony No. 1., "Afro-American"
Sticky Notes
by Joshua Weilerstein
5M ago
On October 29th, 1931, The Rochester Philharmonic presented the world premiere of a new symphony by the composer William Grant Still. A symphonic premiere is always something to look out for in musical history, but this one had an even greater significance. The premiere of Wiliam Grant Still’s First Symphony, subtitled  “Afro American,” was the first time a symphony written by a Black American composer was performed by a leading orchestra. William Grant Still was a man of many firsts, whether he was the first Black American conductor to conduct a major orchestra, the first to have an oper ..read more
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