Classical Music

Music In The Making: Musical Time Travelling

Featuring music from various time periods, genres and countries!


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On this week’s episode, we bring you a sample of music from various time periods and styles, from Ligeti to Tchaikovsky to Ewazen and more!

György Ligeti – Études pour piano, Book I: Cordes à vide (1985)
Melvin Chen, piano
Moores Opera House

Our first selection on this program is a short piano work by Ligeti, one of the most famous avant-garde composers of the twentieth century. The title of this piece, Cordes à vide, translates to “open strings.” It seems to be a relatively simple work that begins with sparse material, but it grows increasingly complex as the piece continues onward. This work was dedicated to Pierre Boulez, the famous conductor and composer who passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 90.

Charles Gounod – Petite symphonie (1885)
Winds of the Shepherd School Sinfonietta; Larry Rachleff, conductor.
Stude Concert Hall

Our next selection is a bit of a rare find – a piece for only wind instruments written before the twentieth century. Before the 1900’s, this genre was almost impossible to find. There were a handful of small pieces written for this grouping by Mozart and Dvorak, but none of these were comparable to the grand scale of wind music that is composed today. However, among these smaller works is a piece by Gounod called the Petite symphonie. Gounod stays true to the title and writes this work as a small symphony, featuring only nine winds with a single flute and pairs of clarinets, oboes, bassoons and horns.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 4 in F minor – II. Andantino in modo di canzona (1878)
Moores School Symphony Orchestra; Franz Anton Krager, conductor
Moores Opera House

Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony was not always as popular as it is with audiences today. At first, this monumental symphony was met with disdain from both audiences and critics. However, this symphony became loved for it’s courageous and bold first movement, playful scherzo and wildly fun finale. Tonight we’ll be listening to the second movement of this work. The movement is given the words Andantino in modo di canzona, which translates to “in the mode of a song.” As you might expect from these directions, the players are challenged to sing with their instruments as Tchaikovsky’s lyrical melody is passed throughout the orchestra.

Picture of composer Eric Ewazen
Composer Eric Ewazen

Eric Ewazen – Frost Fire (1990)
The Moores Brass Quintet: Jim Vassallo, trumpet; Troy Rowley, trumpet; Philip Stanton, horn; Brian Kauk, trombone; Mark Barton, tuba
Moores Opera House

Our finale selection comes from a composer you may not be familiar with – Eric Ewazen. Currently on faculty at the Juilliard School, he is one of this century’s most popular and prolific composers. This next work was written in 1990 as a commissioned project for the 40th anniversary of the American Brass Quintet. This intricate work has since become a staple of the brass quintet repertoire in the past 20 years.

This episode originally aired Sunday, January 24th, 2016. Catch Music in the Making every Sunday at 7:06 PM on Classical 91.7.