Classical Music

George Gershwin
Getty Images/PBS

As a composer for the musical comedy stage as we’ll as for the concert hall, George Gershwin was a towering figure in American music of the nineteen-twenties and thirties.

This Sunday we’ll devote the entire three hours of Mozart’s Attic to "The Concert Gershwin," in a program including lots of archival material — much of it featuring George Gershwin himself.

Denis De Marney/Getty Images

With the coming of the 20th century, a new national school of  composition arose in Great Britain. Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Benjamin Britten and others were writing music that was nothing like that of the continent, which had dominated classical music for some two centuries. We'll look at these new sounds from Albion this Sunday.

Lisa Ferrigno
Brevard Symphony Orchestra

BSO Concertmaster Lisa Ferrigno will perform the virtuosic solo violin part in Vivaldi’s most well-known work, The Four Seasons. Each “Season” is considered a violin concerto on its own, though all four are typically performed together, and are collectively known as some of the most acclaimed programmatic compositions of all time. Listen carefully for a barking dog, buzzing flies, drunk dancers, and the crackling of a warm fire.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Vasily Czechowski / Wikipedia

The critics continued to pan his technique, but the audiences came to love Tchaikovsky's melodies, and by 1888, he was among the most famous composers in Europe, decorated by the Czar, and soon to embark on a tour to New York for the opening of Carnegie Hall.

It was time for another symphony -- his fifth --  and we'll hear it this week on Mozart's Attic. The critics didn't like it, but the years have been kinder to Tchaikovsky than to them.

Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony wasn't an immediate success. The critics largely panned it, like they did the First Piano and Violin Concerti. But time was Tchaikovsky's friend, and these three works began winning an audience; they have become some of the most frequently performed works of the Russian Romantic period to this day.

We'll hear the Fourth Symphony this Sunday, as we proceed with our look at the six numbered Tchaikovsky symphonies.