WFIT Features

Felix Mendelssohn
NPR

In 1829, Felix Mendelssohn embarked on a walking tour of Scotland, and found inspiration there for a symphony, among other works. Perfectionist that he was, he struggled with it for years before debuting his Scottish Symphony.

A half century after Mendelssohn's hike. Max Bruch found his Scottish inspiration in a collection of sheet music in the Munich library. He wasted no time in writing a Scottish Fantasy.

Marco Borggreve/Boston Symphony Orchestra

With the state of the recording industry these days, you may well not have had the opportunity to hear some of the conductors who are now leading our major orchestras. We'll feature two of them on this week's program.

Andris Nelsons, now in his fifth season at the Boston Symphony conducts Shostakovich, and Jaap van Zweden -- brand new at the New York Philharmonic -- conducts Stravinsky.

Both orchestras are in good hands. Listen this Thursday night and see what you think.

NPR

In 1837, piano virtuoso Franz Liszt set out to transcribe all nine Beethoven symphonies for his instrument. He nearly gave up, but after 13 years, he completed the task.

These were transcriptions, not arrangements or simplified reductions. Every note of Beethoven's is there -- and they are devilish things to play.

We'll look at one of them this week. The Symphony No. 7 in piano transcription by Franz Liszt is the featured work for our next program.

American composer Aaron Copland
American composer Aaron Copland. (Cleland Rimmer/Getty Images)

He was the kid from Brooklyn who captured the vastness of the American scene in his music.

He was the composer of some of our most iconic patriotic compositions, yet was blacklisted as un-American in the pamphlet Red Channels, and was grilled by Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn.

He could write complex modern works, but chose instead to simplify and simplify again, in order to remain accessible to the average listener.

We'll look at music of Aaron Copland this week, and we'll include a couple of the best-known works of this 20th-century Dean of American Composers.

NPR

Hector Berlioz subtitled his Symphonie Fantastique "An Episode in the Life of an Artist."

What sort of an artist is it who has drug-induced nightmares of Jealousies, murder, and his own hanging and funeral culminating in a hellish celebration of death? Was this entirely a figment of Berlioz's imagination, or was there some basis for it all -- and if that was the case, Who was this artist?

We'll look into that this Thursday night.

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