WFIT Features

In the United Kingdom, Veterans Day is celebrated with red paper poppies pinned to lapels in remembrance of those who served in World War I. The practice caught on after the bloody battlefields of France bloomed with red poppies following the war. Every year, British people wear these red flower pins for about a month leading up to Nov. 11, and buying one of these paper flowers funds veterans groups. The U.K. memorializes the end of World War I with purpose and style.

In 1733, Bach found himself in a competition with  Vivaldi, Albinoni, Telemann, and several other musicians for a position with the court orchestra in Dresden -- Bach was always looking to improve his job status, and he sent along some portions of a Mass to demonstrate his skills as a composer.

Well, Bach didn't get the job. Neither did Vivaldi, Albinoni, or Telemann. But eventually, Bach completed his Mass in B minor, and we turned out to be the true winners of the 1733 competition. We'll hear it this Sunday. (Nov.11). 

Cyprien Katsaris

This week we come to the end of the cycle of the nine Beethoven symphonies, transcribed by Franz Liszt, and performed by Cyprien Katsaris. Beethoven's Ninth stands as one of the monumental works in all of music, and it was no simple task to reduce it  for solo piano and still include every note of the original.  Liszt  gave up in frustration several times before finally succeeding. Neither is it easy to play, as is evidenced by the small number of pianists who have ventured to record it.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Wikimedia Commons

We've got a set of music from seven less-well-known composers, born in the second half of the last century, with seven different ideas about new directions for music in the post-modern era.

The cycle of the Liszt Transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies continues, and then we'll take a look at two faces of 19th-century Russian Romanticism with music of Tchaikovsky and Borodin.


Jacqueline du Pre recorded the Elgar Cello Concerto with John Barbirolli and the London Symphony in 1965. Besides bringing the fairly obscure work to the public's attention, the record made her an international superstar -- one of the young musicians of the post-war generation who would dominate solo performance into the next century.

That's what everyone thought, but Multiple Sclerosis destroyed her career, and eventually destroyed her.

This Sunday, we'll hear du Pre at the top of her form, playing the Elgar, a brilliant future still ahead of her.