WFIT Features


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.


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.


By 1811, Beethoven's hearing had deteriorated to the point that he could no longer play with an ensemble.

He was an angry man, and who can blame him?

Even though he knew he would never perform his Piano Concerto No. 5, he wrote it as if for himself, channelling his rage into a withering piano part in this, his final piece in that form.

Igor Stravinsky
Erich Auerbach / Getty Images

This week's featured work, Petrouchka, is Igor Stravinsky's ballet score for a fantastic and tragic tale of three puppets brought to life by a charlatan puppeteer on Shrove Tuesday, the pre-lenten day of festivities also known as Mardi Gras.

And our series of the Beethoven Piano Concerti continues  with Number Four, once again featuring Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting from the keyboard.