WFIT Features

This week we arrive at the mid-point in our series of the five Beethoven piano concerti. With his dramatic third concerto, Beethoven gives us some of the first inklings of where he was about to take orchestral music: a place from which it would never return to the high Classical style  that had come before.

We'll look at some 20th- and 21st-century American music this week. Can it tell us where music is headed in our century? No, you need a crystal ball for that.

Similarly, at the cusp of the 19th century, no one could have predicted where music was going. But something was about to happen, and Beethoven's second piano concerto was a harbinger of what was to come.

Musical evolution then and now: we know what happened then, maybe we'll catch some hints at what's about to happen now.

Beethoven arrived in Vienna determined to take the big city by storm, and with his first piano concerto, he was well on his way. By the time of his fifth concerto, his world was falling apart . Listen to the process as we begin a five-week series of the piano concerti this week with Vladimir Ashkenazy as both soloist and conductor with the Cleveland Orchestra.

In his short life, Franz Schubert produced a tremendous body of music of a quality that places him firmly among the great masters, very little of it reflecting the poverty, disease, and rejection that he struggled with.

He was born 222 years ago this Thursday, and we'll observe the occasion with a two-hour Schubertiad of our own.

Arnold Schoenberg's influence loomed large over the composers and academics of the 20th century, but his complex, atonal serialism was never a favorite with the concert-going public. This week we'll look at a few of his earlier, more accessible works that most people can enjoy.

Then we'll have a little party up in the attic to celebrate Mozart's birthday, upcoming on the 27th.