Friday, May 2, 2014

Montage # 154 – Schumann & Tchaikovsky Symphonies no. 1

As of  May 30, 2014, this montage will no longer be available on Pod-O-Matic. It can be heard or downloaded from the Internet Archive at the following address:


I remember, when I was a student, listening to a station emanating from the Greater Toronto Area that prided itself in "not playing the same songs twice". Obviously, how many times a week can one expect to hear "Stairway to Heaven", even if it is a true classic of the Rock repertoire?

In putting together content for this blog, I have tried to avoid "going back to the well". I have set some tracks multiple times, and at least twice without realizing I had already programmed them! I mean, there's well-over 500 years of music, thousands upon thousands of composers, why then always go back and re-program works?

Well, this month, I'm purposely going back to works we already sampled. Why? Because, in many cases, these works were only programmed as "fragments" - a single movement, a single song from a set of lieder, etc, etc. Thus, this is why I've called this month's arc "Unfinished Business".

This week;s pair of works have a few things in common: they are both "first symphonies", they are both inspired by seasons, and they are both important - albeit not necessarily most important - compositions for their respective composers.

In our "Spring" podcast, I programmed a number of work frangments from: Grieg's Lyric Pieces for piano, Copland's Appalachian Spring, Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (which ended up getting re-programmed in its entirety the following year) and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde, as well as Schumann's First Synphony subtitled "Spring". Oft recorded, this symphony is light-hearted and very appropriate for the season. The performance this week, as was the case originally, is that conducted by Riccardo Chailly and the Concertgebouw orchestra.

I realize that winter was especially hard this year (remember the Polar Vertex?) but I wanted to go back to unfinished business from our "Winter" Podcast. Along with an incomplete performance of Verdi's "Four Seasons" ballet from I Vespri Siciliani, I had programmed a movement from Tchaikovsky's Winter Daydreams symphony. Some will say that this early work doesn't stack up to the great trio of late symphonies we programmed very early on in our podcasting project, however it does have great atmosphere and this performance by Andrew Litton and the Bouremouth Symphony has its fair share of charm.

I think you will love this music too!

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