Richard Strauss was born 100 years ago. Strauss was not only one of the most famous composers of the 20th century, he was also one of the most renowned conductors. He was thus in the almost unique position to conduct on records definitive performances of his own works. We will assess the recorded legacy of Richard Strauss' musical heritage.
Classics of the Phonograph with John Frayne
Summertime is the time for outdoor concerts, and also a time for the music to go light. We'll look back at such past masters of the pops concert as Arthur Fiedler with the Boston Pops Orchestra, and also check out some famous summer concert venues.
Andrea Gabrieli and his nephew Giovanni were organists and music directors at the Cathedral of St. Mark in the days of Venice's glory, from the late 16th century to the early 17th century. They wrote multi-voiced compositions for the great cathedral in Venice, and over the past decades, performers have tired to record and duplicate the original sounds of their splendid pieces in the same cathedral or other locations. We will hear some of these records.
One of the orchestras to emerge on the national scene during the early years of the CD was the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. With Gerard Schwartz as conductor, this orchestra on Delos CDs issued a number of outstanding performances, especially of American composers such as Howard Hanson. This orchestra and label showed yet once more the power of recordings in establishing a national, if not international, reputation.
Most performing musicians have a store of encores to play after the serious music of the concert or recital is over. A good encore is usually short, has immediate appeal, and most of the time a change of pace and mood from what has gone before. We'll play some of the favorite encores of famous violinists, from the days of Fritz Kreisler, to the today of Gil Shaham.
In 1979, the conductor Leonard Slatkin began a 17-year tenure as music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. During those years, Slatkin and that orchestra issued a series of recordings that raised the St. Louis ensemble to the ranks of one of the ten best orchestras in the U.S. Due to the decline in classical recording, that feat may not be duplicated in a very long time. We'll sample some of their recordings.
Two conductors who recorded much of the standard repertory in early days of the LP were Igor Markevich and Hermann Scherchen. Markevich recorded for the Deutsche Grammophon label, and Scherchen became famous recording for Westminster. Once, their records were widely available, but few of their performances have been transferred to CDs. We will look at their recording careers.
The 1930s were a great era for the revival of Mozart's music. Sir Thomas Beecham's recordings of Mozart's music with the London Philharmonic set a enviably high standard. The recording of Mozart's operas at the Glyndebourne festival began the revival of these works on international stages. Pianists such as Arthur Schnabel and Edwin Fischer made famous recordings of Mozart's concertos and chamber works. We will sample some of the great recordings.
A vast amount of music from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, especially from the Baroque era, is now available on recordings. It was not always so. The attempts of pioneers in recording old music in authentic performances began only in the 1930s. In the next 20 years, ambitious collections were put on discs, such as the Anthologie Sonore from France. Famous teachers, such as Nadia Boulanger, made pioneering recordings of Monteverdi madrigals. We'll listen to some of these trail-blazing recordings.
The Utah Symphony Orchestra has been an anomaly among American orchestras. A regional orchestra, far from traditional centers of classical music, it long enjoyed the dynamic direction of a world famous conductor, Maurice Abravanel. And their fame was generated by the loyal support of Vanguard records, which supported this organization in daring ventures, such as one of the first recordings of the complete Mahler Symphonies. We'll sample some of their recordings.