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This classical music podcast explores the history and lives of some of western classical music's most famous composers and musicians. Classical music is filled with very colorful personalities and riddled with drama of all kinds, from political intrigue to failed romances and everything in between. Through the course of the show, we will discuss composers and musicians from the distant past all the way to the present, beginning with the greatest, JS Bach. -Please rate, review, and subscribe ...
 
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Ep 42(b) - It is early 1865. Brahms's mother has just passed away. Filled with emotion he grudgingly moves from winter to spring, entering a long period of deep and private mourning during which he would retreat into himself for a time in order to gather his thoughts and energies, and orient them toward a grand act of artistic creation in which he …
 
Ep. 42(a) - It is late November 1862. We find Johannes Brahms in Vienna making a great success of himself for once but reeling from a devastating blow given him by the musical establishment of Hamburg. He will try to pick himself up and carry on with his work, compartmentalizing the tenderness he felt for one place from the bitterness for the other…
 
In Ep. 41 Johannes Brahms continues his toil, conducing the ladies' choir, playing concerts, and composing; working to build a life and career brick by brick with the sweat of his brow and the help of his friends. He hoped for a permanent position in Hamburg that would lead to a settled, traditional life and some financial security. Brahms's effort…
 
In ep. 40 we find Johannes Brahms struggling to recover and learn from the defeat of his D minor Piano Concerto at Leipzig's Gewandhaus in January 1859. Despite nearing mastery in his craft and the untiring support of his friends he was yet unable to find a consistently appreciative audience. Success and failure, ridicule and praise, applause and h…
 
I'm pleased to welcome to the show Rebecca Smithorn, cover conductor and lecturer with the National Philharmonic. Rebecca is host of the NatPhil's YouTube series "Composers in Crisis" which takes a look at composers whose lives and art were transformed by times of global crisis. In our interview we talk about several composers in crisis: Beethoven,…
 
In Ep. 38 we pick up with Johannes Brahms and Clara Schumann in the weeks following Robert Schumann's death in July 1856, trying to make sense of their relationship and love. They have a crucial, incredibly difficult decision to make and its consequences will color the rest of their lives. All the while, Brahms struggles to complete his first piano…
 
Stay healthy and well! Ep. 37 – In late 1853, having impressed important musicians across Germany, especially Robert and Clara Schumann, Johannes Brahms planned for the publication of his first opuses. His star was rising in the musical world and he had much to be proud of, but a terrible tragedy loomed on the horizon which threatened to derail his…
 
In this special episode "Antonio Stradivari, and the Violin Makers of Cremona" we explore the lives of Cremona's greatest violin makers. Cremona's violin making tradition began with Andrea Amati in the mid-16th century, and lasted until the death of Giuseppe Guarneri "del Gesù" some two hundred years later. In between these two men came many remark…
 
Ep. 35 - In April 1853, Johannes Brahms left Hamburg with the Hungarian violinist Eduard Reményi for a short concert tour of North German towns. After performing in small venues and for small crowds to great success, the duo decided to try their luck in Hanover. There they met one of the most important musicians of the day, who sent them visit anot…
 
In Ep. 34 we see Johannes Brahms complete his adolescence and become a young adult. Along the way he is tested severely, leading a double life as a serious music student by day and dance hall pianist by night. Delicate and prone to migraines as a youth, this taxing work nearly ruined Johannes's physical and mental health. But as always, in times of…
 
In Ep. 33, The Life of Johannes Brahms, pt. 1 "A Cup Half Full" we meet the great composer's father, Johann Jakob Brahms. Jakob was a versatile musician who could play several instruments. He wasn't the most talented of musicians, but he was determined to succeed. In 1826 he went to Hamburg and began working as a lowly beer-fiddler. After establish…
 
In this introduction to the life of Johannes Brahms we rhapsodize on key themes in the great composer's life, and begin to sketch his unique position in the history of music. ---------------- Try nkoda for free! https://www.nkoda.com They have all the digital sheet music you could ever need right on one app. Find it in your favorite app store. I us…
 
Ep. 31 sees our Bach saga come to an end. We meet Sebastian Bach's grandson, Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst, the last musician of his line. Then we see how the family legacy was carried on by those who were Bach's in spirit but not name. Finally, we follow a few members of the family as they spread to other parts of Europe and then America. Music heard in…
 
In Ep. 30, we see Johann Christian Bach round out his time in Italy by planning a new trip to London. While in London, he became immensely famous and was even given a position in the royal household of King George III and his Queen, Charlotte. Johann Christian, or as he preferred to be called, John, enjoyed a swift rise to fame. It lasted for nearl…
 
In Ep. 29 we follow the Great Bach's youngest son, Johann Christian born 1735, from his childhood to the early years of his maturity. Christian was one of the most brilliant and successful musicians the Bach family ever produced and he achieved a level of fame none of them ever did during their lifetimes. Christian was unique in his family and neve…
 
In Ep. 28, we take a closer look at the life of Anna Magdalena Wilcke, beloved second wife of Sebastian Bach. Anna came from a long line of musicians, and was an accomplished musician herself. At the age of 20, or possibly sooner, she attained a coveted position as soprano in the Cöthen Capelle then under Sebastian's direction, who often featured h…
 
In Ep. 27, The Lives of Some Other Bachs, pt. 4 “Carl Philipp Emanuel and the Prussian Blues” we see Emanuel Bach suffer many more years in service to King Frederick the Great of Prussia, unable to find employment elsewhere. His perpetual good cheer served him well during these troubled years and he continued to compose and make a success of himsel…
 
In Ep. 26 - The Lives of Some Other Bachs, pt. 3 "Carl Philipp Emanuel and All the King's Men" we will meet the Great Bach's second son, Carl Phillip Emanuel. Despite having much the same upbringing, Emanuel managed to make a success of himself while Friedemann did not. Independent, friendly, and worldly wise, Emanuel left his father's home ready t…
 
In Ep. 25, The Lives of Some Other Bachs, pt. 2 "Wilhelm Friedemann, The Golden Child" we explore the life of Sebastian Bach's eldest son, Friedemann (1710-1784). While he was alive, Sebastian did everything he could to support Friedemann's career. He wrote music for him, gave him instruction manuals, and even wrote at least one job application let…
 
In Ep. 24 "The Grapes of the Vine" we will follow the Bach family tree from its founding member, Veit Bach, all the way down to JS Bach and his first born son Wilhelm Friedemann. For nearly three centuries, the Bach's produced musician after musician. All were highly skilled in their craft and some became quite famous. Not only did JS Bach's childr…
 
In Ep. 23 we welcome another very special guest, Judith Chernaik, author of the book “Schumann: the Faces and the Masks”. She and I had an in-depth discussion about her book, a brilliant telling of the tragic and beautiful story that is the life of Robert Schumann. Be sure to pick up her book wherever books are sold and at the link below! It is wel…
 
In Ep. 22 I am pleased to bring you a very special guest, Suzanne Bona, host of the syndicated radio program "Sunday Baroque". We met up at WGUC studios in downtown Cincinnati and enjoyed a wide ranging discussion about her show, her life, and lots of interesting musical things! She was also kind enough to let us hear a sample of her program at abo…
 
Ep. 21 - "Through the Looking Glass" --- Its 1974, and the great composers of the Western avant-garde continue to drift ever further apart. Stockhausen tours the globe and dreams of a life among the stars, Boulez becomes a world-renowned conductor, John Cage adds to his growing list of artistic pursuits, and György Ligeti settles down to a life as …
 
Ep. 20b...Continuing where we left off... The Life of György Ligeti, pt. 2 "A Composer in Wonderland" we see our great composer through the 1960's and into the early 70's, discussing his music of that period in detail. Having at last achieved some success with the orchestral works "Apparitions" and "Atmospheres" Ligeti would rattle off a few non-mu…
 
In Ep. 20a, we join the Hungarian refugee, György Ligeti, as he explores the musical wonderland that was the Free West. The year is 1957, and a shivering, disheveled Ligeti has just landed on the doorstep of the great German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Stockhausen will show Ligeti all that he had been missing in the world of composition over th…
 
In Ep. 19, The Life of György Ligeti, pt. I "Down the Rabbit Hole" we explore the life of György Ligeti from 1923 to 1957. During this period, Ligeti and his fellow Hungarians would suffer under political domination and from social oppression by the Nazis and then the Russian Soviets. Fed up with their totalitarian overlords, the Hungarians in 1956…
 
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