Program Note Podcasts

Get Concert Insights On the Go

The Symphony’s free Program Note Podcast Series highlights a great work being performed each week by the orchestra. Hosted by KDFC’s Rik Malone, the podcasts feature music from Symphony concerts and recordings, and commentary based on our award-winning program notes by James Keller and Michael Steinberg. You can hear them on the way to the concert, on your smart phone or computer. Listen here, and subscribe to get future episodes automatically.

Stravinsky’s The Firebird

Stravinsky
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Serge Diaghilev was turned down by four composers before turning to Igor Stravinsky to write the music for a new production by the Ballet Russe.  Luckily, Stravinsky, eager to try his hand at a ballet, had already been working on the music for a month, and their artistic relationship went on to produce Petrushka and The Rite of Spring

Mahler's Symphony No. 4

Mahler
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Mahler's sunny Symphony No. 4 ends with a song - a child's description of heaven. But it is also full of reminders of the vastness of his musical universe.

Stravinsky's Pulcinella

Stravinsky
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When Igor Stravinsky wrote his ballet Pulcinella, he looked to the past for inspiration, but he ended up inspiring his own future.

Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra

Bartók
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After fleeing Hungary during World War II for the United States, Béla Bartók was commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky, conductor of the Boston Symphony, to write a piece for orchestra.  This resulted in one of Bartók’s best-known works, the Concerto for Orchestra, which contains a parody of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7.

Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2

Rachmaninoff
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After nearly being expelled from conservatory and enduring the disastrous premiere of his first symphony, Rachmaninoff didn’t write a note of music for three years. His recovery was affirmed by the 1901 premiere of his famously beautiful 2nd Piano Concerto.

Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 1

Schoenberg
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Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1 is full of passion and energy, channeling the past on the way to the future.

Bruckner's Symphony No. 8

Bruckner
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Anton Bruckner's symphonies are monumental cathedrals of sound, and his Symphony No. 8 is one of his grandest; composer Hugo Wolf called it "the absolute victory of light over darkness."

Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements

Stravinsky
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Living in Hollywood in the 1940s, Igor Stravinsky couldn't help but be influenced by the movies. His Symphony in Three Movements was almost entirely inspired by films—whether or not he cared to admit it.

Schumann’s Symphony No. 1

Schumann
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Schumann's Symphony No. 1 - "born in a fiery hour" - is as personal, original, and fresh as the season that gave it its nickname: Spring

Haydn’s Symphony No. 103

Haydn
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For Haydn, who had spent most of his career unaware of his growing fame, success in London wasn't a roll of the dice - it was a roll of the drum.

Handel’s Water Music Suite No. 1

Handel
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Handel's graceful Water Music is the perfect accompaniment to a night in the concert hall, or a night out on the river with the King!

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