Program Notes

Each week, thousands of San Francisco Symphony concert-goers open their programs to read about the drama, the passion, and the inspiration behind the music they’re hearing. You can read our critically acclaimed program notes online one week prior to select concerts. 

Adams, J.:  Chamber Symphony

Adams, J.: Grand Pianola Music

Adams, J.L.: The Light That Fills the World

Adams, S.: Radial Play

Adams, S.: Drift and Providence

Adams, S.: Drift and Providence

Adams: Absolute Jest

Adès: In Seven Days

Adès: Scenes from the Tempest

Adès: Three Studies from Couperin

Aho: Minea - Concertante Music for Orchestra

Antheil: A Jazz Symphony

Bach, C.P.E.: Cello Concerto in A Major, Wq 172 (H.439)

Bach, C.P.E.: Symphony in G Major, Wq 183,4 (H.666)

Bach, J.S.: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3

Bach, J.S.: Brandenburg Concertos 
No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048
No. 2 in F major, BWV 1047
No. 6 in B-flat major, BWV 1051

Bach, J.S.: Cantata, Auf, schmetternde Töne der muntern Trompeten, BWV 207a

Bach, J.S.: Cantata, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, BWV 51

Bach, J.S.: Concerto No. 3 for Two Violins, Strings, and Continuo, BWV 1043

Bach, J.S.: Keyboard Concerto No. 2 in E Major, BWV 1053 │ Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, BWV 1052

Bach, J.S.: Keyboard Concerto No. 2 in E Major, BWV 1053 │ Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, BWV 1052

Bach, J.S.: Keyboard Concerto No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1054

Bach, J.S.: Orchestral Suite No. 3, BWV 1068

Bach, J.S.: Orchestral Suite No. 4, BWV 1069

Bach, J.S.: Violin Concerto No. 1 in a Minor BWV 1041 │ Concerto in D Minor for Oboe and Violin, BWV 1060

Bach, J.S.: Wedding Cantata, BWV 202

Bach, J.S.: Missa

Barbary Coast and Beyond: Music from the Gold Rush to the Panama-Pacific Exposition

Barber: Adagio for Strings, Opus 11

Barber: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 14

Barber: The School for Scandal Overture, Opus 5

Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra

Bartók: Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, Opus 11

Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3

Bartók: Suite from The Wooden Prince

Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin, Opus 19

Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2

Bates: Alternative Energy

Bates: Liquid Interface for Orchestra and Electronica

Bates: The B-sides: Five Pieces for Orchestra and Electronica

Beethoven: Adelaide

Beethoven: Cantata on the Death of the Emperor Joseph II

Beethoven: Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 61

Beethoven: Concerto No. 3 in C Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 37 

Beethoven: Concerto No. 4 in G Major for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 58

Beethoven: Concerto No. 5 in E‑flat Major for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 73, Emperor

Beethoven: Fidelio

Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3, Opus 72a

Beethoven: Missa solemnis

Beethoven: Overture to King Stephen, Opus 117 │ Mass in C Major, Opus 86

Beethoven: Overture to The Creatures Of Prometheus, Opus 43

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Opus 15

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Opus 19

Beethoven: Piano Fantasy in G minor, Opus 77

Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 23, Appassionata

Beethoven: Romance in G Major, Opus 40 │ Romance in F Major, Opus 50 │ Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Opus 92

Beethoven: Sonatina for Mandolin and Fortepiano

Beethoven: String Quartet in E-flat major, Harp

Beethoven: Symphony No. 2 in D Major

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Opus 55, Eroica

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in a Major, Opus 92

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Opus 125

Beethoven: Three Equali for Four Trombones, WoO 30  │  An die ferne Geliebte, Opus 98   │  Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major, Opus 60

Beethoven:  Ah! perfido

Beethoven:  Choral Fantasy, Opus 80

Beethoven:  Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Opus 58

Beethoven:  Re-Creation of Beethoven’s Akademie of December 22, 1808

Beethoven:  Sanctus, from Mass in C major

Beethoven:  Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Opus 67

Beethoven:  Symphony No. 6 in F major, Opus 68, Pastoral

Berg: Three Pieces for Orchestra, Opus 6

Berlioz: Roman Carnival Overture, Opus 9

Berlioz: Scenes from Roméo et Juliette, Opus 17

Berlioz: Te Deum, Opus 22

Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique (Fantastic Symphony: Episode in the Life of an Artist, in Five Parts), Opus 14

Bernstein: West Side Story

Bernstein:  The Age of Anxiety, Symphony No. 2

Brahms: A German Requiem, Opus 45

Brahms: Concerto in A Minor for Violin, Cello, and Orchestra, Opus 102

Brahms: Concerto No. 1 in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 15

Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Opus 83

Brahms: Selections from Eleven Chorale Preludes for Organ, Opus 122

Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Opus 68

Brahms: Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Opus 73

Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E Minor, Opus 98

Brahms: Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 77

Brahms: Warum ist das Licht gegeben dem Mühseligen

Brant: Ice Field

Britten: Double Concerto in B Minor for Violin, Viola, and Orchestra

Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes with Video by Tal Rosner

Britten: Peter Grimes, Opus 33

Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, Opus 31

Britten: Simple Symphony for String Orchestra, Opus 4 

Britten: Suite from The Prince of the Pagodas, Opus 57

Britten: Violin Concerto, Opus 15

Britten: War Requiem, Opus 66

Bruch: Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 26

Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 in E-flat Major, Romantic

Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 in E Major

Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 in C Minor

CAGE: Renga

CAGE: The Seasons

CAGE: The Seasons

Canteloube: From Chants d’Auvergne (Songs of the Auvergne)

Carter: Variations for Orchestra

Chausson: Poème for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 25

Chopin: Concerto No. 2 in F Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 21

Copland: Appalachian Spring

Copland: Danzón Cubano

Copland: Music from the Film Our Town

Copland: Symphonic Ode

Cowell: Music 1957

Debussy: Images pour Orchestre

Debussy: Jeux, Poeme danséC’est l’extase (songs arranged and orchestrated by Robin Holloway) │ La mer

Debussy: La Plus que lente

Debussy: Petite Suite

Debussy: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune

Delibes: Cortège de Bacchus, from Sylvia, Suite for Orchestra

Delius: On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring

Di Castri: Lineage

Dutilleux: Métaboles

Dvořák: Concerto in B Minor for Cello and Orchestra, Opus 104

Dvořák: Legend for Orchestra, Opus 59, No.6

Dvořák: Legends for Orchestra, Opus 59, Nos. 2, 6, and 10

Dvořák: Symphony No. 7 in D Minor, Opus 70

Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Opus 95, From the New World

Elgar:  Cello Concerto in E minor, Opus 85

Elgar: Enigma, Variations on an Original Theme, Opus 36

Falla: Nights in the Gardens of Spain

Fauré: Pavane, Opus 50

Fauré: Requiem, Opus 48

Fedele: Scena

Feldman: Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety

Foss: ". . . then the rocks on the mountain began to shout"—Charles Ives

Gershwin: An American in Paris

Grieg, Schnittke, Holloway: Music for Henrik Ibsen's Dramatic Poem Peer Gynt

Grieg: The Last Spring, Opus 34, No.2

Griffes: The White Peacock

Handel: Messiah

Handel: Messiah, A Sacred Oratorio

Handel: Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day

Handel: Royal Fireworks Music

Handel: Water Music Suite No. 1 in F Major

Handel: Water Music Suite No. 3 in G Major │ Music for the Royal Fireworks

Harrison: The Family of the Court, from Pacifika Rondo

Haydn: Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat Major

Haydn: Symphony No. 103 in E-flat Major, Drumroll

Haydn: Symphony No. 44 in E minor, Mourning

Haydn: Symphony No. 6 in D Major, Le Matin (The Morning) │ Concerto No. 1 in C Major for Cello and Orchestra

Haydn: Symphony No. 93 in D Major

Haydn: Symphony No. 98 in B-flat Major

Haydn: Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major

Herrmann: Vertigo

Honegger: Pacific 231 (Mouvement symphonique No. 1)

Ives / Brant: The Alcotts, from A Concord Symphony

Ives: The Unanswered Question

Ives: Three Places in New England

Jeu de cartes (The Card Game, Ballet in Three Deals)

Kodály: Galántai Tánkoc (Dances of Galánta)

Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 21

Lidholm: Poesis

Ligeti: Concert Românesc (Romanian Concerto)

Ligeti: Lux aeterna

Lindberg: EXPO

Liszt: Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major for Piano and Orchestra

Liszt: Concerto No. 2 in A Major for Piano and Orchestra

Liszt: Mephisto Waltz No. 1

Litolff: Scherzo from Concerto symphonique No. 4, Opus 102

Lully: Overture and Passacaille, from Armide

Lutosławski: Concerto for Orchestra

Mackey: Eating Greens

Mahler: Blumine

Mahler: Symphony No. 3 in D Minor

Mahler: Symphony No. 4 in G major

Mahler: Symphony No. 5 in C‑sharp Minor

Mahler: Symphony No. 7 in E Minor

Mahler: Symphony No. 9 in D Major

Mendelssohn: Concerto in D Minor for Violin and String Orchestra

Mendelssohn: Fingal’s Cave Overture, Opus 26 │ Symphony No. 4 in a Major, Opus 90, Italian

Mendelssohn: Fingal’s Cave Overture, Opus 26 │ Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Opus 90, Italian

Mendelssohn: Suite from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Opus 61 │ Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Opus 60

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Opus 11

Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Opus 56, Scottish

MENDELSSOHN: Violin Concerto in E minor

Milhaud: La Création du monde, Opus 81

Mozart: “Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben,” from Zaide, K.344 (336b)

Mozart: Ave verum corpus, K.618 │ Symphony No. 39 in E-flat Major, K.543

Mozart: Concerto No. 22 in E-flat Major for Piano and Orchestra, K.482

Mozart: Concerto No. 24 in C Minor for Piano and Orchestra, K.491

Mozart: Concerto No. 25 in C Major for Piano and Orchestra, K.503

Mozart: Divertimento in D Major, K.136 (125a) │ Serenade in D Major, K.239, Serenata Notturna

Mozart: Divertimento in F Major for Strings, K.138 (125c)

Mozart: Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio, K.384

Mozart: Piano Concerto in E-flat major, K.271

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K.459

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor, K.466

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K.467

Mozart: Sinfonia concertante in E-flat major, K.364(320d)

Mozart: Symphony No. 31 in D Major, K.297 (300a), Paris

Mozart: Three Arias from Zaide, K.344 (336b)

Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 5 in A Major, K. 219, Turkish

Mozart: “Al desio, di chi t’adora,” K.577, from Le nozze di Figaro

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

Nielsen: Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra, Opus 57

Nielsen: Symphony No. 5, Opus 50, FS 97

Palestrina: Kyrie, Gloria, and Agnus Dei from Missa Papae Marcelli

Pärt: Fratres for Strings and Percussion

Piazzolla: Melodia—Libertango, Two Tangos, Arranged for Violin and Orchestra by Jeremy Cohen

Poulenc: Gloria

Poulenc: Stabat Mater

Prokofiev: Concerto No. 1 in D Major for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 19

Prokofiev: Concerto No. 2 in G Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 16

Prokofiev: Concerto No. 3 in C Major for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 26

Prokofiev: Ivan the Terrible, Opus 116, Oratorio after the Film Score, Arranged by Levon Atovmyan

Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat Major, Opus 10

Prokofiev: Scenes from Romeo and Juliet

Prokofiev: Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, Opus 44

Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, Opus 100

Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Opus 63

Rachmaninoff: “Vocalise,” Opus 34, No.14

Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 2 in C minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 18

Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 43

Rachmaninoff: Symphonic Dances, Opus 45

Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Opus 27

Ravel: Alborada del gracioso

Ravel: Boléro

Ravel: Concerto in D Major for the Left Hand for Piano and Orchestra │ La Valse

Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé

Ravel: L’heure espagnole

Ravel: La Valse

Ravel: Piano Concerto in G Major

Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole

Ravel: Ma Mère l’Oye (Mother Goose)

Respighi: Fontane di Roma (Fountains of Rome) │ Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Symphonic Suite, Opus 35

Rossini: Overture to L’italiana in Algeri

Rossini: Overture to La gazza ladra

Saint-Saëns: Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, Opus 28

Salonen: Nyx

Schnittke: Concerto No. 4 for Violin and Orchestra

Schoenberg: A Survivor from Warsaw for Narrator, Men's Chorus, and Orchestra, Opus 46

Schoenberg:  Chamber Symphony No. 1, Opus 9b

Schubert: Entr’acte No. 3 from Rosamunde, D.797

Schubert: Symphony in B Minor, D. 759, Unfinished

Schubert: Symphony in C Major, D.944, the Great

Schubert: Symphony No. 3 in D Major, D.200

Schulhoff: Allegro con brio, from Symphony No. 5

Schumann: Concerto in A Minor for Cello and Orchestra, Opus 129

Schumann: Concerto in A Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 54

Schumann: Overture to Byron’s Manfred, Opus 115 │ Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Opus 97, Rhenish

Schumann: Overture to Genoveva, Opus 81 │ Concerto in A Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 54

Schumann: Symphony No. 1 in B‑flat Major, Opus 38, Spring

Scriabin: Rêverie, Opus 24

Shostakovich:  Symphony No. 12, The Year 1917

Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Opus 35

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10 in E Minor, Opus 93

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 11 in G Minor, Opus 103, The Year 1905

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 15 in A Major, Opus 141

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Opus 54

Sibelius: Concerto in D Minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 47

Sibelius: Lemminkäinen's Return, Opus 22, No.4

Sibelius: Luonnotar

Sibelius: Night Ride and Sunrise, Opus 55 │ Symphony No. 6, Opus 104

Sibelius: Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Opus 43

Sibelius: Symphony No. 3 in C Major, Opus 52

Sibelius: Valse Triste, Opus 44

Strauss, Johann, Jr.: By the Beautiful Blue Danube

Strauss, R.: Also sprach Zarathustra

Strauss, R.: An Alpine Symphony, Opus 64

Strauss, R.: Concerto for Oboe and Small Orchestra

Strauss: Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, after the Old Rogue’s Tale, Set in Rondo Form for Large Orchestra, Opus 28

Stravinsky: Agon │ Violin Concerto in D Major │ The Rite of Spring

Stravinsky: Concerto in D Major for Violin and Orchestra

Stravinsky: Jeu de cartes

Stravinsky: L’Histoire du soldat

Stravinsky: Les Noces (The Wedding) │ Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring)

Stravinsky: Symphonies of Wind Instruments

Stravinsky: Symphony in Three Movements

Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms

STRAVINSKY: Pulcinella

Stravinsky: Scherzo à la russe

Stravinsky: The Firebird

Stucky: Jeu de timbres

Tchaikovsky: Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 23

Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy-Overture

Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence, Opus 70

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in F Minor, Opus 36

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Opus 64

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Opus 74, Pathétique

Tchaikovsky:  Violin Concerto in D major

Traditional: Russian Village Wedding Songs

Traditional: Works for Gamelan Ensemble

Vivaldi: Concerto in C Major for Piccolo, Strings, and Continuo, RV. 443

Vivaldi: Summer, from The Four Seasons, Opus 8, No.2

Volkert, Mark: Pandora

Wagner: “Die Frist ist um,” from Der fliegende Holländer

Wagner: Overture to Tannhäuser

Wagner: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde

Wagner: Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin

Wagner: Wotan’s Farewell and Magic Fire Music, from Die Walküre

Wong: Carnival Fever