By American Public Media
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Composers Datebook is a daily two-minute program designed to inform, engage, and entertain listeners with timely information about composers of the past and present. Each program notes significant or intriguing musical events involving composers of the past and present—with appropriate and accessible music related to each.
||CleanHenry Brant||On today’s date in 2001, the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas gave the first performance of a new work by the American composer Henry Brant. The new piece was entitled “Ice Field,...||12/11/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanCowell at the Forum||The Great Depression put many Americans out of work, and in 1935 the Roosevelt administration created the Works Progress Administration, putting some of the unemployed to work on various public pro...||12/10/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMusic for Emily||The great American poet Emily Dickinson was born on today’s date in 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she lived until her death in 1886. The seemingly confined and rather mundane chronicle of ...||12/9/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanPolitically Correct and Incorrect Glinka||The 19th century Russian composer Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka ranks as the founder of a distinctive national style of Russian classical music, and as the composer of the first great Russian opera, whi...||12/8/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJean Sibelius||The great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius was born on this date in 1865. In 1990, when the world was observing Sibelius’s 125th birthday, conductor Osmo Vänskä led the Lahti Symphony in the belated...||12/7/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanRuggles on the mountaintop||It’s perhaps not surprising that a solitary, iconoclastic 20th century composer should identify with a solitary, iconoclastic 18th century poet. The ultra-modernist American composer Carl Ruggles t...||12/6/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanSchumann and Prokofiev in private||Two famous pieces of chamber music had their premieres on today’s date, both at private readings prior to their first public performances. On today’s date in 1842, the German Romantic composer Rob...||12/5/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanBerlioz gets snuffed?||“Snuff” is a finely pulverized tobacco that can be, well, “snuffed” through the nose (and Kids—don’t try this at home!) In the 19th century, taking snuff was a common practice, and on today’s date...||12/4/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanBruckner's New York debut||On today’s date in 1885, at an open public rehearsal at the Old Metropolitan Opera House, the New York Symphony gave the first performance in America of any symphony by the Austrian composer Anton ...||12/3/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanBach Begins the Church Year||In many denominations, the Christian calendar or liturgical year begins with the season of Advent, the four Sundays preceding Christmas. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin “adventus,” which me...||12/2/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMessiaen in Boston||On today’s date in 1949, Leonard Bernstein conducted the Boston Symphony in the first complete performance of Olivier Messiaen’s ten-movement, 75-minute long “Turangalila” Symphony. “Turangalila” ...||12/1/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanStravinsky and Balanchine count to 12||On today’s date in 1957, the New York City Ballet staged a new collaboration between the great Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky and the great Russian-born choreographer Georges Balanchine. Th...||11/30/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanPicker picks a plot||Ever wonder how composers choose a story for an opera? Here’s one answer, courtesy of the American composer Tobias Picker: “My sister was dusting her bookshelf in 1998, and a copy of Emile Zola’s...||11/29/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanScarlatti Arrives||On today’s date in 1719, the Papal ambassador in Lisbon noted the arrival of a fellow Italian, a composer named Domenico Scarlatti. Domenico was in his early 30s, and the son of Alessandro Scarlatt...||11/28/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanGriffes for pleasure||On today’s date in 1919, the eminent French conductor Pierre Monteux, led the Boston Symphony in the premiere performance of “The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan,” a new orchestral score written by the...||11/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanKorngold writes a symphony||On today’s date in 1972, Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Symphony in F-sharp received its first successful concert performance by the Munich Philharmonic led by Rudolf Kempe. A recording was made of the ...||11/26/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanA belated Schumann premiere||On today’s date in 1937, a gala concert in Berlin presented the premiere performance of Robert Schumann’s Violin Concerto in D-minor, a work composed in the fall of 1853, shortly before Schumann’s ...||11/25/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanBach's "wake up" call?||In the course of his life as a church musician, Johann Sebastian Bach probably wrote 300 sacred cantatas. That seems like a high number to us, but consider that his contemporaries Telemann and Grau...||11/24/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanDiamond's "Rounds"||In 1944, while the Second World War ground on in Europe and Asia, the American composer David Diamond received a commission from Dimitri Mitropoulos, who was then the conductor of the Minneapolis S...||11/23/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanShort (but tough) Copland||On today’s date in 1934, after 10 intense rehearsals, the Orquestra Sinfonica de Mexico, conducted by the Mexican Carlos Chávez, gave the premiere performance of the Symphony No. 2 of the American ...||11/22/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMusic for St. Cecilia's Day||Today is the Feast Day of St. Cecilia, an early Christian martyr. Her story dates back to Roman times, when the new religion was still punishable by death. It wasn’t until the 15th century, howev...||11/21/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanHarbison's "Flight into Egypt"||On today’s date in 1986, at the New England Conservatory of Music’s Jordan Hall, a new choral work by the American composer John Harbison received its premiere performance. This work, for soprano,...||11/20/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMeredith Monk||Today is the birthday of the American composer, singer, dancer and choreographer Meredith Monk, who was born in New York City on today’s date in 1942. Monk attended Sarah Lawrence College, where ...||11/19/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanGershwin's last film score||In the summer of 1936, the songwriting team of George and Ira Geshwin settled their affairs in New York, put their furniture in storage, and flew off to Hollywood to fulfill a contract with the RKO...||11/18/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Wagners attend a Brahms premiere||Falling in love with someone else’s spouse can result in divorce, emotional turmoil, or (in the case of composers) some very Romantic music. Take the case of Brahms, who for most of his adult lif...||11/17/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanHoover for flute and guitar||The intimate combination of flute and guitar has proven to be an attractive one for a number of composers -- and if the composer herself plays the flute, so much the better. This music is from a f...||11/16/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Philadelphia Sound||In the year 1900, a German-born conductor named Fritz Scheel conducted two orchestral programs in Philadelphia billed as the “Philippines Concerts.” These were benefits, as contemporary ads put it:...||11/15/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanHerschel Looks Up||Today is the birthday of a quite remarkable 18th century British composer, Sir William Herschel, who was born in Hannover, Germany, on this date in 1738. Herschel’s father was a regimental oboist,...||11/14/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanWaggoner's Second||In the fall of 1995, the American composer Andrew Waggoner received a commission from the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic of the Czech Republic for a new orchestral work to be premiered the following...||11/13/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanDisney's "Fantasia"||On today’s date in 1940, Disney's animated film Fantasia opened at New York's Broadway Theater. It proved to be a landmark film on a number of fronts: first, it was a milestone in cultural “cross...||11/12/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
As a music student in college and a young composer, I find this podcast to be very informative. If you enjoy this podcast, you should check out Naxos' Classical Music Spotlight Podcast as it goes more in depth (average length of 20 minutes).
At last, from my email to my iPod
I have enjoyed this as an email for a long time. It's good to see it as a podcast. As always, I wish the music portion would be longer.
This is a wonderful snippit. I always enjoy it. I also wish the music portion was longer. Maybe it's just long (short?) enough for many people. I have followed through on many of the works mentioned.