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Everyone knows Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.  Even if United Airlines hadn’t made the piece ubiquitous, it seems like the one piece of classical music almost everyone knows besides the beginning of Beethoven’s 5th symphony is Rhapsody in Blue.  But did you know that Gershwin wrote a second rhapsody for piano and orchestra?   We know Shostakovich’s later works for their intensity, drama, and depth, but did you know that Shostakovich was a completely different composer when he was a young man?  That he wrote funny, sarcastic, and wildly experimental music?   How about Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber and his Battalia a 10?  Or Ethel Smyth’s string quintet? Or the music of Teresa Carreno? Leonard Bernstein used to talk about the infinite variety of classical music because there’s simply an endless treasure trove of great and often totally unknown classical music out there.  So today, I want to take you on a bit of an archeological expedition, exploring 10 pieces you’ve (probably) never heard of, but really have to listen to.  My list includes some very recognizable names, including Ravel, Gershwin, and Shostakovich, but also some names you might know less well, like Anton Arensky, Milosz Magin, and Teresa Carreno. Join us and discover something new!
In 1929, the conductor Nicolas Slonimsky contacted the American composer Charles Ives about performing one of his works. This was a bit of a surprise for Ives, since he had a checkered reputation among musicians and audience members, if they even were familiar with his name at all. In fact, he was much more famous during his lifetime as an extremely successful insurance executive! Ives mostly composed in his spare time, and his music was mostly ignored or ridiculed as that of a person suffering from a crisis of mental health. Most of his music was never performed during his lifetime, and even today, he is thought of as a great but extremely eccentric composer, and orchestras and chamber ensembles often struggle to sell tickets if his name appears on the program. But for those who love Ives, there is an almost evangelical desire to spread his music to the world. I’m one of those people, and I’m finally fulfilling a pledge to myself to do a full show devoted to a single work of arguably the greatest and most under appreciated American composer of all time, Charles Ives. The piece I chose to talk about today is Three Places in New England, or the New England Symphony, a piece that is a perfect amalgam of what makes Ives such a spectacular composer - his radical innovations, his ahead of his time experiments, his humor, his humanity, his warmth, and the staggering creativity that marked all of Ives’ great works. We’ll start with a little biography of Ives in case you’re not familiar with him, and then we’ll dive into Three Places in New England, and by the end, I hope , if you’re not already, that I will have converted you into an Ives fan for life! Join us!
In the mid 19th century, the way to make yourself famous in France as a composer was to write operas. From Cherubini, to Meyerbeer, to Bizet, to Berlioz, to Gounod, to Massenet, to Offenbach, to Saint Saens, to foreign composers who wrote specifically for the Paris Opera like Rossini, Verdi and others, if you wanted to be somebody, especially as a French composer, you wrote operas, and you wrote a lot of them. But one composer in France bucked the trend, and her name was Louise Farrenc. Farrenc never wrote an opera - instead she focused on chamber music, works for solo piano, and three symphonies that were in a firmly Germanic style. Writing in a style that was not en vogue in her home country, along with the obvious gender imbalances of the time, meant that you might expect that Farrenc was completely ignored during her life. But that’s not the case. She had a highly successful career as a pianist, a pedagogue, and yes, as a composer too. But after her death, her music was largely forgotten. Bu in the last 15-20 years there has been a concerted effort at bringing Farrenc’s music back to life, part of a larger movement to rediscover the work of composers who were unfairly maligned or treated during their lifetimes and after. One of Farrenc’s greatest works, and the one we’re going to be talking about today, is her 3rd symphony in G Minor. On the surface this is a piece in the mid-to-late German Romantic symphonic tradition, with lots of echoes of Mendelssohn and Schumann, but there’s a lot more to it than that. So today on this Patreon sponsored episode, we’ll discuss how Farrenc’s music fit into French musical life, how a symphony was a still expected to sound in 1847, and of course, this dramatic and powerful symphony that is only now beginning to find its rightful place on stage. Join us!
In 1922 a review appeared in the French newspaper Le Figaro: “We cannot describe the cries of admiring joy let loose by an enthusiastic public. In the immense oeuvre of Camille Saint-Saëns, The Carnival of the Animals is certainly one of his magnificent masterpieces. From the first note to the last it is an uninterrupted outpouring of a spirit of the highest and noblest comedy. In every bar, at every point, there are unexpected and irresistible finds. Themes, whimsical ideas, instrumentation compete with buffoonery, grace and science. ... When he likes to joke, the master never forgets that he is the master.” You would think that this review came after a triumphant performance for Saint-Saens, and that he basked in the glory of the major success of what would become perhaps his most well known work, the Carnival of the Animals. But it just wasn’t the case. In fact, this review appeared after a performance of the piece given after Saint-Saens death, and there was a reason for that. Saint-Saens, after 3 private performances of the piece, forbade it from being performed publicly during his lifetime. Why? Well, he was concerned that this lighthearted piece would diminish his standing as a serious composer. Even in the mid 1880s when this piece was written, Saint-Saens began to evince the conservatism, musical and otherwise, that would mark his later career, to the point that he wanted Stravinsky declared insane and said this about Debussy: "We must at all costs bar the door of the Institut against a man capable of such atrocities; they should be put next to the cubist pictures." Why was Saint-Saens so opposed to modernism? Why was he so concerned with his reputation as a serious composer, to the point that he suppressed this wonderfully creative piece? And just what makes the Carnival of the Animals so fantastic and so much fun to listen to, as well as being so vivid in its portrayals of the animals it represents? Join us to find out!
Brahms Symphony No. 4

Brahms Symphony No. 4


Welcome to Season 9 of Sticky Notes! We're starting with a bang this season with Brahms' incomparable 4th symphony. This symphony takes the listener on a journey that unexpectedly ends in a legendarily dramatic and stormy way. What would compel a composer like Brahms to write an ending like this? Was it a requiem for his place in music? For Vienna? For Europe? Or was it the logical conclusion to a minor key bassline he stole from a Bach Cantata? This is the eternal question when it comes to Brahms - logic or emotion? Well, usually the answer is a bit of both, and today we're going to go through this remarkable piece with all of this in mind. Join us!
"I think Mozart just really loved people." - Jan Swafford. For the Season 8 Finale, I had the great pleasure of welcoming back Jan Swafford, the great writer on music, who has written a spectacular new biography of Mozart. In this conversation, we talked about who Mozart really was as a person, some of the myths that defined him during his lifetime and into the present day, and of course, the incomparable music that Mozart was able to create, sometimes on a whim or in a single afternoon. This is a conversation about a man who understood people perhaps better than almost any composer, and a musician who scraped and struggled during his life while achieving immortality through his creations. Please note that this will be the last episode of Season 8 and Season 9 will begin on September 8!
George Gershwin’s story is like the story of so many American immigrants.  His mother and father, Moishe and Rose Gershowitz,  were Russian Jews who came to New York City in the 1890s looking for a better life and to escape persecution at home. Soon they became the Gershwines, and in 1898, Jacob Gershwine was born. Later on he changed his name to sound just a little bit more American, and the name George Gershwin was on its way to immortality.  In just a few short years, the Gershowitz’s had become the Gershwins, and the story of George Gershwin was beginning to be written.  On today’s show we’ll talk about some of Gershwin’s greatest works, including his Concerto in F, Rhapsody in Blue, and Porgy and Bess, but we’ll also talk about the collision between Classical and Pop music, a Russian Jew imbibing the purely American form of Jazz, and Gershwin’s place in the modern classical and jazz repertoire, and in America. Join us!
If you want to understand how a symphony works, look no further than the works of the Father of the symphony, Joseph Haydn. In 1790, a concert promoter and impresario named Johann Peter Solomon showed up un-announced at the Vienna home of the great composer Joseph Haydn.  He immediately told Haydn: “I am Solomon from London and I have come to fetch you.”  What Salomon and Haydn were about to embark upon would be one of the greatest successes of both of their lives.  Haydn would end up making 2 visits to London, presenting an adoring audience with 12 symphonies, almost all of which are still regularly performed today.  But the most famous one is the one we’re going to be talking about today, the 94th symphony, nicknamed “Surprise” or in the slightly drier German version: “the one with the Drumstroke.”  The piece is famous for this surprise, which is now so well known that it rarely surprises anyone, though we’ll get into just how you might be able to do that in 2022.  But the entire piece is a masterpiece in its own right, and so today we’ll discuss all of the tricks and traps Haydn pulls with his audience, leading to one of the most enjoyable symphonies of his entire catalogue.
Derrick Skye is one of the most creative, innovative, and brilliant composers of our time. His orchestral work, Prisms, Cycles, and Leaps is a musical thrill ride spanning influences from literally all over the world, from West African Music, Balkan Folk Music, Hindustani Classical Music, all the way to Appalachan Folk harmonies. I had the great pleasure of talking my way through this piece with Derrick, exploring the mind-bogglingly complex rhythmic patterns, the melodic lines that blend cultures and harmonies, and the infectious joy of this unique piece. If you're not familiar wiith Derrick's music, trust me, take the time to get to know him and his music in this interview/analysis - you won't regret it!
There is one composer who I’ve never devoted a full show to that fills me with the same devotion and ecstasy as the people who claim that Wagner almost immediately dissolves them into tears. His music is widely played, but it has never been totally embraced by the wider classical music audience. There are a variety of reasons for this, but his uniquely 20th century language of tonality mixed with atonality mixed with something completely different from anyone who has ever written music makes it sometimes difficult to pin down his vast contribution to the world of music. His music is as deeply connected to his religious faith as any composer in history, and yes, that includes Bach. His music is as deeply connected to Nature as any composer who ever lived, and his music is tied directly to the colors he saw as he played and listened to it. His name is Olivier Messiaen, and he is one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. I wish I could describe to you the otherworldly feeling I get when I listen to his music, but for a very long time, I shied away from it.  Perhaps the reason is that it’s extremely hard to talk about Messiaen’s musical outlook without talking about his religious faith. I’m a non-religious Jewish person, so the depths of devotion that Messiaen describes regularly as his inspirations were and are foreign to me. And yet, the first time I heard his L’Ascension, every single hair on my body seemed to stand on end. I was completely blown away by these ravishing harmonies, how light seemed to shine off of them, how Messiaen translated his religious devotion into sound. I’ve not talked about Messiaen’s music on the show because it’s not easy to grapple with, but I can’t wait any longer. Today I’ll tell you a bit about Messiaen’s life, his upbringing, his musical and religious revelations, and then I’ll discuss some of his greatest pieces using three frameworks - religion, nature and specifically birdsong, and color. Join us!
Dvorak Symphony No. 8

Dvorak Symphony No. 8


Bucolic. Sunny. Cheerful. Joyous. Folksy. Ebullient. Thrilling. These are all words that I found while researching Dvorak’s 8th symphony. Dvorak’s gift for writing the most gorgeous of melodies is on full display in his 8th symphony, a piece that has been charming listeners ever since its very first performances. It is, on its surface, an uncomplicated piece, bursting at the seams with melody after melody after melody, almost mirroring one of Brahms’ greatest one-liners, where he referred to his summer country home as a place where melodies were so heavily present thatt one had to be careful to avoid tripping on them! The overriding characteristic of this 8th symphony is joy, from its childlike key of G Major, to its raucous use of folk music, and even its smiling through tears slow movement. Very often on this show I try to take pieces that are quite complicated and break them down for you to show you how to follow their twists and turns despite their complexities. But today, I’m going to do the opposite. Today, I’m going to take a piece that is, on its surface, quite simple, and I’m going to show you how this symphony is not quite as simple as it seems. It is a piece full of invention and of the scintillating energy of trying out new ideas. As Dvorak said, he would try to make this symphony ”different from the other symphonies, with individual thoughts worked out in a new way.” So today on the show we’re going to talk about how this symphony is different from other symphonies, and also how Dvorak constructs his chains of melodies that add up to the joyful whole of this piece, though tinged with the melancholy that is almost always present with Dvorak. Join us!
How does a composer capture the spirit of a country, especially if it's not his native land?  Mendelssohn, in his Italian Symphony, gives us one of the best examples of someone doing just that, giving us a tightly integrated, yet highly independent set of 4 snapshots from his travels all over Italy.  And yet, despite the piece being called the Italian Symphony and being indelibly associated with the country, the symphony remains a relatively traditional 4 movement German classical symphony.  What we hear then is a brilliant amalgamation of a symphony and a tone poem that is among the first of its kind.  The symphony tells no story, has no narrative, and yet, when we finish the breathless Tarantella that ends the piece, we feel like we’ve been flicking through a photo album of Felix’s vacation, smiling (mostly) all along the way. Today we’ll talk all about how Mendelssohn builds this symphony and how each movement captures such a distinctive character, while remaining Mendelssohnian to its core - kind, warm-hearted, and full of bubbling energy. Join us!
Today I’m going to be talking about one piece, but in two different ways.  I’m going to start today with an in-depth look at Brahms’ Piano Quartet in G Minor, an early piece of his that reveals an incredible sense of drama, drive, and creativity. This is very different music than I’ve talked about before with Brahms as this is decidedly the work of a young composer, without all the burnished maturity of Brahms’ later music. This is also a great opportunity to revisit the bedrock of the Classical and Early Romantic eras, Sonata Form, a form that makes so many pieces from those eras intelligible and clear.  But I’m also going to be talking about another piece. Well, it’s the same piece, but to some people, it sounds so completely different that it constitutes a completely new piece entirely. To some others, myself included, it almost constitutes an entirely new Brahms symphony. What I’m talking about is the composer Arnold Schoenberg’s arrangement of Brahms’s Piano Quartet for a massive orchestra, filling the stage with instruments that Brahms never would have even conceived of! You don’t often think of Schoenberg and Brahms in the same breath, but Schoenberg was a devotee of Brahms’ music, and often defended him against those who called him a crusty old conservative composer. But Schoenberg was still Schoenberg, and this arraangement of the quartet reflects that in a lot of ways. So along with an exploration of Sonata Form, I’ll save a look at the Schoenberg arrangement for the end of th show, since this is a great chance to look at orchestration and how a composer takes a piece written for 4 people and transforms it into a piece for 100. So today we’ll dive into this vast and complex piece, and along they way we’ll visit Schoenberg’s fascinating and sometimes downright wacky arrangement.  Join us!
Berio Folk Songs

Berio Folk Songs


In 1964, the popular 20th century composer Luciano Berio was commissioned by Mills College in California to write a piece for voice and chamber orchestra. What Berio came up with is one of his most remarkably creative works, which is really saying something considering the innovative and constantly evolving way that he wrote music. Berio once said:  “My links with folk music are often of an emotional character. When I work with that music I am always caught by the thrill of discovery… I return again and again to folk music because I try to establish contact between that and my own ideas about music. I have a utopian dream, though I know it cannot be realized: I would like to create a unity between folk music and our music — a real, perceptible, understandable conduit between ancient, popular music-making which is so close to everyday work and music.” The words "thrill of discovery" are at the core of what makes the Folk Songs so wonderful and easy to listen to. They combine a modernist classical aesthetic with songs that are of such beauty that it is hard not be overwhelmed by them. Berio took 11 folk songs from 5 different regions of the world, from places as far away as the United States and Azerbaijan, and transformed them. He wrote: “I have given the songs a new rhythmic and harmonic interpretation: in a way, I have recomposed them. The instrumental part has an important function: it is meant to underline and comment on the expressive and cultural roots of each song. Such roots signify not only the ethnic origins of the songs but also the history of the authentic uses that have been made of them.” Today on the show I’m going to take you through these 11 songs, going on a historical expedition to find some of their roots and to get as close to the original songs as I can, and then looking at how Berio re-worked these songs into this cycle that consistently stuns people with its beauty and creativity. If you’ve never heard these pieces before, get ready, because Berio will take you on a remarkable journey. Join us!
Prokofiev Symphony No. 5

Prokofiev Symphony No. 5


It’s very easy to compare Sergei Prokofiev to Dmitri Shostakovich.  They are the two most famous representatives of Soviet and Russian music of the 20th century, they lived around the same time, and their music even has some similarities, but at their core, you almost couldn’t find more different people than Prokofiev and Shostakovich.  Shostakovich was neurotic, nervous, and timid.  Prokofiev was confident and cool.  Shostakovich was tortured by the Soviet government, and while Prokofiev certainly had his runins with Stalin and his crones , his life wasn’t so inextricably linked to the Soviet Union, besides the fact that he had the bad luck to die on the same day as Joseph Stalin, which made it so that there were no flowers available for his funeral. Prokofiev was able to travel, and see the world, generally without nearly as much interference as Shostakovich faced.  These two lives are reflected in two very different musical approaches.  Shostakovich's wartime symphonies are full of terror and violence, whlie Prokofiev wrote that his 5th symphony was a hymn to the human spirit. We don't know how much that reflects his true feelings, but its undeniable that there is a certain "optimism" to this symphony that both thrills and unsettles listeners to this day. It is also filled with traademark Prokofiev cynicism and sarcasm, and so we are left, as always, with a contradiction. What did Prokofiev mean with this symphony? Join us as we try to find out!
Imagine writing a concerto that prompted Beethoven to remark to a friend: “we’ll never be able to write anything like that.  Or a piece that prompted Brahms to call it: “a masterpiece of art, full of inspiration and ideas.”  Or had scholars and musicologists raving, saying things like: "not only the most sublime of the whole series but also one of the greatest pianoforte concertos ever composed" or "whatever value we put upon any single movement from the Mozart concertos, we shall find no work greater as a concerto than this K. 491, for Mozart never wrote a work whose parts were so surely those of 'one stupendous whole'."  I could go on and on, but the simple end to this story is that Mozart’s C Minor Piano Concerto has been considered one of the great achievements of humanity ever since it was premiered on either April 3rd of April 7th of 1786, performed by Mozart himself.  While we don’t know exactly how long it took Mozart to complete this concerto, it could not have taken more than a few months, and it came amidst him writing his 22nd and 23rd piano concerti, both masterpieces in their own right, and it was written just as Mozart was putting the finishing touches on his comic magnum opus, The Marriage of Figaro.  It’s almost a cliche at this point, but its one of those rare cliche’s that really deserves to be repeated:  If Mozart had written just one of those 4 pieces, his name would have been etched in history. Instead he was working on all 4 at the same time! Today, we’re going to be talking about the astonishing harmonic language of the piece, it’s skeletal manuscript, and how performers deal with the contradictions and quite frankly, missing pieces of this concerto. Join us!
Today I’ve got a pretty special show for you. It’s set up in two parts, with the first part featuring an interview, and the second part will be a more typical Sticky Notes analysis of a specific piece. Why did I set up the show this way this week? Well, I had the opportunity a few months ago to work with an extraordinary scholar and musician, Dr. Samantha Ege, who is the Lord Crewe Junior Research Fellow in Music at Lincoln College, University of Oxford,  and is also one of the foremost scholars on the music of Florence Price. Florence Price is a composer who has been receiving a lot of attention over the last 5-7 years. As the first African American woman to have a major piece performed an orchestra, her first symphony was performed in 1933 by the Chicago Symphony, Price has become one of the most prominent figures in the revival of music written by Black composers as orchestras and performers not only in the US but all over the world attempt to diversify their programming. Price is part of a group of composers from the early twentieth century who were the first nationally successful Black composers. This group included luminaries such as William Grant Stiill, William Levi Dawson, and Nathaniel Dett, among others, and all of these composers have had their works rediscovered during this period, a truly exciting development that has brought a lot of neglected music back onto the concert stage. I’ve wanted to do a show devoted to Florence Price for a while, but when I got the chance to perform Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement with Dr. Ege, I knew I had to ask her to come on the show to tell the incredible story of this wonderful American composer. So the first part of the show is devoted to an interview with Dr. Ege going through Price’s background and talking about her writing style and approach to music. This was such a fun interview - Dr. Ege is a great teacher and I learned a ton about Price that I didn’t know about beforehand. The second part of the show will be an analysis of one of Price’s most rarely played, but in my opinion, one of her best, orchestral works, Ethiopia’s Shadow in America. Join us!
Mahler once said this to Bruno Walter, his protege and great advocate of Mahler’s works: "What one makes music from is still the whole—that is the feeling, thinking, breathing, suffering, human being”   You could almost just stop there with the last movement of Mahler 9.  This is music so full of feeling, thinking, breathing, suffering, but also of also acceptance and consolation, that words fail to describe its emotional impact. But as always with Mahler, this isn’t merely an emotional outpouring, a dumping of his innermost feelings onto the audience. It is a superbly paced, beautifully written movement, and despite its 25 minute length, and very stable and slow tempo, the movement does the seemingly impossible and feels both endless and compact at the same time.   So today, while of course we’ll talk about the emotional content of the music, I want to focus a bit more on how Mahler writes this music to make it so effective, and how he finds a way to reach the peaks of expression and the epitome of using silence as music. And finally, we'll explore how and to whom Mahler says goodbye to at the end of this symphony, as everything fades away. Join us!
It's easy to forget that Mahler, for all of his ubiquitous success nowadays, was much better known as a conductor during his life than as a composer.  He had basically one major success in his compositional career: a performance of his 8th symphony in Munich in 1910 that finally seemed to give him the approval he craved from the audience.  But for much of his compositional life, Mahler was misunderstood. His symphonies were either too long, too dense, too confusing, too esoteric, too vulgar, too banal, lacking in sophistication, or had too MUCH sophistication - the list goes on and on.  Mahler famously said in regards to his music that “my time will come” and it certainly has come, with regular performances of his music all around the world.  But as we discuss the third movement of Mahler’s 9th symphony today, I want to keep reminding you that Mahler was really not a popular man.  Even as a conductor, he had bitter enemies that drove him out of his position as the Director of the Vienna Court Opera in 1907.  As a person, he could charitably be described as difficult, with moments of kindness followed by bouts of stony silence or fierce rages.  Mahler was a complicated man, and it's perhaps in this third movement that we can learn so much about this side of Mahler that doesn’t get talked about as much - that bitter, sarcastic, nasty side of him that many choose to ignore, preferring to focus on the love and warmth that he instills into much of his music.  In the third movement of his 9th symphony, Mahler seems to be letting out some of his rage and anger at the Viennese public, concerned in his mind only with intrigue and gossip, and those critics who trafficked in open Anti-Semitism in order to bring him down from his lofty perch.  But amidst all of this, Mahler continually grasps for order throughout the movement, only to find it ripped away from him.  This is the shortest movement of Mahler’s 9th symphony, but it is also the most dense.  So today, we’ll talk about that bitter pill that is this movement, a movement that is nevertheless relentless in its search for beauty, form, and order. Join us!
Remember where we ended in the first movement of Mahler's 9th symphony? After a 27 minute farewell which touched on the two poles of rage and acceptance, while filling in every conceivable emotion in between, we ended in total peace, calm, and acceptance .   There is a lot about this symphony that is traditional - it has four movements, it's tonal(for the most part), it uses(mostly) traditional forms, but there is one thing about the symphony which is extremely unusual: the fact that it is bookended by two slow movements.  A traditional symphony takes the form of a moderately fast first movement, either a slow movement or a fast dance movement for the second movement, the same for the third(almost always the opposite of whatever the second movement was), and a fast last movement to send the crowd home happy.  Mahler,  using a form that he never used before, and would never be used again by any composer, writes a slow first movement, then 2 fast dance movements, followed by a slow final movement.  It's a fascinating formal design, but one that presents a lot of problems to solve; how do you contrast the two middle dance movements?  How do you create a sense of excitement when you’ve just finished a 27 minute slow movement which could easily be its own piece?  And perhaps most importantly, how do you conceive of the arc of a 16 minute dance movement, one that seems almost shockingly simplistic in its basic harmony and melody.  Well, Mahler finds a way through a combination of genuine joy, sarcasm, bitterness, and irony, emotions we will certainly be talking about as we take apart this second movement.
Comments (19)

Sue Picco

Excellent podcast. Definitely worth subscribing. Used to listen to Karl Haas on the radio and miss him.This is a great listen for a modern audience and he bring to light not only the music but the social setting as well. Love it!

Jun 23rd


It took me a second to realize who "WC" is. You're mispronouncing "Debussy", lol.

May 4th

Devin Leatherwood

What is the piece being played during the intro of the podcast?

Nov 13th

Nikhil Bhatt

Hey I just came across your podcast and it was really nice, thank you!

Jun 25th

New Jawn

You sound like such a tool with the throat-clearing pronunciation of Bach. Unless you are going to pronounce Polish composers the way Polish speakers would, Italian composers as would Italians, then stop with saying Bach as if you're battling COVID. It impresses not a soul. Good grief.

Apr 25th

Ini Periodi

Hi. I had really liked the episode called "History of classical music in 60 mins". Wanted to play it in my sociology class today for my students who are all tracing predominant ideas of each era and how they influenced various aspects of life. I'm not able to find the episode. Has it been taken down? :(

Oct 19th

Suzanne Dicker

This is such an excellent podcast! The question of attracting new audience members who feel they just don't understand classical music makes me think of religion. I think people go to concerts and go to church for the same reason. The silence just before and after a piece ends and the listening during a piece is a sacred, communal act. It does take a lot of Sunday school classes, family participation and commitment to create the practices and knowledge base to feel at home in a service at a house of worship. And most churches have to create engagement tools to attract new members. I see the concert hall as the new church for all people. Cultivating a community where the individual and collective mind can be elevated is surely something everybody craves. At the very end of the podcast, Joshua asked Zsolt what makes him an interviewer who can draw out even the stiffest musician. Zsolt described a friend who characterized his approach as "soulful listening". I agree! This approach is best explained by John O'Donohue who said, "The amazing thing about humans is that regardless of the morass of falsity that surrounds them, if they can be approached in a way where the true word of address to the soul is sounded, they are helpless but to react back with authenticity and integrity." Zsolt Bognar shows us this truth.

May 29th

Devin Leatherwood

love this piece, I'm curious to why such a bad recording was used?

May 28th

Suzanne Dicker

Great talk! I think that through streaming, if the regional audiences can become familiar with the personalities and abilities of the conductor and orchestra members, just as baseball fans become familiar with the individual players, attending actual live concerts will have the same interest and excitement as attending games in a professional ballpark. People want to feel connected. Responding to comments and questions before and after a streamed performance, is a wonderful engagement tool.

May 16th

Nicholas Morgan

Thank you so much for making these documentaries and producing them with much devotion and a lifetime of study - a lifetime so we may understand in this brief hour of time..

Feb 27th

Robert Howell

excellent discussion and analysis!

Feb 27th

Suzanne Dicker

This was such a lovely interview. Many parents would benefit from your parents' thoughts on raising children, especially musical ones. The incredible creativity of Donald in working with Alisa is priceless. Humor and imagination combined with devotion to child and music!

Jan 29th

Frank cooper

does a conductor hear all the music being played? can they hear each instrument, or even each section at once? is that possible?

Sep 5th



Sep 5th
Reply (1)

Gale Fonder

Great podcast. Love for classical music re-ignite after listening to you.

Oct 20th

Evelyn Herrera

Great intro. to this topic. couldn't really hear the similarities and differences in the selected samples of music. may be if I. listen to whole pieces, I may understand better. where can I find a song list used in this podcast?

Oct 8th

Sungeun Jin

Finding this podcast is the best thing that happened to me this year! I recently developed my liking to the world of classical music and wanted to learn more about it to better enjoy and appreciate. Yet it wasn't easy to find a suitable source that's informative, educational, entertaining and kind enough to someone like me who has no musical training until I found this one! Thoroughly enjoying all the episodes so far and can't wait for more.

Apr 1st

Emily Y

Wow!!!! I am only through the first episode but I am loving this podcast. It is interesting, informative, and entertaining! I listen to classical music all the time but have never learned much at all about the composers, history, or pieces themselves, so I am just so glad this exists. And I'm so happy that in this first episode you address how lively and enthusiastic it often is, it's not just "relaxing" music like a lot of non-listeners might think. I love how you point out the themes and repetition that I often have trouble hearing (especially in Shostakovich's piece because it has so much going on). I am beyond excited to listen to more episodes.

Jul 22nd
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