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Events tagged with Classical

About this Concert:

One of the most beloved piano concertos sounds brand new and inspired in the hands of this phenomenal young star, Joyce Yang.

DEBUSSY
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

RACHMANINOFF
Piano Concerto No. 2

TCHAIKOVSKY
Symphony No. 4

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More Details:

  • Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 was written as the composer struggled out of a three-year depression following the train wreck premiere of his Symphony No. 1.
  • It is now one of the most frequently performed piano concertos in the world.
  • Early critics of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 couldn’t say enough bad things about it. A German reviewer in 1897 wrote: “The composer’s twaddle disturbed my mood…”
  • Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 is now one of the most frequently performed symphonies in the world.
  • Joyce Yang’s New Year’s resolutions last year included learning more about dance, resuming her beloved oil-painting lessons, and “to cook more, drink less, and stop eating fried foods in airports.”
  • Roderick Cox is a native of Macon, Georgia. He joined the Minnesota Orchestra in 2015 and now serves as its Associate Conductor.
  • As part of the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History, Roderick led concerts in Washington, D.C. earlier this year, hosted by Google.
  • Roderick earned a master of music degree in conducting from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and previously served as the assistant conductor of the Alabama Symphony.
  • He will make his debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in January 2017.

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About this Concert:

The Minnesota Orchestra family is deeply saddened by the passing of Sir Neville Marriner, our music director from 1979 to 1986, at the age of 92.

During his seven seasons as our music director, he presided over a number of firsts, including the Orchestra's first composer-in-residence program (with Libby Larsen and Stephen Paulus) and two international trips, to Australia in 1985 and Hong Kong in 1986, that helped set the stage for our European tours in the late 1990s. And in 1985 he achieved a distinction unique in the Minnesota Orchestra's annals by becoming the first Orchestra music director to be knighted.

Program updates will be noted here. We will inform all ticketed patrons of any program modifications as soon as possible.

MENDELSSOHN
The Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave)

BEETHOVEN
Symphony No. 1

Dvořák
Symphony No. 8

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More Details:

  • Sir Neville won his early fame as a violinist in the London Symphony Orchestra.
  • After LSO concerts, friends would gather in his London living room to rehearse chamber music. They gave a concert in 1958 in a London church named St. Martin in the Fields.
  • The Marriner-led Academy of St. Martin in the Fields became the most-recorded chamber orchestra in the world, with several hundred titles to their credit; he now holds the title of its Life President.
  • Sir Neville served as the Minnesota Orchestra’s music director 1979-86. One of his sartorial trademarks was white socks.
  • He last conducted the Minnesota Orchestra during the 2006-2007 season.

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About this Concert:

You may think Romeo and Juliet is a grand romance like The Notebook, but what if it’s really closer to The Godfather? Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev’s take on Shakespeare's classic sees past the puppy love to expose the seedy, violent underbelly of Verona's feuding families.

PROKOFIEV
Romeo and Juliet

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More Details:

  • Performance includes pre-concert happy hour (50% off all beverages) including local craft brews.
  • Intrigued by classical music? First, let violist-host Sam Bergman and conductor Sarah Hicks be your guides in exploring the classics through witty conversation and orchestral excerpts. Then, after intermission, experience a full performance of the featured work.
  • Prokofiev wrote his first piece—Indian Gallop for solo piano—when he was five, and his first opera when he was nine.
  • Prokofiev was just as good a chess player as he was a composer, beating the world chess champion in 1914.
  • Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet had as tortuous a path to its premiere as any piece ever written—it was first deemed “undanceable” and rejected, then bounced between ballet companies and bottlenecked over fears of official Soviet scorn.
  • Conductors love to rearrange the various numbers of Prokofiev’s ballet and create their own suites from it, often moving the score’s haunting ending up in the order or omitting it altogether.

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About this Concert:

A unique and extraordinary concert that champions the work of trailblazing young composers—a thrilling view into the crystal-ball of tomorrow’s music.

KATHERINE BALCH
Leaf Catalogue

MICHAEL BOYMAN
Tightrope Walker

JUDY BOZONE
Spilled Orange

MICHAEL-THOMAS FOUMAI
Music from the Castle of Heaven

TONIA KO
Strange Sounds and Explosions Worldwide

PHIL TAYLOR
Chiaroscuro

CONRAD WINSLOW
The Old Motion Parade

More Details:

  • The Orchestra’s Composer Institute is a week-long training ground for the nation’s brightest young composers at Orchestra Hall that culminates with the Future Classics concert featuring a live performance of each composer’s work.
  • The Institute includes nuts-and-bolts sessions on writing orchestral music and tips on how to make a living at it.
  • Composers often create their music today via computer programs that—while handy—can only approximate the sound of the various orchestral instruments. There is no substitute for actually hearing what works (and what doesn’t) when musicians bring the music to life.
  • It is rare for a major American orchestra to devote an entire week of rehearsal time, and a full evening’s concert to emerging composers.
  • Osmo Vänskä has programmed some past “discoveries” on Minnesota Orchestra classical concerts, giving young composers a stunning career boost.

Radio Sponsor:

Classical MPR

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About this Concert:

Hear this young star from Uzbekistan in a performance of one of the most beloved Romantic showpieces.

TCHAIKOVSKY
Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture

RACHMANINOFF
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

SHOSTAKOVICH
Symphony No. 6

More Details:

  • Say it out loud: Santtu-Matias Rouvali = “SAHN-tu MAH-tyahs ROO-vah-lee”
  • All together now: Behzod Abduraimov = “BAY-zhawd AHB-doo-RYE-moff”
  • Abduraimov is an Uzbekistani pianist, rare in the international classical world. At only 26 he has already performed in all the world’s major concert houses, and calls Kansas City home today.
  • The young Finnish phenom Rouvali is just 30 years old, a product of the same Finnish conducting school that launched Osmo Vänskä.
  • In his spare time: Rouvali loves to fish and hunt in the Finnish forests.

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About this Concert:

Hugh Wolff led the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra to international acclaim in the '90s, and makes this rare return visit to Minnesota with violin star Karen Gomyo.

ADÉS
Dances from Powder Her Face

BARTÓK
Violin Concerto No. 2

MENDELSSOHN
Symphony No. 3, Scottish

More Details:

  • When violinist Karen Gomyo isn’t playing classical music, she teams up with friends to play tango.
  • Hugh Wolff recorded an astonishing 19 CDs with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO) between 1988-2000.
  • Fans and critics especially love Wolff’s recording with the SPCO and Hilary Hahn in Barber’s Violin Concerto; the final movement tears the lid off the piece!
  • Wolff was born in Paris, where his father worked as a US Foreign Service officer.

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About this Concert:

A spring breeze moves through these three intimate pieces, each composer in a sunny mood that feels just right on a midwinter evening.

MOZART
Adagio for English Horn and Three Strings

BARTÓK
Duos for Two Violins

NIELSEN
Wind Quintet

More Details:

  • $25 tickets, plus one complimentary beverage ($10 for patrons attending the 6pm performance).
  • Mozart’s Adagio was left incomplete at his death—only a melody line for English horn and unspecified accompanying instruments. Amazingly, even as a fragment, this is one of his most beautiful creations, with an echo of his popular choral masterpiece Ave Verum Corpus.
  • Nielsen’s Wind Quintet is one of the prickly Dane’s sunniest pieces, and you can practically feel a warm breeze in every bar.
  • Béla Bartók created these 44 short, virtuosic and peppery duos based on folk tunes from his homeland—so wherever two violinists meet, they’ve got fun repertoire to play.

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About this Concert:

It isn't often that a composer is offered the chance to sum up his entire life's work in one massive, valedictory piece. But on his deathbed, Béla Bartók was given that chance, and his Concerto for Orchestra has become a beloved showpiece.

BARTÓK
Concerto for Orchestra

More Details:

  • Performance includes pre-concert happy hour (50% off all beverages) including local craft brews.
  • Intrigued by classical music? First, let violist-host Sam Bergman and conductor Sarah Hicks be your guides in exploring the classics through witty conversation and orchestral excerpts. Then, after intermission, experience a full performance of the featured work.
  • Bartók had struggled with his health since he was a boy, but in his late 50s was diagnosed with leukemia.
  • Conductor Serge Koussevitzky visited Bartók in his hospital room and stunned him with a commission, asking the composer to get out of bed and write again.
  • The final page of Bartók’s Concerto holds the most riveting, life-affirming ending of any 20th-century classical piece.
  • That transcendent ending was an afterthought, and came only at the suggestion of a friend who saw the score in an early draft and thought the original, quieter ending could be pepped up a bit.

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About this Concert:

Han-Na Chang won huge praise in her first performance at Orchestra Hall a few seasons ago as a cellist. Now, remarkably, she’s gaining even more acclaim with her conductor’s baton. Pairing her and the Orchestra with a young violin phenom from Seattle, here’s a don’t-miss-it concert.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Han-Na Chang, conductor
  • Simone Porter, violin

MOZART
Symphony No. 36, Linz

MENDELSSOHN
Violin Concerto

BEETHOVEN
Symphony No. 2

More Details:

  • Han-Na Chang’s parents were missionaries in Korea and named their new daughter “Hannah” after the strong-willed character in the Hebrew Bible.
  • Chang took the post of conductor of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2013, the first women to lead the ensemble. She is now the Principal Guest Conductor or Norway’s Trondheim Symfoniorkester.
  • Simone Porter, 19, visited the Twin Cities just last year as a Young Artist in Residence with American Public Media’s Performance Today.
  • After days in the APM studios, Porter gave a free concert to several hundred Hmong students in St. Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood, who gave her a roaring standing ovation.

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About this Concert:

Feel the electricity of a classical concert in only 60 minutes! Come early for happy hour, enjoy the performance and stay late for a post-concert onstage gathering with Minnesota Orchestra musicians.

STRAVINSKY
The Rite of Spring

More Details:

  • Please note: this concert is a mixture of conversation and performance.
  • Optional activities are offered before and after each Symphony in 60 concert, including pre-concert happy hour and onstage gathering with musicians following the concert.

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About this Concert:

Once the long Minnesota winter is behind us, you'll feel the molten musical power of the earth reawakening with Stravinsky’s revolutionary The Rite of Spring.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Osmo Vänskä, conductor
  • Rafał Blechacz, piano

BRAHMS
Piano Concerto No. 1

STRAVINSKY
The Rite of Spring

More Details:

  • Say it like this: Rafał Blechacz = “RAH-fal BLEH-hahsh”
  • Blechacz won the 2014 Gilmore Prize, which is a little like a visit from Tinkerbell and her fairy dust. There is no actual competition, and a pianist doesn’t learn he or she is even under consideration from the anonymous judges—until the phone rings informing the stunned pianist of the $300,000 award.
  • Rafał Blechacz is getting a PhD in philosophy in his native Poland.
  • Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 started out as a piece for two pianos alone, then morphed into a big four-movement symphony with no piano part, then settled into a three-movement piece for piano and orchestra with Brahms ready to give it up in frustration at several points along the way.
  • Pianists routinely rank the Brahms Concerto as the hardest thing they’ll ever play—and audiences think of it as an absolute favorite.

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About this Concert:

For an April evening, here’s chamber music as warm and original as a spring shower after the long winter.

SAINT-SAËNS
Septet for Piano, Trumpet and Strings

PROKOFIEV
Quintet in G minor for Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, Viola and Double Bass

More Details:

  • $25 tickets, plus one complimentary beverage ($10 for patrons attending the 8pm performance).
  • Saint-Saëns’ Septet is unlike just about any other chamber piece in that, one moment it echoes centuries of lush strings-and-piano masterpieces—then here comes a playful trumpet!
  • In the mid-1920s, the Russian Prokofiev was living in Paris and a traveling ballet troupe with five instrumentalists asked him to write a piece for them. After creating his ballet Trapeze, he kept going and wrote his Quintet for the same lucky ensemble.
  • Every winter with good snow, St. Paul native David Williamson puts away his bass after rehearsal and straps on his skis to train for a cross-country marathon.

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About this Concert:

Of all the penniless composers who wrote glorious music they never lived to hear, Franz Schubert is the best example; his heavenly C-major Symphony in the hands of this Orchestra and conductor would’ve been a magical gift to this now legendary composer.

BACH
Brandenburg Concerto No. 4

ELGAR
Cello Concerto

SCHUBERT
Symphony in C major, The Great

More Details:

  • Alban Gerhardt is famous in his native Germany for taking music to the people: he performs in schools, prisons, hospitals, moving commuter trains—and in SRO concert halls.
  • You’ll only see a handful of players onstage for Bach’s sunny Brandenburg Concerto No. 4; it’s “chamber music” meant for a small virtuoso orchestra.
  • Elgar composed his Cello Concerto in a cottage on the English Channel where he’d heard the French artillery rumble late at night during WWI.
  • Schubert’s Great Symphony was discovered years after his death in a stack of papers kept in a closet by his brother.

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About this Concert:

Former Music Director Edo de Waart is a master of grand-scale Romantic music, and he makes a welcome return with Elgar’s epic oratorio.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Edo de Waart, conductor
  • Michelle Breedt, mezzo
  • Peter Auty, tenor
  • Andrew Foster-Williams, bass-baritone
  • Minnesota Chorale

ELGAR
The Dream of Gerontius

More Details:

  • Just about everything that could go wrong at the 1900 premiere of Elgar’s Dream, did. The soloists were sick, the chorus master died, the score arrived late for rehearsals—complete train wreck.
  • Times change: two years later, after a German performance in 1902, Elgar had to take twenty curtain calls amid thunderous applause. Now it’s his choral-orchestral masterpiece.
  • The Minnesota Orchestra has only performed Elgar’s Dream once: in 1907, four years after the Orchestra (then called the Minneapolis Symphony) was founded.
  • Edo de Waart spent a year as a young conductor studying under Leonard Bernstein in New York, a time in which he admits he watched a lot of American TV and polished his English.
  • When Edo de Waart was the Orchestra’s music director (1986-95) he loved to conduct BIG pieces: Mahler symphonies and complete Wagner operas.

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About this Concert:

Four pieces from the beginning, middle and end of the 20th century shine a bright spotlight on the members of the Minnesota Orchestra’s woodwind and string sections.

PROKOFIEV
String Quartet No. 1

RAVEL
Sonata for Violin and Piano

VILLA-LOBOS
Trio for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon

SCHOENFIELD
Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano

More Details:

  • Prokofiev was busy giving piano concerts all over Russia just before he wrote his First String Quartet. On long train rides between venues, he pored over Beethoven’s string quartets and those infused his imagination as he started writing his own quartet.
  • Brazil’s Heitor Villa-Lobos makes a serious entry for most prolific composer ever; more than 2,000 scores bear his name.
  • Ravel was smitten by a new style of music from America he heard in Paris cafés after World War I; the composer known for oh-so-French music gave the title Blues to the middle movement of his 1922 Violin Sonata.

Photos © Joel Larson and Josh Kohanek Photography

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About this Concert:

The young French pianist Lise de la Salle made her professional debut in a live national broadcast—at the age of nine, and now, not yet 30, she’s one of France’s true musical treasures.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Ludovic Morlot, conductor
  • Lise de la Salle, piano

DUTILLEUX
Sounds, Space, Movement (The Starry Night)

RAVEL
Piano Concerto in G major

PROKOFIEV
Symphony No. 5

More Details:

  • Ravel wrote his Piano Concerto inspired by a new kind of music he heard everywhere on the streets of 1920s Paris: American jazz.
  • Ravel’s Piano Concerto is in three movements—the middle movement alone is worth the price of the concert. Totally his most gorgeous, tender music.
  • She routinely posts her Facebook updates in both French and English.
  • De la Salle played a sold-out solo recital at Macalester College last season.

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About this Concert:

After his recent Minnesota Orchestra debut, audiences and musicians quickly wanted guest conductor Juraj Valčuha back on the podium for his astonishing vision and artistry.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Juraj Valčuha, conductor
  • Michael Gast, horn

HAYDN
Symphony No. 85, La Reine

MOZART
Horn Concerto No. 3

BRITTEN
Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes

RAVEL
La Valse

More Details:

  • You can say it: “Juraj Valčuha” = YOU-rye val-CHEW-uh.
  • Valčuha is a superstar young Slovak who’s conducting more and more in the States because orchestras fall in love with him.
  • Michael Gast began playing French horn when he was 15, growing up in Tallahassee.
  • In his spare time, Gast loves to scuba dive.
  • There are no scuba divers in Britten’s opera Peter Grimes. This story set in an English seaside village and centers around a disturbed fisherman–Britten’s Four Sea Interludes are the overtures he created for each act.

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About this Concert:

Of the hundreds of pieces left to us by Mozart, none is more beautiful than his Sinfonia Concertante—a violin and viola duet to melt hearts, here played by Concertmaster Erin Keefe and violist Matthew Lipman.

LUTOSLAWSKI
Little Suite

MOZART
Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra

HINDEMITH
Mathis der Maler Symphony

More Details:

  • Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante wins the competition for “Most Boringly Titled Classical Piece Holding Rapturously Gorgeous Music.”
  • Matthew Lipman won the Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra’s 2012 Young Artist Competition Grand Prize.
  • Hitler hated and banned Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler Symphony because it’s based on the life of an artist who championed freedom of expression.
  • By contrast, if big, glorious brass is your thing, you’ll love Mathis der Maler.

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About this Concert:

Feel the electricity of a classical concert in only 60 minutes! Come early for happy hour, enjoy the performance and stay late for a post-concert onstage gathering with Minnesota Orchestra musicians.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • David Zinman, conductor

WAGNER
Overture to Tannhäuser

STRAUSS
Also sprach Zarathustra

More Details:

  • Optional activities are offered before and after each Symphony in 60 concert, including pre-concert happy hour and onstage gathering with musicians following the concert.

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About this Concert:

Former Sommerfest Artistic Director David Zinman returns after 15 too-long years to the delight of his many fans, in this program of sweeping orchestral classics.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • David Zinman, conductor
  • Anthony Ross, cello

WAGNER
Overture to Tännhauser

BLOCH
Schelomo, Hebraic Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra

STRAUSS
Also sprach Zarathustra

More Details:

  • Tony Ross was 23 when David Zinman hired him to become principal cello of the Rochester (NY) Philharmonic.
  • At Ross’s first rehearsal, Zinman announced he was leaving Rochester and taking a new position as the Baltimore Symphony’s music director.
  • Zinman earned a Master’s degree in theory and composition from the University of Minnesota in 1963 and he last conducted the Orchestra in 1999.
  • This is the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Schelemo.

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About this Concert:

Mozart is the ultimate “classical” composer whose every bar of music is perfectly proportioned, balanced and beautiful, while Debussy’s revolution a century later was to build a whole new world of sound.

  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Juanjo Mena, conductor
  • Ingrid Fliter, piano

FALLA
Interlude and Dance La Vida Breve

MOZART
Piano Concerto No. 23

DEBUSSY
Images

More Details:

  • This is Spanish conductor Juanjo Mena’s Minnesota Orchestra debut, but orchestras around the U.S. are immediately inviting him back after his guest-conducting visits.
  • The Argentinian Fliter was the first woman to win the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award (2006).
  • The Gilmore, which Fliter won in 2006, is an anonymous, secret-ballot award given every four years to one exceptional pianist; there’s no outright “competition” for it; your phone simply rings one day and you learn that a check for $300,000 is on the way.
  • Fliter’s specialty? Mozart, with a close second given to Chopin.

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About this Concert:

Mahler’s Second Symphony offers an overwhelming message of hope, and this glorious music makes a perfect transition to Minnesota’s sweetest season, summer.

HAYDN
Piano Concerto in D major

MAHLER
Symphony No. 2, Resurrection

More Details:

  • Austrian composer Haydn spent most of his career far away from the posh artistic circles of Vienna, a distance which he found stoked his creativity.
  • Mahler was born and raised a Jew, though converted to Catholicism to secure a leading conducting post in anti-Semitic, turn-of-the-century Vienna.
  • The Orchestra will record Mahler’s Second this season.
  • Marc-André Hamelin’s father was a pharmacist by day, a talented amateur pianist by night.
  • Sasha Cooke started piano at four and switched to voice in college. She even did a bit of improv-comedy along the way.

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About this Concert:

Dvořák’s most famous symphony is the beautiful Ninth, but his Symphony No. 7 is his most thrilling—the music that put a Prague butcher’s son on the international music map.

Dvořák
Symphony No. 7

More Details:

  • Performance includes pre-concert happy hour (50% off all beverages) including local craft brews.
  • Intrigued by classical music? First, let violist-host Sam Bergman and conductor Sarah Hicks be your guides in exploring the classics through witty conversation and orchestral excerpts. Then, after intermission, experience a full performance of the featured work.
  • In his spare time, Dvořák loved train-watching. The opening melody of the Seventh came to him when he was walking home from his daily constitutional at the Prague station.
  • The Seventh was a huge hit at its premiere when it was still on manuscript paper, but come time to be published, Dvořák’s German publisher made life miserable for the composer, insisting the score was worth only half the usual fee, and that Dvořák’s Czech first name, Antonín, had to appear on the title page in its German form, Anton.
  • The Seventh is in the key of D minor, a favorite of composers when they want to express drama, big ideas and sweeping passion.
  • Before his Seventh, Dvořák’s reputation rested largely on chamber music, much of which was written for two pianists sitting side-by-side on a bench.
  • If you’ve ever been concerned about knowing the exact moment to clap at a classical concert, the thrilling final page of Dvořák’s Seventh will leave you with no doubt.

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