On this day in 1908, Gustav Mahler's Seventh Symphony had its world premiere in Prague. Through its five movements, the Seventh is one of Mahler's most colorful and evocative works. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the movements of the 7th and discover why it satisfies Christopher Walken's hankering for a certain percussive instrument.
Today in 1965, Duke Ellington first Concert of Sacred Music took place at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Today's "A Classical Day in the Life" looks back on this event--its music, is musicians, and its legacy.
Today in 1963 a horrific bombing prompted Nina Simone's recording "Mississippi Goddamn." The song was one of the first to directly address the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, that Simone called a show tune for a "show that hasn't been written for it yet." Find out more on today's "A Classical Day in the Life."
Today in 1814, during the war of 1812, Francis Scott Key authored the words for what would eventually become the national anthem for the United States of America. Today's "A Day in the Life" considers the various musical interpretations of the song from Marvin Gaye to Whitney Houston to Roseanne Barr.
Today in 1985 the video game Super Mario Brothers was released. Who composed the music and how has it made its way into the classical concert hall--as well as your own cel phone? Find out on today's "A Classical Day in the Life."
Today in 1932, the Philharmonia Orchestra of Rio De Janeiro premiered a new work by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos -- Bachianas Brasileiras [number 1]. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", learn how Villa-Lobos struck a sonic balance between the influences of his homeland and those of Europe.
The Kennedy Center's concert hall opened in Washington, D.C. on this day in 1971. It featured a multifaceted performance by the National Symphony Orchestra. What music was heard that evening and who was in attendance? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
On this day in 1971, Leonard Bernstein's MASS had its premiere in Washington, D.C., at the brand new Kennedy Center for the performing arts. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the tradition of the musical representation of the Eucharist in the Catholic Church and Bernstein's unique take on the form.
Today in 2008, Scottish composer Thea Musgrave’s Rainbow had its London premiere. Originally composed for the opening of the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow in 1990, this London performance at the BBC Proms was in honor of Musgrave’s 80th birthday year.
Today in 1932, Francis Poulenc’s Concerto for Two Pianos had its debut at the International Society for Contemporary Music in Venice. Commissioned and dedicated to the Princess Edmond de Polignac, the piece was written in three months over the course of the summer of 1932. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we break down the movements of the concerto and explore some of its surprising influences.
Today in 1838, Queen Lili‘uokalani -- the last royal leader of the Hawaiian Kingdom -- was born. Queen Lili‘u was part of a highly musical family, and she and three siblings became known as the “Royal Fours.” On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we explore the musical legacy of the queen.
Today in 1785 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dedicated a set of string quartets to his musical mentor, Joseph Haydn--father of the string quartet. How did Mozart demonstrate his own mastery of the genre through this set of quartets? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1918, Filipino composer Lucrecia Roces Kasilag was born in San Fernando, the capital city of La Union Province on the north-east coast of the island of Luzon. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we explore the composer's use of native Filipino traditions in her neo-classical works.
On this day in 1992, the Low Symphony by Philip Glass had its premiere in Munich, with Dennis Russel Davies conducting the Young German Chamber Philharmonic. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore Glass's first symphony -- a reconfiguration of songs from the 1977 album Low by David Bowie and Brian Eno.
Today in 1952, John Cage’s experimental composition 4-33 had its premiere in Woodstock, New York. Pianist David Tutor gave the first performance--he walked onto the stage, sat down at the piano bench, and began the piece...by closing the keyboard’s lid. Learn what happened next and how the piece was initially received on today's "A Classical Day in the Life".
Today in 1846, Felix Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah had its premiere at the Birmingham festival in England. What inspired Mendelssohn to write an oratorio on the Old Testament prophet? Find out on today's "A Classical Day in the Life"
On this day in 1893, African American musicians performed Western classical music in a concert on Colored American Day at the Chicago World’s Fair. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" learn who performed and the general reception to African American musicianship in the last years of the 19th Century.
Today in 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed his final sonata for violin, K. 526 in A Major. It is by far the most technical of his violin sonatas and is characterized by a hard-driving, rhythmic energy emergent from the opening moments of its first movement. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we delve into the sonata and explore its connection to German composer Carl Friedrich Abel.
On this day in 1964, the American composer Lou Harrison's Symphony on G had its premiere. That's right - ON G, not IN G. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we explore the symphony and Harrison's playful titling philosophy.
Today in 1812--as part of the War of 1812--an American ship named the USS Constitution defeated the British HMS Guerriere, some 175 leagues due east of Boston in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life" we explore music inspired by this naval battle and other tunes inspired by armed conflict in 1812.
On this day in 1572, Queen Margaret of Valois and Henry of Navarre got married in Paris. The interdenominational marriage — Marguerite was Catholic, and Henry was a Huguenot — should have helped bridge the gap between Protestants and Catholics in France. It did not. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre and the opera it inspired Giacomo Meyerbeer to write.
Today, in 1883, “Himno Nacional”, the national anthem of the Dominican Republic, made its debut. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the origins of the anthem and its content, which champions the non-colonial indigenous tradition of the island and rebukes the occupation of foreign powers.
On this day in 1328, the Gonzagas took over the duchy of Mantua in Northern Italy, inaugurating a nearly 400-year period of dominance there for the Gonzaga family that featured some of the most important figures in music. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the musical output of Mantua from Marchetto Cara to Claudio Monteverdi.
Today in 1939, the film musical The Wizard of Oz had its Hollywood premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. This classic American story about Dorothy and Toto’s journey from Kansas to Oz and back, and all the characters they encounter along the way, has its origins in the books authored by L. Frank Baum.
Today in 2012, the games of the 30th Olympiad, better known as the London Summer Olympics, came to a triumphant AND musical close. On today's "A Classical Day in the Life", we explore the musical tributes to The Beatles, Edward Elgar, and more.