The music of Gustav Mahler reflects the world he lived in — from a Bohemian village to glittering world capitals — as well as his intensely personal interior experience: his passions, his sufferings, and his ongoing sense of being an outsider. Mahler filled his symphonic worlds with recurring tunes and rhythms from his past. Explore the world that inspired Mahler and the music he created.
In 1937 Russia, at the height of Stalin’s purges, the Communist Party strongly denounced Dmitri Shostakovich’s most recent works. Fearing for his life, the young composer wrote a symphony ending with a rousing march.
Coming of age at the dawn of the twentieth century, Charles Ives saw the halcyon days of his youth fading fast. Not willing to let them go, he invented a striking new musical language to enshrine the feelings and ideals of a simpler time. But many, shocked by passages like the “fireworks” in ‘Fourth of July,’ found his new-fangled methods at odds with the memories he was trying to preserve. Did Ives go too far? Or did he succeed in turning his memories into music?
Explore the Eroica score to learn how Beethoven created this masterpiece. Learn how Beethoven wove the themes in Eroica to shape the emotional journey of the music. Find out why keys were so important to Beethoven. Hear insights about the music from MTT and the musicians of the San Francisco Symphony. And then, explore the stories behind the Eroica.
Explore the sights, sounds and influences that brought Copland to write music that gave Americans a sense of their own identity and created a truly American sound. With excerpts from the original 13-instrument version of Appalachian Spring.
Experience this masterpiece in Tchaikovsky’s own words. Learn about the events and influences that defined his character, his career, and his genius. See and hear the instruments of the orchestra that Tchaikovsky used in his music.
Hear work that shocked the opening night audiences. Follow the score and see the ballet, with insights from MTT and musicians of the San Francisco Symphony. Also hear an interview about the reconstruction of the ballet and costumes with dance historians Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer.
In 1827, Hector Berlioz wrote a ‘fantastic’ symphony created with a special theme, an idée fixe, to represent the object of his desire, actress Harriet Smithson. Follow the sometimes romantic, sometimes grotesque expression of the Harriet theme and learn more about what inspired Berlioz to create his first masterpiece.