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The Keeping Score Series: 13 Days When Music Changed Forever

The San Francisco Symphony’s new radio series, The Keeping Score Series: 13 Days When Music Changed Forever, is about musical revolutions—about the composers, compositions, and musical movements that changed the way people heard, or thought about, music. Each program explores the historical backdrop and the musical precursors to the revolutionary change, as well as examine the aftershocks and the lasting influences of that moment in music history. Produced by Tom Voegeli and hosted by Suzanne Vega, the programs feature interviews by SFS Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, as well as composers, musicologists, writers, and musicians.

Script writers include acclaimed music writers Justin Davidson, Tim Page, Pierre Ruhe and Chloe Veltman, among others.

 

Suzanne VegaMichael Tilson Thomas

 

 13 Days When Music Changed Forever is supported by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

WFMT Radio Network 13 Days When Music Changed Forever is distributed by the WFMT Radio Network.

 

 

 

13 Days When Music Changed Forever - Program 01: February 24, 1607 - The Premiere of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo

 

A program about the dawn of opera, but also about secular music becoming through-composed high art (something that had been the exclusive purview of church music). Up for discussion include precursors to L’Orfeo in Ancient Greece and Rome, as well as Jacopo Perri’s Euridice, written a generation before Monteverdi.


AIR-DATE
April 2011
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13 Days When Music Changed Forever - Program 02:
April 22, 1723 - J.S. Bach Appointed Kantor of Leipzig

An exploration of the Baroque and the never-ending legacy of Bach, through Mendelssohn, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Steve Reich, and The Doors’ “Light My Fire”.


AIR-DATE
April 2011
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13 Days When Music Changed Forever - Program 03: October 29, 1787: The Premiere of Don Giovanni

With this work, Mozart attains his maturity and writes a masterpiece that dominates opera forever afterwards, echoing in Wagner and beyond.


AIR-DATE
April 2011
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13 Days When Music Changed Forever - Program 04: August 8, 1803: Beethoven and the Piano

The date when Parisian piano maker Sébastien Érard gave one of his sturdy new creations to Beethoven, and the composer was able to set aside his forte piano and write more expressive and emotional music, beginning with the “Waldstein” Sonata. New instruments and new technologies have unalterably changed music many times, but the pace of change quickened in the 20th century, with the record player, the computer and the Internet.


AIR-DATE
April 2011
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13 Days When Music Changed Forever - Program 05: April 7, 1805: Premiere of Beethoven's 'Eroica'

The first public performance of the Beethoven‘s “Eroica”, the symphony that changed our idea of what music could express. Instead of classical form and rarified beauty, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 lays out the full range of human feelings, from joy and love to hopelessness and pathos.


AIR-DATE
April 2011
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13 Days When Music Changed Forever - Program 06:
August 13, 1876: Launch of the "Ring" Cycle

The launch of the first “Ring” cycle at Bayreuth. A program about the danger and appeal of Wagner’s full-immersion mythology, and why the composer was so important, even to those who hated him.


AIR-DATE
April 2011
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13 Days When Music Changed Forever - Program 07:
May 6, 1889: The Birth of "World" Music

The opening day of the Exposition Universelle in Paris, when Debussy first heard gamelan music, and “world&rdqou; music became a part of Western European classical language. Composers before and after Debussy frequently turned to vernacular sources for inspiration, whether Brahms, Mahler and Bartok incorporating folk melodies, Copland and Gershwin using the rhythms of Latin dance, or Steve Reich quoting West African drumming.


AIR-DATE
April 2011
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13 Days When Music Changed Forever - Program 08:
January 25, 1909: Richard Strauss' "Elektra"

The premiere of “Elektra,” Richard Strauss‘s farthest out work and perhaps the only piece from the days of early modernism that retains its ability to shock today.


AIR-DATE
April 2011
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13 Days When Music Changed Forever - Program 09:
May 29, 1913: Premiere of "The Rite of Spring"

The premiere of the ballet, “The Rite of Spring.” Stravinsky’s completely original instrumentation, rhythms, and his use of dissonance, have made this work one of the most important of the 20th century, not to mention the riot and ensuing scandal that caused this premiere in Paris to be one of the most shocking in all of performance history.


AIR-DATE
April 2011
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13 Days When Music Changed Forever - Program 10:
December 26, 1926: Premiere of "Tapiola"

The premiere of “Tapiola,” the tone poem by Sibelius, his last major work before 30 years of silence, during which the world waited for an 8th symphony that never came. Sibelius in his time was seen a nationalist along the lines of Grieg, but we now hear his music as radical and astonishingly prescient.


AIR-DATE
April 2011
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13 Days When Music Changed Forever - Program 11:
January 10, 1931: "Three Places in New England"

“Three Places in New England,” by Charles Ives, is performed for the first time to mild applause at a concert funded by the composer himself. Mild applause, but Ives’s music was revolutionary. Before him, American concert music was almost entirely based on European models. After him, through Copland, Cage and beyond, American “classical” music found its own voice.


AIR-DATE
April 2011
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13 Days When Music Changed Forever - Program 12:
January 28, 1936: Stalin Condemns "Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk"

The publication in Pravda of the article, “Chaos Instead of Music,” signaling Stalin’s displeasure with Shostakovich’s “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” and leading to the composer’s “redemption” in his 5th Symphony. A program about Shostakovich and the sometimes mutually beneficial, sometimes terrifying relationship between music and the totalitarian state.


AIR-DATE
April 2011
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13 Days When Music Changed Forever - Program 13:
November 4, 1964: Premiere of Terry Riley's "In C"

The premiere of Terry Riley’s “In C” at the San Francisco Tape Music Center. This piece, and the minimalist outpouring that it sparked, were a reaction to the rigid strictures of serialism and the stranglehold of the academic composers of the time.


AIR-DATE
April 2011
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