Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ and why you should listen to it

One of the most familiar pieces of early 18th century music (and perhaps classical music in general) is Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.”

But what makes it so memorable and significant? As teacher Betsy Schwarm notes in the Ted-Ed video “Why should you listen to Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’?”, part of its allure and importance lies in its use of programmatic elements.

Schwarm points out a few of the components of musical imagery that Vivaldi portrays in the piece:

• Spring — birds welcome spring with a happy song,  a thunderstorm, followed by more birds (wet and frightened from the rain).
• Summer — a singing turtledove and a hailstorm.
• Autumn — hunters dashing about in search of prey.
• Winter — teeth-chattering cold, taking refuge by a crackling fire, and back out into the storm.

Watch the Ted-Ed video below to learn more about the underlying musical narrative in “The Four Seasons,” and see the entire lesson on Ted-Ed’s website.

On The Air This Week

Highlights from Oct. 25 to Nov. 2

Tuesday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
8 p.m. Concordia Choir in concert on Choral Stream.
Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. & 5:15 p.m. New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
12 midnight Euro Classics: RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra/Alan Buribayev, conductor; Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 in E minor ‘From the New World’ — recorded at the National Concert Hall, Dublin.
Thursday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Regional Spotlight: Minnesota Bach Society.
Friday, 7:15 a.m. Moveable Feast with John Birge and Minnesota Monthly‘s Rachel Hutton.
11 a.m. Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Spotlight: Beethoven: Concerto No. 4 in G for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 58.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Friday Favorites with Steve Staruch.
Saturday, 9 a.m., New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
10 a.m. Saturday Cinema with Lynne Warfel.
5 p.m. A Prairie Home Companion: host Chris Thile welcomes guests Esperanza Spalding, Aparna Nancherla, and Dawes; live from the Fitzgerald Theater.
8 p.m. Euro Classics: RTVE Symphony Orchestra/Carlos Kalmar, conductor; Chorus of the Autonomous Community of Madrid; RTVE Chorus; Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music – recorded at the Teatro Monumental, Madrid.
Sunday, 6 a.m. Pipedreams: All Gory, Loud and Horror.
12 noon From the Top.
1 p.m. SymphonyCast: Los Angeles Philharmonic/Leonard Slatkin, conductor; Truls Mork, cello.
8 p.m. Sunday Night Cantata, Choral Stream.
Monday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Tuesday,1 p.m. Performance Today.

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On The Air This Week

Highlights from Oct. 18 to 25

Tuesday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. & 5:15 p.m. New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
12 midnight South America Classics: São Paulo Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop, conductor; Denis Kozhukin, piano; Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 — recorded at the Concert Hall, São Paulo.
Thursday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Regional Spotlight: Twin Cities American Guild of Organists, Reger Centenary.
Friday, 7:15 a.m. Moveable Feast with John Birge and Minnesota Monthly‘s Rachel Hutton.
11 a.m. Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Spotlight: Mendelssohn: Concerto in E Minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 64.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Friday Favorites with Steve Staruch.
8 p.m. Minnesota Orchestra: Josefowicz Performs John Adams; Edward Gardner, conductor; Leila Josefowicz, violin; live from Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.
Saturday, 9 a.m., New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
10 a.m. Saturday Cinema with Lynne Warfel.
5 p.m. A Prairie Home Companion: host Chris Thile welcomes guests Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Anaïs Mitchell, and John Hodgman; live from the Fitzgerald Theater.
8 p.m. Euro Classics: Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Leonidas Kavakos, violin; Sibelius: Violin Concerto, Op. 47 – recorded at the Danish Radio Concert House, Copenhagen.
Sunday, 6 a.m. Pipedreams: Pipedreams Live! at Indiana University (Part 2 of 2).
12 noon From the Top.
1 p.m. SymphonyCast: Los Angeles Philharmonic/Nicholas McGegan, conductor; Martin Chalifour, violin; Nathan Cole, violin; Ariana Ghez, oboe; Whitney Crockett, bassoon; Robert deMaine, cello.
8 p.m. Sunday Night Cantata, Choral Stream.
Monday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Tuesday,1 p.m. Performance Today.

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Classical music and popcorn help fuel PSAT preparation

According to a recent Kaplan survey of 400 teens preparing to take the PSAT this month, classical music is the most popular soundtrack for test preparation.  Mozart, in particular, was cited as the favorite composer to listen to while studying.

“Depending on the individual, studying with music can be calming, motivating or distracting, so we recommend students find whichever works best for them,” says Vice President of College Admissions Programs for Kaplan Test Prep, Lee Weiss. “What’s important is that they stay motivated, calm and focused.”

In terms of study fuel, most common options are popcorn, chips, Cheetos, and chocolate. Somewhat surprisingly, water is the overwhelming beverage choice among teens studying for the test — nearly four times as popular as coffee or soda. Weiss warns against snacks that have a lot of sugar (which can lead to fatigue and irritability), and recommends high-protein snacks instead.

Weiss also advises that students plan their study schedule ahead of time and avoid the typical last-minute cramming: “The night before a big test should be spent relaxing and getting a good night’s sleep.”

Millions of teens across the country will take the PSAT on Oct. 19. For more information (as well as free practice exams) visit Kaplan Test Prep.

 

 

On The Air This Week

Highlights from Oct. 11 to 18

Tuesday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. & 5:15 p.m. New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
12 midnight Euro Classics: Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Fabio Luisi, conductor; Carl Nielsen (arr. Hans Abrahamsen): Commotio — recorded at the DR Concert House, Copenhagen.
Thursday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Regional Spotlight: Choral Arts Ensemble of Rochester, Minn.
Friday, 7:15 a.m. Moveable Feast with John Birge and Minnesota Monthly‘s Rachel Hutton.
11 a.m. Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra Spotlight: De Falla: Suite of Spanish Folksongs for Violin and Piano.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Friday Favorites with Steve Staruch.
4:30 p.m. Interview and performance with the Tembembe Ensamble Continuo.
8 p.m. Minnesota Orchestra: Celebrating Skrowaczewski; Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, conductor; live from Orchestra Hall.
Saturday, 9 a.m., New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
10 a.m. Saturday Cinema with Lynne Warfel.
5 p.m. A Prairie Home Companion: host Chris Thile welcomes guests Jack White, Lake Street Dive, and Maeve Higgins; live from the Fitzgerald Theater.
8 p.m. Euro Classics: RTVE Symphony Orchestra/Leopold Hager, conductor; Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night), Op. 4 – recorded at the Teatro Monumental, Madrid.
Sunday, 6 a.m. Pipedreams: Pipedreams Live! at Indiana University (Part 1 of 2).
12 noon From the Top.
1 p.m. SymphonyCast: Houston Symphony/Andres Orozco-Estrada, conductor; Martin Helmchen, piano; Mark Hughes, trumpet.
8 p.m. Sunday Night Cantata, Choral Stream.
Monday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Tuesday,1 p.m. Performance Today.

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Composer Corner: Reich

October’s composer of the month is Steve Reich.

 

Born: October 3, 1936

 

Five facts:

• Reich’s music was not well-received initially, and he had to work as a taxi driver and social worker to earn a living.
• In 1967, Reich formed a collective ensemble with fellow composer Philip Glass. They also formed a moving company — Chelsea Light Moving.
• Reich was inspired to visit Ghana in 1970 to study with master drummer Gideon Alorwoyie, resulting in his 90-minute work, Drumming.
• Critic Kyle Gann has stated that Reich may be considered “America’s greatest living composer.”
• Steve Reich won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for his Double Sextet.

 

Three important works:

• Piano Phase (1967)
• Clapping Music (1972)
• Music  for 18 Musicians (1974-76)

 

Audio Backpack playlist: Steve Reich

On The Air This Week

Highlights from Oct. 4 to 11

Tuesday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. & 5:15 p.m. New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
7:30 p.m. Renée Fleming Schubert Club recital, live broadcast; Elena See hosts.
12 midnight South America Classics: São Paulo Symphony Orchestra/Stéphane Denève, conductor; Gershwin: An American in Paris — recorded at the São Paulo Concert Hall.
Thursday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Regional Spotlight: Accordo.
Friday, 7:15 a.m. Moveable Feast with John Birge and Minnesota Monthly‘s Rachel Hutton.
11 a.m. Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra live concert broadcast; Jeremy Denk, piano; Mozart, Schumann, Schubert; Alison Young hosts.
1 p.m. Performance Today.
3 p.m. Friday Favorites with Steve Staruch.
Saturday, 9 a.m., New Classical Tracks with Julie Amacher.
10 a.m. Saturday Cinema with Lynne Warfel.
5 p.m. A Prairie Home Companion: Rebroadcast from Oct. 4, 2014, featuring Ellis and The Gibson Brothers.
8 p.m. Euro Classics: Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Jaime Martin, conductor; Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 21 – recorded at the Berwaldhallen, Stockholm.
Sunday, 6 a.m. Pipedreams: Seven Pieces.
12 noon From the Top.
1 p.m. SymphonyCast: Houston Symphony/Andres Orozco-Estrada, conductor; Gabriela Montero, piano.
8 p.m. Sunday Night Cantata, Choral Stream.
Monday, 1 p.m. Performance Today.
Tuesday,1 p.m. Performance Today.

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