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Maiden Voyages

A symphony can be a composer's greatest challenge and a composer's greatest reward. This week we look at composers' first symphonies, their maiden voyages out into deep, musical oceans. 

 
Program 1

Writing a symphony takes more than just arranging notes on paper: the earliest composers had to consider an adequate orchestra to perform them and a space to have them performed. We take a look at some of the first symphonies of Haydn, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. 

Haydn: Symphony No. 1
Austro-Hunagrian Haydn Orchestra/ Adam Fischer
Nimbus NI-5265
13:14

Haydn: Symphony No. 104 (excerpt)
London Phil/Solti
1:33

Beethoven: Symphony No 1 - I & II
Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Harnoncourt
Teldec 46452-2 (5); Teldec 28144-2 (10)
9:23, 7:45

Beethoven: Symphony No 1 - III & IV
Concertgebouw/Haitink
Phil 442073 - 2 (5)
4:03, 5:27

Mendelssohn: String Symphony 1 - I (excerpt)
Nimbus NI - 5141
2:33

 

Program 2

Romance is in the air on this episode of Exploring Music.  Clara Schumann inspires her husband to write his first symphony, which then intimidates their good friend, Brahms. 
 

Schumann: Symphony No. 1, I & II
Cleveland/Szell
CBS-MYK 38468 Sony MH2K-62349 (2)
9:50, 5:56

Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1 (excerpt)
CSO/Reiner
RCA 5668 2 RC
0:47

Brahms: Symphony No. 1, I & IV
Berlin/Karajan
DG - 421161 - 2 60678, DG 407408-2 66407
13:44, 17:55

Program 3

Parisian symphonies take center stage with Bizet's first and little known Symphony in C written when he was only 17, Berlioz's cinematic and often eerily vivid Symphonie Fantastique. Listen for the sound of the guillotine.

Bizet: Symphony in C, I & II
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra/Hugh Wolf
Teldec 77309 - 2
7:11, 9:34

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique I, II, IV & V
BSO/Charles Munch
RCA LSC-2608
13:16, 1:02, 4:32, 8:40

Program 4

In the wild tundra of Russia, we listen to Winter Reveries, Prokofiev's first symphony, and a symphony by Shostakovich that breaks the Soviet mold. 

 

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 1, II
CSO/Abbado
Sony SK-48056
11:49

Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1
CSO/Levine
DG 439912 - 2
13:47

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 1 (excerpts from)
RSO Rostropovich
Teldec 17046 - 2
22:27

Program 5

On our final maiden voyage folk songs are our map and Mahler our captain.
 

 

Mahler: Ging heut morgenuber's Feld, (excerpt)
Gustav Mahler rendered by the Kaplan Foundation
Teldec 95354 - 2?
1:23

Mahler: Ging heut morgenuber's Feld
Columbia Symphony/ Walter, Mildred, Miller, mz
Sony SM2K 64447
3:43

Mahler: Symphony No. 1 - I, II, IV
Columbia Symphony/ Walter
SMK2 64447
13:19, 6:49, 20:22

 

The Exploring Music streaming website is made possible by Mr. & Mrs. William Gardner Brown and Susan & Richard Kiphart.
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Walther Davies
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Kourtney
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