Explore the backstory on classical music's greatest works and discover their secrets, scandals and twists. This unique series engages you in an entertaining and informative format, including a thrilling performance of the music. It's fun. It's laid back. It's Off the Cuff!
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Markus Stenz, conductor
Mozart: Scenes from Don Giovanni
Everyone loves an anti-hero, and Mozart’s titular libertine Don Giovanni — or Don Juan — seduces and preys upon women before ultimately receiving his karmic undoing. Don Giovanni is Mozart’s most Romantic opera which deals in psychological and supernatural drama balanced with dark humor that would go on to inspire 19th-century composers and delight audiences long after
Marin Alsop, conductor
Jonathan Carney, violin
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
How do notes on a page communicate an idea? Why do we hear a thunderstorm, winter’s chill or a bird song when we listen to an orchestra play? Vivaldi set out to show Baroque critics that ”program music” had its place among serious compositions. Those ideas he captures in music have made The Four Seasons a concert hall staple and a popular cultural touchstone.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3
Described as a “six-and-a-half-foot scowl” by his contemporary Stravinsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff was not what most would call a happy man. Part of that legendary sour outlook came from a life in exile after he and his family left Bolshevik Russia. Still, a connection to his homeland runs through much of his music, and his third symphony is filled with that Russian heritage, love and longing.
Elgar: Enigma Variations
Inside Elgar’s Enigma Variations is a riddle that remains unsolved. The enigma theme that Elgar takes through many inventive and striking variations that are each dedicated to someone in his life, is actually a companion melody written to a well-known tune. Can you solve the mystery of Elgar’s riddle? Probably not, but no answer is needed to enjoy Elgar’s masterwork.
John Adams, conductor
Jeremy Dink, piano
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor"
Post-minimalist conductor-composer John Adams returns to the BSO podium to conduct Beethoven’s grandiose “Emperor” concerto and his own intensely expressive Harmonielehre, the symphonic essay that helped him become one of the most performed and important composers alive.