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Jean-Jacques Van Vlasselaer and Marjolaine Fournier study The Four Temperaments, the second symphony by Carl Nielsen. The hosts find this Danish composer a little enigmatic and difficult to reach. They explore the world around him at the time of this composition, and talk about his music in that context. Find out how he lived his life, allowed his …
 
Marjolaine Fournier and Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer describe the music of Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt, his A minor Piano Concerto, and his C minor Symphony. His music, his melodies and his small works for piano are simply perfect. Can you believe that his symphony, composed in 1864 when Grieg was only 21, was played in 1981 for the first time? Listen …
 
Marjolaine Fournier and Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer talk about two Concertos for orchestra: one by Béla Bartók and the other by Witold Lutosławski. They take a moment to explain the format of a concerto for orchestra (what do you mean, a concerto without a soloist?), and the dialog that develops within the orchestra performing it. Bartók and Lutosł…
 
Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer and Marjolaine Fournier discuss Verdi’s Requiem, first performed in Milan in 1874. The text for this was written in about 1250, when a requiem was meant to be music to sustain the mass of the death. Our hosts uncover some history about the evolution of requiem works and their cultural significance, and shed light on Verd…
 
Marjolaine Fournier and Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer discuss the masterful Claude Vivier, composer from Québec. His music, which can be characterized as “beautiful, immense, tragic, inspiring,” is celebrated and heard regularly in France, Germany, Holland and Austria. Lonely Child will be featured during the NAC Orchestra’s tour in Europe in May 201…
 
Marjolaine Fournier and Jean Jacques van Vlasselaer compare Brahms’ and Schumann’s first symphonies. They explore the relationships between the two composers and Clara Wieck. Schumann was alive in an extraordinary and explosive decade, Clara was nine years younger and a remarkable pianist, and Brahms, a generation apart, grew up in an entirely diff…
 
Marjolaine Fournier and Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer discuss Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. How much do you know about Benjamin Britten? There is fury in this composition. Where does it come from? Pacifism started in the 20th century, and Britten is a member of this movement. War is morally unacceptable and unjustifiable for him. So what is this Re…
 
John Storgårds will conduct the NAC Orchestra on October 10 and 11, 2018, in their performance of Schubert’s ninth and final symphony. Marjolaine Fournier, NACO double bassist, and Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer, musicologist, explore this work and uncover that Schubert never heard it performed in his lifetime. Schubert died in 1828 at the early age o…
 
Marjolaine Fournier and Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer prepare us for the Festival Focus 2018 featuring all nine Beethoven symphonies. Did he really invent the boogie-woogie? Beethoven offered so much variety within his symphonies, and as a genius, is a guiding light. Concert halls continue to be filled for performances of Beethoven symphonies. Find o…
 
Bruckner scholars seem to focus on psychoanalysis rather than closing their eyes and listening to the music. To listen to Anton Bruckner’s eighth symphony is to listen to the summit of his music. The Toronto Symphony Orchestra performs this work with conductor Peter Oundjian on May 7, 2018. Listen to Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer and Marjolaine Fourn…
 
Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer and Marjolaine Fournier talk about Saariaho’s violin concerto which was featured as part of the 2017 Ideas of North festival produced by the NAC Orchestra. Saariaho is seen as a wonderful and intriguing contemporary composer who will stand the test of time, with master works into the turn of the century.…
 
This work opens many doors to wonderful and exciting musical study. It is a fine example of Orientalism and our perception of “the other”. Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer and Marjolaine Fournier talk about who Rimsky-Korsakov was, his 19th-century influences from Mendelssohn to Wagner, and his contributions to the music of the 20th century.…
 
Your hosts Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer and Marjolaine Fournier talk about Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 77, which will be performed by Guy Braunstein with the NAC Orchestra in January 2018. This work in four movements is technically and emotionally challenging for the soloist. It’s been termed “probing” and “sarcastic” – whic…
 
Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer and Marjolaine Fournier present part two of their 2017-2018 podcasts on Sibelius. In this episode, hear them trace the trajectory of Sibelius’ six symphonic poems, all performed by the NAC Orchestra during the 2017 Ideas of North festival. Composed between 1896 and 1927, they delineate the “itinerary of Sibelius, the you…
 
Jean Sibelius , born Johan Julius Christian Sibelius, was a Finnish composer and violinist of the late Romantic and early-modern periods. He is widely recognized as his country's greatest composer and, through his music, is often credited with having helped Finland to develop a national identity during its struggle for independence from Russia. Sib…
 
The story of the polarizing Métis leader and Canada’s westward expansion is told in this landmark work. Composed by Harry Somers for our nation’s centennial in 1967, this uniquely Canadian contribution to the opera world is returning on the work’s 50th anniversary, and will help mark the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. The National Art…
 
Jean Sibelius, born Johan Julius Christian Sibelius (8 December 1865 – 20 September 1957), was a Finnish composer and violinist of the late Romantic and early-modern periods. He is widely recognized as his country's greatest composer and, through his music, is often credited with having helped Finland to develop a national identity during its strug…
 
Robert Schumann[1] (8 June 1810 – 29 July 1856) was a German composer and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist. He had been assured by his teacher Friedrich Wieck that he could become the finest pianist…
 
Richard Georg Strauss (11 June 1864 – 8 September 1949) was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier, Elektra, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; his tone poems, including Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration, Till Eul…
 
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century. Pulcinella is a ballet by Igor Stravinsky based on an 18th-century play—Pulcinella is a character originating from Commedia dell'arte. The ballet premiered at the Paris Opera on…
 
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a Russian composer of the late-Romantic period, some of whose works are among the most popular music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, bolstered by his appearances as a guest conductor in Europe and the United States. Tchaikovsky was hon…
 
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is primarily known for his operas. Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Weber and Meyerbeer, Wagner revol…
 
"Treating each film as an 'opera without singing' (each character has his or her own leitmotif) Korngold created intensely romantic, richly melodic and contrapuntally intricate scores, the best of which are a cinematic paradigm for the tone poems of Richard Strauss and Franz Liszt. He intended that, when divorced from the moving image, these scores…
 
By far the bulk of Gershwin’s output is devoted to songs – more than five hundred of them, most of which come from his more than four dozen works for the musical stage. Two of these stage works are operas – the short Blue Monday Blues and the full-length Porgy and Bess. Gershwin also wrote music for four films (Shall We Dance is the most famous), a…
 
Words like “epic” and “timeless” are regularly applied to Bruckner symphonies. They have a pace of their own. But let yourself get in synch with their pulse, and you’ll be richly rewarded. The Ninth inspires awe, as its sweeping score unfolds, rising—like spires of a grand cathedral—to God.By Canada's National Arts Centre
 
The first of the 2011-12 season's "Explore the Symphony" podcasts examines the 4th Symphony of Tchaikovsky. From the quiet plucking of the strings to the bombastic brass in the finale, Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, declared “semi-barbaric” by the New York Post in 1890, will leave you breathless.By Canada's National Arts Centre
 
The third of the 2010-11 season's "Explore the Symphony" podcasts examines the 3rd and 4th Symphonies of Johannes Brahms. In this podcast, the NAC Orchestra's assistant principal double bass Marjolaine Fournier and one of Canada's foremost music journalists, Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer, discuss Symphony No. 3, which was written in 1883, polished af…
 
The second of the 2010-11 season's "Explore the Symphony" podcasts examines the short life and remarkable career of German composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), one of the most popular composers of the Romantic era. In this podcast, the NAC Orchestra's assistant principal double bass Marjolaine Fournier and one of Canada's foremost music journali…
 
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