C&N Special: Keeping Score - 13 Days When Music Changed Forever

Dec 4, 2013

JPR's Classics & News Service presents a special classical music documentary series from WFMT called Keeping Score - 13 Days When Music Changed Forever.

Singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega hosts Keeping Score, with help from conductor Michael Tilson Thomas

A project of the San Francisco Symphony, Keeping Score 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 the lasting influence of that moment in music history. This series is a follow up to one of the most broadcast classical music series of the last two decades, American Mavericks, also produced by the San Francisco Symphony.

This time, instead of focusing on seismic shifts in American music during the 20th century, the series extends back to the 1600s and include Western and Eastern European music, as well as American music. The production design includes musical excerpts mixed with commentary from the host, pop icon Suzanne Vega, as well as interviews with composers, musicologists, writers, and musicians. Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, is the key interview subject.

The 13 days covered in the series will be:

February 24, 1607: The premiere of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo
April 22, 1723: The town council of Leipzig appoints Bach as cantor
October 29, 1787: The premiere of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Prague
August 8, 1803: Parisian piano maker Sebastien Erard gives one of his sturdy new creations to Beethoven
April 7, 1805: The first public performance of Beethoven’s Eroica symphony
August 13, 1876: The launch of the first “Ring” cycle at Bayreuth
May 6, 1889: The opening day of the Exposition Universelle in Paris, when Debussy first heard gamelan music, and world music became a part of the Western European classical language
January 5, 1909: The premiere of Strauss’s Elektra
May 29, 1913: The premiere of Stravinsky’s ballet, The Rite of Spring
December 26, 1926: The premiere of Sibelius’s Tapiola, his last major work before thirty years of silence
January 10, 1931: The debut of Charles Ives’s Three Places in New England
January 28, 1936: The Soviet newspaper Pravda publishes the article "Chaos Instead of Music," which signaled Stalin’s displeasure with Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.

Keeping Score - 13 Days When Music Changed Forever can be heard Sunday evenings from 7pm to 8pm on JPR's Classics & News Service. To learn more about the series, visit: http://www.keepingscore.org/radio