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Classical 101

Haydn and Barenboim with Chopin on Symphony @ 7

Zubin Mehta
Apoorva Guptay
Zubin Mehta conducts the Vienna Philharmonic tonight on Symphony @ 7.

On Symphony @ 7 this week, you can hear some thoughtful music from Franz Joseph Haydn and a poetic piano concerto from Frederic Chopin.  Haydn's Symphony No. 22 in E flat, The Philosopher, begins the hour and Chopin's longer Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor meanders through more emotional realms on Classical 101 Thursday evening beginning at 7 pm.

Symphony No. 22 in E flat from 1764 by Haydn is probably his most popular early symphony.  Keep in mind this comes from a man who has 104 numbered symphonies to his name.  

No. 22 got its nickname, "The Philosopher," from the slow first movement marked, adagio.  Its contemplative pace and regular rhythm suggested, to some, a philosopher deep in thought as time passes by.  The other three movements, however, move along in a more speedy and extroverted way.

We'll hear the Vienna Philharmonic with Zubin Mehta conducting our performance on Symphony @ 7.

Frederic Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor comes from 1830 by the 20-year-old Polish composer and pianist who wrote it as a calling card to show off his abilities as a supremely gifted and poetic artist of the keyboard.  It was first performed at one of his "farewell" concerts before leaving his homeland.

Chopin wrote only two piano concertos, both within a year of each other, and this one was actually the second.  It just happened to be published first.  No matter, for they are both wonderful works that have remained popular to this day and are often performed and recorded.

Our performance comes from a fairly recent recording with pianist Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin State Orchestra conducted by Andris Nelsons.  

"When I play Chopin I feel a kind of purely physical pleasure that I get from no other composer's music," Barenboim said.

As an aside, Daniel Barenboim is certainly sensitive to the tactile sensation, as well as the sound of a piano, judging by his interest in, and involvement with the development of a new piano, to be called "the Barenboim."  See attached story here.