WFIT Features


Late 19th-century Paris opera-goers felt cheated if their evenings-out didn't include a ballet scene somewhere in the performance. When Giuseppe Verdi was told that he had to write such a score and insert it into the drama, interrupting the action, he was apalled. When told that he had do do it if he wanted to make any money, he became more tractable. Hence our featured work this week: the ballet suite from Il Trovatore -- just for Paris.

Vermont Public Radio

Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite used to be one of those "Introduction to classical music" pieces than many first heard as children -- like Peter and the Wolf and The Nutcracker. The suite had its origins in Ibsen's play of the same name, a play not intended for children by any means, but the imagery of Grieg's music makes the scenes come alive to young and old alike. We revisit this old favorite as our featured work this week, up in the Attic.

Two years after being kicked out of the Salzburg Cathedral – literally, "with a kick to the arse" – Mozart returned to his hometown to debut his new Mass in C minor.

It wasn’t a peace offering to the archbishop, but rather an introduction of his new wife to Mozart’s family and old friends. She was an accomplished singer, and Mozart gave her a starring role.

Then the Mozarts went back home to Vienna and everlasting fame. The mass has become one of the iconic works in its genre, and it's our featured work this week.
Nobody much remembers the archbishop any more.

They say politics makes strange bedfellows.

Well sometimes music makes strange politics -- or maybe it just takes a few decades to sort itself out. The French patriot Jacques Thibaud, the great anti-fascist Pablo Casals, and the Vichy functionary Alfred Cortot had formed a trio in 1905 and they continued to play together until they fell out over world events thirty years later. We'll hear them in more congenial times this week, performing Beethoven in 1926.

It was a bountiful year for the music we love, and that made it very difficult to narrow our favorites to a top ten list.  Here they are in no particular order: