WFIT Features

Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto was the last that he would be able to perform himself before progressive hearing loss robbed him of the ability to play with an orchestra.

Angry and bitter, he wrote some of his most fiery music in the first years of the 1800s – think the Symphony No. 5 – but this concerto wasn’t one of them. This is Beethoven at his most lyrical.

Franz Schubert -- also beset with woe -- too was able to put aside his problems and write evocative songs inspired by the beauty of his surroundings.

Beethoven wrote his piano concerti with the specific aim of displaying his talents both as a composer and as a pianist when he moved to the great musical center of Vienna. We'll hear the second concerto, as we go through the cycle of five over these few weeks. Progressive hearing loss was to doom his career as a performer, even as his skills as a composer reached unsurpassed heights.

This week we begin the cycle of the Beethoven piano concerti, of which there are five.

Beethoven arrived in Vienna as a young man the way Bob Dylan later arrived in New York: a country bumpkin determined to make a big splash in the world. and what better way to do it than with his own concerti featuring himself as soloist. Alas, things went badly for Beethoven: as his writing became more ambitious, progressive hearing loss robbed him of his ability to  perform ensemble works. We'll listen to the process as it unfolded this Thursday and over the next four weeks.

Blues With a Twist hosts Sister Mary and Jeanie Kelly have put together their list (in no particular order)of the the top 10 blues albums of 2015.

Artist / Album

Anthony Geraci And The Boston Blues All Stars / Fifty Shades of Blue

If you didn't know any better and got plopped into 19th century Europe, you'd probably think that this guy Shakespeare was a pretty good librettist or ballet impressario rather than a substantial playwright himself.

It seemed for a few decades that half the major composers were tripping over each other adapting the Bard's plays into operas, ballets, and other musical forms. Gounod, Bellini, Verdi, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Faure, and others gave it a try -- often several tries.