Masterpieces old and new

Discover what makes a masterpiece by learning how classical works are composed. Music Director Gerard Schwarz explains the history, context and compositional techniques behind famous orchestral works, from Beethoven to leading composers of the present day.
All content in “Masterpieces old and new”

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 5

Possibly the most iconic of all symphonies, "Beethoven's 5th" is instantly recognizable by its dramatic opening motive. Learn how this rhythmic and melodic idea permeates the entire work, holding the listener in thrall through all four movements to the blazing finale. Music Director Gerard Schwarz and noted expert Leon Botstein explore the many facets of Beethoven's masterpiece, including a demonstration by Maestro Schwarz of how to conduct the first movement.

Antonín Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 "From the New World"

Inspired by American dreams and legends, Antonin Dvořák created some of his greatest works while living in the United States, above all the “New World” Symphony. Music Director Gerard Schwarz and Dvořák expert Joseph Horowitz delve into the music, and illuminate the multiple stories and influences – Native American, African-American and Czech –that Dvořák transformed in his most famous work.

Igor Stravinsky: Suite from The Firebird

The magical world of Russian folklore comes to life as Music Director Gerard Schwarz tells the story of The Firebird ballet, and looks into the music of Igor Stravinsky's thrilling musical score that was commissioned by the legendary impresario Serge Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes.

Maurice Ravel: Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloe

Analysis by Gerard Schwarz. A love story from ancient Greek mythology inspired the creation of an epic ballet in 1912. French composer Maurice Ravel expanded the possibilities of orchestral color and texture in his remarkable score. Music Director Gerard Schwarz explores the history and musical structure of this landmark work of musical Impressionism.

Augusta Read Thomas: Of Paradise and Light

A leading composer of her generation, Augusta Read Thomas' works have been performed by major orchestras around the world. Here she discusses the compositional process that led to Of Paradise and Light. Music Director Gerard Schwarz joins in the discussion of this transcendent new work.

Bernard Rands: Adieu

Pulitzer-prize-winning composer and Harvard Professor of Music Bernard Rands discusses the art of composition. He and Music Director Gerard Schwarz look into the score of Rands' recent work "Adieu" ("Goodbye") as recorded by the All-Star Orchestra.