THE SECRET PATHS OF BEETHOVEN’S 9th SYMPHONY
An exploration of Beethoven’s knotty and serene masterpiece miraculously composed amidst a backdrop of isolation, emotional carnage and failed dreams.
LEONARD BERNSTEIN – American idol, American idealist
Leonard Bernstein engaged in a dizzying number of roles before the American public: composer, conductor, pianist, teacher, humanitarian, thinker, entertainer and political radical. Along with John F. Kennedy he was the first ‘American Idol’ to realize the tremendous impact of television. As we approach the centenary of the great maestro’s birth, here is a fresh appraisal of the great maestro’s life and his accomplishments illustrated with stunning audio and video examples.
HUMOR IN CLASSICAL MUSIC or Mozart meets the Marx Brothers
What makes Haydn hilarious, Beethoven buffoonish and Mozart a madcap cutup? This richly entertaining presentation features live piano demonstrations and audio examples of the witty foibles of the great masters. Bickering servants, farcical farmers, petulant peasants and pugnacious prisoners all are amusingly recreated in this witty, sometimes uproarious recreation of the lighter side of 18th-century life in Vienna.
THE CHANGING IMAGE OF OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II
Lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II is just possibly one of the two most important figures in American musical show business history (the other being Fred Astaire). While some consider Hammerstein to be a sentimental “cockeyed optimist” morally akin to his stage protagonists, recent scholarship suggests a complex man who was savvy and hard-driving. Descended from a family of German Jews who came to the United States in 1864, the Hammersteins became renowned showmen and theater builders. Using historic recordings and thrilling videos, ‘Beyond the Yellow Surrey’ will present the story of Oscar Hammerstein and the changing image of his work for successive generations of Americans.
THE TWO JEWISH TENORS – RICHARD TAUBER AND JOSEPH SCHMIDT
Two unforgettable voices. Two stellar careers. Two Jewish Tenors from Austria, both uprooted by World War II: Richard Tauber and Joseph Schmidt. Now they live again through their stories and great music. Rare films and audio clips complement Karl Middleman’s insightful commentary to evoke a memorable era. We include composers Sigmund Romberg, Franz Lehar, and Franz Schubert and their timeless favorites such as Dein is mein ganzes Herz, O Sole Mio and Vienna, City of My Dreams.
DVORAK’S 9TH – RHYTHMIC VERVE
A SELECTION OF 300 OTHER TOPICS INCLUDES:
• Crazy About Italian Opera
• The Mendelssohns: Grace, Power and Privilege
• Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Future of the Philadelphia Orchestra
• George Gershwin, Porgy and Bess, and How American Music Found Its Groove
• Wampums, Wigwams, Warpaths and Dvorak’s ‘New World Symphony’
EAT, DRINK, AND BE MOZART
Come to Mozart’s table of auditory delights. Enhance your appreciation of Salzburg’s favorite son. Embedded in Mozart’s music are the antics of bickering servants, farcical farmers and petulant peasants. All are topics in Mozart’s music, and all are brought to life in Maestro Karl Middleman’s discussion of Viennese social customs, mores and music. Sensational video and live performances at the piano will round out a compelling picture of music’s great genius. For novices, newbies and connoisseurs.
GREAT TITANS OF THE PIANO
What makes a potent pianist? It’s more than Steinways and techniques. Discover the personalities, the influences as well as the dazzling virtuosity of the world’s greatest pianists. Featured are yesteryear’s favorites such as Vladamir Horowitz and Arthur Rubenstein, but also today’s heroes including Yuja Wang, Lang Lang, Martha Argerich, and many more. Videos, sound recordings and the expert commentary of Maestro Karl Middleman will bring these keyboard heroes to life in all their enthralling mastery.
What makes a great conductor? Why are some hated and others adored? Now, that we’re in the fresh and exhilarating years of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s newest skipper, it’s time to review the mastery and heroics that established the great conductors. What separates the podium wizards from the wannabes? Learn the secrets of the masters from a real maestro, Karl Middleman. We will survey rare footage of past Philadelphia Orchestra greats – Stokowski, Ormandy, and Muti. Look also for guest appearances by Leonard Bernstein, Simon Rattle and Herbert von Karajan.
LOVE’S LABORS WON IN MUSIC THROUGH THE AGES
The power of love inspired surpassing works of many great composers including Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Verdi. Using the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice as a launching pad, we will explore music from the 17th through 21st centuries with specific regard to the merrymaking, mayhem, and sometimes, tears, inflamed by love’s muse. Here are the travails of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, the playful antics of Mozart’s operatic lovers, and the mayhem of mistaken identities in both Mendelssohn and Benjamin Britten’s versions of Midsummer Night’s Dream. Discover these compelling musical tales of rapture, devotion, and hurdles overcome. Karl Middleman weaves a rich musical tapestry of captivating musical selections and commentary.
THE MUSICAL VISTAS OF AMERICA, THE BEAUTIFUL
Great land and space in America-inspired music comprise the theme of this unique panorama of sight and sound. Starting with the grandeur of works by Haydn and Beethoven, we will explore the theme of New World boundlessness in music as varied as Dvorak’s ‘New World Symphony’ and Puccini’s ‘Girl of the Golden West’. Other whistle stops on our journey include Copland’s ‘Billy the Kid’, and Irving Berlin’s ‘Annie Get Your Gun’. These works, and many others, reflected changing social issues of America, and will be illuminated with the aid of thrilling video and audio recordings.
THE DEVIL’S PLAYTHING – THE ART OF THE VIOLIN
Since the time of the great Paganini and earlier, listeners to great violinists felt enthralled by supernatural forces. Fainting spells, sexual license, even madness could result from overexposure to the instrument whose extravagancies could move the soul. The great violinists of the 19th and 20th Centuries demonstrated such mastery and charisma that multitudinous new audiences were won over to classical music. Here once again – in spectacular audio and visual display – are the great violinists: Jascha Heifetz, Mischa Elman, Isaac Stern, David Oistrakh and Ida Haendel to dazzle and delight. Maestro Karl Middleman will thread their stories into an affectionate, memorable account of the ascendance of the violin virtuosos and the joys they still bring.
AMERICA STEPS OUT WITH FRED ASTAIRE
They are “the only jewels of my life” Ginger Rogers exclaimed of her films with Fred Astaire. America’s greatest dancing star, Fred Astaire (1899-1987) accumulated immeasurable accolades and admirers throughout his long and celebrated career. Virtually no honors nor triumphs escaped him. America Dances with Fred Astaire traces the growth of our country’s greatest dancing star from his modest beginnings as a child performer on the Orpheum circuit through his Depression-era movie triumphs and to his late film triumphs.
IRVING BERLIN’S AMERICA
Jerome Kern once said, “Irving Berlin has no place in American music. He is American music!” His pre-eminence is attested by a record 1,500 songs. His masterworks include some of the greatest hits of Broadway and Hollywood including Easter Parade, White Christmas, Call Me Madam, and Annie Get Your Gun. Irving Berlin’s America looks at the evolution of America’s greatest song composer back when the Lower East Side was a true melting pot. Irving Berlin had an ear for the new ethnic groups flooding through Ellis Island and his songs represented them all. Irving Berlin’s America shows the evolution of America’s greatest song composer through the phases of vaudeville, ragtime, dance, jazz and the cinema. The talents of Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Ethel Merman and Fred Astaire illustrate Berlin’s rich and most enjoyable musical tapestry.
GREAT SINGING STARS OF THE ‘30S
Here they are: the early masters of the Great American Songbook. Crooners, scat singers, even singing cowboys. Jolson, Crosby, Garland, Astaire, Autry and the Boswell Sister all sing hits that lifted Americans’ spirits during the Depression era. This series is more than a trip down Memory Lane. It’s a portrait of the epic saga of the American entertainment history as highlighted in the confident first steps of the “talkie” films. Rare footage of the great stars illuminates these programs.
FROM SHOWBOAT TO SONDHEIM: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN MUSICAL THEATER
American musicals have been one of this country’s most important and durable contributions to world culture. From their roots in vaudeville, minstrelsy, and European operetta, American musicals have evolved into complex integrated art forms. Shows such as Show Boat (1927), Oklahoma! (1943), West Side Story (1957) and Company (1970) display amazing variety. Explore these ground-breaking musicals, as well as the people behind them including Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, Florenz Ziegfeld, Agnes De Mille, and Stephen Sondheim.
JAZZ AND ITS HERITAGE
No music today relates more to the American experience than does jazz. America is a country of immigrants. Its primary musical legacy – jazz – entails a fusion of diverse styles. Why do we enjoy listening to jazz? How has jazz reflected American social, economic, aesthetic and political conditions for over 125 years? What words can describe the elements of this important and elusive music? Jazz and its Heritage will open ears, hearts and minds to one of America’s greatest cultural legacies.
MAGICAL MUSICAL GARDENS
Musical representations of the outdoors will enchant you with great music from concert stages and American musical theater. Johnny Mercer’s L’l Abner bumps into Mozart’s Amadeus. Stravinsky’s Firebird brushes up with Brigadoon. The giant careens on Jack’s beanstalk in Into the Woods. Clowns meet fairies in Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Hansel and Gretel roast a witch. Join this entertaining salute to Nature’s Bounty. Your conductor and musical landscaper, Karl Middleman, charts an entertaining path with spectacular scenic films and music.
1001 ALLURING MUSICAL NIGHTS – MUSIC AND ORIENTALISM
All are enchanted by the tales of the Arabian Nights. Often our fascination is enkindled by composers such as Verdi and Borodin whose colorful musical fantasies are inspired by the Orient. Before them, hundreds of composers wrote music of exoticism and mystery. Many Orientalist masterpieces form the foundations of today’s most beloved concert repertoire. Scheherazade, Aida and Rudolph Valentino are just a few of the stops on this wide-ranging musical tour of the Orient. Suspense, surprise and shimmering beauty await you around every corner through the magic of sumptuous visual and audio highlights.
EXPERIENCING THE ARTS
Studying great art can promote increased intellectual attainment, upliftment, and inspiration. Art speaks to common aspirations and broad human values. ‘Experiencing the Arts’ presents students with opportunities to translate arts learning into habits of the heart to enrich their own lives.