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Steve Reich

Listen Steve Reich's 'Maximum' Minimalism

January 12, 2010 – The composer's Music for 18 Musicians brings elements of "maximalism" to minimalism.

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Listen John Dowland's Art Of Melancholy

January 5, 2010 – The dark, wistful mood that pervades Dowland's lute music was, in its day, a sign of maturity.

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Listen Mahler's Apocalyptic Second Symphony

December 29, 2009 – Mahler answered the metaphysical challenge of Beethoven's Ninth with the "Resurrection" Symphony.

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Listen Handel's Miraculous 'Messiah'

December 22, 2009 – Hear the composer's oratorio — which is, by any measure, the greatest choral work in English.

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Monteverdi's Poppea.

Listen Monteverdi's Pioneering 'Vespers'

December 15, 2009 – Monteverdi's set of Vespers illustrated a mastery of blending Renaissance and Baroque styles.

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Schubert's song cycle depicts an emotional journey through a barren landscape.

Listen Schubert's Desolate 'Winter Journey'

December 8, 2009 – The solitary and psychological mix in Schubert's masterful song cycle, Winterreise.

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Conductor Fritz Reiner at a 1950 rehearsal.

Listen Bartok's Best 'Concerto For Orchestra'

December 1, 2009 – The Chicago Symphony, playing as if it had been set on fire, set a standard for Bartok back in 1955.

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The Brooklyn Bridge in 1884. Dvorak would arrive in New York eight years later to head the National Conservatory of Music.

Listen Dvorak's Symphony For A 'New World'

November 24, 2009 – The Bohemian composer claimed "everyone who has a nose must smell America" in his Symphony No. 9.

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A caricature of composer Richard Wagner.

Listen Wagner's Overtures In Full-Spectrum Sound

November 17, 2009 – Powerful orchestral sounds, as well as silence, elicit an emotional response from the listener.

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Cellist Jacqueline Du Pre records Elgar's Cello Concerto with conductor John Barbirolli at Kingsway Hall in London, 1965.

Listen Quiet Anguish In Elgar's Cello Concerto

November 10, 2009 – Cellist Jacqueline Du Pre exposes both the tenderness and pain in Elgar's late-career concerto.

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Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin.

Listen Bach's Best 'Brandenburg' Concertos

November 3, 2009 – Simultaneously subtle and brilliant, Bach's Brandenburg Concertos are a microcosm of Baroque music.

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The fifth and final movement of the Symphonie fantastique is set at a witches' Sabbath.

Listen Berlioz's Unbridled 'Symphonie Fantastique'

October 27, 2009 – Hear a musical treat for Halloween that still sounds fiercely psychedelic and sweepingly romantic.

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Leonard Bernstein.

Listen Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphonic 'Coup'

October 20, 2009 – The Symphony No. 5 achieves a "victorious" closer that ends with the triumph of evil over good.

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Listen Liszt: Surmounting The Ultimate Piano Sonata

October 13, 2009 – Franz Liszt's multi-layered sonata can spark a powerful emotional experience in the listener.

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In his diary, Sibelius noted the inspiration for the grand theme in his Fifth Symphony: "Today I saw 16 swans. God, what beauty! They circled over me for a long time. Disappeared into the solar haze like a silver ribbon."

Listen Sibelius' 5th Symphony: A Song For Swans

October 6, 2009 – Inspired by swans in flight, Jean Sibelius introduces some of his best ideas in his fifth symphony.

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