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Joan Tower, Edward Elgar and Mozart's 'eternal music'

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Joan Tower, Edward Elgar and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Join hosts Michael Stern and Dan Margolies as they highlight Kansas City Symphony performances of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's final symphony, the "Jupiter," Joan Tower's rhythmic "Tambor" and Edward Elgar's noble Symphony No. 1.

Hosts

Michael Stern
Dan Margolies

Program

Part 1 - Tower and Mozart
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Symphony No. 41 in C Major, "Jupiter," K. 551
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Live performance, March 2012

Another one of Mozart's musical miracles, his Symphony No. 41 in C major, the "Jupiter," is part of the great triptych of symphonies that marked the end of his symphonic output.

“It is other-worldly in terms of its accomplishment and yet it is extraordinarily human music," Michael Stern says. "The great tragedy is what would he have written next had he been allowed to live beyond 1791.”

Tambor
by Joan Tower
Christian Reif, guest conductor
Live performance, April 2022

"Tambor," the Spanish word for drum, was given its premiere by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1998. Joan Tower grew up in South America, where her father was a mining engineer.

A long-time champion of Tower's work, Michael Stern considers her a "preeminent" musical voice and says she is "one of the first women composers to achieve the stature that she deserved."

Tambor is led here by guest conductor Christian Reif. "I love it when guest conductors can bring works that they feel so strongly about, especially works that we, as an orchestra or as an audience, don’t know, and we can discover this music guided by somebody who is a real advocate for it,” Stern says.

Part 2 - Elgar
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Symphony No. 1
by Edward Elgar
Michael Francis, guest conductor
Live performance, March 2022

Following its Manchester premiere in December 1908, the conductor Hans Richter hailed this work as "the greatest symphony of modern times, and not only in this country."

Michael Stern sees it as both a throwback to the 19th century but also a modern statement. “Elgar was not a stranger to writing program music," he says, "but here he just wanted to make this symphonic case speak for itself, and that clearly comes out.”

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As a reporter covering breaking news and legal affairs, I want to demystify often-complex legal issues in order to expose the visible and invisible ways they affect people’s lives. I cover issues of justice and equity, and seek to ensure that significant and often under-covered developments get the attention they deserve so that KCUR listeners and readers are equipped with the knowledge they need to act as better informed citizens. Email me at dan@kcur.org.
Sam Wisman is a Producer for 91.9 Classical KC. Email him at samwisman@classicalkc.org.