Classical For Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Musical storytelling with Gabriel Kahane

KCS 220818.png
Eric T Williams
/
Composer Gabriel Kahane addresses the Helzberg Hall audience before the premiere of his piano concerto "Heirloom."

Hosts

Michael Stern
Dan Margolies

Guest

Gabriel Kahane

Program

Part 1 - Beethoven and Leshnoff
KCS 220818 Thumbnail 1.png

Overture to Coriolan, Op. 62
by Ludwig van Beethoven
Yoav Talmi, guest conductor
Live performance, November 2015

The German play on which it's based is forgotten, but Beethoven's overture lives on. Even for Beethoven, it's trailblazing music, with shocking dissonances and, as one Beethoven scholar says, an ending that doesn't so much close as expire. It has "all of the drama and all of the heroic tumult of the story" Michael Stern says, adding that "It's one of the most dramatic pieces that Beethoven wrote."

Symphony No. 3
by Jonathan Leshnoff
Stephen Powell, baritone
Live performance, May 2016

Commissioned by the Kansas City Symphony to commemorate the 100th anniversary of America's entry into World War I, Leshnoff's work is a sublime and powerful statement about the horrors of war. Leshnoff "went directly to the human impact of this terrible time" Michael Stern says and "translated that into an experience which actually transcended the description of the war itself."

The Kansas City Symphony's 2020 Reference Recordings release of Jonathan Leshnoff's Symphony No. 3 can be heard below along with accompanying images and highlighted text from the original correspondence that inspired the work. Courtesy of the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

Part 2 - Debussy and Kahane
KCS 220818 Thumbnail 2.png

Iberia No. 2 from "Images"
by Claude Debussy
Live performance, April 2016

This is the central part of a triptych of pieces written by Debussy and unquestionably the best known of the three. Interesting factoid: Gustav Mahler conducted the U.S. premiere of "Images" in 1911, leading the New York Philharmonic.

Heirloom: Piano Concerto
by Gabriel Kahane
Jeffrey Kahane, piano
Live performance, September 2021

Gabriel Kahane describes Heirloom as a series of inheritances. "The first is my [musical] inheritance from my parents. The second is really about the intergenerational inheritance of memory transmitted from my grandmother, to my father and to me, and that thorny relationship between the German tradition and the present and the emotion that lives in that, both of joy and of trauma. The third movement is an exploration of that which we pass down to our children." In his program notes for "Heirloom," Gabriel Kahane notes that for his grandmother Hannelore, who escaped Germany in 1939, "there was an unspeakable tension between her love of German music and the horror of the Holocaust." With this concerto, Kahane asks: "How does that complex set of emotions get transmitted across generations?"

Stay Connected
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.