Born from Silence

These episodes first aired the week of January 14, 2013

« previous episode | next episode »

Monday, June 10, 2013

What is it about the opening measures of Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, or Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring that generates such intense musical magnetism? This week on Hammered! we explore how the starts of pieces impact the music that follows. 

The first musical event in a piece functions in ways as varied as the repertoire itself, but what is certain is that every piece is born from a blank silence and that the moment where sounds breaks the static surface is of immense musical consequence.  

Sometimes the opening bars of a piece self-consciously contrast with its exposition material (like the "introduction" to Elliott Carter's Piano Sonata); perhaps it serves as a structural motive (like the opening flourishes in each movement of Harrison Birtwistle's Harrison's Clocks), or maybe it contains the compact musical DNA of the work (like, Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata or Derek Bermel's Turning). 

Whatever the case, the sheer amount of awesome music that one can explore based on this type of listening is inexhaustible. In addition to the above, tune in this week for music by Johannes Brahms, James Matheson, John Zorn, Alexander Scriabin, Ted Hearne, and many, many others.

What are your Great Beginnings in music?

Hosted by:

Conor Hanick
The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.