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San Francisco Symphony - Ives, Adams, Berlioz

San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas. Ives: Piano Sonata No 2 (3rd mvt). Adams: Absolute Jest (with the St Lawrence String Quartet). Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique.

Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the San Francisco Symphony in music from America's west and east coasts, plus Berlioz's opium-influenced Symphonie Fantastique.

Live from the Royal Festival Hall in London. Presented by Sara Mohr-Pietsch

Charles Ives: The Alcotts (3rd movement) from Piano Sonata No.2 'Concord' arr. Henry Brant for orchestra

John Adams: Absolute Jest

8.05: INTERVAL A profile of the St Lawrence String Quartet from Canada

8.20: Part 2

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique

St Lawrence String Quartet
San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor)

Nineteenth-century New Englander Charles Ives was inspired by the countryside, the people and the ideas around where he lived. He wrote that his Concord Sonata was an "impression of the spirit of transcendentalism that is associated in the minds of many with Concord, Massachusetts over a half century ago." The Alcotts were leading figures of the Transcendentalist movement, and one of them was Louisa May Alcott, author of 'Little Women'.

The San Francisco Symphony commissioned their local luminary John Adams to compose 'Absolute Jest', a concerto for string quartet and orchestra, first performed in 2012. Adams took the music of Beethoven as his inspiration - as he puts it, he is excited by "the ecstatic energy of Beethoven."

With Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, the San Francsico Symphony can be heard at their energetic and brilliant best. His 'Episode in the life of an artist' describes the inner adventures of a young man who has 'poisoned himself with opium', moving from ecstatic happiness to deep despair in a score full of vibrant colour and sharp sonic contrast.

2 hours, 30 minutes

Music Played

  • San Francisco Symphony part 1

    • Charles Ives

      The Alcotts - from Sonata no. 2 K.X.19 (Concord) for piano, transc. Henry Brant for orchestra

      Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas. Performer: San Francisco S O.
    • John Adams

      Absolute jest for string quartet and orchestra

      Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas. Performer: San Francisco S O. Performer: St. Lawrence String Quartet.
  • Interval music

    • Robert Schumann

      Adagio Molto (3rd movement) from String Quartet no.3 in A major, Op.4 No.3

      Performer: St. Lawrence String Quartet.
      • EMI.
      • CDC5567972.
    • Dmitry Shostakovich

      Largo from String Quartet no.8 in C minor Op.110

      Performer: St. Lawrence String Quartet.
      • EMI.
      • 2376862.
  • San Francisco Symphony part 2

    • Hector Berlioz

      Symphonie fantastique Op.14

      Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas. Performer: San Francisco S O.
  • Encore

    • Aaron Copland

      Saturday Night Waltz from Rodeo - ballet

      Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas. Performer: San Francisco S O.

Broadcast