1926 podcasts

1926, vol. 14: Webern, Milhaud, Poulenc

Of all early Modernism, it’s Anton Webern’s music that’s most abstract and challenging. Introducing this music in the foreword to his six-CD set of the composer’s complete works, Pierre Boulez speaks of the “purity” of Webern’s “asceticism.” […] Continue reading


1926, vol. 13: Stravinsky, Antheil, Gotovac, Schmidt

Most music historians recognize Igor Stravinsky to be the most influential composer of classical music in the 20th century. They talk about three kinds of “liberation” involved in the Modernist revolution in music […] Continue reading


1926, vol. 12: Ives, Holst, Rachmaninoff

Just as Mark Twain had been the first writer to create a indigenous American style in literature — the first American author who wasn’t just a transplanted European — Charles Ives was the first composer to create an indigenous American style in classical music. His music is experimental and aggressively Modernist, so it’s not as immediately agreeable as Duke Ellington or Aaron Copland, but it evokes the American experience with an eloquence and candor that few other classical composers have matched, and none have exceeded. […] Continue reading


1926, vol. 11: Dohnányi, Atterberg, Finzi, Bax

Especially if you're an American afficianado of classical music, the name Dohnányi might first call to mind Christoph von Dohnányi, the conductor who led the Cleveland Orchestra as music director from 1984 to 2002. But even more important a musician than Christoph was his grandfather, the Hungarian composer, pianist, and conductor Ernő Dohnányi. […] Continue reading


1926, vol. 10: Fuchs, Sæverud, Turina, Korngold

We’ll begin this episode with a Viennese composer and end it with a Viennese composer. Robert Fuchs was eighty-nine years old in 1926 — the last full calendar year of his life. […] Continue reading

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1926, vol. 9: Madetoja, Seeger, Casella

Like his teacher Jean Sibelius, the Finnish composer Leevi Madetoja was amongst those artists who had continued to uphold the Romantic style after the Modernist revolution. In 1924, Madetoja had premiered his opera Pohjalaisia at Helsinki. […] Continue reading


1926, vol. 8: Glazunov, Villa-Lobos, Janáček

In 1926 Alexander Glazunov, who turned 61 years old that year, composed the last two works he would write for the piano: the Prelude and Fugue in E Minor, and the Idyll in F-Sharp Minor. The Idyll in particular shows us a glimpse of the mastery of Glazunov’s younger days, but by 1926 he was decades past the time of his greatest creative abilities. […] Continue reading

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1926, vol. 7: de Falla, Berg, Kodály

What did Spanish composer Manuel de Falla have in common with the Finnish Jean Sibelius and the American Charles Ives in 1926? The answer: that it was effectively the last year of all three composers’ careers. […] Continue reading


1926, vol. 6: Jongen, Schoeck, Cassadó

Of all the music composed in 1926, I’d name Leos Janáček’s Sinfonietta as the best piece. (We’ll get to Janáček in vol. 8 of the 1926 shows.) […] Continue reading

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1926, vol. 5: Bridge, Sibelius, Bartók

The First World War had weighed heavily on the mind and heart of English composer Frank Bridge, as with so many others.  In the course of the war the United Kingdom had lost more than a million young men. […] Continue reading