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Classical Breakdown

Classical Breakdown

Join host John Banther for Classical Breakdown, a new podcast from Classical WETA that takes audiences behind the music, making the classical music world understandable and accessible, leading to a deeper appreciation of all things classical. From in-depth conversations with local musicians and touring artists to observations and analysis of well-known compositions, Classical Breakdown aims to share the fascinating and entertaining aspects behind the artistry.

Got a question or comment about something you've heard, or an idea for a future episode? Let us know!

Recent Episodes

19. Debussy's La Mer - Part 2

April 21, 2020

The trumpet shines through in Jeux de Vagues, (Play of the Waves), the second movement of Debussy's La mer. This is part 2 of our 3 part series on Debussy's enchanting orchestral work, La Mer.

18. Debussy's La Mer - Part 1

April 7, 2020

An orchestral staple today, this work about "the sea" wasn't well received at it's premiere. Audiences may have expected a Strauss-esque symphonic poem to bring the sea to life, but Debussy was more interested in the abstract. This is part 1 of our 3 part series on Debussy's enchanting orchestral work, La Mer.

17. Artist Relief Tree, supporting artists affected by cancellations due to COVID-19

March 24, 2020

The Arts community is severely affected by the current situation involving COVID-19. Artist Relief Tree was created by Morgan Brophy to give direct support to artists and musicians.

16. The Life and Music of Amy Beach, an American pioneer

March 10, 2020

She was America's first woman composer to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra and the first American composer fully educated in the United States. She was praised and recognized but her journey to success was an uphill battle with obstacles and challenges.

15. Haydn's final London Symphony

February 25, 2020

Let's go on a musical deep dive of Haydn's final symphony. With musical examples we can breakdown Sonata Form, hear influences of other composers, and folk song!

14. What is a Symphony? Part 2

February 11, 2020

Beethoven changed all ideas and expectations about the Symphony. Bill Bukowski joins me as we figure out what happened to the symphony after Beethoven through the 21st century.

13. The life of Mozart

January 28, 2020

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's life was kind of complicated. His childhood as a musical prodigy was filled with practicing, writing music, and performing for royalty throughout Europe. He later struggled at times finding suitable employment and wanted to find his own path. It was a life lived under the watchful eye of his father, Leopold Mozart, and cut short at the age of 35.

12. The Planets by Holst

January 14, 2020

Discover music by Holst that was inspired by the gods our planets are named after in our solar system. This seven-movement orchestral suite includes the terrifying sounds of war, the comfort of peace, jollity, and so much more.

11. Tchaikovsky's The Seasons

December 31, 2019

Get into the new year with a work that has music for every month! Tchaikovsky's The Seasons also includes poetry and gives us a glimpse into Russian life, month by month in 1876.

10. What does a conductor do?

December 17, 2019

Waving a baton is just a small part of being a conductor. Michelle Merrill tells what it's like to prepare a concert with an orchestra, from the year before to the downbeat of the concert.