The NPR Listener's Encyclopedia of Classical Music
Jun 7, 2010 — Schumann's entire being was music, informed by dream and fantasy. He was music's quintessential Romantic, always ardent, always striving for the ideal. Learn about his passionately creative but troubled life, and hear some of his best music.
Mar 5, 2010 — In the middle of the 20th century, when composers were writing with angularity and dissonance, Barber forged his own lyrical, romantic style. By the time he was 26, he'd composed the iconic Adagio for Strings.
Mar 2, 2010 — A composer of matchless genius, no one before or since Chopin has contributed as many significant works to the piano's repertoire, or come closer to capturing its soul.
Jan 12, 2010 — The composer's Music for 18 Musicians was a breakthrough work in the history of minimalism and a watershed moment in Reich's career. Its lush textures and expansion of a static harmonic situation make for a dynamic work, bringing elements of "maximalism" to minimalism.
Jan 5, 2010 — Dowland was an important and beloved composer at a time when there was no dichotomy between popular and classical music. He was, in effect, an Elizabethan-era pop musician. The dark, wistful mood that pervades Dowland's lute music was, in its day, a sign of maturity and intelligence.
Dec 29, 2009 — Mahler's grand-scale "Resurrection" Symphony marked the real beginning of his career as a composer. It's the work with which he answered the metaphysical challenge of Beethoven's Ninth, with a turbulent beginning and a triumphant conclusion.
Dec 22, 2009 — Handel's deeply felt musical setting of the life of Christ conveys the emotional tide of its story with almost miraculous insight. In the process, it's acquired a universality that is unique in the history of music.
Dec 15, 2009 — Monteverdi stood on the divide between two great musical periods, the Renaissance and the Baroque. His Vespers illustrates a mastery at blending the new with the old in a way that's coherent, expressive and moving, especially in John Eliot Gardiner's atmospheric recording made in Venice.
Dec 1, 2009 — After all these years, conductor Fritz Reiner's 1955 recording of Bartok's music remains the best. He understood the poignant, brooding, mysterious and exuberant moods it explores, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra plays as if it has been set on fire.
Nov 24, 2009 — The Bohemian composer claimed that "everyone who has a nose must smell America" in his Symphony No. 9. But rather than serve as a musical postcard from abroad, Dvorak's Symphony From the New World ultimately serves as more of a fond look back toward home.