What Makes It Great
Oct 23, 2008 — Gershwin placed his song "Summertime" at the beginning of his opera Porgy and Bess, and for good reason. Pianist and composer Rob Kapilow demonstrates how, in just a few measures, Gershwin transports the listener into the languid world of Catfish Row.
Feb 3, 2009 — Commentator Rob Kapilow unfolds the opening, fugue-like layers of Felix Mendelssohn's Octet for strings, revealing the most fantastic 40 seconds ever written by a 16-year-old.
Dec 23, 2008 — Composer-commentator Rob Kapilow examines what makes Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" one of the best known — and best loved — pieces in all of music. He says the exuberance is powered by a few deceptively simple techniques.
Oct 15, 2008 — In the first entry of the series What Makes It Great, pianist and composer Rob Kapilow uncovers the secret to the success of "Over the Rainbow." At the piano, Kapilow demonstrates that the complete emotional narrative lies in the song's brilliant opening measures.
Jun 8, 2010 — Some of the most profound, beautiful moments in classical music are spoken softly. To mark the 200th anniversary of Robert Schumann's birth, commentator Rob Kapilow takes a look at "Träumerei,"one of Schumann's most quiet, introspective pieces.
Mar 9, 2010 — There's a simple logic behind Samuel Barber's emotional Adagio. It progresses from a single note to high emotional wailing to release to final acceptance. On today's centennial of Barber's birth, take a guided tour of the music with commentator Rob Kapilow.
Mar 2, 2010 — Chopin had the courage to believe that the expression contained in a three-minute Mazurka for solo piano could be as powerful as the expression in an entire four-hour Wagner opera. Hear pianist and composer Rob Kapilow, and radio host Fred Child, explain what makes Chopin great.
Feb 2, 2010 — Top Hat, from 1935, featured Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. But commentator Rob Kapilow says the real star of the movie is Irving Berlin's classic song, "Cheek to Cheek."
Oct 14, 2009 — Beethoven whittles the world down to its essence in his "Kreutzer" Sonata for violin and piano. Commentator Rob Kapilow demonstrates how, with just two little notes, Beethoven connects an entire universe.
Sep 14, 2009 — Leos Janacek's personal and powerful String Quartet No. 2 was inspired by the unrequited love he held for a much younger, married woman — and by the 700 letters he wrote to her.