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Exploring the often surprising links between concepts, themes and people in classical music, from medieval to modern


Saturday, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
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Saturday, November 26, 2016 Permalink

The Nickname Connection


The “Moonlight” Sonata.  The “Jupiter” Symphony.  The “Air on the G String”

All have one thing in common: their composers did not give them the names we know them by. 

So . . . who did?  And why?

In this hour, we’ll explore the often surprising stories behind these and other musical nicknames.


Title Group/Artist Catalog # UPC
Beethoven: The Piano Sonatas, Vol. 4 [for the “Moonlight” Sonata] Andras Schiff ECM 1944 028947658757 
Bach Orchestral Suites [for Air on the G string”] Freiburg Baroque Orchestra Harmonia Mundi 
HMC 902113.14
Handel: Organ Concertos [for “The Cuckoo & the Nightengale”] Simon Preston; English Concert, Trevor Pinnock Archiv Produktion D 150066 034571120522
Haydn String Quartets [for “The Joke”] Angeles String Tro Philips  464 650-2 028946465028
Haydn Symphonies [for the “Surprise” Symphony Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra, Adam Fischer Brilliant Classics 99925 842977099256
Mozart Symphony No. 40 & 41 [for the “Jupiter” Symphony]  Prague Chamber Orchestra, Charles Mackerras Telarc CD-80139 089408013928
Mendelssohn Symphonies 3 & 4 [for “Scottish” Symphony]  Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Pablo Heras-Casado Harmonia Mundi HMC 902228 3149020222829
Chopin - Complete Works [for the “Military” Polonaise]  Garrick Ohlsson Hyperion  CDS44351/66 034571143514
Tchaikovsky Symphonies 1, 2 and 5 [for “Little Russian” Symphony] Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko Onyx ONYX4150 880040415022
Mozart: The Piano Concertos [for “Elvira Madigan” Concerto] Geza Anda, Camerata Academica of the Salzburg Mozarteum Deutsche  Grammophon  469 510-2 028946951026

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