Host Bill McGlaughlin kicks off the 2008 season--a return to the airwaves for the nation's oldest classical music radio series--with music from five stellar concerts here, played by some of the world’s most admired artists. Joshua Bell, Andras Schiff, the Beaux Arts Trio, Elmar Oliveira, and jazz pianist Bill Charlap.
Coming in this hour, Beethoven and Schumann, and a recent work by British composer Mark-Anthony Turnage. Also, a sonata by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, who was the founder of the concert series here, in 1925. A visionary who had the foresight to wire the Library's concert hall for radio broadcasts in that inaugural year, she was an accomplished pianist and composer.
One of the twentieth century’s great musical philanthropists, she built the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium with a gift of $60,000-worth around $600,000 today-endowing an extraordinary chamber music series that has flourished for eight decades.
This was a groundbreaking public-private partnership for its time, a remarkable gift to the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. Perhaps the most famous of the many Coolidge Foundation commissions is Aaron Copland’s "Appalachian Spring," which premiered here on October 30, 1944, Mrs. Coolidge’s 80th birthday. Listen to the audio clip to hear her wish to insert into the government a “little wedge of authority in matters of art… how wonderful if we could have in the cabinet a Secretary of Fine Arts.”
Our opening show also salutes George and Ira Gershwin-celebrated in the new Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, awarded to Paul Simon in May 2007. The Bill Charlap Trio swings in the classic Gershwin tune "S’Wonderful!" and Elmar Oliveira plays the three Gershwin Preludes, in an arrangement by Jascha Heifetz.
This year, over a million listeners will hear these terrific performances, and many more. All were recorded in the Library’s historic Coolidge Auditorium, an intimate, 500-seat jewel of a concert hall, famous for its superb acoustics.
Explore What's Behind the Music
Beethoven's Twelve Variations in F Major: An early Viennese edition of Beethoven’s Twelve Variations in F Major, op. 66, for cello and piano, on a theme from Mozart’s opera "Die Zauberflote (Ein Madchen oder Weibchen)". View Beethoven/Mozart Variations
Gershwin's Prelude III: In the composer’s hand: a manuscript page for prelude III, from George Gershwin’s Three Preludes, for piano solo [George and Ira Gershwin Collection, Library of Congress]. View Gershwin Prelude
Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge: The manuscript of Mrs. Coolidge’s 1947 Oboe Sonata (excerpt). Other works included a song cycle on Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s "Sonnets from the Portuguese" and a string quartet. View Coolidge Sonata
Jascha Heifetz: The phenomenally virtuosic violinist Jascha Heifetz arranged or transcribed many works, including Gershwin’s Three Preludes; excerpt from his holograph arrangement of Prelude III. View Heifetz Arrangement