ITL #11: The Vertigo Effect

Chris and Sridhar discuss Keith Jarrett’s retirement, the blurry line between composition and improvisation, late Romantic/early Modern music by Claude Debussy and Erik Satie, and the San Francisco Ballet’s new video with music from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”.

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Keith Jarrett – American pianist

Keith Jarrett Confronts a Future Without the Piano – The New York Times

Keith Jarrett & Michala Petri play Bach Flute Sonatas

Keith Jarrett & Kim Kashkashian play Bach Viola da Gamba Sonatas

Keith Jarrett – solo Bach

Keith Jarrett – The Köln Concert

Keith Jarrett – Live in Tokyo

Clifford Brown – Joy Spring

John Coltrane – Giant Steps

Claude Debussy, musicien français

Debussy – Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune

L’après-midi d’un faune (poem by Stéphane Mallarmé)

Debussy himself plays the Faune flute solo

Leonard Bernstein – Norton Lecture on Debussy & Wagner

Debussy – Pelléas et Mélisande

Debussy – Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp

Richard Wagner – German composer

Wagner’s Ring Cycle – wikipedia

Erik Satie – gymnopédist

Alice Sara Ott plays Satie’s “Gymnopédies” and “Gnossiennes”

Jessye Norman sings Satie’s “Je te veux”

Furniture music (musique d’ameublement)

Clip from “Parade” (ballet by Satie, Picasso, Cocteau, and Diaghilev)

San Francisco Ballet – Dance of Dreams (music video w/Herrmann’s “Scène d’amour”)

Benjamin Millepied – choreographer/Natalie Portman’s husband

“Vertigo” – music by Bernard Herrmann

Scène d’amour – scene from “Vertigo” (SPOILERS!)

Scène d’amour – score analysis

The Vertigo Effect

Wagner – Tristan and Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod

Wagner – Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin

Tristan chord

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ITL #10: Side Notes

After some John Cage follow up, Chris and Sridhar discuss the Steinway & Sons Spirio player piano, vinyl revival, the concertos of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, and how AI might affect the future of the music industry.

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4’33” performed by a death metal band

Tabla – Indian percussion instrument

Zakir Hussain – tabla virtuoso

Zakir Hussain plays tabla

Sridhar’s essay on John Cage

Player piano – wikipedia

Steinway & Sons Spirio player piano

Music Streaming is Fueling Vinyl’s Resurgence

Music industry sales visualized

Sir Patrick Stewart reads Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130

Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major

Khatia Buniatishvili – French-Georgian pianist

Khatia Buniatishvili plays Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos 2 & 3

Sergei Rachmaninoff – Russian composer/pianist

Rachmaninoff – Vocalise on theremin

Denis Matsuev – Russian pianist

Denis Matsuev plays Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos 2 & 3 back-to-back

Vladimir Horowitz plays Rachmaninoff 3 with Zubin Mehta

Zubin Mehta – Indian conductor

Zubin Mehta’s final 3 minutes of conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Russian composer

Valery Gergiev conducts Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6

Gil Shaham plays Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto

Tchaikovsky – Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor

Denis Matsuev plays Rachmaninoff – Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Augustin Hadelich plays Paganini – Caprice no. 24

AIVA – artificial intelligence composer

AIVA soundtrack playlist – website


Victor Borge – (music/comed)ian

Victor Borge – Live in Minneapolis

Louis Armstrong – trumpeter

Louis Singin’ ‘Dinah’ in Copenhagen

Ken Burns: Jazz

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ITL #9: The Glass Cage

After issuing a correction from Episode 1, Chris and Sridhar discuss Glenn Gould’s early appreciation of recording technology, the music of John Cage and Philip Glass, the phenomenon of 20th century music generally, and humans’ attitudes towards the new.

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Glenn Gould plays Beethoven’s 6th Symphony on piano

Gould’s “Acoustic Orchestrations” album

Gould’s Scriabin recording session (short documentary)

Gould’s recording of Scriabin’s Sonata No. 5 – a look under the hood

Chris and Glenn

Glenn Gould statue in Toronto – map link

Gould’s CBC archives

Marshall McLuhan – Canadian media theorist

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Glenn Gould, and the Goldberg Variations

John Cage – American composer, artist, philosopher, mycologist

Cage’s 4’33” played by David Tudor

4’33” score

Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano

Cage’s notes for preparing the piano for Sonatas and Interludes

Prepared piano – wikipedia

Aleatoric (chance) music – wikipedia

“Making Music With Dice” – 12Tone video

I-Ching – Book of Changes

A Year With John Cage – How To Get Out Of The Cage (Documentary by Frank Scheffer)

Cage plays “Child of Tree” for amplified cactus and feather

Cage’s obsession with mushrooms

Cage and his cat Losa

Cage’s “Roaratorio, an Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake”

Finnegans Wake – Irish pub in San Francisco’s Cole Valley

James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake” with annotations

The Philip Glass Ensemble

The Orange Tree by Philip Glass (from The Illusionist)

The Illusionist – full movie with music by Philip Glass (shh…don’t tell anyone)

Philip Glass’ (disowned) Sonatina No. 2

Helen’s Theme from Candyman (by Philip Glass) played on theremin

Anton Ego’s monologue from “Ratatouille” – voiced by Peter O’Toole

Applebee’s All You Can Eat Riblets commercial

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ITL #8: #Beethoven250?

After catching up on some long overdue housekeeping items, Chris and Sridhar discuss Daniel Barenboim’s marathon performances and masterclasses on Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, the issue of tempo and tempo relations in Beethoven interpretations, Beethoven as a cusp composer, and yes, #Beethoven250.

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“The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde

Steve Waugh, Australian cricketing legend

Steve Waugh’s perfect day against England

McMurdo Station in Antarctica

“Absolutely on Music” – reading for the Impolite to Listen bookclub

Haruki Murakami

Seiji Ozawa

Chopin Piano Competition

A young Maurizio Pollini at the Chopin Competition

Daniel Barenboim

Barenboim’s interview on 60 Minutes

Barenboim Beethoven masterclasses – BBC documentary

Playlist of Barenboim’s full masterclass videos (Made by Sridhar)

Playlist of Barenboim’s performances of all 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas

Beethoven Piano Sonata no. 14 in C-Sharp Minor (“Moonlight”)

Beethoven Piano Sonata no. 17 in D Minor (“The Tempest”)

Beethoven Piano Sonata no. 21 in C Major (“Waldstein”)

Beethoven Piano Sonata no. 32 in C Minor (the one with the boogie-woogie)

Beethoven Symphony no. 7 on theremin

Glenn Gould on Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto 

Glenn Gould’s brilliant thoughts on Beethoven & his performance of the 17th Piano Sonata

Glenn Gould – Beethoven Variations on a Theme in C Minor

Octatonic Scale

Leonard Bernstein’s final concert – Beethoven 7 at Tanglewood

The hot mess that is #Beethoven250 on Twitter

We blame #Beethoven250

Barenboim plays Adios Muchachos

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ITL #7: The Source Code

Chris and Sridhar discuss whether or not Bach is beyond criticism, the comparisons between Bach and Shakespeare, Bach’s pedagogical importance, and his influence on popular music. They then wade into the period instruments debate, and finish off by talking about performance spaces that aren’t concert halls.

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Leonard Bernstein: The Creative Performer

Ira Glass thinks Shakespeare sucks

Jacques Bono plays Bach on electric bass

Elton John: Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding

Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F Major, 1st movement

Penny Lane – hilarious music video

David Mason – Penny Lane trumpeter

Penny Lane – Canadian Brass Ensemble

Penny Lane – Anthology version without piccolo trumpet solo

What the hell is a piccolo trumpet?

The Beatles: In My Life

Bach: Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor

One of Bach’s subpar fugues

Bach’s magnum opus: St. Matthew Passion

András Schiff prefers Bach to “silly” piano exercises

Voyager 1 Golden Record

Bach Air played on air…

Historically informed performance – wikipedia

Shunske Sato plays Bach Chaconne on violin

Chris Thile plays Bach Chaconne on mandolin

Shunske Sato talks about the baroque violin and bow

Chopin played on Chopin’s piano

Beethoven played on Beethoven’s piano

A brief history of the modern piano

All of Bach – Violin Concerto in D Minor in the Rijksmuseum

Rembrandt – The Night Watch

Rembrandt – The Sampling Officials

Charlie Parker – Yardbird Suite (ft. Young Miles Davis)

Sridhar plays Bach in a café

Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, 1st movement

Bach: Coffee Cantata

Coffee Cantata text

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ITL #6: Remembering Ennio Morricone

Chris and Sridhar honor the passing of the legendary composer Ennio Morricone. They discuss the iconic status of his film scores, his gifts as a melodist, his use of non-orchestral instruments, his role in the evolution of Hollywood music, and his passion for chess.

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Ennio Morricone: wikipedia

Watch “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” on Netflix

Watch “Cinema Paradiso” on Amazon

“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” soundtrack

“Cinema Paradiso” soundtrack

“The Hateful Eight” soundtrack

“The Battle of Algiers” soundtrack

“Django Unchained” soundtrack

Morricone receiving an Honorary Oscar

Morricone wins Best Original Score for “The Hateful Eight”

“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” standoff

“Ecstasy of Gold” on theremin & voice

Moog synthesizer

Vladimir Nabokov’s index cards

Tom Hanks does a Clint Eastwood impression

Il Gruppo (Morricone’s avant-garde composers collective)

Morricone plays trumpet

“If This is a Man”: Holocaust memoir by Primo Levi

Primo Levi

“If This is a Man” music by Morricone

Yo-Yo Ma’s tribute to Morricone

“Yo-Yo Ma plays Ennio Morricone” album

Morricone’s Paris Review interview about chess

Janos Starker: Cellist, Artist, Teacher

Leonhard Euler: wikipedia

Euler’s Speculum Musicum

Tonnetz: wikipedia

What the Heck is Neo-Riemannian Analysis? – video explanation by 12tone

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ITL #5: What is American Music?

Chris and Sridhar celebrate the Fourth of July by asking: what makes American music American? They discuss 19th century American music, jazz as the quintessential American art form, George Gershwin, the universality of West Side Story, Dvořák in the New World, the American landscape reflected in its music, California as the creative capital of the world, and (regrettably) John Philip S***a.

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Leonard Bernstein: What is American Music?

Ken Burns: Jazz

George “Jazz in a Tux” Gershwin

Nadia Boulanger: teacher extraordinaire

Gershwin plays his Three Preludes

LA Philharmonic & Gustavo Dudamel: Gershwin’s Cuban Overture & An American in Paris

Leonard Bernstein plays & conducts Rhapsody in Blue

West Side Story synopsis

West Side Story lyrics

West Side Story movie on Amazon

Officer Krupke


Pyramus and Thisbe

Verdi: Bella figlia dell’amore from Rigoletto

Benjamin Britten: Storm Interlude from Peter Grimes

Jerry Robbins behind the scenes of West Side Story

The Making of West Side Story documentary

Antonín Dvořák

Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”

Paul Robeson: Going Home

Aaron Copland

Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man

Copland: Duo for Flute & Piano

Ken Burns: The National Parks – America’s Best Idea

Grizzly Man soundtrack

Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner

Copland: Piano Variations

Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed

Arnold Schoenberg’s Los Angeles

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ITL #4: YouTube Showdown

Chris and Sridhar discuss their favorite classical music YouTube videos.

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YouTube Top 5 Showdown playlist

Jacques Bono plays Bach on electric bass

Benjamin Zander: The Transformative Power of Classical Music

Gilles Apap’s cadenza to Mozart Violin Concerto No. 3

Gustavo Dudamel conducts Danse Bacchanale by Camille Saint-Saëns

Jameson Whiskey Ad – “The Hawk of Achill”

Jean-Pierre Rampal plays Bolling Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio

Mnozil Brass

Mnozil Brass: Hungarian Schnapsodie ft. Zoltan

Claudio Abbado conducts Mahler 9 in Lucerne

Gustav “Buried in Vienna” Mahler

Lucerne Festival Orchestra

Gershwin: An American in Paris

Bernstein conducts Beethoven 9 to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall

Friedrich Schiller: Ode to Joy

European Union Anthem

West-Eastern Divan Orchestra

“Knowledge is the Beginning” – documentary with Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said

Edward Said: Orientalism

Glenn Gould plays Bach Contrapunctus XIV

Bach: The Art of Fugue

Bernstein conducts Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony at Tanglewood

John Denver: Annie’s Song

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ITL #3: The Holiday Special

After doing some housekeeping, Chris and Sridhar discuss the digital world of classical music before veering off into a conversation about The Nutcracker’s various innovations and difficulties, eventually finding their way back on topic by talking about Spotify, YouTube, and the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall.

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Russian roulette, Nutcracker Edition

The Nutcracker – Wikipedia


List of compositions by Tchaikovsky

Sir Simon Rattle conducts Berlin Philharmonic in The Nutcracker

Sir Simon Rattle interview about The Nutcracker

New York City Ballet, The Nutcracker, 2011

Gustavo Dudamel conducts LA Philharmonic in The Nutcracker

San Francisco Symphony’s YouTube channel

Netherlands Bach Society YouTube channel

Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts: The Creative Performer

Leonard Bernstein’s Norton Lectures at Harvard

Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall

Claudio Abbado’s Farewell Concert in Palermo

Some of Sridhar’s favorite Digital Concert Hall performances

Digital Concert Hall social distancing

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ITL #2: Does Film Music Count?

Chris and Sridhar discuss whether or not film music counts as classical music, the relationship between opera and film, “silent” films, iconic scores, what we can learn about film as a novel art form, composers who straddle the classical and film composition worlds, great director/composer collaborations, “the greatest ghost story ever told”, and they both watch the documentary “Score”.


Honk It’s My Birthday

“Grizzly Man” soundtrack

Richard Thompson in “Grizzly Man” recording session

The Lumière Brothers: first films

“Hook” soundtrack

“2001: A Space Odyssey” opening

Nino Rota: “The Godfather” composer

“The Godfather” opening trumpet solo

Godfather music machine at House on the Rock

Rota’s Sonata for Flute & Harp

Mickey Mousing

“Metropolis” full movie

Paramount Studio Map of Potential Film Shooting Locations in California

“Blue Skies” from “The Jazz Singer”

Arnold Schoenberg


Max Steiner: “Casablanca” composer

“Casablanca” Suite

Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Korngold’s Piano Sonata No. 2 in E Major

Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D Major played by Gil Shaham

Franz Waxman: “Rebecca” composer

A scene from Rebecca showcasing Waxman’s score

Korngold: “The Sea Hawk” Overture

John Williams: “Star Wars” Main Theme

Emma saying “Bayreuth”

Bayreuth Festspielhaus

Philip Glass: “Koyaanisqatsi” — The Pulse

Glass: “Mishima” soundtrack

“E.T.” bike chase scene w/John Williams’ iconic music

Danny Elfman’s band Oingo Boingo

“The Simpsons” theme

Musical modes

“Rebecca” Suite played by City of Prague Philharmonic

“Rebecca” full movie (shh…don’t tell anyone)

“The Terminal”: Dinner with Amelia scene w/John Williams’ score

Glenn Gould plays Bach Contrapunctus I-IV (the soul of Bach)

John Barry: “James Bond” composer

James Bond Suite played by Royal Philharmonic

John Barry Memorial Concert

Bernard Hermann’s “Psycho” Suite

György Ligeti

Ligeti’s “Lontano”: classic horror music used in “The Shining” and “Shutter Island”

Krzysztof Penderecki

Penderecki: Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima

Penderecki interview: turning history into avant-garde

Aeolian harp


“The Day the Earth Stood Still” theremin studio session

Ennio Morricone: The Ecstasy of Gold from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”

The Ecstasy of Gold: theremin & voice

“Psycho” shower scene with and without music

“Score: A Film Music Documentary” on Amazon

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