Kids' Commute Michael Thurber: Five Centuries, Five Composers- 1800's

Mar 11, 2015

Take a trip back through the music ages with music buff Michael Thurber, on Kids' Commute!

This week on Kids’ Commute, we’re taking a trip back through the ages with music buff and Interlochen alumus, Michael Thurber! 

Michael is in town this week for his appearance on the NPR Show, From the Top
He’ll be collaborating with Interlochen students to debut his composition, “The Three Musketeers”. This week, Michael will take us through the past five centuries of classical music, focusing on five different composers. Are you ready to take a trip in the music history time machine? Strap yourself in, and let’s go!


Today, we’re highlighting the music in the 1800’s. Specifically, we’re focusing on a Russian composer by the name of Pyotr Tchaikovsky. He was born on May 7, 1840. 

Because the music of the 1800’s was so expressive in an over-the-top sort of way, this period is often referred to as the “Romantic Period”. Michael explains that the music “is less concerned with technical things like form and structure, and more concerned with just sheer expression.” 

During this period, music pieces started to get longer and symphonies started to get bigger, creating grand, lush, sweeping sounds. 

The song that we’ll hear today, is now one of the most famous violin concertos. When Tchaikovsky wrote the piece, his main goal was making the most beautiful music possible. He said, “It’s more about musical beauty, than observing established traditions.”

Not everyone agreed with Tchaikovsky’s point of view regarding his music composition. In fact, the concerto that we’re highlighting, was first rejected by the violinist who was supposed to play the solo. He thought it was too hard to play, and that it wasn’t beautiful. However, Tchaikovsky persevered, and dedicated it to a different violinist. Now, the composition is one of the greatest concertos ever written!

What about you? Do you think this song is crazy or beautiful- or both?!

Music piece for today:
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto by Gil Shaham

Listen to the Kids' Commute live on Classical IPR every weekday morning at 7:40ish or listen to the archived episode at the top of the post.