Pavel Haas: Study for Strings

Pavel Haas’s Study for Strings is filled with lively textures with folksy overlays, all while carrying alternating airs of exuberance and introspection. Haas was a Czech Jew interned at Theresienstadt where he composed and premiered it.

Samuel Barber: Second Essay for Orchestra

Samuel Barber is perhaps our only orchestral essayist: he wrote three between 1937 and 1978. The Second Essay is his peak Jimmy Stewart-era entry, written in 1942. It develops personal convictions into a common-sense argument, and then an impassioned speech. It suggests a kind of civic-minded idealism without an ounce of jingoism.

The Kreutzer Sonata

The link between Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata for violin and Janáček’s Kreutzer Sonata for string quartet runs through Tolstoy, whose 1889 novella The Kreutzer Sonata took its title from Beethoven. So Beethoven inspired Tolstoy, who inspired Janáček.