Update: See below for details of three classes I have added.
4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11: 10 Tunes That Shook the World: We look at one iconic tune from each of the past 10 centuries, revealing how music evolved from simple chant to an orchestra at full roar. A plainchant by Herman “the Lame” is pure melody that creates a cloister of serenity. Mozart broke the rules in his “Haffner” Symphony by leaping two octaves out of the gate, then plunging two octaves back to earth. Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” is as simple as a folk tune, but he struggled mightily with it, drafting dozens of versions. And guess which tune epitomizes the 20th century?
4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16: Warhorses: Why do some pieces tower over others? Genius at work in Handel’s “Hallelujah” Chorus, which still causes chills among listeners. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony begins with the most famous notes in music — urgent, terse, punchy. Are they code for fate knocking on the door (a favorite 19th-century meme)? Code for victory in the French Revolution (very much on Beethoven's mind)? Or simply code for "Listen to this!” Ever since it premiered in 1808, the Fifth has resonated with Romantics, revolutionaries, resistance fighters and rockers.
4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13: Timeless Symphonies: What makes these cathedrals of sound so powerful? We look at Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2, the "Resurrection." What is his music about and why does it have such a profound effect on us? A deep dive into one of the most beautiful and fascinating symphonies ever written.
4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18: Weather Wonders: Composers love writing about rain, wind, storms, sunrises and oceans. We explore serene and severe weather in Maurice Ravel's "Daphnis et Chloe," John Luther Adams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning “Become Ocean” and Debussy's "Jardins sous la pluie."
4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29: Prodigies and Virtuosos: Why they aren’t like you and me. There’s Mozart, of course. More recently, we have the astonishing violinist Sarah Chang, who practically grew up in front of Portland audiences. And Lang Lang, who started playing the piano at the age of 3. In the virtuoso lineup, let’s admire the fierce artistry of Martha Argerich, Cecilia Bartoli, Marc-Andre Hamelin, Vladimir Horowitz, Jascha Heifetz, Juja Wang, Yo-Yo Ma and others.
4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5: Great Endings: What makes a great ending to a piece? Composers thunder and shimmer in exciting ways as they draw their music to a close. Think Mahler’s First Symphony, where the French horn players heroically stand for the grand finale, and the thrilling close to Brahms’ First Piano Concerto, where the pianist tries to rival the entire orchestra for sound and glory.
Three additional classes:
4 p.m. Sunday, March 26: Music of Grieving. What music do we turn to in our time of greatest need? A powerful blow that brings rage and violence? The quiet settling in of pain and sorrow? The waves of anguish that continue through time? Sorrowful music can be some of the most beautiful in the world: Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” “Nimrod” from Edward Elgar’s “Enigma Variations,” Gustav Mahler’s Adagietto from his Fifth Symphony. Let’s explore music of the gravest beauty.
4 p.m. Sunday, April 30: The Great Pianists. We devote an entire class to the piano and the artists who bring it to life in so many ways. We’ll admire the chameleon-like quality of the piano as it imitates a fountain, a flamenco guitar, a harp, a singer's voice, birds, fireworks and an entire symphony orchestra. Artur Rubinstein, Myra Hess, Marc-Andre Hamelin and Evgeny Kissin will help solve the mystery of how a box of gadgets -- hammers, screws, pins and levers -- gives way to the animation of feeling.
4 p.m. Sunday, May 21: Opera Versus Art Song. We explore the human voice on stages both large and small. Franz Schubert, Hugo Wolf, Aaron Copland and William Bolcom give us exquisite moments of intimacy, while Handel, Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and John Adams sweep us up with magnificent power.
The details: Cost per session: $20, payable at the door. Seating is limited; reservations are recommended. Classes take place in the recital hall at Classic Pianos, 3003 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. in southeast Portland, next to the Aladdin Theater at the corner of Milwaukie and Powell Blvd. Classes are informal and I encourage you to ask questions as we go along.
Parking: You may park in the store's parking lot on the corner of Powell Blvd. and 11th Ave., behind the store. You may also park in the Brooklyn Pharmacy parking lot, but avoid the spaces that say, “Brooklyn Pharmacy Only.” Additionally, you may park on 11th Ave., the one-way street directly behind the store, accessed from Powell Blvd. And you can find ample neighborhood parking on Franklin, as well as 10th Ave.
To register, contact Peggie Zackery at Classic Pianos: 503-546-5622; firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: davidstabler.net