Freud and the Ballet

Some people think the music of Giselle is a piece of fluff. But Michael Tilson Thomas thinks it’s a masterpiece. The work marks the very beginning of art that looks at internal, emotional explanations of behavior. Art has always predicted the future; in this case, music predicted Sigmund Freud. MTT interviews former prima ballerina Natalia Makarova, the greatest Giselle of our time, about dancing this “heart on the sleeve” role.

After Giselle, music grew increasingly dissonant as the world view of the human psyche became more central to art-until the bubble burst in the mid-20th century, when dissonance overtook itself with a human scream in the opera Lulu. This program is a tour de force examination of one of the major historical transformations in music.


(If no performer is listed, piece performed by San Fransisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas.)

Pucinni: “La Boheme”
Luciano Pavarotti, Mirella Freni et al/Berlin Philharmonic/Karajan
(London 421 049-2)

Brian Wilson: “Surf’s Up”
The Beach Boys
“The Beach Boys Classsics”

Josquin: Missa “L’homme arme”
Pro Cantione Antiqua
(Archiv 445 667-2)

Monteverdi: “L’Orfeo” “Ahi caso acerbo!”
Jennifer Larmore/Laurence Dale/Concerto Vocale/René Jacobs
(Harmonia Mundi HMC 901553.54)

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”), 1st movement (“Todtenfeier”)
(San Francisco Symphony 821936-0006-2)

Schoenberg: Prelude to to “Gurrelieder”
Boston Symphony Orchestra/Ozawa
(Philips 412 511 2)

Schoenberg: Five Pieces for Orchestra, No. 4
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Boulez
(Sony SMK 48463)

Alban Berg: “Lulu”
Teresa Stradas, Yvonne Minton et al/Orchestre de l’Opera de Paris/Boulez
(Deutsche Grammophon 415 489-2)

Beethoven: “Fur Elise”
Alexis Weissenberg
(EMI CDM 7691142)

Adolphe Adam: “Giselle”
London Symphony Orchestra/Tilson Thomas
(Sony SK 42450)

Chopin: Prelude in D-flat (“Raindrop”)
Martha Argerich
(Deutsche Grammophon 415 836 2)

Liszt: Piano Sonata in B minor
Martha Argerich
(Philips 456 703 2)

Wagner: From “Tristan und Isolde,” Prelude and Liebestod
Philharmonia Orchestra/Klemperer
(EMI 7243 5 67896 2)

Wagner: From “Die Walkure,” “Ride of the Valkyries”
Philharmonia Orchestra/Klemperer
(EMI 7243 5 67896 2)

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”), 1st movement (“Todtenfeier”)
(San Francisco Symphony 821936-0006-2)

Other episodes

Program 1: You Call That Music?!
Program 2: What Does America Sound Like? — Part 1
Program 3: What Does America Sound Like? — Part 2
Program 4: Igor Stravinsky’s Copyright Blues
Program 5: The Last Virtuoso
Program 6: Freud and the Ballet
Program 7: We Were Playing Boulez, But We Were Listening To James Brown!
Program 8: Five Degrees of Separation

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