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♪ Sample the Classics!

Classical music often turns out to be unexpectedly familiar, even to those who have never intently listened to it, as it tends to be used in various forms of background music, in films and more. And even listening for the first time, you might be surprised at the melodies that stick in your head instantly.

A wide selection of music is performed at PMF each year, and this page features introductions to a small selection of pieces scheduled to be performed at PMF 2016. We hope that you'll find something here that piques your interest, and that you'll come and experience the music live!

The free listening period for these samples has ended. Samples of the PMF 2019 program will be available here at a later date.

Bernstein composing (1951)
Bernstein composing (1951)
George Chakiris as Bernardo in the film version of
George Chakiris as Bernardo in the film version of "West Side Story"

'Symphonic Dances' from "West Side Story" Bernstein

This fresh and energetic masterpiece is full of well-known music, familiar from the 1957 Broadway musical and the 1961 film, and remains highly popular to this day. Its influence on the music world has been immeasurable. "Symphonic Dances" is a "concert suite," meaning that it gathers many phrases from the original musical, capturing its essence. Perhaps the most well-known moment is when the musicians shout "Mambo!" (at 9:48 in the sample below). It is very rare to hear the voices of the musicians in an orchestra; you can almost feel the overflowing youthful energy of post-World War 2 New York!

This piece will be featured on
Bernstein Legacy Concert (July 11 (Tue) Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1781)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1781)

Oboe Quartet in F major, K. 370 Mozart

This quartet was written in 1781, when Mozart was 25 years old, for Friedreich Rum, the most famous oboe player of his time. When a composer meets a top-level player, the composer must surely dream of the musical possibilities; the 3rd movement of Mozart's quartet has a very difficult section for the oboe, almost concerto-like, showing off the brilliance and beauty of this fascinating instrument. At PMF 2017, the musical craftsmanship of Eugene Izotov (Principal Oboe of the San Francisco Symphony), along with the other musicians of PMF AMERICA, will be on full display!

This piece will be featured on
PMF AMERICA Concert (July 21 (Fri) Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara)
PMF AMERICA Concert in Hakodate (July 24 (Mon) Hakodate Performing Arts Center)
Franz Liszt statue in Warsaw
Franz Liszt statue in Warsaw

Les préludes, S. 97 Liszt

"Les préludes" refers to a line from a poem by Alphonse de Lamartine, "What is our life but a succession of preludes to that unknown song whose first solemn note is sounded by death?" However, rather than emphasizing death, this piece seems to focus on living life to the fullest. And the brass fanfare section (at 14:25 in the sample below) may sound familiar from its use in TV commercials.

This piece will be featured on
PMF Orchestra Concert <Program B> (July 22 (Sat) Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara)
PMF Orchestra Concert <Program B> (July 23 (Sun) Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara)

The performance on Sunday, July 23 is an opportunity to see the Conducting Academy lead the PMF Orchestra!

The final scene of the opera
The final scene of the opera "Tannhäuser" (Bayreuth Festival, 1930)

"Tannhäuser" Overture (Dresden version) Wagner

This Wagner masterpiece is so richly detailed that it may leave the listener with the impression of having heard the entire 4-hour opera! The "Pilgrim's Chorus" theme gradually builds up the emotions at the beginning, leading to the entrance of the full orchestra in music that will surely be familiar (at 2:13 in the sample below), as it frequently appears in film. This piece requires very high-level technique and concentration on the part of each player. Don't miss the PMF Orchestra's performance conducted by Maestro Valery Gergiev!

This piece will be featured on
PMF Orchestra Concert in Tomakamai (July 27 (Thu) Tomakomai Shimin Kaikan)
PMF GALA Concert (July 29 (Sat) Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara)
Picnic Concert (July 30 (Sun) Sapporo Art Park Outdoor Stage)
PMF Orchestra Concert in Kawasaki (July 31 (Mon) Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall)
PMF Orchestra Concert in Tokyo (August 1 (Tue) Tokyo Bunka Kaikan)