Exploring the often surprising links between concepts, themes and people in classical music, from medieval to modern
Saturday, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.Rebroadcast Sunday, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.on Music Station
“A trifle, a plaything…”
That’s the general definition of bagatelle, a word whose origin is still debated.
But in music, at least, it’s pretty well agreed that a bagatelle is, quite simply, “a short piece in light style.”
Of course, if you’ve ever heard a typical student performance of the most famous of bagatelles—Beethoven’s “Für Elise”—you know that a casual lightness of touch isn’t always easy.
And while most bagatelles have been written for the piano, the same could be said of those written for other instruments, as well as chamber ensembles and full orchestra.
In all cases, the challenge for a composer is to keep that light touch without making the piece too flimsy to be enjoyed.
In this hour, along with Beethoven, we’ll hear bagatelles by Couperin, Liszt, Sor, Dvorak, Finzi, and more.
January 28, 2023
February 18, 2023
January 7, 2023