Seen the new PBS series on classical discoveries?

Seen the new PBS series on classical discoveries?


norman lebrecht

September 28, 2019

Here’s the trailer, with Scott Yoo of the Mexico City Philharmonic.

‘I never knew Bach took melodies from Vivaldi’.




    very enjoyable.

    Scott Yoo, his wife and many friends, in the 2 episodes so far, prove the grandeur and humanity of the Baroque.

  • Bill says:

    “I never knew Bach took melodies from Vivaldi”?!?!?!

    I guess he was asleep in music history 101 class that day.

    • David K. Nelson says:

      I was struck by that as well — how can someone so obviously well-trained have been so incurious as to not know that? But I have to think he said that as part of an overall “gee whiz”/regular guy sort of persona for the show. Today’s television audience really admires ignorance, even if it is being faked.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Oh, but what Bach did with those melodies??? He could have given Vivaldi some lessons.

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        What Bach did with those melodies? He wrote them down so that they couild be played with 2 hands (sometimes adding 2 feet), and signed the score “J.S. Bach”…

        As for the 4-cembali concerto, I have to say that prefer Vivaldi’s original for 4 violins have more “color”.

    • Jack says:

      Check out his concerto for four harpsichords for starters. A straight transcription of AV’s concerto for four violins.

  • Larry says:

    I saw it and enjoyed it very much. A nice blend of information for both the classical music novice and aficionado alike. According to an interview I read with Mr. Yoo, he was specifically instructed by the director not to do any research prior to filming so that he could show true surprise if something was mentioned which he was not already familiar with. There are 4 shows in this series, all Baroque composers I believe.

    Mr. Yoo is also music director of Festival Mozaic in California.

    Great to see PBS give this much attention to classical music. Let’s hope that this will continue!

  • JamesM says:

    Terrific job Scott! Loved every minute of this, and your own playing is splendid. Can’t wait for the next one on Bach.
    How about a Russian one in the future – the two conservatories, Hermitage, Tchaikovsky/Rubinstein connections etc.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Scott Yoo is an excellent violinist, no question, and an engaging host.
    But judging by the first two installments, this series is geared towards people who don’t know much about music history to begin with. It is “music appreciation” for the masses, and therefore, to me, rather obvious and dull.
    And throughout, Yoo is disingenuous in the extreme. “I never knew Bach took melodies from Vivaldi”? Really, Scott?
    But the (short and excerpted) musical performances are very good, and the location photography is marvelous and fun to watch.
    A harmless way to kill an hour on a Friday night.

    • music theorist says:

      “this series is geared towards people who don’t know much about music history to begin with”

      And why is this a bad thing? Given the terrible state of music education these days (that is, not much teaching about [classical] music history), wouldn’t it be good that this is available to the general public? I doubt that the target audience is professionally-trained musicians, rather, it’s the general public. Sounds like a good idea to me.

      Have you ever watched any of the public TV programmes about science, or art, or history? Been entertained, informed, glad you watched it? Those programs probably would boring to a professional scientists, artist, art historian, or historian. That’s ok; the programs are not made FOR them, but more likely BY them.

      • Greg Bottini says:

        If you read my comment carefully, Mr. or Ms. Music Theorist, you would have read “therefore, to me, rather obvious and dull.”
        To me. That’s the operative clause here.
        I’m a conservatory-trained musician and was a practicing professional musician for over 25 years. The show was in fact rather obvious and dull…. TO ME.
        I never wrote or implied that ” ‘music appreciation’ for the masses” is inherently a bad thing. Go back and read my comment again, more carefully this time.
        And to answer your question, yes, I often watch public TV programmes about science, or art, or history, and I am entertained and enlightened by them.
        As you yourself write, and I quote, “those programs probably would boring to a professional scientists, artist, art historian, or historian”.
        You make my point exactly, in your own quaint broken English way.

    • Jack says:

      Snifff sniff.

  • Olga says:

    This new PBS project was shown yesterday. It’s really very good: informative and enjoyable. Scott and his wife are awesome. Well done!

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    This looks annoying.

  • Michael Fine says:

    This is the first primetime series about classical music on American television in 50 years. Something rather to cheer about.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Ignorance is Power!

  • john Borstlap says:

    With all due respect, but this is one of the most stupid, vulgar banalizations of something linked to classical music imaginable.

  • Bill M. says:

    He talks like Hugh Sung.