Watch Keeping Score

The host of Keeping Score is Michael Tilson Thomas. The show was formed by PBS in conjunction with the San Francisco Symphony. He usually has classical music from Copland, Beethoven, or Stravinsky; these are just some of the major composers that have appeared on the show. The French composer Hetor Berlioz wrote a romantic piece named Symphonie Fantastique to a beautiful lady that he was in-love with. His work had personal meaning to him.

Tilson Thomas investigates the question that he asks in the beginning of the show. On one of the episodes, Tilson Thomas investigates how Aaron Copland decided to blend several different kinds of sounds. The sounds that Copland investigated include: folk, hymns, and jazz. Copland made a type of music that is still popular to this day as it is found a lot in 20th century America.

In the show, the original score was made in the same fashion as Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky. He was a Russian composer who rehearsed and premiered his fourth performance at the San Francisco Symphony. It shows modern interpretations of classical music, and it shows the history of classical music. Some of the most masterful works of music can be found on the show.

Gustav Mahler appeared on two episodes of the show, and the host went to Mahler's hometown in Austro-Hungarian. In these respective episodes, you see how Mahler started his musical career from young conductor to experienced musician. Mahler did a lot of work through the San Francisco Symphony.

Shostakovich is another composer that appears on the show. The episode had the potential to make Shostakovich or break his career. The respective composer has a lot of powerful words to say throughout the piece. Another composer that appears in an episode is Charles Ives. The focus of his career was ways to cope with your own success; he alive in the early 20th-century. The three goals of Ive's music are: the American way, truth, and beauty. These are just some of the composers that have appeared on Keeping Score.

Thursday 9:00 PM et/pt on PBS
3 Seasons, 12 Episodes
June 1, 2004
Learning & Education, Music
Cast: Michael Tilson Thomas
Watch Episodes

Keeping Score Full Episode Guide

  • Michael Tilson Thomas reveals Gustav Mahler's personal inspiration for his work - his own experiences.

  • The first of two episodes_4-18 explores the roots of Gustav Mahler's music. SFS Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas journeys to rural Bohemia to rediscover the inspirations of Mahler's music, and traces Mahler's life through the premiere of his first symphony in 1888. It shocked the contemporary audience, but as MTT and the San Francisco Symphony reveal, on location and in performance, this ground-breaking symphony contains elements of everything else that Mahler composed. Shot on location in the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, and in performance in San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall.

  • Hidden beneath the surface of his life-saving Symphony No. 5, Shostakovich may have left a subversive cipher. Publicly called to task by the brutal forces of Stalin, the Soviet Union’s golden boy composer was literally writing for his life. This episode of Keeping Score investigates the arresting symphony that would either redeem Shostakovich or condemn him to the Gulag. Did he dare hide a kernel of musical criticism in his paean to the Motherland? Join Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony as they explore the enigma of this masterwork. What Shostakovich has to say might depend on what you’re brave enough to hear.

  • Ranging from tender sentiment to savage chaos, the music of early 20th-century composer Charles Ives explores an essentially American riddle: how can we survive the relentless assault of our own success? Unwrap the layers of Ives's Holidays Symphony as Keeping Score takes us inside this musical portrait of New England life. From the intimacy of the winter hearth to the explosive concussion of the 4th of July, discover the insights Ives liberates in his music's confrontational crunch. Join Michael Tilson Thomas as he, the San Francisco Symphony, and Charles Ives belt it out over truth, beauty, and the American Way.

  • "I feel therefore I am."For Hector Berlioz, and for the Romantic movement he personified, those were words to live by. But with the unprecedented outpouring of emotion in his Symphonie fantastique he almost overpowered Paris. This orchestral sonic spectacular, written to win the heart of a beautiful actress, demanded sacrifice from its author and his audience. From romantic daydreams to deadly displays of devotion, the symphony relates an “episode in the life of an artist,” that artist being the love-obsessed composer himself. Join Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony as they follow Berlioz to the brink in this episode of Keeping Score.

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