Poster Upper joint of a Bohm system clarinet
Upper joint of a Bohm system clarinet
Wikimedia Commons
Performance Today®

John Adams: Gnarly Buttons

American composer John Adams wrote a piece for clarinetist Michael Collins: "Gnarly Buttons." That unusual title is a half joking reference to how difficult it is to play the clarinet, which has all those difficult keys on it, those... gnarly buttons. On today's show, hear Michael Collins and members of the Minnesota Orchestra play this fun, yet emotional piece of music.

Episode Playlist

Hour 1

Hildegard von Bingen: O ignee Spiritus
Album: Freedom and Faith
Briight Shiny Things

Nina Simone: Young Gifted and Black
Album: Freedom and Faith
Bright Shiny Things

Nina Rota: Harp Concerto
Shi Qin , harp
National Ballet of China Symphony Orchestra | Zhang Yi, conductor
National Centre for the Performing Arts Concert Hall, Beijing, China

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Trio elegiaque No. 1 in G minor
Lysander Piano Trio
Cooperstown Summer Music Festival, Otesaga Resort Hotel Ballroom, Cooperstown, NY

Shelley Washington: Middleground
Album: Freedom and Faith
Bright Shiny Things

Hour 2

Emile Sauret: Scenes Villageoises, Op. 50 Movement 2 Pastorale
Michi Wiancko, violin | Dina Vainshtein, piano
Album: Sauret: Music for Violin and Piano
Naxos 8572366

Michi Wiancko: "La Follia" Variations for String Orchestra (after Francesco Geminiani)
East Coast Chamber Orchestra
Album: East Coast Chamber Orchestra
Koch 7784

John Adams: Gnarly Buttons for Clarinet and Small Orchestra
Michael Collins, clarinet
Minnesota Orchestra | Osmo Vanska, conductor
Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, MN

Sergei Rachmaninoff: Vocalise for Cello and Piano
Zuill Bailey, cello | Michael Butterman, piano
Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Brungard Aviation Hangar, Boulder, CO

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About Performance Today®

To find a station near you on our Stations Listings page, click here.

American Public Media’s Performance Today® is America’s most popular classical music radio program and a winner of the 2014 Gabriel Award for artistic achievement. The show is broadcast on hundreds of public radio stations across the country, including at 1 p.m. central weekdays on Minnesota Public Radio. More information about our stations can be found at APM Distribution.

Performance Today® features live concert recordings that can’t be heard anywhere else, highlights from new album releases, and in-studio performances and interviews. Performance Today® is based at the APM studios in St. Paul, Minnesota, but is frequently on the road, with special programs broadcast from festivals and public radio stations around the country. Also, each Wednesday, composer Bruce Adolphe joins host Fred Child for a classical musical game and listener favorite: the Piano Puzzler.

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