What Makes It Great? Wednesday, April 15, at the Freer Gallery

At some point in their adolescence, many people had the misfortune of being friends with someone who dragged them down to a basement and insisted that they listen to Black Flag’s “My War” in its entirety, after which said friend explained all of Greg Ginn’s guitar nuances at length and then insisted they listen to it all over again. The Washington Performing Arts Society has taken this idea and applied it to classical music in a concert and lecture series called “What Makes It Great?” Host Rob Kapilow and pianist Adam Neiman will perform a selected composer’s work, deconstruct it, and provide historical context, and then perform it again. On Wednesday, Kapilow will turn to Franz Liszt’s notorious Transcendental Etudes, reputed to be among the most difficult piano works ever composed. The etudes showed off Liszt’s chops as an unmatched performer and the hardest working touring musician in Europe—something of the Black Flag of his day.

THE PERFORMANCE BEGINS AT 7 p.m. AT THE MEYER AUDITORIUM AT THE FREER GALLERY OF ART, 12TH AND INDEPENDENCE AVE. SW. $30. (202) 785-9727.

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