In essence

Up close with composers

A Whale of a Story Herman Melville and Moby Dick

On 1 August we celebrate the 200th birthday of Herman Melville (1819-1891), the author of one of the greatest novels in the English language. But Moby Dick, the epic tale of the voyage of the whaling ship “Pequod” and its [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 19th, 2019
Louis Moreau Gottschalk Dangerous Side Effects of Fame

The teenage American sensation Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) played his name into the hearts of Parisian society. Paris was full with youthful geniuses, but one from America attracted special attention. His earliest music published in France in his name tellingly [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 13th, 2019
Daughterly Muse Marcel and Marguerite Tollet-Dupré

Inspiration can strike anyone, anywhere, anytime. And while some artists find inspiration in nature, psychology, religion or political convictions, there is a source that’s much closer to home; their own children! It goes without saying that all parents want what’s [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 12th, 2019
She’s Just a Little Mad, My Head Is on Straight Kurt Weill’s 7 Deadly Sins

In 1932, Kurt Weill was commissioned to write a ballet. But, this was a ballet with a difference. Commissioned by the Englishman Edward James for his ballerina wife, Tilly Losch, James specified that Lotte Lenya would sing it and his [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | July 30th, 2019
A Trip to the Moon Apollo 11, 20 July 1969

The moon is always there, hanging over the sleepy earth or visible in a blue sky, just to remind us of its presence, even during the day. The 21st century fashion for looking at the Supermoon or whatever this month’s [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | July 20th, 2019
Stravinsky Meets Modern

We associate ragtime music with performers and composers such as Scott Joplin, confined by their poverty and marginality to the US. What we may not realize is how international this turn of the 20th century-style was and how influential it [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | July 16th, 2019
The Pop Classical

In a sense, the thing furthest away from Classical music is pop music. But, in another sense, the two kinds of music are far closer than you think!

by Maureen Buja | July 15th, 2019
Little Impressionist Worlds – Prokofiev’s Visions Fugitives

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) started experimenting with a number of short piano works in 1915, completed them in 1917, and gave them their first public performance on 15 April 1918 in Petrograd/St. Petersburg. At a private performance some months before, the [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | July 9th, 2019