In essence

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Schubert: “Unfinished Symphony” Premiered Today in 1865

One of the biggest and most exciting mysteries in classical music is the question why Franz Schubert never completed his “Unfinished Symphony.” We do know that the Music Society in Graz bestowed upon Franz Schubert an honorary diploma in 1823. [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | December 17th, 2018
X-mas in Disguise

Christmas has long attracted musical contributions from composers in various vocal and choral genres. In purely instrumental terms, however, the subject of Christmas appears limited to a concerto grosso by Corelli and some pastoral symphonies in Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | December 17th, 2018
1,001(Arabian) Nights Folk Tales in Music

Growing up, I still vividly remember standing in front of what seemed like an endless collection of Middle Eastern folk tales in the public library of my hometown. Compiled into a multi-volume work under the title “One Thousand and One [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | December 16th, 2018
Beethoven and the “Maiden in Love”

To her close friends she was simply known as “Babette,” but everybody else referred to her as Princess Anna Louise Barbara Odescalchi. That, of course, was her married name as she had wed Prince Innocenz Odescalchi in Pressburg, currently called [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | December 14th, 2018
Gershwin: An American in Paris Premiered Today in 1928

When George Gershwin made his way to Paris in 1926 he was looking to expand his musical horizon by taking lessons with Maurice Ravel. Ravel excused himself under the pretense of not “wanting to spoil Gershwin’s musical voice,” and he [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | December 13th, 2018
The Pure Blood, or an Opera of Extreme Sensitivity

In his 1853 collection of stories for children, Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen told the story of the Princess and the Pea, or, as in his title, The Princess ON the Pea. He had first told the fairy tale, which [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | December 12th, 2018
“Giulio Caccini’s Women” Lucia, Francesca, Settimia, and Margherita

Professionally, Giulio Caccini (1551-1618) was known as an accomplished singer and the inventor of a new musical style that had the power to “move the affections of the soul.” Privately, he seemed to have been a difficult and proud man, [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | December 11th, 2018
Camille Saint-Saëns: Hail, California

Approaching his 80th birthday, Camille Saint-Saëns was appointed by the French government as “First Delegate to the Franco-American Commission for the Development of Political, Economic, Literary, and Artistic Relations” for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. Organized to commemorate [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | December 10th, 2018