In essence

Up close with composers

The West’s Fascination With the East

Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado (1886) wasn’t the first sign of the West’s fascination with the exotic East. The Paris Exposition of 1867 brought Japanese art to the world in its first national pavilion and artists including Vincent van Gogh [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | September 19th, 2018
Mahler: Symphony 7 Premiered Today in 1908

While putting the finishing touches on the menacing finale of his Sixth Symphony in the summer of 1904, Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) also drafted two central “Nachtmusiken” (Music of the Night) that would eventually become the second and fourth movements of [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 19th, 2018
Musical Selfies and Snapshots Part II François Couperin

Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, better known under his stage name “Molière,” is widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the French language. He spent 13 years as an itinerant actor before he started to write his own plays. Combining elements [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 18th, 2018
Music and Nature: Animals

Animals in music occur in everything from children’s pieces to great serious works. Their rhythm in the world is something that a composer can take up and develop and also their aspect: fierce or calming.

by Maureen Buja | September 17th, 2018
Classical Music and Wine “Where There Is No Wine There Is No Love”

Ernest Hemingway never met a drink he didn’t like! In fact, he had a rather tumultuous lifelong affair with alcohol. Given such expertise, we should probably pay close attention to what this great novelist and journalist had to say about [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 16th, 2018
Villa-Lobos: Bachiana Brasileira No. 1 Premiered Today in 1932

Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) has been described as “the single most significant creative figure in 20th century Brazilian art music.” His quest to develop musical compositions using indigenous Brazilian elements fueled a number of ethno-musicological excursions into the northeastern states of [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 12th, 2018
Musical Selfies and Snapshots Part I François Couperin

Representing his crowning achievements as a composer, Couperin published four harpsichord books, containing roughly 220 pieces. In the preface to his 1713 collection he wrote, “In composing these pieces, I have always had an object in view, furnished by various [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 11th, 2018
Berlioz: Benvenuto Cellini Premiered Today in 1838

For all his dislike of Italian music, Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) kept returning to Italian subjects. We only need to think of Romeo and Juliette, Harold in Italy, and the opera loosely adapted from the memoirs of the 16th century Florentine [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 10th, 2018