In essence

Up close with composers

The Inspiration of Imagination – 1001 Nights

When the British explorer extraordinaire Richard Francis Burton published his translation of the traditional Middle Eastern stories in The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night in 1885, he brought the extraordinary wealth of Arabic storytelling to the West. [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | February 19th, 2019
At the Center of the Musical Universe Carl Maria von Weber

When Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz (The Marksman) was first produced at the Schauspielhaus in Berlin in June 1821, the musical world was stunned. Setting his career as a pianist and critic aside, Weber had created a work that [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | February 18th, 2019
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem Premiered Today in 1869

For Johannes Brahms, the composition and performance of the German Requiem was a highly personal undertaking. Brahms had been highly distressed by the breakup of his parents. Tension over money, exacerbated by the great difference in age—his mother was 17 [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | February 18th, 2019
Puccini: Madama Butterfly Premiered Today in 1904

When the original two-act version of Madama Butterfly premiered in Milan on 17 February 1904, the audience was not impressed. Puccini had struggled to complete the score, and there simply wasn’t enough time for proper rehearsals. Despite notable singers Rosina [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | February 17th, 2019
Franz Liszt in Istanbul

Towards the end of his long performance career, Franz Liszt finally managed to visit the Ottoman Empire in 1847. Liszt had wanted to visit Istanbul as early as 1838, and wrote to a friend, “… [I have a] desire and [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | February 15th, 2019
Korngold: Violin Concerto Premiered Today in 1947

The exceptional Polish violinist Bronisław Huberman never tired of asking Erich Korngold for a violin concerto. Huberman had been an old family friend from their days in Vienna, but having been forced into exile to Southern California, Korngold was determined [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | February 15th, 2019
The Mozart Diaries 13 February 1782: Piano Concerto No. 5 , K. 175 with new Finale K. 382

Trying to establish himself in Vienna, Wolfgang Amadeus was incredibly busy as he writes to his sister. “You must not suppose, from my not answering you, that you and your letters are troublesome. I shall always, dearest sister, with the [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | February 13th, 2019
Louis Marchand and Marie Angélique Denis A Toxic Affair

Louis Marchand (1669-1732) had an extremely colorful and unpredictable personality. While he was lavishly praised for his prodigious keyboard talents and skills, his reputation was not founded on musical abilities alone. In one famous, and documented instance, soon after his [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | February 12th, 2019