Anecdotes

 
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 14 , Op. 135 Premiered Today in 1969

In his memoirs—supposedly related to Solomon Volkov—Dmitri Shostakovich suggests, “Fear of death may be the most intense emotion of all. I sometimes think that there is no deeper feeling. The irony lies in the fact that under the influence of [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 29th, 2018
 
Stravinsky: L’Histoire du Soldat Premiered Today in 1918

Dwindling economic resources and the unprecedented sufferings inflicted by the “Great War” forced composers to search for new avenues of artistic and musical expression. Taking refuge in Switzerland, the young Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet introduced Stravinsky to the author Charles-Ferdinand [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 28th, 2018
 
Bernstein: West Side Story Premiered Today in 1957

On 26 September 1957, the Winter Garden Theatre—one of the Broadway theatres located between 50th and 51st Streets in midtown Manhattan—opened with a musical inspired by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. With a libretto by Arthur Laurents, lyrics by Stephen [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 26th, 2018
 
Michael Balfe: Grandma in the Closet

Musicians always had rather hectic traveling and work schedules, with appearances frequently organized along incredibly tight timetables and in far-flung locations. And the Irish composer and conductor Michael William Balfe (1808-1870) was no exception. He started his career as a [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 25th, 2018
 
William Crotch: The Spoiled Wunderkind

It might well be that William Crotch (1775-1847) was the most precocious musical talent of all times. Son of a humble carpenter, young William showed great enjoyment of music, and before his 2nd birthday was able to play a number [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 21st, 2018
 
Mendelssohn: Piano Concerto No. 2 Premiered Today in 1837

By all accounts, March of 1837 was a great month for Felix Mendelssohn! His oratorio St. Paul received enormously successful performances in Leipzig and Boston, and on the 28th of the month he married Cécile Jeanrenaud in the French Reformed [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 21st, 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
 
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