Mechanical Beethoven

In a previous episode on the “Mechanical Mozart” I have introduced you to the mechanical instrument, most commonly associated with a clock, that plays music at regular time intervals. Unlike a conventional chiming clock, this device plays music selected automatically [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 31st, 2017
The Henri Casadesus Viola Inventions

The surname Casadesus identifies a prominent French artistic family. An integral part of the international classical music landscape, the Casadesus family remained artistically active for well over a century. Arguably, the most prominent member of the family was pianist Robert [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 21st, 2017
The 1749 Royal Bang!

What do you get when you mix sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate? If you have taken rudimentary classes in chemistry, you know that it is the chemical formula for gunpowder, aka black powder. Although it was first described in an [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 19th, 2017
King Norodom Sihanouk The Royal Composer and Filmmaker of Cambodia

Recently, I introduced you to the swinging king of Thailand! King Bhumibol the Great, who died in October of 2016, was an accomplished jazz saxophonist. He founded his own band, paired up with jazz great Benny Goodman, and over a [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 14th, 2017
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Lured out of retirement by a Chinese genius Olivier Messiaen and Chen Qigang

Olivier Messiaen was long retired when he was introduced to a young Chinese composition student. Chen Qigang was born in Shanghai and raised by a family of artists. He began his musical studies at a very early age and was [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 7th, 2017
Corporal Brahms Fest und Gedenksprüche , Op. 109

Born in Hamburg, Johannes Brahms was looking for a professional appointment in his native city early on. In fact, he applied for the directorship of the Hamburg Philharmonic Concerts in 1862 and again in 1867. The result was the same, [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 4th, 2017
Madness at the Lower Rhine Music Festival

The “Lower Rhine Music Festival” was founded in 1818 as the immediate result of a prodigious passion for music by an increasingly affluent middle class. This large choral and orchestral festival took place annually on Pentecost Sunday, with the venue [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 2nd, 2017
Fritz Kreisler: King of the Violin

Violinist Fritz Kreisler was one of the great musical personalities of the early 20th century. An easy-going and charming personality combined with insightful interpretations and technical mastery to produce memorably recordings and live performances. Yet behind the immediate exterior of [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | July 30th, 2017