Presidential Music Thomas Jefferson and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and he later served as the 3rd president of the United States. However, he was not only a politician but also a planter, lawyer, and architect with wide-ranging [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 22nd, 2018
Schreker: Der Ferne Klang (The Distant Sound) Premiered Today in 1912

Franz Schreker (1878-1934) is largely forgotten today, but in his time he was Richard Strauss’ main rival for the title of Germany’s leading composer of opera. Schreker wrote complex harmonic scores using advanced chromatic harmonies and large orchestras, yet his [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 18th, 2018
Familiar but different – Opera in other languages

We are so used to the sound of opera aria sung in their native language that when we run across translated versions, we’re often stopped in our tracks. English National Opera in London is (in)famous for its presentation of all [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | August 17th, 2018
Mapping the Musical Genome The Wagner Family

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was the manliest man in a manly world of manly composers! Creator of theatrical and musical dramas lasting the better part of eternity, his works are perpetually in danger of drowning in gigantic puddles of testosterone. As [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 13th, 2018
Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 2 Premiered Today in 1943

In his day, Franz Strauss was recognized as an important artistic personality. Foremost, he was a celebrated horn virtuoso, “breathing soul into the unthankful instrument.” Even Richard Wagner, against whom the musically conservative Strauss took literally every opportunity to make [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 11th, 2018
Françaix: Symphony in G major Premiered Today in 1953

“I wish to be honest,” wrote Jean Françaix (1912-1997), “When I am composing, the finest theories are the last things that come to mind. My interest is not primarily attracted by the motorways of thought, but more the paths through [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 9th, 2018
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1 Premiered Today in 1912

Sergei Prokofiev was still a student at the St. Petersburg Conservatory when he took the stage on 7 August 1912 to premier his 1st Piano Concerto. Since it was his first appearance with an orchestra, and expecting a rather large [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 7th, 2018
Mapping the Musical Genome The Merikanto Family

When a professional musician from Helsinki toured the Finnish countryside in the last years of the 19th century, a member of the audience asked him, “Are there other great composers in Helsinki besides Merikanto?” This delightful anecdote certainly tells us [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 6th, 2018