Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) “Music Is Heaven’s Gift to Humanity”

Boris Asafyev, one of the founders of Soviet musicology, wrote the following summary assessment regarding Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, “He was the first composer of a new Russian type… in a deeply original, personal and national style he united the symphonic [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | October 16th, 2018
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) “Truly There Would Be Reason to Go Mad Were It Not for Music.”

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was, and still is, an international musical superstar. However, the first professional composer of consequence in Russia was an elusive man who simultaneously craved and loathed fame. In a letter to his music publisher, he writes, “I [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | October 9th, 2018
Music and Nature: Bugs

Bugs and music – hmm, not as common as birds, but then when you start to think about it, they start to creep up on you. Probably the first piece of bug music you might have learned was Frank Loesser’s [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | October 8th, 2018
Classical Music and Wine “Either Give Me More Wine or Leave Me Alone”

In Greek mythology, Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine. The god is usually depicted riding in a chariot leading a procession of exotic beasts, wild female followers and bearded satyrs. Dionysus also functions as the [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | October 7th, 2018
The Toccata in the 20th Century

Ottorino Respighi was a master of looking to the past for inspiration while, at the same time, producing music that was truly modern. We would expect a work entitled Toccata to be like the toccatas we know from the past: [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | October 5th, 2018
At the Center of the Musical Universe Giacomo Meyerbeer II

Giacomo Meyerbeer completed his opera Le Prophète in 1849. Based on the Anabaptist seizure of power in the 16th century, it details the elevation of John of Leyden as “the Prophet,” and culminates in a final cataclysm when John and [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | October 3rd, 2018
Music and Nature: Birds

For music and nature, birds are the natural – they sing! Or, rather, we hear their communication as singing. A friend in Hong Kong trains birds to sing, playing them beautiful songs from model birds to learn. The ones with [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | October 1st, 2018
Classical Music and Wine “In Wine, There’s Truth”

When Beethoven was on his deathbed, his publisher supposedly sent him a case of red wine. According to eyewitnesses, Beethoven weakly muttered, “Pity, pity, too late!” Dr. Wawruch, the physician in attendance throughout Beethoven’s final illness, opened his medical report [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 30th, 2018