The Devils Did It – II

After we’ve gotten Faust sorted with his devil problems, all sorts of other operas have them as well. In Dvořák’s opera Čert a Káča (Kate and the Devil), we open at a village dance. Jirka has to return to work [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | March 18th, 2017
The Devils Did It – I

If it’s not the jealous lover in opera, it’s the devil causing havoc. In many operas, the devil has a leading role and it’s usually up to our heroine (sometimes the hero) to making things right again.

by Maureen Buja | March 11th, 2017
45th Hong Kong Arts Festival 2017 Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.1 in E-flat major, Op. 107

Together with Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Prokofiev, Dimitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) unquestionably represents the pinnacle of 20th-century Russian music. Contrary to his famous compatriots who sought employment in the West, Shostakovich was educated entirely under the Soviet system. Even at times [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | March 7th, 2017
Muses and Musings Tzigane : Maurice and Jelly

She was the great-niece of the influential violin virtuoso Joseph Joachim and had a decidedly psychic disposition! Her exotic and colorful name was Jelly d’Aranyi, and during a séance in 1933 Robert Schumann told her to premiere his “long-lost” violin [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | March 4th, 2017
Charles-Marie Widor beyond the Organ

Charles-Marie Widor’s 10 organ symphonies, inspired by the magnificent Cavaillé-Coll organ at Saint-Sulpice in Paris revolutionized the art of organ playing and composition in France. However, the composer also left behind a substantial number of meticulously crafted compositions for a [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | February 26th, 2017
Inspired by a Certain Tristesse

When we think of the composer Bernard Herrmann, we think of his film music and how it could carry a scene. Think about it: after you see Psycho, with those, literally, slashing strings, did you ever take a shower with [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | February 25th, 2017
Muses and Musings William Byrd: Tallis is dead, and Music dies!

Forget about unattainable lovers, idealized beauty or threatening nature! When it comes to artistic inspiration and musings, nothing has been more popular than death! Indeed, death is a cruel mistress to us all! Gruesome inevitability aside, death has inspired some [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | February 23rd, 2017
Pictures from the East: Schumann’s Bilder aus Osten, Op. 66

Bilder aus Osten (Pictures from the East), 6 Impromptus for piano 4-hands, written 1848, came at a time in Schumann’s life when he was bothered by a number of problems. He had recurring bouts of tinnitus when all he could [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | February 16th, 2017