Charles Gounod unabashedly referred to Pauline Viardot as “The godmother of my career.” He first met her around a rather difficult time in his life. His brother Urbain had unexpectedly passed away, leaving behind a two-year-old child and a widow [...] more >>
Pauline Elisabeth Ottilie Luise zu Wied (1843– 1916), the Queen of Romania as the wife of King Carol I of Romania, led her literary life as the author Carmen Sylva. She wrote across a wide number of genres, including poems, [...] more >>
Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857), often called the “Father of Russian music,” was a bit of a delicate flower. Because his older brother had died in infancy, his grandmother lavished great care on his physical wellbeing. Glinka remembers, “Soon after my birth [...] more >>
From Bach onward, the idea of a cycle of preludes has intrigued composer. George Gershwin (1898-1937) took up the task of writing an intended 24, only completed 6 and only published 3.
Another composer who gave up his father’s dream that he become a lawyer, the French composer Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) completed his studies, was admitted to the bar, but found writing, drawing, and especially composition much more to his liking. In [...] more >>
Gabriel Fauré didn’t like giving his works revealing names. He once said that he’d rather name every work ‘Piano Piece No. …’ than commit to a name. Commercialization in the person of his publisher defeated him and so we have [...] more >>