Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64

In 1876, Nadezhda von Meck—widow of a fabulously wealthy railroad proprietor—first encountered the music of Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky. This initial musical encounter quickly developed into a relationship of musical patronage that would last the better part of 14 years. Von [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 5th, 2016
Muses and Musings Sing me to sleep, Honey! Johannes Brahms and Bertha Porubsky

Between 1859 and 1862, Johannes Brahms eagerly participated in the musical and social life of his native city of Hamburg. Clearly, he was looking to establish the foundations for what he hoped would be a lifelong career in his hometown. [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | September 4th, 2016
Antonín Dvořák: Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191

With his Cello Concerto in B minor, Op.104, Antonín Dvořák created one of the all-time greatest works in the genre. Yet curiously, Dvořák had written in 1865, “The cello is a beautiful instrument, but its place is in the orchestra [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 30th, 2016
The Many Mountain Kings

In Act II of Edvard Grieg’s music of the play Peer Gynt, our eponymous hero enters the hall of the mountain king. As the scene’s introduction describes: “There is a great crowd of troll courtiers, gnomes and goblins. The Troll [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | August 25th, 2016
“If music be the food of love, play on.” Shakespeare and Music IX – King Lear

You may be surprised how many quotes come from the 1606 play King Lear, perhaps William Shakespeare’s greatest of tragedies—a work, which continues to electrify and has stirred composers Debussy, Shostakovich, and Berlioz as well as some popular music. The [...] more >>

by Janet Horvath | August 21st, 2016
From Children’s Tales to Scenes from Childhood

Written about children, but not written for children, the collection of short piano pieces entitled Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood) by Robert Schumann was a gift to Clara Wieck in 1838, two years before they were finally married. The final 13 [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | August 18th, 2016
Johann Sebastian Bach: Laß Fürstin, laß noch einen Strahl , BWV 198 (Ode of Mourning)

Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, Electress of Saxony and titular Queen of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, was a bit of a religious celebrity. For years she resisted the pressure of the court to embrace the Roman Catholic faith, which her husband had [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | August 17th, 2016
The Perfect Music for a Summer Night

Beginning with a hushed sound, Nights in the Gardens of Spain by Manuel de Falla (1876 – 1946), immediately takes us into a hot, quiet garden in an exotic location. Originally designed as a set of nocturnes for solo piano, [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | August 16th, 2016