Unexpected Christmas Treats

Depending on your location, there might already be a touch of frost in the air. Days might be getting shorter and nights much darker and longer. But whatever your geographic location, you will undoubtedly have noticed that Christmas is once [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | December 12th, 2015
Holst: The Planets

Gustav Holst is best known for a single work: The Planets. A unique symphonic work, it has little precedent in the orchestral literature. It might be compared to Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition or even Elgar’s Engima Variations, but both [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | December 11th, 2015
Liszt and the Ave Maria

Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was one of the few composers to take on the Ave Maria multiple times. His own religious interests would have guided him to the Ave Maria text, and when he made it his own, he carries us [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | December 9th, 2015
“If music be the food of love, play on.” Shakespeare and Music II: Midsummer Night’s Dream

The comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of Shakespeare’s most popular works, which has spurred composers’ imaginations, is next in our ten-part series of Shakespeare’s plays. Shakespeare was a young man when he wrote this fanciful tale—two couples that become [...] more >>

by Janet Horvath | December 6th, 2015
Ukrainian Christmas Eve

Nikolai Gogol, a dramatist, novelist and short story writer of Ukrainian ethnicity, is considered a seminal figure of Russian literary realism. His fundamental romantic sensibility is marvelously infused with strains of Surrealism and the grotesque. In fact, Gogol established a [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | December 4th, 2015
Haydn: The Creation

“The story of the creation,” Joseph Haydn wrote in 1801 “has always been considered the sublimest and most awe-inspiring image for mankind. To accompany this great work with appropriate music could certainly have no other result than to heighten these [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | December 3rd, 2015
Hail Mary, Full of Grace

The Catholic prayer called either Ave Maria or the Hail Mary has been a familiar setting in music, coming into favour in the Renaissance and extending to the current day. Mary, the mother of Jesus, holds a particularly beloved place [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | December 2nd, 2015
Jean Sibelius: Finlandia

Music can be an all-consuming passion that serves as a daily spiritual and physical exercise. Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) certainly thought that way, as “music grasped me with a power that rapidly relegated all my other interests to the background.” Initially, [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | November 30th, 2015