In essence

Up close with composers

Bashing the Boo and Charming the Clouds The musical world of Harry Partch

Have you ever heard of the musical instruments called Chromelodeon, Quadrangularis Reversum or Zymo-Xyl? If not, let me introduce you to Harry Partch (1901-1974), an American composer, music theorist and creator of unique musical instruments. The son of Presbyterian missionaries, [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | March 8th, 2014
Overtures and Overtures

When is an Overture not an Overture? When it’s a Concert Overture. We are familiar with Overtures that serve as an introduction to an opera, a ballet, or even an oratorio, starting in the 17th century, but the Concert Overture [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | March 7th, 2014
I dream of Jeanie! Stephen Foster and Jane McDowell

Stephen Foster: I dream of Jeannie with the light brown hair To everyone’s surprise, Stephen Foster married Jane McDowell, daughter of a leading Pittsburgh physician, on 22 July 1850. For friends and mutual acquaintances, it remained a mystery why the [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | March 5th, 2014
Appealing to the Melting Pot Stephen Foster and the American Experience

Parlour music became hugely popular in the 19th century. As the name implies, it was frequently performed by amateur singers and pianists in the parlours of middle-class homes. The music itself was disseminated as sheet music, and the text commonly [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | March 3rd, 2014
Playing with Leg

The elegant young man about town in the 17th century carved his way through the world dressed very very well. Fine cloth, elegant cuffs, a lace collar – and stockings. So what kind of instrument might the elegant young man [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | March 2nd, 2014
Fostering Unity Stephen Foster: Father of American Music

The run-up to the United States presidential election of 1844 was dominated by the controversial issue of slavery expansion through the annexation of the Republic of Texas. The Democratic Party was looking to expand America’s territory by any means. In [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | February 28th, 2014
The Monteverdi Puzzle Vespers for the Blessed Virgin

Claudio Monteverdi: Vespers of the Blessed Virgin The musicologist Denis Arnold once famously suggested that to perform the Vespro della Beata Vergine (Vespers for the Blessed Virgin), composed by Claudio Monteverdi is “to court disaster.” Arnold further asserts, “To write [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | February 24th, 2014
The Child Prodigy as Social Experiment

Saint-SaensPiano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22 The American pianist Philippa Schuyler made her concert debut while still a child, giving piano recitals and frequently appearing on the radio. Born in 1931, the mixed-race child was the daughter [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | February 23rd, 2014