In essence

Up close with composers

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) “Truly There Would Be Reason to Go Mad Were It Not for Music.”

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was, and still is, an international musical superstar. However, the first professional composer of consequence in Russia was an elusive man who simultaneously craved and loathed fame. In a letter to his music publisher, he writes, “I [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | October 9th, 2018
Music and Nature: Bugs

Bugs and music – hmm, not as common as birds, but then when you start to think about it, they start to creep up on you. Probably the first piece of bug music you might have learned was Frank Loesser’s [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | October 8th, 2018
Rimsky-Korsakov: The Golden Cockerel Premiered Today in 1909

Russian folklore and literature is incredibly rich in colorful tales of supernatural magic with decidedly down to earth morals. And the fairy tale of the “Golden Cockerel,” written by the great Alexander Pushkin in 1834 is no exception. For Rimsky-Korsakov, [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | October 7th, 2018
Classical Music and Wine “Either Give Me More Wine or Leave Me Alone”

In Greek mythology, Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine. The god is usually depicted riding in a chariot leading a procession of exotic beasts, wild female followers and bearded satyrs. Dionysus also functions as the [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | October 7th, 2018
Szymanowski: Violin Concerto No. 2 Premiered Today in 1933

The legendary violinist Paweł Kochański maintained a lifelong personal friendship and working relationship with the composer Karol Szymanowski. Both were active in a movement known as “Young Poland,” which sought to promote modernist attitudes in Warsaw. Originating during a period [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | October 6th, 2018
The Toccata in the 20th Century

Ottorino Respighi was a master of looking to the past for inspiration while, at the same time, producing music that was truly modern. We would expect a work entitled Toccata to be like the toccatas we know from the past: [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | October 5th, 2018
At the Center of the Musical Universe Giacomo Meyerbeer II

Giacomo Meyerbeer completed his opera Le Prophète in 1849. Based on the Anabaptist seizure of power in the 16th century, it details the elevation of John of Leyden as “the Prophet,” and culminates in a final cataclysm when John and [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | October 3rd, 2018
Music and Nature: Birds

For music and nature, birds are the natural – they sing! Or, rather, we hear their communication as singing. A friend in Hong Kong trains birds to sing, playing them beautiful songs from model birds to learn. The ones with [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | October 1st, 2018