In essence

Up close with composers

Ole Bull and the American Senator’s daughter

He was one of the greatest performing artists of the 19th century! Ole Bull (1810-1880) was a child prodigy, and he gave his public debut as a soloist at age 9. Although intending to study theology and/or law, he decided [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | July 7th, 2018
Haydn: Symphony Nr. 92 in G major “Oxford” Premiered today in 1791

By the mid-1780s Joseph Haydn was the most famous composer in Europe. Although he had worked in relative obscurity in the service of the Esterházy family for many decades, his reputation had spread far and wide. And when Johann Peter [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | July 7th, 2018
Saying Goodbye for a While: Schubert to Walcher

In the month before his friend Ferdinand Walcher quit Vienna for a posting in Venice, Schubert had been a torchbearer at Beethoven’s funeral. The death of his greatest inspiration, whom he had only been able to meet days before Beethoven’s [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | July 6th, 2018
J.S. Bach: Cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben , BWV 147 Premiered today in 1723

Say what you want, but Johann Sebastian Bach certainly knew a good tune when he heard one! And he certainly was not shy reusing his own tunes when time was of the essence. Bach took up the position of Thomaskantor, [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | July 2nd, 2018
“The Family is Excellent” Charles Gounod and Anna Zimmerman

Pierre-Joseph Zimmerman was well established on the Parisian musical scene as a retired Conservatoire piano professor with many accomplished students to his credit. Together with his beautiful wife Hortense and their four daughters, the family entertained a lively salon that [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | June 30th, 2018
Wagner: Die Feen (The Fairies) Premiered today in 1888

When Richard Wagner died on 23 February 1883, his first complete opera Die Feen (The Fairies) had still not been performed in public. That premier had to wait until 29 June 1888, yet regardless, the work never established itself in [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | June 29th, 2018
When Boys are Girls

We looked last time at the role women could play in taking over voice types that don’t exist anymore – with the demise of the castrato and the changing taste in opera, women had more opportunities on the stage. However, [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | June 28th, 2018
Janáček: Sinfonietta Premiered today in 1926

Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) was a married man of 63 and Kamila Stösslová a married woman of 25 when they met in a Moravian spa in the summer of 1917. What might have turned into an innocent and transient infatuation became [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | June 26th, 2018