In essence

Up close with composers

Brahms: German Requiem Premiered Today in 1868

Johannes Brahms was highly indifferent to organized religion. Although baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith, he considered the bible “a repository of experiences and wisdoms rather than a definition of Christian creed.” It was the death of his beloved [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | April 10th, 2018

We know the animals and figures of the Zodiac, but how did composers take these on? Mystic composer John Tavener used the birth of his second daughter as inspiration for his work for solo piano, Zodiac (1997). The overtones of [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | April 10th, 2018
Pursuing Protein in Classical Music

Evolution has given human beings four types of teeth, each with a specific function. Incisors cut the food, canines tear the food and molar and premolars crush the food. Given that kind of evolutionary structure, it seems rather reasonable to [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | April 9th, 2018
Bach: St. John Passion Premiered Today in 1724

It never fails to amaze that Johann Sebastian Bach was practically unknown during his early days. It took almost a year of negotiation, and the refusal of Georg Friedrich Telemann and Christoph Graupner, before the Kantor position at St. Thomas [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | April 7th, 2018
Destination Brazil

Brazil and its main city, Rio de Janeiro, came to life for many people in the film that showed the many facets of the city: Black Orpheus (Orpheu Negro) and its retelling of the Orpheus myth through the medium of [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | April 6th, 2018
At the Center of the Musical Universe Robert and Clara Schumann II

Robert Schumann spent the last two-and-a-half years of his life in a private psychiatric hospital in Endenich. His medical records were discovered in 1991, and first published in 2006. They contain daily entries documenting treatment—including shielding from stimuli, physical procedures, [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | April 2nd, 2018
Destination Rome

The city of Rome is a city of ancient forums and modern traffic, fabulous fountains and busy markets, solemn churches and resonant spaces. It’s a walking city and all of history seems to have happened here.

by Maureen Buja | March 30th, 2018
Honey and Rue

The American soprano Kathleen Battle read the words of the poet Toni Morrison and commissioned Morrison and the composer André Previn for a song cycle. Seeing the names of those three people in one sentence tells you from the beginning [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | March 27th, 2018