In essence

Up close with composers

Copland’s Ballets: Billy the Kid, Rodeo, Appalachian Spring

Aaron Copland, son of Polish and Lithuanian emigrants, was born in Brooklyn in 1900 and by the time he was 24, his compositions were already gaining interest. He was Nadia Boulanger’s first American pupil in Paris, laying the groundwork for [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | November 15th, 2017
Works Disliked By Their Composers! Part II

What happens when a composer writes a piece of music…and then ends up not liking it? In Part I, we saw how Saint-Saëns, Ravel, and Sibelius dealt with the problem. Now we look at how three more composers did:

by Emily E. Hogstad | November 14th, 2017
At the Center of the Musical Universe Ludwig van Beethoven

Whether we like it or not, Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the greatest disruptive forces in the history of music. He was a revolutionary man who lived and worked in revolutionary and tumultuous times, and his music exerted tremendous [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | November 13th, 2017
Mapping the Musical Genome: The Bach Family

Johann Sebastian Bach was part of an extensive Saxon-Thuringian family that produced an unparalleled and almost incalculable number of musicians. From fiddlers and town musicians to organists, from Kantors, court musicians and Kapellmeisters, member of the Bach family extensively populated [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | November 11th, 2017
Rock-A-Bye Baby I The Lullaby in Western Art Music

Medical research has clearly shown that infants are active listeners! Their attention is selectively drawn to particular musical genres, and to particular performing styles associated with maternal singing. Regardless of culture and living environment, infants reveal a clear preference for [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | November 10th, 2017
A Prophetic Cantata: Bartók’s Cantata Profana

We are most familiar with a ‘cantata’ as a sacred work, usually on a subject from the Bible, that’s written for vocalists. For Béla Bartók to write a work entitled ‘Cantata Profana’ is to write an oxymoron. Yet, if we [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | November 8th, 2017
At the Center of the Musical Universe Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart II

When Frédéric Chopin graduated from High School his final report stated, “Chopin F., third year student, exceptional talent, musical genius.” His hometown of Warsaw, however, had long known about this gifted musical prodigy, who was dubbed “a second Mozart.” In [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | November 6th, 2017
Princesse Edmond de Polignac The Queen of Paris’s Lesbian Community!

On her wedding night, the heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune climbed atop an armoire armed with an umbrella and told the groom “I am going to kill you if you come near me!” Winnaretta Singer had married Prince [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | November 4th, 2017