In essence

Up close with composers

Game—Set—Match! Suzanne Lenglen and Jeux

Who really knows what inspires the creative mind? It might be a painting of a moonlit lake, a craggy alpine peak, or the ferocious ocean pounding the rocky shores of a remote island. Of course, there is the ever-popular poem [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | June 11th, 2017
The Maid of Orléans Arthur Honegger: Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher

The Russian dancer, actress and art patron Ida Lvovna Rubinstein was born into one of Russia’s richest families. Receiving the best musical, dancing and theatrical education money can buy Ida eventually ended up in Paris and immediately made headlines for [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | May 31st, 2017
Johannes Brahms: Doctor of Philosophy (Hon. Causa)

Johannes Brahms never formally went to university, and his engagement with higher education was rather peripheral. Around age 20, Joseph Joachim invited him to Göttingen, where the violinist was taking summer courses in philosophy and history. Brahms accepted the invite, [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | May 28th, 2017
Musicologist to the Rescue!

There are a handful of films featuring musicologists – those scholars of the history of music. Two recent ones have been Songcatcher (2000), where a musicologist finds ancient Scots-Irish ballads in Appalachia, and then there’s The Silent Touch (1992), where [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | May 28th, 2017
Debussy: Préludes Book II

After a two-year break, Debussy continued his work on the Préludes, writing another 12 and again showing influences of all areas of popular and ancient culture and from artists, writers, and poets. Just as we had the mysterious Voiles in [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | May 26th, 2017
Mixing Bach and Liszt: The Unfinished Fugue and the Fantasia contrappuntistica

The regularized austerity of J.S. Bach’s music, in particular The Art of Fugue, has fascinated many composers. Bach’s work was left unfinished, with the final quadruple fugue (Contrapunctus XIV) started but not completed before Bach’s death.

by Maureen Buja | May 25th, 2017
An arranged and happy marriage Claudio Monteverdi and Claudia Cattaneo

Claudio Monteverdi was a precocious musical talent who published his first collection of madrigals at age 15. Ambitious and highly confident he was hired as a singer and instrumentalist by Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua in 1590. Mantua and nearby [...] more >>

by Georg Predota | May 24th, 2017
Cows – 8 Different Ones

When Darius Milhaud immortalized his favorite Brazilian tavern in a brilliant ballet work, Le Boeuf sur le toit, he was joining in a long line of composers who brought the common cow into music. To take a look at the [...] more >>

by Maureen Buja | May 21st, 2017