Behind the scenes

127 Posts
Millie and Christine McCoy
The Two-Headed Nightingale
When the singing sensation Jenny Lind disembarked from the steamship “Atlantic” to begin her American tour on 1 September 1850, roughly 30,000 onlookers had gathered around the waterfront to catch a glimpse of the Swedish opera star. Her American promoter
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Ignace Tiegerman: The Lost Legend of Cairo
Vladimir Horowitz identified him as the only rival he ever feared, and Ignaz Friedman called him “the greatest talent I ever worked with.” Not to be outdone, the author and literary scholar Edward Said privately suggested, “Despite later music studies
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The Sorrows of Angelica Catalani
For almost 3 decades, Angelica Catalani (1780-1849) commanded the operatic stages of Europe. Her powerful soprano voice nearly covered three octaves in range, and it has been suggested “no singer ever surpassed her in chromatic scales, whether in velocity or
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Filming Rachmaninov’s Études-Tableaux All Night
Boris Giltburg spent all night playing Rachmaninov for a very special film, revealed here! It’s the dead of night, probably around 3am. Outside, on the main street, cars are still whooshing by. Inside, it’s mostly dark, apart from two spotlights
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The Ochydactyl
Please let me introduce you to probably the most horrendous musical torture device ever invented. It might reasonably have been used to extract confessions during the Spanish Inquisition, but in reality, it was a patented apparatus that was to increase
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The Chirogymnast
The importance attached to virtuosity at the beginning of the 19th century is evidenced by the publication of an enormous number of new methods for piano. The great majority was directed towards the acquisition of practical and technical perfection in
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The Dactylion
The opening decade of the 21st century is once more gripped by a passion for musical virtuosity. Countless young and aspiring musicians—frequently supported and driven by overzealous parents—are vying to study at the most prestigious conservatories and with the most
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Marguerite Dufay – Trombonist
It was always easier to laugh at women instrumentalists than to take them seriously. Entertainer Marguerite Dufay played in the Parisian music cafés in the late 19th century, classified as a ‘comique excentrique.’ A comic eccentric was a performer in
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