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Nature at Night – Marx’s Symphonische Nachtmusik
The Austrian composer Joseph Marx (1882-1964) led Austrian musical culture and after his death, seemed to vanish completely from the musical scene. Born in Graz, he studied philosophy, art history, German studies, and music at the University of Graz. In
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Consorting With the Nobles – Ferrabosco II’s Four-Note Pavan
Alfonso Ferrabosco the Elder (1543-1588) was an Italian composer who came to England around 1562 where he was nearly the only Italian in the country. A composer and son of Domenico Ferrabosco, he worked for Queen Elizabeth I, some say
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Breaking into a New World: Price’s Symphony No. 1
When we look at Dvořák’s ninth symphony, From the New World, we often think that it exists in this peculiar Czecho-American bubble. Written when Dvořák was resident in the US as head of the National Conservatory, the work is much
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A Violinist’s Love Song – Chausson – Poème
Ernest Chausson (1865-1899) studied under César Franck and Jules Massenet at the Paris Conservatoire. Sole living child of an affluent building contractor who had made his fortune in the redevelopment of Paris in the 1850s under Baron Haussmann, Chausson dabbled
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The Modern Recorder – Sierra’s Prelude, Habanera and Perpetual Motion
Recorder performer Michala Petri lifted the recorder out of the hands of the Baroque performers and has placed it firmly in the modern age. Despite those who sought to get her to play a “real” instrument, she saw the possibilities
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In the Harmonic Labyrinth – Locatelli’s Capriccio No. 23
What is a capriccio? It has its roots in late 16th-century Italy, where it was used to describe a set of madrigals by Jacquet de Berchem in 1561. According to Furetière in his Dictionnaire universel (1690), ‘Capriccios are pieces of
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Left on a Train – Howell’s Third String Quartet
The amount of music that has been lost and found again or sometimes lost and not found again seems to be a continuing thread through the centuries. Scores are used to start the fires by ungrateful spouses or inattentive domestic
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A New Idea in Music – Liszt’s Les Préludes
The problem for Liszt was how to expand the orchestral genre into something less confining than the symphony – 4 movements, alternating slow and fast, contrasting triple section. Sigh. It’s all so old. Ok, we have the concert overture, but
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