Music Of The Week

43 Posts
Renaissance Duets: Pietrobono and His Tenorista
Our image of the Renaissance lutenist is of the musician bending over his lute, generally surrounded by his music books. But we know from contemporary sources, that 15th-century lutenists made their art in company. The Ferrarese virtuoso lutenist Pietrobono (c.
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The Sound of the Night: Chopin’s Nocturne, Op. 9, No.2
At age 20, Frédéric Chopin composed one of his best-known nocturnes for the piano. Nocturnes were brief piano works that were inspired by the night. It was Chopin who brought them to their Romantic fruition as a single-movement character piece
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Finishing the Series: Maxwell Davies’ Tenth Naxos Quartet
In 2001, the first of English composer Peter Maxwell Davies’ Naxos Quartets was completed. A set of ten quartets had been commissioned by Naxos Records and he took the opportunity to examine the string quartet as a whole and to
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The Noise of War: Smetana’s Wallenstein’s Camp, Op. 141
Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884) synthesized his native Czech music with the larger Classical tradition. He’s best known today for his opera The Bartered Bride and his massive 6-part symphonic poem Má vlast. Smetana was the 11th child of a brewer who
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Challenging the Pianist: Alkan’s Ouverture
Parisian composer and virtuoso pianist Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888) wrote some of the most fiendishly difficult piano music of his time. He entered the Paris Conservatoire at age six and had a long public career. After 1848, however, he became quite
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The Bright Spark of a Brief Life: Boulanger’s Du fond de l’abîme
French composer Lili Boulanger (1893-1918), younger sister to the famous composer and teacher Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979), was ill most of her short life, but at her death, age 24, she had achieved much that would change modern French and international
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In the Virtuoso Spirit: Paul Huang
The violin virtuosos of the 19th century were the rock stars of their day – they commanded the audiences, their latest appearances were awaited on with bated breath, and their wild playing inspired their audiences to awe. A modern virtuoso
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A Love Letter: Kernis’ Air
Composer Aaron Jay Kernis (b. 1960) is a rare winner of both the Pulitzer Prize (for his 1997 string quartet Musica Instrumentalis) and Grammy Awards for contemporary classical composition and classical instrumental solo (for his 2019 Violin Concerto). Originally written
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