607 Posts
Beethoven’s Lairs
“Alstergasse 45”
Ludwig van Beethoven’s first task after he had arrived in Vienna was to establish himself as a pianist and composer. And we know that this is something he achieved both rapidly and with remarkable success. For one, Beethoven had strong
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Composers on Other Planets – Mercury
The planet Mercury has just under 400 craters. The wonderful part is that most of them are named for famous people in the arts: writers, artists and composers. The rule for inclusion is that “all new craters must be named
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Jean Françaix: A Funky Promenade of Musical Styles
Jean Françaix (1912-1997) was a prodigious musical talent. He received his first lessons in harmony and counterpoint from Nadia Boulanger at the age of 10! Maurice Ravel was mightily impressed, and wrote to Jean’s father, “Among the child’s gifts I
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Nicolas-Charles Bochsa (1789-1856)
First-Rate Harpist and Scoundrel
He was a forger, bigamist, and womanizer whom Fétis called “as distinguished an artist as he was a miserable man.” His name was Nicolas-Charles Bochsa (1789-1856), and we must count him among the greatest harpists of the 19th century. Born
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Henry Vieuxtemps (1820-1881)
Virtuoso and Pedagogue
The 19th century saw the emergence of a new kind of democratic society, and musical life began to center on the public concert hall. Whereas previously the musician had functioned under a system of aristocratic patronage, they now were supported
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Writing the National Music History
Rimsky-Korsakov’s Russian Easter Festival
The Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) was unusual in that he combined his music career with his professional career in the Russian Navy, first as an officer in the Navy and then as inspector of the Naval Bands. His musical
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Beethoven and Money
For much of his career and life, Beethoven was struggling financially. He would on occasion make a shedload of money, which he tended to invest in bank shares. However, the severe depreciation of the Austrian currency as a result of
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Ole Bull’s Desperate Gamble
If we can trust Robert Schumann’s assessment, the Norwegian violin virtuoso Ole Bull (1810-1880) was an “equal to Paganini for the speed and the clarity of his playing.” However, Bull’s path to fame and fortune was not an easy one.
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