Unconscious bursts of creativity that engender significant artistic endeavors are not necessarily inspired by passionate romantic love alone. Greek mythology believed that this kind of stimulus came from nine muses, the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts. Muses were long considered the source of knowledge embodied in poetry, lyric songs and ancient myths. Throughout the history of Western art, artists, writers and musicians have prayed to the muses, or alternately, drawn inspiration from personified muses that conceptually reside beyond the borders of earthly love. True to life, however, composer inspiration has emerged from the entire spectrums of existence and being. Nature has always played a decidedly important role in the inspiration of various classical composers, as did exotic cities, landscapes or rituals. Composer inspiration is also found in poetry, the visual arts, and mythological stories and tales. Artistic, historical or cultural expressions of the past are just as inspirational as is the everyday: the third Punic War or the contrapuntal mastery of Bach is inspirationally just as relevant as are the virulent bat and camel. Composer inspiration is delightfully drawn from heroes and villains, scientific advances, a pet, or something as mundane as a hangover. Discover what fires the imagination of people who never stop asking questions.
Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) entered the Paris Conservatoire at age 12, taking piano lessons from Louis Diémer and instructions in composition from Gabriel Fauré. As you will probably know, Casella came from a highly musical family. His father, Alfredo Piatti was
Let’s continue to look at Debussy’s relationships with his fellow artists and musicians. The Scottish operatic soprano Mary Garden wrote, “I honestly don’t know if Debussy ever loved anybody really. He loved his music – and perhaps himself. I think
For a good many of his contemporaries, Claude Debussy was considered unsociable and reserved. Some writers even describe him as having “little strength of character.” To be sure, he frequently distanced himself from most musicians and tended to mingle with
Over the course of 40 years, Leonard Bernstein crafted a series of short compositions to honor close friends, relatives, family members, and professional colleagues. He started writing his “Anniversaries” in the 1940s and composed the last group in 1988, two
Let’s continue to look at Ravel’s relationships with his fellow artists and musicians. In 1907 Ralph Vaughan Williams went to Paris to take lessons with Maurice Ravel. The student was three years older than the teacher, but Ravel’s sinuous, detailed,
George Crumb: Madrigals, Book II and Songs, Drones and Refrains of Death Franz Schubert’s hair-raising setting of Goethe’s poem about a father with an ailing child in his arms, racing towards help but being thwarted by the illusions of the
How private was Maurice Ravel’s private life? Well, to this day nobody has uncovered conclusive evidence that he ever had a sexual relationship. While his music is passionate and distinctive, Ravel’s personality remains mysterious. His friend and biographer Alexis Roland-Manuel