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.
French composer Charles Koechlin (1867-1950) started life as an engineering student but poor health and poor grades made him give this up at age 22, he entered the Paris Conservatoire. He studied composition with Jules Massenet with his fellow students
We’ve said it before – some music you can just hear too much. For a while, you couldn’t move on American public radio without being assaulted by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Every once in a while, though, a performance has the
The relationship between Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann, and Johannes Brahms started out as student comes to work with mentor but evolves into something more complex. Brahms had been introduced to the Schumanns in October 1853 with a letter of introduction
In his 1904 publication, Field Book of Wild Birds, F. Schuyler Mathews made a significant contribution to music, because the title goes on to say …and their Music: A Description of the Character and Music of Birds, Intended to Assist
Henry Cowell (1897-1965) was a twenty-two year old Californian composer trying to establish his musical reputations. His mentor John Varian suggested, “you will have to depend on yourself and very few other musicians to develop your music.” As such Cowell
Channeling the sound and fury of nature through an orchestra gives everyone, from the composer to the conductor to the orchestra (primarily the string section) a thorough workout. Antonio Vivaldi: The Four Seasons – Violin Concerto in G Minor, Op.
July is coming and for Americans and the French, it’s a time for fireworks. Le feu d’artifice! Times of joy for young and old. Colourful explosions in the air, designs and flourishes in ephemeral light, and the boom of excitement.
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was one of the last great pianist-composers in a long tradition stretching back to Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt and Brahms. He always maintained that “a composer’s music should express the country of his birth, his love affairs, his