“Every great inspiration is but an experiment.”

Charles Ives

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.

864 Posts
  • Mozart in Mannheim IV Mozart in Mannheim IV
    The city of Mannheim, picturesquely located at the confluences of the Rhine and Neckar Rivers, was not only home to one of the best orchestras in Europe, it was also a thriving center for religious music. Much of the music
  • Brahms and His Symphony No. 1 Brahms and His Symphony No. 1
    In 1900, when Boston’s Symphony Hall was being built, Philip Hale, a distinguished American music critic working for the Boston Herald, suggested that a sign should be fitted over the central doorway reading, “Exit in case of Brahms”! Hale’s message
  • Mozart in Mannheim III Mozart in Mannheim III
    Ignatz Fränzl (1736-1811) was one of the most acclaimed virtuoso performers working at Mannheim. Already his father had been part of the orchestra, playing trumpet and viola under the leadership of Johann Stamitz. When Ignatz joined the ensemble as violinist
  • Mozart in Mannheim II Mozart in Mannheim II
    One of the most significant innovations of the Mannheim Orchestra was to standardize the orchestral instrumentation. It normally consisted of strings — first and second violins, violas, cellos, and double basses — and pairs of flutes, oboes, bassoons, French horns,
  • Mozart in Mannheim I Mozart in Mannheim I
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart first visited the city of Mannheim — a little side trip after a performance in Munich — in 1763. Accompanied by his parents and his sister Nannerl, he only stayed for a couple of days before the
  • Schumann Fantasie Op. 17 Schumann Fantasie Op. 17
    Clara, Ludwig, or both? Robert Schumann (1810-1856) had one of the most fascinating and varied biographies of all the nineteenth-century German composers. Forced by his guardian to study law, he rebelled against its pharisaical quibbling at age nineteen and moved