164 Posts
Alexander Serov and Valentina Bergman
“Too Bad, You’re Not a Boy”
Valentina Semyonovna Bergman (1846-1924) was born into a Russian merchant family of German-Jewish descent. Her parents converted to Lutheranism before she was born, and they operated a successful shop specializing in colonial wares. Valentina showed great musical promise from an
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The Monk, the Cardinal, and the Devil
Giuseppe Tartini and Elisabetta Premazore
I don’t understand why a good many people think that classical music is deadly dull and boring. Many of the stories and anecdotes surrounding these exceptional expressions of human creativity could easily become box office hits at your local cinema.
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Christoph Friedrich Bach and Lucia Elisabeth Münchausen
Christoph Friedrich Bach was only 17 when he was unexpectedly offered the position of harpsichordist at the Court of Schaumburg-Lippe in Bückeburg. He hadn’t yet finished his musical or general education, and it took the permission of his father to
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Napoleon Bonaparte and Giuseppina Grassini
“Love Is the Idler’s Occupation, the Warrior’s Relaxation, and the Sovereign’s Ruination” At the height of his powers, Napoleon Bonaparte had established an empire that dominated much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. He was, and
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Joaquín Rodrigo and Victoria Kamhi Arditti
“The Light of my Eyes”
On 14 March 1928 a concert honoring Manuel de Falla’s admittance to the French Légion d’Honneur took place in Paris. Falla insisted that music by some of his young Spanish colleagues should be heard as well, and Joaquin Rodrigo stole
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Creatures of the Parisian Salon
Ruggero Leoncavallo and Berthe Rambaud
Destitute and on the verge of starving, Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919) arrived in Paris. He found work as an accompanist at various café-concerts, and eventually attracted attention. Colloquially known as the “great little Italian,” he gradually gained entry into the various
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Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Dangerous Side Effects of Fame
The teenage American sensation Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) played his name into the hearts of Parisian society. Paris was full with youthful geniuses, but one from America attracted special attention. His earliest music published in France in his name tellingly
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Frédéric Chopin and Maria Wodzińska
Funeral March for the Heart
Frédéric Chopin had turned twenty-five when he fell passionately and hopelessly in love with sixteen-year old Maria Wodzińska. He had known her as a child, and “used to chase her through the rooms at Pszenny.” She in turn greatly “annoyed
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