In essence

1387 Posts
Lieder ohne Worte
Composer’s Fancy and Player’s Delight
How many composers can rightfully claim to have single-handedly invented a genre? Not that many, in fact, but Felix Mendelssohn would certainly be a strong candidate with his “Songs without Words.” Although Mendelssohn relied on an existing tradition of writing
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Dining with Ravel – The Ceramics of Clarice Cliff
When we think of composers as creative inspirations, we don’t often think of them appearing as coffee cups. The English ceramic artist, Clarice Cliff (1899-1972), started working in the pottery business when she was just 13 and became one of
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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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