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Death and Victory: Beethoven’s Egmont Overture
Beethoven’s incidental music for Goethe’s play Egmont included not only the overture but also songs and entr’acte music. It is only the overture that we are familiar with today. Beethoven was considering a number of projects, including an opera based
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Experimenting with the Cadenza: Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921), in his youth, supported the modern music of his day, including that of Schumann, Liszt, and Wagner, but later took a dislike to the impressionist and expressionist composers’ works, which led many to label him as anti-progressive.
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Expanding on Earlier Works: Bach’s Easter Oratorio
Bach used the material in his Easter Oratorio several times. Its original appearance was as an oratorio for Easter 1725. It was composed in Leipzig and first performed on 1 April 1725 under the title Kommt, eilet und laufet (Come,
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The Beautiful Idyll: Svendsen’s Romance
Norwegian-born Johann Svendsen (1840–1911) spent the majority of his life in Norway, teaching in Denmark. His father, a music teacher and bandmaster, taught him violin and clarinet, and other wind instruments, and by age 9 he was playing in local
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Creating a New Music World: Liszt’s Hungarian Fantasia
The Fantasia / Fantasy as a genre in the 19th century (versus the 17th-century English fantasias, which were very different) gave the composer enormous range to use his imagination on whatever he had decided to fantasize about. In Liszt’s case,
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Accepting an Incomplete Perfection: Schubert’s ‘Unfinished’
Written in 1822 to acknowledge a Diploma of Honour from the Styrian Music Society in Graz, Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in B minor was kept by its dedicatee, Anselm Hüttenbrenner, who, along with his brother, had been behind the Music
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The Watching Fish: Mahler’s Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt
Considered one of the greatest products of ‘Heidelberg Romanticism’, Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano’s song anthology Des Knaben Wunderhorn, issued in 3 volumes between 1805 and 1808, was an unfailing resource for German composers. Unlike earlier collections of folk
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Calming the Virtuoso’s Excesses: Anda’s Liszt
Hungarian pianist Géza Anda (1921–1976) did his first studies with Ernst von Dohnányi and Zoltán Kodály at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. In 1940, Anda won the Liszt Prize and then made his debut with the Budapest Philharmonic and
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