Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: J.S. Bach, Jailbird

November 6, 2017

And then, in early November of 1717, Bach lost his temper. And while we’re not exactly sure who he mouthed off to—it might have been the Prince himself or it might have been one of his ministers—whomever it was, Bach’s tantrum must have been a doozy, because on November 6, 1717 he was summarily tossed into jail. […]

Photograph of Aaron Copland in front of bookshelves 1970
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: An American Classic

October 31, 2017

Appalachian Spring was composed as a ballet, commissioned, choreographed and danced by Martha Graham. Copland’s score was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music. […]

Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: Justice Denied

October 23, 2017

On the evening of October 22, 1764, Leclair went out to meet some friends. On returning home he was attacked from behind and stabbed three times. He fell directly in front of his door and that was where he was found on the morning of October 23rd, dead and lying in a pool of his own blood. […]

Photograph of composer Arnold Shoenberg, composer of Pierrot Lunaire
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: Pierrot Lunaire

October 16, 2017

In terms of its impact on the concert music of the twentieth century, Pierrot Lunaire stands second only to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which Stravinsky completed six months after Schoenberg finished Pierrot. 1912 was, truly, an “annus mirabilis” – a “miraculous year” – for Western concert music. […]

Photograph of Toru Takemitsu
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: Tōru Takemitsu

October 11, 2017

In 1946, at the age of sixteen, he decided to “become a composer.” Ah: if ignorance is bliss then Takemitsu must have been most blissful, because when it came to music, his ignorance was almost complete. But that didn’t stop him… […]

Photograph of Neville Marriner conducting
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: Spreading the Love

October 3, 2017

October 2 was a most interesting day in music history. Rather than choose just one person or event for discussion, we’re going to spread the love today and observe three people and one event for whom/which October 2 was a signal date. […]

Photograph of Canadian pianist Glenn Gould (Glenn Gold)
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: One of a Kind

September 25, 2017

Glenn Gould was an otherworldly musical genius. He was also a nut: one of the great eccentrics in the history of Western music. He wasn’t a nut because he was a musical genius, and he wasn’t a musical genius because he was a nut. No; the genius and the nuttiness were one and the same, something that separated him – almost from the beginning of his life and increasingly as he got older – from his fellow human beings. […]

Uzeyir Hajibeyov's manuscript of Arshin Mal Alan, written in 1913.
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: Uzeyir Hajibeyov

September 18, 2017

The composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov is recognized as the godfather of Azerbaijani concert music and his birthday, September 18, is National Azerbaijan Music Day. […]

Ink portrait of Alban Berg in profile
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: What a Way to Go

September 12, 2017

I’ve chosen, today, not to celebrate but rather, to observe some particular deaths: stupid deaths, unnecessary and premature deaths. A grim topic but not an uninteresting one, given that death is one of the very few things each of us will eventually have in common. […]

Photographic portrait of Anton Joseph Bruckner from a 1910 postcard
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: A Rather Strange Fellow

September 5, 2017

Bruckner was a total country bumpkin: naïve, simple, overly trusting, deferential and pious to a fault….Bruckner’s “Jethro Clampett” persona was a source of great humor among the sophisticates of Vienna. But in fact he was an odd man, even for a composer. […]

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