Portrait of Italian opera composer Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi by Giovanni Boldini
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: A Magnificent Fiasco!

March 6, 2017

“I have to tell you that there was never a success in Venice like that of La Traviata. There was an uproar of indescribable applause, and even [the producer] Antonio Gallo had to take a curtain call from his place in the audience – a novelty, but that is what really happened.” […]

Photograph of American pianist Van Cliburn in 1966.
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: A Cold War Miracle

February 27, 2017

Van Cliburn was proclaimed a conquering hero by both the Americans and the Soviets, and his victory did much to soften hearts and open minds across the East-West divide. […]

Engraving from a portrait of German violinist Johann Peter Salomon
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: Movers and Shakers

February 20, 2017

Unbidden and unannounced, he showed up at Haydn’s house, knocked on the door, and introduced himself with these words: “I am Salomon of London and have come to fetch you. Tomorrow we will arrange an accord.” […]

Portrait of composer George Frideric Handel
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: Immigrants and Immigration

February 13, 2017

In 1712, George Friedrich Handel (his Anglicized name) left Germany and settled permanently in London. His departure was motivated by that most common reason to emigrate: economic opportunity. […]

Portrait of Arnold Shoenberg by Egon Shiele
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: Can’t We Be Friends?

February 6, 2017

Given the fear and loathing the name “Arnold Schoenberg” continues to inspire 66 years after his death you’d think he was some sort of Nosferatu-like monster who shot puppies for sport and refused to recycle. […]

Music History Monday Johann Joachim Quantz

Music History Monday: The Best Gig in the World!

January 31, 2017

You want to talk about breaking a father’s heart? On his deathbed, Johann Joachim Quantz’ blacksmith father begged his 10 year-old son to follow him in the family trade. It didn’t happen, as J.J.’s extraordinary promise as a musician was already apparent. […]

image of Dmitri Shostakovich
Music Appreciation

Music History Monday: Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich

January 23, 2017

He wrote a symphony (No. 13) that acknowledged the Holocaust at a time when official Soviet doctrine did not. He wrote an opera that almost got him killed; at other times he kissed the collective (and hairy?) derrieres of the Politburo whenever it was necessary, toed the party line, and publicly said what he was told to say… […]

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