The individual pieces have been described as "true concert works, being best served on a stage and with a concert grand." Although composed as part of a set, each piece stands on its own as a concert solo with individual themes and moods. The pieces span a variety of themes ranging from the funeral march of number three to the canon of number six, the Moments musicaux are both Rachmaninoff's return to and revolution of solo piano composition. A typical performance lasts 30 minutes. (Full article...)
"The Blue Danube" (1867)
"The Blue Danube" is the common English title of "An der schönen blauen Donau", Op. 314 (German for "By the Beautiful Blue Danube"), a waltz by the Austrian composerJohann Strauss II, composed in 1866. Originally performed on 15 February 1867 at a concert of the Wiener Männergesang-Verein (Vienna Men's Choral Association), it has been one of the most consistently popular pieces of music in the classical repertoire. Its initial performance was considered only a mild success, however, and Strauss is reputed to have said, "The devil take the waltz, my only regret is for the coda—I wish that had been a success!"
After the original music was written, the words were added by the Choral Association's poet, Joseph Weyl. Strauss later added more music, and Weyl needed to change some of the words. Strauss adapted it into a purely orchestral version for the 1867 Paris World's Fair, and it became a great success in this form. The instrumental version is by far the most commonly performed today. An alternate text was written by Franz von Gernerth, "Donau so blau" (Danube so blue). "The Blue Danube" premiered in the United States in its instrumental version on 1 July 1867 in New York, and in the UK in its choral version on 21 September 1867 in London at the promenade concerts at Covent Garden. (Full article...)
The term choir is very often applied to groups affiliated with a church (whether or not they actually occupy the quire), whereas a chorus performs in theatres or concert halls, but this distinction is not rigid. Choirs may sing without instruments, or accompanied by a piano, accordion, pipe organ, a small ensemble, or an orchestra. (Full article...)
Various recorders (second from the bottom disassembled into its three parts)
The recorder is a family of woodwindmusical instruments in the group known as internal duct flutes: flutes with a whistle mouthpiece, also known as fipple flutes. A recorder can be distinguished from other duct flutes by the presence of a thumb-hole for the upper hand and seven finger-holes: three for the upper hand and four for the lower. It is the most prominent duct flute in the western classical tradition.
Recorders are made in various sizes with names and compasses roughly corresponding to various vocal ranges. The sizes most commonly in use today are the soprano (also known as descant, lowest note C5), alto (also known as treble, lowest note F4), tenor (lowest note C4), and bass (lowest note F3). Recorders were traditionally constructed from wood or ivory. Modern professional instruments are almost invariably of wood, often boxwood; student and scholastic recorders are commonly of moulded plastic. The recorders' internal and external proportions vary, but the bore is generally reverse conical (i.e. tapering towards the foot) to cylindrical, and all recorder fingering systems make extensive use of forked fingerings. (Full article...)
A libretto (an English word derived from the Italian word libretto, lit.'booklet') is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical. The term libretto is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as the Mass, requiem and sacred cantata, or the story line of a ballet.
The Italian word libretto (pronounced [liˈbretto], plurallibretti[liˈbretti]) is the diminutive of the word libro ("book"). Sometimes other-language equivalents are used for libretti in that language, livret for French works, Textbuch for German and libreto for Spanish. A libretto is distinct from a synopsis or scenario of the plot, in that the libretto contains all the words and stage directions, while a synopsis summarizes the plot. Some ballet historians also use the word libretto to refer to the 15- to 40-page books which were on sale to 19th century ballet audiences in Paris and contained a very detailed description of the ballet's story, scene by scene. (Full article...)
The flute is a member of a family of musical instruments in the woodwind group. Like all woodwinds, flutes are aerophones, producing sound with a vibrating column of air. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute produces sound when the player's air flows across an opening. In the Hornbostel–Sachs classification system, flutes are edge-blown aerophones. A musician who plays the flute is called a flautist or flutist.
Paleolithic flutes with hand-bored holes are the earliest known identifiable musical instruments. A number of flutes dating to about 53,000 to 45,000 years ago have been found in the Swabian Jura region of present-day Germany, indicating a developed musical tradition from the earliest period of modern human presence in Europe. While the oldest flutes currently known were found in Europe, Asia also has a long history with the instrument. A playable bone flute discovered in China is dated to approximately 9000 years ago. The Americas also had an ancient flute culture, with instruments found in Caral, Peru, dating back 5000 years and in Labrador dating back approximately 7500 years. (Full article...)
Aaron Copland (/ˈkoʊplənd/, KOHP-lənd; November 14, 1900 – December 2, 1990) was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later a conductor of his own and other American music. Copland was referred to by his peers and critics as the "Dean of American Composers". The open, slowly changing harmonies in much of his music are typical of what many people consider to be the sound of American music, evoking the vast American landscape and pioneer spirit. He is best known for the works he wrote in the 1930s and 1940s in a deliberately accessible style often referred to as "populist" and which the composer labeled his "vernacular" style. Works in this vein include the ballets Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid and Rodeo, his Fanfare for the Common Man and Third Symphony. In addition to his ballets and orchestral works, he produced music in many other genres, including chamber music, vocal works, opera and film scores.
After some initial studies with composer Rubin Goldmark, Copland traveled to Paris, where he first studied with Isidor Philipp and Paul Vidal, then with noted pedagogueNadia Boulanger. He studied three years with Boulanger, whose eclectic approach to music inspired his own broad taste. Determined upon his return to the U.S. to make his way as a full-time composer, Copland gave lecture-recitals, wrote works on commission and did some teaching and writing. However, he found that composing orchestral music in the modernist style, which he had adopted while studying abroad, was a financially contradictory approach, particularly in light of the Great Depression. He shifted in the mid-1930s to a more accessible musical style which mirrored the German idea of Gebrauchsmusik ("music for use"), music that could serve utilitarian and artistic purposes. During the Depression years, he traveled extensively to Europe, Africa, and Mexico, formed an important friendship with Mexican composer Carlos Chávez and began composing his signature works. (Full article...)
Giacomo Puccini (22 December 1858 – 29 November 1924) was an Italian composer known primarily for his operas. Regarded as the greatest and most successful proponent of Italian opera after Verdi, he was descended from a long line of composers, stemming from the late-Baroque era. Though his early work was firmly rooted in traditional late-19th-century Romantic Italian opera, he later developed his work in the realistic verismo style, of which he became one of the leading exponents.
Image 7A modern string quartet. In the 2000s, string quartets from the Classical era are the core of the chamber music literature. From left to right: violin 1, violin 2, cello, viola (from Classical period (music))
Image 14Portion of Du Fay's setting of Ave maris stella, in fauxbourdon. The top line is a paraphrase of the chant; the middle line, designated "fauxbourdon", (not written) follows the top line but exactly a perfect fourth below. The bottom line is often, but not always, a sixth below the top line; it is embellished, and reaches cadences on the octave.Play (from Renaissance music)
Image 23Individual sheet music for a seventeenth-century harp. (from Baroque music)
Image 24Musicians from 'Procession in honour of Our Lady of Sablon in Brussels.' Early 17th-century Flemish alta cappella. From left to right: bass dulcian, alto shawm, treble cornett, soprano shawm, alto shawm, tenor sackbut. (from Renaissance music)
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Gustav Mahler (German: [ˈɡʊstaf ˈmaːlɐ]; 7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911) was an Austro-Bohemian Romantic composer, and one of the leading conductors of his generation. As a composer he acted as a bridge between the 19th-century Austro-German tradition and the modernism of the early 20th century. While in his lifetime his status as a conductor was established beyond question, his own music gained wide popularity only after periods of relative neglect, which included a ban on its performance in much of Europe during the Nazi era. After 1945 his compositions were rediscovered by a new generation of listeners; Mahler then became one of the most frequently performed and recorded of all composers, a position he has sustained into the 21st century.
Guto Pryderi Puw (born 1971) is a Welsh composer, university lecturer and conductor. He is considered to be one of the most prominent Welsh composers of his generation and a key figure in current Welsh music. Puw's music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and been featured on television programmes for the BBC and S4C. He has twice been awarded the Composer's Medal at the National Eisteddfod.
Puw's works include pieces for unusual combinations of instruments, such as a tuba quartet or a trio consisting of harp, cello and double-bass, as well as more traditional forces such as solo baritone and piano, choir or orchestra. He was associated with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales as its Resident Composer, the first holder of this title, from 2006 to 2010. Puw's own Welsh identity is a recurrent theme in his music: some of his pieces set Welsh-language poetry to music and one of his pieces, Reservoirs, is written about the flooding of Welsh valleys to provide water for England. (Full article...)
Sir William Sterndale Bennett (13 April 1816 – 1 February 1875) was an English composer, pianist, conductor and music educator. At the age of ten Bennett was admitted to the London Royal Academy of Music (RAM), where he remained for ten years. By the age of twenty, he had begun to make a reputation as a concert pianist, and his compositions received high praise. Among those impressed by Bennett was the German composer Felix Mendelssohn, who invited him to Leipzig. There Bennett became friendly with Robert Schumann, who shared Mendelssohn's admiration for his compositions. Bennett spent three winters composing and performing in Leipzig.
In 1837 Bennett began to teach at the RAM, with which he was associated for most of the rest of his life. For twenty years he taught there, later also teaching at Queen's College, London. Among his pupils during this period were Arthur Sullivan, Hubert Parry, and Tobias Matthay. Throughout the 1840s and 1850s he composed little, although he performed as a pianist and directed the Philharmonic Society for ten years. He also actively promoted concerts of chamber music. From 1848 onward, his career was punctuated by antagonism between himself and the conductor Michael Costa. (Full article...)
Khosrovidukht (Armenian: Խոսրովիդուխտ, lit.'daughter of Khosrov'; fl. early 8th century AD) was an Armenian hymnographer and poet who lived during the early 8th century. After her slightly earlier contemporary Sahakdukht, she is the first known woman of Armenian literature and music, and among the earliest woman composers in the history of music. Daughter of the king of Goghtn, Khosrov Goghtnatsi [hy], her father was killed and she was imprisoned in a fortress of Ani-Kamakh (modern-day Kemah) for twenty years. Her brother was imprisoned and eventually killed; Khosrovidukht's only surviving work, the šarakan "Zarmanali e Ints" ("More astonishing to me") was dedicated to him. Its authenticity has occasionally been doubted, with some scholars attributing it to Sahakdukht. The work did not enter the general repertory of šarakan liturgy but was eventually approved by the Armenian Church for religious use. (Full article...)
Leonard Joseph Tristano (March 19, 1919 – November 18, 1978) was an American jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and teacher of jazz improvisation.
Tristano studied for bachelor's and master's degrees in music in Chicago before moving to New York City in 1946. He played with leading bebop musicians and formed his own small bands, which soon displayed some of his early interests – contrapuntal interaction of instruments, harmonic flexibility, and rhythmic complexity. His quintet in 1949 recorded the first free group improvisations. Tristano's innovations continued in 1951, with the first overdubbed, improvised jazz recordings, and two years later, when he recorded an atonal improvised solo piano piece that was based on the development of motifs rather than on harmonies. He developed further via polyrhythms and chromaticism into the 1960s, but was infrequently recorded. (Full article...)
Georges Bizet (néAlexandre César Léopold Bizet; 25 October 1838 – 3 June 1875) was a French composer of the Romantic era. Best known for his operas in a career cut short by his early death, Bizet achieved few successes before his final work, Carmen, which has become one of the most popular and frequently performed works in the entire opera repertoire.
During a brilliant student career at the Conservatoire de Paris, Bizet won many prizes, including the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1857. He was recognised as an outstanding pianist, though he chose not to capitalise on this skill and rarely performed in public. Returning to Paris after almost three years in Italy, he found that the main Parisian opera theatres preferred the established classical repertoire to the works of newcomers. His keyboard and orchestral compositions were likewise largely ignored; as a result, his career stalled, and he earned his living mainly by arranging and transcribing the music of others. Restless for success, he began many theatrical projects during the 1860s, most of which were abandoned. Neither of his two operas that reached the stage in this time—Les pêcheurs de perles and La jolie fille de Perth—were immediately successful. (Full article...)
Imogen Clare HolstCBE (néevon Holst; 12 April 1907 – 9 March 1984) was a British composer, arranger, conductor, teacher, musicologist, and festival administrator. The only child of the composer Gustav Holst, she is particularly known for her educational work at Dartington Hall in the 1940s, and for her 20 years as joint artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival. In addition to composing music, she wrote composer biographies, much educational material, and several books on the life and works of her father.
From a young age, Holst showed precocious talent in composing and performance. After attending Eothen School and St Paul's Girls' School, she entered the Royal College of Music, where she developed her skills as a conductor and won several prizes for composing. Unable to follow her initial ambitions to be a pianist or a dancer due to health reasons, Holst spent most of the 1930s teaching, and as a full-time organiser for the English Folk Dance and Song Society. These duties reduced her compositional activities, although she made many arrangements of folksongs. After serving as an organiser for the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts at the start of the Second World War, in 1942 she began working at Dartington. In her nine years there she established Dartington as a major centre of music education and activity. (Full article...)
Sahakdukht (Armenian: Սահակադուխտ, lit.'daughter of Sahak'; fl. early 8th century) was an Armenian hymnographer, poet and pedagogue who lived during the early 8th century. She is the first known woman of Armenian literature and music. Along with her slightly later contemporary Khosrovidukht, she is among the earliest woman composers in history. Sahakdukht and her brother Stepanos Siunetsi [hy], who became a noted composer and music theorist, were educated in Dvin. She then spent her life as an ascetic, living in a cave (a grotto) of the Garni valley where she wrote and taught music. Though she is said to have written much Christian music, particularly for the Virgin Mary, only a single šarakan survives, the acrostic "Srbuhi Mariam" ("Saint Mary"). The work shows considerable stylistic connections to contemporaneous Byzantine theotokions and kanons. Though her piece did not join the general šarakan liturgy, Sahakdukht's oeuvre as a whole is thought to have exerted considerable influence on subsequent šarakans; they introduced certain phrases into popular use and according to ethnomusicologist Şahan Arzruni they "helped to shape the development of the genre during subsequent centuries". (Full article...)
Although Elgar is often regarded as a typically English composer, most of his musical influences were not from England but from continental Europe. He felt himself to be an outsider, not only musically, but socially. In musical circles dominated by academics, he was a self-taught composer; in Protestant Britain, his Roman Catholicism was regarded with suspicion in some quarters; and in the class-conscious society of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, he was acutely sensitive about his humble origins even after he achieved recognition. He nevertheless married the daughter of a senior British Army officer. She inspired him both musically and socially, but he struggled to achieve success until his forties, when after a series of moderately successful works his Enigma Variations (1899) became immediately popular in Britain and overseas. He followed the Variations with a choral work, The Dream of Gerontius (1900), based on a Roman Catholic text that caused some disquiet in the Anglican establishment in Britain, but it became, and has remained, a core repertory work in Britain and elsewhere. His later full-length religious choral works were well received but have not entered the regular repertory. (Full article...)
Born in Oldham, Lancashire, the son of a musician, Walton was a chorister and then an undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford. On leaving the university, he was taken up by the literary Sitwell siblings, who provided him with a home and a cultural education. His earliest work of note was a collaboration with Edith Sitwell, Façade, which at first brought him notoriety as a modernist, but later became a popular ballet score. (Full article...)
Mitsuda in 2019
Yasunori Mitsuda (光田 康典, Mitsuda Yasunori, born January 21, 1972) is a Japanese composer and musician. He is best known for his work in video games, primarily for the Chrono, Xeno, Shadow Hearts, and Inazuma Eleven franchises, among various others. Mitsuda began composing music for his own games in high school, later attending a music college in Tokyo. While still a student, he was granted an intern position at the game development studio Wolf Team.
Mitsuda joined Square upon graduation in 1992 and worked there as a sound effects designer for two years before telling Square's vice president Hironobu Sakaguchi he would quit unless he could write music for their games. Shortly after, Sakaguchi assigned him to work on the soundtrack for Chrono Trigger (1995), whose music has since been cited as among the best in video games. (Full article...)
Jane Marian Joseph (31 May 1894 – 9 March 1929) was an English composer, arranger and music teacher. She was a pupil and later associate of the composer Gustav Holst, and was instrumental in the organisation and management of various of the music festivals which Holst sponsored. Many of her works were composed for performance at these festivals and similar occasions. Her early death at age 35, which prevented the full realisation of her talents, was considered by her contemporaries as a considerable loss to English music.
Holst first observed Joseph's potential when he was teaching her composition at St Paul's Girls' School. She began to act as his amanuensis in 1914, when he was composing The Planets, her special responsibility being the preparation of the score for the "Neptune" movement. She continued to assist Holst with transcriptions, arrangements and translations, and was his librettist for the choral ballet The Golden Goose. (Full article...)
Saint-Saëns was a musical prodigy; he made his concert debut at the age of ten. After studying at the Paris Conservatoire he followed a conventional career as a church organist, first at Saint-Merri, Paris and, from 1858, La Madeleine, the official church of the French Empire. After leaving the post twenty years later, he was a successful freelance pianist and composer, in demand in Europe and the Americas. (Full article...)
Kuchipudi is a Classical Indian dance from Andhra Pradesh, India. According to legend, an orphan named Siddhendra Yogi established the Kuchipudi dance-drama tradition in the seventh century. The performance usually begins with stage rites, after which each character comes onto the stage and introduces herself with a small composition of both song and dance. The drama then begins, and the dance is typically accompanied by Carnatic music.
Jules Massenet (12 May 1842 – 13 August 1912) was a French composer of the Romantic era, best known for his operas. Between 1867 and his death, he wrote more than forty stage works in a wide variety of styles, from opéra comique to grand depictions of classical myths, romantic comedies and lyric dramas, as well as oratorios, cantatas and ballets. Massenet had a good sense of the theatre and of what would succeed with the Parisian public. Despite some miscalculations, he produced a series of successes that made him the leading opera composer in France in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. By the time of his death, he was regarded as old-fashioned; his works, however, began to be favourably reassessed during the mid-20th century, and many have since been staged and recorded. This photograph of Massenet was taken by French photographer Eugène Pirou in 1875.
Billy Strayhorn (November 29, 1915 – May 31, 1967) was an American jazz composer, pianist, lyricist, and arranger, best remembered for his long-time collaboration with bandleader and composer Duke Ellington that lasted nearly three decades. Though classical music was Strayhorn's first love, his ambition to become a classical composer went unrealized because of the harsh reality of a black man trying to make his way in the world of classical music, which at that time was almost completely white. He was introduced to the music of pianists like Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson at age 19, and the artistic influence of these musicians guided him into the realm of jazz, where he remained for the rest of his life. This photograph of Strayhorn was taken by William P. Gottlieb in the 1940s.
Johann Christian Bach (5 September 1735 – 1 January 1782) was a composer of the Classical era, the eighteenth child of Johann Sebastian Bach, and the youngest of his eleven sons. Bach was taught by his father and then, after the latter's death, by his half-brother C. P. E. Bach. Bach moved to Italy in 1754, and then to London in 1762, where he became known as the "London Bach". Bach's compositions include eleven operas, as well as chamber music, orchestral music and compositions for keyboard music. In 1764 Bach met Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was eight at the time, and spent five months teaching him composition. He had considerable influence on Mozart, and was later described by scholars as his "only, true teacher".
The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall, seating a maximum of 5,272, on the northern edge of South Kensington, London. Constructed beginning in 1867, the hall was inaugurated on 29 March 1871. Since 1941 it has held The Proms, an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events.
The anatomy of a Périnet piston valve, this one taken from a B♭trumpet. When depressed, the valve diverts the air stream through additional tubing, thus lengthening the instrument and lowering the harmonic series on which the instrument is vibrating (i.e., it lowers the pitch). Trumpets generally use three valves, with some variations, such as a piccolo trumpet, having four. When used singly or in combination, the valves make the instrument fully chromatic, or capable of playing all twelve pitches of classical music. Trumpets may also use rotary valves instead.