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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 7

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2014-09-26 16:08:20 (7 comments, 1 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the American composer George Gershwin (26 September 1898–11 July 1937).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Rhapsody+In+Blue+Original+Version+Using+1925+Piano+Roll/1VTMBI?src=5

Gershwin was incredibly successful as a popular music composer, but he really wanted to be taken seriously as a classical composer. So when the American band leader Paul Whiteman asked Gershwin to write a concerto piece for a jazz concert he was planning in February 1924, Gershwin jumped at the chance. The result, Rhapsody in Blue (which had a mixed reception), has become one of the most well-loved works in the mainstream repertoire.

Leonard Bernstein once said of this one-movement work that it wasn't really a proper composition; he felt that it was "a string of separate paragraphs stuck together." (As it happens, people didn't have much nice to saya... more »

Most reshares: 1

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2015-01-16 15:44:47 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the Kazakhstani climber Anatolij Nikolaevich Bukreev (16 January 1958–25 December 1997).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Piano+Sonata+In+B+Minor+S+…/2yjS22…

Bukreev made 18 successful ascents on peaks above 8000 meters. He died in an avalanche on Annapurna. He was the lead climbing guide for Scott Fischer's ill-fated Mountain Madness Everest expedition in May 1996. He saved three of Fischer's clients, and this was said about Bukreev not long after: "One of the most amazing rescues in mountaineering history performed single-handedly a few hours after climbing Everest without oxygen by a man some describe as the Leonidas of Himalayan climbing."

Franz Liszt's B Minor Sonata is widely considered to be the Mount Everest of the Romantic piano repertoire. This work is acknowledged to be the crowning achievement ofLiszt... more »

Most plusones: 13

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2014-12-02 22:57:46 (6 comments, 1 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

The Daily Classical Music Post will return in 2015! If there's any music that you'd like to hear/learn about, comment on this post!

Latest 50 posts

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2015-03-16 15:01:21 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Something new from the folks at Niantic! #AncSoc  

Something new from the folks at Niantic! #AncSoc  ___

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2015-01-29 16:09:28 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Delius's On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the English composer Frederick Delius (29 January 1862–10 June 1934).

http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Delius+On+Hearing+The+First+Cuckoo+In+Spring/2FokDh?src=5

Delius first became interested in composition when he was sent to manage an orange plantation in Florida; he was influenced by African American melodies that he heard there. He then went to Germany to study composition formally, and finally ended up in Paris, where he lived for most of the rest of his life.

Delius's orchestration is chromatically harmonic (there's a great musical expression for you!); basically, what this means is that he moves in and out of recognizable keys, keeping the melodic structure, but he does not keep to any one key within a composition. He has not been as popular as he should be; like many English composers of his time, he has been largely forgotten. But there is the Delius Society, formed to promote his music, and they give a prize every year to a young musician.

On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring is a tone poem that Delius composed in 1912, as a companion piece to Summer Night on the River. Both of these works are meant to have been written at the urging of Percy Grainger. Eric Fenby, Delius’s assistant, wrote in his memoir, Delius As I Knew Him:

"I played on until tea-time, and, when Mrs. Delius suggested that instead of reading aloud to him Delius might care to hear a gramophone record, I thrilled with expectancy, for it is always a fascinating thing to observe the effect of a man’s music on himself. He chose Sir Thomas Beecham’s beautiful record of his On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, and, sitting there opposite him in the quiet of that great room, with no fidgeting neighbours or disturbing faces to distract, one touched the very heart of Music in those exquisite opening bars. Never had the sound of strings nor [Léon] Goossens’ oboe-playing seemed so magical! A curious other-worldliness possessed him. With his head thrown back, and swaying slightly to the rhythm, he seemed to be seeing with those now wide-open yet unseeing eyes, and his spirit ebbed and flowed with the rise and fall of his music. . . . The pause at the turning of the disc did not disturb his rapture, and this going-out of himself through the noble love of music continued until after the lovely sounds of that final and singularly beautiful cadence had died away."

My classical music post for today is Delius's On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring.___My classical music post for today is Delius's On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring.

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2015-01-28 15:26:35 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is part of the second movement of Frederik Magle's Symphonic LEGO Fantasia.

At 1:58 p.m. on 28 January 1958, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen filed a patent for one of the greatest inventions ever, LEGO.

http://www.magle.dk/audio/Fantasy-excerpt.mp3

In 1995, the Danish composer Frederik Magle (born 1977) was commissioned by the LEGO Group to write a work for orchestra. The result, Symphonic LEGO Fantasia for piano and orchestra, was first performed in 1997 (with Magle at the piano) by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. This is not an easy piece to track down; all I can find is excerpts and mentions. I'd love to hear the whole work!

My classical music post for today is part of the second movement of Frederik Magle's Symphonic LEGO Fantasia.___My classical music post for today is part of the second movement of Frederik Magle's Symphonic LEGO Fantasia.

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2015-01-24 17:25:03 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Dello Joio's Variations and Capriccio for violin and piano.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the American composer Norman Dello Joio (24 January 1913–24 July 2008).

http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Variations+And+Capriccio+I+Theme+And+Variations/2R45PL?src=5

Dello Joio is considered to be one of the most important American composers of the 20th century. He wrote in a variety of genres, but his choral music is perhaps best known. He also was Dean of Boston University's School For the Arts when I was there, so I knew him!

Dello Joio won the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for Music for Meditations on Ecclesiastes He liked mixing Gregorian chant with jazz in some pieces, and somehow he made it work. He really enjoyed writing variations.

My classical music post for today is his Variations and Capriccio for violin and piano, written in 1949.___My classical music post for today is Dello Joio's Variations and Capriccio for violin and piano.

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2015-01-23 15:16:24 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is "Les tringles des sistres tintaient" from Carmen.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest artists of all time, the French early modern painter Édouard Manet (23 January 1832–30 April 1883).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Les+Tringles+Des+Sistres+Tintaient/gJSdz?src=5

Manet's early works were extremely controversial; he is seen as the bridge between the Romantic and Impressionist eras. He often used Renaissance works as source material, but he brought a whole new language to art. He was great friends with many artists and musicians of his time. One of his friends was the composer and cellist Jacques Offenbach, whom Manet depicted in one of his early paintings, Music in the Tuileries (other friends seen in this painting include Charles Baudelaire, Théophile Gautier, Henri Fantin-Latour, and Manet's brother Eugène).

In September 1879, Manet moved to Bellevue, a suburb of Paris, to undergo treatments for a leg ailment. It was there that he met the opera singer Emilie Ambre, who had just accepted the title role in George Bizet's opéra comique Carmen. Manet decided to paint Ambre's portrait as Carmen at the moment that she is singing the "Bohemian Song" "Les tringles des sistres tintaient." This is at the beginning of Act 2; gypsy girls are dancing in a tavern for the patrons, and all of a sudden Carmen starts singing. This was a big change in opera. Before this, the second act usually was preceded by a gentle, tradition ballet entr'acte. Instead, in this opera, audiences were presented with a sensuous dance and a sensuous aria. For this as well as for other reasons, Carmen was seen as a scandalous opera. Bizet was subjected to the same types of criticism as Manet: charges of realism, naturalism, and immorality were flung at both men in their lifetimes.

My classical music post for today is "Les tringles des sistres tintaient" from Carmen.___My classical music post for today is "Les tringles des sistres tintaient" from Carmen.

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2015-01-22 14:59:26 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is the first movement of Berlioz's Harold en Italie.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the British Romantic poet Lord Byron (22 January 1788–19 April 1824).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Harold+In+Italy+Mvt+1/4UFCdN?src=5

Byron is considered to be one of the greatest British poets who ever lived. In his lifetime, he was known as much for his personal beauty and for his excesses -- debts, love affairs, and the like -- as for his poems including She Walks in Beauty, When We Two Parted, So, we'll go no more a roving, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, and Don Juan. Lady Caroline Lamb described him as "mad, bad and dangerous to know." The Greeks consider him to be a national hero because he fought with them in the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire. In 1824, while planning an attack on a Turkish fortress, Byron developed a violent fever (probably as a result of poor medical treatment for a cold) and died suddenly.

The Byronic hero, a person with an idealized but flawed character, is a major figure in many of his works, and it is probable that this hero is autobiographical in many respects. Many of Byron's works have been the inspiration for music and literary works.

One of my favourite of these is Hector Berlioz's Harold en Italie, a symphony in four movements for viola and orchestra composed in 1834. This work is based on Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. The great violinist and violist Niccolò Paganini asked Berlioz to write a work for solo viola. When Harold en Italie was completed, Paganini was disappointed, as the viola did not play continuously. I think it makes for a much better work with the orchestra and viola almost in conversation throughout.

My classical music post for today is the first movement, "Harold aux montagnes," in which Harold, represented by the viola, encounters various scenes in the mountains.___My classical music post for today is the first movement of Berlioz's Harold en Italie.

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2015-01-21 17:01:21 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is "La Ra La..." from Salieri's comic opera La grotta di Trofonio (Trofonio's Cave).

Today is the anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest actors of the 20th century, Paul Scofield (21 January 1922–19 March 2008).

http://grooveshark.com/s/La+Ra+La/2jomNa?src=5

Scofield was best known for his award-winning role as Sir Thomas More on both stage and screen. He brought so much to every role he took on, whether on the stage or in a film. I particularly enjoyed his Mark Van Doren in Quiz Show.

I was particularly lucky to see him as Antonio Salieri in the original London production of Amadeus (so vastly superior to the film version that I can't even bear to compare the two). The playwright Peter Shaffer based his Amadeus on a play by Alexander Pushkin, Mozart and Salieri. (Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov wrote an opera based on Pushkin's play.) Although historically there may have been rivalry between Mozart and Salieri, there is plenty of evidence that they actually respected each other. They even composed a cantata for voice and piano together, Per la ricuperata salute di Ophelia. Unfortunately, the music for that is lost.

Salieri (1750–1825) was a Viennese composer who spent most of his professional life in Austria. He was the Austrian imperial Kapellmeister from 1788 to 1824. His music fell out of favor in the early 19th century, but interest in his works was revived by Shaffer's play. There is even a Salieri Opera Festival in Italy every year, dedicated to performing his music.

My classical music post for today is "La Ra La..." from Salieri's comic opera La grotta di Trofonio (Trofonio's Cave). This opera was a great success in Salieri's day.

(By the way, I'd like to wish Placido Domingo [born 1941] a very happy birthday today. If only I could have found a recording of him singing some Salieri!)___My classical music post for today is "La Ra La..." from Salieri's comic opera La grotta di Trofonio (Trofonio's Cave).

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2015-01-17 16:39:45 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Stanley's Trumpet Voluntary for trumpet and strings.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the English composer and organist John Stanley (17 January 1712–19 May 1786).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Trumpet+Voluntary+John+Stanley/3oYegQ?src=5

When Stanley was two years old, he had an accident that left him almost completely blind. He had an amazing memory: if he had to accompany a new oratorio he would ask his sister-in-law to play it through just once and he would then be able to play it without any trouble at all.

Stanley is best known for his trumpet voluntaries. These are pieces written for the organ, using the trumpet stop, hence the name. Many trumpet voluntaries by Stanley and other Baroque composers have been arranged for trumpet and string orchestra.

My classical music post for today is Stanley's Trumpet Voluntary for trumpet and strings.___My classical music post for today is Stanley's Trumpet Voluntary for trumpet and strings.

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2015-01-16 15:44:47 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Liszt's B Minor Sonata.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the Kazakhstani climber Anatolij Nikolaevich Bukreev (16 January 1958–25 December 1997).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Piano+Sonata+In+B+Minor+S+…/2yjS22…

Bukreev made 18 successful ascents on peaks above 8000 meters. He died in an avalanche on Annapurna. He was the lead climbing guide for Scott Fischer's ill-fated Mountain Madness Everest expedition in May 1996. He saved three of Fischer's clients, and this was said about Bukreev not long after: "One of the most amazing rescues in mountaineering history performed single-handedly a few hours after climbing Everest without oxygen by a man some describe as the Leonidas of Himalayan climbing."

Franz Liszt's B Minor Sonata is widely considered to be the Mount Everest of the Romantic piano repertoire. This work is acknowledged to be the crowning achievement of Liszt’s solo piano output. Many in the classical music work would consider this work to be the summit of the entire Romantic era of piano composition.

Ted Libbey says, " . . . the work is a single-movement sonata lasting half an hour, with an exposition in three broad key areas: a development, a recapitulation and a coda. But it can also be perceived as a four-movement symphonic structure, with the standard features of an opening allegro, an andante, a scherzo (in the form of a fugue) and a finale. To make both of these schemes work, Liszt relies on the technique of thematic transformation upon which so much of his music is based, developing the work's entire thematic material from a constellation of cells presented in the opening measures. In the foreground at any given time, there is great diversity of texture and character—enough for a true multi-movement work—but in the background, there is tremendous unity."

Liszt once said, "My sole ambition as a composer is to hurl my javelin into the infinite space of the future." The B Minor Sonata is a perfect example of this.

My classical music post for today is Liszt's B Minor Sonata.___My classical music post for today is Liszt's B Minor Sonata.

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2015-01-13 16:08:12 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is the first movement of Stephen Albert's Symphony RiverRun, "Rain Music."

"riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs."

http://grooveshark.com/s/Symphony+No+1+Riverrun/4s2PbS?src=5

Today is the anniversary of the death of the Irish novelist and poet James Joyce (2 February 1882–13 January 1941). The lines above are from Finnegans Wake, his comic work considered to be one of the most difficult works of fiction ever published in the English language. Joyce employed stream of consciousness, literary allusions, free dream association, and many other techniques in Finnegans Wake. I have read it, but I am led to believe that I am in a minority. Just don't ask me to explain it to you.

The American composer Stephen Albert (1941–1992) composed his first symphony, Symphony RiverRun, in 1983. The composer said about this work:

"The Symphony RiverRun is one of two works begun at roughly the same time [early 1983]. The other work, TreeStone, is a song cycle based on selected passages from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, the text of which forms a wildly distorted version of the Tristan and Isolde story, and is scored for soprano, tenor, and twelve instrumentalists. Both works were completed together, and they share the same musical materials. (I actually worked on the two compositions in constant alternation, though the materials common to both were put into TreeStone first.) They differ in the number and ordering of their movements, as well as their formal architecture and instrumentation. . . . The symphony and its four movements carry descriptive titles, not because the work is specifically programmatic, but in order to suggest its broad kinship to the song cycle (in which Ireland's Liffey River plays such a dominant role), and also to acknowledge the importance that Joyce's atmosphere in the TreeStone text had on my frame of mind. I did not do my composing to a specific programmatic outline; the titles of the symphony's four movements were affixed only after each of the respective movements was completed. The title I gave to the work as a whole, RiverRun, is in fact the very first word of the first sentence of Finnegans Wake."

According to the liner notes (by Richard Freed) for one recording of this work, "The opening movement, 'Rain Music,' conveys the origins of a river. After the sharply accented chords of the movement's introduction, the music becomes quieter, suggesting an atmosphere of expectancy. The momentum of the movement gathers speed and power, finally ending with a return to the movement's opening chords, now climactically pitted against a repetition by the brass, bells, piano and harps of melodic fragments heard earlier in the movement."

This symphony is a marvelous piece; had Albert not died tragically in a car crash at the age of 51, he would have continued to compose interesting and exciting music, I am sure.

My classical music post for today is the first movement of Albert's Symphony RiverRun, "Rain Music."___My classical music post for today is the first movement of Stephen Albert's Symphony RiverRun, "Rain Music."

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2015-01-10 15:09:14 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Charles Ives' The White Gulls.

On 10 January 1920, through the Treaty of Versailles, the League of Nations came into existence.

http://grooveshark.com/s/The+White+Gulls/4nrhTz?src=5

Fifty nations entered into this covenant, through which it was hoped that war would be avoided. The U.S. president at the time, Woodrow Wilson, felt that the League was a vital organization and made it one of his Fourteen Points for Peace. The United States never joined the League of Nations, however, and it was dissolved on 18 April 1946. The main U.S. objection to the League was Article X: "The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League. In the case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled."

In 1921, the American composer Charles Ives (1874–1954) wrote one of his most depressing and beautiful songs, The White Gulls S. 391. Ives was a strong supporter of world government—he called his idea the People's World Nation—and he was absolutely devastated by the failure of the United States to join the League. He wrote The White Gulls, with a translation of a Russian text, as a response. According to the All Music Guide, "The song is slow, dark-toned, and ominous. Its chords mostly lie below the middle of the treble clef; that is in the octave just above middle C and lower. For the most part the chords are complex and chromatic. The only consistent high notes are a plaintive slow figure that sketches a chord in fifths: F, G (a ninth higher), and down to C."

Text by Maurice Morris, from the Russian 
Music by Charles Edward Ives, 1921

The white gulls dip and wheel
Over waters gray like steel.
The white gulls call and cry
As they spread their wings and fly.
The white gulls sink to rest
On the tides slow heaving breast.
Souls of men that turn and wheel
Over waters cold as steel.
Souls of men that call and cry
As they know not where to fly.
Souls of men that sink to rest
On an all receiving breast.

My classical music post for today is Charles Ives' The White Gulls.___My classical music post for today is Charles Ives' The White Gulls.

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2015-01-08 15:44:19 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Blades of Grass by Romeo Cascarino.

Today is the anniversary of the death of the American composer Romeo Cascarino (22 September 1922–8 January 2002).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Blades+Of+Grass/4Pyzs3?src=5

Every once in a while, I come across a composer who was virtually unknown in their lifetime but who should have been recognized and celebrated by a wider audience. Cascarino is one of those very special composers.

Cascarino composed a number of works, including a grand opera, William Penn. He won awards for his compositions, including two Guggenheim Fellowships and the Orpheus Award. He spent his life teaching music theory and composition at a small college in Pennsylvania. 

He grew up in a tough neighborhood in South Philadelphia; according to his obituary, he once said, "With a name like Romeo, a guy writing classical music on the piano, I had to learn to defend myself."

Cascarino wrote Blades of Grass in 1945 for English horn and orchestra. This is an absolutely glorious work, almost unbearably beautiful. I'm not really up on the entire cor anglais repertoire, but it seems to me that this should be at the top of any performer's list.

Blades of Grass was written while Cascarino was in the US Army (in the photo, he is on the right). The basic inspiration was Carl Sandburg's poem Grass, a meditation on death in war:

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work--
          I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and the passengers ask the conductor:
          What place is this?
          Where are we now?

          I am the grass.
          Let me work.

Bassoonists rate Cascarino's Sonata for Bassoon and Piano very highly. It was written for his World War II army pal Sol Schoenbach, a Philadelphia Orchestra bassoonist (he's the guy on the left in the photo).

Cascarino once said, "A composer speaks through music; words, however eloquent, immediately limit true meaning and understanding." He certainly speaks to me through his music. Cascarino loved the soaring melodies of Puccini, Wagner, Ravel, and other composers; he often was heard to say after a performance of atonal or "academic" new music, "If they could write a melody, they would write a melody." Well, he certainly could write a melody.

My classical music post for today is Blades of Grass by Romeo Cascarino.___My classical music post for today is Blades of Grass by Romeo Cascarino.

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2015-01-07 14:17:43 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

The +Daily Classical Music Post is back -- nearly! I will share some old posts for the next couple of weeks while I gear up for some new ones!

Daily Classical Music Post

Who knew that Francis Poulenc (1899–30 January 1963), Jean-Pierre Rampal (1922–20 May 2000), Butterffly McQueen (1911–22 December 1995), and Charles Addams (1912–29 September 1988) all shared the same birthday, 7 January? Oh, and Millard Fillmore (1800–8 March 1874), too, but that's another story. Another 7 January baby was one of my favourite writers, Gerald Durrell (1925–30 January 1995 [same death date as Poulenc, too]). It was so hard to choose who to honour today.

Well, actually it wasn't. I am a professional flutist, so it had to be Rampal. I can remember seeing him perform live when I was growing up; he was awe-inspiring. His tone just spun out of the flute and into the air . . . it was beautiful.

You can get two for the price of one today! My classical music post for today is Rampal playing the first movement (Allegretto malincolico) of Poulenc's Sonata for Flute and Piano. In fact, Poulenc composed this for Rampal, and he and Rampal gave the première in June 1957.

According to Rampal's autobiography, Poulenc telephoned him to tell him that he was going to write the flute sonata: "Jean-Pierre," said Poulenc: "you know you've always wanted me to write a sonata for flute and piano? Well, I'm going to,' he said. 'And the best thing is that the Americans will pay for it! I've been commissioned by the Coolidge Foundation to write a chamber piece in memory of Elizabeth Coolidge. I never knew her, so I think the piece is yours."

http://grooveshark.com/s/Poulenc+Sonata+I+Allegro+Malincolico/2VyBUP?src=5___The +Daily Classical Music Post is back -- nearly! I will share some old posts for the next couple of weeks while I gear up for some new ones!

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2014-12-02 22:57:46 (6 comments, 1 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

What would you like to hear?

The Daily Classical Music Post will return in 2015! If there's any music that you'd like to hear/learn about, comment on this post!___What would you like to hear?

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2014-11-30 05:16:28 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

Have you made your wishlist?

How does this whole thing work? Start by making your wishlist!

Participating in Secret Santa is really, really easy. While we work on tidying up some wires behind the scenes making the #SecretSanta  experience even easier, today we'll let you know how the whole thing works!

1) Make your wishlist at Amazon. This is how people will choose what gifts to get you. You make your wishlist at http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist

2) Soon, we'll announce where you submit your wishlist.

3) Browse and gift! It's incredibly simple. On the #GPlusSanta  site, you'll be able to browse wishlists and see why your friends or followers need some extra love this season. Additionally, you can search Google+ with the hashtag #SantaGift  

Stay tuned for more details in the coming days.___Have you made your wishlist?

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2014-09-27 13:00:18 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Cyril Scott's Piano Sonata No. 1 Op. 66.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the English composer Cyril Scott (27 September 1879–31 December 1970).

http://classical-music-online.net/en/listen/25563

Eugene Goossens called Scott "the father of modern British music" -- and I'll bet you've never heard any of Scott's music. Scott was an extraordinarily gifted musician, and he experimented with many things, most particularly free rhythm and musical harmonies. He was admired by many other composers, including Debussy, Ravel, Grainger (who was one of his closest friends), Strauss, and Stravinsky.

Scott wrote more piano works (he was a talented pianist as well, which I'm sure helped) from 1903 to 1914 than any other composer in the world, save Scriabin. His experiments in harmonies influenced no less a composer than Elgar, who claimed that the daring harmonies that he used in his Second Symphony were not his idea: "You mustn't forget, it was Cyril Scott started all that!"

In 1909, Scott wrote his Piano Sonata No. 1 Op. 66. This is an absolutely incredible piece: every bar is in a different metre, which gives the work a freedom as well as a sometimes improvisatory air. If you listen carefully, you can hear little snippets of folk music, but Scott has interwoven this with his "free association" harmonies so that the musical language is all his own. I think that Scott could have left the bar lines out completely; maybe that was one innovation too far for him?

There is a wonderful letter written by Percy Grainger to the young Scottish composer Ronald Stevenson in which he mentions this Piano Sonata:

"Dear Ronald Stevenson,

"I found your article on Busoni very stimulating. It brought clarity into my thoughts about Busoni. When I first met him, in 1903, when he offered to give me piano lessons without payment, it was the originality of my sketches for Scotch Strathspey & Reel that attracted him.

"By 1907 he had soured on me, but when we played thru the 2-piano version of Hill-Song No. 2 his hostility melted & he said, quite wistfully: ‘Das ist ein hübsches stück – das ist ein hübsches stück!’

"And of course I talked to him of the various innovations I had already tried-out (irregular rhythms, unresolved discords, large chamber-music, etc.) or intended to try-out in the future (close intervals, gliding tones, etc.). And while I am not denying that he may have got his ‘music of the future’ from all sorts of sources I do suggest that he got enough from me to account for his ideas of music to-come.

"It was the same with Stravinsky & Schoenberg. Neither of these superb geniuses developed their iconoclastic innovations until my innovations, as incorporated in the Cyril Scott Piano Sonata Op. 66 (incorporated by C. Scott with full written permission by me) had been freely played & heard in Central Europe around 1908 – my ‘unresolved discords’ of 1898 leading to atonalism, my irregular rhythms of 1899 leading to irregular rhythms of ‘Sacre du P.’ And when the 1st German War cut off compositional contact between Britain & Central Europe, what happens: These 2 geniuses dropped their British-rooted innovations & went back to less progressive stimulations. (Neither Cyril Scott or I have ever dropped our innovations.) Almost everything that European man does had an English-speaking origin: 5 o’clock tea, train, tram, steamer, flirt, bus, strike, lock-out, club, sandwich, lunch, golf, sport, skyscraper, chewing-gum, maxim-gun, revolver, etc. So why should it be otherwise in music? Is it not a fact that most musical innovations are English-speaking (according to the musicologists): Foweles in the Frith, Worcester Medieval harmony, Dunstable, William Lawes, Jazz? So if an English-speaking composer happens to invent, or revise (for of course Claude Le Jeune also had his irregular rhythms), or transform some aspects of music, why should it seem so unthinkable that it cannot be mentioned?"

Grainger definitely was a pioneer in the use of free rhythms, but Scott was able to take this one step further in the Piano Sonata No. 1 Op. 66 and incorporate his own harmonies and musical ideas, making it an incredibly exciting (and, for the time, daring) work. 

After World War I, Scott's music fell out of favour, and it has only recently been "rediscovered" with new recordings and performances.

My classical music post for today is Scott's Piano Sonata No. 1 Op. 66. It is performed by the great Australian pianist Dennis Hennig, who had planned to record all of Scott's piano works. Unfortunately, Hennig died young, and only released two CDs.___My classical music post for today is Cyril Scott's Piano Sonata No. 1 Op. 66.

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2014-09-26 16:08:20 (7 comments, 1 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the American composer George Gershwin (26 September 1898–11 July 1937).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Rhapsody+In+Blue+Original+Version+Using+1925+Piano+Roll/1VTMBI?src=5

Gershwin was incredibly successful as a popular music composer, but he really wanted to be taken seriously as a classical composer. So when the American band leader Paul Whiteman asked Gershwin to write a concerto piece for a jazz concert he was planning in February 1924, Gershwin jumped at the chance. The result, Rhapsody in Blue (which had a mixed reception), has become one of the most well-loved works in the mainstream repertoire.

Leonard Bernstein once said of this one-movement work that it wasn't really a proper composition; he felt that it was "a string of separate paragraphs stuck together." (As it happens, people didn't have much nice to say about Bernstein's jazz/classical works, but that is another story for another time.) William Grossman and Jack Farrell said Rhapsody in Blue was "one of the most ludicrous of the popular attempts during the 1920s to merge jazz and 'serious' music."

Ferde Grofé, who was Whiteman's pianist and chief arranger (and no mean composer himself) orchestrated Rhapsody in Blue for its first performance, as Gershwin knew very little about orchestration at that time. Grofé produced several versions, and the one most people know is the final one, for a larger orchestra, from 1942. I'm sharing a recording of the earliest jazz band version today.

My classical music post for today is George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.___My classical music post for today is George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

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2014-09-25 16:03:31 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is the Presto from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the Russian composer Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich (25 September 1906–9 August 1975).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Presto/3vcTdq?src=5 

A few summers ago, I went to the Aspen Music Festival and heard an absolutely incredible performance of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9 in E Flat Major, Op. 70. It was all the more amazing because it was a concert given by the American Academy of Conducting, and every movement of this (and of the other two works on the program) were conducted by a different young up-and-coming conductor. The next conductor to take the podium would leave his or her place in the orchestra and take over, seamlessly. It was possibly the most exciting concert that I have ever attended.

And Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9 is a fantastic work as well! This symphony, in five movements (the final three are meant to be played without interruption), was meant to be a celebration of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. Although it was received very well in the USSR at the time of its premiere, in 1946, it was not so well received in New York; one critic wrote: "The Russian composer should not have expressed his feelings about the defeat of Nazism in such a childish manner."

In the third movement, Presto, you can hear some of the neoclassical elements that Shostakovich employed very clearly throughout the entire work. He considered this symphony to be a "joyful little piece," and that is obvious particularly in the Presto. At the end of the movement, the orchestra slows down in preparation for the fourth movement, the Largo.

By the way, apparently Shostakovich rarely smiled; I guess there wasn't a lot that made him happy. But I found one of those rare photos to accompany today's post.

My classical music post for today is the Presto from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9.___My classical music post for today is the Presto from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9.

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2014-09-24 14:20:36 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is a live performance of Klengel's Hymnus for 12 Cellos, Op. 57.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the German cellist Julius Klengel (24 September 1859–27 October 1933).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Hymnus+For+12+Cellos/4PMcWH?src=5

Klengel is best known for his etudes and solo works for cello. Two of his most famous students were William Pleeth and Gregor Piatigorsky. His etudes are still used widely. 

One of the most intriguing of Klengel's compositions (for me, anyway) is his Hymnus for 12 Cellos. It is amazing how much each each individual cellist can contribute to the entire piece, and how well each voice can be heard.

My classical music post for today is a live performance of Klengel's Hymnus for 12 Cellos, Op. 57.___My classical music post for today is a live performance of Klengel's Hymnus for 12 Cellos, Op. 57.

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2014-09-23 13:06:54 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Copland's Connotations.

On 23 September 1962, Philharmonic Hall (now Avery Fisher Hall) opened. A two-hour live CBS special, Opening Night at Lincoln Center, preserved the event on videotape.

http://grooveshark.com/s/Connotations+1961+1962+For+Orchestra+Instrumental/4PM9WX?src=5

The program included the world premiere of Connotations by Aaron Copland and works by Beethoven, Mahler, and Williams. Leonard Bernstein conducted the NY Philharmonic.

Copland's Connotations is one of his rare serial works. There are some flashes of Copland-like harmonies, but it really is very different from many of the pieces we all know and love. Connotations was commissioned by the NY Philharmonic for this occasion, and it was pretty well received at the time.

My classical music post for today is Copland's Connotations.___My classical music post for today is Copland's Connotations.

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2014-09-22 15:03:09 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Blades of Grass by Romeo Cascarino.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the American composer Romeo Cascarino (22 September 1922–8 January 2002).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Blades+Of+Grass/4Pyzs3?src=5

Every once in a while, I come across a composer who was virtually unknown in their lifetime but who should have been recognized and celebrated by a wider audience. Cascarino is one of those very special composers.

Cascarino composed a number of works, including a grand opera, William Penn. He won awards for his compositions, including two Guggenheim Fellowships and the Orpheus Award. He spent his life teaching music theory and composition at a small college in Pennsylvania. 

He grew up in a tough neighborhood in South Philadelphia; according to his obituary, he once said, "With a name like Romeo, a guy writing classical music on the piano, I had to learn to defend myself."

Cascarino wrote Blades of Grass in 1945 for English horn and orchestra. This is an absolutely glorious work, almost unbearably beautiful. I'm not really up on the entire cor anglais repertoire, but it seems to me that this should be at the top of any performer's list.

Blades of Grass was written while Cascarino was in the US Army (in the photo, he is on the right). The basic inspiration was Carl Sandburg's poem Grass, a meditation on death in war:

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work--
          I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and the passengers ask the conductor:
          What place is this?
          Where are we now?

          I am the grass.
          Let me work.

Bassoonists rate Cascarino's Sonata for Bassoon and Piano very highly. It was written for his World War II army pal Sol Schoenbach, a Philadelphia Orchestra bassoonist (he's the guy on the left in the photo).

Cascarino once said, "A composer speaks through music; words, however eloquent, immediately limit true meaning and understanding." He certainly speaks to me through his music. Cascarino loved the soaring melodies of Puccini, Wagner, Ravel, and other composers; he often was heard to say after a performance of atonal or "academic" new music, "If they could write a melody, they would write a melody." Well, he certainly could write a melody.

My classical music post for today is Blades of Grass by Romeo Cascarino.___My classical music post for today is Blades of Grass by Romeo Cascarino.

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2014-09-21 16:58:28 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is the Kyrie from Karl Jenkins's Mass for Peace.

Today, 21 September, is the The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day"), which (according to http://www.internationaldayofpeace.org/) "provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date."

http://grooveshark.com/s/Kyrie/4EtAPx?src=5

The Welsh composer Karl Jenkins (born 1944) composed The Armed Man, subtitled "A Mass for Peace," in 2000. Jenkins was commissioned by the Royal Armouries Museum to compose this work, which is dedicated to victims of the Kosovo crisis. It was composed for SATB chorus, soprano and Muezzin soloists, and orchestra.

According to Classic FM: "And this, [Jenkins's] Mass for Peace, is the primary explanation of his enduring popularity. It was, we’re rather proud to say, given its premiere at a Classic FM live concert in the autumn of 2000 at London’s Royal Albert hall. A year later, the work entered the Classic FM Hall of Fame – and, over the next few years, it climbed rapidly into the Top Ten, where it’s remained as the nation’s favourite piece of contemporary music. . . . Never one to define himself by one set of beliefs, Jenkins uses all sorts of inspirations for the text of The Armed Man, including the Muslim call to prayer, the sixteenth-century 'L’Homme armé' Mass tradition, and ancient religious texts."

My classical music post for today is the Kyrie from Karl Jenkins's Mass for Peace.___My classical music post for today is the Kyrie from Karl Jenkins's Mass for Peace.

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2014-09-20 18:45:02 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is "Pleyel's Hymn (First)."

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin White (20 September 1800–5 December 1879), a shape note "singing master" and compiler of The Sacred Harp (1844), a shape note tunebook.

http://grooveshark.com/s/Track+24/70agdT?src=5

Shape note notation was developed as a way to help congregations and communities sing together. It was introduced in the United States in 1801 and became very popular in American singing schools. Shape note singing is described as: " . . . a fluent triple mental association, which links a note of the scale, a shape, and a syllable. This association can be used to help in reading the music. When a song is first sung by a shape note group, they normally sing the syllables (reading them from the shapes) to solidify their command over the notes. Next, they sing the same notes to the words of the music."

Shape note notation, particularly the four shape system, was based on the ut–re–mi-fa-so-la method devised by the 11th-century monk Guido of Arezzo.  This system was in common use in 17th-century England. The English composer Thomas Morley described a four syllable system in his Plain and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke (published in 1597), and some people (most likely mistakenly) give Morley the credit for the four note system.

Sacred Harp singers first read the names of the notes from their shapes and then they sing the words of the song. This is a tradition that dates from the 17th century.

Although Sacred Harp singing is not strictly "classical," some of the conventions (for example, singing in a square, all four parts facing each other) are very similar to those of 17th-century part-songs, glees, and catches. In addition, the 1991 edition of The Sacred Harp includes some songs by classical composers, including Ignaz Pleyel.

My classical music post for today is "Pleyel's Hymn (First)." You can hear the shape note name sing-through before the words.

While Thee I seek, protecting Pow’r,
Be my vain wishes stilled,
And may this consecrated hour
With better hopes be filled.
Thy love the pow’r of thought bestowed,
To Thee my thoughts would soar;
Thy mercy o’er my life has flowed,
That mercy I adore.

When gladness wings my favored hour,
Thy love my thoughts shall fill;
Resigned when storms of sorrow lower,
My soul shall meet Thy will.
My lifted eye, without a tear,
The gathering storm shall see:
My steadfast heart shall know no fear;
That heart shall rest on Thee.___My classical music post for today is "Pleyel's Hymn (First)."

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2014-09-19 16:05:26 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is "Pour, O Pour The Pirate Sherry" from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance.

It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day! "Aaarrr!"

http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Pour+O+Pour+The+Pirate+Sherry/24rxNc?src=5

And what better way in music to celebrate than with a rousing chorus of "Pour, O Pour The Pirate Sherry" from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance?

"Avast, there!"___My classical music post for today is "Pour, O Pour The Pirate Sherry" from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance.

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2014-09-18 17:24:23 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is the overture to Hajibeyov's Koroğlu.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the Azerbaijani and Soviet composer and conductor Uzeyir Hajibeyov (18 September 1885–23 November 1948), widely recognized as the father of Azerbaijani classical music.

http://grooveshark.com/s/Koroglu+Overture/3kQVEz?src=5

I have to say that I am bowled over by Hajibeyov's music. The way that he managed to blend Azerbaijani traditional sounds with Western conventions is just extraordinary, and -- to my ears, at least -- incredibly beautiful. I don't know if he was able to join the two because he learned both forms growing up -- Azerbaijan was part of the Russian empire when he was young. He studied Western music forms at Gory Seminary in Tblisi.

Hajibeyov wrote his opera Koroğlu (The Blind Man's Son) in 1937, to a libretto (in Azerbaijani) by Habib Ismayilov, with poetry by Mammed Said Ordubadi. The story is based on the Epic of Koroğlu, a well-known Turkic heroic legend.

My classical music post for today is the overture to Hajibeyov's Koroğlu.___My classical music post for today is the overture to Hajibeyov's Koroğlu.

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2014-09-17 15:36:42 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Francis Hopkinson's "My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free."

Today, 17 September, is Constitution Day in the United States.

http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/My+Days+Have+Been+So+Wondrous+Free/3aBgWd?src=5

Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on 17 September 1787. One of the ratifiers, Francis Hopkinson (1737–1791), is credited as America's first poet-composer. In the dedication to his Seven Songs (1788), Hopkinson declared, "I cannot, I believe, be refused the Credit of being the first Native of the United States who has produced a Musical Composition."

Francis Hopkinson is the only American-born composer for whom there is evidence that he wrote songs before 1800. "My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free" was written in 1759, to a poem by Irish clergyman Thomas Parnell (also known as Doctor Parnell). Scored for voice and harpsichord, the song is America's earliest surviving secular composition.

As was the performance practice at the time, Hopkinson composed "My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free" in just two parts, the treble and bass, leaving the harmonic details to be filled in by the accompanist.

Incidentally, Hopkinson was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He is also acknowledged to be the designer of the first U.S. flag.

My classical music post for today is Francis Hopkinson's "My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free."

My days have been so wondrous free,
the little birds that fly
with careless ease from tree
to tree were but as blest as I.

Ask gliding waters if a tear
of mine increased their stream. 
And ask the breathing gales if e'er
I lent a sigh to them.___My classical music post for today is Francis Hopkinson's "My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free."

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2014-09-16 15:40:57 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Taffanel's Andante Pastoral et Scherzettino.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the French flutist Claude-Paul Taffanel (16 September 1844–22 November 1908).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Paul+Taffanel+com+Andante+Pastoral+Et+Scherzettino/3tOyC8?src=5

Taffanel was the foremost flutist of his time. He was a highly respected teacher at the Paris Conservatoire. He introduced many innovations in flute technique, including playing with a lighter tone using carefully modulated vibrato. According to one of Taffanel's students, "When he spoke to us of notes with vibrato or expression, he told us which a mysterious air that these notes, forte or piano, seemed to come from within himself. One had the impression that they came directly from the heart or soul."

Taffanel took advantage of the changes and improvements that Theobald Boehm had made to the flute, and many people agree that it was Taffanel who enabled the French to dominate the flute world in the 20th century, beginning with Marcel Moyse and Georges Barrère, both of whom were students of Taffanel.

In addition to teaching and performing, Taffanel wrote some works that remain staples of the flute repertoire. My classical music post for today is his Andante Pastoral et Scherzettino (1907), the competition piece for the 1907 Paris Conservatory Flute Concours.___My classical music post for today is Taffanel's Andante Pastoral et Scherzettino.

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2014-09-15 16:38:58 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Halfdan Kjerulf's Spring Song Op. 28 No. 5.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian composer Halfdan Kjerulf (15 September 1815–11 August 1868).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Spring+Song+Op+28+No+5/4OUBva?src=5

Kjerulf is not particularly well known, although really he should be. Much of his music has a strong Norwegian national feel. Grieg was one of Kjerulf's admirers, and his Lyric Pieces are based on Kjerulf's piano music. Kjerulf was influenced by French composers, particularly Berlioz, with whom he became acquainted when he traveled to Paris in 1840. Kjerulf also was influenced by Schumann and Chopin.

Kjerulf was only 52 when he died. It is possible that he might have made more of an impact on the Norwegian classical music scene if he had not died so young.

My classical music post is Halfdan Kjerulf's Spring Song Op. 28 No. 5.___My classical music post for today is Halfdan Kjerulf's Spring Song Op. 28 No. 5.

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2014-09-14 18:19:36 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is the Kyrie from Michael Haydn's Missa Hispanica.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the Austrian composer Michael Haydn (14 September 1737–10 August 1806), younger brother of Joseph Haydn.

http://grooveshark.com/s/Kyrie/4OTm68?src=5

Michael was a boy soprano at St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna, with Joseph. Contemporary records seem to indicate that Michael was considered to have the better voice and also was perhaps a more instinctive musician. Even Joseph felt that Michael's religious works were superior to his own. Michael was Kapellmeister in Salzburg for 43 years. While there, he wrote almost 400 works for church services as well as instrumental music. It is widely accepted that Michael Haydn's Requiem pro defuncto Archiepiscopo Sigismundo (Requiem for the death of Archbishop Siegmund) in C minor of 1771 influenced Mozart's Requiem written almost 20 years later. Mozart was an admirer of Michael's compositions. Michael also had some famous students, including Carl Maria von Weber and Anton Diabelli.

Michael Haydn's Missa Hispanica was written in 1792. Although from the title you might think that it was written for some Spanish church or court or event, apparently there is no evidence that it was performed outside Austria. Also known as the Missa a due cori, Kletzler I:17, MH 422, it is scored for two oboes; two bassoons; two horns in low C, F, and G; two trumpets in C; timpani; strings; basso continuo; SATB soloists; and two mixed choirs.

My classical music post for today is the Kyrie from Michael Haydn's Missa Hispanica.___My classical music post for today is the Kyrie from Michael Haydn's Missa Hispanica.

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2014-09-13 16:52:18 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is one of Clara Schumann’s Romances for Violin and Piano.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the German musician and composer Clara Schumann (née Clara Josephine Wieck; 13 September 1819–20 May 1896).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Romance+For+Violin+And+Piano/3lhRlF?src=5

Clara was one of the most influential pianists of the Romantic era. She was also a composer, although for a long time she was not recognized as such. She didn't even rate herself; she said, "I once believed that I possessed creative talent, but I have given up this idea; a woman must not desire to compose—there has never yet been one able to do it. Should I expect to be the one?"

Well, yes, she should have expected to be the one. Her Three Romances for Violin and Piano, Op. 22 (composed in 1853) show her deep understanding not just of the piano but of music in general. The romance was her favourite genre, and it shows in this, one of her later works. 

My classical music post for today is one of Clara Schumann’s Romances for Violin and Piano.___My classical music post for today is one of Clara Schumann’s Romances for Violin and Piano.

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2014-09-12 14:05:08 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Priti Paintal's Pathways III.

On 12 September 1977, the anti-apartheid leader Stephen Biko died while in police custody in South Africa.

http://grooveshark.com/s/Pathways+Iii+/4a5jli?src=5

There have been many popular songs written about Biko, but one of the most interesting classical works is an opera, Biko, commissioned by the Royal Opera in 1992. The composer, Priti Paintal (b. 1960), is an East Indian composer. She was the first Asian and first woman to receive a commission from the Royal Opera.

Paintal mixes Eastern and Western music in her compositions. In 1993, she said: "In general, close familiarity with Western classical music among Indians is still rather unusual. My experience of it came through my mother, who was introduced to it by her father, he being an orphan had been adopted by a German missionary and put in a German Missionary school in the Himalayas. This in itself was quite unusual, and made him feel a bit of an outsider in India. However, he embraced Western culture with such enthusiasm that all his children grew up having to learn piano and Western classical music . . . . When I was first approached to write opera my initial reaction was to refuse since I felt I had no links with Western form of opera as I knew it. However, I decided to explore the medium a bit further, and after having finished my first chamber opera Survival Song I realised that I was approaching 'opera' differently from my western counterparts. My writing for voices was influenced rhythmically and modally by Indian tribal and folk music, and my instrumental rhythmic language was influenced by African music. This I was able to further develop in my full-length opera Biko, where the singers were asked to sing as naturally as possible, and not in a Western operatic style." 

I have been unable to find a good recording from this opera, but I do want to introduce you to the music of Paintal. She composed Pathways III for the Shiva Nova Ensemble in 2008. This work combines Eastern and Western music beautifully. In an overall electronic framework, this self-titled "music explorer" interweaves the sitar/tablas and the flute/cello beautifully.

My classical music post for today is Priti Paintal's Pathways III. ___My classical music post for today is Priti Paintal's Pathways III.

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2014-09-11 15:18:49 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is John Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls.

The American composer John Adams was commissioned to write a piece within weeks of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

http://grooveshark.com/s/On+The+Transmigration+Of+Souls/3nXUWt?src=5

On the Transmigration of Souls, which received its premiere on September 19, 2002, is composed for orchestra, chorus, children's choir, and pre-recorded tape. Adams won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in Music for this work.

Matt Campbell says, "The piece starts out with taped sounds of what you’d hear walking down a street in New York City, just traffic noise, walking, a few laughs. Then, voices begin reading names of 9/11 victims, and another voice interjects 'missing' at various points, while the chorus sings quietly in the background. The music is static, and you feel like you’ve entered a room, and you’re watching and waiting. Then, to the music, Adams adds another layer, and the voices continue reading names, but now add in longer phrases, 'Jeff was my uncle,' 'my father,' 'eye color, hazel' that I find more touching because uncle is more informative than Jeff; names don’t tell you much about a person. When you hear 'Jeff was my uncle,' you start to think about your uncles, and making that association is powerful because it taps into your own life and relationships. The chorus starts, in a very static manner, singing words now, while an off-stage trumpet quotes from Charles Ives’ 'The Unanswered Question.' The trumpet is posing the question of existence, and in Ives’ work, the trumpet repeats the melody seven times, while different instruments, unsuccessfully, try to answer. At the same time this is going on, the voices are saying 'I’ll miss you,' 'God bless you.'”

My classical music post for today is John Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls.___My classical music post for today is John Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls.

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2014-09-10 13:36:17 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Walter Steffens's Guernica after Pablo Picasso.

On 10 September 1981, Pablo Picasso's masterpiece Guernica was returned by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York to Spain.

http://grooveshark.com/s/Guernica+Op+32/49d5Ro?src=5

Guernica was created in response to the bombing of the town of Guernica by German and Italian warplanes at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist forces, on 26 April 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish Republican government commissioned Picasso to create a large mural for the Spanish display at the Paris International Exposition at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris. Once it was completed, it was displayed around the world. This tour helped bring the Spanish Civil War to the world's attention. After the victory of Francisco Franco in Spain, Guernica was sent to the United States to raise funds for Spanish refugees. At Picasso's request, MoMA was entrusted with its safekeeping following the tour. Picasso had not wanted the painting to be returned until Spain was restored to a republic; he stipulated this in his will, along with other conditions, including the restoration of "public liberties and democratic institutions."

The German composer Walter Steffens (b. 1934) has spent much of his career expressing paintings in his music. He has based his compositions on paintings by Bosch, Rubens, Chagall, Picasso, Klee, Munch, Aubertin, Soto, Penck and Schumacher.

In Guernica after Pablo Picasso, Op. 32, elegy for viola and orchestra, Steffens summons up his memories of the Allied bombing raids on his home cities of Aachen and Dortmund. The piece begins with a siren. The solo viola plots a course through the destruction and finally finds peace at the end.

My classical music post for today is Walter Steffens's Guernica after Pablo Picasso.___My classical music post for today is Walter Steffens's Guernica after Pablo Picasso.

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2014-09-09 14:56:51 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Chopin's Prelude Op. 28, No. 15.

Happy Birthday, Hugh Grant (born 9 September 1960)!

http://grooveshark.com/s/Prelude+For+Piano+No+15+In+D+Flat+Major+Raindrop+Op+28+15+B+107+10/2qBbxz?src=5

Grant is known for so many films, particularly Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill. But did you know that one of his earliest major roles was that of Frédéric Chopin in Impromptu? (You can see the trailer for this at Impromptu Official Trailer #1 - Julian Sands Movie (1991) HD.) The photo is a still from the film.

Anyway, this is just an excuse to share a little Chopin today. Prelude Op. 28, No. 15, the "Raindrop" prelude, is the longest of the twenty-four preludes that Chopin wrote during his "honeymoon" on Majorca with George Sand in 1838. As Sara Fishko says, "The prelude is noted for its repeating A-flat, which appears throughout the piece. The A-flat sounds like raindrops to many listeners, giving Op. 28 No. 15 a nickname: The 'Raindrop' Prelude."

My classical music post for today is Chopin's Prelude Op. 28, No. 15.___My classical music post for today is Chopin's Prelude Op. 28, No. 15.

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2014-09-08 14:44:06 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is the third movement of Dvořák's Cello Concerto in B minor.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the Czech composer Antonín Leopold Dvořák (8 September 1841–1 May 1904).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Dvorak+Cello+Concerto+In+B+Minor+Op+104+Iii+Finale+Allegro+Moderato/4E03nQ?src=5

Dvořák was one of the most important Romantic composers. He incorporated folk music of his native Bohemia and Moravia along with, later, international elements, particularly once he moved to the United States.

Almost every great composer has a sad story, and Dvořák is no exception. He originally fell in love with his pupil Josefína Čermáková, for whom he composed the song cycle Cypress Trees. However, she never returned his love; she married another man. In 1873, Dvořák married Josefina's younger sister, Anna. But he never stopped loving Josefína.

One of his most beautiful works is his Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104. The third movement was a tribute to the memory of Josefina (actually, the whole Concerto was, but the third movement in particular), who died while he was composing it. The slow section just before the triumphant ending quotes Cypress Trees. Dvořák was adamant that no alteration should ever be made to the Concerto, and specifically to the third movement. He wrote to his publishers: "I give you my work only if you will promise me that no one -- not even my friend Wihan -- shall make any alteration in it without my knowledge and permission, also that there be no cadenza such as Wihan has made in the last movement; and that its form shall be as I have felt it and thought it out."

My classical music post for today is the third movement of Dvořák's Cello Concerto in B minor.___My classical music post for today is the third movement of Dvořák's Cello Concerto in B minor.

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2014-09-07 13:48:00 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is "Vous serez ma Dulcinee" from Philidor's Sancho Pança dans son isle.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the French composer and chess player François-André Danican Philidor (7 September 1726–31 August 1795).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Vous+Serez+Ma+Dulcinee+Sancho+Panca/4xivXZ?src=5

Philidor's Analyse du jeu des Échecs is one of the standard chess manuals; it was the top manual for at least a century. In addition, an opening and a checkmate method are named for him.

Not only was Philidor a top chess player and writer on chess, he also was one of the leading opera composers in France. He wrote more than twenty opéras-comiques and two tragédies-lyriques. He also wrote secular cantatas and motets.

One of the best movies ever made -- IMHO -- is the 1946 Powell-Pressburger romantic-fantasy A Matter of Life and Death (known as Stairway to Heaven in the United States). You should see it, so I won't ruin the plot, but the main character is offered several chances to meet Philidor. One amazing thing about Philidor -- he was the first chess player to win multiple matches playing blindfolded -- is perhaps a subtext in some scenes in the movie.

Philidor wrote his opéra-comique Sancho Pança dans son isle  in 1762. It was based on Cervantes' Don Quixote. It is in one act. It was not considered to be one of Philidor's best works, mainly because of the poor libretto. Baron von Grimm, in his Correspondance littéraire, had this to say:

"A poet who could not make something of the governorship of Sancho Pança should be strangled. M. Poinsinet did not know how to provide situations to the composer either. Except for the scene with the coward who fights with Sancho, dying of fear just like him, I hardly see anything in it that merits the name of situation; and worse, most of the airs do not have much effect. M. Philidor spent a lot on harmony and noise, and not much on melody or musical ideas. He repeated himself in several places; in others he borrowed bits from On ne s'avise jamais de tout and even Annette et Lubin. In a word, this new work by M. Philidor will not hold up to the reputation of Le maréchal ferrant."

I don't think the opera is as bad as this; but I haven't heard that many of Philidor's works. As it happens, Mozart repeated himself a lot and passed off some compositions as new when they were actually rehashes of previously performed works, so Philidor was not the only one to take shortcuts.

My classical music post for today is "Vous serez ma Dulcinee" from Philidor's Sancho Pança dans son isle.___My classical music post for today is "Vous serez ma Dulcinee" from Philidor's Sancho Pança dans son isle.

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2014-09-06 16:04:29 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Einojuhani Rautavaara's On the Last Frontier.

On 6 September 1966, Star Trek premiered on NBC-TV.

http://grooveshark.com/s/On+The+Last+Frontier/6ZVNDM?src=5

To commemorate this event, today's music selection is Einojuhani Rautavaara's On the Last Frontier.

Rautavaara (b. 1928) is a Finnish composer, probably the most important since Jean Sibelius. Rautavaara experimented with serial technique at first but later his work became more mystical and less serial. On the Last Frontier, a fantasy for chorus and orchestra (1997), is based on Edgar Allen Poe's novel Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, mainly the section about the sailors drifting towards the South Pole. But it can just as easily be about the crew of the USS Enterprise drifting towards Delta Vega or Rura Penthe.___My classical music post for today is Einojuhani Rautavaara's On the Last Frontier.

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2014-09-04 16:26:53 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Liszt's Réminiscences de Norma.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the pianist Marie-Félicité-Denise Pleyel (née Moke; 4 September 1811—30 March 1875).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Reminiscences+De+Norma+bellini+/3WSBYm?src=5

Pleyel was one of the most celebrated pianists of the early 19th century; she was the only female virtuoso-pianist who was consistently ranked with Franz Liszt. The music critic François-Joseph Fétis, who invited Pleyel to become the first head of the piano department at the Brussels Conservatory, wrote: "I have heard all the celebrated pianists from Hullmandel and Clementi up to the famous ones of today [ca. 1870] but I say that none of them has given me, as has Mme. Pleyel, the feeling of perfection."

She was an interesting woman; in addition to her musical talent, she was an acknowledged beauty, and was engaged to Hector Berlioz for a time before marrying Camille Pleyel, son of the great French piano maker. Frédéric Chopin dedicated his Nocturnes Op. 9 (1833) to her. She was rumoured to have had relationships with many of the great musicians of the day, including Liszt. Liszt dedicated his Réminiscences de Norma (1841) and the Tarantelle di bravura d’après la Tarantelle de ‘La muette de Portici’ d’Auber (1846) to her. She also composed several works for the piano, including a Rondo parisien pour piano, Op. 1, a Fantasia on motifs from Weber’s Preciosa, and an Andante.

My classical music post for today is Liszt's Réminiscences de Norma; I can imagine Pleyel performing this for a hushed audience.___My classical music post for today is Liszt's Réminiscences de Norma.

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2014-09-03 13:14:56 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Knut Nystedt's Immortal Bach.

Happy Birthday to the Norwegian composer Knut Nystedt (born 3 September 1915)!

http://grooveshark.com/s/Immortal+Bach/4NKUgg?src=5

Nystedt studied composition with Bjarne Brustad and Aaron Copland, but he has a voice all his own. As he has said, "I began as a quasi romantic, national Norwegian composer during the war."  He then began to investigate new tonal possibilities: "So I entered a new world of choral sound, one could speak of a kind of kaleidoscope through which to discover entirely new tone colours. Nevertheless my roots are in Gregorian chant. Even when I write in a modern, experimental style I combine it with elements of very ancient music."

Nystedt's stunningly beautiful Immortal Bach, for a cappella choir, has been described by Vladimir Morosan as "theology expressed in sound." And AJ Harbison has written:

" . . . Immortal Bach (1988) is modeled on Bach’s chorale “Komm, süsser Tod” (“Come, Sweet Death”), and is a deconstruction of the piece for a cappella choir. The choir begins by singing the chorale through as it was written (or at least harmonized) by Bach – the original version, consisting of three phrases, each of which have a cadence, or a progression leading to a particular chord, at the end. . . . Then, the choir sings through each of the three phrases again. But this time, each part moves at a different slow pace through the phrase, so that all of the parts move independently of the others. The result is exquisite, as the parts combine in different ways, the dissonances of the piece are extended and new sonorities are created. At the end of each phrase, all the parts come to rest on the final chord (eventually), there is a pause, and the next phrase begins. It’s incredibly simple, but incredibly beautiful as well."

My classical music post for today is Knut Nystedt's Immortal Bach.___My classical music post for today is Knut Nystedt's Immortal Bach.

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2014-09-02 14:34:39 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 4 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Nicola LeFanu's "But Stars Remaining."

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Christa McAuliffe (2 September 1948–28 January 1986), the American schoolteacher who was one of the seven crew members killed in the space shuttle Challenger disaster.

http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/But+Stars+Remaining/48pY9d?src=5

The English composer Nicola LeFanu was born in 1947. Her mother was the composer Elizabeth Maconchy. As well as composing, LeFanu has taught composition at King's College, London (where I studied with her!), and the University of York.

"But Stars Remaining" was written in 1970 for the English soprano Jane Manning. It sets lines from two poems by the Irish poet Cecil Day-Lewis. Manning has said that "But Stars Remaining" is to be “sung as from a high rock, the voice flung across a spacious valley.”

Now to be with you
Elate, unshared
My kestrel joy
O hoverer in wind
Over the quarry furiously at rest
Chaired on shoulders of shouting wind.

Rest from loving and be living.
Fallen is fallen past retrieving
The unique flyer dawn's dove
Arrowing down, feathered with fire.

Here's no meaning but of morning.
Naught soon of night but stars remaining,
Sink lower, fade, as dark womb
Recedes, creation will step clear.

My classical music post for today is Nicola LeFanu's "But Stars Remaining."___My classical music post for today is Nicola LeFanu's "But Stars Remaining."

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2014-09-01 15:19:42 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Bohuslav Martinů's Poločas (Half-Time): Rondo for Orchestra.

Today is transfer deadline day in the UK's Premier League.

http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Half+Time+H+142+Rondo/483V2o?src=5

In honour of this, I would like to present Poločas (Half-Time): Rondo for Orchestra, H. 142, by the prolific 20th-century neoclassical Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů (1890–1959).

Half-Time was the first major work that Martinů wrote after moving to Paris in October 1923. The composer was inspired by a Czech-French match. The work received its premiere in Prague in December 1924. Martinů was a keen football follower, and this piece represents the enthusiasm of the crowd between the two halves of the match.

The musical style is reminiscent of Stravinsky's Russian ballets, and many critics felt that Martinů had plagiarised, in particular, parts of Petrushka. According to Michael Crump, in Martinů and the Symphony, brass and percussion are much more prominent in this piece than in any other work, and the rhythms are very athletic. He also says about the composer's technique of thematic variation that Martinů's "interpretation of rondo and episode is a source of considerable fascination while listening to Half-Time: a touch of genuine originality, and one of the chief strengths of the composition" (p. 54).

My classical music post for today is Bohuslav Martinů's Poločas (Half-Time): Rondo for Orchestra.___My classical music post for today is Bohuslav Martinů's Poločas (Half-Time): Rondo for Orchestra.

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2014-08-30 15:13:10 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Wagner's “Entry of the Gods into Valhalla” from Das Rheingold.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the German opera director Wolfgang Wagner (30 August 1919–21 March 2010).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Entrance+Of+The+Gods+Into+Valhalla/cOkKN?src=5

Wolfgang Wagner was the son of Siegfried Wagner, the grandson of Richard Wagner, and the great-grandson of Franz Liszt. He was director of the Bayreuth Festival from 1951 to 2008. Many of his decisions and productions were controversial, but there is no doubt that he made the Bayreuth Festival one of the top destinations for operagoers.

This gives me an excuse to share some Richard Wagner today: “Entry of the Gods into Valhalla” from Das Rheingold (1869). As Jessica Davis says, "At the end of Das Rheingold (“The Rhine Gold”), the ruler of the gods (Wotan in these operas, analogous to Odin in most translations of Norse mythology) has just sacrificed the ring, giving it to the giants in payment for the building of a new home, called Valhalla, for the gods. While Wagner’s cycle will end with Valhalla in flames, here Wotan and the other gods believe it is a new promise of their bright future. The god of thunder summons a storm to clear the air, the god of spring conjures a bridge of a rainbow, and Wotan leads them all to their new home, accompanied by all the grandeur and majesty Wagner could conjure in his music."

My classical music post for today is Wagner's “Entry of the Gods into Valhalla” from Das Rheingold.___My classical music post for today is Wagner's “Entry of the Gods into Valhalla” from Das Rheingold.

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2014-08-29 21:55:03 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Leonardo De Lorenzo's I seguaci di Pan.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the Italian virtuoso flutist and composer Leonardo De Lorenzo (29 August 1875–29 July 1962).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Pan/4NfScA?src=5

De Lorenzo's works are wonderful to listen to but incredibly difficult to play! The flute ensemble works (I tre virtuosi, for three flutes, op. 31; I seguaci di Pan, for four flutes, op. 32; Sinfonietta (Divertimento Flautistico), for five flutes, op. 75; and Capriccio, for four flutes, op. 82) are a lot of fun to perform; I played the Capriccio once and would love to again.

De Lorenzo played in the orchestras of Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Rochester, and he also taught at Eastman. He wrote books about the flute, too.

My classical music post for today is De Lorenzo's I seguaci di Pan.___My classical music post for today is Leonardo De Lorenzo's I seguaci di Pan.

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2014-08-27 13:17:33 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is the first movement of Rebecca Clarke's Viola Sonata.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the English composer and violist Rebecca Clarke (27 August 1886–13 October 1979).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Sonata+For+Viola+I/4MVV5U?src=5

Clarke was known primarily as a performer. Her output as a composer is, sadly, small; she once said, "I can't do it unless it's the first thing I think of every morning when I wake and the last thing I think of every night before I go to sleep."

According to the Rebecca Clarke Society (http://www.rebeccaclarke.org/), "Rebecca Clarke achieved what she called 'my one brief whiff of fame' in 1919 when her Viola Sonata tied for first place in a competition sponsored by Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. Clarke lived much of her life in the US, although she was born and educated in Great Britain. Striking for its passion and power, her music spans a range of 20th-century styles including Impressionism, post-Romantic, and neo-Classical. Although she wrote nearly 100 works (including songs, choral works, chamber pieces and music for solo piano), only 20 pieces were published in her lifetime, and by the time of her death in 1979, at age 93, all of these were long out of print."

When the piece tied for first in the competition, it is said that many on the jury thought that "Rebecca Clarke" was a male composer's pseudonym, as it was hard for them to imagine that a woman could write something as beautiful as this.

My classical music post for today is the first movement of Clarke's Viola Sonata. You can definitely hear the influence of Debussy and Vaughan Williams, both of whom were very important to Clarke.___My classical music post for today is the first movement of Rebecca Clarke's Viola Sonata.

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2014-08-21 14:14:28 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Constant Lambert's The Rio Grande.

Today is the anniversary of the death of the British composer Constant Lambert (23 August 1905–21 August 1951).

http://grooveshark.com/s/The+Rio+Grande/5eILqB?src=5

Lambert composed what many consider to be his greatest work, The Rio Grande, in 1927. This work, for alto, choir, piano, brass, strings, and a very large percussion section, is set to a poem by Sacheverell Sitwell. It includes elements of jazz, South American dances, and ragtime. What is truly fascinating about The Rio Grande is the way that Lambert mixes a very English choral sound with bits of Duke Ellington and George Gershwin.

Lambert was an immensely talented composer, but some people feel that The Rio Grande was his masterpiece and that his later works did not live up to the high expectations set by this intriguing work.

The poem is meant to refer to a river in Brazil, although there isn't a Rio Grande in Brazil. But no matter.

My classical music post for today is Constant Lambert's The Rio Grande.

By the Rio Grande
They dance no sarabande
On level banks like lawns above the glassy, lolling tide;
Nor sing they forlorn madrigals
Whose sad note stirs the sleeping gales
Till they wake among the trees and shake the boughs,
And fright the nightingales;
But they dance in the city, down the public squares,
On the marble pavers with each colour laid in shares,
At the open church doors loud with light within.
At the bell's huge tolling,
By the river music, gurgling, thin
Through the soft Brazilian air.
Tile Comendador and Alguacil are there
On horseback, hid with feathers, loud and shrill
Blowing orders on their trumpets like a bird's sharp bill
Through boughs, like a bitter wind, calling
They shine like steady starlight while those other sparks are failing
In burnished armour, with their plumes of fire,
Tireless while all others tire.
The noisy streets are empty and hushed is the town
To where, in the square, they dance and the band is playing ;
Such a space of silence through the town to the river
That the water murmurs loud -
Above the band and crowd together;
And the strains of the sarabande,
More lively than a madrigal,
Go hand in hand
Like the river and its waterfall
As the great Rio Grande rolls down to the sea.
Loud is the marimba's note
Above these half -salt waves,
And louder still the tympanum,
The plectrum, and the kettle-drum,
Sullen and menacing
Do these brazen voices ring.
They ride outside,
Above the salt-sea's tide.
Till the ships at anchor there
Hear this enchantment,
Of the soft Brazilian air,
By those Southern winds wafted,
Slow and gentle,
Their fierceness tempered
By the air that flows between.___My classical music post for today is Constant Lambert's The Rio Grande.

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2014-08-19 13:22:19 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

10,000+ have me in their circles!

+G+ Achievement Unlocked 

10,000+ have me in their circles!

+G+ Achievement Unlocked ___

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2014-08-15 14:26:52 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Alexander Agricola's "Gaudeamus omnes in Domino."

In the Western Church calendar, 15 August is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.

http://grooveshark.com/s/Gaudeamus+Omnes/443SVJ?src=5

For hundreds of years, the first music that you would hear at a church service on this day would be "Gaudeamus omnes in Domino." I would like to introduce you to a very early setting of this text by the Franco-Flemish composer Alexander Agricola (1445–1506). It is believed that Agricola died on 15 August during a cholera outbreak.

Agricola wrote in a highly distinctive style. His music is often very busy and extraordinarily detailed, with repeated sequence, repetition of rhythmic and motivic units, and interesting and unusual tempi and melodic devices. He is sometimes seen as a bridge between the Burgundian School of music and Josquin des Prez.

Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes sub honore beatae Mariae Virginis: de cuius Assumptione gaudent Angeli, et collaudant Filium Dei.

Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating the feast day in honour of Blessed Mary the Virgin: in whose Assumption the Angels rejoice, and highly extol the Son of God.

My classical music post for today is Alexander Agricola's "Gaudeamus omnes in Domino."
___My classical music post for today is Alexander Agricola's "Gaudeamus omnes in Domino."

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2014-08-07 13:48:36 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is the third movement of Aaron Jay Kernis's Double Concerto for Violin and Guitar.

Happy Birthday to the American classical guitarist Sharon Isbin (born 7 August 1956)!

http://grooveshark.com/s/The/3V3RO2?src=5

Isbin has been called “the pre-eminent guitarist of our time” and is also the winner of Guitar Player magazine’s “Best Classical Guitarist” award, First Prize winner of the Toronto Guitar ’75 competition, a winner of the Madrid Queen Sofia, and the first guitarist ever to win the Munich Competition.

My classical music post for today is Isbin playing the third movement of Aaron Jay Kernis's Double Concerto for Violin and Guitar. One reviewer of this work said: "Kernis leaps into a jazz-classical fusion unlike anything I've ever heard. There are flashes of jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, as well as Leonard Bernstein in his symphonic jazz mode, and a uniquely Kernis synthesis that makes this one of the more exciting new pieces to come from an American composer in a few years."___My classical music post for today is the third movement of Aaron Jay Kernis's Double Concerto for Violin and Guitar.

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2014-08-05 12:50:52 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is Guillaume Dufay's Ave maris stella.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the Franco-Flemish Renaissance composer Guillaume Dufay (5 August 1397[?]–27 November 1474).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Ave+Maris+Stella/3XWf7C?src=5

Dufay is considered to be one of the most influential composers of the 15th century. Most of his compositions are simple chant settings written for liturgical use. He was a master of the technique known as fauxbourdon, which consists of the cantus firmus and two other parts a sixth and a perfect fourth below. It is possible that Dufay actually invented this type of harmonization.

Dufay's use of fauxbourdon can be heard in my classical music post for today, a setting of the Marian antiphon Ave maris stella.___My classical music post for today is Guillaume Dufay's Ave maris stella.

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2014-08-02 12:11:10 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

My classical music post for today is the third movement of Laurie Johnson's Symphony (Synthesis): Adagio.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of the British journalist and broadcaster Alan Whicker (2 August 1925–12 July 2013).

http://grooveshark.com/s/Symphony+Synthesis+Adagio/4KL9iH?src=5

For those of you not in the UK, Whicker may not seem familiar, but to those of us who grew up on Whicker's World, he was a cultural icon. Whicker's World ran from 1959 to 1988 and was filmed all over the world, with Whicker reporting on stories of social interest from every continent.

The theme song to Whicker's World was written by the well-known film and television composer Laurie Johnson. Although Johnson is best known for his themes, he did study at the Royal College of Music and has written a few straightforward classical works. One of his more interesting works is Symphony (Synthesis) for jazz orchestra and symphony orchestra.

My classical music post for today is the third movement of Laurie Johnson's Symphony (Synthesis): Adagio.___My classical music post for today is the third movement of Laurie Johnson's Symphony (Synthesis): Adagio.

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