A Gertus History of Music’s Top 25* Albums of 2022

The death of good music has been greatly exaggerated. Over the last year, just like in every year in recent memory, artists (and, it must be said, particularly young artists) have released so many stunning albums that keeping up with contemporary music is a practical impossibility. The following is thus an imperfect and very incomplete … Continue reading A Gertus History of Music’s Top 25* Albums of 2022

The Friday Symposium: A Schubertiade

A symposium is a tightly choreographed social gathering where men drank together, conversed, and enjoyed themselves in a convivial atmosphere. As chronicled here, Mozart exploited his remarkable talents to become the first freelance composer in history. As such, he was beholden only to those who paid for his compositions and not to any one church … Continue reading The Friday Symposium: A Schubertiade

Schubert and the Concept Album

I will sing a cycle of spine-chilling songs to you. Franz Schubert Who invented the concept album? Was it Woody Guthrie with Dust Bowl Ballads (1940)? Perhpas it was Frank Sinatra in the 1950s with In the Wee Small Hours. Most settle on, as expected, The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's as the first concept album in … Continue reading Schubert and the Concept Album

The Friday Symposium: Songwriting

Franz Schubert is the Father of Song, so it seems appropriate to pause to talk a little bit about songwriting. The oldest and most basic form of song is the strophic form, which derives from the Greek strophē (turn). In sum, a strophic song has repeating music (the so-called "AAA" structure in which all stanzas … Continue reading The Friday Symposium: Songwriting

Classical Music V: Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

So great was the shadow cast by Beethoven over the musical landscape of Vienna (and so great the popularity of Rossini among the masses) that it nearly obscured another, perhaps even more tortured, musical genius roaming its streets and haunting its taverns. Franz Schubert was born, lived and died in Vienna. He studied with Salieri, … Continue reading Classical Music V: Franz Schubert (1797-1828)