A Gert History of Music
Haydn is the Father of the String Quartet. He did not compose the first one, however. That honor likely goes to Alessandro Scarlatti, who composed six works called Sonata a Quattro per Due Violini, Violette e Violoncello, senza Cemballo (i.e., a quartet comprised of 2 violins, 1 viola and 1 cello, without keyboard). While Haydn … Continue reading Haydn: Chamber Music →
Haydn was not the first classical composer. As noted last week, Bach’s son, CPE Bach, Antonio Salieri, and Christoph Gluck, among many, many others, pioneered the slow movement away from the Baroque. Some of these efforts were well underway prior to 1750 and some of these early classical composers–Salieri in particular–continued to soldier on into … Continue reading Classical Period I: Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)￼ →
From time to time, I’ve gone back to highlight the work of composers who have been (un)fairly (depending on your point of view) neglected in this history. Today, I am pausing to recognize the important work of a group of 18th century composers who between, roughly, the 1740s and 1770s were part of the so-called … Continue reading Interlude: Transitional Figures at the Side of the Road →
It is a gross simplification to say that Bach died, the Baroque Period ended, and the Classical Period was born. Some scholars place the start of the Classical Period some years before the death of Bach; some don’t start it until 1775 or so. For me (and I’d venture for most musicologists), the Classical Period … Continue reading Introduction to the Classical Period →
I love Baroque music. So too do many great musicians of our age. Jimmy Hendrix once talked about being visited by Handel in a dream. (Oh to have been a fly on the wall for that Conversation!) Prog rock artists from ELP to Jethro Tull, Genesis and others take inspiration (and, at times, license) from … Continue reading The Baroque Legacy →
Bach is the beginning and end of all music. Max Reger I had no idea of the historical evolution of the civilized world’s music and had not realized that all modern music owes everything to Bach. Niccolai Rimsky-Korsakov Bach is a colossus of Rhodes, beneath whom all musicians pass and will continue to pass. Mozart … Continue reading A Conversation Without End →
The gnawing fear I have about trying to sum up the life’s work of history’s most important composers is the certainty that I have left something very important out. But, at least with Bach, I have no such concerns because up today is Bach’s titanic Mass in B minor. I am not even going to … Continue reading Credo in unum Deum →
In music, truth. We have many ways of expressing our feelings about life and death, loss and loneliness. The brevity and often sadness of existence weighs uniquely on the human experience. We see these themes depicted in art, expoused in poetry, and examined on the stage. Novels have been dedicated to these topics; films create … Continue reading For My Daughter: Listen for the Bell →
The Art of the Fugue closes in spectacular fashion, with two mirror fugues. As one musicologist explained: A mirror fugue is a pair of fugues in which each voice (or line) in the second fugue is a mirror image of the first – where the first goes up, the other goes down. In the previous … Continue reading Bach, The Art of the Fugue, Part II →
Fellow blogger BigMikeHouston of Classical Music with Big Mike (https://classicalmusicwithbigmike.com/) wrote this week about the singificant differences a conductor’s interpretation can make on how the music sounds. He’s absolutely right. And his observation gave me the idea of talking about the Period Instruments Movement, derided in some circles as being too egg-headed. Let’s see if … Continue reading Magnificent Choices →
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