A Gert History of Music

Haydn: Chamber 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

Classical Period I: Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

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)

The Baroque Legacy

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

A Conversation Without End

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

Credo in unum Deum

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

Magnificent Choices

Fellow blogger BigMikeHouston of Classical Music with Big Mike ( 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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