Category Archives: Music

Haydn Piano Trios

No great composer wrote as much music as did Joseph Haydn (1732-1809). The quality of his music as as great as its amount. So vast is his output that it’s hard to count them. He is famed as the father of both the string quartet and the symphony. He wrote 68 of the former and…


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Chamber Music By Opera Composers

Most opera composers are specialists. There are only four greats who are equally noted for both operatic and instrumental music – Monteverdi, Handel, Mozart, and Strauss. Chamber music is defined as: “Instrumental music played by a small ensemble, with one player to a part, the most important form being the string quartet which developed in…


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Touched By God

There are some artists whose gifts are so great, even by the standard of genius, that they seem the result of direct divine intervention. Franz Schubert was such an artist. Dead at 31, he left behind about 1500 compositions many of which are among the greatest pieces of music ever to issue from the mind…


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A Few Love Duets and a Jazz Encore

The days are short; accordingly there’s a lot of darkness around. So, I thought I might brighten things up a bit with a few love duets. Of course, the best of these duets portray characters who typically don’t survive the opera’s end. But they are lovely and make us forget that they lead to death….


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Shostakovich’s First Film Score

Dmitri Shostakovich wrote 25 film scores. The first of these was composed when he was 23 years old. The New Babylon is an expressionistic depiction of the Paris Commune of 1871. It was released in 1929 and was a failure. It’s plot is summarized here. The music is brilliant and presages virtually everything Shostakovich was…


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Stories Used By More Than One Composer – Romeo and Juliet

The Romeo and Juliet story, whether derived from Shakespeare or not, has been irresistible to composers. He are excerpts from four 19th century works and two 20th based on the doomed lovers. First up is Bellini’s take on the two teenagers. His I Capuleti e i Montecchi is based on a play by Luigi Scevola…


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Stories Used By More Than One Composer – Faust

You’d think there were enough good stories available so that composers didn’t need to recycle them. But there are a number of operas that are based on tales that have been around the operatic block more than once. This article is the first of a series examining operas and related musical works based on the…


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Korngold Documentary

Between Two Worlds is a documentary about the life and career of Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957). It’s very well done and worth the roughly one hour it takes to view. It seems strange that the film never mentions why Korngold was forced to move to Hollywood. The piece is in English, but has computer generated…


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Haochen Zhang Plays Debussy and Schumann

Haochen Zhang the young Chinese virtuoso gave a solo recital this noon consisting of two stalwarts of the piano literature: Debussy’s Images Series I & II and Schumann’s Fantasie in C Major. Debussy’s music is full of interest and delicate effects. It has earned its place among the finest in Western music. So here am…


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Shostakovich and Korngold in Santa Fe

Two major works by Dmitri Shostakovich and Eric Krongold were presented yesterday evening by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. They were preceded by a bit of fluff by Alfred Schnittke – Mo-Zart for Two Violins, after Mozart’s K 416d. For the carnival season of 1783 Mozart wrote some music for his family’s use. Most…


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