The Life You Give: Witold Lutosławski *1913

Lutoslawski was the leading progressive figure in Polish music of the second half of the twentieth century. Born in Warsaw, he showed an exceptional musical talent at an early age, with his first compositions dating from 1922. He studied piano, violin, and composition (with Witold Maliszewski, a pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov), graduating from the Warsaw Conservatory… Continue reading The Life You Give: Witold Lutosławski *1913

The Life You Give: Aleksandr Scriabin *1871

Aleksandr Scriabin, born Aleksandr Nikolayevich Scriabin, on Jan. 6, 1872, in Moscow, Russia, was a composer of piano and orchestral music noted for its unusual harmonies through which the composer sought to explore musical symbolism. Scriabin was trained as a soldier at the Moscow Cadet School from 1882 to 1889 but studied music at the… Continue reading The Life You Give: Aleksandr Scriabin *1871

Weekly Woman: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, composer

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, born April 30, 1939 in Miami, Florida, U.S.A., is a composer, and the first woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in composition.Taaffe began composing as a child, and, by the time she finished high school, she had studied piano, violin, and trumpet. After receiving both a bachelor’s (1960) and a master’s… Continue reading Weekly Woman: Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, composer

The Life You Give: Ludwig van Beethoven *1770

Ludwig van Beethoven, born on December 17, 1770, in Bonn, Germany, was a composer, and the predominant musical figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras.Widely regarded as the greatest composer who ever lived, Ludwig van Beethoven dominates a period of musical history as no one else before or since. Rooted in… Continue reading The Life You Give: Ludwig van Beethoven *1770

The Life You Give: Hector Berlioz *1803

Hector Berlioz, born December 11, 1803, in La Côte-Saint-André, France, was a composer, critic, and conductor of the Romantic period, known largely for his Symphonie fantastique (1830), the choral symphony Roméo et Juliette (1839), and the dramatic piece La Damnation de Faust (1846). His last years were marked by fame abroad and hostility at home.The… Continue reading The Life You Give: Hector Berlioz *1803

Weekly Woman: Gloria Coates *1938

An American composer who has made her career for the most part in Germany, Gloria Coates was born in Wisconsin in 1938. As a child, she sang on local radio and in her early teens, she took top honors at a National Federation of Music Clubs Composition Contest. This girl from rural Wisconsin headed over… Continue reading Weekly Woman: Gloria Coates *1938

The Life You Give: Anton Maria von Webern *1883

Anton Webern — Anton Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern — born Dec. 3, 1883, in Vienna, Austria, was a composer of the 12-tone Viennese school. He is known especially for his passacaglia for orchestra, his chamber music, and various songs (Lieder). Life and works Webern’s father, a mining engineer, rose to the highest rank of his… Continue reading The Life You Give: Anton Maria von Webern *1883

The Life You Give: Virgil Thomson *1896

Virgil Thomson, (born November 25, 1896, Kansas City, Missouri, USA ), American composer, conductor, and music critic whose forward-looking ideas stimulated new lines of thought among contemporary musicians. Thomson studied at Harvard University and later in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, a noted teacher of musical composition. There he was influenced by early 20th-century French composers,… Continue reading The Life You Give: Virgil Thomson *1896

Happy Birthday, Manuel de Falla! 1876

Manuel María de los Dolores Falla y Matheu was born November 23, 1876, in Cádiz, Spain, and is the most distinguished Spanish composer of the early 20th century. In his music he achieved a fusion of poetry, asceticism, and ardour that represents the spirit of Spain at its purest. Falla took piano lessons from his… Continue reading Happy Birthday, Manuel de Falla! 1876

“Peter Grimes” by Benjamin Britten

Join us in listening to this opera, in celebration of Benjamin Britten’s birthday today, at 1pm EST, at the Opera, Blood and Tears Club, on Clubhouse. Music: Benjamin BrittenLibretto: Montague Slater Musicians:Benjamin Britten - conductorPeter Pears - peter grimesClaire Watson - ellen orfordJames Pease - capitän balstrodeJean Watson - auntieDavid Kelly - hobsonOwen Brannigan -… Continue reading “Peter Grimes” by Benjamin Britten

Is it wise to “fall” asleep with a requiem on the ears?

Looked lightly at my small record collection, and picked a recording from 1954 — Bruno Walter conducting the New York Philharmonic playing the Requiem by Johannes Brahms. I did wonder, not intensively serious but with some depth, what is being conveyed to the sleeping living when the piece is for the non-living sleepers?