Felix Mendelssohn *II 3 1809 — The Life You Give

Felix Mendelssohn, born Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, on February 3 1809, in Hamburg, Germany, is, as composer, pianist, musical conductor, and teacher, one of the most-celebrated figures of the early Romantic period. In his music Mendelssohn largely observed Classical models and practices while initiating key aspects of Romanticism—the artistic movement that exalted feeling and the… Continue reading Felix Mendelssohn *II 3 1809 — The Life You Give

Jascha Heifetz *II 2 1901 — The Life You Give

Jascha Heifetz, born February 2 [Jan. 20, Old Style] 1901, in Vilna, Lithuania, Russian Empire [now Vilnius, Lithuania] was the Russian-born American violinist noted for his conscientious musical interpretation, his smooth tone, and his technical proficiency. His name became associated with musical perfection. Heifetz studied violin from age three and at six performed Felix Mendelssohn’s… Continue reading Jascha Heifetz *II 2 1901 — The Life You Give

Renata Tebaldi *II 1 1922 — The Life You Give

Renata Tebaldi, born February 1, 1922, in Pesaro, Italy, was an operatic soprano, a star at both Milan’s La Scala and New York City’s Metropolitan Opera. Tebaldi received her early musical training from her mother, a singer, and studied at the Parma Conservatory. At age 18 she sang for Carmen Melis, of the Arrigo Boito… Continue reading Renata Tebaldi *II 1 1922 — The Life You Give

Franz Schubert *I 31 1797 — The Life You Give

Franz Schubert, born Franz Peter Schubert on January 31, 1797, in Himmelpfortgrund, near Vienna, Austria, is the composer who bridged the worlds of Classical and Romantic music, noted for the melody and harmony in his songs (lieder) and chamber music. Among other works are Symphony No. 9 in C Major (The Great; 1828), Symphony in… Continue reading Franz Schubert *I 31 1797 — The Life You Give

Philip Glass *I 31 1937 — The Life You Give

No other composer, no public figure has ever played consequential roles in my life like Phillip Glass. It all began with a physical, mental, perhaps even spiritual shock in 1982, when I sat in Carnegie Hall and experienced his music for the first time. That year I moved to Boston, where, not long after that,… Continue reading Philip Glass *I 31 1937 — The Life You Give

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart *I 27 1756 — The Life You Give

Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, baptized as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, born January 27, 1756, in Salzburg, is the composer widely recognized as one of the greatest composers in the history of Western music. With Haydn and Beethoven he brought to its height the achievement of the Viennese Classical school. Unlike any other composer… Continue reading Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart *I 27 1756 — The Life You Give

Jacqueline du Pré *I 26 1945 — The Life You Give

Her story is one of the most legendary of all twentieth century musicians' stories, and also, one of the most tragic. Cellist Jacqueline Du Pré, born on January 26, 1945, in Oxford, England, to Derek and Iris Du Pré. (Despite the family name, Derek Du Pré was not French, but rather of British Channel Island… Continue reading Jacqueline du Pré *I 26 1945 — The Life You Give

Elektra (Strauss) premiered today in 1909

Music: Richard StraussLibretto: Hugo von HofmannsthalPremiere: 25 January 1909, Königliches Opernhaus, Dresden The courtyard of the Palace of Mycenae. The servants wonder whether Elektra will be grieving over her father, as is her daily ritual. Daughter of King Agamemnon and Klytämnestra, Elektra appears and locks herself up in solitude straight away. The servants all criticize… Continue reading Elektra (Strauss) premiered today in 1909

Manon (Massenet) premiered today in 1884

Music: Jules MassenetLibretto: Henri Meilhac & Philippe GilleACT IThe noblemen de Brétigny and Guillot de Morfontaine are having dinner with three young women—Poussette, Javotte, and Rosette—at an inn in Amiens. People gather for the arrival of the coach to Paris, among them Lescaut. He is waiting for his young cousin Manon, who is on her… Continue reading Manon (Massenet) premiered today in 1884

The Nose (Shostakovich) premiered today in 1930

The Nose “The Nose” details an “extraordinarily strange incident” of status-obsessed Kovalev and his nose. The story begins with drunken barber Ivan Yakovlevich unexpectedly discovering a nose in his breakfast, which he immediately recognizes as belonging to Kovalev, who is one of his clients. Fearing legal trouble, Ivan Yakovlevich hastily dumps the nose in the… Continue reading The Nose (Shostakovich) premiered today in 1930

“Parsifal” (Wagner) is completed on this day

The Poem Parzival, an epic poem, is one of the masterpieces of the Middle Ages, written between 1200 and 1210 in Middle High German by Wolfram von Eschenbach. This 16-book, 25,000-line poem is in part a religious allegory describing Parzival’s painful journey from utter ignorance and naïveté to spiritual awareness. The poem introduced the theme… Continue reading “Parsifal” (Wagner) is completed on this day

Morton Feldman *I 12 1926 — The Life You Give

Morton Feldman, born on January 12 1926, in New York, N.Y., U.S.A., was an avant-garde composer. He studied composition with Wallingford Riegger and Stefan Wolpe. In the 1950s, much more influenced by Abstract Expressionist painters than by other composers, he began using a method of graphic notation that included such devices as indicating the length… Continue reading Morton Feldman *I 12 1926 — The Life You Give

Stabat Mater (Rossini) premiered today in 1842

Stabat Mater is a work based on the traditional structure of the Stabat Mater sequence, for chorus and soloists, by Gioachino Rossini. It was composed late in his career after retiring from the composition of opera. He began the work in 1831 but did not complete it until 1841.Performed for the first time in Paris,… Continue reading Stabat Mater (Rossini) premiered today in 1842

Applied Opera — Iolanta (Tchaikovsky)

With the opera Iolanta, by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, Opera, Blood , and Tears begins the new series Applied Opera. The intention is to consider which lessons the world of opera can impart to the social and individual life. Iolanta —- a lyric opera in one act Music: Peter Ilyitch TchaikovskyLibretto: Modest Tchaikovsky Based on the… Continue reading Applied Opera — Iolanta (Tchaikovsky)

“Vexations” (Erik Satie)

VEXATIONS is a mysterious composition by Erik Satie, which takes on another dimension when the instructions at the top of the score are followed. Satie asks the performer to play the piece 840 times without a break, very slowly, which can take as long as 24 hours. Satie offers the following advice “In order to… Continue reading “Vexations” (Erik Satie)

The Life You Give: Edgard Varèse *1883

Edgard Varèse, born Edgar Varèse on Dec. 22, 1883, in Paris, France, was a composer and innovator in 20th-century techniques of sound production.Varèse spent his boyhood in Paris, Burgundy, and Turin, Italy. After composing without formal instruction as a youth, he later studied under Vincent d’Indy, Albert Roussel, and Charles Widor and was strongly encouraged… Continue reading The Life You Give: Edgard Varèse *1883

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

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner)

The plot tells of the young knight Walther von Stolzing, who courts the bourgeois Eva Pogner and - in order to obtain her father's permission to marry her - must write a song of praise in accordance with the rules of the Meistersinger. The fact that the two lovers, Eva and Walther, finally come together… Continue reading Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Wagner)

Hector Berlioz *XII 11 1803 — The Life You Give

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 Hector Berlioz *XII 11 1803 — The Life You Give

César Franck *XII 10 1822 — The Life You Give

César Franck, born César-auguste Franck, Dec. 10, 1822, Liège, Neth.—died Nov. 8, 1890, Paris, France), Belgian-French Romantic composer and organist who was the chief figure in a movement to give French music an emotional engagement, technical solidity, and seriousness comparable to that of German composers.Franck was born of a Walloon father and a mother of… Continue reading César Franck *XII 10 1822 — The Life You Give

The Life You Give: Jean Sibelius *1865

Jean Sibelius was born in Hämeenlinna, Finland, on 8th December 1865, the second of three children. His father died when ‘Janne’ was only two. Although the language spoken at home was Swedish, Janne attended Hämeenlinna’s pioneering Finnish-speaking grammar school. Music was encouraged at home, and before long Janne was improvising and composing pieces of his… Continue reading The Life You Give: Jean Sibelius *1865