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

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

Warren Zevon *I 24 1947 — The Life You Give

Few of rock & roll's great misanthropes were as talented, as charming, or as committed to their cynicism as Warren Zevon. A singer and songwriter whose music often dealt with outlaws, mercenaries, sociopaths, and villains of all stripes, Zevon's lyrics displayed a keen and ready wit despite their often uncomfortable narrative circumstances, and while he… Continue reading Warren Zevon *I 24 1947 — The Life You Give

Plácido Domingo *I 21 1941

Plácido Domingo, born January 21 1941 in Madrid, Spain, is singer, conductor, and opera administrator whose resonant, powerful tenor voice, imposing physical stature, good looks, and dramatic ability made him one of the most popular tenors of his time.Domingo’s parents were noted performers in zarzuela, a form of Spanish light opera. The family moved to… Continue reading Plácido Domingo *I 21 1941

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

Blixa Bargeld *I 12 1959 — The Life You Give

A powerfully influential figure in experimental and avant-garde rock, Blixa Bargeld is best known as one of the founders of the pioneering industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten, as well as for his work with Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.Blixa Bargeld was born Christian Emmerich in the Friedenau quarter of Berlin, Germany on January 12, 1959.… Continue reading Blixa Bargeld *I 12 1959 — The Life You Give

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

David Bowie *I 8 1947 — The Life You Give

David Bowie, born David Robert Jones, on January 8, 1947, London, England, is the singer, songwriter, and actor who was most prominent in the 1970s and best known for his shifting personae and musical genre hopping.To call Bowie a transitional figure in rock history is less a judgment than a job description. Every niche he… Continue reading David Bowie *I 8 1947 — 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

Alfred Brendel *I 5 1931 — The Life You Give

Alfred Brendel, born January 5, 1931, in Wiesenberg, Czechoslovakia [now Loučná nad Desnou, Czech Republic], is a pianist and writer whose recordings and international concert appearances secured his reputation. He is best known for his interpretations of Ludwig van Beethoven’s music, recording several cycles of the composer’s piano sonatas and concertos.Brendel studied the piano with… Continue reading Alfred Brendel *I 5 1931 — The Life You Give

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)

Grace Bumbry *I 4 1937 — The Life You Give

Grace Bumbry is a pioneering Mezzo & Soprano. Few mezzo-sopranos have successfully made the transition to becoming top sopranos. Grace Bumbry managed that. She was also a major figure in helping black singers find their rightful place on the opera stage in an era where segregation ran rampant.Born on Jan. 4, 1937, the mezzo was… Continue reading Grace Bumbry *I 4 1937 — The Life You Give

“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)

Enrique Jorrín *XII 25 1926 — The Life You Give

Enrique Jorrín, born in Candelaria, Pinar del Rio, Cuba, on December 25, 1926, is the composer, violinist and band director, famous as the inventor of a style of Cuban dance music called cha-cha-chá.At an early age, his family moved to the El Cerro neighborhood of Havana, where Jorrín was to live for the rest of… Continue reading Enrique Jorrín *XII 25 1926 — The Life You Give