music

Giuseppe Verdi – Master of the Opera

Giuseppe Verdi – Master of the Opera

On October 9 or 10, 1813, famous Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi was born. He is primarily known for his romantic operas, and together with Richard Wagner, Verdi is considered the most influential composer of operas of the nineteenth century. I wish that every young man when he begins to write music would not concern himself with being a melodist, a harmonist, a realist, an idealist or a futurist or any other such…
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Camille Saint-Saëns – a Musical Renaissance Man

Camille Saint-Saëns – a Musical Renaissance Man

On October 9, 1835, French composer, organist, conductor, and pianist of the Romantic era Camille Saint-Saëns was born. He was something of an anomaly among French composers of the nineteenth century in that he wrote in virtually all genres, including opera, symphonies, concertos, songs, sacred and secular choral music, solo piano, and chamber music. Moreover, his interests also exceeded the musical genre as being an expert in mathematics and maintaining strong interests in…
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Johann Pachelbel – the Baroque One Hit Wonder

Johann Pachelbel – the Baroque One Hit Wonder

On September 1, 1653, German Baroque composer, organist and teacher Johann Pachelbel was christened. It was Pachelbel, who brought the south German organ tradition to its peak. He composed a large body of sacred and secular music, and his contributions to the development of the chorale prelude and fugue have earned him a place among the most important composers of the middle Baroque era. Today, almost only a single piece of his musical…
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Black Vinyl at 33⅓ RPM

Black Vinyl at 33⅓ RPM

On June 21, 1948, Columbia Records introduced the long-playing record album, in short the LP, in a public demonstration at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, New York, which soon was adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry. Apart from relatively minor refinements and the important later addition of stereophonic sound capability, it has remained the standard format for vinyl “albums”. It all starts with the Player Piano To…
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Carl Bechstein and his famous Pianos

Carl Bechstein and his famous Pianos

On June 1, 1826, Carl Bechstein was born, who became widely known for his German piano manufacture. His pianos met the demands mostly of Romantic Era musicians such as Franz Liszt or Hans von Bülow at first, which made the company famous globally. Bechstein Background Carl Bechstein was the stepson of the teacher, cantor and plant breeder Johann Michael Aght. At the age of 14, Carl Bechstein was apprenticed at a piano…
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Richard Wagner – Genius and Megalomania

Richard Wagner – Genius and Megalomania

On May 22, 1813, German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor Richard Wagner was born. His compositions, particularly those of his later period, are notable for their complex textures, rich harmonies and orchestration. His music is characterized by elaborate use of leitmotifs, i.e. musical phrases associated with individual characters, places, ideas or plot elements. His advances in musical language greatly influenced the development of classical music and made way to modern music. And…
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Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle and the Marseillaise

Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle and the Marseillaise

On April 25, 1792, French army officier Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle during the French Revolution composes the ‘Chant de guerre pour l’armée du Rhin‘ for the declaration of war against Austria. Under the name ‘La Marseillaise‘ his song later becomes the national anthem of France. Everybody knows the French National Anthem I’m pretty sure that almost everybody knows the French national anthem, the so-called Marseillaise, simply because of its numerous references throughout music…
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Laurens Hammond and the Hammond Organ

Laurens Hammond and the Hammond Organ

On April 24, 1934, American engineer and inventor Laurens Hammond filed US Patent 1,956,350 for an “electrical musical instrument“, his famous eponymous electric organ with the unique ‘Hammond sound’. The Hammond Clock Company Laurens was born in Illinois, USA, but moved to France after his father took his life. In  Europe, Hammond began to design some of his earliest inventions. By the age of 14, the boy had already designed systems for automatic…
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Giovanni Palestrina and the Beauty of Polyphony

Giovanni Palestrina and the Beauty of Polyphony

On February 2, 1594, Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina passed away. He is the best-known 16th-century representative of the Roman School of musical composition and has had a lasting influence on the development of church music. His work has often been seen as the culmination of Renaissance polyphony. The Origins of Polyphony The origins of polyphony are assumed in the European vocal music of the late Medieval Era.…
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The Inglourious Death of Jean-Baptiste Lully, Composer

The Inglourious Death of Jean-Baptiste Lully, Composer

On January 8, 1687, French ballet dancer and composer Jean-Baptiste Lully struck his foot with his long conducting staff during a performance of his Te Deum. Because he refused to treat the wound, it got infected and he died from gangrene soon after. Besides this inglourious way of death, Lully is considered the chief master of the French baroque style, who stripped of all Italian influences from French music of the period and…
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