music

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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Felix Mendelssohn – Child Prodigy of the Romantic Era

Felix Mendelssohn – Child Prodigy of the Romantic Era

On November 4, 1847, the German composer, pianist, and organist of the Romantic era Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy passed away. He is regarded as one of the most important Romantic musicians and, as a conductor, set new standards that continue to shape conducting to this day. “People usually complain that music is so ambiguous, and what they are supposed to think when they hear it is so unclear, while words are understood by…
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Franz Liszt – Rockstar of the 19th Century

Franz Liszt – Rockstar of the 19th Century

On October 22, 1811, famous Hungarian piano player, composer and conductor Franz Liszt was born. During the nineteenth century Liszt was renowned for his extreme virtuosic skill as a pianist. According to his contemporaries he was the most technically advanced pianist of his age and by the 1840s he was considered by some to be perhaps the greatest pianist of all time. “Sorrowful and great is the artist’s destiny.” — Franz Liszt,…
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Mozart’s Famous Masonic Opera – The Magic Flute

Mozart’s Famous Masonic Opera – The Magic Flute

Opera is not for everybody, but there are iconic pieces that have become a cultural heritage for all mankind and that are well known all over the globe. Thus, everybody knows Mozart, and if you ask people, what piece of Mozart they know best, then most times you will hear the answer ‘Die kleine Nachtmusik‘ or ‘Die Zauberflöte‘. On September 30, 1791, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart‘s most famous opera, ‘Die Zauberflöte‘ (The Magic…
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