music

Robert Hope-Jones and the Theatre Organ

Robert Hope-Jones and the Theatre Organ

On February 9, 1859, British instrument maker Robert Hope-Jones was born. Hope-Jones is considered to be the inventor of the theatre organ in the early 20th century. He thought that a pipe organ should be able to imitate the instruments of an orchestra, and that the console should be detachable from the organ. Robert Hope-Jones learned to play the organ in his early childhood and when he turned 9 years old, Hope-Jones occasionally…
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Gustav Mahler and the Modernism in Music

Gustav Mahler and the Modernism in Music

On July 7, 1860, Austrian late-Romantic composer Gustav Mahler was born. Mahler also was one of the leading conductors of his generation. As a composer he acted as a bridge between the 19th century Austro-German tradition and the modernism of the early 20th century. Gustav Mahler was born in Kaliště in Bohemia, then part of the Austrian Empire, now Czech Republic, as the 2nd of 14 children into a Jewish German-speaking family…
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The Romantic Music of Robert Schumann

The Romantic Music of Robert Schumann

On June 8, 1810, German composer and influential music critic Robert Schumann was born. Schumann is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist, but a hand injury ended this dream of becoming one of Europe‘s finest pianists. Schumann then focused his musical energies on composing. The musical education of Robert Schumann began…
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Leo Fender and the Electric Guitar

Leo Fender and the Electric Guitar

On March 21, 1991, American inventor  “Clarence Leonidas “Leo” Fender passed away. Fender developed the first solid-body electric guitar to be mass-produced: the Fender Broadcaster in 1948. His Stratocaster (1954) should become one of the most favored model of rock guitarists. Leo Fender was born on August 10, 1909. When he was approximately 13 years old, his uncle who ran an automotive-electric shop, sent him a box filled with discarded car radio parts, and…
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Hector Berlioz and the Symphonie Fantastique

Hector Berlioz and the Symphonie Fantastique

On December 11, 1803, French romantic composer Hector Berlioz was born. He is best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts (Requiem). Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works, and conducted several concerts with more than 1,000 musicians. Hector Berlioz was born among five siblings in France at La Côte-Saint-André in the…
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Mozart’s Don Giovanni

Mozart’s Don Giovanni

On October 29, 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Opera Don Giovanni with the libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte premiered in Prague. Being one of the most perfomed operas worldwide, it proved a fruitful subject for writers and philosophers based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. Besides the beautiful Requiem, this is my personal favorite in the works of Mozart. I’ve seen it performed many times live on stage,…
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The Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House

On October 20, 1973, the Sydney Opera House was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II. It is identified as one of the 20th century’s most distinctive buildings. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon in a modern expressionist design, it features a series of large precast concrete roof “shells”, each composed of sections of a sphere of 75.2 metres radius. Planning for the opera house started in the 1940s when the director of…
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Jacopo Peri and the early Opera

Jacopo Peri and the early Opera

On October 6, 1600, Jacopo Peri’s opera Euridice was performed for the first time, being created for the marriage of King Henry IV of France and Maria de Medici. The composition is typically considered to be the second work of modern opera, and the first such musical drama to survive to the present day. In creating the music for Euridice, Peri envisioned a vocal style that is half sung and half spoken.The…
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Emanuel Schikaneder – The Most Talented Theatre Man of his Era

Emanuel Schikaneder – The Most Talented Theatre Man of his Era

On September 1, 1751, German impresario, dramatist, actor, singer and composer Emanuel Schikaneder was born. So you have never heard of Schikaneder? Oh, but for sure you have heard of Mozart [1], and Schikaneder wrote the libretto of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart‘s popular opera The Magic Flute [2]. Moreover, he was often referred to as “one of the most talented theater men of his era” and was the builder of the Theater an der…
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Parsifal – Richard Wagner’s Last Opera

Parsifal – Richard Wagner’s Last Opera

On July 26, 1882, Richard Wagner‘s last opera ‘Parsifal‘ premiered in the Festspielhaus at Bayreuth. Wagner described Parsifal not as an opera, but as “ein Bühnenweihfestspiel” (“A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage“). Initially, according to Wagner‘s will, Parsifal should only be allowed to be played at Bayreuth, because he wanted to prevent it from degenerating into ‘mere amusement‘ for an opera-going public. Wagner‘s compositions, particularly those of his later…
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