music

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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Edward William Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstances

Edward William Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstances

On June 2, 1857, English composer Sir Edward William Elgar was born. Many of his works have entered the British and international classical concert repertoire.  Among his best-known compositions are orchestral works including Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos for violin and cello, and two symphonies. “My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us, the world is full of it and you simply take…
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Henry Steinway and the Grand Pianos

Henry Steinway and the Grand Pianos

On February 15, 1797, German-born American inventor and entrepreneur Henry Steinway was born. He invented the overstrung iron-frame grand piano (1859) and is founder of the piano company Steinway & Sons. Steinway was born Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg in Wolfshagen im Harz, Duchy of Brunswick in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (modern Germany). His childhood was marked by many tragedies and twists of fate. He attended the common schools of…
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Probably the best known composer of the world – Ludwig van Beethoven

Probably the best known composer of the world – Ludwig van Beethoven

On December 17, 1770, German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven was born. He is considered a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. Born as the eldest of three children in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire, Beethoven displayed his musical…
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Adolphe Sax and the Invention of the Saxophone

Adolphe Sax and the Invention of the Saxophone

On November 6, 1814, Belgian musical instrument designer and musician Antoine-Joseph “Adolphe” Sax was born. Besides playing flute and clarinet, he is well known for having invented the saxophone.Sax became something of a footnote in history after his creation was almost forgotten after his death, until it was revived by jazz musicians who barely remembered his name.[2] Back in the time when I was a student, I remember one fellow student who ‘polluted’ the air of the…
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Harvey Fletcher – the Father of Stereophonic Sound

Harvey Fletcher – the Father of Stereophonic Sound

Setup for the oil drop experiment. On September 11, 1884, US-american physicist Harvey Fletcher was born. Considered as the “father of stereophonic sound” he is credited with the invention of hearing aids and is well known for his contributions in acoustics, electrical engineering, speech, medicine, music, atomic physics, sound pictures, and education. Harvey Fletcher was raised in Utah in a religious community. He received his early education at he Brigham Young University…
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Niccoló Paganini – the Devil’s Violinist

Niccoló Paganini – the Devil’s Violinist

On May 27, 1840, Italian violinist and composer Niccolo Paganini passed away. He was the most celebrated violin virtuoso of his time, and left his mark as one of the pillars of modern violin technique. Niccolò Paganini was born in Genoa, then capital of the Republic of Genoa, the third of the six children of Antonio and Teresa (née Bocciardo) Paganini. Already Paganini’s father made his living from music. He used to play the mandolin…
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Albert Schweitzer and his Hospital in Africa

Albert Schweitzer and his Hospital in Africa

On March 21, 1913, theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary in Africa Albert Schweitzer together with his wife Helene start their voyage to Africa, to establish a hospital in Equatorial Africa. “The awareness that we are all human beings together has become lost in war and through politics.” Radio appeal for peace, Oslo, Norway (30 March 1958) Albert Schweitzer was born on January 14, 1875, as the second child of a…
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Antonio Stradivari and his famous Strings

Antonio Stradivari and his famous Strings

Illustration of Antonio Stradivari On December 18, 1737, famous Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari passed away. Besides violins Stradivari also crafted cellos, guitars, violas, and harps. He is generally considered the most significant and greatest artisan in this field. There is only little known of Stradivari’s early life, but his oldest surviving violin was presumably from 1666. It is assumed that he began apprenticeship with Nicolo Amati at the age of about 12 years. Amati…
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