Richard Wagner

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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God is Dead – The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche

God is Dead – The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche

On October 15th, 1844, Friedrich Nietzsche was born. The German philosopher, cultural critic, and classical philologist lived and worked socially isolated for the most time and faced mainly criticism until his mental breakdown in 1889. He is best known for his concept of the ‘Übermensch‘ as well as the ‘death of God‘ and now counts as one of the most discussed and appreciated philosophers of all times. “There are no facts, only interpretations.”…
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Claude Debussy – More than just the Link between Romanticism and Modernity

Claude Debussy – More than just the Link between Romanticism and Modernity

On August 22, 1862, French composer Claude Debussy was born. Debussy’s music is regarded as a link between romanticism and modernity. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For me, his Claire de Lune is one of the most beautiful pieces for piano I have ever played. “The colour of my soul is iron-grey and sad bats wheel about the steeple of my dreams.” — Claude…
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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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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. “Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.” — Hector…
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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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The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

Hans Sachs (1494-1576) On November 5, 1494, German Meistersinger (master singer), poet, playwright, and shoemaker Hans Sachs was born. His work is considered the most important testimony of the bourgeois imperial town culture of the 16th century. What makes Hans Sachs so special – although you might have never heart of him – is his profession as being a ‘Meistersinger’. Actually, he is also the only ‘Meistersinger’ whose fame lasted over the centuries…
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Giuseppe Verdi – Master of the Opera

Giuseppe Verdi – Master of the Opera

Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901) Image by Giovanni Boldini 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. The future musician moved to Bosetto with his family very early in his life, where he also got taught in composition. In his early 20s,…
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Neuschwanstein Castle – The Impossible Dream of a Mad King

Neuschwanstein Castle – The Impossible Dream of a Mad King

Neuschwanstein Castle, photo: Tauno Räsänen (wikipedia) On September 5, 1869, the foundation stone of the most prominent fantasy castle in the world was laid, Neuschwanstein. Commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat, the 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace is located on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany, and served as an inspiration for for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Intended as a personal refuge…
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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. 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 manufacturer in…
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