Richard Wagner

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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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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Edward William Elgar – Enigma, Pomp and Circumstances

Edward William Elgar – Enigma, 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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Vincenzo Bellini – the Swan of Catania

Vincenzo Bellini – the Swan of Catania

Probably on November 3, 1801, Italian Opera composer Vincenzo Bellini was born. Bellini was the quintessential composer of the Italian bel canto era of the early 19th century especially known for his long-flowing melodic lines for which he was named “the Swan of Catania”. Vincenzo Bellini – Youth and Education Vincenzo Bellini was the oldest son of Rosario Bellini (1776-1840) and Agata Ferlito. He was born as son and grandson of church…
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The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

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 is a Meistersinger? 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…
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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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Neuschwanstein Castle – The Impossible Dream of a Mad King

Neuschwanstein Castle – The Impossible Dream of a Mad King

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‘s Castle. Big plans of a young King Intended as a personal…
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Carl Bechstein and his famous Grand Pianos

Carl Bechstein and his famous Grand 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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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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