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Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008

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It was not false modesty that prompted Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) to write to thenfamous singer Maria Waldmann, inviting her to participate in the premiere of his 1883 Messa da Requiem. “You would gain neither reputation nor money from it,” he wrote, continuing that the work’s main attribute was simply that it commemorated a great man. It might, Verdi added, “make history,” not due to “the merit of the music but because of the man to whom it is dedicated.” One supposes he had reason to doubt its lasting value, given its difficult birth. The piece had originally been conceived as a requiem mass to be performed on the first anniversary of the death of the Italian opera master Gioacchino Rossini—a work to be contributed to by several different composers. Verdi wrote a “Libera me” portion for this work, but it just never came off.
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008

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Perhaps no other composer’s career fell so neatly into two distinct halves as that of Richard Strauss (1864-1949). He began as an almost exclusively orchestral composer, turning out one great tone poem after another until roughly the first decade of the 20th century. Then came his “second act” as a composer of operas. While Strauss’ first two operas remained quite firmly grounded in the same Wagnerian tradition as his many orchestral tone poems, his third opera, Salome, marked the turning point—and what a decidedly revolutionary one it was! Salome burst upon the early-20th-century music scene in 1905, ushering in musical modernism and even the avant-garde. Premiering in Dresden, Germany, Salome was condemned by musically conservative critics for its perceived moral decadence, but the more adventurous found it to be a fresh start for an art form that was becoming somewhat staid and predictable.
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008

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Is he also nothing but a human being? He will…become a tyrant.” So fumed Ludwig van Beethoven (1770- 1827) upon first hearing that Napoleon Bonaparte had crowned himself Emperor of France. No doubt Beethoven felt Napoleon had . . .
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008

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To get at the very roots of classical music (aka “European Art Music”), you have to turn the clock way, way back. Beyond Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven; much earlier even than Bach, Handel and Vivaldi; past Monteverdi and Palestrina, and even before the famous madrigals, lute songs and ballades of the Renaissance.
Classical Review
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008

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American composer John Adams (b. 1947) once stood under the same Minimalist umbrella as Steve Reich and Philip Glass, but as the ’90s wore on, he developed into something of a “post-post-modernist,” as demonstrated by such works as The Death of Klinghoffer (1991) and the Violin Concerto (1993).
Classical Music/Dance
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008

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Throughout his life, literature stoked the fire that burned so brightly in the imagination of French composer Hector Berlioz (1803-69). Yet, while many might assume that it was Lord Byron’s “The Corsair” that inspired his concert overture of the same name, it was actually James Fenimore Cooper’s novel The Red Rover...

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