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Happy Birthday, Carl Czerny!

Thursday, February 21, 2019 by Mary O'Connor | composers

czerny599

1791 ~ Carl Czerny, Austrian pianist and composer whose vast musical production amounted to over a thousand works.

His books of studies for the piano are still widely used in piano teaching.
More information on Czerny

Czerny is in the center top of this image. He influenced many!

 

 



At the age of fifteen, Czerny began a very successful teaching career. Basing his method on the teaching of Beethoven and Muzio Clementi, Czerny taught up to twelve lessons a day in the homes of Viennese nobility.

His 'star' pupils included Theodor Döhler, Stephen Heller, Sigismond Thalberg, Leopoldine Blahetka and Ninette de Belleville .In 1819, the father of Franz Liszt brought his son to Czerny.

Liszt became Czerny's most famous pupil. He trained the child with the works of Beethoven, Clementi, Ignaz Moscheles and Johann Sebastian Bach. The Liszt family lived in the same street in Vienna as Czerny, who was so impressed by the boy that he taught him free of charge. Liszt was later to repay this confidence by introducing the music of Czerny at many of his Paris recitals.

Shortly before Liszt's Vienna concert of 13 April 1823 (his final concert of that season), Czerny arranged, with some difficulty (as Beethoven increasingly disliked child prodigies) the introduction of Liszt to Beethoven. Beethoven was sufficiently impressed with the young Liszt to give him a kiss on the forehead. Liszt remained close to Czerny, and in 1852 his Études d'exécution transcendente (Transcendental Études) were published with a dedication to Czerny.

 


Happy Birthday, Mozart!

Sunday, January 27, 2019 by Mary O'Connor | composers

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Wolfgang Amadeus MozartWolfgang Amadeus Theophilus Mozart lived between 1756 and 1791. He is considered to be a classical composer. Mozart, born in Salzburg, Austria, began composing before most children go to kindergarten. By the time he was six he had played the piano and violin in public.

A Wunderkind, a prodigy of the first rank before the age of five, Mozart astounded the musical world with compositions of unsurpassed brilliance. His father Leopold had recognized his talent at the age of three and immediately set out to teach him to play the harpsichord, violin, and organ. Mozart and his sister made their debut in Munich when he was just six and traveled about Europe together, performing at courts and before royalty, always with success. While still a little child Mozart was inventing symphonies, sonatas, and his first opera. Legends abound about how Mozart could hear an entire work in his head and write everything down without making even one change.

As a child performer he was often treated as a freak. People would cover his hands as he played the piano, make him compose tunes on the spot and perform all sorts of other musical tricks.

In 1787 Mozart became court composer to Joseph II. He played for royalty, received commissions from aristocrats and in his short lifetime composed nearly a thousand masterpieces, including symphonies, operas, serenades, sonatas, concertos, masses, vocal works, and church works.

Mozart was a prolific composer writing masterpieces using every form of music, including his operas "The Marriage of Figaro" (based on a play by Pierre Beaumarchais), "Don Giovanni", "Cosi fan tutte " and "The Magic Flute". His mastery of instrumental and vocal forms, from symphony to concerto and opera, was unrivaled in his own time and perhaps in any other.

Composing the Requiem Mass commissioned for Count Walsegg, he felt he was writing his own requiem and he died before it was finished.



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, composer, died in Vienna Austria at the age of 35, penniless, on December 5th, 1791, of malignant typhus. Mozart, the precocious child prodigy, composed several pieces that are deemed central to the classical era. Though he ranked as one of the greatest musical genii, he did not live a life of affluence.  None of his compositions earned him a decent commission but the world is forever enriched by such works as Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, the Symphonies No. 38 through 41 and the Coronation Mass.

In the year 2000, there have were some new discoveries about Mozart's death

     Mozart's birthday

     Mozart's son, Wolfgang Amadeus Franz Xavier Mozart

     Listen to Mozart's music.

You might be surprised to hear what "Ah Vous Dirais-je Maman" is!


     Read quotes by and about Mozart

     In Praise of Pianos and the Artists Who Play Them

     Guess what my li'l Chopin played today

     History of the Piano

     Mozart's first public concert with his sister

     Books and CD's by Mozart

         Mozart for Children

     Read Amazon.com's Get Started in Classical feature

University offers opera instead of traditional discipline

 

 

What Does Music Mean? ~ Bernstein

Friday, January 18, 2019 by Mary O'Connor | composers

On January 18, 1958 Leonard Bernstein began presenting his television series What does music mean?  The series ran for 53 programs.  Some of the episodes can be found below:

Part 1 What is Classical Music?

Plot: Bernstein conducts Handel's Water Music and cites it as an indisputable example of classical music. "Exact" is the word that best defines classical music, Bernstein says and he demonstrates with musical illustrations from Bach's Fourth Brandenburg Concerto, Mozart's Concerto No. 21 in C Major and The Marriage of Figaro, and Haydn's Symphony No. 102.

The decline of classical music at the end of the eighteenth century is tied to Beethoven's innovations and the Romantic movement, and Bernstein conducts Beethoven's Egmont Overture.




Part 2 What is Melody?

Plot: Bernstein discusses the different forms melody can take, including tune, theme, motive, melodic line and musical phrase. He illustrates by conducting the orchestra in excerpts from Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Hindemith, and Brahms.




Part 3 What is a Mode?

Plot: Bernstein discusses scales, intervals, and tones, and analyzes several pieces, including Debussy's Fêtes, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, and music from the Kinks and the Beatles, to illustrate different modes.

An excerpt from Bernstein's ballet Fancy Free is also performed.