The Looming Shadow of Beethoven

This bog post covers the legacy of Ludwig van Beethoven. More specifically, it covers the coping mechanisms employed by Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert, and Hector Berlioz to deal with that legacy.

These early Romantic composers dealt with the burden of Beethoven variously by imitating his epic scale or by rejecting his adherence to form.

The Frayed Ends of Schumann

This blog post is about the nineteenth-century Romantic composer/pianist Robert Schumann (1810-1856).

It focuses on Schumann’s struggle with neurosyphilis and how this infirmary deformed his final musical compositions.

One of these final compositions, an unusual piece known as Theme and Variation in E-flat Major, “Ghost Variations,” is considered as an example.

The Restless Pen of Franz Schubert

This blog post covers early nineteenth-century composer, Franz Schubert. It summarizes his importance to music history and describes how his ideas about music were simultaneously conservative and progressive. Two of his pieces are examined in detail, Symphony No. 8 in D Minor and Die Erlkonig.

Music sources for the podcast:

Schubert, Franz Peter. Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 “Unfinished Symphony.” Perf. Peter Schreier & Staatskapelle Dresden; Rec. 2012. Edel Germany GmbH: Schubert (Best of).

Schubert, Franz Peter. Die Erlkonig. Perf. Siegfried Lorenz, Norman Shetler. Rec. 2012. Edel Germany GmbH: Schubert (Best of).

Classical Music Detonates

This blog post covers two sublime exemplars of Classical music: Franz Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Also covered is the Sonata form, which was the compositional architecture-of-choice for these two composers.

Haydn’s Symphony No. 103 and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 are featured with commentary, and some biographical information for both Haydn and Mozart is explored for context.

Music sources:

Haydn, Franz Joseph. Symphony No. 103 in E-Flat Major “Drumroll.” Perf. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Sir Colin Davis. Rec. 1994. Universal International Music B.V. 2 CDs. Haydn: The London Symphonies – Nos. 95, 96, 98 & 102 – 104.

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. Symphony No. 40 in G Minor. Perf. Berliner Philharmoniker and Herbert von Karajan. Rec. 1997. Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg. 2 Cds. Mozart, W.A.: Symphonies Nos.35 – 41.

The Calm before the Classical

This blog post covers the early stages of Classical Period music from 1730-1760. It focuses on the genres, forms, and artistic sensibilities that separated this period from the previous one, the Baroque Period. Two important figures from this stretch of time are covered: C.P.E. Bach and Johann Christian Bach. These talented and successful sons of Johann Sebastian Bach defined the Classical genre and helped precipitate the musical storm that followed–a deluge featuring Haydn- Mozart- and Beethoven-shaped clouds.

1 2 3 4 5