Classical Archives

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
09/05/18
Mozart completed his only clarinet concerto just two months prior to his death and it has become one of the most enduring works in the solo clarinet...
Sergei Rachmaninoff
09/04/18
Composed at the turn of the 20th century, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto is often described as the greatest piano concerto of all time. There’s...
Then & Now 8/29: John Cage
08/31/18
On this date in 1952, "Water Music" by John Cage had its premiere at the Maverick Concert Hall in Woodstock, New York. "Water Music," is written for...
Ludwig van Beethoven
08/31/18
There may not be a classical masterwork more iconic than Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. But it took a while for the piece to reach its current status....
Antonin Dvorak
08/30/18
The Symphony No. 7 by Antonin Dvorak holds a special status amongst the composer’s nine symphonies. Compared to its neighbors, the sixth and eighth...
Gustav Holst
08/29/18
It may come as a surprise but Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite The Planets is not about the actual planets in our solar system – rather, he has...
Then & Now 8/28: George Gershwin
08/28/18
On this date in 1922, George Gershwin's one-act opera "Blue Monday" opened and closed on the same day.  Gershwin tried something different: a modern...
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
08/28/18
One of the first critics to write about Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony noted that the orchestration was “essentially modern, and even ultra-modern.”...
Ludwig van Beethoven
08/27/18
Like a lot of works in the 18th and 19th Century, Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto in C Major was misnumbered. He completed the concerto after what...
Hamilton Harty
08/24/18
Hamilton Harty composed his Irish Symphony for the 1904 Feis Ceoil, an annual festival of Irish music that began in 1897. Harty’s Symphony won the...
Then & Now 8/23: Bernstein and Foss
08/23/18
On this date in 1934, the Berkshire Symphonic Festival was founded in Stockbridge, Mass., by American composer and conductor Henry Hadley, with the...
Edward Elgar
08/23/18
In many ways, Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto is a reaction to the First World War. He composed it in 1919, and it embodies a realization that life in...
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
08/22/18
Mozart’s keyboard concertos are the most personal of his works: many of them were composed as a way of showcasing the composer’s own piano playing in...
Then & Now 8/21: BBC Proms
08/21/18
It's that time of year again when the BBC organizes the biggest classical music festival in the world, the BBC Proms, which runs from mid-July to...
Modest Mussorgsky
08/21/18
When Modest Mussorgsky completed his Pictures at an Exhibition in 1874, it wasn’t the version for orchestra we hear most often. It was actually an...
Ludwig van Beethoven
08/20/18
While Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is dark and driven, the Symphony No. 6 is like walking down the sunnier side of the same street. He did most of the...
Victor Herbert
08/17/18
Victor Herbert was not just a composer; he was also a world-class virtuoso cellist, and he composed two cello concertos for himself to perform. The...
Then & Now 8/16: Thank You. Thank You Vera Much
08/16/18
On this date in 1977, Rock superstar Elvis Presley died at the young age of 42, in Memphis, TN. Thousands are making their annual pilgrimage to the...
Nicolo Paganini
08/16/18
Classical Music history has a long tradition of great instrumental soloists composing great works to showcase their instrument: composers like...
Then & Now 8/15: From Russia With Love
08/15/18
On this date in 1896, Russian inventor Lev Termen (which he later anglicized to Leon Theremin) was born in St. Petersburg.  He invented the Theremin...
Franz Joseph Haydn
08/15/18
Franz Joseph Haydn’s 45th Symphony, the “Farewell” Symphony, is one of the more theatrical and problem-solving symphonies from the 18th century… At...
Then & Now 8/13: Labors of Love
08/14/18
On this date in 1841 Robert Schumann's "Concert Fantasy" for Piano and Orchestra, had its first performance at a closed rehearsal of the Leipzig...
Franz Schubert
08/14/18
No one really knows why Franz Schubert subtitled his Fourth Symphony “tragic:” some believe it was perhaps an attempt to attract a publisher, or...
Antonin Dvorak
08/13/18
The serenade, as a genre, can sometimes lead to disappointing pieces: compositions often produced by composers still figuring things out creatively....
Reinhold Gliere
08/10/18
Reinhold Gliere started work on his first symphony while he was a student at the Moscow Conservatory, and the work is unmistakably Russian. In a lot...