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FEATURE | Classical Horoscopes: The Signs As Composers

By Michela Comparey on January 4, 2020

Tchaikovsky was a sensitive Taurus, Hindemith a resourceful Scorpio. The signs of the astrological zodiac and the composers who fit the bill.

Classical Horoscopes- The Signs As Composers
Classical Horoscopes: The Signs As Composers

 

♑ Capricorn, December 22 – January 20

Capricorns are known for being upstanding, responsible citizens. Disciplined, traditional, with a serious streak, Capricorns are independent and good leaders. They’re smart and exacting in the work that they do, and include some of the most celebrated composers in classical music.

Frances Jean Marcel Poulenc (7 January 1899 – 30 January 1963) exemplifies a Capricorn’s industrious independence: he was mostly self-taught after his parents did not support his musical ambitions. While most of his best-known works are light-hearted, his serious side came through in his later religious works.

Others: Alexander Scriabin and Giacomo Puccini.

 

♒ Aquarius, January 21 – February 19

Aquarius (Aquarii?) march to the beat of their own drum. They can be eccentric, introspective, intellectuals who also love to take on energy that surrounds them. Don’t let an Aquarius get bored though, they need motivation to achieve their best results.

You’re in good company with a number of great composers, but no one fits the description as well as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  As a child prodigy, travelling around Europe would have provided Mozart with lots of mental stimulation to motivate him and improve his skills as a pianist and composer.  With his strong independent streak, Mozart resigned from his position working for the Archbishop Colloredo and pursued a career as a freelance composer in Vienna.

Others: Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn, and Alban Berg.

♓ Pisces, February 20 – March 20

Pisces are empathetic, artistic, and friendly people.  They often express a desire to escape reality, with a strong imagination that likes to romanticize the future.

While they might not seem it now, George Frideric Handel’s (23 February 1685 – 14 April 1759) music was utterly dramatic in his day.  His compassion and empathy shine through his expressive music that is still popular today.  Pisces are very likeable — in fact Handel was so well-liked that the British Parliament passed an act to make him a naturalized British Citizen in 1727.

Others: Morten Lauridsen and Giacomo Rossini.

 

♈ Aries, March 21 – April 20

Aries have some of the strongest personalities out there. They’re confident, enthusiastic, and determined.  They love to be the first in everything, and can be prolifically productive.

Joseph Hayden (31 March 1732 – 31 May 1809) and J.S. Bach (31 March 1685 – 28 July 1750) are serious Aries. They actually have the same birthday! It doesn’t get a whole lot more prolific than these two: Hayden is considered the father of both the symphony (over 100 works) and the string quartet (over 80 works), while Bach was a pioneer of 4-part counterpoint and credited with writing over 1000 works!

Others: Modest Mussorgsky and Andrew Lloyd Weber.

 

♉ Taurus, April 21 – May 21

Taurus’s like to be surrounded by beauty. While they’re known to be reliable and sometimes a little conservative, they’re also prone to flights of fancy and revel in sensual pleasures.  They can also be stubborn, and will stick it out through a tough situation if they believe the payoff will be worth it.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s (7 May 1840  – 6 November 1893) ballets are the perfect example of a Taurus’s sensual side.  Who else could create music so evocative of sugar and candy?  His career also shows the tenacious side of Taurus – there were few opportunities for composers in Russia at the time, and he was one of the first Russian composers to gain a reputation outside of Russia.

Others Prokofiev, Duke Ellington, Brahms, Tchaikovsky (Same birthday as Brahms), and Monteverdi.

 

♊ Gemini, May 22 – June 21

The famous twin sign – Geminis have lots of moods that almost seem to be different personalities.  They love to learn and are very curious, and their affectionate side makes them great friends! Geminis crave novelty and fun but can switch from being lighthearted to serious very quickly.

Edward Elgar (2 June 1857 – 23 February 1934) is a classic Gemini.  His Enigma Variations best shows the many sides of a Gemini composer: playful, poignant, affectionate, mischievous, dark and restless.

Others:  Iannis Xenakis, Thea Musgrave, György Ligeti, Robert Schumann, Richard Strauss, and Edvard Grieg.

 

♋ Cancer, June 22 – July 22

Sensitive Cancer’s keep their friends close and their mothers closer. They’re super loyal, sympathetic and persuasive, but they can have a bit of a dark and moody side.  At times they can be reluctant to share details of their private life, but once you get to know them they love good times spent with friends.

Percy Grainger was a cancer to a hyperbolic degree.  Fiercely loyal to his native Australia, his music was vividly imaginative. Oh, and he was also rumoured to have an incestuous relationship with his mother… and he was into some pretty weird sex stuff that only came to light when researchers opened a box that he directed to be kept in a bank vault until 10 years after he died. (Talk about keeping your private life private!)

A more mainstream Cancer, Gustav Mahler (7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911) shows the sentimental nature of cancer in his writings, he took inspiration from many sources to reflect his nostalgia for childhood. His serious and moody side makes an appearance in many of his compositions, and that’s part of what makes them so powerful.

Others: Leroy Anderson and Carl Orff.

  

♌ Leo, July 23 – August 22

Charismatic Leos are born to lead. With a creative streak, passionate Leos often excel at anything they put their minds to.  They’ve got a strong sense of humour and love to collaborate, but don’t like being ignored or being along for too long.

Claude Debussy (22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) wrote much of his music as a reaction against the popular German-style of music during his lifetime, becoming one of the first ‘impressionist’ composers even though he disliked the term.  As one of the most prominent French composers, Debussy fits the description of a Leo as being ‘King of the Jungle’ and forging their own path.

Others: Edward Gregson and Bennedetto Marcello.

 

♍ Virgo, August 23 – September 23

Sometimes a little too self-critical, Virgos are hardworking and practical.  They’re kind-hearted and love the small organizational details found in nature.  They love rationality and can be uncomfortable when unpredictable emotions surface.

Anton Bruckner (4 September 1824 – 11 October 1896) is famous for his self-criticism, reworking his own compositions and inviting others to do the same so much that it created ‘The Bruckner Problem’.  ‘The Bruckner Problem’ is that there are so many versions of his music that no one is really sure which is the final version.  Bruckner was also very humble and a little bit shy – a classic Virgo.

Others: Leonard Bernstein, Antonin Dvorak, Arvo Part, and Gustav Holst.

 

♎ Libra, September 24 – October 23

Diplomatic Libras are social and gracious. While they hate conflict, they aren’t afraid to hold a grudge, but that weakness is more than compensated for with Libras love of sharing, harmony, and the outdoors.  Even though Libras are cooperative and diplomatic, don’t expect them to blindly conform to the status quo.

No-one exemplifies the tension between a Libra’s reluctance to conform and their diplomatic side better than Dimitri Shostakovich (25 September 1906 – 9 August 1975).  He managed to navigate the incredibly difficult political situation in Soviet Russia throughout his life, and although he did fall out of official favour more than once, he always managed to bounce back.

Others: George Gershwin and Giuseppe Verdi.

 

♏ Scorpio, October 24 – November 22

Stubborn Scorpios are passionate and resourceful.  Even though at times they can be a bit jealous and secretive, once you earn their trust, they are a true friend.  They value facts and truth, and care deeply about their longtime friends.

Paul Hindemith (16 November 1895 – 28 December 1963) is a true friend to pretty much every kind of musician out there — having written a solo sonata for every orchestral instrument, and music for organ, piano, voice, and even wind band.  He lived through some of the most turbulent events of the 20th century, and his success is a sure sign of his Scorpio resourcefulness.

Others Georges Bizet, Nicolo Pagganini, Samuel Scheidt, John Philip Sousa, and Scott Joplin.

 

♐ Sagittarius, November 23 – December 21

With a big heart and a bit of wanderlust, energetic Sagittarius’ relentlessly pursue their goals even when they seem unattainable to those around them.  They have a great sense of humour, but can be very impatient when they face constraints.

While Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) is the obvious choice for a Sagittarius composer, Louis Prima better fits the energetic and humorous description of a Sagittarius (plus, we all know about Beethoven already, right?). Prima (December 7, 1910 – August 24, 1978) was a playful man of many talents. His various projects shaped the jazz and swing music scenes throughout the 1900s. His sense of humour is evident in his role as King Louie in the Jungle Book and his original songs like “Please No Squeeza Da Banana”.

Others: John Baptiste Lully and Anton Webern.

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Michela Comparey

Michela Comparey reluctantly picked up the tuba at age 13. Thanks to competition with her brother who also played the tuba, she stuck with it and has since earned a Masters in Tuba Performance and Pedagogy from Memorial University. Her musical career so far has included playing with numerous ensembles including the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Canadian Artillery Band (among others in the Canadian Forces), the Weston Silver Band, and several chamber groups.She is a co-founder of Euba, a professional tuba-euphonium quartet.
Michela Comparey

Michela Comparey

Michela Comparey reluctantly picked up the tuba at age 13. Thanks to competition with her brother who also played the tuba, she stuck with it and has since earned a Masters in Tuba Performance and Pedagogy from Memorial University. Her musical career so far has included playing with numerous ensembles including the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Canadian Artillery Band (among others in the Canadian Forces), the Weston Silver Band, and several chamber groups.She is a co-founder of Euba, a professional tuba-euphonium quartet.
Michela Comparey
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