Classical Music 101: The birth and evolution of a strange beast that is the European orchestra
The evolution of the orchestra is not a quick or simple story: It took American music history scholars John Spitzer and Neal Zaslaw 15 years to research, write and rewrite The Birth of the Orchestra: History of an Institution, 1650-1815 (Oxofrd University Press, 2004). but I thought it would be fascinating to scape together a quick evolutionary sketch.
Album review: Beethoven symphonies even more present and insistent with period instruments
Anyone with even a glancing knowledge of Western music history knows that Beethoven first rattled the cage of Classical form, then demolished it with oupourings of emotion using then-unconventional means. But so much of the Beethoven we hear on symphony stages sounds so tame. Is this really the music that shocked listeners 200 years ago?
Classical Music 101: What you see isn't what you hear with printed score
It makes for a great soundbite, but when a musician modestly says “I’m only transmitting the notes from the composer to you,” he or she is lying.
Introducing: The sophisticated atmospheres of American composer Charles Tomlinson Griffes
By John Terauds on September 30, 2012
A recent addition to Naxos’ American Classics series by the Seattle Symphony and its former music director Gerard Schwarz offers an excellent opportunity to appreciate the imagination and technique of this talented man, who worked as a teacher in a private boys’ school by day, and composed by night.
Classical Music 101: A guide to the subtler charms of a string orchestra in a noisy age
A visit to Bob Shingleton’s excellent blog, On an Overgrown Path, has inspired a little ode to the charms of the string orchestra, a deceptively simple-seeming collection of violins, violas, cellos and double-basses.
Classical Music 101: Keeping time doesn't necessarily mean sticking to a beat
We also don’t read aloud much, if ever, so even the natural rhythms of language and speech are not really natural in a big, 21st century city.
Introducing: Strauss's Metamorphosen -- and does it have to mean anything?
So it’s high time to up the Strauss quotient by having a listen to Metamorphosen, one of his masterpieces. The 25-minute piece is written out for 23 separate string parts: 10 violins, five violas and cellos and three double-basses. It is in three parts (slow, fast, slow), but they are seamless.
Video: Kristian Bezuidenhout explains the differences between the fortepiano and modern piano in Toronto
Ahead of the first of four concerts with Tafelmusik in his Toronto début this week, fortepiano master Kristian Bezuidenhout eloquently answered questions about what makes his instrument different from a modern concert grand.
Classical Music 101: To realise or to interpret?
By John Terauds on September 22, 2013
Classical musicians are taught that, with any piece not attached to a living composer, there is a performance tradition to follow in each act of interpretation. Each composer, style and period imposes certain parameters of convention and taste — even in instances where all we have are diary entries and broad sketches to provide clues about the practices of yore.