191 posts tagged with classical.
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Bird songs of Messiaen

The bird songs of Messiaen as transcribed by Messiaen.
posted by ennui.bz on Mar 8, 2011 - 8 comments

IMSLP copyright clashes

... the International Music Score Library Project, has trod in the footsteps of Google Books and Project Gutenberg and grown to be one of the largest sources of scores anywhere. It claims to have 85,000 scores, or parts for nearly 35,000 works, with several thousand being added every month. That is a worrisome pace for traditional music publishers, whose bread and butter comes from renting and selling scores in expensive editions backed by the latest scholarship. More than a business threat, the site has raised messy copyright issues and drawn the ire of established publishers. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 22, 2011 - 23 comments

It's got a good beat and you can dance to it, finally.

Vadrum drums over some familiar classics ... Mozart's overture to The Marriage of Figaro (original). The William Tell overture (original). Rossini's overture to The Barber of Seville — you'll recognize it at 1:20 (original). Mozart's "Rondo Alla Turca" a.k.a. "Turkish March," from Piano Sonata No. 11, K. 331 (original). [more inside]
posted by John Cohen on Dec 29, 2010 - 19 comments

Mass Takemitsu dump.

Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) was an avante-garde Japanese composer who took influences from jazz, pop music, and traditional Japanese music. In his lifetime he composed over 100 film scores, and 130 concert pieces. Just last week, there was a tribute to his work at Carnegie Hall as part of their JapanNYC Festival. A documentary about his work is available on Veoh (requires Veoh plugin) and on Youtube (1 2 3 4 5 6). [more inside]
posted by azarbayejani on Dec 28, 2010 - 8 comments

Best Music Writing 2010

Best Music Writing 2010 - Links inside! [more inside]
posted by chaff on Dec 16, 2010 - 15 comments

San Francisco Symphony

Keeping Score is designed to give people of all musical backgrounds an opportunity to explore signature works by composers Hector Berlioz, Charles Ives, and Dmitri Shostakovich in depth, and at their own pace. The interactive audio and video explores the composers’ scores and pertinent musical techniques as well as the personal and historical back stories. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Dec 12, 2010 - 7 comments

R.I.P. Henryk Górecki

Composer Henryk Górecki, known for his choral and orchestral works in the "sacred minimalist" style, has died. He was best known for his Symphony #3, "Sorrowful Songs," (YT sample) premiered in the U.S. in 1994. Górecki's Symphony #4, scheduled to premier in 2010, was postponed because of the composer's extended illness, will not be completed.
posted by aught on Nov 12, 2010 - 65 comments

Pianist's Hidden Identities

Classical pianists tend to be identified by their favorite repertoire. Thus, Murray Perahia got stamped as a Mozart and Schumann pianist in his early career, and people raised their eyebrows when he embarked on Liszt and other heavy repertoire. And Rudolf Serkin is today perhaps known best for his Beethoven, and not for the Chopin etudes he played in his earlier years. Searching for something totally else, I stumbled upon a few private recordings by Clara Haskil [more inside]
posted by Namlit on Nov 7, 2010 - 5 comments

Tickling the fancy of those who tickle the ivories

There's never been a better time to be a curious classical pianist. A few YouTube users have been uploading synchronized scores to dozens of interesting pieces, usually virtuosic and/or obscure, and often out of print or otherwise unavailable. There are all sorts of treasures, but perhaps the most notable scores are those of a lost generation of post-Scriabin Russian composers whose avant-garde output was later suppressed by the Soviet government.
posted by dfan on Nov 4, 2010 - 15 comments

Name a piece, anyone...!

Richard Grayson is a (now retired) composer and classical improviser. To give you just a taste, Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" in the style of a Tango, "Heart and Soul" a la Mahler, "Take the A Train" as a Chopin Funeral March.
posted by non-kneebiter on Oct 13, 2010 - 43 comments

Joan Sutherland (1926-2010)

Dame Joan Sutherland has died at the age of 83. One of the most remarkable female opera singers of the 20th century, she was dubbed La Stupenda by a La Fenice audience in 1960 after a performance as Alcina. She possessed a voice of beauty and power, combining extraordinary agility, accurate intonation, "pin point staccatos, a splendid trill and a tremendous upper register, although music critics often complained about the imprecision of her diction. Her friend Luciano Pavarotti once called Sutherland the "Voice of the Century", while Montserrat Caballé described the Australian's voice as being like "heaven".
posted by Joe Beese on Oct 11, 2010 - 16 comments

What's wrong with classical music?

"What's wrong with classical music?" That article (1) diagnoses why classical music -- both old and contemporary -- has lost its cultural vitality and (2) looks at some proposals for reviving it. [more inside]
posted by John Cohen on Oct 4, 2010 - 186 comments

Classical Gas

Don't delay. Operators are standing by. For the next 30 hours or so you can still get in on the movement to free music. Musopen is a nonprofit organization raising money to record out-of-copyright classical music. They plan to post the results online for free. As of now, they plan to record the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky and for every additional $1000 donated they will record another set of compositions such as Mozart’s violin sonatas. They've done it before. Ain't it a gas?
posted by DaddyNewt on Sep 13, 2010 - 33 comments

Shostakovich Symphonies, oh, and also Bruckner

If you have some time that needs to be filled with music, you might want to listen to all the symphonies of Shostakovich and perhaps all of Bruckner's as well - Bernard Haitink's recordings of these two cycles are available for listening on myspace (of all places).
posted by Wolfdog on Aug 17, 2010 - 8 comments

"I soon learned that if I was asked to play something over again, it meant that they didn't understand it, not that they liked it."

"But this wasn't quite enough and so then I got the idea of having all thirteen of the lowest tones of the piano played together... In other words, I was inventing a new musical sound later to be called 'tone clusters'... Anyway, this was my professional debut as a composer." Henry Cowell's musical autobiography. Cowell was one of the most important figures in 20th-century American music, described by John Cage as "the open sesame for new music in America." In this hour-long program recorded four years before his death in 1965, compositions from every stage in Cowell's career are contextualized and discussed by the man himself.
posted by No-sword on Aug 8, 2010 - 10 comments


"In a way I wish it did not require such a formidable technique, because I do not really enjoy sweating over this music." This is virtuoso pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin speaking of Charles-Valentin Alkan, the Romantic pianist said to have made even Liszt nervous, and whose exhilarating works fell into obscurity due to their rigorous technical demands. For a warm-up, here's Alkan's major etude "Allegro barbaro", as performed by Jack Gibbons. A machine recording of his piece Le Chemin de Fer in which you can see the keys being pressed. Recordings of Youtube exist of people attempting his near-impossible Scherzo focoso (and, for comparison, a mechanical rendition of the same). And for encore, here is Hamelin again playing Les Quatre Ages, frequently considered Alkan's most mature work, a sonata depicting the four ages of man.
posted by Rory Marinich on Jul 29, 2010 - 20 comments

An often neglected impressionistic composer

Frederic Mompou (1893 -1987) composed many often exquisite and mysteriously adventurous minatures for piano. Born in Barcelona, he then went to Conservatory and spent several decades in Paris, and of course was influenced first by Gabriel Faure and Chopin, then Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Francis Poulenc, and notably Erik Satie. Yet, unlike them, he never quite became a "household name" in classical music. [more inside]
posted by Seekerofsplendor on Jul 22, 2010 - 13 comments

The Sound of Muzik

Classical Music’s New Golden Age
posted by Gyan on Jul 21, 2010 - 63 comments

What is a symphony?

Imagine this: 'This evening we are going to hear the 2nd Symphony by Claude Debussy, the Austrian première of Insect Life by the Finnish opera composer Kalevi Aho, and the 2nd Symphony by Bela Bartók.’ What is a symphony? What does the concept mean nowadays? And what does it mean, to compose symphonically?
posted by Wolfdog on Jun 29, 2010 - 45 comments

Nature / Nurture / Talent

Vanessa Mae Nicholson is one of Britain’s most successful young musicians. A classical violinist and former child prodigy who self-describes her crossover style as "violin techno-acoustic fusion," her fans praise her modern creativity and frenetic, lightning-fast riffs. But is her talent learned or genetic? Documentary from BBC1 in 2008: Vanessa Mae - The Making of Me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 21, 2010 - 18 comments

Peoria 2010 Old-Time Piano Weekend

Performances [MLYT] from the 2010 Old-Time Piano Championship in Peoria. Featuring early March, Cakewalk, Ragtime, Boogie, Stride, Blues, Novelty, Jazz, Classical, and popular song styles from before 1930.
posted by gman on Jun 20, 2010 - 13 comments

Martha Argerich

[Martha] Argerich brings to bear qualities that are seldom contained in one person: she is a pianist of brainteasing technical agility; she is a charismatic woman with an enigmatic reputation; she is an unaffected interpreter whose native language is music. This last may be the quality that sets her apart. A lot of pianists play huge double octaves; a lot of pianists photograph well. But few have the unerring naturalness of phrasing that allows them to embody the music rather than interpret it. - Alex Ross, "Madame X". The New Yorker - November 12, 2001
posted by Joe Beese on Jun 9, 2010 - 12 comments

Opera star Rene Fleming pulls a reverse-Sting and enters a "parallel universe"

Rene Fleming pulls a reverse-Sting and enters a "parallel universe" of sound. Brings up interesting issues in the different ways people in the pop and classical realm define the "natural" vocie, as well acknowledges that in our completely shattered, niche market this cross-over record has no more or less validity then any other album being released today.
posted by The3rdMan on May 31, 2010 - 52 comments

Mitsuko Uchida

Three-time Gramophone Award winner, Dame of the Empire, and, by consensus, the world's greatest living performer of Mozart's keyboard works, Mitsuko Uchida also gives great piano face. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Jan 16, 2010 - 13 comments

Igor Presnyakov plays classical guitar

Classical guitar virtuoso Igor Presnyakov won't do what you tell him (NSFW/lyrics). But he will bring his unique style to an array of well-known songs: Bad Romance, Thriller, Beat It, Poker Face, Ain't No Sunshine, Isn't She Lovely. [more inside]
posted by tomcooke on Jan 15, 2010 - 66 comments

Glenn Gould plays the Goldberg Variations

Glenn Gould plays Clavier Ubung bestehend in einer ARIA mit verschiedenen Veraenderungen vors Clavicimbal mit 2 Manualen - also known as the Goldberg Variations. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese on Dec 26, 2009 - 44 comments

Classical humour

Westminster Gold reissued classical albums in the seventies. The covers could be racy [slightly NSFW], unusual, puzzling, irreverent, and employ national stereotypes, but my favourites are the literal puns like Pops Promenade and Allegri String Quartet.
posted by tellurian on Dec 15, 2009 - 16 comments

New classical music! With Twitter!

Found Songs.
posted by StrikeTheViol on Sep 6, 2009 - 12 comments

Eric Whitacre

Over the past few years, Eric Whitacre has been taking the composition world by storm. And now he's all over the web. (Most links silent, personal website has an autoplay rainstorm going on.) His choral works range from the mysterious and brooding Water Night to the rambunctious modern madrigal, With a Lily In Your Hand, to the wonderfully lush Sleep (formerly a setting of Robert Frost's "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" - tragically halted by copyright infringement, but still available thanks to the magic of YouTube). While his instrumental compositions run the spectrum from silly musical parody (Godzilla Eats Las Vegas) to poignant melancholy (October) with some delicate crossover between vocal and instrumental (Lux Aurumque - first choral, then instrumental!). If you are or think you may be even remotely interested in contemporary classical music, you owe it to yourself to become familiar with the work of Eric Whitacre.
posted by greekphilosophy on Jun 8, 2009 - 36 comments

a semi-staged production of Shakespere's A Midsummer Night's Dream with Mendelsohn's incidental music

Last night, BBC Radio 3 broadcast a semi-staged production of Shakespere's A Midsummer Night's Dream with Mendelsohn's incidental music. Now they've put a video of the performance up on their website. [more inside]
posted by feelinglistless on May 11, 2009 - 17 comments

Ancient Greece

Explore the History of the Ancient Greek World from the Neolithic to the Classical Period. Covering important topics, such as Art and Architecture, Mythology, Wars, Culture and Society, Poetry, Olympics, History Periods, Philosophy, Playwrights, Kings and Rulers of Ancient Greece.
posted by netbros on Feb 21, 2009 - 3 comments

Meet the Composer

If you've ever enjoyed Steve Reich's Different Trains, John Adams' Nixon in China or Harry Partch's The Bewitched, you probably have Betty Freeman to thank. Freeman supported the works of such composers as Philip Glass, John Cage and Witold Lutoslawski (and many, many more), often early in their careers. She was a photographer herself, and the subject of David Hockney's Beverly Hills Housewife. Freeman passed away at age 87.
posted by NemesisVex on Jan 6, 2009 - 10 comments

Evelyn Glennie talks about music and deafness

Evelyn Glennie speaks at TED. Don't know her? Visit her site.
posted by aisforal on Dec 19, 2008 - 14 comments

International Music Score Library Project has reopened!

Rejoice, classical music lovers! After closing in October 2007 due to copyright issues, the International Music Score Library Project (previously) has reopened! (In June, but there's no FPP about it.) From a quick overview, it seems the site has most of every major (pre-20th-century?) composer's opus - far more than any other "free sheet music" website.
posted by archagon on Oct 20, 2008 - 10 comments

Trumpeteer Videos

Trumpet Kings is a blog dedicated to videos of trumpeteers, mostly jazz but there are a few classical ones. On the companion youtube channel there are 184 videos. These are some of my favorite things: Wynton Marsalis - Riot, Dizzy Gillespie - trumpet battle, Maynard Ferguson - Round Midnight, Louis Armstrong - C'est Si Bon, Miles Davis - No Blues, Ray Anthony - Harlem Nocturne, Booker Little - Minor Mode Blues, Ingrid Jensen - Foxy Trot and Sergei Nakariakov - Bach's Air.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 16, 2008 - 11 comments

"How can you tell when a violist is playing out of tune? .... The bow is moving. "

Why are viola players always the butt of the joke in the orchestra? Some viola jokes. Are you still laughing now?
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 2, 2008 - 65 comments

Guardian's Top 50 Arts Videos

The Guardian has compiled a list of their top fifty arts videos, the majority being from either rare or obscure sources and uploaded onto YouTube.
posted by djgh on Aug 30, 2008 - 13 comments

Ronsheim's lectures on 20th century music

Course materials and taped lectures (nearly 70 hours worth) from John Ronsheim's classes on 20th century music at Antioch College.
posted by Wolfdog on Aug 26, 2008 - 13 comments


The future of classical music lies in China. Chinese enthusiasm for Western classical music is deep, says New Yorker music critic Alex Ross, but traditional Chinese music is older and more classical than anything in the West.
posted by plexi on Jul 22, 2008 - 30 comments

Canadian Brass

The brass quintet Canadian Brass is both venerable--it's been around 38 years--and prolific--its discography is as long as your arm. While they often play classical arrangements, they also mix in jazz and blues, along with a complement of showmanship and humor. (Also, they play Flight of the Bumblebee on the tuba.) [Mouseover for titles.]
posted by Upton O'Good on Jul 3, 2008 - 18 comments

Stop messing up the music.

The most important essay about music I've ever read. (And part 2.) Make sure to listen to the examples. [more inside]
posted by Tlogmer on May 26, 2008 - 47 comments

The Yellow Shark [NOT MUDSHARK-IST]

In 1993, we said goodbye to Frank Zappa, fallen victim to prostate cancer. A 1993 Today Show interview with Frank. A 1993 BBC documentary about Frank. {Parts 2, 3, 4.} "Outrage at Valdez," from 1993's The Yellow Shark. [Zappa mega-post previously on MeFi]
posted by not_on_display on May 17, 2008 - 43 comments

Online Music & Performing Arts Films

Medici.tv is an online "television" dedicated to performing arts and music documentaries. Its current catalogue includes many classical concerts, documentaries by Johan van der Keuken and on the Kinshasa musical underground (previously), portraits (lots of Glenn Gould, Shostakovich by Sokurov, Maya Plisetskaya...), and plenty more. Launched April 30th, it's streaming its full contents in lovely quality for free until May 15th. [more inside]
posted by progosk on May 8, 2008 - 8 comments

Orchestral Maneuvers in the dAKAH

In LA, a 63 (70!)-piece orchestra blends the styles of Charles Mingus and Duke Ellington with hip-hop, European classical music, and free jazz. Spend some time with the dAKAH Orchestra and it's founder Geoff "Double G" Gallegos.
posted by mikoroshi on Apr 23, 2008 - 9 comments

South Asian Classical Music

Hundreds of hours of classical music from the Indian subcontinent (realplayer files). Bonus youtube videos of Ashwini Bhide Deshpande , an extraordinary North Indian classical vocalist. Finally, one of the most ancient styles, dhrupad, by Ustad Wassifuddin Dagar
posted by ferdydurke on Apr 17, 2008 - 8 comments

Playing with Dictators

Playing with Dictators - an editorial on the New York Philharmonic's decision to play a concert in North Korea. One musician's account of the performance.
posted by Wolfdog on Mar 17, 2008 - 24 comments


Think you've had clumsy moments? Ten bucks says you've never had one quite this bad.
posted by jbickers on Feb 13, 2008 - 118 comments

Art Image Bank

Art Images for College Teaching is a searchable, browsable collection of 2,027, well, art images for college teaching, and appears to be mainly the personal collection of Art Historian Allan Kohl (previously on MeFi), and thus represents his interests and specialities, not to mention the variable quality of his photographic skills. Rather strong in Ancient and Medieval, especially architecture, but tapers off as you become more distant from Europe or closer to the 20th century. Nice sets include the Lion Hunt from Ashurbanipal, Iraq; the exterior sculpture of Chartres; and grave stele.
posted by Rumple on Feb 1, 2008 - 4 comments

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones

Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. He plays the banjo, but he isn't just some hick. He enjoys Chicks, jamming with friends, wide open spaces and fights.
posted by stavrogin on Jan 18, 2008 - 74 comments

20th-century classical-experimental-electroacoustic music

The Avant Garde Project is a bunch of experimental outofprint music digitized from LPs. Free. Available in Flac and 192 kbps MP3. Start off at the Archive.
posted by sushiwiththejury on Nov 30, 2007 - 14 comments

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