Last week, Improv Everywhere set up the ACJW Ensemble Orchestra (of Carnegie Hall and The Juilliard School) in Herald Square in New York City and placed an empty podium in front of the musicians with a sign that read, "Conduct Us." [more inside]
225 years ago today, in the Teatro di Praga, there premiered a new opera - conducted by the 31 year old composer, who was in demand after his success in Vienna the year before. Although he had completed the overture less than 24 hours earlier, the opera was an instant smash - with the composer being "welcomed joyously and jubilantly by the numerous gathering". In the years to come, Kierkegaard would agree with the French composer Charles Gounod that the opera was "a work without blemish, of uninterrupted perfection". Flaubert would call it one of "the three finest things God made". Today, it is the 10th most performed opera in the world. It is Mozart's Don Giovanni (spoiler). [more inside]
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]
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]
So, most people know that Friday was the 250th birthday of some musical dude you might've heard of. But! Did you realise that this year also marks the 100th birthday of Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich? Debate over whether Shostakovich was a tortured artist, rebelling against Stalinist Russia, or a Soviet Sympathiser continues, but the fact remains he was a brilliant composer who left a lasting impression on film music, and composed complex works from 2 cello concertos, 15 string quartets, 15 symphonies Warning!: Last four links are direct to the BBC "Discovering Music" Real player streams.
Mozart's musical diary - kept between 1784 and 1791 - goes online today courtesy of the British Library. There is a helpful audio commentary if you can't decipher his handwriting, plus excerpts from some of his music. The same site also has works by artists and authors such as Jane Austen, Leonardo da Vinci and Lewis Carroll.