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Ruth Crawford Seeger, American composer

In 1930, a 29-year-old composer named Ruth Crawford (wiki) became the first woman to ever receive a Guggenheim fellowship—despite the chairman of the awards wondering, of women composers, "Is there any such beast?" The next year she wrote her modernist masterpiece String Quartet. [more inside]
posted by Zephyrial on Aug 13, 2014 - 8 comments

Birth of the International Touring Organ

Cameron Carpenter is a classical organist who takes his instrument very seriously. If you want to hear him play, check out his versions of Schubert's Erlkönig, Chopin's Revolutionary Étude, and his mostly Bach program at the 2012 BBC Proms (Toccata and Fugue in D minor excerpted here). For more background, see this NYT interview. But please watch that first video at least once -- you won't regret it.
posted by rollick on Jul 5, 2014 - 13 comments

Valentina Lisitsa: the Bieber of Classical music goes minimal

Valentina Lisitsa is a classical pianist who credits her current fame to YouTube, where she has uploaded more than 200 videos of her performances. Were it not for the popularity of these videos (Beethoven "Moonlight" Sonata op 27 # 2 Mov 3 - 7 million views; Beethoven "Für Elise" - 4 million; Liszt "La Campanella" - 3 million), she would be, in her own words, "totally dead" in "the age of child prodigies". Her newest work is not a thousand notes a minute as featured in some of her popular videos, but more minimal, as heard in "The Heart Asks Pleasure First," the first track from her album (Soundcloud snippet preview of all tracks) of music by minimalist composer Michael Nyman. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 8, 2014 - 12 comments

Stuff Bach People Like

All of Bach: Every week, you will find a new recording here of one Johann Sebastian Bach’s 1080 works, performed by The Netherlands Bach Society and many guest musicians.
posted by Cash4Lead on May 5, 2014 - 12 comments

The devourer and the devoured

"Nobody would believe how difficult it is to be the mother of a Wunderkind. Everything I do is wrong; everything the child does is “for effect”; everything we say is utterly untrue. If Vivien runs up to me and kisses me, I hear it murmured that she is trained to do so. (“Whipped to be affectionate in public!”) So I tell her never to do it again. Immediately people remark how cold I am to the child; how the poor little creature evidently fears me and prefers Fräulein Muller. We take her with her hoop and skipping-rope to play in the park? It is said we make her pretend to be infantine, force her to act the “happy child” when people are looking on! So we take her toys from her and conduct her for prim walks between us. “Poor little unnatural creature!” say our friends: “she has no child-life at all.” The Devourer and the Devoured is a long essay by Emily Hogstad about the intertwined lives of the novelist Annie Vivanti and her daughter Vivien Chartres, a world-famous violin prodigy, at the beginning of the twentieth century.
posted by escabeche on Apr 29, 2014 - 16 comments

The London Philharmonic Orchestra perform Górecki’s Symphony No. 4

Górecki's 4th Symphony premiered this past weekend. Left unfinished, but near completion, at his death, it has been now been finished by his son, Mikołaj Górecki, who describes the work as "very different from its immediate predecessor … and is closer to monumental works like Symphony No 2 or Beatus Vir and to later pieces with Tatra folk influences such as the Little Requiem." The immediate predecessor, Symphony No 3, was hugely successful, selling over a million CD copies. The Guardian hosts the video of the performance by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and tells the story behind the posthumous premiere.
posted by Kattullus on Apr 14, 2014 - 11 comments

Music saves me still

Alice Herz-Sommer, the oldest known Holocaust survivor and subject of the film "The Lady in Number Six" has died at the age of 110. Before World War II, Alice was a concert pianist who travelled across Europe. During the war, Alice's mother and husband were sent to Auschwitz where they were murdered, and Alice and her six year old son were sent to Theresienstadt. Alice performed more than 100 concerts at Theresienstadt, and immigrated to Israel with her son after surviving the camp. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 23, 2014 - 53 comments

Live classical concerts via online radio

World Concert Hall publishes a schedule, seven days out, of live classical concerts and operas scheduled for streaming broadcast on the web.
posted by Orinda on Jan 2, 2014 - 11 comments

The Vine Orchestra

Last month, the Vine Orchestra held a call for orchestral scores with durations of less than 6 seconds. Over 150 compositions were entered, and 52 compositions were performed and recorded on December 1st. You can find all 52 on their youtube playlist. [more inside]
posted by moonmilk on Dec 9, 2013 - 23 comments

"Music"

This poster has written this Metafilter post of music specially to introduce you to the instruments of the orchestra. There are four teams of players; the STRINGS, the WOODWIND, the BRASS, and the PERCUSSION. Each of these four teams uses instruments which have a family likeness. They make roughly the same kind of sound in the same way. The STRINGS are played with a bow or plucked by the fingers. The WOODWIND are blown by the breath. The BRASS are blown too. The PERCUSSION are banged. Now we have taken the whole Orchestra to pieces. We have no intention of putting it together again. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Dec 6, 2013 - 3 comments

50 symphonies that changed classical music

Guardian critic Tom Service's ongoing survey of the 50 symphonies that changed classical music
posted by Gyan on Nov 23, 2013 - 43 comments

"We do judge books by their covers."

The sound of silence - Research by Dr. Chia-Jung Tsay published in PNAS suggests that top musicians are judged as much for the visual aspects of their performances, as much as for the aural ones, regardless of the experience level of the listener or judge
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 8, 2013 - 22 comments

And now, Haydn's 'Farewell' symphony

America's Orchestras are in Crisis : How an effort to popularize classical music undermines what makes orchestras great.
posted by Gyan on Sep 2, 2013 - 34 comments

It was designed to go into your mind and never leave.

Morten Lauridsen - How to write a song [more inside]
posted by Think_Long on Aug 22, 2013 - 18 comments

Making It There: Dvorak, the Rich Lady, and the Big Score

Droning around New York's Cooper Union (a free-tuition school since 1859 - until this year) on OpenStreetMap, I discovered that it really ties the room together. Nearby are the offices of Village Voice news, Kristal's CBGB site, the Anthology Film Archives, Washington Square, Union Square and ... Antonin Dvorak?? Why's a Czech composer a site in Lower Manhattan? Lets do the James Burke ... [more inside]
posted by Twang on Aug 2, 2013 - 6 comments

This might come in handy sometime...

A guide for classical radio announcers... and whoever else is interested.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 28, 2013 - 28 comments

There was applause, but it wasn't for the airline.

Several members of the Philadelphia Orchestra were on a flight from Bejing to Macao that got stuck on the tarmac for three hours. With nothing better to do, the musicians resorted to doing what they do best...
posted by schmod on Jun 7, 2013 - 44 comments

"Madame *** établit un piano dans les Alpes."

"Note that Scriabin did not, for his theory, recognize a difference between a major and a minor tonality of the same name (for example: c-minor and C-Major). Indeed, influenced also by the doctrines of theosophy, he developed his system of synesthesia toward what would have been a pioneering multimedia performance: his unrealized magnum opus Mysterium was to have been a grand week-long performance including music, scent, dance, and light in the foothills of the Himalayas Mountains that was somehow to bring about the dissolution of the world in bliss." - From Russian composer Alexander Scriabin's Wikipedia page [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Mar 25, 2013 - 12 comments

To Joy, Indeed

(SLYT) Not your average flashmob.
posted by Aizkolari on Dec 19, 2012 - 30 comments

"If I were to play nothing but Matteis all my life, I wouldn't mind at all."

The best classical performance you've never heard: the remarkable violinist Amandine Beyer plays the Diverse Bizzarrie Sopra La Vecchia Sarabanda Ò Pur Ciaccona, by 17th-century composer Nicola Matteis. Here she discusses trying to recreate Matteis's original violin technique, to understand why the Baroque composer, whose work pre-dates Johann Sebastian Bach, wrote his pieces the way he did. Previously, Beyer and her ensemble Gli Incogniti breathed life into one of classical music's most overplayed masterpieces, Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 14, 2012 - 16 comments

Time, Forward!

It's the turn of the 90s and you're back in the USSR, sitting on the Persian carpet that covers every inch of your Soviet living room and facing the old Rubin-714 set. As the clock strikes nine, you hear those familiar strains… [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on Sep 13, 2012 - 23 comments

National anthem on an electric violin made out of a bat

If you were watching the Orioles-A's game from Camden Yards tonight, you saw a guy playing the National Anthem on an electric violin made out of a baseball bat. This is how that looks and sounds. This is the guy talking about and showing off his Louisville Slugger violin. And this is the Washington Post profile of Glenn Donnellan, a violinist with the National Symphony Orchestra and the maker and player of the world's only electric baseball bat violin.
posted by escabeche on Apr 27, 2012 - 15 comments

A New Piece From Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is well-known for having been a child prodigy. A previously unknown composition of his, dated c. 1767, when he would have been 11 years old, (PDF of score) had it's premiere earlier this week. [more inside]
posted by bardophile on Mar 25, 2012 - 32 comments

Colors

What's it like to play Bach with synaesthesia?
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 22, 2012 - 17 comments

Music Ngram Viewer

The Music Ngram Viewer from Peachnote tracks appearances of any given note or chord sequence in a corpus of 60,000 optically scanned public-domain classical scores, ranging from the 17th century to the present -- a la what Google Ngram Viewer does for words and phrases. A fuller description with examples. And if you don't like the Google-esque GUI, you can download the raw data and mess with it yourself. (Via Music Hack Day Boston.)
posted by escabeche on Nov 6, 2011 - 10 comments

The Pope, the Emperor and the Grand Duke

For centuries, Renaissance composer Alessandro Striggio's "Missa sopra Ecco sì beato giorno", an enormous setting of the Mass for 40 and 60 voices, was thought to be lost to the ages. A few years ago, UC Berkeley musicologist Davitt Moroney discovered that a copy of the work, attributed to a non-existent composer, was hiding right under our noses, in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. In an hour-long lecture titled "The Pope, the Emperor and the Grand Duke", Professor Moroney recounts the story of the Mass's disappearance and rediscovery, describes the historical significance of the music, and unravels the intriguing geopolitical landscape of 16th century Italy.
posted by archagon on Sep 28, 2011 - 7 comments

Roger Moore's Carnival of Animals

Sir Roger Moore (recently on MeFi) performs recitations to introduce each segment of Saint-Saëns' 1886 suite Le carnaval des animaux ("The Carnival of Animals") [more inside]
posted by hermitosis on May 10, 2011 - 5 comments

Classical Music: a history according to YouTube

The Australian ABC's Limelight magazine has put together a potted history of music, with video examples (40LYTP). [more inside]
posted by coriolisdave on May 5, 2011 - 9 comments

Bird songs of Messiaen

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

The Sound of Muzik

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

Zoë Keating: Avant Cello

Cellist Zoë Keating describes her music as "the fusion of information architecture and classical music," and uses a traditional French cello and a foot-controlled MacBook to create lush, multi-layered cello music. From 2002 to 2006 she was a member of Rasputina, and more recently she played with Amanda Palmer. Keating has prospered online through iTunes and her website; her new album, Into the Trees, is streaming free and can be purchased on her website, and you can watch her perform some older pieces on her Youtube channel. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jun 25, 2010 - 22 comments

Paul Morley shows off

Showing Off is a series of videos, audio clips and articles in which noted music journalist and Frankie Goes to Hollywood mastermind Paul Morley explores various facets of music. Each month has a theme, [warning: most links have autoplaying video] Michael Jackson, Kraftwerk, classical music, disco, The Beatles, folk music, The X Factor, the Noughties, the next big thing, UK hip hop, jazz, and dance. Here is some of what's on offer: MeFi faves Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip on hip hop, These New Puritans' Jack Barnett, Johnny Marr on folk (parts 1, 2), but isn't all just interviews, there are also a lot of performances, e.g. Michael Nyman and David McAlmont, Badly Drawn Boy, Susanna Wallumrød covers Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak, and Cornershop cover Norwegian Wood.
posted by Kattullus on Apr 26, 2010 - 8 comments

I really cannot believe no one has ever posted this.

The Great Empire of China has a fantastic archive of traditional, classical and even modern Chinese music excerpts and several full musical suites, including some pieces from Chinese opera. National Geographic has a short breakdown on regional variations in traditional music in China. Chinese opera is very different than Western opera. Here are some great pictures of singers. [more inside]
posted by winna on Apr 13, 2010 - 7 comments

It's a concerto with a cat. So it's a CATcerto.

Mindaugas Piečaitis has performed his "CATcerto," an original score written to accompany Nora The Piano Cat's piano improvisation. Here's the video of kitty with orchestra. [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Jul 25, 2009 - 20 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

Connecting Western Classical Music to The West Bank.

Crescendo in the West Bank : NYT video on the rise of classical music programs in The West Bank.
posted by grapefruitmoon on Jun 3, 2009 - 1 comment

Downloads in All Major

Classical Music at the European Archive. Free and legal lossless downloads of out-of-copyright recordings. Formats include WAV, FLAC, MP3 & Ogg.
posted by Gyan on Mar 9, 2009 - 36 comments

Gramophone Archives

The Gramophone Archive is a (free) searchable database containing every issue of Gramophone from April 1923 to the latest issue.
posted by Gyan on Feb 15, 2009 - 4 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

Classic music too serious

Why are classical music concerts so serious? A fascinating history of how and why classic music concerts evolved to become so stuffy: silent formal audience, ridged schedule, and a canonical play-list of the same dead artists over and over - they used to be more fun and spontaneous, until the gatecrashers showed up..
posted by stbalbach on Sep 8, 2008 - 84 comments

Conducting an orchestra. How hard could it be?

The theory is one thing - but if you have ever dreamed of having the chance to conduct a full, professional orchestra at a major concert then you are almost certainly (*) out of luck. Sorry. Unless you are a celebrity in which case the BBC might fix it for you (full program trailer on YT). Giving it their first go are actors Jane Asher and David Soul, Drum and Bass star Goldie, Blur bassist Alex James, broadcasters Katie Derham and Peter Snow, and comedians Sue Perkins and Bradley Walsh as they compete to be the "Maestro" [i-player link for UK only unfortunately]
posted by rongorongo on Aug 13, 2008 - 25 comments

Dead Western Christian white males galore!

Explore a thousand years of classical music in 30 fifteen-minute programmes on BBC Radio 4.
posted by Aloysius Bear on Jun 11, 2007 - 20 comments

2007 Bang on a Can Marathon

The Bang on a Can Marathon is currently in progress at the World Financial Center in Manhattan. This annual Marathon has taken various forms over the years, with a range of lengths, locations and admission prices; this year's features 26 straight hours of music from around the world, with free admission. Bang on a Can is the 20-year-old new music presenting, producing and recording group co-founded by composers Julia Wolfe, David Lang and Michael Gordon.
posted by allterrainbrain on Jun 3, 2007 - 12 comments

The International Music Score Library Project

The International Music Score Library Project. PDF downloads of public domain classical music scores. From solo piano to full symphony orchestra. 2,762 works and counting.
posted by chrismear on Apr 18, 2007 - 12 comments

Peabody Conservatory Concert Recordings

The Peabody Symphony Orchestra and the Peabody Concert Orchestra have a wealth of classical recordings freely available for download - Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Haydn, Mahler, Borodin, Schumann, Stravinksy...
posted by algreer on Mar 1, 2007 - 11 comments

Free music files and notes

music files is a neat site I found while looking for information on a classical piece I'm learning on guitar. It seems to predominantly cover classical music but also covers other genres. It has biographies, mp3s, sheet music and so on.
posted by substrate on Feb 21, 2007 - 4 comments

Mozartmania

Search the complete works (including 8000 pages of critical commentary) of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a gift by the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum on the occasion of his 250th birthday. (German links are also available).
posted by ubiquity on Dec 12, 2006 - 8 comments

The Beethoven piano sonatas

Andras Schiff's lecture-recitals on Beethoven's piano sonatas
posted by Gyan on Nov 1, 2006 - 16 comments

Thomas Quasthoff -- Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels

“The leader of the jury looked at his papers and said in the first round: ‘I know a disabled person is coming. I want the jury to close their eyes. I don’t want them to be touched in any way.’ ”
As if, of course, one needed to know about Thomas Quasthoff's Thalidomide-related severe physical handicaps to be moved by the sound of his voice. He goes seamlessly from pianissimo to fortissimo, in his recitals a single Lied becomes "a major, stunning drama playing out in a few minutes". He sang jazz to support himself in university and it remains a passion (he likes to sing Paul Robeson or even Frank Sinatra encores), but he's famously leery of crossover artists like Andrea Bocelli. Just don't cough during his recitals -- "because I love this music so much". He doesn't like to talk much about his nightmarish childhood and teenage years, plagued by surgeries and body casts -- "I have in my past time had very difficult years, very difficult years" is all he'll usually say -- so please try not to consider him a victim, because he doesn't see himself as such: "I don't think people are moved because I am disabled. I think it's because I have something to say." More inside.
posted by matteo on Oct 2, 2006 - 21 comments

Hundreds of perfectly scanned "classical" music scores in PDF

Partituras - Hundreds of perfectly scanned "classical" music scores (and parts) in PDF. Chose a composer from the pop-up menu in the middle of the page to browse the available works by that composer.
posted by persona non grata on Sep 21, 2006 - 19 comments

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