Ten Spooky Classical Music Favorites for Halloween

By |2018-10-30T23:22:08-05:00October 30th, 2018|Categories: Camille Saint-Saëns, Culture, Halloween, J.S. Bach, Jean Sibelius, Music, Sergei Rachmaninoff|

It’s Halloween, and you’re looking for that perfect, spooky Halloween music that’s a little more sophisticated than “The Monster Mash” and “Thriller” and “Werewolves of London.” Look no further, friends. I’ve done my own hopping around to see what others consider to be their Top 10 classical spooky favorites. My list is a little different; [...]

“Coffee Cantata”

By |2018-09-29T14:22:51-05:00September 29th, 2018|Categories: J.S. Bach|

Editor's Note: Johann Sebastian Bach composed his comic "Coffee Cantata" in 1735. Likely first premiered in a Leipzig coffee house, it depicts a scene in which a father berates his daughter for drinking the intoxicating beverage. She in turn protests: Ah! how sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, smoother than muscatel wine. Coffee, [...]

Five Great Classical Pieces for Cello

By |2018-11-04T23:31:12-05:00August 23rd, 2018|Categories: Antonin Dvorak, Camille Saint-Saëns, Christine Norvell, J.S. Bach, Music|

Having played the cello for more than thirty years, I am often asked what I would recommend for listeners, especially for those who aren’t necessarily concertgoers. As a cellist, it’s hard to categorize what to listen to. Some pieces are fun to play and to listen to, while others require such technical practice that they [...]

An Amateur’s Week With Beethoven’s “Harp” Quartet

By |2018-12-15T02:25:18-05:00August 9th, 2017|Categories: Europe, History, J.S. Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Music, Poland, World War II|

What a treat is it for a group of amateur string players, busy in their everyday lives, to spend a week in a far-off place and inundate themselves in practice and education concerning a single piece of music and its composer—the sort of exercise usually reserved for professionals. […]

The Power of Song in Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion”

By |2018-09-22T13:16:39-05:00June 1st, 2017|Categories: Catholicism, Christianity, Culture, Featured, J.S. Bach, Music, Peter Kalkavage, St. John's College|

In the St. Matthew Passion, Bach indulges his gypsy soul. It is as though Bach, in his broad and deep humanity, his capacity for feeling all kinds and degrees of sorrow and joy, was reaching out to all his fellow human beings, believers and non-believers alike, and impressing upon them what was for him [...]

Bach’s Mass for All Christians

By |2019-03-11T15:31:52-05:00April 14th, 2017|Categories: Catholicism, J.S. Bach|

Bach’s Mass in B Minor is the summation of his life’s work and one of the supreme masterpieces of Western classical music. Yet mystery surrounds the work. What was its purpose, how did it come to be written, and how was it intended to be performed?… No work of Johann Sebastian Bach is more [...]

Laudamus Te: From the “Mass in B Minor”

By |2017-03-21T12:51:08-05:00March 21st, 2017|Categories: J.S. Bach, Music|

Johann Sebastian Bach completed what came to be known as the Mass in B minor in 1749, near the end of the his life, though he had worked on various sections of it for twenty-five years. Why the Lutheran Bach wrote what his son Carl Philipp Emanuel later catalogued as "the Great Catholic Mass" (it uses the Latin [...]

Music for Christmas: Ten Great Classical Pieces

By |2018-11-06T14:47:50-05:00December 10th, 2015|Categories: Christmas, Hector Berlioz, J.S. Bach, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky|

What better gift than music for the season in which we celebrate God, the source of all beauty, becoming man? Here are some familiar and less familiar classical pieces. 1. G.F. Handel: Messiah  Though especially popular at Christmas time, it is only “Part the First” of Handel's Messiah that pertains to the season—the latter two sections [...]

Ten Scary Classical Music Pieces for Halloween

By |2018-10-30T23:57:16-05:00October 31st, 2014|Categories: Antonin Dvorak, Franz Schubert, Halloween, Hector Berlioz, J.S. Bach, Jean Sibelius, Music, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Stephen M. Klugewicz|

Great music pierces the soul…and can sometimes terrify it. Over the centuries, composers, like nearly all artists of every variety, have been fascinated by the subject of death and by the supernatural—the world of witches, goblins, ghosts, and demons. Composers have given us Dances of the Dead, frightful tone poems and songs, scary opera [...]