The Top Ten Greatest Violin Concertos

By |2021-05-06T16:06:39-05:00May 6th, 2021|Categories: Audio/Video, Camille Saint-Saëns, Felix Mendelssohn, Jean Sibelius, Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven, Music, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Stephen M. Klugewicz, Timeless Essays, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|

The violin concerto as a form of music has endured for some 300 years and remains, alongside the piano concerto, the most popular type of concerto played in modern concert halls and committed to recording. The genre was first developed during the Baroque era, when the concerto was conceived as a tripartite structure, running about fifteen [...]

Jean Sibelius’ Music of the Logos

By |2020-07-29T15:39:11-05:00July 28th, 2020|Categories: Jean Sibelius, Music|

If you have never wept for joy at, or been shaken to the roots of your being by, music, here is the music to do it. Should I ever have the privilege of hearing God’s orchestra play, I am not sure what I will hear. But if it is Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony, I will know [...]

Songs & Dances of Death: 10 Classical Works for the End of Time

By |2021-02-03T18:22:39-06:00March 12th, 2020|Categories: Audio/Video, Camille Saint-Saëns, Gustav Mahler, Jean Sibelius, Music, Richard Strauss, Stephen M. Klugewicz, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|

From Modest Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death to Oliver Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, here are ten great classical pieces about death and the end of this world. They may or may not provide you comfort. 1. Songs and Dances of Death, by Modest Mussorgsky A song cycle for voice (usually bass [...]

Ten Spooky Classical Music Favorites for Halloween

By |2020-10-27T11:45:04-05:00October 30th, 2018|Categories: Audio/Video, 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; [...]

10 Great Violin Concertos You Must Hear

By |2018-05-20T07:40:39-05:00May 19th, 2018|Categories: Antonin Dvorak, Camille Saint-Saëns, Felix Mendelssohn, Jean Sibelius, Johannes Brahms, Music, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Robert Schumann|

The fun thing about really getting to know the violin concerto repertoire is that there are always more treasures to discover… The violin concerto repertoire is so rich and satisfying, I’m embarrassed to admit that, prior to becoming an adult beginner on the violin in 2005, I was only familiar with a few of them. This, [...]

Finnish Perfection: The Sibelius Violin Concerto

By |2021-02-20T20:58:44-06:00January 9th, 2018|Categories: Books, Jean Sibelius, Music|

There is something immoderate about Sibelius’ Violin Concerto—something vulnerable and unspeakably beautiful, right there along something dark and brooding. The piece illustrates that not only do darkness and beauty coexist, they enhance each other. It’s complex, gripping, devilishly complicated, and sounds like no other concerto in the violin repertoire. Listening to Finnish composer Jean Sibelius’ violin concerto, [...]

Sibelius, “Finlandia,” and the Cry of Freedom

By |2020-08-12T00:50:58-05:00December 5th, 2017|Categories: Audio/Video, Culture, Europe, Freedom, Jean Sibelius, Music, Patriotism|

In 1900, Jean Sibelius revised his patriotic tone-poem, “Finlandia,” and its popularity grew in leaps and bounds. Suddenly the world knew about Sibelius, “Finlandia,” and Finnish national pride. Jean Sibelius Jean Sibelius’ tone-poem, Finlandia, wasn’t supposed to be the program headliner that Saturday night at the San Francisco Symphony. The main draw was the Sibelius Violin [...]

From the Sacred to the Profane: More Music for My Desert Island

By |2017-10-12T14:03:23-05:00May 26th, 2017|Categories: Featured, Franz Schubert, Jean Sibelius, Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Wagner|

In truth, much of my favourite music is not sacred but profane, insofar as it is not overtly religious or in the least liturgical; and yet these profane favourites are certainly sublime, reflecting the goodness, truth and beauty of Creation, the harmony of the cosmos and the music of the spheres… Several months ago I [...]

“In Memoriam”

By |2021-03-02T15:13:35-06:00May 24th, 2017|Categories: Audio/Video, Death, Jean Sibelius|

Jean Sibelius wrote In Memoriam (Op. 59), in memory of Eugen Schauman, a Finnish nationalist who assassinated the Russian Governor-General of the Duchy of Finland, in a bid to further Finnish independence. The work is a funeral march for orchestra. Sibelius composed a first version in 1909 and completed a final version in 1910. The [...]

My Fatherland! Ten Great Musical Works About Home and Country

By |2021-04-24T22:33:53-05:00February 23rd, 2017|Categories: Antonin Dvorak, Audio/Video, Featured, Jean Sibelius, Ludwig van Beethoven, Music|

Rouget de Lisle sings la Marseillaise for the first time, painted by Isidore Pils Perhaps the greatest of national anthems is France's "La Marseillaise," composed in 1792 by French officer Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, and arranged by Hector Berlioz for voices and orchestra in 1830. But in addition to the official anthems [...]

Ten Scary Classical Music Pieces for Halloween

By |2020-10-22T15:29:26-05:00October 31st, 2014|Categories: Antonin Dvorak, Audio/Video, 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 scenes, [...]

The Ten Most Beautiful Symphonies

By |2021-03-15T16:35:29-05:00November 27th, 2013|Categories: Antonin Dvorak, Audio/Video, Culture, Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Schubert, Gustav Mahler, Jean Sibelius, Ludwig van Beethoven, Music, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Stephen M. Klugewicz|

In addition to melody, great and beautiful classical symphonies must display a mastery of structure and orchestration, a command of tone color and harmony, and an expertise in developing musical ideas. Here are the ten most beautiful symphonies ever composed. “Imagination creates reality.” —Richard Wagner Though beauty is an absolute reality, we human beings see [...]

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