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 [...]

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, [...]

Good Books and Great Music for Christmas Gifting

By |2017-12-14T15:43:07-06:00December 14th, 2017|Categories: Books, Bruce Springsteen, Christmas, Gifts for Imaginative Conservatives, Ludwig van Beethoven, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Robert E. Lee, Stephen M. Klugewicz, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|

Here are four recently-published books and four new classical music albums that I have greatly enjoyed this past year… Books I’ve read several excellent biographies (and one great autobiography) this past year. Foremost among the former is Jan Swafford’s magisterial Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph, which could easily be termed the definitive biography of perhaps the greatest [...]

Creating Tchaikovsky’s First Symphony

By |2021-01-02T11:39:40-06:00November 6th, 2017|Categories: Audio/Video, Beauty, Culture, History, Music, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky|

Tchaikovsky's First Symphony is a delight: fresh, assured and just plain fun to listen to. The violins introduce the first movement with a shimmering, sweet tremolo, giving it a dreamy, gossamer texture, that perfectly illustrates the movement’s subtitle, “Daydreams of a Winter Journey." While a longtime fan of Tchaikovsky, I must confess that, up to a [...]

“Elegy for Strings”

By |2020-11-05T11:15:07-06:00May 28th, 2017|Categories: Audio/Video, Music, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky|

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed what became known as his "Elegy" in 1884 on a commission from the Moscow Society of Artists, who were honoring Ivan Samarin on the occasion of his fifty years of acting. Tchaikovsky titled the piece for string orchestra, which was meant to open the ceremonies, "A Grateful Greeting," though its spirit [...]

“A Conceited Mediocrity”: The Story of Tchaikovsky and Brahms

By |2020-05-07T01:20:44-05:00May 6th, 2017|Categories: Johannes Brahms, Music, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky|

Both Pyotr Tchaikovsky (in 1840) and Johannes Brahms (in 1833) were born on May 7. That little coincidence didn’t help endear Brahms or his music to Tchaikovsky, however, as the Russian called the German a “conceited mediocrity” and “a giftless bastard.” But then one day, the two men met at a dinner and had drinks [...]

Mozart’s Music: The Culminating Point of Beauty

By |2019-11-19T16:19:55-06:00January 27th, 2017|Categories: Audio/Video, Beauty, Music, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|

"When I listen to his music, it is as if I am doing a good deed. It is difficult to convey what exactly his beneficial influence on me consists of, but it is undoubtedly beneficial, and the longer I live, the closer I get to know him, the more I love him"... Editor's Note: Unlike [...]

Music for Christmas: Ten Great Classical Pieces

By |2020-12-17T17:54:46-06:00December 10th, 2015|Categories: Audio/Video, Christmas, Hector Berlioz, J.S. Bach, Music, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky|

Here are ten outstanding Christmas-themed classical pieces, including both the well-known and the little-known. 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 address Christ’s passion and resurrection. There are some 100 versions of this magisterial work currently [...]

Discontent, Death, & Desolation: Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”

By |2019-11-21T15:50:51-06:00November 20th, 2015|Categories: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky|

“What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.” —Father Zossima, in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov Is there an opera that better conveys the mood of late autumn—with the inevitability of winter’s desolation on the doorstep—than Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin? Based on the “novel in verse” by [...]

Music of War and Remembrance: Ten Classical Music Pieces

By |2020-07-12T15:15:16-05:00November 11th, 2015|Categories: Antonio Vivaldi, Audio/Video, Gustav Holst, Hector Berlioz, Joseph Haydn, Music, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Stephen M. Klugewicz, War|

Across the centuries, composers have been inspired by the twin dramas of human conflict and the subsequent making of peace. Here are ten great pieces of classical music that dramatize war, celebrate its resolution, and recall its sacrifices. 10. Franz Liszt: The Battle of the Huns One of the composer's many tone poems, Franz Liszt's Hunnenschlacht—written in [...]

Let it Snow! Six Great Classical Musical Portraits of Winter

By |2021-02-11T16:57:35-06:00January 17th, 2014|Categories: Art, Audio/Video, Edgar Allan Poe, Music, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Stephen M. Klugewicz|

As polar vortices descend upon the moderate climate zones, allow me to recommend to you, dear reader, six pieces of classical music that will warm your soul, as you curl up by the fire with a good book and a hot toddy. […]

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 [...]

The Top Ten Greatest Operas

By |2020-10-29T23:29:01-05:00June 23rd, 2013|Categories: Antonio Vivaldi, Audio/Video, Culture, Hector Berlioz, Music, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Stephen M. Klugewicz, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|

The human voice is God’s most beautiful instrument, and the blending of voices and musical instruments within the context of a dramatic visual presentation is the zenith of human artistic achievement. This is the glory of opera. Below is a list of the ten greatest operas ever composed, in order of greatness, from ten down [...]

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