Beethoven Played on Period Instruments

One of the biggest issues of this ossified study of hundred-some year old music is that our university students are being taught that Beethoven, for instance, is forever… or at least his music is.  We play them wonderful excerpts recorded on Steinway 9-footers of his Sonatae, and it never occurs to the young initiates that […]


A little while back, Public Radio did an excellent series of programs on American Music, called “American Mavericks.” Fortunately for us, you can read and listen to the great stuff online, even if you missed the radio broadcast (as many of you probably did). Ironically enough, many of these programs were used in my American […]

Cheap in the City

For those of you who like hearing good music, never fear the bargains! In any city, good music is only a rush ticket or partial-view seat away.

New neighbor in town

Howdy campers, and well met! My name’s Dan, and I’m a newly inducted member of the SmarterMusic family. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’ve been music directing a co-ed all-genre a cappella group called Rather Be Giraffes at Brandeis University for almost four years now, as well as years and years of orchestra and […]

John K. – Madman or Genius? Or both?

When we were seven, we unknowingly listened to the likes of Beethoven, Rossini, Debussy, and even Raymond Scott on an almost daily basis, and we ate it all up. So much for kids not appreciating the classics – looks like all it took to spoon-feed a bit of “The Thieving Magpie” was to sugarcoat it […]

On Beethoven’s Conducting

Among the violinists was the composer Ludwig Spohr (1784-1859), who was astounded by Beethoven’s conducting style, noting how he used “all manner of singular bodily movements. As a sforzando occurred, he tore his arms, previously crossed upon his breast, with great vehemence asunder. At piano he crouched down lower and lower to show the degree […]

Beethoven’s Symphony No.3 “Eroica” Analyzed

Beethoven‘s Third Symphony, “Eroica” has quite the interesting story behind it, and is often cited as a landmark composition which separated the Classical era to the Romantic.  It expanded tremendously on the symphonic form, and was many times longer than a comparable symphony by Mozart or Haydn.  The excellent San Francisco Symphony — at Keeping […]

Chopin’s Scherzo No.2 in Bb minor / Db Major, Op.31

This fantastically entertaining chestnut has been keeping me happily occupied for the last month or so after I enjoyed a friend’s very capable study of it. Chopin wrote four wildly popular scherzos, and this particular piece is precariously perched on a narrow margin between popularity and triteness. It remains however clear that this work has […]