Haydn’s Head – Symphony No.1 in D Major

You know, the one that was severed by graverobbers trying to associate his cranial topology with intellectual capacity? The process of stealing the head was, apparently, not pleasant, since decomposition had set in and the smell was strong (Ed. note: @!!?!?!?!) However, Peter and Rosenbaum succeeded in cleaning the skull and duly carried out their […]

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 […]

Composition, Academia, Reverence

There seems to be a pointed dearth of groundbreaking composers these days; at least, it’s difficult to pinpoint those who are truly revolutionary and inspiring leaders of the art, since there’s no longer a sense of celebrity attached to knowledgeable and skilled art music masters.  Why is this? I suspect the reasons are (at least) […]

Scott Joplin – Fig Leaf Rag

The Fig Leaf Rag is a composition nearly exactly one hundred years old, penned in 1908 during Joplin’s time in New York City — I imagine he was facing his 40s with a resolve to recapture a youthful exuberance he might have had before, when he first struck out from Texas to make a living […]