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Rentaro Taki – Kojo No Tsuki

Today I am going to share with you a very short piece, “Kojo No Tsuki” (“Moon Over Ruined Castle”) by Japanese composer Rentaro Taki, who lived a tragically short life. Taki graduated music school in Tokyo in 1901, moved to the Leipzig Conservatory in Germany to continue his music studies. He contracted tuberculosis, moved back to Japan, and… Keep Reading

Bach – Cello Suite No. 1

If the word Bach instantly puts you to sleep; if you relate Baroque music to the word boring, I can relate to your sentiment, as I used to feel the same way. But Bach’s Piano Concerto in D minor was the piece that really changed my perception of this musical genius. However, I promise you that after you… Keep Reading

Mozart’s Piano Concerto Number 21

“You have to listen to Mozart’s Piano Concerto Number 21, part 2.” Those were my father’s words. He just heard it on the radio and could not wait to tell me about it. This was over twenty-five years ago, but I still remember this moment as though it were today. I could hear the excitement in his voice and… Keep Reading

Sibelius Symphony No. 5 (part 3)

I’ve been forcing myself to listen to 20th-century classical music composers. My parents mostly listened to music of the Classical era (1750-1820 – Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven) and of the Romantic era (1820-1910 – think Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Rachmaninoff (late romantic). “Classical music” is an umbrella term that encompasses half a dozen “eras,” the Classical era among them. Composers of… Keep Reading

Dvorak Piano Concerto

Today I want to share with you Piano Concerto in G minor by Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904), a Czech composer.  This is the only piano concerto Dvorak composed.  According to Dvorak, in this concerto he was unable to create a battle between the piano and the orchestra.  There is very little drama here; the piano is… Keep Reading

Pearl Fishers

Today I want to share with you aria from Georges Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers.  Bizet was a French composer, most famous for his opera Carmen.  Every artist should really focus on pleasing himself with his work; the public is too fickle.  Carmen is indisputably one of the most popular operas of the 20th Century; however, it was a failure during Bizet’s… Keep Reading

Shostakovich Fantasia

Last time I talked about Shostakovich I said, “His music tells stories. We just don’t know what those stories are. Each of his symphonies could have been turned into a Fantasia type of movie.”  Well, my lovely wife and I were listening to the first movement of Piano Concerto Number 2, and she said “Isn’t… Keep Reading

Guess-This-Classical Music Game

My family is an avid user of Spotify – every family member with the exception of 3-year-old Mia has an account.  Every time we get in my car, Mia says, “Dad, can you play ‘Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round’?” so my Spotify-suggested playlist also features some odd music for three-year-olds.  Personally, I… Keep Reading

Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2. If I had to use one phrase to describe this wonderful masterpiece, I’d say it is a “concert of contrast.” Everything in this concerto has an opposite. If part of it sounds soft and lyrical, just wait and you’ll be treated to a forceful, military march-like section. If it’s quiet, don’t… Keep Reading

Concert Fantasia

Today I wanted to share with you an incredible but forgotten gem: Concert Fantasia by Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky composed it in 1884, and it was very popular for about twenty years, then virtually disappeared from the public repertoire for a hundred years, until the late 20th Century. The reason for its disappearance escapes me – I’ll… Keep Reading

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