August 2016

  1. Obscure Music Monday: Zelenka's Trio Sonata no. 6 in C minor

    Jan Dismas Zelenka (Oct. 16, 1679 - Dec. 23, 1745) isn't the most common name you think of when it comes to Baroque composers, but nevertheless, Zelenka was a prolific composer during that time. He was especially known for his creative harmonic inventions and counterpoint. J.S. Bach held in Zelenka in high esteem, and had some of his works copied, even using some in church services in Leipzig where he was a cantor. Continue reading →
  2. Obscure Music Monday: Zemlinsky's String Quartet no. 1 in A major

    Alexander von Zemlinsky (Oct. 14, 1871 - March 15, 1942) was born in Vienna, Austria, and played the piano from a young age. Admitted to the Vienna Conservatory in 1884, and won the school's piano prize in 1890. He began writing in1892, when he started studying theory with Robert Fuchs, and composition with Johann Nepomuk Fuchs and Anton Bruckner. Continue reading →
  3. Obscure Music Mondays: Maier's Violin Sonata in b minor

    Amanda Maier (February 19, 1853 - July 15, 1894) was born in the Swedish town of Landskrona, and was quite an accomplished violinist, cellist, organist, and composer. Her initial studies in piano and violin were with her father, and later studied at the Royal School of Music at Stockholm, and was their first female music graduate.  While she was there, she won numerous awards for her instrumental playing and compositions as well. After graduating, she moved on to the Leipzig Conservatory, to study composition with Carl Reinecke, and violin with Engelbert Rontgen. Brahms and Grieg spoke very highly of her compositions, though she stopped composing after she got married, and not many of her works were published in her lifetime. While in Leipzig, however, she continued winning awards, including one for her Violin Sonata in b minor. Continue reading →
  4. Obscure Music Monday: Ives' 114 Songs

    Charles Ives isn't exactly an obscure composer, but he has many pieces that aren't heard as often as some of his staples (such as the Concord Sonata, or The Unanswered Question). One piece, or rather, one collection of works that isn't as well known, is his 114 Songs. He privately published it in 1922, as an attempt to get his music out to the wider public. The subjects of his songs are wide and varied such as hymns, protest songs, and satirical songs. Ives wrote some of the texts himself. We'll be looking at two today: "The Cage" and "At the River". Continue reading →
  5. Obscure Music Mondays: Gilson's La Mer

    Many people are acquainted with Debussy's La Mer, but not so many with Paul Gilson's work of the same name, composed a decade before Debussy's. Paul Gilson (June 15, 1865 - April 3,1942) was born in Brussels, and was an organist and choir director. At the Brussels Conservatory he studied harmony and counterpoint, and won a Prix de Rome for a cantata he wrote. Continue reading →

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