March 2017

  1. Obscure Music Monday: Viardot's Madrid

    Pauline Viardot (born Michelle Ferdinande Pauline Garcia, July 18, 1821 - May 18, 1910) was a pianist, mezzo soprano, and pedagogue.  Born in Paris in to a Spanish musical family, her father, Manuel Garcia, who was a tenor, teacher, and composer,  taught Viardot piano, in addition to giving her vocal lessons. By the age of six, she was fluent in Spanish, French, Italian, English, and later on, Russian. She was an incredible pianist, in addition to singing; she later on took lessons with Liszt and played duets with Chopin. She also studied counterpoint and harmony with Anton Reicha, who taught Liszt and Berlioz. Her career as a professional singer began around the age of twenty eight. She had a long and successful career, and later on taught at the Paris Conservatory, and afterward did much composing. Liszt considered her works genius. Continue reading →
  2. Obscure Music Monday: Kaprálová's Dubnová Preludia

    Vítězslava Kaprálová (Jan. 24, 1915 - June 16, 1940) was a Czech composer and conductor. Born in to a musical family,  Kaprálová began studying composition and conducting at the age of fifteen at the Brno Conservatory, and later on studied with Bohuslav Martinu and Charles Munch. She conducted the Czech Philharmonic in 1937, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra just a year later. Continue reading →
  3. Obscure Music Monday: Farrenc's Trio for Flute, Cello, and Piano

    Louise Farrenc (May 31, 1804 - Sept. 15, 1875) was a French pianist, teacher, and composer. Born in Paris, she started the piano at an early age, and later on also showed a knack for composition. At the age of fifteen, her parents let her study composition with Anton Reicha at the Paris Conservatory. Later on she embarked upon a successful concert career, started a publishing house with her husband, and eventually became a Professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatory. Continue reading →
  4. Obscure Music Monday: Boulanger's Cortège

    Marie-Juliette Olga "Lili" Boulanger (Aug. 21, 1893 - March 15, 1918) was a French composer, and  the younger sister of the famed composition teacher/composer Nadia Boulanger. Born in Paris, Lili Boulanger was a child prodigy; at the age of two, it was discovered that she had perfect pitch. Her parents, both musicians, encouraged her musical education, and she would accompany her sister Nadia to classes at the Paris Conservatory, studying music theory and organ. Her sister Nadia was one of her teachers, and later on studied with Paul Vidal, George Caussade, and Gabriel Faure, who was particularly impressed by her abilities. Lili would go on to win the Prix de Rome at the age of 19; she was the first woman to ever win the composition prize. Continue reading →

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