Obscure Music Mondays

  1. Obscure Music Monday: Elgar's A Song of Autumn

    Sir Edward Elgar, 1st Baronet (June 2, 1857 - February 23, 1934) was an English composer, born to musically inclined parents Edward's father, William, was a piano tuner, and apprenticed at a music publishing house, in addition to being a violinist, and organist at a church. Edward was given piano and violin lessons growing up, but didn't have any real formal training; the most formal training he got was some advanced violin lessons in London, but he never attended a conservatory or anything similar. In addition to playing violin professionally, Elgar also conducted a group at an asylum, where he wrote and arranged music for their irregular instrumentation, which helped him gain a better understanding of writing for particular instruments, and was an important piece of his musical development.  Continue reading →
  2. Obscure Music Monday: Schumann's Piano Trio

    Clara Schumann (Sept. 13, 1819 - May 20, 1896) was a German composer and pianist, born to musical parents in Leipzig. Her father was well-known throughout Leipzig, where he sold and repaired pianos, and gave piano lessons. She took lessons from him, and he also made sure she was educated in music theory, counterpoint, harmony, and composition. She had her first recital at age 10, and had a wildly successful career as a pianist from that point onward, receiving praise from audiences and critics alike. The day before she turned 21 she married composer Robert Schumann. Continue reading →
  3. Obscure Music Monday: Bantock's Viola Sonata

    Sir Granville Ransome Bantock (Aug. 7, 1868 - Oct. 16, 1946) was a British composer and conductor, born in London. His parents hoped he would enter the Indian Civil Service, but poor health would prevent him from that. He turned to chemical engineering, but around 20 years old, he started looking at musical manuscripts. His first teacher was at Trinity College of Music, and in 1888 he entered the Royal Academy of Music, studying with Frederick Corder. Bantock's conducting took him around the world, and he was known at times for devoting an entire concert to one composer. He was professor at the University of Birmingham (succeeding Sir Edward Elgar) from 1908 - 1934, and elected Chairman of the Corporation of Trinity College of Music in London. He was knighted in 1930. Continue reading →
  4. Obscure Music Monday: Lavignac's Galop-Marche à Huit Mains

    Alexandre Jean Albert Lavignac (Jan. 21, 1846 - May 28, 1916) was a French music scholar, and composer. He wrote several essays about music theory, and Richard Wagner's operas and use of leitmotifs, among other things.  Continue reading →
  5. Obscure Music Monday: Delius' Chanson d'automne

    Frederick Theodore Albert Delius (Jan. 29, 1862 - June 10, 1934) was an English composer born to a wealthy mercantile family. Having shown musical talent as a young child, he resisted entering in to the world of commerce, but was sent to Florida in 1884 to manage an orange plantation. He began composing there, after being influenced by African American music, and just a couple years later became a full time composer in Paris; his time there was productive. He then lived in Grez-sur-Loing, where he and his wife Jelka Rosen lived the rest of their lives. Continue reading →
  6. Obscure Music Monday: Gilson's Trio for Oboe, Clarinet, and Piano

    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. He became a Professor of Composition there in 1899, but quit in 1909 after he became an inspector for music education until 1930. He wrote a great deal, but his output slowed down significantly after 1905; at that point he mainly wrote about music theory, criticism, and composition. Continue reading →
  7. Obscure Music Monday: White's Bandanna Sketches

    Clarence Cameron White (Aug. 10, 1880 - June 30, 1960) was an African-American composer, teacher, and violinist. During his time, he was considered the foremost violinist of his race.  Continue reading →
  8. Obscure Music Monday: Zemlinsky's Clarinet Trio

    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 in 1892, when he started studying theory with Robert Fuchs, and composition with Johann Nepomuk Fuchs and Anton Bruckner. Continue reading →
  9. Obscure Music Monday: Granados' A la Cubana

    Enrique Granados Campiña (July 27, 1867 – March 24, 1916) was a Spanish composer and pianist. He studied piano in Barcelona, and moved to Paris in 1887. Unable to get in to the Paris Conservatory, he ended up taking private lessons with a Conservatory professor, Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot. Continue reading →
  10. Obscure Music Monday: Rimsky-Korsakov's Trombone Concerto

    Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (March 18, 1844 - June 21, 1908) was a Russian composer and professor, and member of the composer group The Big Five.  Continue reading →