1. Obscure Music Monday: Mayer's Notturno

    Emilie Luise Friderica Mayer (May 14, 1812 - April 10, 1883) was a German composer of Romantic music. While she studied music growing up, it was nothing serious. It wasn't until 1840 when her father died that she took music and composing seriously; she moved to Stettin to study with Carl Loewe, and then later moved to Berlin to study...
  2. Obscure Music Monday: Bridge's Gondoliera

    Frank Bridge (Feb. 26, 1879 - Jan. 10, 1941) was an English composer, violist and conductor. Born in Brighton, he attended the Royal College of Music in London from 1899 to 1903, and was active as a violist in several string quartets. He also did a bit of conducting for awhile before devoting himself to composition, with one of his most...
  3. Obscure Music Monday: Saint-Georges' Violin Concerto in D

    Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (Dec. 25, 1745 – June 10, 1799) was a composer, violinist, and conductor, born to George Bologne de Saint-Georges, a wealthy married planter, and Anne dites Nanon, his wife's African slave. Though born in Guadeloupe, his father took him to France when he was a child, where he was educated, and he became a skilled fencer. Later on he joined the Légion St.-Georges during the French Revolution, the first all-black regiment in Europe. Continue reading →
  4. Obscure Music Monday: Boulanger's Two Pieces for Violin and Piano

    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. Tragically, she died at the young age of 24. Continue reading →
  5. 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 →
  6. 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 →
  7. 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 →
  8. Obscure Music Monday: Fuch's Piano Trio No. 3

    Robert Fuchs (Feb. 15, 1847 - Feb. 19, 1927) was an Austrian composer and music professor who taught many famous composers.  Fuchs studied at the Vienna Conservatory, with Otto Dessof and Joseph Hellmsberger. He became Professor of Music Theory in 1875, and held it until 1912. He was highly regarded as a composer, and had a great admirer in Johannes Brahms. Fuchs did little to promote his music however; he wouldn't arrange concerts, preferring to live a quiet life. As a professor, he taught many famous composers, such as Gustav Mahler, Jean Sibelius, Hugo Wolf, and Alexander Zemlinksy. Continue reading →
  9. Obscure Music Monday: Coleridge-Taylor's Ballade, Op. 73

    Samuel Colderidge-Taylor (Aug. 15, 1875 - Sept. 1, 1912) was born in London, England, to Alice Hare Martin, an English woman, and Dr. Daniel Peter Hughes Taylor, from Sierre Leone. They were not married, and Daniel Taylor returned to Africa before 1875, not even knowing he had a son. Martin named her son after the poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and was raised in Croydon, Surrey by his mother, and her father. Coleridge-Taylor studied violin at the Royal College of Music, and was later on appointed a professor at the Crystal Palace School of Music, and conducted the orchestra at the Croyden Conservatory.  Coleridge-Taylor found success at the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester and Worcester; he was recommended by Edward Elgar, who heard rave reviews about Coleridge-Taylor from noted music critic and editor August Jaeger. He had much success during his time, and his interest in African-American culture brought him to the States on several occasions where his success continued. He made such an impression that he was invited to the White House by Theodore Roosevelt.  Continue reading →
  10. Obscure Music Monday: Fibich's Quintet

    Zdeněk Fibich (Dec. 21, 1850 - Oct. 15, 1900) was a Czech composer and pianist. Having a Czech father and German Viennese mother, Fibich grew up bilingual. Because of his father's work (a forestry official), he spent a lot of time moving around and living on various wooded estates, and the woods would become a source of inspiration for some of his compositions.  Continue reading →

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