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  1. Obscure Music Monday: Dukas' Sonnet de Ronsard

    Paul Abraham Dukas (Oct. 1, 1865 - May 17, 1935)  was a French composer, professor, and critic, born in to a Jewish family. The second of three children, Dukas didn't show any extraordinary musical talent, despite taking piano from a young age, until his teenage years, when he started to compose while recovering from an illness. When he was 16...
  2. 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 →
  3. Obscure Music Monday: Poldowski's Spleen

    Poldowski (May 16, 1879 - Jan. 28, 1932) was the professional pseudonym for Régine Wieniawksi, daughter of Polish violinist and composer Henryk Wieniawski. Born in Ixelles, Brussels, her mother was English and had family associations with various composers and musicians. Continue reading →
  4. Obscure Music Monday: Cook's Three Negro Songs

    Will Marion Cook (Jan. 27, 1869 - July 19, 1944) was an African-American violinist, conductor, and composer born in Washington, D.C. His father was dean of the Howard University School of Law, but died when Cook was ten. He was then sent to live with his maternal grandparents in Chattanooga Tennessee, who were able to buy their way out of slavery. He said that was his "soul period", and where he experienced "real Negro melodies". Continue reading →
  5. Obscure Music Monday: Lie's Sne

    Sigurd Lie (May 23, 1871 - Sept. 30, 1904) was a Norwegian composer, violinist. and conductor. His parents were musically inclined, and were supportive of Lie's musical studies. Continue reading →
  6. Obscure Music Monday: Tosti's Summer

    Francesco Paolo Tosti (April 9, 1846 - Dec. 2, 1916) was a composer and music teacher, born in Ortona, Italy. Tosti's musical education started at age 11, at the Royal College of San Pietro a Majella, where he studied both violin and composition. He also studied at the conservatory in Naples as well, but illness forced him to return home for a while. Continue reading →
  7. Obscure Music Monday: Beach's The Rainy Day

    We continue this week with another work by a female composer of the late 1800's/early 1900's, this time looking at an exceptionally early work by Amy Marcy Beach. Mrs. Beach showed talent at an early age, both as a performer and composer, but had little in the way of formal studies. Despite the limited training she was able to receive, she received her first publication in 1883 (at the age of 16!) with the song "The Rainy Day". Continue reading →
  8. Obscure Music Monday: Saint-Saëns' Extase

    This week we move to a composer well-known to most musicians, but a song not often performed. Originally written for voice and orchestra, Camille Saint-Saëns' Extase is a beautiful setting of text by Victor Hugo that is now only rarely performed as a work for either Mezzo-Soprano or Baritone and Piano. Continue reading →

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