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The Paris of Berlioz and Liszt

Writing in 1837, acclaimed German poet HEINRICH HEINE filed a report on 'the two most remarkable phenomena in the contemporary musical world,' i.e., BERLIOZ and LISZT.
by David McGee
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‘Unaccountably Odd’

'Unaccountably Odd': a musical and sexual adventurer, possibly a racist, and a composer ahead of his time, PERCY GRAINGER led a most unusual life, and now lives on in a new album by the BILDER DUO. A reconsideration is in order.
by David McGee
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Music a Remedy

In his monumental ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY, published in 1621, ROBERT BURTON argued for, among other things, music as a remedy for melancholy. It might work.
by David McGee
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‘A Man to Evoke Respect and Love Under All Conditions’

From his 1899 book FAMOUS VIOLINISTS OF TO-DAY AND YESTERDAY, HENRY C. LAHEE offers a balanced profile of Norway's violin virtuoso OLE BULL, replete with musical excerpts.
by David McGee
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Prokofiev, Conflicted: Great Composer or Great Compromiser?

SERGEI PROKOFIEV was a great composer, but was he also a great compromiser when it came to bowing to the demands of the Soviet regime, which viewed him as a threat to the people?
by David McGee
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A Day With Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy

Ever wonder what it would have been like to spend a day with, say, Felix Mendelssoh? Especially a day when Robert Schumann shows up? George Sampson did just that, and set down the experience for posterity.
by David McGee
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Caruso on The Art of Singing

ENRICO CARUSO holds forth on the ART OF SINGING in an excerpt from a 1909 collection of h is public utterances on his art. The wealth of embedded videos include the 1918 silent film MY COUSIN, featuring the great singer in a du...
by David McGee
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Morgan Kingston: ‘I believe strongly that a singer cannot adequately express the beautiful and pure in music while cherishing at the same time a bad heart and a mean nature behind it. Singing is such a personal thing, that one's mentality, one's inner nature, is bound to reveal itself.’

The Spiritual Side Of The Singer’s Art

An interview with opera singer MORGAN KINGSTON, circa 1917, in which he holds forth on 'The Spiritual Side of the Singer's Art'
by David McGee
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The ‘Superhuman’ Voice of Pauline Viardot

Pauline Garcia Viardot (1821-1910) was one of the 19th century’s most versatile and influential opera stars. In his book 'Musical Memories,' CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS provides the most in-depth profile extant of Mme. Viardot.
by David McGee
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A Day With Robert Schumann

IN this month's PLEASURES OF MUSIC, an 1884 report by May Byron on A DAY WITH ROBERT SCHUMANN. In this account, the author chronicles a day spent with the arch-Romantic composer, which includes some vivid scenes with Schumann's...
by David McGee
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Beethoven’s Day

Composer RICHARD WAGNER was always quick to dash off polemics on various subjects. He first wrote about BEETHOVEN in 1840, and returned to interpret the master's C-Sharp Minor String Quartet in 1870 during the Beethoven Centena...
by David McGee
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Contemporary Music

During a four-month concert tour of America in 1928, composer MAURICE RAVEL delivered a then-controversial lecture urging American classical musicians to incorporate African-American music into their compositions. Ahead of his ...
by David McGee
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