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.

Chopin a National Poet

FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN a National Poet? FRANZ LISZT thought so, and explained why in an 1852 essay that begat a biography of the great Romantic composer.


The Fisk Jubilee Singers: Working On a Building

In 1871 the JUBILEE SINGERS of Nashville toured the northern states in hopes of raising funds to build a college. Bucking daunting odds against them, they succeeded and made Fisk University possible.

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?


‘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.

The Strange Adventures and Alluring Music of Alessandro Stradella

An exhaustive appreciation of Alessandro Stradella, one of the most enigmatic, colorful and gifted composers of the 17th Century, from whom Handel borrowed for Israel in Egypt and whose amorous inclinations led to his assassina...


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...

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.


Rossini on Rossini, Byron on Rossini

From his 1886 book From Mozart to Marvio V1: Reminiscences of a Half Century, Louis Engel discloses the composer Giochino Rossini's slightly jaundiced view of his own legacy; in correspondence to two friends in 1818, Lord Byron...

The Passionate Style

By Claudio Monteverdi Italian composer, gambist, and singer Claudio Giovanni Monteverdi is often regarded as revolutionary in that his work marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period...