Your Guide to Chopin’s Nocturnes

Frédéric Chopin composed nocturnes throughout his career, including 18 published between 1832 and 1846 and 3 published posthumously. The first person to title instrumental works of this kind “nocturnes” was John Field. He published a collection of piano nocturnes in the early 19th century. In a eulogistic preface to an 1859 edition of John Field’s collected nocturnes, composer Franz Liszt ...

Your Guide to Chopin’s Orchestral Works

Frédéric Chopin composed six known works for piano and orchestra before he turned 25 years old. Many of these were written as assignments for Jozef Elsner, his composition teacher at the Main School of Music in Warsaw. Though Chopin did not compose many works for piano and orchestra, he kept these works in his concert repertoire throughout his career. Polish-Canadian ...

This breakdance duet to Chopin’s “Fantaisie-Impromptu” will send you spinning

When Frédéric Chopin composed his Fantaisie-Impromptu, he probably didn’t expect for the work to serve as the music for a breakdance duet. But at Arabesque 2014, an international ballet competition hosted by the Perm Ballet Opera Theatre, one entry in the “modern choreography” category used Fantaisie-Impromptu for just that purpose. Fantaisie-Impromptu was written in 1834, but it wasn’t published until ...

10 classical works to listen to during the solar eclipse

However you’re observing the solar eclipse, be sure never to stare directly at the sun...and to play the perfect music! Here are some of our favorite classical works inspired by the moon and night.

Hear These Uncovered Piano Masterworks from Haiti

Haitian composer Ludovic Lamothe has been nicknamed the “Black Chopin” because of his virtuosic writing for the piano. Lamothe is scarcely the only composer from Haiti to compose incredible keyboard works. For centuries, Haitian composers have brought African, French, and Spanish influences together to create pieces – particularly for piano – that reflect the island nation’s cultural identity. Many of ...

Hear Astor Piazzolla’s tango take on Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons have delighted listeners for centuries. The collection of four concertos was part of a larger group of works he published called The Contest Between Harmony and Invention. Each of the concertos in The Four Seasons, or Le quattro stagioni in the original Italian, corresponds to a different season of the year, and are accompanied by poems that reflect upon spring (Concerto No. 1 in ...

After gathering dust for 200 years, how Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 was rediscovered

Franz Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 collected dust for nearly 200 years in the National Museum in Prague before it became a staple of the cello repertoire. Music historians had always known of the concerto’s existence, thanks to Haydn’s diligent records: the work is included in both of his personal catalogues, dating it circa 1765.  Beyond those brief mentions, ...

Check out the sights and sounds of Chicago’s only classical music street fest

In the summer, Chicago is teeming with block parties and street fests. Over the weekend, the Thirsty Ears Classical Music Street Festival filled the block of Wilson Avenue between Ravenswood and Hermitage with music you won’t likely hear at other Chicago street fests – or at least, not in this format. Thirsty Ears, a two-year-old project of the Chicago organization ...

Hear the mass some believe “saved” church music

Italian Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina might not be the first person that comes to mind at mention of the word “savior.” Still, some refer to him as the “Savior of Church Music,” due in large part to his most famous work, Missa Papae Marcelli. And while calling Palestrina a savior seems like a stretch, it may hold some ...

The Secrets to Heavenly Singing from Peter Phillips, Conductor and Founder of the Tallis Scholars

The Tallis Scholars is one of the most widely recognized vocal ensembles in the world with an unmistakable sound. A reviewer of their performance at the 2013 BBC Proms said, “The sound coming from the Tallis Scholars almost surpassed the humanly possible.” Since conductor Peter Phillips founded the Tallis Scholars in 1973, the group has both unearthed neglected Renaissance masterpieces, championed new ...

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