Monthly Archives: August 2012

Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto and its Problematic Beginning

Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto had a very problematic beginning. In 1939, a Philadelphia businessman named Samuel Fels asked Barber to write a concerto for the violinist Iso Briselli. Barber started working on the first two movements in Switzerland, but had … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music and Performers, Greensboro Symphony Classical Concerts | Leave a comment

“On the Beautiful Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss, Jr.

On the Beautiful Blue Danube is one of the world’s most beloved pieces of music. Its charm has delighted listeners for more than a century. But, for all its wonder, it had a rather unusual beginning. In the 1860’s, Strauss … Continue reading

Posted in Vienna's Musical History | 1 Comment

Mendelssohn’s 4th Symphony – The “Italian”

Felix Mendelssohn, known as Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in his native Germany, only lived 38 years. His musical abilities were recognized as a young child, and he was even called “an heir to Mozart”. Even in his short life, his output … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music and Performers | Leave a comment

Handel’s “Water Music” – London 1717

With the focus on London’s Olympics these days, and also of the current presidential campaign, I was reminded of a great piece of music whose first performance was on the Thames almost 300 years ago. In 1717, King George’s popularity … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Music and Performers | 2 Comments

The Unique Story of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

“A grand performance of a new work” is how a prominent Viennese musical newspaper announced a concert of music by Beethoven. Another paper wrote that “anyone whose heart beats warmly for greatness and beauty will surely be present.” It was … Continue reading

Posted in Greensboro Symphony Classical Concerts, Vienna's Musical History | Leave a comment