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It is impossible to deny that the context around a piece affects how an audience will receive it. When Beethoven performed his ninth symphony, for example, the reception of the piece did not come just from the musical elements itself, but also from the idea that this piece was the…


It is quite often for artists to have muses who inspire their greatness and drive their creativity. For many composers, these muses have come in the form of performers who they admired and wrote pieces specifically for. In the case of the romantic-era German composer Louis Spohr, he wrote all…


Stravinsky’s famous piece “The Rite of Spring” depicts a ritualistic sacrifice to the earth that also signifies the power of spring, according to Stravinsky’s program notes. While this piece and the accompanying choreography can feel abstract and hard to connect to for many people, the effects that come from the…


Thanks for sharing about this poem. It’s a really nice poem and I like how you connected it back to the themes of Symphonie Fantastique. I think the wind as a leader comes from the larger themes of fate and destiny in Symphonie Fantastique. The young artist tries to escape from the visions that he dreamed about, but the piece still ends tragically. Therefore, fate could be represented by the wind because it is powerful and affects all of nature. The wind could also represent something about the power of music, so I think it’s a pretty open-ended metaphor.


The program of Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique begins with a familiar theme. A young man finds himself consumed by his love for a woman from the moment he sees her. He finds himself driven mad by this passion, leading him later to madness and despair. This idea of all-consuming love…


Nice post! I really liked how you added in the pictures of the old instruments and the two recordings to compare the two different versions of the piece. The idea of authenticity is often something we strive for in music, as we try to play pieces in the style that their composers intended them to be played. However, there is a debate about how much this matters, as every new performance of a piece will be a unique adaptation. Personally, I didn't hear much of a difference between the performance with the old instruments and with the new instruments, but it was interesting to see these two performances.


When Beethoven’s famous Ninth Symphony premiered on May 7, 1824, it was met with resounding applause and quickly became a staple piece of classical music, with the theme “Ode to Joy” being recognizable even by those not familiar with classical music. When we look back at Beethoven’s life, we see…


On December 2, 1982, Dr. Barney Clark received the world’s first artificial heart, named the Jarvik-7 after its inventor. Doctors and scientists had been working for years to develop this technology, but they did not even know if Clark would survive the surgery or how successful his life would be…


When researching for this blog post, I searched through many databases but mostly only found short reviews from various performances of Orfeo, nothing that felt substantial enough to build a blog post around. However, when I searched the term “Orpheus” in the database of African American newspapers, I found many…


It is hard to overstate the effect that George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue has had on American music. Since its premiere in 1924, it has become an icon of 20th-century music, one that is recognized by both musicians and non-musicians alike. …

Olivia R

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