Composers Datebook

Composers Datebook™ is a daily two-minute program designed to inform, engage, and entertain listeners with timely information about composers of the past and present. Each program notes significant or intriguing musical events involving composers of the past and present, with appropriate and accessible music related to each.

Eine durchschnittliche Folge dieses Podcasts dauert 1m. Bisher sind 1879 Folge(n) erschienen. Dieser Podcast erscheint täglich.

Gesamtlänge aller Episoden: 2 days 14 hours 20 minutes

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Wagner gets a Ride in New York


Synopsis

In 1871, one year after the premiere in Munich of Richard Wagner’s opera “Die Walküre,” a German-born American conductor named Theodore Thomas wrote Wagner asking if he might perform excerpts of this new work in the United States. Wagner turned him down, worried that loose American copyright laws might not protect his new music...


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Barber at the Met


Synopsis

There’s a book entitled “Great Operatic Disasters” which chronicles the sometime humorous – and sometimes harrowing – mishaps that have befallen opera singers and productions over the last few centuries. According to that book, September 16th seems to have been a particularly unlucky day...


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Ives at Yaddo


Synopsis

On today’s date in 1946, at the Yaddo Music Festival in Saratoga Springs, New York, the Walden Quartet gave the first professional performance of the String Quartet No. 2 by the American composer Charles Ives.

Ives’ String Quartet No. 1 was his first major work – its manuscript is dated 1896, back when Ives was a 21-year old student at Yale...


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María Joaquina de la Portilla Torres


Synopsis

Today’s date marks the birthday in 1885 of María Joaquina de la Portilla Torres, in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Under her married name of Maria Grever, she became the first female Mexican composer to achieve international fame. She composed her first song at age four, studied in France with Claude Debussy among others, and at 18, one of her songs sold 3 million copies.

At age 22, she married Leo A...


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Bernstein takes a chance


Synopsis

The Grove Dictionary of Music defines the word “aleatory” as follows: “music whose composition and/or performance is, to a greater or lesser extent, undetermined by the composer.”

But isn’t music supposed to be organized, planned, determined sound? Isn’t “aleatoric music” a contradiction in terms? Well, not necessarily...


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The Schumanns in love


Synopsis

In the year 1840, the immensely talented German pianist Clara Wieck was eagerly awaiting the eve of her 21st birthday, when she would be free to legally marry the 30-year-old composer and music critic Robert Schumann. The couple had hoped to wed years earlier, but the match was bitterly opposed by Clara’s father.

Clara and Robert kept in touch by letters, which were sometimes intercepted by Papa Wieck...


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Couperin the Great


Synopsis

On today’s date in 1733, the French composer François Couperin, known as “François Couperin the Great,” died in Paris. The building where Couperin lived for the last decade of his life still stands in Paris, and like the building, the high esteem afforded this Baroque composer has stood the test of time...


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Marco Uccellini


Synopsis

The average music lover, if asked to name some notable Baroque composers, will probably answer Bach, Handel, Telemann, or Vivaldi. But decades before most of those composers flourished, a number of bold pioneers of the early Baroque period were busily developing new musical forms and techniques.

Like most composers born before 1700, details about their lives and careers tend to be skimpy at best...


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Beethoven at "The Wild Man"


Synopsis

In September of 1825, an Englishman by the name of Sir George Smart came to Vienna, hoping to meet Beethoven. Smart had conducted the British premiere of Beethoven’s Ninth, and wanted, as he put it in his journal, “to ascertain from Beethoven himself the exact tempos of the movements of his sinfonia.”

By luck, Smart arrived in time to attend the first reading of Beethoven’s String Quartet in A minor, Op...


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Tan Dun's "Water Passion"


Synopsis

The year 2000 marked both the arrival of a new millennium and the 250th anniversary of the death of the great German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

The International Bach Academy in Stuttgart decided to mark the occasion by commissioning four very different composers to write four new passion settings, one each after the Gospel accounts of the evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. A German composer, Wolfgang Rihm, was chosen for the St...


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