Music Box - Hektoen International

And for unto us… Medicine, Messiah, and Christmas

Desmond O’Neill Dublin, Ireland   Program cover for Handel and Haydn Society concert of December 25, 1815. Courtesy of the Handel and Haydn Society Archives. Although the very first performance of the Messiah took place in April 1742 in Dublin with the London première following in March 1743, the oratorio is closely associated with the […]

Franz Liszt and Lisztomania: “Le concert, c’est moi”

Elizabeth Colledge Jacksonville, Florida, United States   “In the Concert Hall” during a performance of Franz Liszt. 1842 print from Stadtarchiv Weimar, the archives of the city of Weimar, Germany. In Heresies of Music: An A-Z Diagnostic Guide. Much has been written about the hysteria accompanying Beatlemania, and before that, the frenzies generated by Elvis, […]

Stay inside: A toast to the frontline

Tyler Beauchamp Rushay Amarath Andy Nguyen Augusta, Georgia, United States   The thumbnail of “Stay Inside | A Toast to the Frontline.” The music video has reached about 30,000 views at the time of publication. The COVID-19 pandemic introduced us to a danger we knew little of how to protect ourselves from. I had spent […]

Nikolai Medtner: his forgotten melodies, music, and life

Michael Yafi Houston, Texas, United States Nikolai Medtner recording for HMV, 1947. Photographer unknown, copyright controlled, courtesy of Warner Classics.   The music of Nikolai Medtner (1880 -1951) is among the most enigmatic of the piano repertoire. Medtner was an opinionated composer who admired Rachmaninoff and rejected all attempts at modernism in music. Rachmaninoff met […]

Béla Bartók (1881-1945): The years in America, triumph over tragedy

James L. Franklin George Dunea Chicago, Illinois, United States   Fig 1. Béla Bartók in 1927. Unknown Photographer. Via Wikimedia. Black clouds of war were hanging over the world when Béla Bartók and his wife Ditta Pásztory (1903-1982) disembarked in New York Harbor on October 30, 1940. For the remainder of his life, Bartók would […]

Charles Valentin Alkan

Charles-Henri Valentin Morhange was a precocious child who played the piano at the age of five and gave his first public performance at seven. He was the second of six children of an old Ashkenazi family that for centuries had lived near the town of Metz in Alsace. Born in Paris in 1813, he later […]

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

Portrait of Joseph Haydn. by Thomas Hardy. 1791. Royal College of Music Museum of Instruments. Via Wikimedia. For nearly half of his life Joseph Haydn occupied the humble position of musician in the service of the Esterhazy princes, wearing livery and playing his wonderful compositions while the guests at dinner most likely only half- listened […]

The patronage and playability of Mozart’s flute works

Stephen Martin Durham, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Exposition of the D Major flute quartet. Beethoven borrowed the first two bars. Mozart obviously used a thicker-cut quill for hand-writing than for the notes. ‘Figur Handschrift’ is in a later hand. (IMSLP, CCA-SA 4.0) It is therapeutic to have an intellectual interest outside clinical work, a […]

Richard Wagner, a man of many symptoms

Richard Wagner, Munich. 1871. by Franz Hanfstaengl. Via Wikimedia. Richard Wagner was an extraordinarily talented musical genius. Almost singlehandedly he revolutionized opera, completing its transformation from the traditional recitative–aria format to a continuous musical drama. He was born in 1813 in turbulent times in Leipzig. There four months after his birth the combined forces of […]

Mozart and Salieri: from Pushkin to Shaffer

James L. Franklin1 Chicago, Illinois, United States La Calunnia La calunnia è un venticello, Un’auretta assai gentile Che insensibile, sottile, Leggermente, dolcemente, Incomincia a sussurar Piano, piano, terra, terra Sottovoce, sibilando, Va scorrendo, va ronzando S’introduce destramente E le teste ed I Cervelli . . .   Calumny is a little breeze A gentile zephyr […]