Tag Archives: Music Box

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 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 Which […]

Frederick Delius and his neurological disease

Photograph of Frederick Delius. 1907. From Monographien moderner musiker. Via Wikimedia. The life of the English composer Frederick Delius and his tragic encounter with the spirochaeta pallida has been extensively documented. He was born in 1862 in the industrial Yorkshire town of Bradford. His family had come to England from Germany but was originally Dutch, […]

Felix Mendelssohn, musical prodigy

Oil portrait of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, painted in 1846 by Eduard Magnus. From the Berlin State Library. Via Wikimedia. Felix Mendelssohn made his musical debut at age nine. Born in Hamburg in 1809, he came from a distinguished German family that moved to Berlin in 1902. His grandfather and father had been successful businessmen who […]

Franz Liszt, best piano player in Europe

Composer and pianist Franz Liszt. Photo by Franz Hanfstaengl. 1858. Via Wikimedia. Like Mozart and Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt was a musical prodigy. He played the piano when he was five years old. At eight, he could read difficult music, and two years later he was composing music himself. By age twelve he was ranked one […]

The life and death of Franz Schubert

Nicolas Robles Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Pencil-on-paper caricature of singer Johann Michael Vogl (left) and composer Franz Schubert (right). The caption (in German) reads: Michael Vogl and Franz Schubert go out for battle and victory. Attributed to his friend, Franz von Schober – Original is in the Historic Museum of the City of Vienna. […]

Ode to baroque and other musical genres

George Christopher Ada, Michigan, United States   The Lute Player. Caravaggio. 1596. Wildenstein Collection. Via Wikimedia. Imagine a musical style that is emotionally evocative yet highly organized, thereby conferring structure to emotion; that gives artistic expression of the fusion of emotion and reason; that mimics biology at cellular through ecological levels through its organized complexity; […]