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Obscure Music Mondays

  • Obscure Music Monday: Albéniz's Les Saisons

    Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual (May 29, 1860 - May 18, 1909) was a Spanish conductor, composer, and pianist. He was a child prodigy, and was performing at only four years old.  Continue reading

  • Obscure Music Monday: Bax's November Woods

    Sir Arnold Trevor Bax (Nov. 8, 1883 - October 3, 1953) was an English author, poet, and composer. Born in a suburb of London to a wealthy family, his parents encouraged him to study music. As he had a private income,  he followed his own whims when it came to composition. He attended the Hampstead Conservatoire, and the Royal Academy of Music. While at the academy, he became an admirer of the music of Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Claude Debussy (the latter two were frowned upon by the faculty). Bax became highly interested in Ireland and Celtic culture, and lived in Dublin for a time, and grew an interest in Nordic culture as well. Later on Bax would travel to Russia, and some of his works were influenced by his travels there. Continue reading

  • Obscure Music Monday: Grieg's In Autumn

    Edvard Grieg ( June 15, 1843 - September 4, 1907) was a Norwegian composer and pianist. Raised in a musical family, his mother was his first piano teacher at age six. Grieg later on enrolled in the Leipzig Conservatory where he focused predominantly on the piano.  Continue reading

  • Obscure Music Monday: Chaminade's Feuilles d'automne

    Cécile Louise Stéphanie Chaminade (Aug. 8, 1857 - April 13, 1944) was a French pianist and composer. Her mother was her first piano teacher, and she also took violin and composition; sadly her father disapproved. Continue reading

  • Obscure Music Monday: Prisovsky's Autumn Violins

    Vasily Prisovsky (1861 - 1917) was a Ukranian composer and bandmaster, of whom we know very little about. He wrote several popular piano works in the early 1900s, and conducted the brass band of the 132 Bender Infantry Regiment. Continue reading

  • Obscure Music Monday: MacDowell's The Witch

    Edward Alexander MacDowell (Dec. 18, 1860 - Jan. 23. 1908) was an American pianist and composer. Born in New York City, he took piano lessons from various people as a child, and when he was 17, his mother decided to take him to Paris, where he attended the Paris Conservatory. He studied there for two years, before continuing in Germany a Dr. Hoch's Conservatory in Frankfurt. While he was there, Franz Liszt and Clara Schumann visited the university, and MacDowell played Robert Schumann's Quintet, and later on played his own works for Liszt, who would go on to recommend him for performance and introduce him to major music publishers.  MacDowell would go on to teach at Columbia University, and was their first professor of music. Continue reading

  • Obscure Music Monday: Melartin's String Trio

    Erkki Melartin (Feb. 7, 1875 - Feb. 14, 1937) was a Finnish composer, conductor, and teacher. He studied in Helsinki fro 1893 to 1899 with Martin Wegelius, and with Robert Fuchs,in Vienna, from 1899 to 1901 Continue reading

  • Obscure Music Mondays: d'Indy's Souvenirs

    Vincent d'Indy (March 27, 1851 - Dec. 2, 1931) was a French composer and teacher born in to an aristocratic family. He took piano lessons from his grandmother at a young age, and studied harmony at 14 from Albert Lavignac. He enlisted in the National Guard during the Franco-Prussian War when he was 19, but came back to music as soon as the fighting was over. He became a student at the Paris Conservatory, and later on became dissatisfied with the standard of teaching there, and with Charles Bordes and Alexandre Guilmant, founded the Schola Cantorum de Paris in 1894. d'Indy would teach there, and at the Paris Conservatory, until his death. Continue reading

  • Obscure Music Monday: Chrétien's Wind Quintet

    Hedwige Chrétien (July 15 - 1859 - 1944) was a French composer, and not a great deal is known about her.  She studied at the Paris Conservatory with Ernest Guiraud starting in 1874, and became a professor there in 1889. While she was a student, she won several awards for piano, counterpoint, harmony, and fugue, and she would go on to write around 150 compositions, of various genres. Continue reading

  • Obscure Music Monday: Danzi's Sonata for Horn and Piano in E minor

    Franz Ignaz Danzi (June 15, 1763 - April 13, 1826) was a German composer and conductor, and like his father Innocenz Danzi, a cellist. Continue reading

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