Last time I shared with you my conflicted thoughts on anti-Semitic German composer Richard Wagner. To balance things out, today I want to point you to a piece by the Austrian Jewish composer Gustav Mahler, whose music I learned to love only recently. I had tried to listen to him in the past and quite […]
I’ve been conflicted about listening to Wagner’s music for a long time. He was a raging anti-Semite and a horrible human being. Hitler’s love for Wagner’s music made Wagner even less likable. (But of course, by this logic, if Hitler loved Offenbach’s music would it make Offenbach’s music taboo? But then again, if I […]
Last time, I discussed how Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto Number 1 was rejected by Tchaikovsky’s mentor, the best pianist in Russia, Nikolai Rubenstein, – who termed this concerto “pathetic,” among other insults. But after the concerto’s successful premier in Boston, Rubenstein changed his mind and actually conducted its premier in Moscow. A similar fate faced Tchaikovsky’s […]
There is a great lesson that we all can learn from Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto Number 1. It was common at the time to dedicate a piece of music to the musician whom you wanted to perform the music, usually a famous performer. Dedication insured that a piece of music would see the light of day […]
I’ll dedicate the next few musical notes to Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. I have always had a difficult relationship with his music. My parents loved his first piano concerto, and I’ve listened to it a few thousand times over the years (I love it, too). At the same time, I was forced to listen to his […]
After I wrote last week about Arthur Rubenstein, the Polish-American-Jewish pianist, a reader suggested I read Rubenstein’s autobiography, which consists of two books, My Younger Years and My Many Years. I bought both. I am halfway through the first one (it is the first “paper” book I’ve read in a few years – a very […]
Today I wanted to share with you the Piano Concerto in A Minor by Norwegian composer Edward Grieg, the only piano concerto he wrote (here is a link). It is one of those concertos that you have to listen to with eyes closed. (That is why I am including it at the bottom of my […]
Pavarotti needs no introduction, but Joan Sutherland, who passed away in 2010, is maybe less known to the younger generation.
As one of my favorite childhood memories, I remember walking home with my father on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I was maybe nine years old. There was the sound of classical music coming from the fourth-floor window of our apartment building.
I wanted to share with you probably the most unique performance ever recorded (other than Rachmaninoff playing Rachmaninoff): Beethoven’s Triple Concerto.