Zoo Song is an attempt to recreate the childlike sense of wonderment after visiting the zoo for the first time. The flutist must employ extended techniques in an attempt to imitate various animals.
You might have noticed the persistent presence of a pianist in instrumental and vocal solo performances. These musicians, or accompanists, are responsible for playing the other half (or sometimes more) of the sounds that the audience hears. One might wonder, from where did the tradition of “serious” music requiring a piano voice originate?
Did you know that the month of March is named after the Roman god of war, Mars? March is the third month of the year in the Gregorian calendar system, but was actually the first month on the Roman calendar. Originally named Martius, this month in Ancient Rome was characterized by religious festivals and preparations for war.
Symphonic Chocolates (2012) by Maxime Goulet, was commissioned by the National Academy Orchestra of Canada to celebrate the 25 th anniversary of the Brott Music Festival. The piece is a “soundtrack for chocolate tasting” and is frequently performed on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. The four-movement work evokes four distinct flavors; caramel, dark chocolate, mint, and coffee.
In music, there is a general aversion to change. Modern educators still teach musical notation using medieval methods, the youngest instrument (the saxophone) is nearly one hundred and seventy years old, and several of the staple pieces performed by most ensembles are from the 18th century. Despite this, new composers continue to spring up around the world and are making a constant effort to improve and enrich the arts. In honor of the new year, here is a brief introduction to a few contemporary composers who are keeping instrumental music alive.
Merriam-Webster defines indigenous as “living, or occurring naturally in a particular region or environment.” According to the United Nations, “there are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world.” In 2007, the United Nations declared that August 9th is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. In honor of the tenth celebration of this event, here is a small tribute to the music of Native Americans.
Independence Day in the United States celebrates the anniversary of the date over two hundred years ago when the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776). It is annually celebrated with fireworks, concerts, parades, and the singing of the national anthem, the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
John Rice from Eighteenth-Century Music makes an interesting point about the introduction of coffee to Europe in the late 1600’s and the “astonishing level of productivity achieved” by many composers in the seventeenth century. Several famous composers including Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart were known for indulging in the caffeine craze.
Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was one of the most prolific Russian composers of the Romantic Era. Despite the success, Tchaikovsky found himself regularly overcome with frustration and loneliness. He regularly took it as a personal affront when the general public celebrated one of his simpler works over a composition that he personally treasured.