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  • 2016 July 31: Beethoven's Family

    July 31, 2016 10:30

    Ludwig had a younger brother Nikolaus whom Ludwig had tried to shield from their abusive alcoholic father. As adults there was little affection between them. Ludwig, as we well know, went into music. His younger brother, however, was something of a ne'er do well until he found a way to profit handsomely from Napoleon's conquest of Vienna, which by general consensus amounted to Nikolaus "collaborating with the enemy". (more )

  • 2016 July 17: Bach Flute Sonatas

    July 17, 2016 10:30

    The history of Bach’s flute sonatas is unclear. He probably wrote most of them while in the service of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cothen. Prince Leopold was a young man who loved music and who gradually expanded his court orchestra to eighteen players. In 1717 he engaged 32-year-old Bach as Kapellmeister (the highest position of musical responsibility in that day) and the esteem in which Bach was held can be seen from the fact that his salary was twice that of his predecessor. The Prince was an accomplished musician himself and played the violin, viol and harpsichord. (more )

  • 2016 July 3: My Country 'Tis of Thee

    July 03, 2016 10:30

    In Beethoven’s day a popular musical form was “Theme and Variations”. The template was to take a popular tune of the day — the ‘theme’ — which the composer states rather simply, and follow it with ‘variations’ which displayed the composer’s imaginative powers. Beethoven was regarded as the “Mike Tyson” of that form and wrote twenty-two sets just for piano. (more )

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