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  • 2016 August 21: Prince Johann Ernst

    August 21, 2016 10:30

    In 1703 a 17-year-old Bach was ready to make his own way in the world. He already had quite a reputation as an organist, but he needed a ‘temp job’ to feed himself until an organ post became available. So he took a job as a violinist in the orchestra of Duke Johann Ernst in Weimar. In those days court musicians were nothing more than servants; they lived and ate in servant’s quarters, were paid servant’s wages, came and went by the servant’s door, and often performed behind a screen. In not too many months an organ post presented itself, and Bach was outta there. (more )

  • 2016 August 14: Chopin and a Moth

    August 14, 2016 10:30

    One evening, when they were all assembled in the salon, Liszt played one of Chopin's nocturnes, to which he took the liberty of adding some embellishments. Chopin's delicate intellectual face, which still bore the traces of recent illness, looked disturbed; at last he could not control himself any longer, and in that tone of sang froid which he sometimes assumed he said, 'I beg you, my dear friend, when you do me the honor of playing my compositions, to play them as they are written or else not at all.'  (more )

  • 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 )

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