Mozart got hungry. And instead of throwing his food at other people this time, he stuffed his face. *Really* stuffed his face.
With Thanksgiving just a week away, we celebrate Beethoven and his peacefully gracious “Song of Thanksgiving.”
What does “Song of Thanksgiving” make you think of?
Throwing shade, tossing zingers, lobbing jabs. It’s always entertaining to hear about a superbly-delivered insult. Especially when we aren’t at the brunt of it!
Here are some truly delightful insults and the music that inspired them:
1. “Listening to the fifth symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams is like staring at a cow for 45 minutes.” –Aaron Copland
And here is the work in question! Vaughan Williams’ Fifth Symphony.
2. “Anton Bruckner wrote the same symphony nine times (ten actually), trying to get it right. He failed.” –Edward Abbey
Here is Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony.
3. “I found [the Second Symphony] vulgar, self-indulgent, and provincial beyond all description. I realize that there are sincere Sibelius-lovers in the world, though I must say I’ve never met one among educated professional musicians.” –Virgil Thomson on Jean Siblelus
It would be difficult to hate Sibelius’ Second Symphony as much as Thomson did!
4. “I can compare Le Carnival Romain by Berlioz to nothing but the caperings and gibberings of a big baboon, over-excited by a dose of alcoholic stimulus.” –George Templeton Strong
Hector Berlioz’s Le Carnival Romain!
Musical or not, what is your favorite insult?
Halloween is nearly here! Ready to be spooked? Modest Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain will help with that!
Our latest podcast explores the life of Mussorgsky and one of his most famous works.
We’re a bunch of nerds over here at Salon97, and we love to “nerd out” on all sorts of great things. From musical discovery (classical and beyond!) to consuming various other forms of arts and culture, to reading articles and books on virtually any topic under the sun, we’ll devour just about anything you send our way. So, it’s little surprise that we love infographics. It’s even less surprising that we love, LOVE seeing data visualized through and about music. What could be cooler than that?!
Luckily for web surfers the world over, there is a bunch of data visualization in music out there. This is our first installment of some of our favorite bits of musical data:
1. From Jenn: Narratives 2.0
“Narrative 2.0 visualises music. The music was segmented in single channels. The channels are shown fanlike and the lines move from the center away with the time. The angle of the line changes according to the frequency of the channel, while the frequency reaching a high level, the channel becomes highlighted by orange. The visualisation should not necessarily return exact informations, even if the arrangement and uniformity of the music canbe read. The purpose was to create even more an aesthetically responding visualisation with the music as an artist.” More here.
2. From Carla: Brain Pickings’ Synesthesia Spotlight
In addition to Estaban Diacono’s visualization of Olafur Arnalds’ music, the post features Stephen Malinowski and Michal Levy’s work. All great stuff! See the post here.
3. The Composer’ Political Compass
This one is pretty self-explanatory! See the original post here.
4. From Kevin: Visualizing a Drummer’s Movements
Polish audio-visual artist Bartek Szlachcic has created many visualizations, and Portrait of a Ghost Drummer is just one of them. See more of his work here.
Do you have a favorite piece of musical data visualization? Please share! We’ll include it in a future post.
Classical music is so much more than Beethoven and Mozart! While their work was and is amazing, there are many talented composers right here in the U.S. (past and present) that you have likely never heard of. In a truly American way, each of the composers featured below had a vastly different approach to what classical music written in the U.S. is and should be.
A small survey of an expansive and fascinating world…
John J. Becker (1886-1961)
John J. Becker, a member of the American Five, wrote his first dissonant piece in 1929 and felt that the more typical “tonal” music was too reminiscent of European classical music. Becker believed wholeheartedly that classical music from the U.S. should be derived from the American experience.
Soundpiece No. 1 for Piano and Strings
Amy Beach (1867-1944)
Amy Beach was known as the Dean of American Woman Composers and was the first prominent female composer in the U.S. She was a prodigy pianist and composer who loved performing but dedicated much of her life to serious composition at the request of her husband. Her music is very rich, melodic, and tonal, and is largely derived from traditional European classical music. Beach’s influences included Scottish and Irish folk music, as well as Inuit idioms.
William Grant Still (1895-1978)
Known as the Dean of African American Composers, William Grant Still had many impressive accomplishments under his belt. His Symphony No. 1 “Afro-American” was the first piece written by an African American to be performed by a major American orchestra (Rochester Philharmonic), and his opera Troubled Island was the first opera by an African American to be performed by a major company (NYC Opera). He additionally was the first African American to conduct a white radio orchestra (Deep River Hour). Still’s music was incredibly programmatic and combined classical music in the traditional European style with his African American heritage.
Symphony No. 1 “Afro-American”: 1. Longing
Harry Partch (1901-1974)
Harry Partch, the “Don Quixote” of music, took American classical composition in a completely different direction. Instead of composing within the traditional Western 12-tone system, he created his own 43+ tone system. And then he created instruments compatible with the new tonal system and trained musicians to perform on them. Pretty incredible!
Delusion of the Fury
What is your favorite iteration of American classical music?
This month’s podcast features Johannes Brahms. Just because!
Take a few moments to learn a little about his life and hear some of his music. You won’t regret it!
I’m often asked about accessible sources for listening to classical music during the workday. Whether you are looking to actively discover new music while working through monotonous tasks, wishing for pleasant sounds to drown out background noise, or all together just want to mix it up a bit at work, the following stations are my tried and true top picks for workday (and weekend!) classical music listening.
1. Capital Public Radio
Capital Public Radio is broadcast from Sacramento State University and offers a wide variety of classical music from Baroque, to full symphonies, to lesser-known composers from around the world. They also have a great jazz station to check out!
WQXR is New York City’s classical station. They offer a wide variety of classical music on their main stream, in addition to Q2 (new music), and Operavore, an all-opera channel. WQXR also has a very active and fun-to-read blog for quick work breaks.
AllClassical.org is the live stream for Portland, Oregon’s non-profit classical station. They have a great mix of classical content streams throughout the day, and of the three stations I’ve mentioned so far, their interface is the best and most quickly updated for viewing the title and performer of what is currently being aired. After years of streaming classical music during the workday, I can tell you this becomes incredibly important!
For the Pandora lovers out there, the music-streaming service recently began a “Classical for Work” playlist. Music here tends to be light and soothing, so if that’s what you’re looking for, head to Pandora!
What are you favorite places to listen to music while at work? Do share with us in the comments section!
Not a lot is said about Eric Coates, who was known as the King of Light Music in his time. Today is the 127th anniversary of his birth, so we felt this was a great time to put Coates back in the spotlight for a few minutes. He was quite an interesting character!
Download this and Salon97′s previous podcast episodes on Libsyn!
There’s been a lot of pressure on Mozart to be more polite lately, and he finally rose to the occasion. However, per his usual antics, he didn’t express his generosity the old-fashioned way. Have a look for yourself.