LIVS Blog

RSS
Ernest Bloch

"What We're Listening To" - Ernest Bloch - Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque for Violoncello and Orchestra

On July 24th, we will celebrate the 136th birthday of Swiss composer Ernest Bloch! Bloch was a violinist from the age of nine, studying in Brussels with teachers such as Eugène Ysaÿe. Soon after, he began his composition studies and published his first work, Historiettes au Crépuscule for mezzo-soprano voice and piano, in 1903. However, he soon found that his Jewish roots distinctively resonated within him in his musical endeavors. Bloch composed a number of works that have come to be known as his “Jewish Cycle”. These pieces now constitute some of his most well-known works since these compositions contain tremendous forces of expression and personal significance. Bloch admitted, at one point, that he could not distinguish within his music where his Jewish influences ended and where his self began.

Read now
Mikail Glinka

Mikail Glinka - Sonata for Viola and Piano

Mikhail Glinka is considered the fountainhead 
of Russian classical music, and the first Russian composer to gain widespread recognition in his own country. As a child, he was raised by his over-protective grandmother and was confined to her room, and therefore developed a sickly disposition. The only music he heard during his confinement was the sound of strident church bells and improvisatory peasant choirs. Both of these used unconventional harmonies, which later freed Glinka to break free from the Western tradition of consonant harmony.
Read now
Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky

"What We're Listening To" - Tchaikovsky's Serenade For Strings

Pyotr Illyich TchaikovskyPyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) is a well-known late-Romantic period composer from Russia. He was a precocious musician from the age of five. However, the only musical careers available at that time were as teachers or performers in the theater, neither of which were held in high esteem. Therefore, young Pyotr’s parents set him on the path to become a civil servant. While attending school, he still engaged in music with peers as a hobby, attending the opera, singing in the choir, and continuing piano lessons. However, he was still encouraged to pursue a civil service career.
Read now
Sergei Rachmaninoff

"What We're Listening To" - Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini"

Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was 
Sergei Rachmaninoff
a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor during the late Romantic period. He is still regarded today as one of the major composers of the twentieth century. He began playing piano at age four, and by the time he had graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1892 he had already composed several pieces for piano and orchestra. He was heavily influenced by composers Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov, two widely popular Russian composers. Rachmaninoff is known for his melodies, his expressiveness, and his use of rich orchestral colors.
Read now
Max Bruch

"What We're Listening To" - Max Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy"

"What We're Listening To:" - Max BruchMax Bruch was born in Germany in 1838. From an early age he studied music, and wrote his first composition at the age of nine: a song for his mother’s birthday. His parents then eagerly supported his musical passions. He went on to have a long career as a teacher, conductor, and composer.

 

Read now
"What We're Listening To:" Giovanni Bottesini Double Bass Concerto in B Minor

"What We're Listening To:" Giovanni Bottesini Double Bass Concerto in B Minor


Giovanni BottesiniGiovanni Bottesini (1821-1889) was an Italian Romantic composer, conductor, and a double bass virtuoso. Bottesini held much acclaim for his mastery – he is often considered the Paganini of the double bass. He contributed so heavily to double bass technique and repertoire, the double bass is now considered a more versatile instrument. Bottesini's innovations allowed composers to utilize the bass in more diverse ways, extending its function and elevating its appreciation.

Read now
Aaron Copland

"What We're Listening To" Aaron Copland's "Hoe Down" From Rodeo

"What We're Listening To" - Aaron CoplandAaron Copland (1900-1990) was an American composer, teacher, writer, and later conductor of his own and other American music. Copland has been referred to as “the Dean of American Composers,” because he has brought forth a style that sounds distinctly American. His open, slowly changing harmonies evoke the pioneer spirit.

Read now