Illuminating 60-second flights through the world of classical music with host and longtime NPR commentator Miles Hoffman. Produced by South Carolina Public Radio.
Copland on Composing
It’s often - not always, but often - interesting to read what composers have written about composing—especially if they’re good writers. Aaron Copland was an excellent writer, although by all accounts a very reserved man, one who kept his personal feelings hidden. It’s especially interesting then, that Copland once wrote that a composer, in his music, “gives us himself,” but that he also wrote that he hated what he called “an emotion-drenched voice.” “Somehow,” Copland wrote, describing a
Are you one of those classical music lovers who apologize for not knowing enough ? Do you worry that your love of classical music somehow doesn’t count as much as the love of experts? Here’s what I think. I think human beings like to know things, and it’s fine – in fact it’s wonderful – for audiences to be musically knowledgeable and experienced, if only because in music as in all the arts – and as in football and cooking, for that matter – with added knowledge and experience come added levels
The little snippet of music you just heard, our “theme music,” is from the first movement, the Prelude , of the Partita Number 3 in E Major for solo violin by Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach wrote a set of six large works for solo violin – three sonatas and three partitas. The sonatas are constructed of constrasting movements with such names as Allegro, Andante, and Adagio. But “partita” is a synonym for “suite,” and the Baroque suite, which is to say the suite in the time of Bach, consists of a set
Berlioz on Music
“Music…embraces at once the real and the ideal… By suspending the rhythm that gives it movement and life, it can assume the aspect of death. With the play of harmonic means at its disposal, it might confine itself…to being a pleasant diversion for the mind; or, in its melodic sport, limit itself to tickling the ear. But when it concentrates at one and the same time all its powers on the sense of hearing which it skillfully charms or offends, on the nervous system which it excites, the
Several centuries ago, it was common for violin makers to print their names in Latin on the paper labels they glued in their instruments. That’s what the great Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari did, and that’s why an instrument made by Stradivari is known as a Stradivarius. Stradivari was born around 1644, and he died ninety-three years later, in 1737. He learned his craft as an apprentice to Nicolò Amati, and it was Amati’s grandfather, Andrea Amati, working back in the 1500s, who’s
Staccato is the Italian word for “separated,” or “detached.” Staccato notes are notes that are not sustained for their full rhythmic value: they come to a short stop, which separates them from notes that follow. They also usually have a clean, sharply articulated start . The opposite of staccato is legato , which means “connected.” Composers often specifically indicate that notes or passages should be played staccato, and they do so by placing dots, dashes, or little wedges over the notes in
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Lovely and illuminating
Who cannot spare one minute to learn something new? The host is a high-energy violist who is so eager to share what he knows that one cannot help but be curious to learn more about the segment's topic.