Author: Robert

Ernö Dohnányi, Sextet in C Major (1935)

Some composers garner substantial performance histories of their works that continue decades or centuries after they die. Others do not, and the reasons can be mysterious. Ernö Dohnányi (1877-1960) was a first-rate musician who composed polished and sophisticated pieces of grand scope. His ideas at times reflect innovations in music of the early twentieth century […]

Mason Bates – Mainframe Tropics (2009)

Mason Bates is the latest shiny object in the firmament of American orchestral music. He recently dethroned Jennifer Higdon from her second place on the list of most performed living Americans. (John Adams rules perennially at number one.) 2017 will see the premiere of his new opera The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. If his experience […]

Leoš Janáček – Concertino (1925)

Emily Brontë once observed that cherishing “the delusion of being married for love by girls” is a folly of a man’s declining years. If so, such folly never benefitted the music world more than the infatuation of Leoš Janáček for Kamila Stösslová. Though Stösslová was in no way a girl when they met, a gulf […]

Bohuslav Martinů – Quartet (1924)

Some historians think Bohuslav Martinů suffered from Aspergers syndrome. He was shy in conversation, had extreme stage fright, and endured significant motor clumsiness. But he was also a prolific composer, and his music is as outward facing as his personality was inward. I. The Stravinsky Connection In 1923 Martinů abandoned his life in Prague and […]

Friedrich Goldmann – Trio (2004)

The Contemporary Hornist has a habit of harping on twin pitfalls of contemporary horn music: overuse of the high register and non-use (dare one say ignorance?) of the low register. Recent decades have heralded a number of new trios for horn, violin, and piano from established modernist composers that fall into these traps. But one […]

George Tsontakis – Gemini (1996)

If statements of cultural titans like Apple Computer are any indication, the word “music” now first conjures an image of recordings. Of libraries of mp3 files or compact discs or (if we are old enough or hip enough) LP records. Many composers of the last several decades, however, seem intent on composing pieces that defy […]

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