Your Classical Coffee Break público
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This coffee break revisits the idea of composers reworking and revitalizing works of composers long-dead. More than 50 years after Offenbach's death, his Barcarolle from Tales of Hoffmann was reworked by Manuel Rosenthal for Diaghelev Ballet Russes. We check out both versions. Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition was orchestrated by Maurice Ravel…
 
This coffee break explores how composers update their own or other composers' work to expand on themes or sometimes change the piece completely. Mr. Somers discusses his piano work Christmas Pastorale and how 48 years later arranged it to include viola. Modest Mussorgsky rearranged his 1867's St. John's Eve of Bald Mountain to be included in his 18…
 
This coffee break wraps up the discussion on the use of silence and pauses to dramatically frame music. We delve into Carl Orff's Carmina Burana masterpiece which warns about the power of luck and fate. Mahler's 10th Symphony shows how the bass drum harkens death and the importance of silence at the ending of his 9th Symphony. But we end with the S…
 
This coffee break continues its wordy discussion about the power of silence in music. We listen to a Bach piece (CPE Bach, that is) that illustrates the importance of cadence points in creating drama and surprise. Is there a joke hidden in a Haydn composition when a breath is taken? We check it out. Can music be like a pointillist painting? There's…
 
Music grows out of the silence that precedes it, so says Mr. Somers in this discussion how silence, or hesitation, can make a piece of music extraordinary. We listen to the Mahler's Third Symphony to hear how pauses can make the musical experience so powerful. Beethoven was a master of using pauses as emphatic gestures, particularly in his 7th Symp…
 
This coffee break complete the exploration of how composers supported themselves while chasing their passion of music. Debussy lived in a Russia as a piano teacher in the house of a patron. Dvorak had to move to England to get fair compensation for his compositions. Wagner was chased by his creditors while writing his complex pieces. And after writ…
 
YCCB continues its review of the economic life of composers and musicians. We look at Bizet who struggled financially most of his life and even was a music transcriber to support himself. Sadly for him, the popularity of his music came after his passing. Brahms made a good living from his piano performances, perhaps because he composed music that h…
 
This coffee break continues the discussion of how the greats of classical music made a living. We discuss how the the size and complexity of the new compositions made the creation of the conductor a necessity--a new job was formed. Louis Spohr, a composer and violinist, became so frustrated with musicians' confusion with the Beethoven Symphony #9 t…
 
This coffee break continues the discussion on how classical composers and musicians made a living. We followed the trail of patronage by the Church and by royalty, but support of artists developed in other areas. Arcangelo Corelli's Christmas Concerto was commissioned by Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni personally, not as an officer of the Church. Handel w…
 
Your Classical Coffee Break returns to the topic of what artists must do to support themselves. We listen to Giovanni Gabrieli's Canon in 12 in Echo and discuss his success in working within the Church structure. Then we turn to JS Bach and discuss how he made a living through playing the organ and composing. We listen to a number of Bach's pieces …
 
This coffee break begins the discussion on how artists support themselves as they pursue their passion. To explore this subject, at least pertaining to Western Culture, Mr. Somers goes back 1,000 years to see how artistry and the Church were intertwined, when secular music evolved and who supported that evolution. We listen to music spanning at lea…
 
This coffee break follows the evolution of the twelve-tone movement right into the post-Webern period. First off, we listen to Eliot Carter's Concert for Orchestra and a composition by Milton Babbitt to hear how abstract the sound had become in reaction to Webern. Then we explore Leaves are Falling by Warren Benson and other compositions which take…
 
This coffee break we take a listen to Alban Berg's startling opera Wozzeck, called an "emblematic opera of the 1920s, a harbinger of the unease and aching void of the 20thcentury, haunted by war and death, the misery of the human condition set to a music," as per Opera Online. We also listen to the works of Anton Webern and contrast his style and i…
 
This coffee break tries to find it's way home in the twelve tone composition world by listening to music by Arnold Schoenberg, particularly pieces that seem like waltzes and marches, and particularly his highly influential Pierrot Lunaire. We explore how these compositions don't have the foundations provided by major and minor keys. We listen to Al…
 
We put together two concerts of our choosing in this coffee break using Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and Antheil's Ballet Mecanique as the main section. There are a number of factors to take into consideration: What other pieces of music do we include in the concert? Should the music be in the audience's comfort zone or should we challenge them with …
 
This coffee break continues its exploration of how different artists interpret the same music, starting out with the opera Verdi's Don Carlo, the scene -- Il Grande Inquistor! We hear how the scene is staged and what the artists emphasized to maximize the experience. We continue the analyses of artists' interpretation with three pieces composed by …
 
We change topics with this coffee break by listening to how the conductor and/or musician interprets the composition and how that interpretation changes the musical experience. First, we listen to two different performances of Sibelius' Lemminkäinen Suite to determine how speed affects how the listener perceives the music. We stay with Sibelius and…
 
This coffee break continues the exploration of music composed during the Third Reich by first listening to Werner Eck's ominous Waffentanz (Weapon Dance), a state-commissioned piece, and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. Hans Pfitzner's career was stifled because his opposition to antisemitism; we listen to a piece of Symphony in C. Paul Hindemith escape…
 
This somber edition continues the theme of composing music under authoritarian regimes, this time under the Third Reich. We listen to pieces written by numerous composers, some who survived World War II and some who did not. We begin with with Pavel Haas's powerful Study for Strings and then Hugo Distler's God is Our Sure Defense; neither composer …
 
This coffee break ventures back into the stressful world of music composition under the political oppression of Stalin's Soviet Union. We listen to Prokofiev's Zdravitsa (A Toast in Honour of Stalin's 60th Birthday), which rides the boundary between great music and political pandering. Shostakovitch gets out of the political doghouse by writing a t…
 
This coffee break begins our investigation of music composed under Russia's Soviet regime beginning with a piece by Kabalevsky, a simple, open composition which might be the Soviet ideal. We battle on the ice with Prokofiev's composition for Alexander Nevsky, the epic movie by Sergei Eisenstein--another piece vaunted by the Kremlin. But Prokofiev r…
 
This coffee break continues with music infused with mechanical sounds beginning with Toccata for Percussion Instruments by Carlos Chaves. Then we veer into how traditional instruments can be used to make nontraditional sounds in the surprising String Quartet #1, "Protestation Quartet" by Gloria Coates. We push the sounds of artificially altered sou…
 
The coffee break uses Georges Antheil's Ballet mécanique as a springboard to an exploration about movement in music. We backtrack to Honegger's Pacific 231 then listen to snippets of the rest of his Mouvement Symphonique, one movement composed to recreate the experience of playing rugby. We end on a surprising piece honoring steel manufacturing wri…
 
Our journey continues on water by exploring the barcarolle, the traditional folk song sung by Venetian gondoliers, or a piece of music composed in that style, listening to Offenbach's Tales of Hoffman and Wagner's Flying Dutchman. We come Down Jersey to listen to Mr. Somer's composition On the Cohansey then head out to the high seas with Britten's …
 
Our transportation music journey hits its stride by climbing onto a trolley, taking Le Metro, and hurtling the turnstile to jump a subway with pieces by Jacques Ibert, Amanda Harberg, and Mr. Somers. But we catch up with modernity by traveling by automobiles propelled by Gershwin, Copland, and Frances White. A quick jump into the way-back machine t…
 
Classic music and rail travel developed throughout the Western world in parallel so perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that there is so much music inspired by the steam engine. This coffee break takes us back to the rails with polkas by Eduard and Johann Strauss. We check in on the conceptual and influential Arthur Honegger's Pacific 231 and circle…
 
This coffee break continues the exploration of the music of travel, first by sleigh. We begin with a fun ride with Leroy Anderson and hear the similarities with Mozart's (Leopold) The Sleigh Ride. We tap into a Sibelius piece then travel into Mother Russia with Prokofiev and Sviridov. We put up our horses and continue the journey by steam engine wi…
 
Music is not about the destination, but the journey, and this coffee break is all about the journey. We listen to music that traveling by foot, caravan, and horse composed by Mussorgsky, Respighi, Händel, and Sibelius. Warhorses Gallop by Yaoching Chan, performed on an erhu, is a wonderful representation of riding a hard-charging horse. And we fina…
 
"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." - Lao TzuThis coffee break unabashedly continues its exploration of love songs, serenades, duets, and more written by the great composers. We dip into operas from Wagner, Mozart, Rossini and other showing how love can be expressed in so many ways. We …
 
“You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” ― Dr. Seuss. This coffee break discovers that there are many ways to say "I Love You" as we continue our exploration in the dreamy world of love songs. We start with instrumental pieces--first, light and yearning, then move into some songs compo…
 
This coffee break delves into love as a many splendored thing and a source of inspiration for wonderful music. We begin with Roy Harris' Symphony No. 4 sense of the longing love of the one not here. We hear Harry Burleigh's maternal love for the Little Mother of Mine. Then we go way, way back to some secular, but not quite romantic, love songs of t…
 
This coffee break dips back in Bizet's Carmen, this time listening to the opera version rather than the orchestral version, the "Habanera" from act 1 and the "Toreador Song" from act 2, among the best known of all operatic arias, including a fast, fun quintet and the tragic last scene. We also listen to selections from his incidental music to Alpho…
 
YCCB apologizes for the Bizet pun, but we finally got it our of our systems. In this coffee break we explore the brief career of this French composer. Bizet struggled throughout his career to make a living. Berlioz hailed Bizet and said that he had a "masterpiece in him." He was right, but Bizet became famous weeks after his death. We listen to his…
 
Berlioz wrote to a friend: "If I were threatened with the destruction of the whole of my works save one, I should crave mercy for the Messe des morts." This coffee break explores the power and drama of the Berlioz Requiem, written for a massive orchestra and chorus. But it is the Trojans, his most ambitious work, that many consider the summation of…
 
This coffee break digs deeper into the brilliant career of Hector Berlioz. A Shakeperean expert who read the Bard and English and French, he composed music for King Lear. But Hector was a wanderer and refused to be defined by any prexisting order of music. He delved into Lord Byron's Romanticism and produced the wonderful Harold in Italy, which rep…
 
It was only three years between Beethoven's last piece to Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique, but in many ways they were light years in mood, tempo, and technique. This coffee break explores Berlioz' free-flowing and emotional music. We follow his recurrent theme, his idée fixe that represented his love, into the fields to the guillotine to a witches' …
 
We continue training a young pianist to utilize full potential. We listen to a piece which requires a pianist to create two voices on the keyboard. How to toss the voices back and forth from each hand. How does one hand create two voices? We use a Mozart sonata to highlight the "sleight of hand" a master must utilize to hide the mastery. We talk ab…
 
This coffee break explores how to teach a promising student piano. Mr. Somers, a life-long teacher, discusses how he approaches teaching piano techniques and how his professional experience playing for the NJ Ballet helped expand his ability to teach others. We listen to some Bach and ask "How the music works?" Beyond the finger techniques, the tea…
 
We listen to the YCCB's version of John Cage's 4'33". Is there underpinning music surrounding us all the time? We listen to John Cage's lecture Composition as Process where he states that contemporary music is music that is NOW! How recording music freezes it, perhaps kills it. We are not afraid of silence during this podcast. Mr, Cage would be pro…
 
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