A Program of Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin

I had the wonderful opportunity last Friday to watch local pianist Sunghee Kim perform a concert at Oregon State University’s free Friday lunch concert series. Kim presented three pieces: Bach’s Partita No. 1 in B-flat Major, Sonata No. 23 in F minor by Beethoven, and Ballade No. 1 in G minor by Chopin. While I…

Beethoven and Star Wars Part 2: The Funeral Imperial March

As you may know, classical music of all kinds inspired composer John Williams as he wrote the Star Wars score. But what I’m really interested in is how master composer Beethoven exerted his influence on a galaxy far far away. Because there’s so much wonderful music to discuss in regards to the Star Wars score,…

Music History: Classical Music

Background Even though some use the term “classical music” to describe all music from the middle ages through now, the Classical period of music went from roughly 1750-1820. In the middle of the 18th century – the end of the Baroque era – Western Europe shifted towards a new style of literature, architecture, and art…

History of the Nocturne

A nocturne is a piece of music, typically tranquil and expressive (and sometimes so gloomy), that is inspired by the night. The first musical appearance of the word nocturne occurred in the 1700s. However, these early nocturne-types were small ensemble works written specifically for an evening party rather than evoking images and feelings of the night. One example of…

Haydn’s Piano Variations

Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn (also known as Joseph Haydn or Papa Haydn) is a staple of the Classical era. Throughout his lifetime (1732-1809), he was highly regarded as a composer; in fact, he is known as “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet” because he was instrumental (pun definitely intended) in shaping…

Beethoven and . . . Star Wars?

Yes, that’s right. Beethoven and Star Wars. What do they have in common? This post will explore that very question, but I am not going to explain the correlation until you have a little bit of background, so stay with me. First, a brief history of Ludvig van Beethoven – pianist and composer extraordinaire.  A…

Music is a Serious Business

Sometimes the term “classical music” elicits groans. Thoughts of long, boring concerts full of long, boring music tend to scare listeners away from the seemingly outdated instrumental medium. And then there’s the daunting (yet maybe stereotypical?) image of the concert hall: the formal orchestra and an auditorium full of the cultured and well-dressed who attend so they can listen to serious and…