Music Inspired by Winter: Tchaikovsky

It’s almost December! I hope you are all enjoying this season of love, family, and twinkling lights. 🙂 I personally love the cold weather – especially the snow and the music! And because Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” is a winter classic, that got me thinking. Has he written any other music inspired by winter? The answer is yes! So in…

Chopin Waltz in C-sharp minor, Op. 64 No. 2

Today’s post features a famous waltz by famous Romantic era composer FrĂ©dĂ©ric Chopin (1810-1849). About Chopin A child prodigy, Polish pianist composer Chopin wrote primarily for solo piano. He spent his life teaching, composing, and performing for adoring crowds, and his unique style pushed the boundaries of expression and emotion in music. Read more about him…

Saudades do Brasil

This week I came across a piano work by French composer Darius Milhaud (pronounced Mee-YO) called Saudades do Brasil, Op. 67. It’s a suite of 12 dances based on his trip to Brazil, and they’re simply charming. Although French, Milhaud (1892-1974) was heavily influenced by jazz and Brazilian music. In 1917-18, he traveled to Latin America and was…

Music History: Baroque Music

Background When we say Baroque music, we typically think of composers like Bach and Handel. These composers – and this musical era in general –  were vital in shaping music as we know it today. Beginning around 1600, the Baroque era was instrumental (pun definitely intended) in the normalization of tonality (harmony as we know…

Danzon No. 2 by Arturo Márquez

Today I want to share with you a fun little piece I recently performed with the OSU Wind Ensemble. DanzĂłn No. 2 was written by the Mexican composer Arturo Márquez (b. 1950) in 1994 after a commission from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Rhythm, through tempo changes and strangely placed accents, is the driving…

Ravel’s La Valse

La Valse (The Waltz) by Maurice Ravel, written between 1919 and 1920, exists in three different versions: a piano solo, a piano duet, and an orchestral version. The work was originally written as a ballet, but due to tension between Ravel and commissioner/impressario (one who organizes and produces concerts, plays, or operas) Sergei Diaghilev, it was never turned…

A Dance for a Princess

Before we jump into this blog post, let’s listen to the focus piece first. Because it is so beautiful. Maurice Ravel was a French composer who lived from 1875-1937. He is best known for composing in the style of French Impressionism (a musical movement focused on creating an atmosphere and describing moods and emotions in the…

“Romeo and Juliet” According to Prokofiev

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” penned Shakespeare in the late 16th century. The famous love story Romeo and Juliet has been read time and time again, and many a composer has called upon the play’s tragic woes as inspiration for new music. From ballet to film to Broadway, musical interpretations of Romeo and…