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…

Violin Music Worth Listening To

The violin is a string instrument widely used since its development in 16th century Italy. From that point on, composers have written incredible music for this instrument in solo and group form. Let’s explore some of that music in today’s post. Bach Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor In 1720, Johann Sebasian Bach composed…

Mozart’s Violet

I recently came across a little Mozartian gem called Das Veilchen (“The Violet”), K. 476. It’s a song for voice and piano he wrote in 1785 set to the words of a poem by German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The poem was written in the early 1770s as a metaphor for a young man’s broken heart, and…

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…

Unearthing the Greats: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). This is a name you are probably familiar with on some level; he is, after all, one of the most famous composers of the Classical era (roughly 1750-1820ish, but that is a discussion for another day). A child prodigy, Mozart began playing the piano around three or four years of age…