For the anniversary of Bach's birth, even as we marvel at the unearthly nature of the music, we might stop and remember that Bach also had to earn a living. Here's how and where he earned a paycheck during the 45 years of his working life.
The quiet that Edvard Grieg needed in order to work is a scarce and, it would seem, non-renewable resource.
The old professor said "Read not the 'Times,' read the Eternities." Thirty-five years later the dictum is not impossible to follow, just very, very hard.
Throughout his career, composer Virgil Thomson also wrote about music. And he did so with a freshness and directness we almost marvel at today. No one had, or has, a voice like Thomson's.
The popular public television series Downton Abbey has opened a window on the era of the Great War -- today somewhat obscured by time and later conflicts. For many writers, artists and other observers, World War I represented the original 20th century loss of innocence, and still resonates in the culture today. Here's a look at a few composers of the era, and how they responded to the trauma of the Great War.
There have been countless meditations on the meaning of Shakespeare's "Ripeness is all." It was a Rorschach centuries before Rorschach. Often it suggests a serenity available, though not always secured, late in one's life. Ludwig van Beethoven was defiantly human, a spiny fruit, and stubbornly refused to sweeten as he matured.
Lynne "I can't believe they're letting us do this again" Warfel and Bill "Who's minding the store anyway?" Morelock return with Roll Credits, their movie music show, Monday night at 7 on Classical MPR. A few notes on the show here, plus a look at a film born at a time when Frivolity forged a movement. Its manifesto: it means nothing.
In which the author, never a sure hand with knots, continues a pattern of bungee-jumping above possibly rich and interesting waters. One way or another, we promise a splash.
We're used to thinking of the 20th century as the high point of technological and cultural change. The case is easy to make: A generation which knew the horse and buggy watched Neil Armstrong's moon walk. There was Einstein, two world wars, a smallpox vaccine, Elvis Presley and laptop computers. Make your own list.
Johann Strauss, Jr. wrote most of his waltzes for specific parties, conventions and other celebrations. Today he's our traditional go-to guy for a New Year's Day soundtrack. The Strauss brand was Festive, even if its namesake could be a little gloomy. And when he was lured by lucre to a strange, faraway land, Strauss saw menace in every smile.
In this essay, Bill Morelock muses about his development as a classical host, and the "peculiar" challenges of the job.
This may sound unusual, but there exists a kinship between golf and classical music that deserves exploring. For the benefit of golfers, if not musicians. Bill Morelock explains.
Your house is about to flood, and you can take three things. What do you take? Young Bill Morelock took his new vinyl copy of "A Hard Days Night," his baseball glove and trophy for a hole-in-one on a par-3 course. Learn more about his story.
Life rushes on, and stops not for an hour, said a 14th century poet. Now chances are you're way too busy confirming the timelessness of medieval wisdom to put on the brakes. But here's something to keep, if rushing ever wrecks you: A retreat from a time-worn treadmill. A tactic for stopping a clock.
In this essay, Bill Morelock discusses the source of the saying "A little learning is a dangerous thing," and its meaning.