The Music Portal
Music is generally defined as the art of arranging sound to create some combination of form, harmony, melody, rhythm or otherwise expressive content. Definitions of music vary depending on culture, though it is an aspect of all human societies, a cultural universal. While scholars agree that music is defined by a few specific elements, there is no consensus on their precise definitions. The creation of music is commonly divided into musical composition, musical improvisation, and musical performance, though the topic itself extends into academic disciplines, criticism, philosophy, and psychology. Music may be performed or improvised using a vast range of instruments, including the human voice.
In some musical contexts, a performance or composition may be to some extent improvised. For instance, in Hindustani classical music, the performer plays spontaneously while following a partially defined structure and using characteristic motifs. In modal jazz the performers may take turns leading and responding, while sharing a changing set of notes. In a free jazz context, there may be no structure whatsoever, with each performer acting at their discretion. Music may be deliberately composed to be unperformable, or agglomerated electronically from many performances. Music is played in public and private areas, highlighted at events such as festivals, rock concerts, and orchestra performance, and heard incidentally as part of a score or soundtrack to a film, TV show, opera, or video game. Musical playback is the primary function of an MP3 player or CD player and a universal feature of radios and smartphones.
Music often plays a key role in social activities, religious rituals, rite of passage ceremonies, celebrations, and cultural activities. The music industry includes songwriters, performers, sound engineers, producers, tour organizers, distributors of instruments, accessories, and sheet music. Compositions, performances, and recordings are assessed and evaluated by music critics, music journalists, and music scholars, as well as amateurs. (Full article...)
General images -
Taylor Swift, a longtime adherent to album-era rollouts, surprise-released her albums instead in 2020. (from Album era)
Platinum records by Elvis Presley, Prince, Madonna, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Bruce Springsteen, at Julien's Auctions (from Album era)
recording studio (from Music industry)Musicians working in a
Apple Inc.'s online iTunes store, which sells digital files of songs and musical pieces–along with a range of other content, such as digital files of TV shows and movies (from Music industry)The logo for
Arashi, who had the world's best-selling album (5x20 All the Best!!) in 2019 (from Album era)The Japanese boy band
Perotin from the Codex Guelf.1099 (from History of music)Alleluia nativitas by
audio mixer in a recording studio (from Music industry)A studio engineer working with an
Beyoncé (2016) popularized the surprise-album strategy of the 2010s. (from Album era)
The Beatles (1964) have been credited by music historians for heralding the album era. (from Album era)
Kanye West (2007) emerged during the decade as an important hip-hop producer and album artist. (from Album era)
Nikkal (c. 1400 BCE), the oldest of the Hurrian songs (from History of music)Drawing of the tablet with the Hymn to
concert (from Music industry)An audience watching a
vinyl format rose toward the end of the 2010s. (from Album era)US vinyl sales in units, 1995–2020; while album sales overall declined, those in the
The Rolling Stones in 1967 (from Album era)
Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220 CE), Shanghai Museum (from History of music)Two musicians of the
Bull Headed Lyre of Ur, found in the Royal Cemetery at Ur, is the best known of the ancient Lyres of Ur (from History of music)The
379 CE Bas relief of Sassanid women playing the chang in Taq-e Bostan, Iran (from History of music)c.
Pink Floyd (1973) performing The Dark Side of the Moon, a leading commercial success of the LP era (from Album era)
Stevie Wonder, among the era's innovative artists (from Album era)
Guillaume Du Fay (left), with Gilles Binchois (right) in a c. 1440 Illuminated manuscript copy of Martin le Franc's Le champion des dames (from History of music)
Cologne Pride, 2013 (from Music industry)A live musical performance at
Frances Densmore recording Blackfoot chief Mountain Chief on a cylinder phonograph in 1916 (from Music industry)
Circular definition of "musicality" (from Elements of music)
hip hop producers repurposed them as sampling sources, contributing to the development of record collecting. (from Album era)As LPs fell out of favor to CDs,
Bianzhong of Marquis Yi of Zeng, c. 5th century BCE, from Hubei (from History of music)The monumental
Missa Papae Marcelli by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (from History of music)Sheet music for part of the
Rhodes College student listening to the 1969 Yes LP on campus, c. 1970 (from Album era)A
Frank Sinatra (c. 1955), an early pop album artist (from Album era)
Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎あゆみ, Hamasaki Ayumi, born October 2, 1978) is a Japanese singer, songwriter, record producer, actress, model, spokesperson, and entrepreneur. By 2002, Hamasaki had earned the nickname "Empress of J-pop" due to her popularity in Japan and throughout Asia, as well as being referred to as "the voice of the lost generation". Due to her success and relevance throughout her career, she is considered one of the top solo female artists of the Heisei era for her influence on the music industry and various fashion trends.
Born and raised in Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture, Hamasaki moved to Tokyo at 14 in 1993 to pursue a career in singing and acting. In 1998, Hamasaki released her debut single "Poker Face" and debut major-label album A Song for ××. The album debuted at the top of the Oricon charts and remained there for five weeks, selling over a million copies. This rapid rise to fame is typically attributed to her insightful style of lyric-writing in contrast to her young age; this would continue to be a defining aspect of her work, listeners praising her poetic way of conveying relatable subjects. Her next ten albums shipped over a million copies in Japan, with her third, Duty, selling nearly three million. A Best, her first compilation album, further established her position as a crowning artist with more than four million copies sold in Japan. It was at this time that she represented more than 40% of her record label's income. (Full article...)
- A Momentary Lapse of Reason is the thirteenth studio album by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd, released in the UK on 7 September 1987 by EMI and the following day in the US on Columbia. It was recorded primarily on guitarist David Gilmour's converted houseboat, Astoria.
A Momentary Lapse of Reason was the first Pink Floyd album recorded without founding member Roger Waters, who departed in 1985. The production was marred by legal fights over the rights to the Pink Floyd name, which were not resolved until several months after release. It also saw the return of keyboardist and founding member Richard Wright, who was fired from the band by Waters during the recording of The Wall (1979). (Full article...)
- "White Horse" is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift and the second single from her second studio album, Fearless (2008). Big Machine Records released the track to US country radio on December 8, 2008. Swift wrote "White Horse" with Liz Rose and produced it with Nathan Chapman. An understated country pop ballad, the song is driven by a finger-picked guitar and includes piano and cello accents. The lyrics incorporate fairy-tale imagery of princesses and white horses: a narrator is heartbroken on realizing that her boyfriend is not an ideal figure like she thought, and in the end she leaves her town with hopes of finding somebody more worthy.
Music critics lauded "White Horse" for what they deemed a somber production and a portrayal of universal feelings arising from heartbreak, but some found the lyrics uncreative. At the 2010 Grammy Awards, the track won Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance. In the United States, the single peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Hot Country Songs chart, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified it double platinum. The song also charted in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom; it received certifications in the first two countries. (Full article...)
- Fantasy Black Channel is the only studio album by British dance-punk band Late of the Pier. It was released on 30 July 2008 in Japan through Toshiba EMI and on 4 August 2008 in the British Isles on Parlophone, the band's primary label. Five tracks had already been released as singles in the United Kingdom: "Bathroom Gurgle", "The Bears Are Coming", "Space and the Woods" and "Focker" as a double A-side, and "Heartbeat". The record peaked at number 28 on the UK Albums Chart, but failed to chart in the United States.
The album was recorded in lead vocalist Sam Eastgate's bedroom in Castle Donington, England, and at several locations in London. It went through a fractured creative process that lasted more than two years. It was eventually produced by Eastgate and DJ Erol Alkan between 2007 and 2008. Fantasy Black Channel does not contain a unifying musical or lyrical theme; rather, it is a collage of all the ideas, genres, and studio effects that fascinated the band members and Alkan, especially during live recording sessions. The record was very well received by critics. It was often treated as one of the best British albums of 2008 because of its eclecticism and spirit of invention. Late of the Pier did not record any further albums following the death of drummer Ross Dawson in 2015. (Full article...)
- The Basement Tapes is the sixteenth album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan and his second with the Band. It was released on June 26, 1975, by Columbia Records. Two-thirds of the album's 24 tracks feature Dylan on lead vocals backed by the Band, and were recorded in 1967, eight years before the album's release, in the lapse between the recording and subsequent release of Blonde on Blonde and John Wesley Harding, during sessions that began at Dylan's house in Woodstock, New York, then moved to the basement of Big Pink. While most of these had appeared on bootleg albums, The Basement Tapes marked their first official release. The remaining eight songs, all previously unavailable, feature the Band without Dylan and were recorded between 1967 and 1975.
During his 1965–1966 world tour, Dylan was backed by the Hawks, a five-member rock group who would later become famous as the Band. After Dylan was injured in a motorcycle accident in July 1966, four members of the Hawks came to Dylan's home in the Woodstock area to collaborate with him on music and film projects. While Dylan was out of the public's eye during an extended period of recovery in 1967, he and the members of the Hawks recorded more than 100 tracks together, incorporating original compositions, contemporary covers, and traditional material. Dylan's new style of writing moved away from the urban sensibility and extended narratives that had characterized his most recent albums, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde, toward songs that were more intimate and which drew on many styles of traditional American music. While some of the basement songs are humorous, others dwell on nothingness, betrayal and a quest for salvation. In general, they possess a rootsy quality anticipating the Americana genre. For some critics, the songs on The Basement Tapes, which circulated widely in unofficial form, mounted a major stylistic challenge to rock music in the late sixties. (Full article...)
- When You Get a Little Lonely is the debut studio album by American actress and singer Maureen McCormick. It was released on April 4, 1995, through the label Phantom Hill. After playing Marcia Brady in the sitcom The Brady Bunch, she was offered a solo record deal in the mid-1970s but rejected the offer to attend school. McCormick had previously recorded four albums as part of The Brady Bunch and a duet album with her co-star Christopher Knight. In 1994, she signed with her brother's record label, Phantom Hill, and recorded When You Get a Little Lonely in Nashville, Tennessee and Hollywood, California. Barry Coffing was the executive producer and arranged and produced all the songs. McCormick wanted to fuse genres into the album's overall country sound.
The album received mainly negative reviews; some reviewers were critical of McCormick's choice to record country music. She promoted it through live performances and CD signings. Its title track and "Tell Mama" were released as singles. When You Get a Little Lonely was re-released in 2008 as a Circuit City exclusive. Since the album's release, McCormick has continued to perform country music and has participated in the reality television show Gone Country. In a 2008 interview, McCormick said she was disappointed by restrictions to the recording process and wished she had written at least one song for it. When You Get A Little Lonely is her only album as a solo artist. (Full article...)
- Taiko (太鼓) are a broad range of Japanese percussion instruments. In Japanese, the term taiko refers to any kind of drum, but outside Japan, it is used specifically to refer to any of the various Japanese drums called wadaiko (和太鼓, lit. 'Japanese drums') and to the form of ensemble taiko drumming more specifically called kumi-daiko (組太鼓, lit. 'set of drums'). The process of constructing taiko varies between manufacturers, and the preparation of both the drum body and skin can take several years depending on the method.
Taiko have a mythological origin in Japanese folklore, but historical records suggest that taiko were introduced to Japan through Chinese and Korean cultural influence as early as the 6th century CE; pottery from the Haniwa period depicting taiko drums has also been found. Some taiko are similar to instruments originating from India. Archaeological evidence also supports the view that taiko were present in Japan during the 6th century in the Kofun period. Their function has varied throughout history, ranging from communication, military action, theatrical accompaniment, religious ceremony and concert performances. In modern times, taiko have also played a central role in social movements for minorities both within and outside Japan. (Full article...)
- "Diamonds" is a song recorded by Barbadian singer Rihanna for her seventh studio album, Unapologetic (2012). It was written by Sia together with its producers, Benny Blanco and Stargate. The song premiered on September 26, 2012, during the Elvis Duran and the Morning Show and was digitally released the following day as the lead single from Unapologetic. "Diamonds" is a mid-tempo pop, electronic and R&B ballad that features heavy synthesizers, orchestral sounds and electronic rhythms. The song's lyrics serve as a departure from the themes of unhealthy relationships that were on Rihanna's previous singles contrasted to the song's portrayal of lovers as "diamonds in the sky".
"Diamonds" topped music charts in over twenty countries, including the United States, where it became Rihanna's twelfth number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 and tied her with Madonna and the Supremes for the fifth-most number-one singles in the chart's history. "Diamonds" was certified seven-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and sold over 3.5 million digital copies in the country. It also peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart and became Rihanna's seventh number one song in the country; it was certified three-times platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). By May 2013, it had sold over 7.5 million copies worldwide. (Full article...)
Christ lag in Todes Banden (also spelled Todesbanden; "Christ lay in death's bonds" or "Christ lay in the snares of death"), BWV 4, is a cantata for Easter by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, one of his earliest church cantatas. It is agreed to be an early work partly for stylistic reasons and partly because there is evidence that it was probably written for a performance in 1707. Bach went on to complete many other works in the same genre, contributing complete cantata cycles for all occasions of the liturgical year. John Eliot Gardiner described it as Bach's "first-known attempt at painting narrative in music".
Christ lag in Todes Banden is a chorale cantata, a style in which both text and music are based on a hymn. In this instance, the source was Martin Luther's hymn of the same name, the main hymn for Easter in the Lutheran church. The composition is based on the seven stanzas of the hymn and its tune, which was derived from Medieval models. Bach used the unchanged words of a stanza of the chorale in each of the seven vocal movements, in the format of chorale variations per omnes versus (for all stanzas), and he used its tune as a cantus firmus. After an opening sinfonia, the variations are arranged symmetrically: chorus–duet–solo–chorus–solo–duet–chorus, with the focus on the central fourth stanza about the battle between Life and Death. All movements are in E minor, and Bach achieves variety and intensifies the meaning of the text through many musical forms and techniques. (Full article...)
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (/ˈstɛfəni ˌdʒɜːrməˈnɒtə/ (listen) STEF-ən-ee JUR-mə-NOT-ə; born March 28, 1986), known professionally as Lady Gaga, is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She is known for her image reinventions and musical versatility. Gaga began performing as a teenager, singing at open mic nights and acting in school plays. She studied at Collaborative Arts Project 21, through the New York University Tisch School of the Arts, before dropping out to pursue a career in music. After Def Jam Recordings canceled her contract, she worked as a songwriter for Sony/ATV Music Publishing, where she signed a joint deal with Interscope Records and KonLive Distribution, in 2007. Gaga had her breakthrough the following year with her debut studio album, The Fame, and its chart-topping singles "Just Dance" and "Poker Face". The album was later reissued to include the extended play The Fame Monster (2009), which yielded the successful singles "Bad Romance", "Telephone", and "Alejandro".
Gaga's five succeeding studio albums all debuted atop the US Billboard 200. Her second full-length album, Born This Way (2011), explored electronic rock and techno-pop and sold more than one million copies in its first week. The title track became the fastest-selling song on the iTunes Store, with over one million downloads in less than a week. Following her EDM-influenced third album, Artpop (2013), and its lead single "Applause", Gaga released the jazz album Cheek to Cheek (2014) with Tony Bennett, and the soft rock album Joanne (2016). She ventured into acting, winning awards for her leading roles in the miniseries American Horror Story: Hotel (2015–2016) and the musical film A Star Is Born (2018). Her contributions to the latter's soundtrack, which spawned the chart-topping single "Shallow", made her the first woman to win an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, and Grammy Award in one year. Gaga returned to dance-pop with her sixth studio album, Chromatica (2020), which yielded the number-one single "Rain on Me". She followed this with her second collaborative album with Bennett, Love for Sale, and a starring role in the biopic House of Gucci, both in 2021. (Full article...)
Frédéric François Chopin (born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin; 1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849) was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic period, who wrote primarily for solo piano. He has maintained worldwide renown as a leading musician of his era, one whose "poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation".
Chopin was born in Żelazowa Wola in the Duchy of Warsaw and grew up in Warsaw, which in 1815 became part of Congress Poland. A child prodigy, he completed his musical education and composed his earlier works in Warsaw before leaving Poland at the age of 20, less than a month before the outbreak of the November 1830 Uprising. At 21, he settled in Paris. Thereafter – in the last 18 years of his life – he gave only 30 public performances, preferring the more intimate atmosphere of the salon. He supported himself by selling his compositions and by giving piano lessons, for which he was in high demand. Chopin formed a friendship with Franz Liszt and was admired by many of his other musical contemporaries, including Robert Schumann. (Full article...)
Der 100. Psalm (The 100th Psalm), Op. 106, is a composition in four movements by Max Reger in D major for mixed choir and orchestra, a late Romantic setting of Psalm 100. Reger began composing the work in 1908 for the 350th anniversary of Jena University. The occasion was celebrated that year with the premiere of Part I, conducted by Fritz Stein on 31 July. Reger completed the composition in 1909. It was published that year and premiered simultaneously on 23 February 1910 in Chemnitz, conducted by the composer, and in Breslau, conducted by Georg Dohrn.
Reger structured the text in four movements, as a choral symphony. He scored it for a four-part choir with often divided voices, a large symphony orchestra, and organ. He requested additional brass players for the climax in the last movement when four trumpets and four trombones play the melody of Luther's chorale "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott". Reger used both late-Romantic features of harmony and dynamics, and polyphony in the Baroque tradition, culminating in the final movement, a double fugue with the added instrumental cantus firmus. (Full article...)
- "Under the Bridge" is a song by American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers and the eleventh track on their fifth studio album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991). Vocalist Anthony Kiedis wrote the lyrics while reflecting on loneliness and the struggles of being clean from drugs, and almost did not share it with the band. Released in March 1992, "Under the Bridge" was praised by critics and fans for its emotional weight. The song was a commercial success and the band's highest-charting single, peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and certified platinum. It was also a success in other countries, mostly charting within the top 10.
"Under the Bridge" helped the Red Hot Chili Peppers enter the mainstream. David Fricke of Rolling Stone said that the song "unexpectedly drop-kicked the band into the Top 10". The song has become an inspiration to other artists, and remains a seminal component of the alternative rock movement of the early and mid-1990s. In April 1998, English girl group All Saints released a cover of "Under the Bridge" that topped the UK Singles Chart for two weeks in May 1998. (Full article...)
- Philibert Rabezoza (1923 – 29 September 2001), better known by the name Rakoto Frah, was a flautist and composer of traditional music of the central highlands of Madagascar. Born in 1923 near the capital city of Antananarivo to a poor rural family, Rakoto Frah surmounted the challenges posed by his underprivileged origins to become the most acclaimed 20th century performer of the sodina flute, one of the oldest traditional instruments on the island. Through frequent international concerts and music festival performances, he promoted the music of the highlands of Madagascar and became one of the most famous Malagasy artists, both within Madagascar and on the world music scene.
After gaining regional recognition for his sodina skills as a youth, Rakoto Frah rose to national fame in 1958 when he was selected by Malagasy President Philibert Tsiranana to perform on the sodina for the visiting French president Charles de Gaulle. This event launched his career as a professional musician. He first played at traditional ceremonies around the country, then expanded his performances from 1967 to include participation in international music competitions and festivals. His popularity declined in the 1970s but underwent a revival that began in the mid-1980s and continued until his death in 2001. During this period Rakoto Frah recorded ten albums, toured extensively in Madagascar and overseas, was featured in two French documentaries, and collaborated with a variety of international and Malagasy artists. Over the course of his career he recorded over 800 original compositions. Rakoto Frah and his sodina were depicted on the 200 ariary Malagasy banknote in honor of his key role in revitalizing and internationally popularizing the sodina. Despite the artist's worldwide acclaim, he lived simply and died having earned little from his lifetime of musicianship. His death was widely mourned and marked by a state funeral, and in 2011 a famadihana (the Malagasy highland "turning of the bones" funerary tradition) was organized to celebrate the artist's life. (Full article...)
Sergei Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kijé (Russian: Поручик Киже, Poruchik Kizhe) music was originally written to accompany the film of the same name, produced by the Belgoskino film studios in Leningrad in 1933–34 and released in March 1934. It was Prokofiev's first attempt at film music, and his first commission.
In the early days of sound cinema, among the various distinguished composers ready to try their hand at film music, Prokofiev was not an obvious choice for the commission. Based in Paris for almost a decade, he had a reputation for experimentation and dissonance, characteristics at odds with the cultural norms of the Soviet Union. By early 1933, however, Prokofiev was anxious to return to his homeland, and saw the film commission as an opportunity to write music in a more popular and accessible style. (Full article...)
- Photograph: Georg Lindstrøm; restoration: Adam CuerdenCarl Nielsen (1865–1931) was a Danish musician, conductor and violinist, widely recognized as his country's most prominent composer. Initially playing in a military band before attending the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen, he premiered his Op. 1, Suite for Strings, in 1888, at the age of 23. His early music was inspired by composers such as Brahms and Grieg, but he soon developed his own style. By the time of his death, he had produced 419 known works; some of these, such as his opera Maskarade (1906), have become integral to Denmark's national heritage.
- Photo credit: Louis-Auguste BissonThe only known photograph of Frédéric Chopin, often incorrectly described as a daguerreotype. It is believed to have been taken in 1849 during the degenerative stages of his tuberculosis, shortly before his death. Chopin, a Polish pianist and composer of the Romantic era, is widely regarded as one of the most famous, influential, admired and prolific composers for the piano. He moved to Paris at the age of twenty, adopting the French variant of his name, "Frédéric-François", by which he is now known.
- Photograph credit: William P. Gottlieb; restored by Adam CuerdenMary Lou Williams (May 8, 1910 – May 28, 1981) was an American jazz pianist, arranger, and composer. She wrote hundreds of compositions and arrangements and recorded more than one hundred records. Williams wrote and arranged for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, and she was friend, mentor and teacher to numerous other jazz musicians. The second of eleven children, she was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and grew up in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A young musical prodigy, she taught herself to play the piano at the age of three. This photograph of Williams at the piano was taken by William P. Gottlieb around 1946.
- Photo: Benoît Derrier; edit: KeraunoscopiaAne Brun (b. 1976) is a Norwegian songwriter, guitarist and vocalist. She has recorded eight albums, starting in 2003 with Spending Time with Morgan.
- Photograph: Bain News Service; restoration: Adam CuerdenFranz Lehár (1870–1948) was an Austro-Hungarian composer mainly known for his operettas, the most successful and best known being The Merry Widow. He also wrote sonatas, symphonic poems and marches.
- Photograph credit: William P. Gottlieb; restored by Adam CuerdenBilly Strayhorn (November 29, 1915 – May 31, 1967) was an American jazz composer, pianist, lyricist, and arranger, best remembered for his long-time collaboration with bandleader and composer Duke Ellington that lasted nearly three decades. Though classical music was Strayhorn's first love, his ambition to become a classical composer went unrealized because of the harsh reality of a black man trying to make his way in the world of classical music, which at that time was almost completely white. He was introduced to the music of pianists like Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson at age 19, and the artistic influence of these musicians guided him into the realm of jazz, where he remained for the rest of his life. This photograph of Strayhorn was taken by William P. Gottlieb in the 1940s.
- Photograph credit: Fritz Luckhardt; restored by Adam CuerdenJohann Strauss II (25 October 1825 – 3 June 1899) was an Austrian composer of light music, particularly dance music and operettas. Part of the Strauss dynasty, his father demanded that none of his sons pursue music as a career, despite their display of musical talent. It was only after his father had abandoned the family for a mistress that the younger Strauss was able to develop his skills as a composer, with the encouragement of his mother. He eventually attained greater fame than his father, and became one of the most popular waltz composers of the era, conducting extensive tours of Austria, Poland and Germany with his orchestra.
- Illustration credit: Antoine Barbizet; restored by Adam CuerdenLes Troyens (The Trojans) is a French grand opera in five acts by Hector Berlioz, with a libretto written by the composer himself based on Virgil's Aeneid. The score was composed between 1856 and 1858, but Berlioz did not live long enough to see the work performed in its entirety. The first two acts were performed separately under the title La Prise de Troie. This picture shows the cover of the first-edition vocal score for La Prise de Troie, published in 1863.
- Photograph: Stefan KrauseHenrik Freischlader (b. 1982) is a German blues guitarist and singer. He began his career in 1998, and established his own label, Cable Car Records, in 2009.
- Illustration credit: Carlos Schwabe; restored by Adam CuerdenFervaal is an opera with a prologue and three acts by the French composer Vincent d'Indy. Fervaal is the son of a Celtic king and is destined to be the last advocate of the old gods. His mission is to save his homeland from invasion and pillage, but in doing so he must renounce love. This illustration, by the Swiss painter Carlos Schwabe, relates to the 10 May 1898 premiere of the opera at the Théâtre de l'Opéra-Comique in Paris. Here, Fervaal is depicted ascending a mountain while carrying the body of his beloved Guilhen at the end of the opera, as the pagan gods and their worshippers fade out of existence with the dawn of Christianity.
- Photograph credit: Carl Van Vechten; restored by Adam CuerdenWilliam Grant Still (1895–1978) was an American composer of nearly 200 works, including five symphonies and nine operas. Often referred to as the "Dean of Afro-American Composers", Still was the first American composer to have an opera produced by the New York City Opera. His first symphony, entitled Afro-American Symphony, was until 1950 the most widely performed symphony composed by an American. Born in Mississippi, he grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, attended Wilberforce University and Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and was a student of George Whitefield Chadwick and later Edgard Varèse. Still was the first African American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra and the first to have an opera performed on national television. Due to his close association and collaboration with prominent African-American literary and cultural figures, he is considered to be part of the Harlem Renaissance movement.
This picture of Still was taken by Carl Van Vechten in 1949; the photograph is in the collection of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
- Photo: W. J. Mayer; Restoration: Lise BroerA bust of the German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), made from his death mask. He was a crucial figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music, and remains one of the most acclaimed and influential composers of all time. Born in Bonn, of the Electorate of Cologne and a part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation in present-day Germany, he moved to Vienna in his early twenties and settled there, studying with Joseph Haydn and quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. His hearing began to deteriorate in the late 1790s, yet he continued to compose, conduct, and perform, even after becoming completely deaf.
- Graphic: Giuseppe PalantiMédée is a French-language opera by the composer Luigi Cherubini. Set in the ancient city of Corinth, Greece, it features a libretto by François-Benoît Hoffman and is based on Euripides's tragic play Medea and Pierre Corneille's play Médée. The opera premiered in 1797 at the Théâtre Feydeau in Paris. The long-lost final aria, which Cherubini appears to have deleted from his original manuscript, was discovered by researchers from the University of Manchester and Stanford University by employing X-ray techniques to reveal areas that the composer had blackened out.
This picture shows the title page for a vocal score of the 1909 hybrid version of Médée.
- Drawing credit: Philippe Chaperon; restored by Adam CuerdenAida is a grand opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni. Set in the Old Kingdom of Egypt, it was commissioned by Cairo's Khedivial Opera House and had its premiere there on 24 December 1871, in a performance conducted by Giovanni Bottesini. Today, the work holds a central place in the operatic canon, receiving performances every year around the world; at New York's Metropolitan Opera alone, Aida has been sung more than 1,100 times since 1886.
This picture is the set design for Act 1, Scene 2, of the opera's 1871 premiere, depicting the portico of the Temple of Vulcan, designed by Philippe Chaperon. The drawing is in the collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
- Illustration credit: unknownAriadne auf Naxos ('Ariadne on Naxos'), Op. 60, is an opera by Richard Strauss with a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Combining slapstick comedy and consummately beautiful music, the opera's theme is the competition between high and low art for the public's attention. The opera was originally conceived as a 30-minute divertissement to be performed at the end of Hofmannsthal's adaptation of Molière's play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme. Besides the opera, Strauss provided incidental music to be performed during the play. In the end, the opera was ninety minutes long, and the performance of the play and opera together totalled over six hours. It was first performed at the Staatsoper Stuttgart on 25 October 1912, directed by Max Reinhardt. The combination of the play and opera proved to be unsatisfactory to the audience: those who had come to hear the opera resented having to wait until the play finished. The work was revised in 1916, with the play being replaced by a prologue, and first performed at the Vienna State Opera on 4 October of that year.
This picture is the cover of a vocal score of the revised edition of Ariadne auf Naxos, published in 1916.
Did you know (auto-generated)
- ... that Paris Opera Ballet dancer Guillaume Diop co-authored a manifesto that called for the Paris Opera to make urgent changes to address racial discrimination?
- ... that soprano Carolina White performed the title role in the United States premiere of Il segreto di Susanna at the Metropolitan Opera in 1911?
- ... that PeopleSound was Europe's most visited music streaming site in 2000, and had offered any artist £100 for each song they uploaded?
- ... that Volodymyr Kozhukhar, the chief conductor of the National Opera of Ukraine in Kyiv, led Lysenko's opera Taras Bulba and Shchedrin's ballet Carmen Suite?
- ... that a temple once housed the New York City Opera and New York City Ballet?
- ... that Chickaboom!, by country musician Tami Neilson, was nominated for both Canadian and New Zealand music awards?
- Birthdays in Music: June 8
- Tom Grennan, English singer and songwriter, turns 28.
- Bonnie Tyler, (born Gaynor Sullivan) welsh vocalist, turns 72.
- Nancy Sinatra, American actress and singer, turns 83.
- Chuck Negron, American vocalist of Three Dog Night fame, turns 81.
- Boz Scaggs, (born William Royce Scaggs) American guitarist, singer, and songwriter, turns 79.
- Emanuel Ax, Grammy-winning American classical pianist, turns 74.
- Tony Rice, American singer-songwriter, turns 72.
- Uri Caine, American composer and pianist, turns 67.
- Mick Hucknall, Brit vocalist of Simply Red , turns 63.
- Nick Rhodes, (born Nicholas James Bates) Brit keyboardist of Duran Duran , turns 61.
- Nicci Gilbert, American girl group vocalist of Brownstone , turns 53.
- Kanye West, American rapper and record producer, turns 46.
- Alex Band, (born Alexander Max Band) American vocalist with The Calling, turns 42.
- Derek Trucks, American guitarist, songwriter with Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Derek Trucks Band and The Allman Brothers Band, turns 44.
- Sturgill Simpson, (born John Sturgill Simpson) American country music singer-songwriter., turns 45.
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