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Don Spencer
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As Heard On BACH Archives for 2014-05

May 22 is the birthdate, in 1833, of composer Richard Wagner.  Actually calling him "composer" only gives part of the picture of a very complex man.  He was also a conductor, theater director and controversial writer.   Not all composers can claim to have had a performance hall built specifically for them, but Wagner could:  the Bayreuth Festspielhaus (Bayreuth Festival Theatre).  Below are a few links to help you learn more about this Composer Plus:


Wikipedia entry about Wagner

Site for the annual Bayreuth Festival

Archives of the Richard Wagner Foundation

And a pretty fair Wagner Opera site from a NYC teacher who's a big Wagner fan


TWO noted composers were born on the same date, May 7, just a few years apart:


Johannes Brahms, 1833 

Though we tend to think of him as "Brahms, the composer," he was also a virtuoso pianist.  He also gets credit for being the first of the major composers to be recorded.....an experiment conducted by a representative of Thomas Edison.  Click on the lines below for some interesting web links:


Wikipedia article on Brahms

The American Brahms Society (hosted by the Univ. of New Hampshire!)

Another Brahms fan site with all sorts of information

And why not?  Here's the website for what was, in Brahm's day, the University of Breslau (the reason for his famous "Academic Festival Overture")  



Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 1840  

Brahms was celebrating his 7th birthday when Tchaikovsky was born.  Criticized by some Russians as composing music that was too "Western," Tchaikovsky had a brilliant career that left us a wonderful assortment of music, including the great ballets that are so loved to this day.  Tchaikovsky also has the distinction of having visited the United States and of having been on scene for the opening of Carnegie Hall in the 1890s.


Wikipedia article on Tchaikovsky

An extensive research project about the composer and his works

All you need to know about entering the 2015 International Tchaikovsky Competition (in case you were thinking about it) 


by Scott J. Hooper  5/7/2014


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