GRAHAM'S MUSIC

Classical Music Demystified

Graham Abbott writes about classical music and shares its inside stories. Many of these stories will be based on scripts broadcast in "Keys To Music" on ABC Classic between 2003 and 2017. Many thanks to the ABC for permission to use this material.

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Cinderella

I thought it might be nice to focus on the way different composers have treated the same story, so in this post I’m going to look at...

Minimalism

Our subject today is a contentious one, one which causes consternation in the minds of some, and outright hostility in the minds of...

Neoclassicism

In today’s post we’re going to explore one of those notoriously vague musical terms which gets bandied about from time to time. The term...

The Musicians Called Bach

To the music lover, the name Bach needs no introduction. Johann Sebastian Bach and three of his sons (Wilhelm Friedemann, Carl Philipp...

Lieder After Schubert

For want of a better term, when we talk about “Lieder” in classical music, we usually mean “art songs” for voice and piano. This term...

The Brandenburg Concertos

Johann Sebastian Bach never did things by halves. Between 1717 and 1723 (when he was in his mid-30s) he was employed as Kapellmeister to...

Bells Real and Otherwise

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m fascinated by the city of Venice. I’m fortunate to have visited the city seven times since 1997,...

John Beard, Handel's Tenor

In February 1732, to celebrate his 47th birthday, Handel went to the pub. The pub, a well-known London establishment called the Crown and...

On the Fringe: Hummel

Today’s post is devoted to the life and work of a single composer whose name is heard now and again in the world of music, but who really...

A Clockwork Odyssey: Kubrick's Music

On Anzac Day 1970, a few months before my 12th birthday, I went to the movies with my mum. At the time I was living in Malaysia, on the...

The Amazing Mr Mendelssohn

Jacob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn was born in Hamburg on 3 February 1809. His father, Abraham Mendelssohn, was a banker, and Felix’s...

The Inspiration of Orpheus

The myths of ancient Greece and Rome have been the inspiration for countless works of art over the past two millennia. Just think of all...

Folk Music Influences

We all sort of know what classical music is - as used in this general sense - but it’s very hard to define. In the same way, the term...

Diaghilev the Catalyst

The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary gives two definitions for the word “catalyst”. The first is a specialised meaning relating to...

Music of the Night

In 1943, Benjamin Britten set the following words of John Keats to music in his Serenade [listen]: O soft embalmer of the still midnight,...

The Wit and Wisdom of Joseph Haydn

The music of Joseph Haydn is a cornerstone of the western tradition. His symphonies, string quartets, masses and oratorios are among the...

The Lark Ascending and Other Birds

There is something quite magical about birdsong. The infinite variety of sounds produced by birds has put them in a special category as...

Palestrina: Purity and Passion

Many composers have written operas. Some composers even write operas with other composers, such as Verdi who had the text for Falstaff...

The Jazz Influence

I suppose it’s a fact of history that things which were once outrageous eventually become acceptable. If Paul McCartney, Elton John and...

 

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