Articles

Explore a series of in-depth articles related to season themes.

Sturm und Drang

250 years ago, the Sturm und Drang movement captured the imagination of the German-speaking world.

Haydn's Breakthrough

Discover how Haydn's shrewd business instincts led to his successes, and what made his string quartets so widely acclaimed.

Virtuosity in Vivaldi’s Concertos

Discover how Antonio Vivaldi paved the way for the Classical style by bringing dramatic power to the concerto and opening up new ways forward in violin playing.

Schubert and His Social Circle

This article looks at Schubert’s short, unconventional life, and how his music-making with friends inspired him to compose for the amateur home market.

Franck's Love Letter

Franck created a scandal by expressing his infatuation for one of his young students in his Piano Quintet. Despite the uproar, the quintet turned out to be an influential piece in French music history.

Beethoven’s Razumovsky Quartets

Beethoven’s Razumovsky quartets express the hardships of the Napoleonic wars and Beethoven’s own very personal struggle with hearing loss.

The Kreutzer Sonata: Love, Murder, and the Violin

Rodolphe Kreutzer was a talented composer and violinist but he’s little remembered today. In a twist of fate, his name ended up on three major works of art that spanned more than 100 years and explored love, murder, religion, and more.

Death in Five Instruments or Less

Before the Death and the Maiden concert, listen to five works inspired by death—from the macabre to the alarming to the devastating.

Improvisation in the Brandenburg Concertos

The Brandenburgs are an interesting example of a sometimes-overlooked feature of Baroque music: how incredibly improvisational it is. From basso continuo to cadenzas, Bach’s meticulously worked-out music holds opportunities for performers to shape their own parts.

A Brief History of Russian Chamber Music

Russian chamber music reveals a uniquely personal, deeply emotional aesthetic that is sometimes overlooked in other Russian music.

Three Times Mozart Made Wind Instruments Sing

Hear some of Mozart’s works for wind ensemble, including one he called “the best thing I have written in my life.”

A Crumb Score Demystified

Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale), written nearly 50 years ago, is a George Crumb classic that shows his typically creative voice. This article breaks down a few of the incredible sounds in the piece and how they’re notated in the score.

The Ballets Russes in Paris

Sergey Diaghilev founded the Ballets Russes in 1909 and kicked off two decades of innovation in music, dance, costumes, and set design.

A Trio Tour

The word “Trio” appears on concert programs all the time, attached to a minuet or scherzo in a symphony or a piece of chamber music. The corresponding section in the music rarely features three instruments—so where does the (instrumentally misleading) label come from?

Death in Human Form

Death inspires outlandish stories and tall tales. We look at the manifestation of death at different times in different cultures.

On Bach and Imitation Harpsichords

Learn more about the extensive tradition of performing Bach on grand pianos modified with thumbtacks to sound like the harpsichord.

Music and Musings by Gabriel Fauré

Get to know Gabriel Fauré, a humble and brilliant musician and thinker.

The Beginning of the Beethoven Quartet Cycle

Beethoven quartet cycles didn’t start immediately after the composer’s death. For many reasons, it was years before the cycle began to be performed regularly (and decades more before the Grosse Fuge was included).

Opus One

A composer’s first numbered work sends a message about their career, plans, and ambitions.