Monthly Archives: July 2011

Week 13: Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians

Minimalism began as a reaction to what I call “High Modernism,” music by composers like Pierre Boulez, Milton Babbitt, and Elliott Carter. In the 50s and 60s, when these guys were at the peak of their influence, there was a … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary | Leave a comment

Week 12: Mozart’s Don Giovanni

Opera was invented at the beginning of the Baroque period, around 1600, but the first flowering of indisputably great works came with Mozart. He composed about a dozen, but there are four that are absolutely crucial: The Marriage of Figaro, … Continue reading

Posted in Classical, Opera | Leave a comment

Week 11: Perotin, Viderunt omnes

Let us now go back towards the beginnings of Western music history. Here’s a quick thumbnail sketch — the music of Ancient Greece and Rome was much written about (Plato famously had some very specific opinions about it) but was … Continue reading

Posted in Medieval | Leave a comment

Week 10: Robert Schumann’s Carnaval, Op. 9

Schumann (1810-1856) is probably the most interesting figure of the Romantic generation of composers. Plagued by physical and psychiatric maladies for most of his adult life, his work is consistently idiosyncratic, inspired by the world of ideas and particularly intense … Continue reading

Posted in Romantic | Leave a comment