The German composer Johannes Brahms was bornwas
born 1833 in Hamburg. Brahms spend most of his working live
in Vienna. He is well known for his Symphonies, piano music and
particularly today’s Hungarian Dance no 5. When Brahms lived in
Vienna, Austria and Hungary were just joining together to one Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Originally for piano, today Brahm’s Hungarian
dances are performed on a huge variety of instruments.
Giacomo Puccini was born in the Italian city Lucca in 1858. As a child he learned to play the organ, just like his dad. He loved to make up tunes on the organ or to play popular Arias out of Verdi’s operas. Not surprising that Puccini started to compose operas himself! His most famous are La bohéme, Madame Butterfly and Tosca. His final opera was Turandot, which is similar to a fairy tale and includes the Chinese tune “Jasmine flower”.
Drowsy Maggieis a traditional Irish dance. The specific dance is called a “reel”. A reel, however, is originally from Scotland. A reel is a fast dance, with two of 4 quavers in a bar, and the tune combines two musical phrases. Each phrase is repeated, i.e. if you have your first phrase A, and your second phrase B, you would play AABB.
Johann Sebastian Bach was born 1685 in the small town Eisenach
(Germany). His whole family was musical and played organ in churches or
instruments as court chamber musicians. Johann Sebastian learned the piano
and the harpsichord (a similar instrument to the piano). He had to compose a
lot of music every week, so sometimes he would use the same musical idea in
different pieces. Below are four different versions of the Adagio we heard (three out of the four versions are more similar than one of them. Can you ‘hear’ the odd one out?)
Astor Piazzolla was born 1921 in Argentina to Italian parents, they all moved to New York when Astor was 4, before returning to Argentina when he was 15 years old. Astor played the bandoneon and became famous for composing tangoes. Find the original version of today’s tango “oblivion” by following the link for today’s music.