Greatest MP3 Selection For Ernesto Lecuona

Featured Ernesto Lecuona:

Ultimate Collection

More than 140 minutes of historic recordings from the man dubbed by many “the Cuban Gershwin”! Ernesto Lecuona is indeed the greatest composer Cuba has ever produced; his works ranged from light classical to pop songs like Siboney and Malaguena that were covered repeatedly by jazz and swing bands, and this 63-track collection-boasting historic, remastered performances from 1927, 1928 and 1954, with some unreleased material-is the most comprehensive collection available. This collection includes Ernesto Lecuona’s complete 1954 recordings plus a series of 78s made in 1927-28. Ten of the recordings were previously unreleased. This is a lot of lightweight Cuban piano music to deal with at once, but it’s definitely worth doing. Lecuona’s music, which is having a major revival, may not be important. But it’s consistently charming and entertaining. The 78s, which sound surprisingly good, reveal even more of a virtuoso than do the later recordings, but throughout we hear playing that expresses the spirit of the music extremely well. And yes, the famous Malagueña is here, sounding very sexy. –Leslie Gerber

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Piano Music

(Piano). This superb revised collection features advanced piano solo arrangements of 55 pieces by Cuba’s greatest composer, as well as a biography and photo. Includes: A La Antigua * Ahi Viene El Chino (Here Comes the Chinaman) * Al Fin Te Vi * Alhambra * Andalucia * Ante El Escorial * Arabesque * Aragon * Aragonesa * Bell-Flower * Canto Del Guajiro (Song of the Cuban Farmer) * Cordoba * Danza De Los Nanigos (Dance of the Negroes) * Danza Lucumi * Danza Negra * The Dolls Have a Party (Bacanal de Munocos) * Ella Y Yo * En Tres Por Cuatro (In Three Quarter Time) * Gitanerias * Good Morning (Buenos Dias) * Granada * Guadalquivir * Impromptu * Interrumpida * La Cardenense * La Comparsa (Carnival Procession) * La Conga De Media Noche * La Mulata * La Primera En La Frente * Lola Esta De Fiesta (Lola is Celebrating) * Malaguena * Mazurka Glissando * Merry-Go-Round Whirl (Carousel) * Minstrels * The Moon Lights Up (Cancion de Luna) * Music Box * No Hables Mas!! (Speak No More) * No Puedo Contigo (I Cannot Make You Understand) * Polichinella * Por Que Te Vas? (Why Do You Go) * The Puppets Dance (El Baile de la Muneca) * San Francisco El Grande * Y La Negra Bailaba! * Zambra Gitana.

  • Published by Edward B. Marks Music Company 240 Pages
  • 55 Pieces by Cuba’s Greatest Composer Piano Solo
  • Composer: Ernesto Lecuona

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Lecuona – The Ultimate Collection

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Musica De Ernesto Lecuona

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Ernesto Lecuona: The Complete Piano Music, Volume 1

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Andalucia Suite: Piano Solo (Piano Publications)

(Piano Publications). The complete suite, including: Cordoba * Andalucia * Alhambra * Gitanerias * Guadalquivir * Malaguena.

  • Published by Edward B. Marks Music Company 32 Pages
  • Piano Solo
  • Composer: Ernesto Lecuona

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Price: $ 4.05

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Ernesto Lecuona: The Complete Piano Music, Vol. 3

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Always in My Heart-Domingo sings Songs of Ernesto Lecuona

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Lecuona’s Best Made Easier for You: Easy Piano Solo (Piano Publications)

(Piano Publications). Contents: Andalucia Suite: Malaguena, Andalucia, Gitanerias, Cordoba * Danzas Afro-Cubanas: La Comparsa, Danza Lucumi * Ante el Escorial.

  • Published by Edward B. Marks Music Company 32 Pages
  • Easy Piano Solo
  • Composer: Ernesto Lecuona

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Price: $ 5.01

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Lecuona Sinfónica / Morton Gould and His Orchestra

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Download Free Sheet Music to Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach (pronounced [joˈhan/ˈjoːhan seˈbastjan ˈbax]) (31 March 1685 [O.S. 21 March] – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and organist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity.[1] Although he introduced no new forms, he enriched the prevailing German style with a robust contrapuntal technique, an unrivalled control of harmonic and motivic organisation in composition for diverse instrumentation, and the adaptation of rhythms and textures from abroad, particularly Italy and France.

Revered for their intellectual depth, technical command and artistic beauty, Bach’s works include the Brandenburg concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Partitas, the Well-Tempered Clavier, the Mass in B Minor, the St. Matthew Passion, the St. John Passion, the Magnificat, The Musical Offering, The Art of Fugue, the English Suites, the French Suites, the Sonatas and Partitas for violin solo, the Cello Suites, more than 200 surviving cantatas, and a similar number of organ works, including the celebrated Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

While Bach’s abilities as an organist were recognized and highly respected throughout Europe during his lifetime, he was not particularly well-known as a composer. His adherence to Baroque forms and contrapuntal style was considered ‘old-fashioned’ by his contemporaries, especially late in his career when the musical fashion tended towards Rococo and later Classical styles. A revival of interest and performances of his music began early in the 19th century, and he is now widely considered to be one of the greatest composers in the Western tradition.

Source of the extract of the biography : Wikipedia

Q: What does BWV mean?

A: The Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (Bach Works Catalogue) is the numbering system identifying compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach. The prefix BWV, followed by the work’s number is the shorthand identification for Bach’s compositions. The works are grouped thematically, not chronologically.

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Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi (1554-1609) Creemona, Italy

Born: c1554 – Caravaggio, near Cremona, Italy
Died: January 4, 1609

Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi was an Italian composer. He is recorded for the first time at Mantua in 1572 as a sub-deacon at the Palatine Basilica of S Barbara. In the following year he was promoted to the position of deacon, a post which he held until at least 1574. At the end of 1575, shortly before being ordained, Gastoldi was granted a mansionaria in S Barbara. From September 1579 until August 1587 he taught counterpoint to the novices at the basilica; the records mention him as a singer for the first time in 1581. In 1582 Cardinal Carlo Borromeo requested that Gastoldi be allowed to enter his service in Milan; Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga replied that on no account would he allow himself to be deprived of Gastoldi’s talents. Both in that year, and in 1585-1586, Gastoldi acted as maestro di cappella in place of Wert, who had fallen ill; in 1588 he succeeded Wert as maestro di cappella, a post that he retained until his death. For the performance of Guarini’s Il pastor fido, given in 1598, Gastoldi composed the Ballo della cieca (II; ii), a notoriously difficult moment in the play which had defeated earlier attempts to produce it; Gastoldi’s setting was published in his Quarto libro de madrigali of 1602. One of his last commissions at the court was to compose music for one of the intermedii devised to accompany Guarini’s L’Idropica, performed in 1608 as part of the extensive celebrations marking the marriage of Prince Francesco Gonzaga to Margarita of Savoy. In his will Gastoldi left his collection of sacred music to the chapter of S Barbara and his editions of madrigals to Fulvio Gonzaga, Marchese of Vescovato and the dedicatee of the Messe e motetti … libro primo of 1607.

Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi’s most popular compositions during his lifetime, and for some time after his death, were his ballettos, of which he published two sets: one for five voices and one for three. The five-voice collection, published in 1591, was reprinted some 30 times, both in Venice and north of the Alps (the last as late as 1657). The success of these works must be attributed to their simplicity and tunefulness. They are cast in two repeated sections each of which finishes with a refrain; their textures are strongly homophonic, and according to the title-page they were to be sung, played and danced. Each balletto bears a characterizing title (e.g. Il Piacere, La Bellezza, Amor Vittorioso), but there is no attempt to represent these characteristics in the music, and indeed it would be hard to do so given the limitations of the genre. The book finishes with a six-voice mascherata and an eight-voice chorus; both are probably remnants of theatrical works. The three-voice ballettos, although less frequently reprinted, were still enormously popular. They are written in a style similar to that of the earlier collection (which are effectively conceived as trios with the inner parts added to fill out the texture), and like them were intended to be danced. A fondness for the lighter styles of writing is also evident in other secular publications such as the Primo libro de madrigali a sei voci (which concludes with another theatrical piece, the Danza de pastori written for two four-voice choirs) and the two books of canzonettas.

Despite the undoubted popularity of the ballettos, most of Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi’s efforts as a composer went into the composition of sacred music, some of which also found favour in the market. This aspect of his production, sometimes overlooked, not only reflects his career at S Barbara, but also his commitment to Counter-Reformation idealism of the kind advocated by Carlo Borromeo, with its emphasis on accessibility. The Missarum quatuor vocibus liber primus, for example, is designed for the resources and capabilities of a modest choir, while the Psalmi ad vesperas in totius anni, which was reprinted five times, relies on a mixture of homophony and simple counterpoint, and shows little interest in chromatic inflection, even in the De Profundis; this book includes Wert’s seventh-tone Magnificat setting and is dedicated to the Abbot of S Barbara. Homophony also predominates in the six-voice Salmi intieri … libro secondo, sometimes fused with falsobordone passages as in Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610. Most popular of all was his Integra omnium solemnitatum vespertina psalmodia, settings of the most frequently encountered psalm texts, which was reprinted as late as 1705. His simplest are the two-voice psalms of 1609, a sequence of 14 settings together with a Magnificat, while the 1601 collection for eight voices uses double-choir and alternatim techniques; a speciality of S Barbara practice. These publications suggest that Gastoldi was aiming at a wide market which included, as something of a priority, choirs of modest ambitions. The Messe e motetti, on the other hand, are explicitly described as a monument to the music performed at Porticuolo (now Portiolo). The contents are grander in manner and come equipped with an organ score.

Balletti, 5vv, con li suoi versi per cantare, sonare, & ballare; con una mascherata de cacciatori, 6vv, & un concerto de pastori, 8vv (1591); ed. in Le pupitre, x (Paris, 1968); ed. H.C. Schmidt (New York, 1970.

Source: Grove Music Online,Oxford University Press, 2008: Authors: Iain Fenlon (text, bibliography), Denis Arnold (work-list)
Contributed by
Thomas Braatz (February 2008)

View best deals and top brand name classical guitars

Free Download to his sheet music below:

The Zipped file below includes the Ballatto III sheet muisc, it also includes five mp3 files, 4 guitars playing  separately and one file with all playing together as well as a Midi file to be imported into music notation and composition software..

Ernesto Lecuona Free Sheet Music Download

  • Born 6 August 1895, Guanabacoa, Cuba
  • Died 1963, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Ernesto Lecuona is major, if not well-known, figure in popular music of this century. He brought the first successful Latin orchestra to the United States, fostered the careers of many of the most influential artists in Latin music, and composed many of its most enduring songs. He achieved the rare distinction of both popular and critical success, competing with the best of Tin Pan Alley as a songwriter while at the same time making his mark as a contemporary classical composer.

The son of a newspaper editor, Lecuona was taught piano by his older sister, Ernestina. All of his siblings–two sisters and two brothers–were musicians, and he was a child prodigy, debuting at the age of five. He attended the National Conservatory in Havana and received his certificate at the age of 15. He studied with Ravel in Paris briefly, then played recitals in the U.S. His first major composition, “Malaguena,” was introduced by Lecuona at the Roxy Theatre in New York in 1927. “Andalucia,” published in 1930, was later reintroduced with English lyrics as “The Breeze and I” in 1940.

Following the success of Don Azpiazu’s Havana Casino Orchestra, the first major Latin group to perform in the U.S., Lecuona formed the Palau Brothers Cuban Orchestra, and later renamed it the Lecuona Cuban Boys. This group met with great success in the U.S. and Europe before disbanding the band in the mid 1930s and appeared in the early sound film, “Cuban Love Song.”

Lecuona wrote in virtually every form, from cantatas to piano pieces, but his songs are by far the best remembers works. BMI lists “The Breeze and I” as a having received over one million airplays. Among his other popular songs are “Dust on the Moon,” “Say Si Si,” “Jungle Drums,” “Always in My Heart,” “Siboney,” “La Comparsa,” and “Maria My Own (Maria O Lao).”

Lecuona was among the leading composers in early sound films, writing scores for numerous American and Latin American movies, including:

  • “Under Cuban Skies,” MGM (1931)
  • “Free Soul,” MGM (1931)
  • “Susana Lenox,” MGM (1931)
  • “Pearl Harbor,” MGM (unknown year)
  • “La Cruz y La Espada” (The Cross and The Sword), MGM (unknown year)
  • “Always in My Heart,” Warner Bros. (1942)
    Title song was Oscar nominee for Best Song
  • “One More Tomorrow,” Warner Bros. (1946)
  • “Carnival in Costa Rica,” 20th Century Fox (1947)
  • “Maria La O” (Mexican film, unknown year)
  • “Adios, Buenos Aires” (Argentine film, unknown year)
  • “La Ultima Melodia” (Cuban film, unknown year)

Lecuona was named honorary cultural attache to the Cuban embassy in Washington in 1943 in recognition of his work as a cultural ambassador from Cuban. He performed only occasionally after that, though. One might say that he anticipated the percussion craze with his 1943 work, “Black Rhapsody,” which called for the orchestra to use “una quijada”–the jawbone of an ass.

Lecuona lived exclusively in ranches and farms in Cuba, raising small animals and exotic birds in his spare time. A lifelong bachelor, he pursued hobbies ranging from collecting antiques, cigarette lighters, and music boxes, reading Agatha Christie mysteries, following Cuban and American baseball leagues, and playing poker. He left Cuba for good in 1960 and vowed never to play again until Cuba was free from Castro and communism. He maintained residences in New York City and Tampa and Tallahassee, Florida. He died in the Canary Islands after traveling there to vacation and attend a concert in his honor. He was buried at the Gates of Heaven Cemetery in Long Island.

For more information, check out “Ernesto Lecuona: The Man Who Wrote Malaguena,

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Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

His Life Overview:

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), the second-oldest child of the court musician and tenor singer Johann van Beethoven, was born in Bonn. Ludwig’s father drilled him thoroughly with the ambition of showcasing him as a child prodigy. Ludwig gave his first public performance as a pianist when he was eight years old. At the age of eleven he received the necessary systematic training in piano performance and composition from Christian Gottlob Neefe, organist and court musician in Bonn. Employed as a musician in Bonn court orchestra since 1787, Beethoven was granted a paid leave of absence in the early part of 1787 to study in Vienna under Mozart. he was soon compelled to return to Bonn, however, and after his mother’s death had to look after the family.

In 1792 he chose Vienna as his new residence and took lessons from Haydn, Albrechtsberger, Schenck and Salieri. By 1795 he had earned a name for himself as a pianist of great fantasy and verve, admired in particular for his brilliant improvisations. Before long he was traveling in the circles of the nobility. They offered Beethoven their patronage, and the composer dedicated his works to them in return. By 1809 his patrons provided him with an annuity which enabled him to live as a freelance composer without financial worries. Beethoven was acutely interested in the development of the piano. He kept close contact with the leading piano building firms in Vienna and London and thus helped pave the way for the modern concert grand piano.

Around the year 1798 Beethoven noticed that he was suffering from a hearing disorder. He withdrew into increasing seclusion for the public and from his few friends and was eventually left completely deaf. By 1820 he was able to communicate with visitors and trusted friends only in writing, availing himself of “conversation notebooks”.

The final years in the life of the restless bachelor (he changed living quarters no fewer than fifty-two times) were darkened by severe illness and by the struggle over the guardianship of his nephew Karl, upon whom he poured his solicitude, jealousy, expectations and threats in an effort to shape the boy according to his wishes. When the most famous composer of the age died, about thirty thousand mourners and curious onlookers were present at the funeral procession on March 26, 1827.

Beethoven’s Childhood:

Beethoven was born in this house, at 515 Bonngasse, Bonn, on 17 December 1770. This pencil drawing was made in 1889 by R.Beissel, 58 years after the death of the composer.

For someone who was destined to be lionized by the aristocracy of his time, Beethoven’s start in life was inauspicious. He was born in Bonn in 1770, the son of an obscure tenor singer in the employ of the Elector of Cologne. Though the exact date of his birth is not known, it is known that Beethoven was baptized on December 17, 1770. It was customary for people to be baptized the day after they were born and indeed it is known that his family celebrated his birthday on December 16th. There is also some debate in the field centering around the fact that Beethoven told people he was born in 1772 and that it was his older brother Ludwig Maria was was born in 1770. However, Ludwig Maria is believed to have been baptized in 1769. Some scholars believe that Beethoven’s farther tried to move Beethoven’s birth year to 1772 in order make him younger and there more of a musical prodigy. In the end Beethoven most probably born on December 16, 1770. His father was said to be a violent and intemperate man, who returned home late at night much worse for drink and dragged young Ludwig from his bed in order to “beat” music lessons into the boy’s sleepy head. There are also stories of his father forcing him to play his violin for the amusement of his drinking cronies. Despite these and other abuses – which might well have persuaded as lesser person to loathe the subject – the young Beethoven developed a sensitivity and vision for music.

When, despite his father’s brutal teaching methods, Ludwig began to show signs of promise, other teachers were called in. By the age of seven he was advanced enough to appear in public. A year or so later the composer Christian Gottlob Neefe took over his musical training and progress thereafter was rapid. Ch. G. Neefe introduced Beethoven to the works of Bach and Mozart. Beethoven must have felt immense pride when his Nine Variations for piano in C minor were published, and was listed later in a prominent Leipzig catalogue as the work of ‘Louis van Betthoven (sic), aged ten’. (The former is an intentional misspelling)

In 1787, Beethoven went to Vienna, a noted musical center, where then Count Waldstein engaged Beethoven was piano teacher and became his friend and patron. Beethoven must have felt a little out of his depth for he was clumsy and stocky; his manners were loutish, his black hair unruly and he habitually wore an expression of surliness on his swarthy face. It was here that Beethoven met the great Mozart, who was dapper and sophisticated. He received the boy doubtfully, but once Beethoven started playing the piano his talent was evident. “Watch this lad,” Mozart reported. “Some day he will force the world to talk about him.”

The death of Beethoven’s mother in the summer of 1787 brought him back to Bonn.

Beethoven’s Ascent to Greatness:

With the death of Beethoven’s mother, the last steadying influence on Beethoven’s father was removed. The old singer unhesitatingly put the bottle before Ludwig, his two younger brothers, and his one-year-old sister. The situation became so bad that by 1789 Beethoven was forced to show the mettle that was to stand him in good stead later in life. He went resolutely to his father’s employer and demanded – and got – half his father’s salary so that the family could be provided for; his father could drink away the rest. In 1792 the old man died. No great grief was felt: as his employer put it, “That will deplete the revenue from liquor excise.”

For four years Ludwig supported the family. He also made some good friends, among them Stephan von Breuning, who became a friend for life, and Doctor Franz Wegeler, who wrote one of the first biographies of Beethoven. Also, Count Ferdinand von Waldstein entered Beethoven’s circle and received the dedication of a famous piano sonata in 1804.

In July 1792 the renowned composer Haydn passed through Bonn on his way to Vienna. He met Beethoven and was impressed, and perhaps disturbed, by his work. Clearly, he felt, this young man’s talents needed to be controlled before it could be developed. Consequently Beethoven left Bonn for good early in November 1792 to study composition with Haydn in Vienna. However, if Haydn had hoped to “control” Beethoven’s talent he was fighting a losing battle. Beethoven’s music strode towards the next century, heavily influenced by the strenuous political and social tensions that ravaged Europe in the wake of the French Revolution. Haydn, who had been a musical trend setter himself in youth, found that Beethoven was advancing implacably along the same radical path. After realizing that Haydn was not the master he was looking for, Beethoven moved onto Albrechtsberger, another prestigious musician who called him an “excited musical free-thinker”.

Those first weeks in Vienna were hard for Beethoven. Opportunities were not forthcoming; expectations were unfulfilled. In addition it must have irked him, fired as he was by the current spirit of equality, to have to live in a tiny garret in Prince Lichnowsky’s mansion. Soon, however, the Prince gave him more spacious accommodation on the ground floor, and, mindful of the young man’s impetuous behavior, instructed the servants that Beethoven’s bell was to be answered even before the Prince’s own!

Impetuosity was also a feature of his piano playing at this time. In those days pianists were pitted against each other in front of audiences to decide who could play more brilliantly and improvise the more imaginatively. Beethoven’s rivals always retired, bloodied, from such combat. While he made enemies of many pianists in Vienna, the nobility flocked to hear him. Personally and professionally his future looked bright. Compositions poured from him and he gave concerts in Vienna as well as Berlin, Prague, and other important centers. His finances were secure enough for him to set up his own apartments. He was the first composer to become a freelance by choice, as opposed to depending on patrons. However, it was his skill as a pianist rather than as a composer that brought him recognition during his twenties. He was one of Vienna’s dominant music personalities surrounded by aristocrats and famous musicians. Until the coming of his deafness, he had five principle resources: Pianoforte Playing, Teaching, Composition, Dedications, and Concert-giving.

The first concert of his own responsibility occurred on April 2, 1800 he launched his first Symphony and introduced his world famous Septet op. 20. One year later, however, in 1801 his deafness began to hit Beethoven, causing great turmoil in his life.

Beethoven Demeanor:

The mature Beethoven was a short, well build man. His dark grey hair, then white, but was always thick and unruly. Reports differ as to the color of this eyes. His skin was pock-marked and his mouth, which had been a little petulant in youth, later became fixed in a grim, down-curving line, as if in a permanent expression of truculent determination. He seldom took care of his appearance, and, as he strode through the streets of Vienna with hair escaping from beneath his top hat, his hands clasped behind his back and his coat cross-buttoned he was the picture of eccentricity. His moods changed constantly, keeping his acquaintances guessing. They could never be sure that a chance remark might be misconstrued or displease the master in some way, for his powerful will would admit of no alternative view once he had made a judgment.

By nature, Beethoven was impatient, impulsive, unreasonable and intolerant; deafness added suspicion and paranoia to these attributes. He would often misunderstand the meaning of a facial expression and accuse faithful friends of disloyalty or conspiracy. He would fly into a rage at the slightest provocation, and he would turn on friends, dismissing them curtly as being unworthy of his friendship. But, likely as not, he would write a letter the next day or so, telling them how noble and good they were and how he had misjudged them.

Coaxing the “Wild Man” to Perform:

I have heard him play; but to bring him so far required some management, so great is his horror of being anything like exhibited. Had he been plainly asked to do the company that favour, he would have flatly refused; he had to be cheated into it. Every person left the room, except Beethoven and the master of the house, one of his most intimate acquaintances. These two carried on a conversation in the paper-book about bank stock. The gentleman, as if by chance, struck the keys of the open piano, beside which they were sitting, gradually began to run over one of Beethoven’s own compositions, made a thousand errors, and speedily blundered one passage so thoroughly, that the composer condescended to stretch out his hand and put him right. It was enough; the hand was on the piano; his companion immediately left him, on some pretext, and joined the rest of the company, who in the next room, from which they could see and hear everything, were patiently waiting the issue of this tiresome conjuration. Beethoven, left alone, seated himself at the piano. At first he only struck now and then a few hurried notes, as if afraid of being detected in a crime; but gradually he forgot everything else, and ran on during half and hour in a fantasy, in a style extremely varied, and marked, above all, by the most abrupt transitions. The amateurs were enraptured; to the uninitiated it was more interesting to observe how the music of the man’s soul passed over his countenance. He seems to feel the bold, the commanding, and the impetuous, more than what is soothing or gentle. The muscles of the face swell, and its veins start out; the wild eye rolls doubly wild, the mouth quivers, and Beethoven looks like a wizard, overpowered by the demons whom he himself has called up.

— John Russell —
A Tour in Germany, and Some of the Southern Provinces of the Austrian Empire, in 1820,1821,1822,1828


Beethoven’s career as a virtuoso pianist was brought to an end when he began to experience his first symptoms of deafness. In a letter written to his friend Karl Ameda on 1 July 1801, he admitted he was experiencing signs of deafness.

How often I wish you were here, for your Beethoven is having

a miserable life, at odds with nature and its Creator, abusing

the latter for leaving his creatures vulnerable to the slightest

accident … My greatest faculty, my hearing, is greatly


Apparently Beethoven had been aware of the problem for about three years, avoiding company lest his weakness be discovered, and retreating into himself. Friends ascribed his reserve to preoccupation and absentmindedness. In a letter to Wegeler, he w rote:

How can I, a musician, say to people “I am deaf!” I shall, if

I can, defy this fate, even though there will be times when I

shall be the unhappiest of God’s creatures … I live only in

music … frequently working on three or four pieces simultaneously.

Many men would have been driven to suicide; Beethoven may indeed have contemplated it. Yet his stubborn nature strengthened him and he came to terms with his deafness in a dynamic, constructive way. In a letter to Wegeler, written five months after the despairing one quoted above, it becomes clear that Beethoven, as always, stubborn, unyielding and struggling against destiny, saw his deafness as a challenge to be fought and overcome:

Free me of only half this affliction and I shall be a complete,

mature man. You must think of me as being as happy as it is

possible to be on this earth – not unhappy. No! I cannot endure

it. I will seize Fate by the throat. It will not wholly conquer

me! Oh, how beautiful it is to live – and live a thousand times over!

With the end of his career as a virtuoso pianist inevitable, he plunged into composing. It offered a much more precarious living than that of a performer, especially when his compositions had already shown themselves to be in advance of popular taste . In 1802 his doctor sent him to Heiligenstadt, a village outside Vienna, in the hope that its rural peace would rest in his hearing. The new surroundings reawakened in Beethoven a love of nature and the countryside, and hope and optimism returned. Chief amongst the sunny works of this period was the charming, exuberant Symphony no. 2. However, when it became obvious that there was no improvement in his hearing, despair returned. By the autumn the young man felt so low both physically and mentally that he feared he would not surive the winter. He therefore wrote his will and left instructions that it was to be opened only after his death. This ‘Heiligenstadt Testament’ is a long moving document that reveals more about his state of mind than does the music he was writing at the time. Only his last works can reflect in sound what he then put down in words.

O ye men who accuse me of being malevolent, stubborn and

misanthropical, how ye wrong me! Ye know not the secret

cause. Ever since childhood my heart and mind were disposed

toward feelings of gentleness and goodwill, and I was eager

to accomplish great deeds; but consider this: for six years

I have been hopelessly ill, aggravated and cheated by quacks in

the hope of improvement but finally compelled to face a lasting

malady … I was forced to isolate myself. I was misunderstood

and rudely repulsed because I was as yet unable to say to people,

“Speak louder, shout, for I am deaf” … With joy I hasten to meet

death. Despite my hard fate … I shall wish that it had come later;

but I am content, for he shall free me of constant suffering. Come

then, Death, and I shall face thee with courage. Heiglnstadt (sic)

6 October, 1802.

Just how bad was Beethoven’s plight? At first the malady was intermittent or so faint that it worried him only occasionally. but by 1801 he reported that a whistle and a buzz was constant. Low speech tones became an unintelligible hum, shouting became an intolerable din. Apparently the illness completely swamped delicate sounds and distorted strong ones. He may have had short periods of remission, but for the last ten years of his life he was totally deaf.

After Heiligenstadt:

After his return from Heiligenstadt, Beethoven’s music deepened. He began creating a new musical world. In the summer of 1803 he began work on his Third Symphony – the ‘Eroica’. It was to be the paean of glory to Napoleon Bonaparte and like its subject, it was revolutionary. It was half as long as any previous symphony and its musical language was so uncompromising that it set up resistance in its first audiences. It broke the symphonic mold, yet established new, logical and cogent forms. This was the miracle Beethoven was to work many times.

Stephan von Breuning, with whom Beethoven shared rooms, reports a thunderous episode in connection with the ‘Eroica’ Symphony. In December, 1804, the news arrived that Napoleon, that toiler for the rights of the common people, had proclaimed himself Emperor. In a fury, Beethoven strode over to his copy of the Symphony, which bore a dedication to Napoleon, and crossed out the “Bonaparte” name in such violence that the pen tore in the paper. “Is he, too, nothing more than human?” he raged. “Now he will crush the rights of man. He will become a tyrant!”

For the next few years in Vienna, from 1804 to 1808, Beethoven lived in what might be described as a state of monotonous uproar. His relationships suffered elemental rifts, his music grew ever greater, and all the time he was in love with one women or another, usually high-born, sometimes unattainable, always unattained. he never married.

His Fifth and Sixth Symphonies were completed by the summer of 1808. The Fifth indeed takes fate by the throat; the Sixth (Pastoral) is a portrait of the countryside around Heilingenstadt. These and other works spread his name and fame.

In July 1812 Beethoven wrote a letter to an unidentified lady whom he addressed as The Immortal Beloved. It was as eloquent of love as his ‘Heiligenstadt Testament’ had been of despair. The following is a summary of the letter (follow the above link for more):

My angel, my all, my very self – a few words only today, and

in pencil (thine). Why such profound sorrow when necessity

speaks? Can our love endure but through sacrifice – but through

not demanding all – canst thou alter it that thou art not wholly

mine, I not wholly thine?

So moving an outpouring may well have resulted, at last, in some permanent arrangement – if the lady in question had been free, and if the letter had been sent. It was discovered in a secret drawer in Beethoven’s desk after his death.

His brother Casper Carl died in November 1815. The consequences brought about something that neither the tragedy of deafness nor Napoleon’s guns could achieve: they almost stopped Beethoven composing. Beethoven was appointed guardian of his brother’s nine-year-old son, Karl – a guardianship he shared with the boy’s mother Johanna. Beethoven took the appointment most seriously and was certain that Johanna did not. He believed her to be immoral, and immediately began legal proceedings to get sole guardianship of his nephew. The lawsuit was painful and protracted and frequently abusive, with Johanna asserting “How can a deaf, madman bachelor guard the boy’s welfare?” – Beethoven repeatedly fell ill because of the strain. He did not finally secure custody of Karl until 1820, when the boy was 20.

The Ninth Symphony (Choral) was completed in 1823, by which time Beethoven was completely deaf. There was a poignant scene at the first performance. Despite his deafness, Beethoven insisted on conducting, but unknown to him the real conductor sat out of his sight beating time. As the last movement ended, Beethoven, unaware even that the music had ceased, was also unaware of the tremendous burst of applause that greeted it. One of the singers took him by the arm and turned him around so that he might actually see the ovation.

His Death:

In the autumn of 1826, Beethoven took Karl to Gneixendorf for a holiday. The following is an account of Beethoven the possessed genius as he worked upon his last string quartet:

At 5:30 A.M. he was at his table, beating time with hands

and feet, humming and writing. After breakfast he hurried

outside to wander in the fields, calling, waving his arms about,

moving slowly, then very abruptly stopping to scribble

something in his notebook

In early December Beethoven returned to Vienna with Karl and the journey brought the composer down with pneumonia. He recovered, only to be laid low again with cirrhosis of the liver, which in turn gave way to dropsy. His condition had deteriorated dramatically by the beginning of March and, sensing the worst, his friends rallied round: faithful Stephan brought his family and Schubert paid his respects.

Beethoven’s final moments, if a report by Schubert’s friend Huttenbrenner are to believed, were dramatic in the extreme. At about 5:45 in the afternoon of 26 March, 1827, as a storm raged, Beethoven’s room was suddenly filled with light and shaken with thunder:

Beethoven’s eyes opened and he lifted his right fist for

several seconds, a serious, threatening expression on

his face. When his had fell back, he half closed his eyes

… Not another word, not another heartbeat.

Schubert and Hummel were among the 20,000 – 30,000 people who mourned the composer at his funeral three days later. He was buried in Wahring Cemetery; in 1888 his remains were removed to Zentral-friedhof in Vienna – a great resting place for musicians – where he lies side-by-side with Schubert.

Johann Sebastian Bach Bio

Johann Sebastian Bach

A Great Contributor Of Music Throughout the history of music, many great composers, theorists, and instrumentalists have left incdelible marks and influences that people today look
back on to admire and aspire to. No exception to this idiom is Johann Sebastian
Bach, whose impact on music was unforgettable to say the least. People today
look back to his writings and works to both learn and admire. He truly can be
considered a music history great.

Bach, who came from a family of over 53 musicians, was nothing short of a
virtuosic instrumentalist as well as a masterful composer. Born in Eisenach,
Germany, on March 21, 1685, he was the son of a masterful violinist, Johann
Ambrosius Bach, who taught his son the basic skills for string playing. Along
with this string playing, Bach began to play the organ which is the instrument he
would later on be noted for in history. His instruction on the organ came from
the player at Eisenach’s most important church. He instructed the young boy
rather rigorously until his skills surpassed anyone’s expectations for someone of
such a young age. Bach suffered early trauma when his parents died in 1695. He
went to go live with his older brother, Johann Christoph, who also was a
professional organist at Ohrdruf. He continued his younger brother’s education
on that instrument, as well as introducing him to the harpsichord. The rigorous
training on these instruments combined with Bach’s masterful skill paid off for
him at an early age. After several years of studying with his older brother, he
received a scholarship to study in Luneberg, Germany, which is located on the
northern tip of the country. As a result, he left his brother’s tutelage and went to
go and study there.

The teenage years brought Bach to several parts of Germany where he mainly
worked as an organist in churches, since that was the skill he had perfected the
best from his young training. However, a master of several instruments while
still in his teens, Johann Sebastian first found employment at the age of 18 as a
violinist in a court orchestra in Weimar. Although he did not remain there
terribly long, he was able to make good money playing for the king. He soon
after accepted a position as a church organist in Arnstadt. It was here that Bach
would soon realize his high standards and regards that he had for music. In
Arnstadt as well as in many other places that Bach worked he was notorious for
getting into fights over the quality of music that was being produced. A perfect
example of this can be seen in Arnstadt. Previous accounts of history claim that
Bach was upset with the performance of the church choir for which he played
for. He claimed that “the voices could never make the music soar to the sky as it
should” (loosely translated). Here Bach realized the high level of music and
perfectionism that he wanted. In 1707, at the age of 22, Bach moved on from

Arnstadt to another organist job, this time at the St. Blasius Church in
Muhlhausen. Once again he did not remain there too long, only a little over a
year, when he moved again to Weimar where he accepted the position of head
concertmaster and organist in the Ducal Chapel. It was here that Bach settled
himself and began to compose the first collection of his finest early works
which, included organ pieces and cantatas.

By this time Bach had been married for several years. He actually became
married to his cousin Maria Barbara. They, for the most part, had a happy
marriage. He was happy. By this stage of his life he had “composed” for himself
a wonderful reputation of being a brilliant musical talent. Along with that his
proficiency on the organ was unequaled in Europe by this time. In fact, he
toured regularly as a solo virtuoso, and his growing mastery of compositional
forms, like the fugue and the canon, were already attracting interest from the
musical establishment, which, in his day, was the Lutheran church. The church
began to look at Bach’s writings and saw the opportunity to possibly use his
music in their masses. Thus was the slow birth of the German chorale, which
Bach later became renowned for. Bach’s virtuosic career did suffer minor
setbacks along the way. He occasionally would be passed over for deserved
positions within the court that he worked. However, in 1715 when he did not
receive a truly desired position of “Kapellmeister” (choral master) of Weimer, he
was insulted and left the city. He accepted a position as a court conductor in
Cothen, where he began to work on another part of his musical genre, that of
instrumental music. Up until this point, Bach was mainly writing organ pieces
and church cantatas. One of his most famous, “Wachet auf ruft uns die Stimme,”
became well known around the world and is still looked upon as a classic today.
However, when he arrived in Cothen he began to focus on all other instruments
and used his talents as a string player and knowledge of “wind & brass”
instruments to begin composing instrumental pieces. It was during his stay here
in Cothen that the orchestral masterpiece known as the “Brandenburg Concerto”
was born.

Bach’s tenure in Cothen lasted approximately seven years. In that time his wife
Mara became ill and died. Although distraught, he soon remarried to Anna
Magdalena. It was during this time that Bach had several children, three in
particular would grow to become talented musicians like their father. Wilhelm
Friedmann, C.P.E. Bach, and J.C. Bach. They to became virtosos of the organ
and later the harpsichord, much like their father was. After Bach left Cothen, he
received a prestigious position as music director at the St. Thomas Church in
Leipzig, Germany. Here Bach accepted his most demanding position of all. He
had the responsibility of composing cantatas for the St. Thomas and St. Nicholas
churches, conducing the choirs, overseeing the musical activities of numerous
municipal churches, and teaching Latin in the St. Thomas choir school.
Although demanding, Bach persisted and succeeded in Leipzig and continued to
write music of various kinds with a level of craft and emotional profundity that
was his alone. Bach remained at his post in Leipzig until his death in 1750.
Although he was blinded by cataract problems in the early 1740s, he still
managed to compose masterful pieces up until days before his death. His last
musical composition that he crafted happened to be a choral prelude, which was
dedicated to his son-in law. To this day more than 1,000 of Bach’s accomplished
compositions survive. Some of his most famous works include the
“Brandenburg Concerto,” The “Mass In B Minor,” “The Goldberg Variations for
Harpsichord,” his vast amount of toccatas, especially his “Toccata In F Major,”
his collection of variations on organ preludes captured in the “Well Tempered
Clavier,” his immense amount of fugues and chorales including his “Fugue in G
minor,” major as well as his tremendous amount of chorales, and his Christmas
and Easter oratorios, which was another schism in his music genre. Quite
frankly, the list goes on and on and on. Surely, Johann Sebastian Bach never
believed that his success would become so heroic and monumental. However,
we today perceive him to be one of the key individuals to shape the music we
listen to. It is no secret that his writings, especially chorale writings, are used to
illustrate the principles of our functional system of harmony. It is in this example
alone that it can be seen that Bach’s works have not only survived to the point
where they are still heard and listened to, but they also still provide us with
knowledge and understanding from which we can learn and discover music. It is
for these reasons that the life of Johann Sebastian Bach was truly a great one and
it is without any apprehension that he can be considered a musical great.