Composers Tips

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What music did Scarlatti compose?

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)

Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) was famous for his music for keyboard for which he wrote more than 500 sonatas. These are often heard on harpsichord, but have been recorded for piano by Vladimir Horowitz, among others. Be sure to add some of these striking sonatas to your music library.

What music did Bach write?

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was a very prolific composer with 400 cantatas, hundreds of keyboard works, many concertos among his works. You may want to start your Bach library with the Six Brandenburg Concertos or the B Minor Mass. The solo Cello Suites are among my personal favorites. A sampling of Bach's works can be found here:

What music by Mozart should I be familiar with?

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Mozart's music has been called "absolute musicality" because it is difficult to find evidence of Mozart's personal life or attitudes in his music. Instead, his music reflects the Classical ideals of symmetry and balance. When listening to the symphonies of Mozart, start with No. 41 in C, the Jupiter. Then you can go on to listen to a wealth of chamber music, concertos and sonatas (both piano solo and instrumental with piano accompaniment). If you love opera, choose from The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, or The Magic Flute for starters.

What did Vivaldi compose?

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) wrote concertos for violin, flute, oboe, cello, and many more instruments. His most popular piece today is The Four Seasons, Opus 8, which is actually a collection of four violin concertos.

What music did Handel compose?

George Frederic Handel (1685-1759)

George Frederic Handel (1685-1759) is best known for his "Messiah," the oratorio containing the great "Hallelujah Chorus." Handel's "Water Music" and "Royal Fireworks Music" are also popular favorites.

Who is Philip Glass?

Philip Glass (1937- )

Philip Glass is an American Composer known for his minimalist style. He strips his composition down to the bare essentials, and repeats these elements in rhythmic cycles. Some of his works last as long as four hours creating a mesmerizing effect. Glass has created three operas, several film scores, and has collaborated with Jean Cocteau.

What music of Haydn should I be familiar with?

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

If you would like an introduction to classical symphonies of Haydn that is a lot of fun, listen to the barnyard sounds in the Hen Symphony (No. 83) or the loud chords of the Surprise Symphony (No. 94) designed to startle royal audiences. Haydn wrote 104 Symphonies. You may also want to try the Trumpet Concerto or the D Major Harpsichord Concerto, also heard for piano. Other important works to add to your collection are Haydn's oratorios, The Creation and The Seasons.

Who are some great American women composers?

More Women Composers

Two great American woman composers (although they both would have been happier being known only as “composers”) were Amy Beach, (1867-1944) and Miriam Gideon (1906-1996). Try for a page on American women composers.

Who was Schoenberg and why is he famous?

Schoenberg (1874-1951)

Arnold Schoenberg created a new method of composition called serial music. He used the twelve tones in a specific sequence, a tone row, with these rules. Each tone must be sounded before any can be repeated, but then when the row of twelve tones is repeated, it can be backward (retrograde), upside down (inverted) or backwards and upside down (retrograde inversion).

What woman composers should I know?

Women Composers

One of the earliest women composers was Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1197) who wrote mystical poetry and songs. Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1947) wrote about 500 songs and piano pieces as well as other chamber music. Most of her works remain unpublished. Clara Schuman (1819-1896) wrote works for her own use in performance including a Piano Trio, two concertos and many shorter pieces. Her nickname was "Queen of the Piano."

Who is Aaron Copland?

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)

Aaron Copland is known for his use of American folk themes and dance rhythms in his compositions. Introduce yourself to the music of Copland by listening to his Appalachian Spring, Fanfare for the Common Man, Billy the Kid, and Rodeo.

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Lynda Moultry