Classical Retry v. 2.0

This is a pretty neat, and robust piece of code.  I fixed the bug that the day_sculptor had in it, it would occasionally crash returning an error token of 8 or 9.  So, I think that it had to do with the date function not being able to handle the size of the integer product.  I split it up, using differences, and am using it in the classical retry program in the competitive mode.  Also, the txt files have all been moved to a txt directory.  For averages, you will need to compile the c program intdiv2float, listed below, into your directory, or comment out the lines that use it in the code with a pound sign:



/* “average.c” a program to take as input 2 integers and divide the first one by the 2nd one to produce a float, submitted by livedoggb 3/26/2012 */
main(int argc, char *argv[MAX_ALLOWED], char *envp[]){

   int a, b, c, n, ar[MAX_ALLOWED];
   float cf1, cf2, div;
/*   printf(“Enter the values of the 5 numbers you want to randomize:\n”);*/
      for (c=1; c<=n; c++) {
   printf(“%f\n”, cf1/cf2);
   return ;


I think that the symphonies should take this code, and convert it into a binary that receives a hidden email address to them, that gets sent when someone achieves above a certain value in the quiz mode.  The reward being a free ticket to the symphony.  So, right now with this code, and set of facts, I’m scoring somewhere between 78% in quiz mode 2 and 71% and 33 seconds in quiz mode 3 using the beginner option.  These are averages from 100 questions.




# v.2.0 a linux bash script that has 3 modes.

# Mode 1: The noninteractive mode plays random

# pieces from “The 50 most essential pieces of classical music” in an itunes directory using a

# c program random1 to pick both the piece and the position in the piece to play. The length of time that

# the song plays can be chosen for the set, or the whole song specified by entering “w”. Also, if sound recordings

# stating each composer and title are present in the itunes directory (individual 3-8 second files generated by you

# either as a movie, or sound recording), and this somewhat invasive option is specified by

# the user, then the program will state the composer and title at the end of the piece.

# The program requires successive control-c’s to stop, or simply closing the window works too. Also, more pieces can

# be appended to the itunes directory as 51 or 52, for example, I have added Schubert and Schumann.

# Mode 2: The interactive quiz mode

# quizzes the user on composers using a supplied database of .txt files from Encyclopedia Britannica,

# Wikipedia, and other sources. If the composer

# is correctly guessed, a random 20 second piece from the composer’s work is played. Otherwise, the correct answer

# is supplied. A score is kept.

# Known bugs from the previous version have been fixed. The composer name’s Giazotto, Dvorzak, and Faure, are replaced

# with unaccented versions for simplicity, and the parenthesis is correctly ignorred in Giazotto.

# Mode 3: The Competitive Quiz mode

# Music is played and the person is timed according to how long it takes them to figure out who the composer is.

# a beginner option, and an advanced option are available. The advanced option has a random start position in the

# music file, the beginner option always starts at the beginning. It keeps score of both time and %right.

# stable version. 2 bugs that caused crashes in version 0.1 have been fixed. Also, both database files time2.out

# and composer2.out have been fixed so that once they are created on the system, they do not have to be created

# again when the program is rerun.

# dependencies: random1 and intdiv2float compiled c programs and the composer text files need to be in the $dir_path

# specified at the top of the file on line 44.

# submitted by livedoggb on 3/27/12

function process_composer_name {

comp_last_name=$( grep “^$fn:” $dir_path/composer2.out )

# echo “comp_last_name is ” $comp_last_name

temp=$(echo $comp_last_name | sed -e “s/^.* //g”)

# echo $temp

echo_comp=$(echo $temp | sed -e “s/’//g”)

# echo “echo_comp is ” $echo_comp

comp_file=$( echo $echo_comp “.txt” | sed -e “s/ //g”)

# echo “comp file is ” $comp_file “. random_composer_num is:” $random_composer_num

# lines 264-272 added




dir_txt_path=$( echo $dir_path”/txt/” )

echo “Please pause for a couple of minutes while the system sets up the music database.”

if [ -e $dir_path/time2.out ]


echo “Time file found.”

echo “1. Use this file.”

echo “2. Generate a new file.”

echo “Enter choice: (If unsure, enter 2)”


read choice

case “$choice” in


echo “using old file.”



echo “generating a new file. This takes a few minutes.”

echo “0” > $dir_path/time2.out

mplayer -msglevel all=-1 -profile gnome-mplayer -ss 10 -endpos 1 -volume 0 /mnt/sda1/Documents\ and\ Settings/TEMP/My\ Documents/My\ Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Media/Music/Compilations/The\ 50\ Most\ Essential\ Pieces\ of\ Classica/*.* | tee temp.out | grep “^A: ” | sed -e ‘s/^A: .* of \([0-9]*\).* .*/\1/g’ >> $dir_path/time2.out



time_array=($(cat $dir_path/time2.out))


num_files=$(expr $(grep -c . $dir_path/time2.out))


echo “num_files=” $num_files


while [ $i -lt $num_files ]


echo “$i. ${time_array[$i]}”

i=$(( $i + 1 ))


if [ -e $dir_path/composer2.out ]


echo “Composer file found.”

echo “1. Use this file.”

echo “2. Generate a new file.”

echo “Enter choice: (If unsure, enter 2)”


read choice

case “$choice” in


echo “using old composer file.”

cat $dir_path/composer2.out



rm $dir_path/composer.out

echo “generating a new composer file. This takes a few minutes.”

mplayer -msglevel all=-1 -profile gnome-mplayer -ss 10 -endpos 1 -volume 0 /mnt/sda1/Documents\ and\ Settings/TEMP/My\ Documents/My\ Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Media/Music/Compilations/The\ 50\ Most\ Essential\ Pieces\ of\ Classica/*.* | grep “^ composer:” >> $dir_path/composer.out

grep -n . $dir_path/composer.out > $dir_path/temp

# cat composer.out

# echo “First generation of composer.out. Should not have numbers.”

# read test

cat $dir_path/temp | sed -e “s/^\([1-9]\):/0\1:/” > $dir_path/temp2

cat $dir_path/temp2 > $dir_path/composer.out

cat $dir_path/composer.out | sed -e “s/ composer: \(.*$\)/’\1’/g” | sed -e “s/\(..*\)(..*/\1’/” | sed -e “s/ ‘/’/” | sed -e “s/Dvo…k/Dvorzak/” | sed -e “s/Faur./Faure/” > $dir_path/composer2.out

# echo “After sed processing for 0’s, composer.out looks like”

cat $dir_path/composer2.out

# read test




# i=1

# while [ $i -lt $num_files ]

# do

# grep $i composer.out

# i=$(( $i + 1 ))

# done


echo “Three modes are available. Please choose.”

echo “1. Study/ housework (noninteractive) mode”

echo “2. Quiz (interactive) mode”

echo “3. Competitive musical quiz mode”

read choice

case “$choice” in


echo “Study/ housework mode.”

echo “Would you like an announcement of the composer after the piece is played? (y or n)”

read announce_composer

echo “Enter a period of time (default is 10 seconds) or press w for whole song.”

read per


case $per in








# if [$per == “”]

# then

# period=10

# else

# period=$per

# fi

prob_files=$(( $num_files – 1 ))


echo “Press q to stop:”

while [ “$quit” == “” ];


fn=($(expr $($dir_path/random1 1 $prob_files)))

echo $fn ” ” >> $dir_path/files_used.out

num_fn=$(echo $fn | sed -e “s/^0//”)

echo $(ls /mnt/sda1/Documents\ and\ Settings/TEMP/My\ Documents/My\ Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Media/Music/Compilations/The\ 50\ Most\ Essential\ Pieces\ of\ Classica/$fn\ * | sed -e “s/^.*[0-9][0-9] \(.*.m4a\)/\1/g” )

# echo “What does composer.out look like after filenumber is picked and before grepping filenumber from file?”

# read test

echo $(grep $fn $dir_path/composer2.out)

# echo “time_array[[” $fn “]=” ${time_array[$fn]}

prob_time=$(( ${time_array[$num_fn]} – $period ))

# echo “random1 test” $fn “, time to sample,” $prob_time

ssx=($(expr $($dir_path/random1 0 $prob_time)))

# echo “file #” $fn “, startpos” $ssx

if [ $per == “w” ]





if [ -e /mnt/sda1/Documents\ and\ Settings/TEMP/My\ Documents/My\ Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Media/Music/Compilations/The\ 50\ Most\ Essential\ Pieces\ of\ Classica/$fn*.* ]


mplayer -profile gnome-mplayer -ss $ssx -endpos $period -volume 80 /mnt/sda1/Documents\ and\ Settings/TEMP/My\ Documents/My\ Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Media/Music/Compilations/The\ 50\ Most\ Essential\ Pieces\ of\ Classica/$fn*.*

if [ $announce_composer == “y” ]


if [ -e /mnt/sda1/Documents\ and\ Settings/TEMP/My\ Documents/My\ Music/song\ titles/song$fn.* ]


mplayer -volume 80 /mnt/sda1/Documents\ and\ Settings/TEMP/My\ Documents/My\ Music/song\ titles/song$fn.*







echo “Quiz mode.”

echo “All information is based upon composer entries in the Encyclopaedia Britannica 1963 edition, William Benton.”





while [ “$c” == “” ]


random_composer_num=$( $dir_path/random1 1 $num_files)


# echo “random_composer_num is:” $random_composer_num

comp_last_name=$( grep “^$random_composer_num:” $dir_path/composer2.out )

# echo “comp_last_name is ” $comp_last_name

temp=$(echo $comp_last_name | sed -e “s/^.* //g”)

# echo $temp

echo_comp=$(echo $temp | sed -e “s/’//g”)

# echo “echo_comp is ” $echo_comp

comp_file=$( echo $echo_comp”.txt” )

# echo “comp file is ” $comp_file “. random_composer_num is:” $random_composer_num

# lines 264-272 added

# process_composer_name

if [ -e $dir_txt_path/$comp_file ]


maxlinenum=$( grep -c . $dir_txt_path/$comp_file)

maxlinenum=$(( $maxlinenum – 1 ))

quizfact=$( $dir_path/random1 1 $maxlinenum)

grep ” $quizfact: ” $dir_txt_path/$comp_file | sed -e “s/^.*: //”


asked=$(( $asked + 1 ))

echo “Enter the composer’s last name:”

read composer_guess

if [ $composer_guess == $echo_comp ]


echo “Right.”

right=$(( $right + 1 ))

average=$(( $right/$asked ))

num_rcn=$(echo $random_composer_num | sed -e “s/^0//”)

prob_time=$(( ${time_array[$num_rcn]} – 10 ))

ssx=($(expr $($dir_path/random1 0 $prob_time)))

mplayer -msglevel all=-1 -profile gnome-mplayer -ss $ssx -endpos 20 -volume 80 /mnt/sda1/Documents\ and\ Settings/TEMP/My\ Documents/My\ Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Media/Music/Compilations/The\ 50\ Most\ Essential\ Pieces\ of\ Classica/$random_composer_num*.*

# echo “Enter the name of the composition:”

# read comp_name


echo “Nope. The correct answer is: ” $echo_comp


aver_right=$( $dir_path/intdiv2float $right $asked | sed -e “s/\([0-9]*\…\).*/\1/” )

echo $right “/” $asked ” correct. Batting average:” $aver_right



echo “Enter the name of the piece:”

read name_of_piece

echo “Please press enter when you have finished to ${event_array[$i]]}.”

read finished

while [ -n “$finished” ];







echo “Competitive Musical Quiz mode”

echo “A Piece of music will play, and you must hit the q key while it is playing when you can guess the composer of the piece. You will be given points according to how quickly you can identify the piece. Getting the answer wrong is equivalent in penalty to listening to the entire piece before guessing.”

echo “There are 2 modes: beginner (starts at the beginning of the piece), or advanced (starts randomly in the piece).”

echo “1) Beginner”

echo “2) Advanced”

echo “Enter 1 or 2 according to your preferred mode (default is 2):”

read mode

prob_files=$(( $num_files – 1 ))


echo “Press q to guess or give up:”

while [ $asked -lt 100 ];


fn=($(expr $($dir_path/random1 1 $prob_files)))

echo $fn ” ” >> $dir_path/files_used.out

num_fn=$(echo $fn | sed -e “s/^0//”)

#give the song at least 20 seconds before the end

prob_time=$(( ${time_array[$num_fn]} – 20 ))

ssx=($(expr $($dir_path/random1 0 $prob_time)))

#default is 2



case $mode in








# echo $(ls /mnt/sda1/Documents\ and\ Settings/TEMP/My\ Documents/My\ Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Media/Music/Compilations/The\ 50\ Most\ Essential\ Pieces\ of\ Classica/$fn\ * | sed -e “s/^.*[0-9][0-9] \(.*.m4a\)/\1/g” )

# echo “What does composer.out look like after filenumber is picked and before grepping filenumber from file?”

# read test

# echo $(grep $fn /mnt/home/composer.out)

# echo “time_array[[” $fn “]=” ${time_array[$fn]}

# prob_time=$(( ${time_array[$num_fn]} – $period ))

# echo “random1 test” $fn “, time to sample,” $prob_time

# ssx=($(expr $($dir_path/random1 0 $prob_time)))

# echo “file #” $fn “, startpos” $ssx

# echo “file number is” $fn


if [ -e /mnt/sda1/Documents\ and\ Settings/TEMP/My\ Documents/My\ Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Media/Music/Compilations/The\ 50\ Most\ Essential\ Pieces\ of\ Classica/$fn*.* ]


hours_bgn=$( ‘date’| sed “s/.* \(..\):\(..\):\(..\).*/\1/”| sed “s/0\([0-9]\)/\1/” )

min_bgn=$( ‘date’| sed “s/.* \(..\):\(..\):\(..\).*/\2/”| sed “s/0\([0-9]\)/\1/” )

sec_bgn=$( ‘date’| sed “s/.* \(..\):\(..\):\(..\).*/\3/”| sed “s/0\([0-9]\)/\1/” )

# echo “begin hours” $hours_bgn “min” $min_bgn “sec” $sec_bgn

mplayer -profile gnome-mplayer -ss $ssx -endpos $period -volume 80 /mnt/sda1/Documents\ and\ Settings/TEMP/My\ Documents/My\ Music/iTunes/iTunes\ Media/Music/Compilations/The\ 50\ Most\ Essential\ Pieces\ of\ Classica/$fn*.* > $dir_path/junk

hours_end=$( ‘date’| sed “s/.* \(..\):\(..\):\(..\).*/\1/”| sed “s/0\([0-9]\)/\1/” )

min_end=$( ‘date’| sed “s/.* \(..\):\(..\):\(..\).*/\2/”| sed “s/0\([0-9]\)/\1/” )

sec_end=$( ‘date’| sed “s/.* \(..\):\(..\):\(..\).*/\3/”| sed “s/0\([0-9]\)/\1/” )

hours_diff=$(( $hours_end – $hours_bgn ))

min_diff=$(( $min_end – $min_bgn ))

sec_diff=$(( $sec_end – $sec_bgn ))

# echo “end hours” $hours_end “min” $min_end “sec” $sec_end

# echo ” diff hours” $hours_diff “min” $min_diff “sec” $sec_diff

time_of_ans=$(( $hours_diff * 3600 + $min_diff * 60 + $sec_diff ))

# echo $eventend “seconds at end.”

echo $time_of_ans “seconds.”


asked=$(( $asked + 1 ))

echo “Enter the composer’s last name:”

read composer_guess

if [ -n $composer_guess ]


if [ $composer_guess == $echo_comp ]


echo “Right.”

echo $time_of_ans ” seconds.”

right=$(( $right + 1 ))



# penality should be the same regardless of length of file. Used to be ${time_array[$fn]}

right=$(( $right + 0 ))

echo “Nope. The correct answer is: ” $echo_comp




right=$(( $right + 0 ))

echo “Nope. The correct answer is: ” $echo_comp


total_time=$(( $total_time + $time_of_ans ))

# echo “Total # of seconds is: ” $total_time “.”

aver_time=$( $dir_path/intdiv2float $total_time $asked | sed -e “s/\([0-9]*\…\).*/\1/” )

aver_right=$( $dir_path/intdiv2float $right $asked | sed -e “s/\([0-9]*\…\).*/\1/” )

echo “Average time:” $aver_time ” guessing ” $right “/” $asked ” correct. Batting average:” $aver_right ” using option ” $option.







Bach notes:
Bach 01:  almost 40 members from this composer’s family have become established professional musicians.
Bach 02:  reported birth and death 1685, the year Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes outlawing protestism; 1750, a year before Georg Friedrich Handel completes the oratorio ‘Jephtha’, England signs the Austrian-Russian alliance, and the 1st US hospital is founded..
Bach 03:  reported birthplace (Eisenach, Thuringia)
Bach 04:  Both of his parents passed by the time he was 10.  He was raised by his brother – 6 years elder, who had been a pupil of Pachelbel.
Bach 05:  When he was 15, he secured a place in the poor boys choir in Luneburg with his voice.
Bach 06:  He made a 200 mile walk to from Luneburg to Lubeck to study for 4 months the compositions of Buxtehude.
Bach 07:  He was imprisoned by the Duke of Weimar for one month.
Bach 08:  He compiled the educational keyboard work (1722) of 2 books of 24 preludes and fugues in all keys known as ‘The 48’, published as Das Wohltemperierte Klavier.
Bach 09:  He visited his son Emmanuel in Potsdam, and performed before Frederick II King of Prussia, performing his composition ‘Das Musikalische Opfer’
Bach 10:  He died after 2 unsuccessful eye operations before completing ‘Die Kunst der Fugue’.
Bach 11:  Between 1708 and 1714, the composer, who overall may perhaps be classified as ‘moderately progressive’, underwent a progressive shift in his compositions from the idea that ‘the role of art was to imitate nature and appeal to the higher intellect’ to the idea that ‘art should appeal to the layman through emotion’, a modern idea being explored by his contemporaries, Vivaldi and Telemann.
Bach 12:  His favorite forms were intrinsically logical but noncontrapuntal.
Bach 13:  His ‘Passacaglia’, a close imitation of Buxtehude, has an 8 rather than 4-bar bass that reduced the number of required variations from 41 to 20.
Bach 14:  His ‘Toccata in F major’ may have been played at Weissenfels in 1714.
Bach 15:  His ‘The Goldberg variations’, published in 1742, were commissioned by Keyserlingk, a Russian envoy, he would visit in Dresden.
Bach 16:  One of the first composers to write harpsichord concertos, and use the harpsichordists right hand as an obbligato part in trio sonatas, he was admired by his contemporaries as an outstanding harpsichordist, organist, and expert on organ-building.


Barber notes:

Barber 01: He was one of the most expressive respresentatives of the lyric and romantic trends in American composition.

Barber 02: Reported birth and death (1910-?).

Barber 03: Reported birthplace (West Chester, PA, USA)

Barber 04: He studied the piano at an early age (his mother was an amateur pianist, his aunt was the contralto Louise Homer).

Barber 05: He entered the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he studied singing and conducting.

Barber 06: His reputation was established by ‘Music for a Scene from Shelley’ and ‘The School for Scandal’.

Barber 07: His two ‘Essays for Orchestra, op 12 and op 17, are examples of literary allusiion. They are pieces intended as musical counterparts of the literary form.

Barber 08: His ‘First String Quartet, op 11’, performed by the NBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini in 1938 as ‘Adagio for Strings’, acquired enormous popularity both in the US and Europe.

Barber 09: Although his ‘First symphony’ is in the romantic tradition; in his ‘Second Symphony’, commissioned by the US Army Air Forces, he introduced a special electronic instrument initiating the radio signals for air navigation, replaced in the revised version by an E-flat clarinet.

Barber 10: He composed 2 vocal works with orchestra ‘Knoxville, Summer of 1915, op.24’ and ‘Prayers of Kierkegaard, op. 30’

Barber 11: He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1958 for his opera ‘Vanessa’.

Barber 12: He composed the ballet ‘Medea’.


Beethoven notes:

Beethoven 01: His father tried to teach him, but was too strict and unsystematic. The composer became his brother’s legal guardian after his mother died, and his father was too drunk to care.

Beethoven 02: Reported birth and death (1770-1827). Did not know his correct birthdate.

Beethoven 03: Reported birthplace (Bonn).

Beethoven 04: He spent the rest of his life in Vienna, Austria, apart from a few trips, after moving there in 1792.

Beethoven 05: He indulged in long walks to satisfy his love of nature, apparent in the ‘Pastoral’ symphony.

Beethoven 06: He composed Cello Sonatas, op. 5 for the king of Prussia, Frederick William II.

Beethoven 07: He was the first composer to recieve an annual salary from the court, thereby guaranteeing him independence from any commission or employment.

Beethoven 08: His requests to his brothers for financial assistance caused disagreement.

Beethoven 09: Although never married, he composed ‘An die unsterblicke Geliebte’- a love letter found on his desk after his death. Its intended recipient is unknown.

Beethoven 10: His conception of the ideal woman is evidenced in the opera ‘Leonore’, his only completed opera.

Beethoven 11: He dedicated his 3rd Symphony to Napoleon – the liberator, then tore up the dedication when Napoleon declared himself emperor.

Beethoven 12: He met Goethe in Carlsbad, Germany, who wrote about him, ‘Never have I met such a concentrated, forceful, and fervent artist. I can well understand that he must have a strange relationship to the world.’

Beethoven 13: He had frequent outbursts of rage.


Borodin notes:

Borodin 01: He was a member of the group of composers called ‘The Five’ or ‘The Mighty Handful’ – composers who were dedicated to producing a specifically Russian kind of art music.

Borodin 02: Reported birth and death (1833-1887).

Borodin 03: Reported birthplace (St. Petersburg, Russia)

Borodin 04: He was the ‘illegitimate’ son of a Georgian noble and a Russian woman. The nobleman had him registered as the son of one of his serfs, who gave him his last name.

Borodin 05: He recieved a good education, including piano lessons, and later entered the Medico-Surgical Academy, pursuing a career as a chemist, and after graduation as a surgeon in a medical hospital, followed by 3 years of postdoctoral study in Heidelberg. He became a professor of chemistry at the Academy of Medicine, eventually establishing medical courses for women (1872). He spent the remainder of his life lecturing and overseeing the education of others.

Borodin 06: Music remained a secondary vocation for him.

Borodin 07: He overcame cholera and several minor heart attacks.

Borodin 08: He published the first nucleophilic displacement of chlorine by fluorine in benzoyl chloride. This reaction is related to the Hunsdiecker reaction.

Borodin 09: He competed with August Kekule with his work on the self condensation of small aldehydes.

Borodin 10: He is co-credited with the discovery of the Aldol reaction.

Borodin 11: His last publication concerned a method for the identification of urea in animal urine.

Borodin 12: His historical opera ‘Prince Igor’ set in 12th century southern Russia and considered by some to be his most significant work, contains the ‘Polynesian Dances’.

Borodin 13: He was a cellist and an enthusiastic chamber music player, producing a string sextet and a piano quintet. These pieces were based on Mendelssohn’s music.

Borodin 14: More than any other member of the Balakirev circle, he identified himself openly with absolute music.

Borodin 15: His ‘First Quartet’ is richer in changes of mood: his ‘Second Quartet’, containing strong lyricism in the ‘Nocturne’, has more uniform atmosphere and expression.

Borodin 16: His fame outside of the ‘Russian Empire’ was made possible during his lifetime by Franz Liszt, who arranged a perfomance of his ‘Symphony #1’ in Germany.

Borodin 17: His passionate music and unusual harmonies had a lasting influence on the then younger Debussy and Ravel who composed a piano piece entitled ‘A la maniere de ________’.

Borodin 18: His tombstone at a Russian monastery shows themes from ‘Gliding Dance of the Maidens’, ‘Song of the Dark Forest’, and the ‘Scherzo theme’ from symphony #3.

Borodin 19: Much of his work was completed posthumously by others.

Borodin 20: Although Mussorgsky and Stasov were hostile to chamber music, he nevertheless started his ‘First String Quartet’ in the company of ‘The Five’.


Brahms notes:

Brahms 01: His father, of peasant ancestry, made his living as a musician playing in bars, weddings, and dances.

Brahms 02: Reported birth and death (1833-1897).

Brahms 03: Reported birthplace (Hamburg, Germany).

Brahms 04: He was already an accomplished pianist and composer by age 19, when he embarked on his first adventurous tour with Remenyi, a Hungarian political refugee.

Brahms 05: Joachim, a famous violist who became one of his closest friends, gave him a letter of introduction to Schumann, who was quite impressed with his work, recommending the young artist quite publicly and fervently.

Brahms 05: Schumann’s recommendation of the young artist propelled to publication his three pianoforte sonatas, the Scherzo in E-flat minor, and his first book of songs.

Brahms 06: He spent the last 2 years of Schumann’s life which was plagued by a mental endness that would tragically end it, with Schumann’s family, publishing little during this time.

Brahms 07: A confirmed bachelor, he lived in Vienna for most of his life (after 1856), travelling during the summers to the Swiss and Austrian alps, where he would be absorbed in his creative work.

Brahms 08: He censored his own work fastidiously, while making contributions of momentous importance to practically all branches of music except opera. Raised with the piano, he mastered with great difficulty the problems of different instrument combinations, string techniques, orchestral or choral writing.

Brahms 09: His ‘Pianoforte Concerto in D minor’, like his ‘Requiem’, went to his friend for criticism and advice. He felt keenly the gap between his monumental vision and its actual realization.

Brahms 10: He is a romanticist with both preclassical and classical features.

Brahms 11: He maintaiined a stubborn opposition throughout his life to the neo-German school, presided over by Liszt, and propagating the ‘music of the future’.

Brahms 12: His ‘Ein Deutsches Requiem’ was achieved when he was the conductor of choral and ancestral music in Vienna.

Brahms 13: He published his first symphony 15 years after he published his first 2 string quartets. It was hailed by Bulow as ‘the 10th’, the successor to Beethoven’s 9.


Chopin notes:

Chopin 01: He was raised in a refined and cultivated home, and admitted to the highest social circles in his youth.

Chopin 02: Reported birth and death (1810-1849).

Chopin 03: Reported birthplace (Zelazowa, Zola near Warsaw, Poland).

Chopin 04: Although practically self-taught in the piano, he received a solid course of study in harmony and composition at the Warsaw conservatory.

Chopin 05: He hated performing, in fact, performing fewer than 40 times in public over the course of his life.

Chopin 06: In 1838, he travelled to Majorca with George Sand at which time he composed his Preludes, Opus 28.

Chopin 07: Both his ‘Funeral March’ Sonata and his 2nd Prelude abandon the classical diatonic system used contemporaneously by Mendelssohn and others.

Chopin 08: He used the themes of Poland’s glories and sufferings as a source for his polonaises and mazurkas.

Chopin 09: His total output was small and practically limited to solo pianoforte, including 2 piano concertos, 21 nocturnes, 27 studies, 4 ballades, and 4 impromptus.

Chopin 10: In the 3 years following his debut in Vienna (1829), he wrote his 2 piano concertos in F minor and E minor and his first etudes.


Corelli notes: from Wikipedia

Corelli 01: His compositions are distinguished by a beautiful flow of melody and by a mannerly treatment of the accompanying parts, which he is justly said to have liberated from the strict rules of counterpoint.

Corelli 02: Reported birth and death (1653-1713).

Corelli 03: Reported birthplace (Fusignano in Ravenna formerly Ferrara).

Corelli 04: It has been said that the paths of all violin composers of 18th century Italy led to this composer who was their iconic point of reference.

Corelli 05: The story has been told and retold that the composer refused to play a passage that extended to A in altissimo in the overture to Handel’s oratorio ‘The Triumph of Time and Truth’ (premiered in Rome, 1708), and felt seriously offended when another composer (32 years his junior) played the note.

Corelli 06: Bach studied his works and based an organ fugue (BWV 579) on his Opus 3 of 1689.


Debussy notes: from Wikipedia
Debussy 01:  His father, a former soldier in the marines, thought he should become a sailor.
Debussy 02:  reported birth and death (1862-1918).
Debussy 03:  reported birthplace (St. Germain-en-Laye, near Paris,France)
Debussy 04:  His musical gifts were discovered by Verlaine’s mother-in-law.
Debussy 05:  Though he lived in poverty, he satisfied his innate sense of luxury, wiith engagements as chamber pianist as Chateau de Chenonceaux and other palatial residences.
Debussy 06:  He won the Prix de Rome in 1884 with the cantata ‘L’Enfant Prodigue’.
Debussy 07:  His attraction to the many English associations of the ‘Art Nouveau’ movement and the Nabis, an impressionist movement, is reflected in his setting of ‘Blessed Damosel’.
Debussy 08:  His early works took inspiration from Edgar Allen Poe, Baudelaire’s ‘Fleurs du Mal’, and Henri de Regnier’s ‘Scenes au Crepuscule’, later developed into Nocturnes for Orchestra.
Debussy 09:  The works of his mature years, ‘Sirenes’, ‘La Mer’, and ‘Pelleas et Melissande’ show his nostalgia for the sea.
Debussy 10:  His first concert was given in Brussels at the gallery of ‘La Libre Esthetique’ hung with the freshly painted canvases of Renoir, Gauguin, Sisley, and other impressionists.
Debussy 11:  Intensely stimulated by verbal association, with his illustration of Mallarme’s ‘L’Apres-midi d’un faune’, he approached the realization of the ideal, common in the poets of his cicles.
Debussy 12:  Motivated by the psychological theories of the dream, already expounded upon by Wagner, Poe, and Freud, this composer evolved a musical style that enhanced the symbolism of allegory,and established opera as an imaginary theatre of the mind.
Debussy 13:  His unique musical style liberated with ‘Pelleas and Melisande’ was further developed in the orchestral triptych ‘La Mer’, followed by the largest of his orchestral works ‘Images’.
Debussy 14:  Many of his works in the period 1905-1910 were parallel expressions of the aesthetics of Marcel Proust, arousing half-forgotten memories..
Debussy 15:  His group of piano pieces, ‘Children’s Corner’, was dedicated to his daughter.
Debussy 16:  His ’24 Preludes’, ‘Jeux’, and ‘Le Martyre de Saint-Sebastien’ were composed while afflicted with cancer, unable to meet his debts, and consequently performing concert tours through Russia and Europe..
Debussy 17:  His ’12 Etudes for Piano’,’3 Sonatas for various instruments’ and others among his finest works, were written during World War 1.


Dvorzak notes: Wikipedia
Dvorzak 01:  His father, an innkeeper and a butcher, played the zither professionally.  He wanted his son to become a butcher.
Dvorzak 02:  reported birth and death (1841-1918).
Dvorzak 03:  reported birthplace (Nelahozeves, near Prague,then part of Bohemia in the Austrian empire).
Dvorzak 04:  From age 16-18, he studied music in Prague’s only organ school.  He became accomplished in the violin and viola.
Dvorzak 05:  By the time he was 18, he was a full time musician.  He wrote his first string quartet when he was 20.
Dvorzak 06:  Throughout the 1860’s he played viola in the Bohemian Provisional Theater Orchestra making $7.50/month.
Dvorzak 07:  He married the younger sister of his first love, his student, who never returned his affection.
Dvorzak 08:  The year that his first son was born, he produced a multitude of works – String quartet #2, his 5th Symphony, Piano Trio #1, and Serenade for Strings in E.
Dvorzak 09:  Brahms had an enormous influence over his work, contacting publishers who would ultimately publish his work.  They later became friends.
Dvorzak 10:  He visited London 9 times in total, often conducting his own works there ‘Symphony #7’ and ‘Stabat Mater’.
Dvorzak 11:  Influenced by Tchaikovsky, he visited Russia and conducted the orchestras in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Dvorzak 12:  He was the director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City from 1892-95, earning an annual salary of $15000 – a lot for the time.
Dvorzak 13:  Shortly after arriving in the United States, he wrote a series of newspaper articles reflecting on the state of American music.  He was a proponent of the idea that African-American and Native American music should be used as a foundation for the growth of American music.
Dvorzak 14:  He was introduced to traditional American spirituals by Harry Burleigh, one of the earliest African-American composers, and also his pupil.
Dvorzak 15:  In 1893, Henry Krehbiel wrote a complete analysis in the New York Daily Tribune of his ‘Symphony #9 from the New World’ published the same year.
Dvorzak 16:  He left New York over a salary dispute, to return to Bohemia as an honorary member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna.
Dvorzak 17:  He was buried in Prague, after succombing to heart failure, following 5 weeks of illness.
Dvorzak 18:  Many of his compositions, for example the ‘Slavonic Dances’ were directly inspired by Czech traditional music.
Dvorzak 19:  His 9 symphonies generally stick to classical models that Beethoven would have recognized, but he also worked in the newly developed symphonic poem.
Dvorzak 20:  His opera ‘Rusalka’ is the best known of his operas.
Dvorzak 21:  The first 4 of his symphonies to be composed, were published after the last 5, and the last 5 were not published in order of composition.  The opus numbers on his works have been done, and redone definitively in later publications.
Dvorzak 22:  His ‘Symphony #1 in C minor’, written when he was 24 years old, shows inexperience and genius.  It follows the same keys: C minor, A flat major, C minor, and C major) as Beethoven’s 5th, but in harmony and instrumentation seems to follow the style of Franz Schubert.
Dvorzak 23:  The first movement of his 9th symphony has a solo flute passage reminiscent of ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’
Dvorzak 24:  His 9th symphony was carried as a recording to the Moon by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission.
Dvorzak 25:  4 of 5 symphonic poems that he wrote – ‘The Water Goblin’, ‘The Noon Witch’, ‘The Golden Spinning Wheel’ and ‘The Wild Dove’ are based on ballads by the folklorist Karel Erben.
Dvorzak 26:  His ‘Te Deum’ a cantata for soprano and bariitone solo, was dedicated to the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America.


Faure notes: from Wikipedia

Faure 01:  Reported birth and death (1845-1924). 1924 – the atonal music of the Second Viennese School was being heard.

Faure 02: One of his teachers was Camille Saint-Saens who became a lifelong friend.

Faure 03:  His music has been described as linking the end of Romanticism with the modernism of the second quarter of the 20th century.

Faure 04:   Reported birthplace: Pamiers, Ariege, Midi-Pyrenees.

Faure 05:  The youngest child of 6, he was sent to live with a wet nurse until he was 4 years old.

Faure 06:  His talent for music was apparently discovered when an old blind woman who would sit and listen to him play the harmonium in the chapel told his father.


Gershwin notes: from Wikipedia

Gershwin 01: He wrote most of his vocal and theatrical works, including a dozen Broadway shows, in collaboration with his brother.

Gershwin 02: Reported birth and death (1898-1937).

Gershwin 03: Reported birthplace (Brooklyn, NY).

Gershwin 04: He first displayed an interest in music at age 10, when he was intrigued by what he heard at his friend’s violin recital.

Gershwin 05: As a youth, he would attend orchestra concerts, and then attempt to reproduce at the piano the music that he had heard.

Gershwin 06: He studied with first with Hambitzer, who became his mentor, and later with classical composer Rubin Goldmark, and avant-garde composer-theorist Henry Cowell.

Gershwin 07: At age 15, he left school and found his first job as a performer, “song plugger” earning $15/week.

Gershwin 08: He lived in Paris for a short period, where he applied to study composition with Nadia Boulanger and Maurice Ravel. They rejected him because they were afraid that rigorous classical study would ruin his jazz-influenced style.

Gershwin 09: His most ambitious composition was ‘Porgy and Bess’, neither musical work, nor drama per se, the work has always been outside category.

Gershwin 10: He suffered musical blackouts during his final performances, before succombing to a malignant brain tumor.

Gershwin 11: He is considered to be the wealthiest composer of all time using estimates of earnings accrued during the composer’s lifetime.

Gershwin 12: Ravel commented of him, ‘Personally I find jazz most interesting: the rhythms, the way the melodies are handled, the melodies themselves. I have heard of ______’s works and I find them intriguing.’

Gershwin 13: His ‘Concerto in F’ was criticized for being related to the work of Claude Debussy.

Gershwin 14: His first major classical work, composed in 1924 was orchestrated by Ferde Grofe and premiered by Paul Whiteman’s concert band in New York. It was his most popular.

Gershwin 15: He won a Pulitzer prize for ‘Of Thee I Sing’, an Oscar nomination for ‘Best Original Song’ for ‘They can’t take that away from me’ in the film ‘Shall we dance’, and a ‘Congressional Gold Medal’.

Gershwin 16: He is quoted as saying ‘true music must reflect the thought and aspirations of the people and time. My people are Americans. My time is today.’


Gounod notes: from Wikipedia

Gounod 01: He became an organist to the chapel of ‘Missions Etrangeres’ and seems to have contemplated entering holy orders.

Gounod 02: Reported birth and death (1818-1893).

Gounod 03: Reported birthplace (Paris, France).

Gounod 04: He was commissioned to write an opera on ‘Sapho’, a text by Emile Augier

Gounod 05: Neither his ‘Ulysse’ conducted by Offenbach at the Theatre Francais in 1852, nor his ‘La Nonne Sanglante’ advanced his reputation.

Gounod 06: He prepared an operatic comedy ‘Le Medicin Malgre Lui’, while waiting for his opera ‘Faust’ to be produced. ‘Faust’ was first heard in London – so successful, it was simultaneously performed at Covent Gardens and Her Majesty’s theatres.

Gounod 07: His expressed his own opinions of his most successful operas, ‘Faust’ and ‘Romeo and Juliette’. ‘Faust is older, but I was younger. Romeo is youngest, but I was older.’

Gounod 08: His ‘Maid of Athens’ and ‘There is a green hill far away’ are examples of songs that he wrote with English words.

Gounod 09: He composed the biblical elegy ‘Gallia’ for the inaugeration of the Royal Albert Hall.

Gounod 10: Saint-Saens wrote of him, ‘_______ did not cease all his life to write for the church, to accumulate masses and motets; but it ws at the commencement of his career, in the ‘Messe de Sainte Cecile’, and at the end, in the oratorios ‘The Redemption’ and ‘Mors et vita’ that he rose highest.

Gounod 11: He ambitiously attempted to set Moliere’s comedy ‘Georges Dandin’ to music, keeping to the original prose, but it was never performed.


Grieg notes:

Grieg 01: He apparently derived his musical talent from his mother, a poor peasant, who gave her son lessons on the pianoforte when he was 6.

Grieg 02: Reported birth and death (1843-1907).

Grieg 03: Reported birthplace (Bergen, Norway)

Grieg 04: His first composition was ‘Variations on a German Melody’ written when he was 9.

Grieg 05: He entered the Leipzig conservatory in 1858 where he came under the influence of the Mendelssohn and Schumann Romantic school.

Grieg 06: He said of his acquantance with Nordraak ‘The scales fell from my eyes. For the first time I learned to know the northern folk tunes and my own nature. We made a pact to combat the effeminate Gade-Mendelssohn mixture of Scandinavian, and boldly entered upon the new path along which the northern school at present pursues its course.’

Grieg 07: He met Liszt in Rome who played his piano concerto at sight, giving it a hardy endorsement.

Grieg 08: He played his pianoforte concerto, and conducted his ‘Two melodies for strings’ in London.

Grieg 09: His ‘Peer Gynt’ and ‘Aus Holbergs Zeit’ exhibit his exquisite lyrical feeling, his nationalistic colouring, and command of the picturesque and romantic.

Grieg 10: His ‘Ich Liebe Dich’ song has hardly ever been surpassed for the perfection with which it depicts a strong momentary emotion.

Grieg 11: Called by Bulow, the ‘Chopin of the North’, his range of inspiration was considered less. He nonetheless may be regarded as the pioneer of a musical mission which was perfectly carried out by him alone.


Handel notes: from Encyclopedia Britannica

Handel 01: He changed his name as he travelled. The a-umlaut in German became simply an a in England where he became naturalized.

Handel 02: Reported birth and death (1685-1759).

Handel 03: Reported birthplace (Halle, Lower Saxony).

Handel 04: His father was a barber-surgeon who disapproved of music, wanting his son to become a lawyer.

Handel 05: He secretly practiced a clavichord (inaudible up in an attic), that was smuggled into his childhood home by a friend.

Handel 06: He learned the oboe and violin, composing 6 trios for 2 oboes and bass by the time he was 11.

Handel 07: He entered the University of Halle in 1702 as a law student.

Handel 08: He fought a duel in Hamburg with Matheson, who wrote the opera ‘Cleopatra’, after refusing to yield the conductor’s seat to the composer. He was saved by a button. They remained friends.

Handel 09: His first opera ‘Almira’, performed in Hamburg in 1705, has a mixture of italian and german language and form.

Handel 10: He met Corelli, Lotti, and Dominico and Alessandro Scarlatti, the founder of the Neapolitan school (the classical language of music) on his travels through Italy where he became known as “Il Sassone”..

Handel 11: His ‘Water Music’ was composed for a royal water picnic on the Thames in 1717.

Handel 12: His ’12 Chandos Anthems’ are compositions approximately in the same form as Bach’s church cantatas but without any systematic use of chorale tunes.

Handel 13: He is mentioned in John Byrom’s lines. ‘Some say, compared to Buononcini, that Mynheer _____’s but a ninny; Others aver that he to _______; Is scarcely fit to hold a candle. Strange all this difference should be Twixt tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee.’

Handel 14: He became bankrupt in 1737, leading to an attack of paralysis purportedly caused by anxiety and overwork.

Handel 15: After becoming a naturalized Englishman in 1726, he produced several English works- ‘Deborah’, ‘Esther’, ‘Attalia’, ‘Saul’, ‘Israel in Egypt’, ‘Samson’.’Judas Maccabaeus’, ‘Joshua’, ‘Solomon’.

Handel 16: His ‘Messiah’ was produced at Dublin in 1742.

Handel 17: He underwent several unsuccessful operations on his eyes to try to correct blindness by the same surgeon who tried to treat Bach.

Handel 18: The volume of his works fills 100 books, a bulk almost equal to the works of Bach and Beethoven together.

Handel 19: In his opera ‘Teseo’, he wrote 5 acts when custom prescribed 3, and also broke a more rational rule in arranging that each character should have 2 arias in succession.


Haydn notes: from Encyclopedia Britannica
Haydn 01:  At age 6, because of musical talent, he left home to live with a distant relative who trained him as a chorister.
Haydn 02:  Reported birth and death -1732, the year that the Royal Opera House opened in London, and Russia & Persia sign the Treaty of Riascha. -1809, the year the treaty of Dardanelles was concluded between Britain and France, Robert Fulton patents the steamboat, and Dutch King Louis Napolean accepts the metric system.
Haydn 03:  Reported birthplace (Rohrau, Trstnik a village on the border of Austria and Hungary)
Haydn 04:  His father was a wheelwright who had 12 children.
Haydn 05:  He interacted with Mozart in Vienna, who said of him, ‘It was from (this composer) that I first learned to write a quartet.’
Haydn 06:  He received an honorary degree of D.Mus. from the University of Oxford.
Haydn 07:  In 1792, he invited Beethoven to become his pupil.  It wasn’t a very successful student-teacher relationship.
Haydn 08:  He wrote the Austrian national anthem (1797).
Haydn 09:  He exchanged one of his most important works Missa hispanica for his diploma in Stockholm.


Holst notes:

Holst 01: He entered the Royal Conservatory of Music at age 19 gaining a scholarship in composition under the tutelage of Stanford after 2 years.

Holst 02: Reported birth and death (1874-1934).

Holst 03: Reported birthplace (Cheltenham, England)

Holst 04: He played the trombone in the orchestra for 6 years after leaving the conservatory.

Holst 05: His opera ‘The Perfect Fool (1923)’ is a charming example of his lighter style.

Holst 06: He was particularly successful in writing for female voices.

Holst 07: He studied Sanskrit for the purpose of making his own translations for his songs, writing the libretto for ‘Savitri’ himself.

Holst 08: His works include ‘Beni Mora, opus 29, #1’ and ‘Japanese Suite for orchestra, opus 33’.

Holst 09: His largest symphonic work is ‘The Planets’, followed by ‘Hymn of Jesus, opus 37, #1’.

Holst 10: The eastern period of his works include ‘Savitri, opus 28’ and ‘The Vedic Hymns for Voice and Piano, opus 24.’


Liszt notes: from Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia.
Liszt 01:  He was an only child, becoming fluent in German, French, and Italian.  His nationality is controversial to this day.
Liszt 02:  Reported birth and death. 1811, the year Venezuela became the first South American country to gain independence from Spain, Shelley is expelled from Oxford for his publication ‘The Necessity of Atheism’ and Avogadro publishes his memoir about the molecular content of gases. 1886,the year the 1st successful gasoline-driven car was patented, Karl Benz, Karlsruhe, and Camille Saint-Saëns’ 3rd Symphony in C, premieres
Liszt 03:  Reported birthplace (Raiding, Hungary)
Liszt 04:  Beethoven attended his second concert in Vienna.
Liszt 05:  Labelled ‘La Neuvieme Merveille du Monde’, his operetta ‘Don Sancho’ was performed 3 times at the Academie Royale.
Liszt 06:  The appearance of the violinist Paganini in Paris in 1831 inspired him to practice as no pianist had ever practiced before.
Liszt 07:  His transcription of Berlioz’s ‘Symphonie Fantastique, episode de la vie d’un artiste’ in 1832 ultimately led him to the composition of his ‘Poemes symphoniques’.
Liszt 08:  He became relatively wealthy, funding the Bonn statue memorial to Beethoven.
Liszt 09:  He wrote extensively on music.  His writings on Wagner, then in exile in Switzerland, culminated in the first performance of ‘Lohengrin’ in 1850.
Liszt 10:  His ‘Gesammelte Schritten’ includes articles that he wrote on Schumann, Schubert, and Chopin.
Liszt 11:  He retired to Rome in 1861, and joined the Fransiscan order.
Liszt 12:  His ‘Dante’ and ‘Faust’ symphonies are considered by many to be his best.


Mahler notes:

Mahler 01: By unremitting zeal, he brought the Viennese opera to a high state of perfection, earning him the nickname of ‘the tyrant’. He was forced to resign in 1907.

Mahler 02: Reported birth and death (1860-1911).

Mahler 03: Reported birthplace (Kalischt, Bohemia)

Mahler 04: He reflected to some extent the classical tradition from Schubert and Bruckner.

Mahler 05: He wrote 9 complete symphonies and 1 unfinished, all planned on a gigantic scale for an orchestra nearly doubled in strength.


Massenet notes: from Wikipedia

Massenet 01: His cantata ‘David Rizzio’ earned him the “Grand Prix de Rome” in 1863.

Massenet 02: Reported birth and death (1842-1912).

Massenet 03: Reported birthplace (Montaud, France).

Massenet 04: His opera ‘Panurge’ was written just before his death in Paris in 1912.

Massenet 05: He wrote many operas – 1 act ‘Le Portrait de Manon’, 2 act ‘La Navarraise’, 3 act ‘Thais’, 4 act ‘Werther’, 5 act ‘Herodiode’, comic opera ‘Sapho’.

Massenet 06: He was a professor of composition at the conservatory.


Mendelssohn notes:

Mendelssohn 01: Taught by his mother, some of his sister’s compositions are included in his ‘Lieder ohne Worte’

Mendelssohn 02: Reported birth and death (1809-1847).

Mendelssohn 03: Reported birthplace (Hamburg, Germany)

Mendelssohn 04: In 1821, at age 12, he visited Goethe.

Mendelssohn 05: By the time he was 17, he had published his wonderful octet (op. 20) and a 13th symphony in C minor.

Mendelssohn 06: The last of his 3 pianoforte quartets – his quartet in B minor – was dedicated to Goethe.

Mendelssohn 07: His mother had had made a copy of Bach’s ‘Matthew’s Passion’ as a birthday present at age 12.

Mendelssohn 08: Cherubini commented to musical Paris about this composer, ‘Le garcon est riche. Il fera bien. Mais, il faut couper.’

Mendelssohn 09: He first performed the overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a spaciious old mansion wiith a Gartenhaus capable of seating several hundred. He lived with his father here after his return from Paris.

Mendelssohn 10: He finished his opera ‘Die Hochseit des Camacho’ in 1825. It is based on an episode in ‘Don Quixote’. The opera was terribly criticized.

Mendelssohn 11: He was one of the first to play a concerto by heart in public, and was known to rewrite the score of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ from memory when his friend left the score in a cab before a performance.

Mendelssohn 12: He tried to introduce Schubert’s C Major Symphony during one of his 10 trips to London, but the orchestral players laughed so uncontrollably at the finale that he had to withdraw the work.


Mozart notes:

Mozart 01: He was educated by his father, a composer/violinist with a high reputation working for the archbishop of Salzburg.

Mozart 02: Reported birth and death (1756-1791).

Mozart 03: Reported birthplace (Salzburg, Austria).

Mozart 04: At age 3, shared harpischord lessons with his sister who was 5 years older.

Mozart 05: As a child, the Austrian emperor Francis I, who sat by his side while he played, called him “his little magician.”

Mozart 06: At age 11, he composed an opera buffa “La Finta Simplice” at the suggestion of emperor Joseph II.

Mozart 07: When 14, he transcribed from memory Allegri’s performance of Miserere. He had heard it in the Sistine chapel on Wednesday of Holy Week. Singers were forbidden under penalty of excomminucation from transcribing this mystery.”

Mozart 08: He rescued Haydn by composing 2 of the 6 duets for violin and viola commissioned by the archbishop of Vienna, when Haydn fell ill.

Mozart 09: He married the younger sister of his first love, and lived in poverty/debt thereafter until he died.

Mozart 10: His “Marriage of Figaro” was initially well received, but its success was so spoiled by his enemies, that he vowed never again to write another opera. He did.

Mozart 11: Died of typhoid, although he believed himself to have been poisoned.


Paganini notes:

Paganini 01: He studied with Costa in Genoa, and Rolla and Ghiretti in Parma.

Paganini 02: Reported birth and death (1782-1840).

Paganini 03: Reported birthplace (Genoa, Italy)

Paganini 04: He was the principal violin virtuoso of the 19th century, and one of the creators of the aesthetic of extravaganza in musical romanticism.

Paganini 05: He settled in Paris where he inspired Berlioz to write his symphony ‘Harold en Italie’.

Paganini 06: Between 1801 and 1807, he wrote 2 sets of 6 sonatas for violin and guitar.

Paganini 07: He was devoured by bouts of melancholy and depression.

Paganini 08: His violin technique, evidenced in the ‘Capriccii’ demanded a wide use of harmonics and pizzicato effects, new methods of fingering and even tuning.

Paganini 09: Themes from his ‘Caprice’ inspired works in a brilliant style by Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and others.


Rachmaninoff notes:

Rachmaninoff 01: His notable compositions include ‘Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini’ ‘Etudes Tableaux’, and ‘Recollections’ dedicated to his editor.

Rachmaninoff 02: Reported birth and death (1873-1943).

Rachmaninoff 03: Reported birthplace (Oneg, near Ilmen Lake, Government of Novgorod)

Rachmaninoff 04: At age 12, he went to the Moscow conservatoire where he studied piano under his cousin Siloti, and composition under Taneiev and Arensky.

Rachmaninoff 05: In 1892, he won a gold medal with his opera ‘Aleko’, favorably received in Moscow 1893.

Rachmaninoff 06: After the Russian revolution, he escaped to Sweden with his family.

Rachmaninoff 07: He took up permanent residence in the United States in 1918.


Ravel notes:

Ravel 01: Considered by many to be the most outstanding figure in modern French music.

Ravel 02: Reported birth and death (1875-1937).

Ravel 03: Reported birthplace (Ciboure, Basses-Pyrenees)

Ravel 04: Educated at the Conservatoire de Paris where his teacher of composition was Gabriel Faure.

Ravel 05: When his piano pieces ‘Pavanne pour une infante defunte’ and ‘Jeux d’eau’ were played in Paris in 1902, he was compared to Claude Debussy.

Ravel 06: The cynical wit of his one-act opera ‘L’heure espagnole (1911)’, and the consious pose of his ballet ‘Daphne et Chloe (1912)’emphasize the detached attitude of the composer toward his art.

Ravel 07: His later works include ‘La Valse’ for orchestra (1920) and ‘Tzigane’ for violin and piano (1924)


Satie notes: from Wikipedia

Satie notes: from Wikipedia

Satie 01: He was raised by his paternal grandparents after his mother died when he was 6.

Satie 02: Reported birth and death (1866-1925).

Satie 03: Reported birthplace (Honfleur in Normandy, France).

Satie 04: His work was a precursor to later artistic movements such as minimalism, repetitive music, and the ‘Theatre of the Absurd’..

Satie 05: He referred to himself as a “phonometrician” (meaning someone who measures sounds”) preferring this designation to that of a musician after having been called ‘a clumsy but subtle technician’ in a book on contemporary French composers.

Satie 06: He left a remarkable set of writings contributing to the ‘Dadaist 391’ and ‘Vanity Fair’.

Satie 07: He apparently used a female pseudonym, Virginie Lebeau, to publish some of his writings.

Satie 08: When his grandmother died when he was 12, he returned to his father and stepmother (a piano teacher), and about 2 years later began publishing salon compositions by his step-mother and himself.

Satie 09: He was variously labelled as ‘untalented’, ‘the laziest student in the Conservatoire’ with ‘insignificant, laborious, and worthless’ piano technique, by his teachers at the Paris Conservatory.

Satie 10: He formed friendships with the romantic poet, Patrice Contamine, and also Claude Debussy, in 1893 meeting Maurice Ravel for the first time.

Satie 11: By mid-1892, he had composed the first pieces in a compositional system of his own making ‘Fete donnee par des Chevaliers Normands en l’honneur d’une Jeune Demoiselle’.

Satie 12: His ‘Le Piege de Meduse’ could be seen as an absurdistic spoof of the romantic genre of ‘spoken words to a background of music.’


Schubert notes: from Wikipedia

Schubert 01:  He was a prolific composer having written some 600 Lieder, 9 symphonies (including the famous ‘Unfinished Symphony’), liturgical music, operas, chamber and solo piano music, and some incidental music.

Schubert 02:  Reported birth and death (1797-1828)

Schubert 03:   Born in Himmelpfortegrund, Vienna

Schubert 04:  His father was a schoolmaster.  His mother was a maid.

Schubert 05:  He played the viola in the family string quartet, with his brothers Ferdinand and Ignaz on violin, and his father on cello.  Many of his early string quartets were written for this ensemble.


Schumann notes: from All Music Guide

Schumann 01: His father was a bookseller who encouraged his son’s musical and literary talents.

Schumann 02: reported birth and death (1810-1856).

Schumann 03: reported birthplace ?

Schumann 04: His life and work embody the idea of Romanticism in music – an idea that the ultimate goal of art is the union of poetry and music.

Schumann 05: His song cycle ‘Dichterliebe’ was inspired by Heinriich Heine.

Schumann 06: He enrolled at the University of Leipzig as a law student, although he found music, philosophy, and taverns more interesting.

Schumann 07: His efforts to become a concert pianist failed after he developed partial paralysis of his right hand.

Schumann 08: He married his prominent piano teacher’s highly talented pianist daughter, to the teacher’s horror.

Schumann 09: 1841 was a “year of songs” in which he brought the Romantic song cycle to its apex.

Schumann 10: Although uncomfortable with larger works, he produced 4 mature symphonies at his wife’s urging, and an opera ‘Genoveva’ which failed.

Schumann 11: He taught at the newly founded Leipzig Conservatory, eventually becoming town music director in Dusseldorf.

Schumann 12: After throwing himself into the freezing Rhine, and being rescued, he voluntarily entered an asylum, dying 2 years later probably of tertiary syphilis.

Schumann 13: He produced several brilliant collectiions of short piano pieces, includinig Phantasiestucke, Kinderszenen, and Waldszenen.

Schumann 14: He probably suffered from manic depression: his music contained sharp changes in mood, reflecting his tumultuous inner life.

Schumann 15: His prophetic praise of Chopin in the magazine ‘Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik’ which he cofounded, helped to establish the magazine. Many articles he wrote in this magazine took the form of dialogues with 2 alteregos representing 2 contrasting facets of his personality, one ebullient and the other reserved.


Tchaikovsky notes:

Tchaikovsky 01: He studied in the school of jurisprudence, and later held office in the ministry of justice before discovering his musical talents.

Tchaikovsky 02: Reported birth and death (1840-1893).

Tchaikovsky 03: Reported birthplace (Votkinsk, Viatka).

Tchaikovsky 04: He was induced by Aaron Rubinstein to take up music as a profession, and later offered the position of chief (practically the first one) of the Moscow conservatory by Aaron’s brother, Nicholas.

Tchaikovsky 05: His most popular stagework ‘Eugen Onegin’, was first heard at the Moscow conservatory in March 1879.

Tchaikovsky 06: His 4th symphony was composed while abroad recovering from the failure of his 3 month marriage.

Tchaikovsky 07: He had a tendency to meloncholy and morbid introspection.”

Tchaikovsky 08: His 5th symphony, now reckoned among his best works, failed to initially generate any enthusiasm.

Tchaikovsky 09: Although his ballets ‘Swan Lake’, ‘The Sleeping Beauty’, and ‘The Nutcracker’ were also not favourably received, the suite form of ‘The Nutcracker’ fared better.

Tchaikovsky 10: On a tour of the United States in 1891, he performed the ‘Coronation March, Ste. #3’, ‘Serenade for strings’, and ‘Concerto in B flat minor’.

Tchaikovsky 11: He died from an attack of cholera contracted by drinking unfiltered water 10 days after producing his 6th symphony “The Pathetique”.


Telemann notes:

Telemann 01: He was called ‘the most voluminous composer of his voluminous day’, by Sir Donald Tovey.

Telemann 02: Reported birth and death (1681-1767).

Telemann 03: Reported birthplace (Magdeburg, Germany).

Telemann 04: He recieved no formal musical training, but studied works of leading composers, and became an accomplished arranger and choirmaster.

Telemann 05: He entered the University of Leipzig where his chief studies were languages, science, and jurisprudence.

Telemann 06: Before his death in Hamburg, Germany, he wrote oratorios, passions, cantatas, operas, overtures, sonatas, and chamber music.


Verdi notes:

Verdi 01: The baptismal register listed him as “Born yesterday”. Depending on whether days were considered to begin at sunset or not, this leaves some ambiguity as to his exact birthdate.

Verdi 02: Reported birth and death (1813-1901).

Verdi 03: Reported birthplace (Le Roncole, a village near Busseto, then a part of the First French Empire, after the annexation of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza.

Verdi 04: “The growth of the identification of his music with Italian nationalist politics is judged to have begun in summer 1846 ini relation to a chorus from Ernani in which the name of one of its characters, “Carlo” was changed to “Pio”, a reference to Pope Pius IX’s grant of an amnesty to political prisoners.”

Verdi 05: “Orchestral and contrapuntal innovation is characteristic of his style- for instance, the strings producing a rapid ascending scale in Monterone’s scene in Rigoletto accentuate the drama, and, in the same opera, the chorus humming 6 closely grouped notes backstage portrays, very effectively, the brief ominious wails of the approaching tempest.”

Verdi 06: He once said of himself, “Of all composers, past and present, I am the least learned.” .

Verdi 07: “Although initially buried in Milan’s Cimitero Monumentale, his body was moved one month later to the “Casa di Riposo per Musicisti, a rest home for retired musicians established by him.”

Verdi 08: His last opera, Falstaff, was based on Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor. It is a comic opera that shows the composer’s genius as a contrapuntist.

Verdi 09: Otello, a tragic opera considered by some to contain some of his most beautiful, expressive music, is based on William Shakespeare’s play. It is unusual among his works in that it lacks a prelude.

Verdi 10: He commented on Wagner “He invariably chooses, unnecessarily, the untrodden path, attempting to fly where a rational person would walk with better results.’ Wagner, who could be eloquent, in turn, commented after listening to the composer’s Requiem, “It would be best not to say anything.”

Verdi 11: One of his greatest masterpieces, the libretto ‘Rigoletto’, based upon the play by Victor Hugo ‘Le roi s’amuse’, was revised substantially to satisfy the epoch’s censorship. The composer almost gave up.

Verdi 12: Some consider ‘Macbeth’ the most original and important opera that he wrote. For the first time, the composer attempted an opera without a love story, breaking a basic convention in 19th century Italian opera.

Verdi 13: He married his student, the daughter of the sponsor of his first public performance.


Vivaldi notes:

Vivaldi 01: His father was a barber before he became a professional violinist travelling through Europe playing with his son.

Vivaldi 02: Reported birth and death (1678-1741).

Vivaldi 03: Reported birthplace (Venice, The Republic of Venice).

Vivaldi 04: Nicknamed “il Prete Rosso” or “The Red Priest” because of his red hair and profession.

Vivaldi 05: Many of his compositions were written for the female ensemble “Ospedale de la Pieta” at a home for abandoned children, where he worked.

Vivaldi 06: He suffered from “tightness of the chest”, perhaps asthma, which prevented him from playing wind instruments.

Vivaldi 07: His Opus 1, published in 1705 as “Connor Cassara” was a collection of 12 violin sonatas for 2 violins and 1 basso.

Vivaldi 08: Although only 50 of his operas are known over a career that spanned almost 25 years, he speaks in a letter to one of his patrons of “94 operas”.

Vivaldi 09: The first 4 works in his Opus 8 “Il cimento dell’armonia e dell’iniventione, revolutionized music with explicit musical descriptions of barking dogs, different kinds of birds singing, ice skating children, warming fires, buzzing mosquitos. Each is associated with a sonnet.

Vivaldi 10: His wedding cantata “Gloria e Imeneo” 1687 was written for the marriage of Louis XV.

Vivaldi 11: His “Opus 9” was dedicated to Emperor Charles VI, who gave him the title of knight, and an invitation to Vienna.

Vivaldi 12: His funeral was held in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, where Haydn was then a choir boy.

Vivaldi 13: Although most famous as a baroque composer, he was regarded as an exceptional technical violinist as well.

Vivaldi 14: His Opus 3 “L’estro Armonico” was his first major breakthrough, and was dedicated to Grand Prince Ferdinand of Tuscany, who sponsored other musicians such as Scarlatti and Handel, as well.


Wagner notes: from Wikipedia

Wagner 01: He was the 9th child of a clerk of the police service, and the daughter of a baker. His father died of typhus 6 months after he was born, and he was raised by Geyer a playwright, whom he probably thought was his natural father.

Wagner 02: Reported birth and death (1813-1883).

Wagner 03: Reported birthplace (the Bruhl, in the Jewish quarter of Leipzig).

Wagner 04: In his autobiography, the composer recalls once playing the part of an angel in his step-father’s performances.

Wagner 05: At 7, he received some piano insruction from his Latin teacher, but nevertheless could not manage a proper scale, preferring to play theatre overtures by ear.

Wagner 06: His first creative effort at age 13 was the tragedy ‘Leubald’, strongly influenced by Shakespeare and Goethe. Although he desired to become a playwright like his stepfather who died when he was 8, he was determined to set it to music, and persuaded his family to allow him music lessons.

Wagner 07: His early piano sonatas and first attempts at orchestral overtures followed lessons in harmony, and hearing Beethoven’s 7th and 9th symphonies, as well as Mozart’s Requiem.

Wagner 08: His first opera ‘Die Feen’ imitated the style of Carl Maria von Weber, would not be premiered (in Munich) until after his death.

Wagner 09: His ‘Das Liebesverbot’ based on Shakespeare’s ‘Measure for Measure’ closed after one performance at the opera house in Magdeburg, leaving the composer in serious financial difficulties.

Wagner 10: His debts were so large that he eventually fled Riga (then Russia) for London with his wife and Newfoundland dog ‘Robber’. This stormy sea passage was the inspiration for ‘The Flying Dutchman’, also based on Heinrich Heine’s story.

Wagner 11: After a warrant was issued for his arrest for playing a role in the socialist wing of a movement calling for the unification of Germany as one nation state, he fled to Paris and then Zurich, spending the next 12 years in exile.

Wagner 12: His friend, Liszt, eventually conducted the premiere in Weimar of his middle-period opera ‘Lohengrin’, completed in exile.

Wagner 13: Isolated from the German musical world and without income, he began drafting the four opera cycle ‘Der Ring des Nibelungen’.

Wagner 14: His primary published output during his years in exile in Zurich were essays ‘The Art Work of the Future’ (a vision of opera as a total work of art unifying song, dance, poetry, visual arts, and stagecraft), ‘Judaism in Music’, and ‘Opera and Drama’.

Wagner 15: One of the 2 independent sources of inspiration for ‘Tristan and Isolde’ came from his introduction to the works of the philosopher Schopenhauer, that outlined a deeply pessimistic view of the human condition. The other came from the poet-writer Mathilde Wesendonck, the wife of a patron who allowed Wagner to live in a cottage on his estate. He became infatuated with her.

Wagner 16: The performances of ‘Tannhauser’ in 1861 were a fiasco, brought about by people of influence who wanted to use the occasion as a veiled political protest against the pro-Austrian policies of Napoleon III. The work was withdrawn after its 3rd performance.

Wagner 17: His only mature comedy ‘Die Meistersinger from Nurnberg’ was written after the failure of ‘Tannhauser’, when his wife had left him because of his affair.

Wagner 18: After grave difficulties in rehearsal, and a delay brought about by bailiff’s acting for his creditors, ‘Tristan und Isolde’ finally premiered at the National Theatre in Munich under the patronage of King Ludwiig II, the young successor to the throne of Bavaria, who was an ardent admirer of his work and paid his debts.

Wagner 19: Liszt reluctantly became his father-in-law, after he eventually married a woman whose 2 children by him were named after heros from his operas ‘Isolde’ and ‘Sigfried’.

Wagner 20: During the 16th and final performance of ‘Parsifal’ on 29 August, he secretly entered the pit during Act III, taking the baton from the conductor, and led the performance to its conclusion.

Wagner 21: Franz Liszt’s 2 pieces for piano solo entitled ‘La lugubre gondola’ evoke the passing of a black-shrouded funerary gondola bearing the composer’s remains over the Grand Canal. He died of a heart attack after several episodes of severe angina.

Wagner 22: His ‘Die Walkure’ has been assessed as ‘the music drama that most satisfatorily embodies the theoretical principles of his essay ‘Oper and Drama’. A thoroughgoing synthesis of poetry and music is achieved without any notable sacrifice in musical expression.


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