Music Notes

Symphony Orchestra

Why are the various instruments in a symphony orchestra placed where they’re placed?  An article on the WQXR website provides the answer plus some very interesting clips from YouTube – including one featuring Bugs Bunny.

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Each year in late December WQXR counts down the most popular classical music selections as voted on by the station’s listeners.  This year’s list can be found hereA post I did last January gives you some insight into previous lists and provides some ideas that might be worth considering if you want to become a “superager.”

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The New Yorker has an article about the music that John Williams created for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the latest Star Wars installment.  It seems that music critics are quite impressed with what the 85 year old composer has produced.  Williams composed the score for the first Star Wars movie (which premiered in 1977), and is now working on the ninth.  Incidentally, the American Film Institute (AFI) selected the music for the 1977 Star Wars film as the greatest American film score of all time.  John Williams is a national treasure.

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NPR Music has released a list of the top 10 classical music albums of 2017.  A YouTube video for each of the winners is imbedded in the article to give you a taste of what awaits in the full album.

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I am currently listening to a series of lectures from The Great Courses about the life and works of the great opera composer Richard Wagner.  It is one of the many courses featuring the very interesting Professor Robert Greenberg who has a resume that is phenomenal.

The information he imparts is done with such energy and with so many funny comments that it’s hard for me to turn them off and move on to other things.  If you want to learn about music (with tidbits of history and biography thrown in for free), you can’t do better than Greenberg.  Here is a link that takes you to a list of the courses that this amazing and funny man has produced over the years.

There are many ways to access Professor Greenberg’s courses.  You can purchase them (both audio and video versions) at The Great Courses website, but be aware that most of The Teaching Company courses go on sale periodically for 70% or more off the list price.  Also, there are many formats.  I used to buy CDs or DVDs, but now I normally buy downloadable versions instead to save space and to make them readily available regardless of where I am. Many of the audio versions of his courses can be purchased through Audible for one credit.  You can also borrow them through internet media provided by your local library.  And finally, you may be able to borrow some of the CDs and DVDs the old fashioned way – through your local library.

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