The harpsichord holds an important place in music history. Its unique sound is instantly recognizable, flavoring the works of countless composers from the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical periods. The historic harpsichord at Mount Vernon is of special interest to John Watson, Curator Emeritus of Musical Instruments for Colonial Williamsburg. It’s an instrument modern ears have had no way to hear… until now.
Great music tells a great story. Be it the story of a moment, the story of a feeling, or the story of a generation, music delivers the message in ways that mere words cannot. The ability to print sheet music spread these stories to people around the world. One of the earliest purveyors of printed music was the company C.F. Peters; in fact, the company was so closely linked to the spread of sheet music that the story of C.F. Peters is, truly, the story of printed music.
Among the many great names in musical theater, English operetta masters William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan were two of the earliest to gain global acclaim. Starting in 1871, the two collaborated on fourteen comedic operas, many of which are still widely performed around the world.
Music is widely seen as a window into the spirit of the time it was written. Patriotic music is a prime example of this. The experience of a nation is told through patriotic music in a way that other forms of music often miss. Whether it be the pride of victory or a vocal expression of the beauty a nation possesses, there is something about patriotic music that speaks directly to national identity.
We’ve already spent some time exploring the history of The Star-Spangled Banner, but there are still a lot of interesting facts that you may not know. You may have heard the tune comes from a drinking song (false) or that the range of the song makes it difficult for your average person to sing (very true). It’s surprising to think that, after 200 years, there are a lot of things we don’t know about our national anthem. Such as…
The centennial of The Star-Spangled Banner brought a renewed interest in the song and the story of how it came to be written. Though the United States would not enter World War I until 1916, the conflict in Europe was on the minds of Americans everywhere and the knowledge that they may soon become embroiled in a foreign conflict loomed over them.
In the 200 years since Francis Scott Key wrote the words to The Star-Spangled Banner (then The Defense of Fort M’Henry), the song has proved to be just as resilient as the spirits of those who inspired it. The story of how the song was written is one that most Americans know. However, between its writing and today, the song has been through a number of changes, some subtle, some not.
It was the Mid-West National Band Clinic, 1964. Merrill Jones sat alone at a table with his publishing company’s entire catalog — one piece by Claude T. Smith, a well-known band director in the area around Kansas City.
The year 2014 could prove to be significant for the legacy of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. The second surviving son of the great Johann Sebastian Bach was born on March 8, 1714, and a flurry of events worldwide will commemorate the 300th anniversary of his birth. Six cities in Germany will hold celebrations this year, with the most extensive in Hamburg, where C.P.E. Bach spent the last twenty years of his life.
We know the story of how The Star-Spangled Banner was written. Francis Scott Key, lawyer and amateur poet, sat aboard a British warship in Baltimore Harbor watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry when the lyrics came to him.