Category: Music

The greatest of Beethoven’s last five

While I wrote about Beethoven’s String Quartets at various times during his 250th anniversary last year, other topics diverted me along the way only allowing me to reach his 13th – Op 130. Beethoven’s C sharp minor 14th Quartet was written in the first half of 1826. Arguably the greatest of his last five, it…

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Bach’s cantatas to bring us to the Epiphany

Before moving to Leipzig in 1723, Johann Sebastian Bach held several positions as organist and choirmaster in Arnstadt, Mühlhausen, Weimar and Cöthen. In Weimar he served under Lutheran Duke Wilhelm Ernst (1662-1728), who had a penchant for religious devotions and aimed to maintain the Church’s ancient musical tradition. This was to Bach’s advantage giving him…

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Young musicians show there is a bright future

Writing about the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition bursaries last time round, I ran out of space before alluding to another competition – the Top Security Frank Maher Classical Music Awards – held in October. This has been an annual event since its establishment in 2001 by Emmet O’Rafferty, Chairman and CEO of Top Security,…

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Awards bring much needed shafts of light

Whatever about the darker elements surrounding us, shafts of light are shining on a number of our young musicians through bursaries funded by the State and private enterprise. Those from the Government come via its Department of Media, Tourism, Art, Culture and the Gaeltacht having been solicited by the triennial Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition…

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Recalling the genius of Vierne

I have mentioned Beethoven’s 250th anniversary at various times during the year but another composer’s significant anniversary should also be remembered. The one in question is that of Louis Vierne, maybe better known to church organ enthusiasts than general music lovers. Born in Poitiers in the west-central region of France on October 8, 1870, his…

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The intriguing story behind Beethoven’s later-day quartets

Besides his deafness, Beethoven had poor eyesight, suffered persistent liver and abdominal problems and endured serious bouts of depression. The early 1820s were particularly difficult for him but, when his health began to improve, he plunged into a remarkably concentrated period of creative endeavour resulting in his Missa Solemnis, Ninth Symphony and late string quartets.…