Articles by Sudeep Agarwala
October 17, 2008
When did classical music become boring? It’s not hard to understand why it is: music is taught at schools on a pedestal lower than, yet not distinct from calculus, English literature or honors French. It’s been mummified beyond recognition — at some point, students are asked not to listen to music, but to understand the music — in fact, there are musical rules, drills and practices that students must complete with stoic integrity, an entire body of history to digest and, if you can imagine — exams, even.
October 10, 2008
New conductors can be traumatizing, regardless of the quality of the ensemble — the tension surrounding these changes originates from the very heart of the complex relationship between an orchestra and its conductor.
October 3, 2008
As with many things, this too started with Beethoven. It must have been a draining performance for both musicians and audience: the first three movements of the Missa Solemnis (Op. 123) and 9th Symphony (Op. 125) premiered all in one night on May 7th, 1824. These have both become monumental works that have revolutionized their genres. The Ninth Symphony is the more famous of the two because it was the first (or, at the very least, the most major) symphony to incorporate both choral and orchestral music into a symphony.
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September 26, 2008
Things must have seemed bleak to the thirty-five year old Johann Sebastian Bach in the spring of 1721. He had composed six pieces, delivered for a commission to the Margrave of Brandenburg, Christian Ludwig, each one an exposition of the new and old instruments that were available to the young composer, each one a re-thinking of the concerto form — still relatively young in the early eighteenth century and certainly still very Italian in its conception and tradition. In short, each of these orchestral pieces were a thoughtful exposition of the musical world that Bach inhabited.