Les Troyens is a French grand opera in five acts by Hector Berlioz. The libretto was written by Berlioz himself from Virgil's epic poem the Aeneid. Les Troyens is Berlioz's most ambitious work, the summation of his entire artistic career, but he did not live to see it performed in its entirety. Under the title Les Troyens à Carthage, the last three acts were premièred with many cuts by Léon Carvalho's company, the Théâtre Lyrique, at their theatre on the Place du Châtelet in Paris on 4 November 1863, with 21 repeat performances. After decades of neglect, today the opera is considered by some music critics as one of the finest written. Berlioz began the libretto on 5 May 1856 and completed it toward the end of June 1856, he finished the full score on 12 April 1858. Berlioz had a keen affection for literature, he had admired Virgil since his childhood; the Princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein was a prime motivator to Berlioz to compose this opera. At that time I had completed the dramatic work I mentioned earlier Four years earlier I happened to be in Weimar at the home of Princess Wittgenstein – a devoted friend of Liszt, a woman of character and intelligence who has given me support in my darkest hours.
I was led to talk of my admiration for Virgil and of the idea I had formed of a great opera, designed on Shakespearean lines, for which Books Two and Four of the Aeneid would provide the subject-matter. I added that I was all too aware of the pain that such an undertaking would cause me to embark on it. "Indeed, the princess replied, the conjunction of your passion for Shakespeare and your love of antiquity must result in the creation of something grand and novel. You must write this lyric poem. You must start work on it and bring it to completion." As I persisted in my refusal: "Listen, said the princess, if you shrink before the hardships that it is bound to cause you, if you are so weak as to be afraid of the work and will not face everything for the sake of Dido and Cassandra never come back here, for I do not want to see you again." This was more than enough to decide me. Once back in Paris I started to write the lines for the poem of Les Troyens. I set to work on the score, after three and a half years of corrections, additions etc. everything was finished.
The work over and over again, after giving numerous readings of the poem in different places, listening to the comments made by various listeners and benefiting from them to the best of my ability On 3 May 1861, Berlioz wrote in a letter: "I am sure that I have written a great work and nobler than anything done hitherto." Elsewhere he wrote: "The principal merit of the work is, in my view, the truthfulness of the expression." For Berlioz, truthful representation of passion was the highest goal of a dramatic composer, in this respect he felt he had equalled the achievements of Gluck and Mozart. In his memoirs, Berlioz described in excruciating detail the intense frustrations he experienced in seeing the work performed. For five years, the Paris Opéra – the only suitable stage in Paris – vacillated. Tired of waiting, he agreed to let Léon Carvalho, director of the smaller Théâtre Lyrique, mount a production of the second half of the opera with the title Les Troyens à Carthage, it consisted of Acts 3 to 5, redivided by Berlioz into five acts, to which he added an orchestral introduction and a prologue.
As Berlioz noted bitterly, he agreed to let Carvalho do it "despite the manifest impossibility of his doing it properly. He had just obtained an annual subsidy of a hundred thousand francs from the government. Nonetheless the enterprise was beyond him, his theater was not large enough, his singers were not good enough, his chorus and orchestra were small and weak."Even with this truncated version of the opera, many compromises and cuts were made, some during rehearsals, some during the run. The new second act was the Chasse Royale et Orage, an elaborate pantomime ballet with nymphs and fauns and a chorus. Since the set change for this scene took nearly an hour, it was cut, despite the fact its staging had been simplified with a painted waterfall, rather than one with real water. Carvalho had planned to divert water from the nearby Seine, but during the rehearsals, a faulty switch nearly caused a disaster; the entries of the builders and farm-workers, were omitted because Carvalho found them dull.
The sentries duet was omitted, because Carvalho had found its "homely style... out of place in an epic work". Iopas's stanzas disappeared with Berlioz's approval, the singer De Quercy "charged with the part being incapable of singing them well." The duet between Dido and Aeneas was cut because, as Berlioz himself realized, "Madame Charton's voice was unequal to the vehemence of this scene, which took so much out of her that she would not have had the strength left to deliver the tremendous recitative'Dieux immortels! il part!', the final aria, the scene on the pyre." The "Song of Hylas", "greatly liked at the early performances and was well sung", was cut while Berlioz was at home sick with bronchitis. The singer of the part, Edmond Cabel, was performing in a revival of Félicien David's La perle du Brésil, since his contract only required him to sing fifteen times per month, he would have to be paid an extra two hundred francs for each additional perfor
Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, from the Coverdale Psalter, the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an modest public reception, the oratorio gained in popularity becoming one of the best-known and most performed choral works in Western music. Handel's reputation in England, where he had lived since 1712, had been established through his compositions of Italian opera, he turned to English oratorio in the 1730s in response to changes in public taste. Although its structure resembles that of opera, it is not in dramatic form. Instead, Jennens's text is an extended reflection on Jesus; the text begins in Part I with prophecies by Isaiah and others, moves to the annunciation to the shepherds, the only "scene" taken from the Gospels. In Part II, Handel ends with the "Hallelujah" chorus.
In Part III he covers Christ's glorification in heaven. Handel wrote Messiah for modest vocal and instrumental forces, with optional settings for many of the individual numbers. In the years after his death, the work was adapted for performance on a much larger scale, with giant orchestras and choirs. In other efforts to update it, its orchestration was amplified by Mozart. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the trend has been towards reproducing a greater fidelity to Handel's original intentions, although "big Messiah" productions continue to be mounted. A near-complete version was issued on 78 rpm discs in 1928; the composer George Frideric Handel, born in Halle, Germany in 1685, took up permanent residence in London in 1712, became a naturalised British subject in 1727. By 1741 his pre-eminence in British music was evident from the honours he had accumulated, including a pension from the court of King George II, the office of Composer of Musick for the Chapel Royal, and—most unusually for a living person—a statue erected in his honour in Vauxhall Gardens.
Within a large and varied musical output, Handel was a vigorous champion of Italian opera, which he had introduced to London in 1711 with Rinaldo. He subsequently presented more than 40 such operas in London's theatres. By the early 1730s public taste for Italian opera was beginning to fade; the popular success of John Gay and Johann Christoph Pepusch's The Beggar's Opera had heralded a spate of English-language ballad-operas that mocked the pretensions of Italian opera. With box-office receipts falling, Handel's productions were reliant on private subsidies from the nobility; such funding became harder to obtain after the launch in 1730 of the Opera of the Nobility, a rival company to his own. Handel overcame this challenge. Although prospects for Italian opera were declining, Handel remained committed to the genre, but as alternatives to his staged works he began to introduce English-language oratorios. In Rome in 1707–08 he had written two Italian oratorios at a time when opera performances in the city were temporarily forbidden under papal decree.
His first venture into English oratorio had been Esther, written and performed for a private patron in about 1718. In 1732 Handel brought a revised and expanded version of Esther to the King's Theatre, where members of the royal family attended a glittering premiere on 6 May, its success encouraged Handel to write two more oratorios. All three oratorios were performed to large and appreciative audiences at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford in mid-1733. Undergraduates sold their furniture to raise the money for the five-shilling tickets. In 1735 Handel received the text for a new oratorio named Saul from its librettist Charles Jennens, a wealthy landowner with musical and literary interests; because Handel's main creative concern was still with opera, he did not write the music for Saul until 1738, in preparation for his 1738–39 theatrical season. The work, after opening at the King's Theatre in January 1739 to a warm reception, was followed by the less successful oratorio Israel in Egypt. Although Handel continued to write operas, the trend towards English-language productions became irresistible as the decade ended.
After three performances of his last Italian opera Deidamia in January and February 1741, he abandoned the genre. In July 1741 Jennens sent him a new libretto for an oratorio; the Subject is Messiah". In Christian theology, the Messiah humankind; the Messiah, called Christ, is identified with the person of Jesus, known by his followers as the Christ or "Jesus Christ". Handel's Messiah has been described by the early-music scholar Richard Luckett as "a commentary on Nativity, Passion and Ascension", beginning with God's promises as spoken by the prophets and ending with Christ's glorification in heaven. In contrast with most of Handel's oratorios, the singers in Messiah do not assume dramatic roles.
The Philadelphia Orchestra is an American symphony orchestra, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of the "Big Five" American orchestras, the orchestra is based at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, where it performs its subscription concerts, numbering over 130 annually, in Verizon Hall. From its founding until 2001, the Philadelphia Orchestra gave its concerts at the Academy of Music; the orchestra continues to own the Academy, returns there one week per year for the Academy of Music's annual gala concert and concerts for school children. The Philadelphia Orchestra's summer home is the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, it has summer residencies at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, since July 2007 at the Bravo! Vail Valley Festival in Vail, Colorado; the orchestra performs an annual series of concerts at Carnegie Hall. From its earliest days the orchestra has been active in the recording studio, making extensive numbers of recordings for RCA Victor and Columbia Records; the orchestra's current music director is Yannick Nézet-Séguin, since 2012.
The orchestra was founded in 1900 by Fritz Scheel, who acted as its first conductor. The orchestra had its beginnings with a small group of musicians led by the pianist F. Cresson Schell. In 1904, Richard Strauss guest conducted the orchestra in a program of his compositions, in 1906 the Polish pianist Artur Rubenstein made his American debut with the orchestra. Additionally in 1906, the orchestra traveled to the White House to perform in an exclusive concert. In February 1907, Leandro Campanari took over and served as interim conductor for a short time during Scheel's illness and after his death. A flutist in the orchestra, August Rodemann, had stood in before Campanari's arrival, he started sabotaging the performances and Campanari was obliged to remove himself from a bad situation. In 1907, Karl Pohlig became music director and served until 1912. New music he programmed was unpopular with audiences, revelations that he had an extra-marital affair with his secretary caused outrage; the orchestra cancelled his contract and gave him a year's salary in severance to avoid a suit from Pohlig alleging a conspiracy to oust him.
Leopold Stokowski brought the orchestra to national prominence. Under his guidance, the orchestra gained a reputation for virtuosity, developed what is known as the "Philadelphia Sound." Stokowski left the orchestra in 1941, did not return as a guest conductor for nearly 20 years. In 1936 Eugene Ormandy joined the organization, jointly held the post of principal conductor with Stokowski until 1938 when he became its sole music director, he remained as music director until 1980. Ormandy conducted many of the orchestra's best-known recordings and took the orchestra on its historic 1973 tour of the People's Republic of China, where it was the first Western orchestra to visit that country in many decades; the tour was successful and it has since returned for three additional successful tours. Riccardo Muti became principal guest conductor of the orchestra in the 1970s, assumed the role as Music Director from Ormandy in 1980, serving through 1992, his recordings with the orchestra included the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Alexander Scriabin, for the EMI and Philips labels.
Wolfgang Sawallisch succeeded Muti as Music Director from 1993 to 2003. He made a number of recordings with the orchestra of music of Robert Schumann, Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner, among other composers, for the EMI label. However, the orchestra lost its recording contract with EMI during this time, which led to a musicians' strike for 64 days in 1996. Near the end of Sawallisch's tenure, the orchestra released a self-produced set of recordings of the Schumann symphonies with Sawallisch conducting. In 2003, Sawallisch was named Conductor Laureate, held the title until his death in 2013. In 2003, Christoph Eschenbach succeeded Sawallisch as music director; this appointment was controversial because Eschenbach had not conducted the orchestra in over four years and there was a perceived lack of personal chemistry between him and the musicians prior to the appointment. At least one early report tried to downplay this concern; the orchestra returned to commercial recordings on the Ondine label.
However, in October 2006, Eschenbach and the orchestra announced the conclusion of his tenure as music director in 2008, for a total of five years, the shortest tenure as music director in the history of the Philadelphia Orchestra, along with Pohlig. After Eschenbach's departure, the Philadelphia Orchestra was without a music director for four years. In February 2007, Charles Dutoit was appointed chief conductor and artistic adviser for four seasons, starting in the fall of 2008 and running through the 2011–2012 season; this move was made to provide an "artistic bridge" while the orchestra searched for its eighth music director. According to news articles from August 2007, the orchestra had now devised a search process in which each musician in the orchestra would have a say in the choice of the next Music Director. In December 2008, at the invitation of Dutoit, Yannick Nézet-Séguin made his first guest-conducting appearance with the orchestra, he returned for a second series of concerts in December 2009.
In June 2010, Nézet-Séguin was appointed Music Director Designate, with a scheduled duration under that title from 2010 to 2012, with 2 weeks of scheduled appearances in the 2010–2011 season, 5 weeks of scheduled appearances in the 2011–2012 season. In 2012, he was appointed music director, succeeding Dutoit, who subsequently was named conductor laureate of the orchestra. Nézet-Séguin's initial contract as mus
Falstaff is a comic opera in three acts by the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. The libretto was adapted by Arrigo Boito from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor and scenes from Henry IV, parts 1 and 2; the work premiered on 9 February 1893 at Milan. Verdi wrote Falstaff, the last of his 28 operas, as he was approaching the age of 80, it was his second comedy, his third work based on a Shakespeare play, following Macbeth and Otello. The plot revolves around the thwarted, sometimes farcical, efforts of the fat knight, Sir John Falstaff, to seduce two married women to gain access to their husbands' wealth. Verdi was concerned about working on a new opera at his advanced age, but he yearned to write a comic work and was pleased with Boito's draft libretto, it took the collaborators three years from mid-1889 to complete. Although the prospect of a new opera from Verdi aroused immense interest in Italy and around the world, Falstaff did not prove to be as popular as earlier works in the composer's canon.
After the initial performances in Italy, other European countries and the US, the work was neglected until the conductor Arturo Toscanini insisted on its revival at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in New York from the late 1890s into the next century. Some felt that the piece suffered from a lack of the full-blooded melodies of the best of Verdi's previous operas, a view contradicted by Toscanini. Conductors of the generation after Toscanini to champion the work included Herbert von Karajan, Georg Solti and Leonard Bernstein; the work is now part of the regular operatic repertory. Verdi made numerous changes to the music after the first performance, editors have found difficulty in agreeing on a definitive score; the work has subsequently received many studio and live recordings. Singers associated with the title role have included Victor Maurel, Mariano Stabile, Giuseppe Valdengo, Tito Gobbi, Geraint Evans and Bryn Terfel. By 1889 Verdi had been an opera composer for more than fifty years.
He had written 27 operas, of which only one was a comedy, his second work, Un giorno di regno, staged unsuccessfully in 1840. His fellow composer Rossini commented that he admired Verdi but thought him incapable of writing a comedy. Verdi disagreed and said that he longed to write another light-hearted opera, but nobody would give him the chance, he had included moments of comedy in his tragic operas, for example in Un ballo in maschera and La forza del destino. For a comic subject Verdi considered Cervantes's Don Quixote and plays by Goldoni, Molière and Labiche, but found none of them wholly suitable; the singer Victor Maurel sent him a French libretto based on Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Verdi liked it, but replied that "to deal with it properly you need a Rossini or a Donizetti". Following the success of Otello in 1887 he commented, "After having relentlessly massacred so many heroes and heroines, I have at last the right to laugh a little." He confided his ambition to the librettist of Arrigo Boito.
Boito said nothing at the time, but he secretly began work on a libretto based on The Merry Wives of Windsor with additional material taken from Henry IV, parts 1 and 2. Many composers had set the play to music, with little success, among them Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, Antonio Salieri, Michael William Balfe and Adolphe Adam; the first version to secure a place in the operatic repertoire was Otto Nicolai's The Merry Wives of Windsor in 1849, but its success was confined to German opera houses. Boito was doubly pleased with The Merry Wives as a plot. Not only was it Shakespearian, it was based in part on Trecento Italian works – Il Pecorone by Ser Giovanni Fiorentino, Boccaccio's Decameron. Boito adopted a deliberately archaic form of Italian to "lead Shakespeare's farce back to its clear Tuscan source", as he put it, he trimmed the plot, halved the number of characters in the play, gave the character of Falstaff more depth by incorporating dozens of passages from Henry IV. Verdi received the draft libretto a few weeks by early July 1889, at a time when his interest had been piqued by reading Shakespeare's play: "Benissimo!
Benissimo!... No one could have done better than you", he wrote back. Like Boito, Verdi revered Shakespeare; the composer did not speak English, but he owned and re-read Shakespeare's plays in Italian translations by Carlo Rusconi and Giulio Carcano, which he kept by his bedside. He had earlier set operatic adaptations of Shakespeare's Macbeth and Othello and had considered King Lear as a subject. Verdi still had doubts, on the next day sent another letter to Boito expressing his concerns, he wrote of "the large number of years" in his age, his health and his ability to complete the project: "if I were not to finish the music?" He said that the project could all be a waste of the younger man's time and distract Boito from completing his own new opera. Yet, as his biographer Mary Jane Phillips-Matz notes, "Verdi could not hide his delight at the idea of writing another opera". On 10 July 1889 he wrote again: Amen. So let's do Falstaff! For now, let's not think of obstacles, of age, of illnesses! I want to keep the deepest secrecy: a word that I underline three times to you that no one must know anything about it!
Anyway, if you are in the mood start to write. Boito's original sketch is lost, but surviving correspondence shows that the finished opera is not different from his first thoughts; the major diffe
Gioachino Antonio Rossini was an Italian composer who gained fame for his 39 operas, although he wrote many songs, some chamber music and piano pieces, some sacred music. He set new standards for both comic and serious opera before retiring from large-scale composition while still in his thirties, at the height of his popularity. Born in Pesaro to parents who were both musicians, Rossini began to compose by the age of 12 and was educated at music school in Bologna, his first opera was performed in Venice in 1810. In 1815 he was engaged to manage theatres in Naples. In the period 1810–1823 he wrote 34 operas for the Italian stage that were performed in Venice, Ferrara and elsewhere. During this period he produced his most popular works including the comic operas L'italiana in Algeri, Il barbiere di Siviglia and La Cenerentola, which brought to a peak the opera buffa tradition he inherited from masters such as Domenico Cimarosa, he composed opera seria works such as Otello and Semiramide. All of these attracted admiration for their innovation in melody and instrumental colour, dramatic form.
In 1824 he was contracted by the Opéra in Paris, for which he produced an opera to celebrate the coronation of Charles X, Il viaggio a Reims, revisions of two of his Italian operas, Le siège de Corinthe and Moïse, in 1829 his last opera, Guillaume Tell. Rossini's withdrawal from opera for the last 40 years of his life has never been explained. From the early 1830s to 1855, when he left Paris and was based in Bologna, Rossini wrote little. On his return to Paris in 1855 he became renowned for his musical salons on Saturdays attended by musicians and the artistic and fashionable circles of Paris, for which he wrote the entertaining pieces Péchés de vieillesse. Guests included Franz Liszt, Anton Rubinstein, Giuseppe Verdi and Joseph Joachim. Rossini's last major composition was his Petite messe solennelle, he died in Paris in 1868. Rossini was born in 1792 in Pesaro, a town on the Adriatic coast of Italy, part of the Papal States, he was the only child of Giuseppe Rossini, a trumpeter and horn player, his wife Anna, née Guidarini, a seamstress by trade, daughter of a baker.
Giuseppe Rossini was impetuous and feckless. Stendhal, who published a colourful biography of Rossini in 1824, wrote: Rossini's portion from his father, was the true native heirship of an Italian: a little music, a little religion, a volume of Ariosto; the rest of his education was consigned to the legitimate school of southern youth, the society of his mother, the young singing girls of the company, those prima donnas in embryo, the gossips of every village through which they passed. This was aided and refined by the musical barber and news-loving coffee-house keeper of the Papal village. Giuseppe was imprisoned at least twice: first in 1790 for insubordination to local authorities in a dispute about his employment as town trumpeter. In 1798, when Rossini was aged six, his mother began a career as a professional singer in comic opera, for a little over a decade was a considerable success in cities including Trieste and Bologna, before her untrained voice began to fail. In 1802 the family moved to Lugo, near Ravenna, where Rossini received a good basic education in Italian and arithmetic as well as music.
He studied the horn with his father and other music with a priest, Giuseppe Malerbe, whose extensive library contained works by Haydn and Mozart, both little known in Italy at the time, but inspirational to the young Rossini. He was a quick learner, by the age of twelve he had composed a set of six sonatas for four stringed instruments, which were performed under the aegis of a rich patron in 1804. Two years he was admitted to the recently-opened Liceo Musicale, Bologna studying singing and piano, joining the composition class soon afterwards, he wrote some substantial works while a student, including a mass and a cantata, after two years he was invited to continue his studies. He declined the offer: the strict academic regime of the Liceo had given him a solid compositional technique, but as his biographer Richard Osborne puts it, "his instinct to continue his education in the real world asserted itself". While still at the Liceo, Rossini had performed in public as a singer and worked in theatres as a répétiteur and keyboard soloist.
In 1810 at the request of the popular tenor Domenico Mombelli he wrote his first operatic score, a two-act operatic dramma serio, Demetrio e Polibio, to a libretto by Mombelli's wife. It was publicly staged in 1812, after the composer's first successes. Rossini and his parents concluded; the main operatic centre in north eastern Italy was Venice. Rossini's first opera to be staged was La cambiale di matrimonio, a on
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra was founded by Theodore Thomas in 1891. The ensemble makes its home at Orchestra Hall in Chicago and plays a summer season at the Ravinia Festival; the music director is Riccardo Muti, who began his tenure in 2010. The CSO is one of five American orchestras referred to as the "Big Five". In 1890, Charles Norman Fay, a Chicago businessman, invited Theodore Thomas to establish an orchestra in Chicago. Under the name "Chicago Orchestra," the orchestra played its first concert October 16, 1891 at the Auditorium Theater, it is one of the oldest orchestras in the United States, along with the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. Orchestra Hall, now a component of the Symphony Center complex, was designed by Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham and completed in 1904. Maestro Thomas served as music director for thirteen years until his death shortly after the orchestra's newly built residence was dedicated December 14, 1904.
The orchestra was renamed "Theodore Thomas Orchestra" in 1905 and today, Orchestra Hall still has "Theodore Thomas Orchestra Hall" inscribed in its façade. In 1905, Frederick Stock became music director, a post he held until his death in 1942; the orchestra was renamed the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1913. Subsequent music directors have included Désiré Defauw, Artur Rodziński, Rafael Kubelík, Fritz Reiner, Jean Martinon, Georg Solti, Daniel Barenboim. On May 5, 2008, the CSO Association's president Deborah Rutter announced that the orchestra had named Riccardo Muti as its 10th music director, starting with the 2010–2011 season, for an initial contract of 5 years, his contract has been renewed through the 2020 season. The orchestra has hosted many distinguished guest conductors, including Thomas Beecham, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Edward Elgar, Morton Gould, Paul Hindemith, Erich Kunzel, Erich Leinsdorf, Charles Munch, Eugene Ormandy, André Previn, Sergei Prokofiev, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Maurice Ravel, Arnold Schoenberg, Leonard Slatkin, Leopold Stokowski, Richard Strauss, George Szell, Klaus Tennstedt, Michael Tilson Thomas, Bruno Walter, John Williams.
Many of these guests have recorded with the orchestra. Carlos Kleiber made his only symphonic guest appearances in America with the CSO in October 1978 and June 1983; the three principal guest conductors of the orchestra have been Carlo Maria Giulini, Claudio Abbado, Pierre Boulez. The CSO holds an annual fundraiser known as the Chicago Symphony Marathon, more as "Radiothon" and "Symphonython," in conjunction with Chicago radio station WFMT; as part of the event, from 1986 through 2008, the orchestra released tracks from their broadcast archives on double LP/CD collections, as well as two larger sets of broadcasts and rarities. On March 10, 2019, CSO musicians went on strike, claiming that management wanted to cut their pension benefits in addition to reducing overall salary; the players picketed outside of Orchestra Hall for 12 hours the next day, stating that they would continue to do so daily until "a contract, fair to the musicians is reached". On March 12, it was announced. On March 22, the musicians announced.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra maintains a summer home at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Illinois. The CSO first performed there during Ravinia Park's second season in November 1905 and continued to appear there on and off through August 1931, after which the Park fell dark due to the Great Depression; the CSO helped to inaugurate the first season of the Ravinia Festival in August 1936 and has been in residence at the Festival every summer since. Many conductors have made their debut with the Chicago Symphony at Ravinia, several have gone on to become Music Director at Ravinia, including Seiji Ozawa, James Levine, Christoph Eschenbach; the position of Music Director of the Ravinia Festival is unfilled. The Ravinia Festival created an honorific title for James Levine—"Conductor Laureate"—and signed him to a five-year renewable contract beginning in 2018. On December 4, 2017, after Levine was accused of sexually abusing four males, the Ravinia Festival severed all ties with Levine, terminated his five-year contract to lead the Chicago Symphony there.
The Chicago Symphony has amassed an extensive discography. Recordings by the CSO have earned 62 Grammy Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences; these include several Classical Album of the Year awards, awards in Best Classical Performance in vocal soloist, instrumental and orchestral categories. On May 1, 1916, Frederick Stock and the orchestra recorded the Wedding March from Felix Mendelssohn's music to A Midsummer Night's Dream for Columbia Records. Stock and the CSO made numerous recordings for Columbia and the Victor Talking Machine Company/RCA Victor; the Chicago Symphony's first electrical recordings were made for Victor in December 1925, including a performance of Karl Goldmark's In Springtime overture. These early electrical recordings were made in Victor's Chicago studios. Stock continued recording for Columbia and RCA Victor until his death in 1942. In 1948, three versions of Aram Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance" reached number one in the Billboard Best-Selling Records by Classical Artists: a CSO version conducted by Artur Rodziński, as well as a New York Philharmonic version conducted by Efrem Kurtz and a version by Oscar L
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the classical era. Born in Salzburg, Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest childhood. Competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. At 17, Mozart was engaged as a musician at the Salzburg court but grew restless and traveled in search of a better position. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he was dismissed from his Salzburg position, he chose to stay in the capital. During his final years in Vienna, he composed many of his best-known symphonies and operas, portions of the Requiem, unfinished at the time of his early death at the age of 35; the circumstances of his death have been much mythologized. He composed more than 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, chamber and choral music, he is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers, his influence is profound on subsequent Western art music.
Ludwig van Beethoven composed his own early works in the shadow of Mozart, Joseph Haydn wrote: "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years". Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on 27 January 1756 to Leopold Mozart and Anna Maria, née Pertl, at 9 Getreidegasse in Salzburg; this was the capital of the Archbishopric of Salzburg, an ecclesiastic principality in what is now Austria part of the Holy Roman Empire. He was the youngest of seven children, his elder sister was Maria Anna Mozart, nicknamed "Nannerl". Mozart was baptised the day at St. Rupert's Cathedral in Salzburg; the baptismal record gives his name in Latinized form, as Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. He called himself "Wolfgang Amadè Mozart" as an adult, but his name had many variants. Leopold Mozart, a native of Augsburg, was a minor composer and an experienced teacher. In 1743, he was appointed as fourth violinist in the musical establishment of Count Leopold Anton von Firmian, the ruling Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg.
Four years he married Anna Maria in Salzburg. Leopold became the orchestra's deputy Kapellmeister in 1763. During the year of his son's birth, Leopold published a violin textbook, Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule, which achieved success; when Nannerl was 7, she began keyboard lessons with her father, while her three-year-old brother looked on. Years after her brother's death, she reminisced: He spent much time at the clavier, picking out thirds, which he was striking, his pleasure showed that it sounded good.... In the fourth year of his age his father, for a game as it were, began to teach him a few minuets and pieces at the clavier.... He could play it faultlessly and with the greatest delicacy, keeping in time.... At the age of five, he was composing little pieces, which he played to his father who wrote them down; these early pieces, K. 1–5, were recorded in the Nannerl Notenbuch. There is some scholarly debate about whether Mozart was four or five years old when he created his first musical compositions, though there is little doubt that Mozart composed his first three pieces of music within a few weeks of each other: K. 1a, 1b, 1c.
In his early years, Wolfgang's father was his only teacher. Along with music, he taught academic subjects. Solomon notes that, while Leopold was a devoted teacher to his children, there is evidence that Mozart was keen to progress beyond what he was taught, his first ink-spattered composition and his precocious efforts with the violin were of his own initiative, came as a surprise to Leopold, who gave up composing when his son's musical talents became evident. While Wolfgang was young, his family made several European journeys in which he and Nannerl performed as child prodigies; these began with an exhibition in 1762 at the court of Prince-elector Maximilian III of Bavaria in Munich, at the Imperial Courts in Vienna and Prague. A long concert tour followed, spanning three and a half years, taking the family to the courts of Munich, Paris, The Hague, again to Paris, back home via Zurich and Munich. During this trip, Wolfgang met a number of musicians and acquainted himself with the works of other composers.
A important influence was Johann Christian Bach, whom he visited in London in 1764 and 1765. When he was eight years old, Mozart wrote his first symphony, most of, transcribed by his father; the family trips were difficult, travel conditions were primitive. They had to wait for invitations and reimbursement from the nobility, they endured long, near-fatal illnesses far from home: first Leopold both children; the family again went to Vienna in late 1767 and remained there until December 1768. After one year in Salzburg and Wolfgang set off for Italy, leaving Anna Maria and Nannerl at home; this tour lasted from December 1769 to March 1771. As with earlier journeys, Leopold wanted to display his son's abilities as a performer and a maturing composer. Wolfgang met Josef Mysliveček and Giovanni Battista Martini in Bologna, was accepted as a member of the famous Accademia Filarmonica. In Rome, he heard Gregorio Allegri's Miserere twice in performance, in the Sistine Chapel, wrote it out from memory, thus producing the first unauthorized copy of this guarded property of the Vatican.
In Milan, Mozart wrote the opera Mitridate, re di Ponto, performed with success. This led to further oper