15 Great Classical Composers • Over 6 Hours of Music
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This package contains 85 musical masterpieces in 1 download
Albeniz • Alkan • Ambroise • Arensky • Arndt • Bacewitz • Bach • Bartok • Beethoven • Bellini • Botsford • Joplin • Gershwin • Copland • Brahms
Grand Piano Solos, Harpsichord, Clavichord, Pipe Organ, Classical Guitar, Violins, Trumpets, Trombones, Timpani
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Isaac Manuel Francisco Albeniz i Pascual
Aragon Fantasia Op47 Part 6 Listen
Castilla Seguidillas Op47 Part7 Listen
Cataluna Curranda No2 From Suite Espanola Listen
Cataluna Curranda No3 From Suite Espanola Listen
Espana Op165 No1 Listen
Espana Op165 No2 Listen
Espana Op165 No3 Listen
Espana Op165 No4 Listen
Espana Op165 No5 Listen
Espana Op165 No6 Listen
Piano Solo Listen
Mallorca Barcarola Guitar Listen
Piezas Caracteristicas Gavotte Guitar Listen
Suite Espanola No5 Asturias Listen
Titulo Desconocido 2 Listen
Torre Bermeja Serenata Guitar Listen
Isaac Manuel Francisco Albeniz i Pascual (May 29, 1860 May 18, 1909) was a Spanish Catalan pianist and composer best known for his piano works based on folk music.
Born in Camprodon, Albeniz was a child prodigy who first performed at the age of four.
At age seven he passed the entrance examination for piano at the Paris Conservatoire, but he was refused admission because he took out a ball from his pocket and broke a glass window while playing with it.
By the time he had reached 12, he had made many attempts to run away from home.
By age fifteen, he had already given concerts worldwide.
After a short stay at the Leipzig Conservatory, in 1876 he went to study in Brussels.
In 1880, he went to Budapest to study with Franz Liszt, only to find out that Liszt was in Weimar, Germany.
In 1883, he met the teacher and composer Felipe Pedrell, who inspired him to write Spanish music such as the Suite Española, Op. 47. The fifth movement of that suite, called Asturias (Leyenda), is probably most famous these days as part of the classical guitar repertoire, even though it was originally composed for piano and only later transcribed to guitar.
Many of his other compositions were also transcribed to guitar, notably by Francisco Tárrega Albeniz once declared that he preferred Tárrega's guitar transcriptions to his original piano works.
During the 1890s Albeniz lived in London and Paris and wrote mainly theatrical works, especially a projected trilogy of Arthurian operas commissioned, and supplied with libretti by, the wealthy Francis Money-Coutts, 5th Baron Latymer. The first of these, Merlin (1898-1902) was thought to have been lost, but has recently been reconstructed and successfully performed. Lancelot was never completed by Albeniz (only the first act is finished, as a vocal and piano score), and Guinevere, the final part, never begun by him.
In 1900 he started to suffer from Bright's disease and returned to writing piano music. Between 1905 and 1909 he composed his most famous work, Iberia (1908), a suite of twelve piano "impressions".
His orchestral works include Spanish Rhapsody (1887) and Catalonia (1899).
In 1883, the composer married his student Rosina Jordana. They had three children, Blanca (who died in 1886), Laura (a painter), and Alfonso (who played for Real Madrid in the early 1900s before embarking on a career as a diplomat).
Albeniz died on 18 May 1909 at age 48 in Cambo-les-Bains and is buried in the Cementiri del Sudoest at Monjuic, Barcelona.
Chantes Op38 No1 Listen
Etude Op35 No5 Listen
Etude Op39 No12 Listen
Etude Op76 No2 Listen
Etude Op76 No3 For Both Hands Listen
Hallelujah Psalm 150 Listen
Charles-Valentin Alkan (November 30 1813March 29 1888) was a French composer and one of the greatest virtuoso pianists of his day.
His attachment to his Jewish origins is displayed both in his life and his work.
He entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of six, earning many awards, and as an adult became a famous virtuoso and teacher.
Although early in his life he was socially active and good friends with prominent musicians and artists including Eugène Delacroix, Franz Liszt and Frédéric Chopin, he gradually withdrew from the concert platform after 1848, and he lived a reclusive life in Paris until his death.
Alkan was born Charles-Valentin Morhange on November 30, 1813 in Paris, rue des Blancs-Manteaux, to Alkan Morhange (17801855) and Julie Morhange née Abraham. He was the second of six children, one elder sister and four younger brothers, and his father supported the family as the proprietor of a private music school in Le Marais, the Jewish quarter of Paris.
Alkan did not marry; but, at an early age, he and his siblings adopted their father's first name as their last (and were known by this during their studies at the Paris Conservatoire.
Charles-Valentin Alkan spent his life in and around Paris. His only known excursions were a concert tour in England in 1833-1834, and a brief visit to Metz on family matters in the 1840s.
Alkan was a child prodigy. He entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of six, where he studied both piano and organ. He was a favorite of his teacher, Joseph Zimmermann, who also taught Georges Bizet, César Franck, Charles Gounod, and Ambroise Thomas. At the age of seven, he won a first prize for solfège and prizes in piano, harmony, and organ, and Luigi Cherubini, director of the Conservatoire, described his technique and ability as extraordinary. At the age of seven-and-a-half he gave his first public performance, appearing as a violinist; his first public performance as a pianist took place at the age of twelve when he performed several of his own compositions in a concert in a private home. His opus 1 dates from 1828, when he was 14 years old.
In his twenties, he taught and played concerts in elegant social circles, and was a friend of Franz Liszt, George Sand, Victor Hugo and, later, Anton Rubinstein.
By 1838, at just 25 years old, Alkan had reached the peak of his career.
He often performed with Chopin, and was famed as a virtuoso rivaling Liszt, Sigismond Thalberg, and Friedrich Kalkbrenner. Liszt once stated that Alkan had the finest piano technique of anyone he knew. At this time, (which coincides with the birth and childhood of his presumed son, Elie-Miriam Delaborde), he withdrew into private study and composition for six years, returning to the concert platform in 1844.
In the 1840s, he lived next to Frédéric Chopin, and after Chopin died in 1849, many of his students transferred to Alkan.
In 1848 he faced a major disappointment when he was passed over for the position of head of the piano department in the Conservatoire upon Zimmerman's retirement; Alkan expected, and lobbied strongly for, the appointment, but Daniel Auber, the head of the Conservatoire, replaced Zimmerman with Antoine Marmontel, a pupil of Alkan. Deep disappointment arising from this incident may account for his reluctance to perform in public thereafter.
He was appointed organist at the Paris Temple in 1851, but resigned the post almost immediately, and apart from two concerts given in 1853, he withdrew, in spite of his early fame and technical accomplishment, into virtual seclusion for some twenty-five years.
Charles Louis Ambroise Thomas
Dance Fantastique Listen
Charles Louis Ambroise Thomas (Metz 5 August 1811 - Paris, 12 February 1896) was a French opera composer, best-known for his operas Mignon (1866) and Hamlet (1868, after Shakespeare) and as Director of the Conservatoire de Paris from 1871-1896.
Ambroise's parents were music teachers and prepared him to become a musician.
By age 10 he was already an excellent pianist and violinist.
In 1828, he entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied with Jean-François Le Sueur while at the same time continuing his piano studies privately with the famous virtuoso pianist Frédéric Kalkbrenner.
In 1832, his cantata Hermann et Ketty won the Conservatory's prestigious composition prize, the Grand Prix de Rome, which allowed him to travel to and study in that city for three years. He took with him a love for Mozart and Beethoven but once in Rome became an ardent admirer of the Italian cantilena and melodic tradition. It was during his Italian sojourn that he wrote all of his chamber music--a piano trio, a string quintet and a string quartet, all of which reflect his new style of writing.
His first opera, La double échelle (1837), was produced at the Opéra Comique and was a success, receiving 247 performances before it left the stage. Le caïd (1849), his first undisputed triumph, glittered with Rossini-inspired score and achieved over 400 performances before the turn of the century.
For the next quarter of a century Thomas's productivity was incessant, and most of his operatic works belonging to this period enjoyed a great, if ephemeral, popularity. They are hampered by their libretti, but a few of them are occasionally revived as historic curiosities or recorded as vehicles for bel canto singers: Le songe d'une nuit d'été (1850; loosely adapted from Shakespeare), Psyché (1857).
Some of his overtures appear on concert programs: the overture to Raymond (1851), for instance, receives the occasional revival.
Anton Stepanovich Arensky
A Fairy Tale Listen
Psalm 119 Pipe Organ Listen
Anton Stepanovich Arensky (July 30 June 1861 February 12 February 1906), was a Russian composer of Romantic classical music, a pianist and a professor of music.
Arensky was born in Novgorod, Russia. He was musically precocious and had composed a number of songs and piano pieces by the age of nine.
With his mother and father, he moved to Saint Petersburg in 1879, where he studied composition at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
After graduating from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1882, Arensky became a professor at the Moscow Conservatory. Among his students there were Alexander Scriabin, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Alexander Gretchaninov.
In 1895 Arensky returned to Saint Petersburg as the director of the Imperial Choir, a post for which he had been recommended by Mily Balakirev. Arensky retired from this position in 1901, spending his remaining time as a pianist, conductor, and composer.
Arensky died of tuberculosis in a sanatorium in Perkijarvi, Finland. It is alleged that drinking and gambling undermined his health.
Pyotr Tchaikovsky was the greatest influence on Arensky's musical compositions. Indeed, Rimsky-Korsakov said, "In his youth Arensky did not escape some influence from me; later the influence came from Tchaikovsky. He will quickly be forgotten."
The perception that he lacked a distinctive personal style contributed to long-term neglect of his music, though in recent years a large number of his compositions have been recorded.
Especially popular are the orchestral Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky based on one of Tchaikovsky's Songs for Children, Op. 54.
Arensky was perhaps at his best in chamber music, in which he wrote two string quartets, two piano trios, and a piano quintet.
Felix Arndt (May 20, 1889-October 16, 1918) was an American pianist and composer of popular music.
His mother was the Countess Fevrier, related to Napoleon III.
Educated in New York, Arndt composed songs for the famous vaudeville team of Jack Norworth and Nora Bayes, and recorded over 3000 piano rolls for Duo-Art and QRS.
He died at age 29 during the Spanish Flu pandemic.
Arndt is best remembered for his 1915 composition, "Nola", written as an engagement gift to his fiancee (and later wife), Nola Locke. It is sometimes considered to be the first example of the novelty piano or "novelty ragtime" genre. It was the signature theme of the Vincent Lopez orchestra, and a top ten hit for Les Paul in 1950.
Other Arndt compositions include "Desecration Rag", "An Operatic Nightmare - Desecration No. 2", and "Clover Club".
His piano rolls reveal Arndt to be a fine pianist, and he is known to have been an influence on the young George Gershwin, who would visit him at his studio in the Aeolian Building on 42nd Street in Manhattan.
Sonata No4 For Piano And Violin Mov1 Listen
Sonata No4 For Piano And Violin Mov2 Listen
Sonata No4 For Piano And Violin Mov3 Listen
Sonata No4 For Piano And Violin Mov4 Listen
Grazyna Bacewicz (February 5, 1909 January 17, 1969 in Warsaw, Poland) was a Polish composer and violinist. She is only the second Polish female composer to have achieved national and international recognition, the first being Maria Szymanowska in the early 19th century Her father and brother Vytautas identified as Lithuanian and used the last name Bacevièius, the other brother Kiejstut identified as Polish.
Her father, Wincenty Bacewicz (lith. Vincas Bacevièius), gave Gra¿yna her first piano and violin lessons.
In 1928 she began studying at the Warsaw Conservatory, where she initially took violin and piano classes, and graduated in 1932 as a violinist and composer.
She continued her education in Paris, having been granted a stipend by Ignacy Jan Paderewski to attend the École Normale de Musique, and studied there in 1932-33 under the guidance of Nadia Boulanger. At the same time she took private violin lessons with Henri Touret.
Later she also left France in order to learn from the Hungarian violinist Carl Flesch.
After completing her studies, Bacewicz took part in numerous events as a soloist, composer, and jury member.
During the 1930s, she was the principal violinist of the Polish Radio orchestra, which was directed then by Grzegorz Fitelberg. This position gave her the chance of hearing a lot of her own music.
During World War II, Gra¿yna Bacewicz lived in Warsaw, continued to compose, and gave underground secret concerts (premiering her Suite for Two Violins).
Most of her compositions are for the violin. Among them are seven violin concertos, five sonatas for violin with piano including two for violin solo, seven string quartets, two piano quintets and four symphonies.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Clavierbung Part111 Duet No2 In F Major Listen
Two Part Inventions No1 Listen
Prelude And Fugue In A BWV888 Listen
Prelude And Fugue In C Sharp BWV872 Listen
Toccata And Fugue In D Minor BWV565 Piano Organ Listen
Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March 1685 28 July 1750) was a German composer and organist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity.
Although he introduced no new forms, he enriched the prevailing German style with a robust contrapuntal technique, an unrivalled control of harmonic and motivic organisation in composition for diverse instrumentation, and the adaptation of rhythms and textures from abroad, particularly Italy and France.
Revered for their intellectual depth, technical command and artistic beauty, Bach's works include the Brandenburg concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Partitas, the Well-Tempered Clavier, the Mass in B Minor, the St. Matthew Passion, the St. John Passion, the Magnificat, The Musical Offering, The Art of Fugue, the English Suites, the French Suites, the Sonatas and Partitas for violin solo, the Cello Suites, more than 200 surviving cantatas, and a similar number of organ works, including the celebrated Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.
While Bach's fame as an organist was great during his lifetime, he was not particularly well-known as a composer. His adherence to Baroque forms and contrapuntal style was considered "old-fashioned" by his contemporaries, especially late in his career when the musical fashion tended towards Rococo and later Classical styles.
A revival of interest and performances of his music began early in the 19th century, and he is now widely considered to be one of the greatest composers in the Western tradition.
A Rumanian Dance No1 Listen
Childrens Piece No2 Orchestrated Listen
Ten Easy Piano Pieces An Evening At The Village Mov5 Listen
Ten Easy Piano Pieces Dedication Mov0 Listen
Piano Sonata Mov1 Listen
Piano Sonata Mov2 Listen
Piano Sonata Mov3 Listen
Bela Bartok was born in the small Banatian town of Nagyszentmiklos in Austria-Hungary (now Sânnicolau Mare, Romania) on March 25, 1881.
He displayed notable musical talent very early in life: according to his mother, he could distinguish between different dance rhythms that she played on the piano even before he learned to speak in complete sentences. By the age of four, he was able to play 40 pieces on the piano, and his mother began formally teaching him the next year.
Bela was a small and sickly child. He suffered from a painful chronic rash until the age of five.
In 1888, when he was seven, his father (the director of an agricultural school) died suddenly. Bela's mother then took him and his sister, Erzsebet, to live in Nagyszolos (today Vinogradiv, Ukraine), and then to Pozsony (German: Pressburg, today Bratislava, Slovakia).
In Pozsony, Bela gave his first public recital at age eleven to a warm critical reception. Among the pieces he played was his own first composition, written two years previously: a short piece called "The Course of the Danube" (de Toth 1999). Shortly thereafter Lászlo Erkel accepted him as a pupil.
Bartok studied piano under István Thomán, a former student of Franz Liszt, and composition under János Koessler at the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest from 1899 to 1903. There he met Zoltán Kodály, who influenced him greatly and became his lifelong friend and colleague.
In 1903, Bartok wrote his first major orchestral work, Kossuth, a symphonic poem which honored Lajos Kossuth, hero of the Hungarian revolution of 1848.
The music of Richard Strauss, whom he met in 1902 at the Budapest premiere of Also sprach Zarathustra, was very influential on his early work.
When visiting a holiday resort in the summer of 1904, Bartok overheard the eighteen-year-old nanny Lidi Dosa from Kibed in Maros-Torda in Transylvania sing folk songs to the children under her care. This sparked his life-long dedication to folk music.
From 1907 his music also began to be influenced by Claude Debussy, whose compositions Kodály had brought back from Paris.
Bartok's large-scale orchestral works were still in the style of Johannes Brahms and Richard Strauss, but also around this time he wrote a number of small piano pieces which show his growing interest in folk music. The first piece to show clear signs of this new interest is the String Quartet No. 1 in A minor (1908), which contains folk-like elements.
In 1907, Bartok began teaching as a piano professor at the Royal Academy. This position freed him from touring Europe as a pianist and enabled him to stay in Hungary.
Among his notable students were Fritz Reiner, Sir Georg Solti, György Sándor, Erno Balogh, Lili Kraus, and, after Bartok moved to the United States, Jack Beeson and Violet Archer.
Ludwig van Beethoven
32 Variations On A Theme Listen
Fur Elise Listen
Op51 Harpsichord Listen
Op33 No4 Listen
Piano Romance No50 Listen
Piano Sonata No2 Assai Vivace Listen
Piano Sonata No27 Mov1 Listen
Piano Sonata No27 Mov3 Listen
Piano Sonata No28 In B Flat Hammerklavier Op106 Mov2 Listen
Piano Sonatina In G Op79 Listen
Piano Sonatina No2 Op49 Listen
Rage Over A Lost Penny Harpsichord Listen
Rondo In B Flat Listen
Seven Inversions Of God Save The King Listen
Sonata No14 Op27 Moonlight Sonata Listen
Sonata No14 Op27 Sonata Quasi Una Fantasia Listen
Ludwig van Beethoven (16 December 1770 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist.
He was a crucial figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music, and remains one of the most acclaimed and influential composers of all time.
Beethoven was the grandson of a musician of Flemish origin who was also named Ludwig van Beethoven (17121773). As of 1733 the elder Ludwig had served as a bass singer in the court of the Elector of Cologne. He rose through the ranks of the musical establishment, eventually becoming Kapellmeister (music director). The elder Ludwig had one son, Johann van Beethoven (17401792), who worked as a tenor in the same musical establishment, also giving lessons on piano and violin to supplement his income.
Beethoven had few students.
From 1801 to 1805, he tutored Ferdinand Ries, who would go on to become a composer and later published Beethoven remembered, a book about their encounters.
Carl Czerny studied with Beethoven from 1801 to 1803. He went on to become a renowned music teacher himself, taking on Franz Liszt as one of his students. He also gave the Vienna premiere of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor" in 1812.
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini
L Absent Melody Guitar Listen
Overture To Norma Listen
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini (3 November 1801 23 September 1835) was an Italian opera composer.
Known for his flowing melodic lines for which he was named "the Swan of Catania", Bellini was the quintessential composer of Bel canto opera.
Born in Catania, Sicily, Bellini was a child prodigy from a highly musical family and legend has it he could sing an aria of Valentino Fioravanti at eighteen months. He began studying music theory at two, the piano at three, and by the age of five could apparently play well.
Bellini's first composition is thought to have been composed when he was just six years old.
Regardless of the veracity of these claims, it is certain that Bellini grew up in a musical household and that a career as a musician was never in doubt.
Bellini died in Puteaux, near Paris of acute inflammation of the intestine, and was buried in the cemetery of Père Lachaise, Paris; his remains were removed to the cathedral of Catania in 1876.
The Museo Belliniano housed in the Gravina Cruyllas Palace, in Catania, preserves memorabilia and scores.
Black And White Rag Listen
George Botsford (February 24, 1874 - February 11, 1949) was an American composer of ragtime and other forms of music.
Botsford was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and grew up in Iowa.
His first copyrighted number was "The Katy Flyer Cake Walk," published in 1899.
His most important rag is "Black and White Rag," published in 1908.
Other Botsford compositions include "Grizzly Bear Rag," "Chatterbox Rag," "Pianophiends Rag," "Texas Steer," "Boomerang Rag," and "Sailing Down the Chesapeake Bay."
Botsford moved to New York City and became a Tin Pan Alley composer.
Around 1914-1915 he experimented with "miniature opera" intended to be sung by three or four people, but the idea never gained acceptance.
After a long career involving many kinds of music, he died in New York City.
Hungarian Dance No3 Listen
Hungarian Dance No5 Listen
Rhapsody In G Major Listen
Waltz No1 Listen
Waltz No2 Listen
Waltz No3 Listen
Waltz No4 Listen
Waltz No5 Listen
Johannes Brahms (May 7, 1833 April 3, 1897), composer and pianist, was one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period.
Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene.
In his lifetime, Brahms's popularity and influence were considerable; following a comment by the nineteenth century conductor Hans von Bülow, he is sometimes grouped with Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as one of the Three Bs.
Brahms composed for piano, for chamber ensembles, for symphony orchestra, and for voice and chorus.
An accomplished pianist, he gave the first performance of many of his own works; he also worked with the leading performers of his time, including the virtuoso pianist Clara Schumann and the violinist Joseph Joachim. Many of his works have become staples of modern concert repertoire.
Brahms, an uncompromising perfectionist, destroyed many works and left some unpublished.
Brahms was at once a traditionalist and an innovator. His music is firmly rooted in the structures and compositional techniques of the Baroque and classical masters.
He was a master of counterpoint, the complex and highly disciplined method of composition for which Bach is famous. Yet within these structures, Brahms created bold new approaches to harmony and timbre which challenged existing notions of tonal music. His contribution and craftsmanship has been admired by subsequent figures as diverse as Arnold Schoenberg and Edward Elgar.
Brahms's works were a starting point and an inspiration for a generation of composers, including Schoenberg, who eventually abandoned tonality.
Fanfare For The Common Man Listen
Aaron Copland (November 14, 1900 December 2, 1990) was an American composer of concert and film music, as well as an accomplished pianist.
Instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, he was widely known as "the dean of American composers."
Copland's music achieved a balance between modern music and American folk styles. The open, slowly changing harmonies of many of his works are said to evoke the vast American landscape.
He also incorporated percussive orchestration, changing meter, polyrhythms, polychords and tone rows in a broad range of works for concert hall, theater, ballet, and films.
Aside from composing, Copland was a teacher, lecturer, critic, writer, and conductor.
Aaron Copland was born in Brooklyn, New York, of Lithuanian Jewish descent in 1900, the last of five children. Before emigrating from Scotland to the United States, Copland's father, Harris Morris Copland, Anglicized his surname "Kaplan" to "Copland."
Throughout his childhood, Copland and his family lived above his parents' Brooklyn shop, on the corner of Dean Street and Washington Avenue and all the children helped out in the store.
An American In Paris Listen
It Ain't Necessarily So Listen
Prelude 1 Allegro Ben Rimato E Deciso Listen
Prelude 2 Andante Con Moto E Poco Rubato Listen
Prelude 3 Allegro Ben Ritmato E Deciso Listen
George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 July 11, 1937) was an American composer and pianist.
He wrote most of his vocal and theatrical works in collaboration with his elder brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin.
George Gershwin composed songs for both Broadway and the classical concert hall. He also wrote popular songs with success.
Gershwin's compositions have been used in numerous films and on television, and many became jazz standards recorded in numerous variations.
Countless singers and musicians have recorded Gershwin songs.
In 1924, Gershwin composed his first major classical work, Rhapsody in Blue for orchestra and piano. It was orchestrated by Ferde Grofé and premiered by Paul Whiteman's concert band in New York. It proved to be his most popular work.
Gershwin stayed in Paris for a short period, where he applied to study composition with Nadia Boulanger. Boulanger, along with several other prospective tutors such as Maurice Ravel, rejected him, however, afraid that rigorous classical study would ruin his jazz-influenced style. While there, Gershwin wrote An American in Paris. This work received mixed reviews upon its first performance at Carnegie Hall on December 13, 1928, but it quickly became part of the standard repertoire in Europe and the United States.
Growing tired of the Parisian musical scene, Gershwin returned to the United States. His most ambitious composition was Porgy and Bess (1935). Gershwin called it a "folk opera," the piece premiered in a Broadway theater. It is now widely regarded as the most important American opera of the twentieth century. Based on the novel Porgy by DuBose Heyward, the action takes place in a black neighborhood in Charleston, South Carolina. With the exception of several minor speaking roles, all of the characters are black. The music combines elements of popular music of the day, which was strongly influenced by black music, with techniques found in opera, such as recitative and leitmotifs. It also includes a fugue and "advanced" techniques such as polytonality and a tone row.
For the performances, Gershwin collaborated with Eva Jessye, whom he picked as the musical director. One of the outstanding musical alumnae of Western University in Kansas, she had created her own choir in New York and performed widely with them.
A Breeze From Alabama Listen
A Picture Of Her Face Listen
Bethena A Concerto Waltz Listen
Cleopha March And Two Step Listen
Coca Club Listen
The Chrysanthemum Listen
The Entertainer Listen
Scott Joplin (November 24, 1868 April 1, 1917) was an African American composer and pianist, born near Texarkana, Texas, into the first post-slavery generation - his father an ex-slave and his mother a freeborn woman.
He would achieve fame for his unique ragtime compositions, and would later be dubbed the "King of Ragtime."
During his brief career, he wrote forty-four original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas, with one of his first pieces, the Maple Leaf Rag, becoming ragtime's first and most influential hit, and remaining so for a century.
He was blessed with an amazing ability to improvise at the piano, and was able to enlarge his talents with the music he heard around him, which was rich with the sounds of gospel hymns and spirituals, dance music, plantation songs, syncopated rhythms, blues, and choruses.
After studying music with several local teachers, his talent was noticed by a German immigrant music teacher, Julius Weiss, who chose to give the 11 year old boy lessons free of charge. He was taught music theory, keyboard technique, and an appreciation of various European music styles, such as folk and opera.
He spent his final years, before his early death at age 48, working on his second opera, Treemonisha. This was written, according to opera historian Elise Kirk, to be a "timeless story" about a young black "heroine of the spirit who leads her people from superstition and darkness to salvation and enlightenment." It was a failure in its first concert performance in 1915, but was rediscovered and premiered in 1972.
Joplin's music returned to popularity in the 1970s with the Academy award-winning movie The Sting, which featured several of his compositions, such as The Entertainer.
Joplin was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1976.