Ep. 10: Be Wary – Bartók and Bluebeard’s Castle

Bluebeard’s Castle’s haunting tale is just the surface of this psychological thriller, and while some modern productions don’t follow the original staging to a “t”, there are plenty of directors who jump at the chance to re-imagine this dark and sinister work. This episode will explore both the history behind Bartók’s only opera and allContinue reading “Ep. 10: Be Wary – Bartók and Bluebeard’s Castle”

Ep. 9: Homeward – Strauss and An Alpine Symphony

As a young boy, Richard Strauss went on a hiking trip to an Alpine mountaintop. Years later, his final tone poem would be inspired by this trip, the death of his dear friend and colleague Gustav Mahler, and the philosophies of Frederic Nietzsche. This piece was the focal point for several aspects of his life,Continue reading “Ep. 9: Homeward – Strauss and An Alpine Symphony”

Ep. 8: Living Portraits – Elgar and Enigma Variations

Edward Elgar’s Variation on an Original Theme (a.k.a. Enigma Variations) is one of the most mysterious and puzzling pieces of music of all time. Using a theme he referred to as “the Enigma”, he depicts thirteen of his closest friends as if they were taking a stab at cracking the code. One in particular wasContinue reading “Ep. 8: Living Portraits – Elgar and Enigma Variations”

Ep. 7: Scandalous – Mozart and Le nozze di Figaro

One of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s greatest operatic achievements, Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) may not have been possible without the approval of Emperor Joseph II of Austria. The play it was based on by Pierre Beaumarchais was banned from theaters all around the world for its radical political statements and the poorContinue reading “Ep. 7: Scandalous – Mozart and Le nozze di Figaro”

Ep. 6: Quest of a Lifetime – Wagner and Parsifal

Wagner’s final opera took him nearly 25 years to compose, but in the end it was completely worth the wait. It quickly became one of the most sought after operas to perform, but Wagner, his estate, and the authorities of his opera house, the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, had different plans for it. Become a member ofContinue reading “Ep. 6: Quest of a Lifetime – Wagner and Parsifal”

Ep. 5: A Swan Song – Sibelius and His Symphony No. 5

Commissioned by the Finnish government and inspired by the migration of swans, Jean Sibelius would create one of his most important works. It was not only important musically, but for how significant it played a role in Sibelius’ life. Become a member of The Composer Chronicles and stephenjtrygar.com on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/stephenjtrygar Music for this episode:Continue reading “Ep. 5: A Swan Song – Sibelius and His Symphony No. 5”

Ep. 4: Love and Murder – Berlioz, Symphonie fantastique, and Lélio

Hector Berlioz’s unhealthy infatuation with Irish actress Harriet Smithson and failed engagement with Marie Moke sent the composer into a state of mind that nearly killed him several times… and his life wasn’t the only one on the line. Become a member of The Composer Chronicles and stephenjtrygar.com on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/stephenjtrygar Music for this episode:Mystery PalaceContinue reading “Ep. 4: Love and Murder – Berlioz, Symphonie fantastique, and Lélio”

Ep. 3: Dream Come True – Debussy and Pelléas et Mélisande

Debussy dreamed about composing a theatrical work that was as mysterious and reserved as the life he contrived for himself. When a play by Maurice Maeterlinck came along, titled Pelléas et Mélisande, his dream would become a reality. Become a member of The Composer Chronicles and stephenjtrygar.com on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/stephenjtrygar To purchase a copy of myContinue reading “Ep. 3: Dream Come True – Debussy and Pelléas et Mélisande”

Ep. 2: Rising to Prominence – Stravinsky and The Firebird

Igor Stravinsky’s commission to write The Firebird would be the break that the young composer had been looking for. After the ballet’s premiere, he became an immediate celebrity, and it not only secured his place as a composer for the Ballets Russes, but as a respected and beloved international figure. Become a member of TheContinue reading “Ep. 2: Rising to Prominence – Stravinsky and The Firebird”

Ep. 1: A Miserable Marriage – Tchaikovsky and Eugene Onegin

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s early relationship with his wife, Antonina Milyukova, and the first stages of creating Eugene Onegin share a spot in the composers life. The two events influenced each other, and it would leave Tchaikovsky wondering where he had gone wrong. Music for today’s show are by Trevor Kowalski and Franz Gordon. Late NightsContinue reading “Ep. 1: A Miserable Marriage – Tchaikovsky and Eugene Onegin”