10 Cool Rossini Facts

Rossini about 1850Gioachino Rossini is a name well-known in opera circles. Although the Italian composer did write many songs, chamber works, and piano pieces, his 39 operas are what propelled him to fame during his time and what keeps his name alive in concert programs around the world. He is the man behind The Barber of Seville and William Tell – both of which have parts that are often heard in movies, TV shows, and cartoons (the famous ending of the William Tell Overture is the Lone Ranger theme). In fact, we’re performing “Una voce poco fa” from The Barber of Seville at our concert on May 3 because it can be heard in such films as “Jumanji” (1995) and “Citizen Kane”.

Despite them being his claim to fame, however, there’s more to Rossini than his 39 operas. Here are just 10 other cool facts about Rossini that you can use to impress your opera-loving friends.

1. He was a leap-year baby. Rossini was born February 29, 1792. A few months before he died, he celebrated his 19th “actual” birthday.

2. He wrote the bulk of his operas in only 10 years. Rossini composed 30 of his 39 operas between 1812 and 1822. His last and one of his most famous operas, however, was written in 1829 – Guillaume Tell (William Tell).

3. He loved fine food. His biographers noted that when he was a child, Rossini worked as an altar boy just so he could drink the sacramental wine left over after mass. When we moved to Paris, he became close friends with a chef who dedicated recipes to Rossini and, in turn, the composer wrote piano pieces dedicated to entrees and desserts. He also once linked coffee and operas noting that the effect of caffeine on the body diminished quickly. He reportedly said, “Coffee is a matter of fifteen or twenty days: luckily the time to make an opera”. Learn more about coffee and classical music.

4. His operas are among the most performed in the world. Rossini is right up there along with Verdi, Mozart, and Puccini in terms of how often their operas are performed. Interestingly, although William Tell was one of the grandest operas of its time, it is rarely performed today (outside of the Overture). It was reported that in 2017/2018, there were only 32 productions of it in the world. Compare that to 889 of La Traviata and 760 of Carmen.

5. Although he was said to be rather jovial, he actually suffered from neurasthenia and depression. Neither condition was recognized at the time. Specifically after his semi-retirement at the age of 37 (semi because he retired from opera, but continued to write smaller pieces), he would experience long periods of deep depression and insomnia. He also became obese and began to have suicidal thoughts. It is said that the death of his mother also led him to resent the remaining living woman in his life – his second wife Olympe. After he returned to Paris in 1855, it is said his musical spirits were once again lifted.

6. After his death, his wealth was used to set up a home for retired opera singers. When Rossini passed away in 1868, his second wife, Olympe, inherited a large sum, which, when she passed, was used to establish a conservatory of music in Pesaro, Italy (his birthplace) and a home for retired opera singers in Paris.

7. He was a man of great wit who loved to entertain. Later in his life, Rossini was said to have been a witty conversationalist and he enjoyed entertaining friends (which goes hand in hand with his love for fine food). He was wealthy and in-demand socially. He also reportedly said or wrote some very interesting things. Here are just a handful of Rossini quotes:

  • Give me the laundress’ bill and I will set to music even that.
  • Monsieur Wagner has good moments, but awful quarters of an hour!
  • Wait until the evening before opening night. Nothing primes inspiration more than necessity, whether it be the presence of a copyist waiting for your work or the prodding of an impresario tearing his hair. In my time, all the impresarios in Italy were bald at thirty.

8. His tomb in Paris is empty. Rossini died in Paris and was buried at the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery (where you can find other notable names like Chopin, Molière, Jim Morrison, and Oscar Wilde). His tomb is absolutely impressive with huge wrought iron doors and a stone surround. However, it is also empty. At his wife Olympe’s request, his remains were relocated to the church of Sta Croce in Florence.

9. He wrote The Barber of Seville in less than three weeks. Rossini allegedly wrote his most famous opera in less than three weeks (he claimed 12 days). While it is well-loved today, it was unsuccessful when it premiered in Rome. This is, perhaps, because the audience preferred an earlier adaptation of the play it was based on – a version by another composer named Giovanni Paisiello. It is said that Paisiello himself provoked the audience to openly voice their dislike.

10. He was nicknamed “Monsieur Crescendo”. This wasn’t a term of endearment, however. His nickname came from his perceived overuse of crescendo for dramatic effect. “The Crescendo degenerated into a mere mannerism with Rossini, in whose works it is used with wearisome iteration,” reads the Crescendo entry of Grove’s dictionary of Music and Musicians.

Ippolitov-Ivanov: A Classical One Hit Wonder

Mikhail Ippolitov-IvanovIf you haven’t heard of the composer Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov, there’s a very good reason. Despite writing numerous operas, orchestral works, pieces for ensembles, and songs, most of his music is rarely heard today. The exception? His Caucasian Sketches.

Caucasian Sketches is a pair of orchestral suites with a rich and colorful sound written in 1894 and 1896. After spending years as a conductor and director of a music school in what is now Tbilisi, Georgia, Ippolitov-Ivanov developed an interest in the Caucasus area’s folk music and was inspired to write a work celebrating the sounds of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Georgia. The basic style of the piece draws heavily on the music of his teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov, but Ippolitov-Ivanov builds upon that with skillful scene painting that transports the listener straight to the mountainous region (particularly the first suite “In a Mountain Pass”).

The most famous section of the suites is the end of the first suite – “Procession of the Sardar”. It is most often performed as a standalone piece in pops concerts. With a noble yet march-like feel, it’s not difficult to imagine the Sardar (a Persian military dignitary) marching in all his regalia with numerous followers. Hear it for yourself on May 3 at our final concert of the season.

So if Ippolitov-Ivanov’s Caucasian Sketches is so admired, why are his other works forgotten? Part of the reason may be that his music has been unfairly labeled as Soviet-approved, meeting all the criteria of the Communist authorities. But with one look at the dates of most of his works, it’s obvious that he developed his style long before the Bolsheviks. It is also said that politically he remained fairly independent, not engaging in quarrels with musicians who sought to develop new music or foster proletarian art.

Another reason the composer’s other pieces like his Armenian Rhapsody were seldom performed after the mid-20th century could be that they are not particularly remarkable according to some critics who note that Ippolitov-Ivanov’s style is too similar to Rimsky-Korsakov’s. However, Tchaikovsky saw something in the composer, helping promote his music in Moscow and Saint Petersburg until his death. Or perhaps it’s because some of his works require daunting instrumentation like his Turkish Fragments which is exotically scored for a large orchestra.

Still, unlike some composers whose works are completely lost to history, at least Ippolitov-Ivanov is remembered for one beautifully evocative piece that can be heard in movies like “The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb” (1964) and Kurosawa’s 1990 film “Dreams”.

6 Interesting Facts About Mozart’s Symphony No. 25

Mozart wrote 41 symphonies (according to original numbering) and some are arguably better than others. Number 41, nicknamed the “Jupiter Symphony”, is rated by many critics as among the greatest in classical music. Number 40 is another of his most famous works. But there’s something about Symphony No. 25 that is truly gripping, that helps it stand out from the rest, and that made it the perfect opening music for the film Amadeus.

Perhaps it’s the minor key or the dramatic style. Regardless of the reason, there’s definitely more to this work than its unassuming name. Here are 6 interesting facts about Mozart’s Symphony No. 25.

It has been called the “little G minor symphony”.

Symphony No. 25 is one of only two symphonies Mozart composed in G minor. The other was Symphony No. 40 (written 15 years later). While it might not sound like anything of note today, composing in G minor was unusual at the time. It is considered the key thorugh which Mozart best expressed sadness. Thus, the symphony is often called his first “tragic” symphony. Though Mozart used other minor keys in his symphonies, G minor is the only minor key he used as a main key for his numbered symphonies.

It was written when Mozart was 17 years old.

Although the story is unsubstantiated, it was supposedly completed just 2 days after he completed his Symphony No. 24. Many critics regard this as one the moments when Mozart transformed from entertainer to artist – from wunderkind to great composer.

It was written in a Sturm und Drang style.

Sturm und Drang (Storm and Stress) is a style characterized by emotional extremes and sudden changes in tempo and dynamics. The opening movement begins with a particularly dramatic repeated syncopated pattern in the violins and violas. This rhythm returns again in the final movement. Haydn’s Symphony No. 39 (also in G minor) is another example of the Sturm und Drang style and may have served as an inspiration for Mozart’s Symphony No. 25.

The occasion it was written for is unknown.

Lost to history is what occasion the symphony was written for. Nothing in his life at the time justifies the minor keys. Perhaps after a recent tour of Europe, he longed to explore the previously mentioned Sturm und Drang style popularized by Haydn which began as a German literary movement to break free from the ultra-rational and ultra-objective ideals of the Enlightenment. Again, there’s nothing that directly points to that intent.

It used to be relatively unknown.

The “little” in its nickname was in deference to what was considered the more sublime of his minor symphonies (no. 40). While history suggests that the work may have been popular in Mozart’s time (it was performed several times and Mozart even rescored the work for different instruments), by the 19th century, Symphony No. 25 was little known and rarely performed. It wasn’t performed in the United States until 1899 and after that, it wasn’t performed again until 1937. What changed all that? Amadeus.

It may have inspired Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.

Ludwig van Beethoven knew the symphony well, copying 29 bars from the score in one of his sketchbooks. It is thought that the opening theme of the Symphony No. 25’s final movement may have inspired the third movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.

The Parker Symphony Orchestra will perform the first movement from Mozart’s Symphony No. 25 as part of Blockbusters at the PACE Center in Parker, Colorado on May 3 at 7:30 PM.

Meet Mozetich

Marjan Mozetich

Marjan Mozetich – from mozetich.com

Like many modern composers, Marjan Mozetich isn’t exactly a household name, particularly in the US. However, he is certainly a composer of the 20th and 21st century who has been making a name for himself with his symphonic works, chamber music, and solo pieces. He has been called “one of the most important composers of our time” (Kingston Whig-Standard) and his music has been described as “compellingly beautiful”.

Mozetich was born in Italy in 1948 to Slovenian parents but moved to Ontario Canada in 1952. His early musical training included studying piano and he worked toward becoming a concert pianist. He gave up on that idea and entered college studying psychology. He shifted toward music again, however, and pursued studying composition at the University of Toronto. After that, he continued his musical studies in Rome, Siena, and London.

Mozetich’s early influences included romantic composers like Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff as well as what he describes as “super-modern pieces” he first heard on the radio. So it’s no surprise much of his music blends lyricism and romantic harmony with what are decidedly modern elements. Since the 1980s and well into the 1990s and beyond, he has developed a style of post-modern romantic music in which he strives to express beauty, sensuousness, and emotion – things that give him and his audiences pleasure. And on one occasion, he certainly achieved what he set out to do. When the CBC Radio broadcast a concert performance of his violin concerto Affairs of the Heart, the switchboards lit up from coast to coast. There were numerous reports that listeners were so captivated by the music that they remained in their cars, listening to the end even though they had arrived at their destination. The so-called “driveway experience”.

Another piece that captures his signature style, comprising beautiful, spiritual, introspective, and meditative qualities is his The Passion of Angels. Written in 1995 and premiered in 1996, The Passion of Angels is a lush work featuring two solo harps and orchestra. It explores three degrees of passion: longing, desire, and ecstasy. The opening horn solo with accompanying harps announces the essential thematic material and throughout the work, the harps keep the orchestra moving through an emotional voyage.

Mozetich continues to compose to this day and has received numerous awards and recognition including the 2010 Juno Award for Best Classical Composition of the Year and the SOCAN Matejcek Concert Music Prize awarded to the most performed and broadcast composer in Canada (2002 and 2006). Learn more about Marjan Mozetich.

Want to hear The Passion of Angels performed live? Join the Parker Symphony Orchestra for “Passion” on February 15 at 7:30 PM at the PACE Center.

Musician Spotlight: John Williams

John Williams - 2nd Violin Parker SymphonyOur next installment of Musician Spotlight focuses on one of our members who shares a name with a very famous composer – John Williams. John is a member of our second violin section, but there’s so much more to him than just a famous name! Like did you know he’s a flight instructor? And that he makes cheese? Get to know John better below.


How long have you played with the PSO?

I am in my 8th season. I began the first season that the orchestra moved to PACE.


What’s is your favorite piece you’ve played with the PSO?

There have been many memorable pieces. I would say probably Dvorak’s New World Symphony if I have to choose one.


How did you get your start in music? What drew you to the violin?

I started playing instruments as a child. I always liked the violin because of the range of music that one can play, e.g., classical, folk, country, etc.


Do you play other instruments?

I play the piano a bit. I used to play a couple of others, but it’s been so long that I would have to relearn them.


What do you find to be the most challenging part of being a musician?

I think that learning some of the more difficult orchestral pieces is challenging for me.


Is there something you’ve always wanted to play but haven’t had the chance yet?

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony


Who are your favorite composers?

I suppose that I’m pretty traditional in that regard. I love Mozart’s music as well as Dvorak.


Are you from Colorado originally?

I grew up in Houston, but I have lived in the Denver area for around 34 years now.


When you are not playing with the PSO, what are you doing?

I am an attorney, but I took inactive status several years ago, as I switched to an aviation career. I still work full time for a medical helicopter/medical transport company. I am also a part-time flight instructor.


Do you have any hidden talents or non-musical hobbies?

My wife and I live on a small farm in Elbert County. We have horses, chickens, goats, dogs, cats and honey bees. I raise dairy goats, and I enjoy making cheese and other products with their milk. All of these activities keep me very busy.


Do you get tired of the John Williams jokes?

Not really. I just wish that I had as much talent as my famous namesake.


What is your life motto?

I don’t really have a motto, but I always keep trying to learn new things. I think that it keeps life interesting.


Anything else you’d like to share?

Just that I really enjoy playing with the orchestra, and I feel fortunate to have that opportunity.

John Williams On The Farm

Favorite Modern Classical Music

Modern ClassicalLike many people, I love listening to music. I enjoy music from many different genres – alternative, rock, jazz, pop, EDM, hip hop, new wave, instrumental…you name it. And certainly as a cellist and a member of an orchestra, I listen to quite a bit of orchestral music from symphonies to film scores. But it’s hard love ALL classical music because there are so many very different styles within the genre.

I’ve never been a big fan of Renaissance and early music and the same goes for the other side of the spectrum – modern classical. However, recently, I’ve been trying to expand my horizons when it comes to classical music written in the last 80 years and I have to say, I may be coming around. I’ve found many really interesting pieces that are part of the “modern classical” era that are definitely worth a listen. Even if you’re a die-hard fan of the Romantic or Baroque composers, here are some of my favorite modern pieces and composers that may turn you into a 20th and 21st century classical music fan.

Philip Glass

If there’s one name that stands out as the most well-known in the modern classical era it is Philip Glass. Even if you don’t recognize the name, if you’ve seen films like The Truman Show, The Hours, and Candyman, you’ve heard his music. Glass’ music is described as minimalist, characterized by repetitive structures and simplicity. He has written operas, symphonies, works for ensemble, and, as previously mentioned, film scores among other works. He received the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors on December 26.

Here are some of my favorite Philip Glass works:

John Adams

John Adams’ music draws upon pop, jazz, electronic music, and minimalism and is infused with expressive elements. He has written everything from chamber music and cantatas to large orchestral works and operas. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, he wrote On The Transmigration of Souls for orchestra, chorus, and children’s choir. The text from this work was derived from fragments of notices posted at the WTC site by friends and relatives of the missing, interviews published in the New York Times, and randomly chosen names of victims. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for this composition.

Here are some other cool John Adams works:

Henry Cowell – Hymn and Fuguing Tune

Henry Cowell was born much earlier than the previous two composers, but he was considered an avant-garde composer. Often called an ultra-modernist, he infused his early music with what we now call “world music”. His upbringing on the West Coast exposed him to a great deal of Irish airs and dances and music from China, Japan, Tahiti, and India. He also worked with and encouraged composers like Carlos Chávez who incorporated themes from Mexico’s indigenous people.

Unfortunately, he was arrested and incarcerated on a “morals” charge and that affected his later works which were markedly more conservative. His Hymn and Fuguing Tunes are among these later less-radical works, but they do retain some of the progressive bent of his earlier years. In between the lively melody of his Hymn and Fuguing Tune #10, you’ll hear some interesting and atonal chords.

Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 10

His Sailor’s Hornpipe saxophone quartet is also worth a listen.

Marjan Mozetich – The Passion of Angels

Unlike the previous composers who are all American, Marjan Mozetich is a Canadian composer. He has written music for theater, film, and dance as well as symphonic works, chamber music, and solo pieces. His music has evolved over the years but typically blend the traditional, popular, and modern infusing lyricism and romantic harmonies to evoke spiritual and meditative feelings. This is particularly noticeable in his 1995 work The Passion of Angels written for two harps and orchestra.

Come hear soloists Janet Harriman and Don Hilsberg and the Parker Symphony Orchestra perform this work on February 15 at the PACE Center. Tickets on sale now.

The Passion of Angels

Jennifer Higdon – blue cathedral

The newest piece on this list, blue cathedral was commissioned by the Curtis Institute of Music for their 75th anniversary. It was composed by Jennifer Higdon, a modern American composer, whose music is considered neoromantic and is not intentionally written with a form in mind but is allowed to unfold naturally.

Like The Passion of Angels, blue cathedral has a spiritual feel. It was written in memory of Higdon’s younger brother, Andrew Blue Higdon, who died of skin cancer in 1998. The composer remarked that the process of composing this piece was “the most cathartic thing [she] could have done”.

blue cathedral

Henryk Górecki – Symphony No. 3 Mvt. 2

Górecki was a Polish composer who was largely unknown outside of Poland until the mid-to late 1980s. His Symphony No. 3, also known as the “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”, was recorded with soprano Dawn Upshaw and released to commemorate the memory of those lost during the Holocaust. It became a worldwide commercial success, selling more than a million copies.

Symphony No 3., Op. 36: II. Lento e Largo – Tranquillissimo

Du Mingxin – Festival Overture

Du Mingxin is a Chinese composer known for ballets, concertos, and a symphonic Beijing Opera. His Festival Overture is an exciting and interesting piece.

Festival Overture

Classical Sleigh Ride Alternatives To Leroy Anderson

Other Sleigh Rides
Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride is by far one of the most well-known and frequently played Christmas songs, having been named “most popular” by ASCAP in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015. It’s been translated into numerous languages and is performed every December by orchestras across the country. But his is not the first orchestral sleigh ride piece nor is it the only classical sleigh ride music worth listening to. Here are 5 classical music “Sleigh Ride” alternatives that should be on your playlist.

Prokofiev – “Troika” from Lieutenant Kijé

A troika is a Russian sleigh drawn by a trio of horses. So it’s no wonder that this portion of the Lieutenant Kijé Suite features sleigh bells and rapid pizzicato in between a repeating quick-paced melody. The music was written as part of a film score for a 1934 film also titled “Lieutenant Kijé”. You may also recognize the melody from another Christmas song – Greg Lake borrowed the tune for his “I Believe in Father Christmas”.

Delius – Sleigh Ride

English composer Frederick Delius fondly recalled the summers he spent in Norway in the 1880s. In 1887, he spent Christmas Eve with fellow composer Grieg and first performed his Sleigh Ride on the piano. Grieg’s influence can clearly be heard in the piece which portrays a lively sleigh ride that eventually comes to rest in the stillness of a northern winter’s night. Delius later wrote the orchestral version which was originally titled “Winter Night”.

Mozart – “Schlittenfahrt” from Three German Dances

“Schlittenfahrt” means “sleigh ride” and is the third movement in this series of dances written by Mozart in 1791. Some scholars believe this dance was written independently of the others because of its very different style. Like other sleigh ride pieces, “Schlittenfahrt” features sleigh bells and a repeating phrase that is passed between instruments.

Ibert – “Sleigh Ride” from Petite Suite

Here’s a lesser-known classical sleigh ride, but one that’s still perfect for this list. Jacques Ibert had a knack for writing sprightly, witty works and “Sleigh Ride” is no exception.

Tchaikovsky – “November” from The Seasons

Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons is a set of 12 short pieces for solo piano. Each piece represents a different month of the year. “November”, also known as “Troika”, is considered the most challenging piece with its rapidly moving melodic flow and and “outbursts” to forte.

8 Cool Facts About Sleigh Ride

The Sleigh Race by Currier and Ives
Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride is a Christmas standard and one that is easily recognizable by its upbeat melody, sleigh bells, clip-clopping, whip sound, and horse whinny. It’s been a hit ever since it was first recorded in 1949 by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

But there’s more to this piece than meets the eye…or ears. Here are 8 cool facts that may make this one of your favorite holiday tunes (if it isn’t already).

The Original Had No Words

You’ve probably heard both the instrumental and sung versions of Sleigh Ride. The original is the orchestral version with no words and was composed in 1948. The lyrics were written by Mitchell Parish in 1950 and were first recorded by The Andrews Sisters that year.

It Was Written During A Heat Wave

In 1946, Leroy Anderson and his family were in Woodbury, Connecticut staying in a cottage on his wife’s families land. He had been released from active duty in the Army and housing was in short supply. While staying in the cottage, a July heat wave and drought hit. Anderson began composing several tunes including Sleigh Ride which he envisioned as a musical depiction of winter long ago. He finished the piece about 2 years after his family moved to New York City – in the winter.

It Never Mentions Christmas

As previously mentioned, the original version did not have words and since the title is simply Sleigh Ride, there is no reference to Christmas. Parish’s words also make no reference to the holiday. In fact, the only event mentioned in the words is a “birthday party” at the bridge. Some artists have changed the words there to “Christmas party”.

It Has Been Named Most Popular

ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, has named Sleigh Ride the most popular piece of Christmas music in the US for several years including 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015. It beat out other songs like “The Christmas Song”, “Winter Wonderland”, and “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”.

It Has Been Translated Into Several Languages

With Anderson’s permission, Sleigh Ride has been translated into French, German, Finnish, Swedish, Dutch, and Italian. Interestingly, in Swedish, “Sleigh Ride” is written as one word. So when they translate the word into English in programs, they often write the title as “Sleighride”.

The Words Were Written By A Jewish Lyricist

Like many other Christmas songs including “White Christmas”, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Let It Snow”, and “Winter Wonderland”, the words to Sleigh Ride were written by a Jewish lyricist. Mitchell Parish was born to a Jewish family in Lithuania. His family emigrated to the US in 1901 when he was less than a year old and settled in Louisiana before moving to New York City.

The Image We Used For This Post Is By Currier and Ives

There is a line in the song that’s meaning may be obscure to most today. “Like a picture print by Currier and Ives” refers to a printmaking company that produced hand-colored lithographs of popular artwork of the 19th century. The image we used in this post is called “The Sleigh Race”. The company closed in 1907, 43 years before the song lyrics were written.

It Sometimes Ends With Carrots

Sleigh Ride includes a famous horse whinny five bars before the end. The whinny is produced by a trumpet. Since the effect is near the ending, a joke with a humorous effect is occasionally played on trumpet players and, sometimes, the percussionists. When they rise for the applause, they are often presented a bunch of carrots in lieu of roses.

Hear us perform Sleigh Ride on December 1 at 4:00 PM at the PACE Center.

Tafelmusik For Your Next Feast

Tafelmusik for Thanksgiving and Dinner PartiesClassical is a popular genre when it comes to dinner music, particularly Thanksgiving dinner, but not all pieces work well in this setting. Put on Verdi’s Requiem or Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and you may be serving a sense of foreboding with your sides. On the other hand, Brahms’ Lullaby, while famous and lovely, may only enhance the already soporific effect of a heavy meal. So what should you add to your dinner playlist? How about Tafelmusik.

What is Tafelmusik? In German, it literally means “table music” and it’s been around since the mid-16th century. It is music that was often played at feasts and banquets and can be instrumental, vocal, or both. Composers of Tafelmusik include Johann Schein and Michael Praetorius, but perhaps the most celebrated collection is that of Georg Philipp Telemann. Telemann’s version has been compared to Bach’s Brandenburg concertos in that it is a supreme example of the composer’s skill in writing for a variety of instruments.

Telemann’s Tafelmusik was originally named Musique de table and was immensely successful upon publication – with an unprecedented 206 advance purchases, 52 of which came from abroad. It came, however, toward the end of the musical form’s life in 1733 (Tafelmusik was most popular during the 1600’s). Still, it supports the same philosophy as earlier Baroque examples – that life’s delights (eating and artful music) should meet. And because of that, it is as perfectly at home at celebratory dinners today as it was in the past.

The collection consists of over four hours of instrumental ensemble music which is long enough to last through any dinner party, Thanksgiving, luncheon, or any other meal. It features a cornucopia of styles and instruments including bassoon, oboe, trumpet, harpsichord, and strings that all delight the senses with truly vivid music. It has been described as brilliant, dazzling, and infectious music.

Hear some samples below:

Musician Spotlight: Cindy Carrier

Cindy Carrier 2You may have noticed a new face in the first violin section. We have a new concertmaster, Cindy Carrier. If you read the announcement, you probably already know she is an established violinist and a music teacher, currently teaching elementary school music in Castle Rock. But there’s so much more to Cindy. Keep reading to learn more and be sure to come see her perform with the Parker Symphony at one of our upcoming concerts.


How did you get your start in music? What drew you to the violin?

Growing up we had music on almost all the time, and a wide variety of genres. I remember listening to the Amadeus soundtrack as a kid on holidays and pretending to conduct an orchestra while listening. I took piano lessons as a young kid, and it was fun, but the violin always looked like a fun instrument to play, so when I finally got to 5th grade when I could play an instrument in school, I already knew I wanted to play the violin. I have been playing ever since.


What do you find to be the most challenging part of being a musician?

The occasional lack of respect for musicians, or the idea that some people have that music is all fun and just requires talent, and doesn’t require hard work. Whenever I run into people who have those ideas, I try to educate them on how hard musicians work, how rewarding it is, and it’s not just talent that makes someone a good musician.


Do you have a fond musical memory you can share?

I remember listening to Tchaikovsky pieces, including March Slave and The 1812 Overture, with my grandparents visiting. We would all pretend to conduct the orchestra, and I always thought that was so fun. Whenever I hear those pieces I think about my grandparents.


What is/are your favorite piece(s) to play (on any instrument)?

I love to play Czardas because it brings me back to my Slovak and Hungarian roots (my paternal grandparents), as well as The Lark Ascending because it is soaringly beautiful. Then I love to turn around and play some bluegrass fiddle or Irish jigs and reels. I was in a string band in Kansas City before moving here and played lots of fiddle music with them, including a lot of busking at the local farmer’s markets, which was a lot of fun.


Is there something you’ve always wanted to play but haven’t had the chance yet?

I would love to repeat playing Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony. I played it in college and would love to play it again.


Who is/are your favorite composers?

My favorites are the Russian Romantics, including Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. It doesn’t get better than wearing your emotions on your sleeve and expressing the highest of highs and lowest of lows like only the Russians can do.


What brought you to Colorado?

My husband brought me to Colorado. He was accepted into medical school here in Parker, and so we got married and moved out here together. This year + being out here with him has been the best part of my life so far!


What music genres do you typically listen to?

I listen to so many genres of music. I do love the newer alternative rock (don’t judge!). Bands are more creative and more musical now, and I really enjoy the strong beats and fun melodies that some of those songs bring, especially since I listen to most music like that when I’m out for a run. I also love classical music, of course, and really appreciate KVOD radio out here. I may have the occasional hip-hop, country, folk, or other random genre in the shuffle on my Spotify playlist too.


What is your proudest accomplishment or happiest moment in life?

My proudest accomplishments so far have been running long distances. I have run 10 marathons and one 50k race, plus several half marathons and other distances. I am especially proud of the 50k race because at one time I never thought I would be able to run that far (32 miles) in one go. As a kid I had the academic and music talent but no athletic talent at all. Going from that to completing long distance races is a huge accomplishment for me, because it’s all hard work and effort, and NO talent. 🙂 Long distance running also makes me really happy (the endorphins from the runner’s high are real!).

I will add that ONE of the happiest days in my life was our wedding. My husband is an amazing man, and every day my relationship with him brings me such joy. Plus, our wedding was amazing!


Do you have any hidden talents or non-musical hobbies?

Since moving to Colorado my husband has gotten me into mountain biking, and I must say that Colorado is an amazing place to learn how to mountain bike. I am not at all an aggressive rider, but have slowly gained more confidence. Don’t expect to see me taking any jumps, though!

Last summer I learned how to scuba dive, and my husband and I went on our honeymoon to Cozumel where we did several ocean and cenote (almost like cave) diving.


If you weren’t a musician and a teacher, what do you think you would do as a career?

Quite possibly a chef! I love to cook and could see myself cooking or baking as a career, since I already spend a lot of my free time in the kitchen.


What are some of the most important lessons you seek to pass on to your students?

I want them to feel comfortable taking risks and know that it’s okay to make mistakes. Growing up I wanted to do everything right the first time and didn’t want to take risks, but I have found that I learn best by diving into something and making mistakes. I also want them to enjoy music, no matter what level they choose to engage in it, whether they become professional musicians or simply appreciate music.


What is your favorite food?

I really enjoy dark chocolate!


What are your favorite phone apps (musical or otherwise)?

I really enjoy Spotify—making my own playlists of music, finding others, and having a chance to explore listening to music through this app. A close second is YouTube, because you can find almost anything there! I use YouTube quite a bit with my students to show them orchestras and other musical performances.


What are some important responsibilities of being a concertmaster of an orchestra?

I believe it is critical for the concertmaster to know her part and have the bowings worked out as soon as possible. Also, to be available to assist any members, not just the violins, in any helpful way.


What do you most look forward to as concertmaster for the PSO?

Having the opportunity be a musical leader and getting to know the members of the PSO.

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