I just had the incredible privilege of hearing the Requiem for the Living, by Dan Forrest. Written by a fairly new-ish composer (as in, young, alive, still composing, not dead like Mozart and Beethoven), this choral piece stunned me. I went to school with the composer, and never dreamed he would someday write something like this. Traditionally, the Requiem is a multi-movement choral work written for the dead; it is literally a mass for the dead. By contrast, Dan wrote his Requiem for the living - intended to bring comfort to those who are suffering through whatever pain has hit them in this life. The Requiem opens with the traditional Kyrie-Introit, but departs into one of the most incredible Requiem movements I have personally heard—Vanitas Vanitatum "Vanity of Vanities - all is vanity!" This music brings the listener through all the grief of personal pain. By the end of all the movements, the listener is pointed to the God of heaven and His Christ, who came that there might be a mitigation for suffering - an end - that peace may be both sought and found through the suffering of Christ.
Can very young children learn to play the piano? Of course. Just think of Mozart - touring the country giving recitals by the time he was 5. Okay, so that's not the desired course of action for all children (certainly not for mine!), and Mozart was incredibly gifted, but... to keep it relevant, yes—young children can learn to play the piano.
My philosophy for teaching the very young is sound before symbol. That is, learn to play LOUDLY and softly before learning the symbols in music that tell you how loudly or softly to play.
Is that how Mozart was taught to play piano? difficult to know for a fact, but I would bet so!
Erik Satie was a rather eccentric French composer living in the 19th century whose music much influenced Debussy. The music of Satie was a definitive break from the wide emotional swings of the music from the romantic era.
Even though it was written in the late 1880's, Satie's Gymnopedies sound fairly modern - almost as though they were written in the 21st century. Pensive tone, haunting melody. Check out Gymnopedies No.1 on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-Xm7s9eGxU
Lived from 1810–1849
Born in Poland, but moved to Paris, France when he was 20.
Earned most of his money from teaching piano and selling compositions.
Chopin's health was poor - he suffered with a lung disease his entire life, which sapped his stamina. When he performed in recitals, Chopin typically chose small salons and performed for an intimate circle of guests rather than renting a concert hall. (Chopin was physically unable to play "with gusto.")
Wrote predominately for piano. Even the works that include orchestra are more like piano solos with accompaniment.
Chopin is noted for writing an extensive collection of "etudes" or studies - technical studies designed to help students master the technical aspect of playing the piano.
Chopin's etudes were unique in his time, in that not only are they technically challenging, but they are also aesthetically pleasing to the ear.
Chopin is also noted for writing nocturnes (night pieces) and for inventing the instrumental ballade (telling a story without vocalist).
Modern pianist and composer David Lanz - began composing what was then a new type of music in the 1980's.
His music is not what strict die-hard classical musicians consider "serious classical" but it is definitely a genre in its own right. Check out his music on YouTube.
Bonus - To purchase and download scores, see:
Joy B: enriching lives one piano lesson at a time.