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Which composers were Rats? Find out as we celebrate Chinese New Year

Station Blog2020-1-22By: Classical Staff

January 25, 2020

Rat: Witty, smart, and funny
Birth years: 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020

Rats tend to work best in the midnight hour and beyond. They’re the yang to your yin, and represent the beginning of a new day. Rats are clever and quick, easily adaptable, and full of ideas, but not the best leaders. They are suitable for creative jobs, but don’t work well in teams. They are detail-oriented, high-energy but tire easily. Rats in the year 2020 will do well in their careers, but their personal lives may be a struggle. They will do well financially and should save. Lucky months will be March, September and November; unlucky months will be April, July, and October.

Joseph Haydn
Haydn was a beloved composer who served his patron family, the weather Esterhazys, at their estate. He was a friend and mentor to Mozart, taught Beethoven, and was a crucial element in developing chamber music (like piano trios and string quartets). He was celebrated in his lifetime, cared for in his declining years by the Esterhazys, and was mourned by all who were influenced by him.

Here is the String Quartet in D Major, Op. 64, No. 5, “The Lark” performed by musicians visiting the Toronto Summer Music in July of 2016.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart is a classical composer who best fits the “genius” label. Everything came easily to him when he composed – music was formed completely in his head – it was his procrastinating in writing it down that sometimes got him into trouble. Have a listen to Murray Perahia performing Mozart’s beloved Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Major.

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Romantic composer Tchaikovsky may have admired Mozart, and turned to him to keep a lid on his brimming Romantic moods, but no question, it was The Big Heart-Throbbing Melody that put Tchaikovsky on the map, and kept him there.
Seong-Jin Cho performs.

Gioachino Rossini
The Barber of Seville (which conjures up Bugs Bunny running around with a pair of scissors as Elmer Fudd chases him) is, perhaps, Rossini’s most famous work. He wrote a LOT of operas – about 40, averaging 3 a year (remember, this was before computer programs). Managing this involved a rather formulaic approach to composing, and shall we say, a fair bit of “self-borrowing”. He retired at 40, well off, a celebrity, and host to many parties. He also became known for his passion for food and cooking. If he were alive today, he would have had a popular cooking show on the Food Network. If you’d like to see The Barber of Seville, it happens to be on now at the Canadian Opera Company.

Richard Strauss
Richard Strauss was one of those musical prodigies who showed freakish talent in the beginning, was given the best training possible, and wrote pieces for orchestra that were gutsy and forward-thinking. He eventually relaxed into late-Romantic writing, composed finely-crafted pieces, and kept things on the popular side, always writing with the box office in mind. Also sprach Zarathustra, still famous today, premiered in 1896 – it must have sounded so experimental at that time.

Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland wanted to create the ultimate “American sound” as a classical composer. He grew up in New York City, was classically trained, experimented with jazz, and despite veering off into a distinctly contemporary sound, wound up incorporating American folk themes into his music and becoming popular.
Here’s the Hoedown from the ballet “Rodeo”. Listen out for the fiddling (as opposed to violin playing” by the orchestra. It doesn’t get much more American than this.

Liz Parker is the Digital Content Editor for The New Classical FM, a stylist and piano teacher. She’s fond of good food. Got a story idea? [email protected]


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