♫ December 19th, 2011 01:01
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, full name Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 â 5 December 1791) was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. His over 600 compositions include works widely acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. Mozart is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers, and many of his works are part of the standard concert repertoire.
Mozart’s music, like Haydn’s, stands as an archetypal example of the Classical style. His works spanned the period during which that style transformed from one exemplified by the style galant to one that began to incorporate some of the contrapuntal complexities of the late Baroque, complexities against which the galant style had been a reaction. Mozart’s own stylistic development closely paralleled the development of the classical style as a whole. In addition, he was a versatile composer and wrote in almost every major genre, including symphony, opera, the solo concerto, chamber music including string quartet and string quintet, and the piano sonata. While none of these genres were new, the piano concerto was almost single-handedly developed and popularized by Mozart. He also wrote a great deal of religious music, including masses; and he composed many dances, divertimenti, serenades, and other forms of light entertainment.
The central traits of the classical style can be identified in Mozart’s music. Clarity, balance, and transparency are hallmarks of his work.
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♫ December 18th, 2011 01:01
Hans Florian Zimmer (born September 12, 1957) is a German film score composer and music producer. He has composed music for over 100 films, including Hollywood blockbusters such as the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Gladiator, The Lion King, The Da Vinci Code and The Dark Knight.
Zimmer spent the early part of his career in the United Kingdom before moving to the United States. He is the head of the film music division at DreamWorks studios, and works with other composers through the company which he founded, Remote Control Productions. His work is notable for integrating electronic music sounds with traditional orchestral arrangements.
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♫ December 17th, 2011 01:01
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (March 4, 1678 â July 28, 1741), nicknamed il Prete Rosso (“The Red Priest”), was a Venetian priest and Baroque music composer, as well as a famous virtuoso violinist; he was born and raised in the Republic of Venice. The Four Seasons, a series of four violin concerti, is his best-known work and a highly popular Baroque piece.
Many of Vivaldi’s compositions reflect a flamboyant, almost playful, exuberance. Most of Vivaldi’s repertoire was rediscovered only in the first half of the 20th century in Turin and Genoa and was published in the second half. Vivaldi’s music is innovative, breaking a consolidated tradition in schemes; he gave brightness to the formal and the rhythmic structure of the concerto, repeatedly looking for harmonic contrasts and innovative melodies and themes. Moreover, Vivaldi was able to compose nonacademic music, particularly meant to be appreciated by the wide public and not only by an intellectual minority. The joyful appearance of his music reveals in this regard a transmissible joy of composing; these are among the causes of the vast popularity of his music. This popularity soon made him famous in other countries such as France which was, at the time, very independent concerning its musical taste.
Vivaldi is considered one of the composers who brought Baroque music (with its typical contrast among heavy sonorities) to evolve into a classical style. Johann Sebastian Bach was deeply influenced by Vivaldi’s concertos and arias (recalled in his Johannes Passion, MatthÃ¤uspassion, and cantatas). Bach transcribed a number of Vivaldi’s concerti for solo keyboard, along with a number for orchestra, including the famous Concerto for Four Violins and Violoncello, Strings and Continuo (RV 580).
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♫ December 16th, 2011 01:01
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 respected and influential composers of all time.
Born in Bonn, then in the Electorate of Cologne (now in modern-day Germany), he moved to Vienna in his early twenties and settled there, studying with Joseph Haydn and quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. Beethoven’s hearing gradually deteriorated beginning in his twenties, yet he continued to compose masterpieces, and to conduct and perform, even after he was completely deaf.
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♫ December 15th, 2011 01:01
Johannes Brahms (May 7, 1833 â April 3, 1897) was a German composer of the Romantic period. He was born in Hamburg and in his later years he settled in Vienna, Austria.
Brahms maintained a Classical sense of form and order in his works â in contrast to the opulence of the music of many of his contemporaries. Thus many admirers (though not necessarily Brahms himself) saw him as the champion of traditional forms and “pure music,” as opposed to the New German embrace of program music.
Brahms venerated Beethoven: in the composer’s home, a marble bust of Beethoven looked down on the spot where he composed, and some passages in his works are reminiscent of Beethoven’s style. The main theme of the finale of Brahms’s First Symphony is reminiscent of the main theme of the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth, and when this resemblance was pointed out to Brahms he replied that any ass â jeder Esel â could see that.
Ein deutsches Requiem was partially inspired by his mother’s death in 1865, but also incorporates material from a Symphony he started in 1854, but abandoned following Schumann’s suicide attempt. He once wrote that the Requiem “belonged to Schumann”. The first movement of this abandoned Symphony was re-worked as the first movement of the First Piano Concerto.
Brahms also loved the Classical composers Mozart and Haydn. He collected first editions and autographs of their works, and edited performing editions. He also studied the music of pre-classical composers, including Giovanni Gabrieli, Johann Adolph Hasse, Heinrich SchÃ¼tz and especially Johann Sebastian Bach. His friends included leading musicologists, and with Friedrich Chrysander he edited an edition of the works of FranÃ§ois Couperin. He looked to older music for inspiration in the arts of strict counterpoint; the themes of some of his works are modelled on Baroque sources, such as Bach’s The Art of Fugue in the fugal finale of Cello Sonata No. 1, or the same composer’s Cantata No. 150 in the passacaglia theme of the Fourth Symphony’s finale.
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♫ December 14th, 2011 01:01
Bart Howard (born Howard Joseph Gustafson; June 1, 1915 — February 21, 2004) was the composer and writer of the famous jazz standard “Fly Me To The Moon”, which has been performed by singers (among others) Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Della Reese, Diana Krall, June Christy and Astrud Gilberto. It is also played frequently by jazz and popular musicians around the world.
Howard was born in Burlington, Iowa. He began his career as an accompanist at the age of 16 and played for Mabel Mercer, Johnny Mathis and Eartha Kitt, among others.
“Fly Me To the Moon” was first sung in 1954 by Felicia Sanders at the “Blue Angel” club in Manhattan where the composer became M.C. and accompanist in 1951. The song received wide exposure when Peggy Lee sang it on The Ed Sullivan Show several years later. Bart Howard “lived off” this song for the rest of his life, although he had 49 other songs to his credit.
He died, aged 88, in Carmel, New York. He was survived by a sister Dorothy Lind of Burlington, Iowa and by his companion of 58 years, Thomas Fowler.
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♫ December 13th, 2011 01:01
Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky (May 7 1840 â November 6 1893) was a Russian composer of the Romantic era. While not part of the nationalistic music group known as “The Five”, Tchaikovsky wrote music which, in the opinion of Harold Schonberg, was distinctly Russian: plangent, introspective, with modally-inflected melody and harmony.
Aesthetically, Tchaikovsky remained open to all aspects of Saint Petersburg musical life. He was impressed by Serov and Balakirev as well as the classical values upheld by the conservatory. Both the progressive and conservative camps in Russian music at the time attempted to win him over. Tchaikovsky charted his compositional course between these two factions, retaining his individuality as a composer as well as his Russian identity. In this he was influenced by the ideals of his teacher Nikolai Rubinstein and Nikolai’s brother Anton.
Tchaikovsky’s musical cosmopolitanism led him to be favored by many Russian music-lovers over the “Russian” harmonies and styles of Mussorgsky, Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakov.
Nonetheless he frequently adapted Russian traditional melodies and dance forms in his music, which enhanced his success in his home country. The success in St. Petersburg at the premiere of his Third Orchestral Suite may have been due in large part to his concluding the work with a polonaise. He also used a polonaise for the final movement of his Third Symphony.
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♫ December 12th, 2011 01:01
Henryk Wieniawski (10 July 1835 – 31 March 1880) was a Polish violinist and composer. He was considered a violinist of genius and wrote some of the most important works in the violin repertoire, including two extremely difficult violin concertos, the second of which (in D minor, 1862) is more often performed than the first (in F♯ minor, 1853). His “L’Ecole Moderne, 10 Etudes-Caprices” is a very well known and required work for aspiring violinists. His Scherzo-Tarantelle, Op. 16 and Légende, Op. 17 are also frequently performed works. He also wrote two popular mazurkas for solo violin and piano accompaniment (the second one, Obertas, in G Major), using techniques such as left-hand pizzicato, harmonics, large leaps, and many double stops. Wieniawski has been given a number of posthumous honors. His portrait appeared on a postage stamp of Poland in 1952 and again in 1957. A 100
Złoty coin was issued in 1979 bearing his image.
What is sometimes called the “Russian bow grip” ought to be called the “Wieniawski bow grip”: Wieniawski taught his students his own kind of very stiff bowing that allowed him to play a “devil’s staccato” with ease. This “devil’s staccato” was easily used to discipline students.
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♫ December 11th, 2011 01:01
Yanni (born Yiannis Hrysomallis (pronounced Chrysomallis), (Greek: Γιάννης Χρυσομάλλης, classical transcription Giannis Chrysomallis), on November 14, 1954 in Kalamata, Greece) is a self-taught pianist, keyboardist, and composer. After receiving a B.A. in psychology, he would instead seek a life in music though he had no formal training and could not read a note.
He earned Grammy nominations for his 1992 album, Dare to Dream, and the 1993 follow-up, In My Time. His breakthrough success came with the 1994 release of Yanni Live at the Acropolis, deemed to be the second best-selling music video of all time, (behind Michael Jackson’s video for Thriller with nine million units). Yanni has since performed live in concert before in excess of two million people in more than 20 countries around the world. He has accumulated more than 35 platinum and gold albums globally, with sales totaling over 20 million copies. Yanni is considered to be one of the top fundraisers of all time for public television. His compositions have been included in all Olympic Games television broadcasts since 1988, and his music has been used extensively in television and televised sporting events. His music is frequently described as “new age”, though he prefers the term “contemporary instrumental”. The regents of the University of Minnesota conferred upon Yanni the honorary
degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
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♫ December 10th, 2011 01:01
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a 2002 fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson based on the second volume of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and the second film in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy that was preceded by The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and concluded with The Return of the King (2003).
Continuing the plot of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, it intercuts three storylines, as Frodo and Sam continue their quest to destroy the One Ring in Mordor and meet Gollum, its former owner. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli come across the war torn nation of Rohan as well as the resurrected Gandalf, before fighting at the Battle of Helm’s Deep, whilst Merry and Pippin escape capture and meet Treebeard, the Ent.
The movie was critically acclaimed, although the adaptation was more controversial than the first film. It was an enormous box-office success, earning over $900 million worldwide, outgrossing its predecessor, and is currently the 7th-highest-grossing film of all time (inflation-adjusted, it is the 58th most successful film in North America). The Special Extended DVD Edition was released on November 19, 2003.
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