World Cup of Classical Music: Germany vs. Argentina

Celebrate the World Cup winners – as well as the second-place team – with a little Classical 101, Germany and Argentina editions.

Classical 101: Germany

German classical music and German classical musicians have played a major role in the development of the genre, with a significant contribution to orchestral works and operas. Mozart’s Die Zauberföte, for example, remains among the most beloved operas, and Beethoven’s symphonies are considered prime examples of the Romantic era. Robert Schumann is also credited with the creation of lied, a mixture of romantic poetry and music.

In honor of yesterday’s victory, get to know the biggest composers from this World Cup-winning country:

Johann Sebastian Bach

J.S. Bach

Born in 1685 in Eisenach, Johann Sebastian Bach was a Baroque composer who Beethoven described as “the original father of harmony.” Although he was not recognized as a great composer during his lifetime, Bach’s fame developed during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He is famed for his more than 300 cantatas (of which close to 100 have been lost) as well as his music’s intellectual depth and beauty. An example of this can be heard in his Christ lag in Todesbanden.

Ludwig van Beethoven


Born in 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven is perhaps the most famous German composer of all time. Despite his hearing loss during the later stages of his life, he became a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic musical periods, and  remains one of the most influential of all composers. One of Beethoven’s most famous works in his Symphony No. 9.

Robert Schumann


Robert Schumann was born in 1810 and brought forth a new type of music called lied. After a hand injury ended his dreams of becoming Europe’s finest pianist, Schumann turned his energies to composition and is now recognized as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Listen to his Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54 to hear the composer’s prowess.



Richard Wagner was born in 1813 in Leipzig and is known for his operatic works. His compositions are known for their complex textures and rich harmonies. Arguably his most famous work is his Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). It’s famous “Ride of the Valkyries” can be heard below:



And to honor the second-place winner in the 2014 World Cup…

Classical 101: Argentina

Argentina’s contribution to classical music does not match that of Germany’s, but this should not detract from their legacy. Argentinians have contributed widely to many forms of classical music. Opera must be considered one of the main areas of classical composition. The Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires is considered one of the best opera houses in the world and represents the counties dedication to the art form. The country is less known for producing romantic and conservative compositions such as orchestral and piano works.

Alberto Williams


Alberto Williams, born in 1865 in Buenos Aires, is known as a pianist, conductor, and a pedagogue. While he was in Paris as a young man, Williams took lessons in composition from César Franck, who supposedly became fond of Williams. He is known for his orchestral works with his Symphony No. 2 in C Minor being one of the most popular.

Carlos Guastavino


Carlos Guastavino was born in 1912 in Santa Fe Province and is considered one of the most prominent Argentine composers of the twentieth century. He generated 500 compositions throughout his life and many were based on Argentine folk songs. He is sometimes referred to as the “Schubert of the Pamapas” and his songs Pueblito, mi pueblo, la rosa y el sauce (“The Rose and the Willow”) and Se eqivovó la paloma(“The Dove was Wrong”) have now become national favorites.

Alberto Ginastera


Born in 1916 in Buenos Aires, Alberto Ginastera became a peer of Guastavino and established himself as another of Argentina’s great twentieth century composers. He is famously known for his composition of the opera Don Rodrigo, but is also known for his orchestral works.


200th Anniversary of Beethoven’s 8th

On February 27, 1814, Beethoven premiered his Eighth Symphony – or, as he called it, “my little Symphony in F” – in Vienna. Now WDAV celebrates the “little Symphony” on the 200th anniversary of its debut.

Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony is much lighter than his Seventh was or his Ninth would be. It’s an odd distinction, considering this cheerful symphony was written during a difficult period in his life when his health faltered and a romantic relationship ended. Accentuating the contrasting styles of his works, the Vienna premiere of Beethoven’s Eighth actually began with a performance of his Seventh, leading the audience to create a direct comparison. Their response? Much of the public preferred the more serious predecessor. Explaining the cause of the relative unpopularity of his new work, Beethoven supposedly said of his Eighth Symphony, “That’s because it is so much better.”

On February 27 at 2:00 p.m., tune into WDAV to hear host Matt Rogers play Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony in honor of the 200th anniversary of its premiere.

Learn more: Notes on Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony (NPR)

Charlotte Symphony Announces Replacement Conductor for Season Finale

POSTED Monday, April 19, 2010 — As a result of the ash cloud from the recent volcano eruption in Iceland that has mandated closures of virtually all European airports and cancellations of flights, the Charlotte Symphony (CSO) announced today that Christof Perick is unable to travel to Charlotte to rehearse and conduct his final concerts as Music Director on April 22, 23 and 24.


Ba Ba Ba BOM!

james_150.jpgby James Hogan
Friday night brought the return of Christof Perick to the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra performing Beethoven’s marquee, the Fifth Symphony.
A full disclosure is in order: I’m not crazy about the Fifth. Yes, there’s the whole Romantic interpretation of Beethoven’s growing deafness lurking in his mind, producing the image of Fate knocking on the door–the four note infamy that opens the symphony’s first movement.


Schulz’s Beethoven: Schoeder’s Muse

by James Hogan
I just had to share this article from the New York Times. Remember all those wonderful Peanuts comic strips featuring Schroeder? He would be at his piano, and often in the comic strip panel, the reader would see a stanza of music, which served as a kind of wallpaper to the scene.