Articles on Classical music

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Othello and Desdemona, Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle, circa 1827. Wikimedia

Decoding the music masterpieces: Rossini’s opera, Otello

“They have been crucifying Othello into an opera,” Lord Byron later wrote after watching Rossini's opera. But the performance does much to highlight the play's racial politics.
Beethoven monument on the Beethovenplatz square in Vienna, Austria. The monument was unveiled in 1880. Shutterstock

How Beethoven’s ‘mistake’ became one of our most famous tunes

The last movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony gave us 'Ode to Joy', one of the most famous tunes of all time. But the composer initially thought he'd made a grave mistake with it.
The 1976 memorial at the Babi Yar massacre site only recognised Soviet victims, despite the killing of more than 30,000 Jewish people. In 1991 a Jewish memorial was installed nearby. Jennifer Boyer/Flickr

Decoding the music masterpieces: Shostakovich’s Babi Yar

On September 29 1941, Nazis murdered more than 30,000 Jews in a ravine outside Kiev. Dmitri Shostakovich's 13th Symphony, Babi Yar, is a damning critique of the Soviet Union's lack of recognition of the massacre, and a condemnation of Stalinism.
In Franz Schubert’s Winterreise (winter’s journey), a man steps out on a mid-winter night to rid himself of his lost love. Image from www.shutterstock.com

Decoding the music masterpieces: Schubert’s Winterreise

A year before his death at 31 Franz Schubert published 'Winterreise' or 'winter's journey', a series of 24 poems set to music exploring unrequited love. Schubert described them as 'truly terrible'.
George Dreyfus, centre, holding a bassoon and Walter Wurzburger, far left, holding a clarinet. JC Williamson production 1949

Loss, trials, and compassion: the music of Australia’s Jewish refugees

In the late 1930s, Australia sought to restrict the flow of refugees, ruling that musicians were 'unsuitable' as migrants. Yet some talented Jewish musicians did arrive here and their work has enriched our cultural life.
Debussy’s Clair de Lune belongs to the Impressionist movement, which included visual artists like Claude Monet. Wikimedia

Decoding the Music Masterpieces: Debussy’s Clair de Lune

Debussy's Clair de Lune, meaning 'moonlight', is one of the most easily recognised pieces of music, but its origins are complex. The piece was influenced by poetry, Baroque music and the Impressionist movement.

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