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Romanticism in Music
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1.

Giuseppe Verdi [electronic resource]

The life of Giuseppe Verdi contained almost as much tragedy and joy as his timeless operas. This beautifully filmed program traces the long and eventful career of a giant in musical composition who vowed to never write an opera again after the fiasco of his first production. Dramatic reenactments, photos, archival footage, and rare recordings from the National Institute of Verdi Studies and La Scala Opera Theatre chronicle his prolific creativity as well as his political involvements. Excerpts from Nabucco, La Traviata, Rigoletto, Aida, Macbeth, Otello, and Falstaff, Verdi's final triumph composed when he was nearly 80 years of age, provide an engaging sampling of his oeuvre.
Online
2006; 2000
2.

Chinese Cracker [electronic resource]: Making of Peony Pavilion

Written by 16th-century Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu, The Peony Pavilion is a 19-hour epic opera in 57 episodes that tells a story of youth and love literally triumphing over death. This program follows director Chen Shi-Zheng and the Shanghai Kunju Opera Troupe in their monumental effort of staging the entire production, an event that had not occurred in nearly four centuries. Despite resistance by the Chinese government and the project's inherent difficulties, the debut at the Lincoln Center was an overwhelming success. Coverage of rehearsals, set construction, and costume preparation is combined with interviews with Chen Shi-Zheng and his musical director Zhou Ming, who place this masterpiece in its historical and cultural context.
Online
2005; 2000
3.

Ravel [electronic resource]: Pavane Pour Une Infante Défunte

This program illustrates how melody is used to move musical pieces along in one continuous flow. Beginning with a long, slow strain, we see and hear Ravel's melody progress through a series of changes and variations created by the addition of different instruments. The result is a musical piece replete with obvious shade and tone.
Online
2008; 1996
4.

Philippe Herreweghe [electronic resource]: And the Word Became Song

Flemish conductor Philippe Herreweghe is credited with restoring the freshness and purity of Baroque choral music. His ensembles, which embrace a wide variety of musical periods, have included Collegium Vocale Ghent, La Chapelle Royale, the Orchestre des Champs Elysees, the Jeune Orchestre Atlantique, and RIAS Kammerchor, and his artistry is a model for choral music worldwide. But above all he is the man who, thanks to his incredible energy, kindles a sacred flame that warms audiences and performers alike. This program attempts to capture the many facets of the esteemed maestro through interviews, concert clips, and rehearsal footage. The music of J. S. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schoenberg, and Pascal Dusapin is featured.
Online
2006; 2000
5.

The Abduction From the Seraglio [electronic resource]: Mozart in Turkey

This captivating program combines key scenes from Mozart's singspiel The Abduction from the Seraglio as performed at the spectacular Topkapi Palace with a documentary about the intricate process of rehearsing the production. A winner of the International Broadcasting Convention's Golden Rembrandt, the program also provides fresh insights into the personal life of Mozart, the history of the Enlightenment, and life in the harem through commentary by opera director Elijah Moshinsky and Alev Lytle Croutier, author of Harem: The World Behind the Veil. Paul Groves, Yelda Kodalli, Desiree Rancatore, Lynton Atkinson, Peter Rose, and Oliver Tobias star.
Online
2006; 1999
6.

For a Thousand Tongues to Sing! [electronic resource]: Life and Hymns of Charles Wesley

Between 1738 and 1788, Charles Wesley wrote more than 9,000 hymns and sacred poems, work which earned him the title "The Sweet Bard of Methodism." This program recounts Wesley's life and life's work, with special attention to his better-known songs, such as "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing." Scholars of music and theology speak about Wesley's childhood, education, and missionary work; explore the roots of his passion for hymn-writing; and demonstrate how Wesley's impressive body of work consistently embraced astute references to Scripture, poetic language, and personal experience.
Online
2010; 2007
7.

Bach to the Future [electronic resource]: Interactive Music Experience

J. S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 takes on new life in this Emmy-nominated Discovery Concert(tm) Conductor George Marriner Maull and the Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey create an interactive experience through which spectators become intimate with the concerto's third movement and the structure of a fugue. Engaging the live audience in spirited conversation, Maull cajoles them into listening carefully to excerpts played by the orchestra and offering candid responses. A listening guide accompanies the program-providing a visual means with which to follow the music-as well as a study guide with helpful exercises and a vocabulary list for teachers. Both guides are available online.
Online
2005; 2002
8.

Frédéric Chopin [electronic resource]: A Concise Biography

This installment of the Famous Composers series offers an introduction to the biography and work of Polish composer and pianist Frederic Chopin. The film contextualizes Chopin's early life as a child of musical parents, a Polish mother and French father. Chopin was performing and composing at a young age and became an accepted part of the musical world in Warsaw by the time he finished school at the Lyceum. Polish folk music was a serious influence on the composer's work, but he eventually moved to and settled in Paris during Polish Great Emigration, where he lived out the rest of his life, gained much popular success, and enjoyed the major relationship of his life with the French writer George Sand.
Online
2010
9.

Franz Joseph Haydn [electronic resource]: A Concise Biography

This introduction to the life and music of Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn from the Famous Composers series begins by contextualizing life in the eighteenth century Austro-Hungarian empire. Born to a wheelright and community leader, Haydn grew up with the folk culture and song presented to him by his parents. His talented was recognized early, and the film follows young Haydn to St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, where he struggled as a choirboy. It took some time for the musical nobility to take notice of Haydn, but he eventually gained a reputation as a teacher and conductor, and was finally given a post at court by Prince Esterhazy. It was here that Haydn gained an international reputation and became a widely published composer. The film discusses Haydn's friendship with Moza [...]
Online
2005
10.

George Frideric Handel [electronic resource]: A Concise Biography

This program from the Famous Composers series introduces the life and music of George Frideric Handel, beginning with his childhood and early musical development in Halle, Germany. The film follows Handel to Italy, where he cultivated his serious interest in opera, and contextualizes the religious conditions that the Lutheran composer faced in the Roman Catholic country. Handel then moved to England where he enjoyed great success and the Royal Academy of Music was formed to support his work. The film demonstrates how Handel adapted to changing English tastes by turning from opera to oratorios and gained an important place in British culture.
Online
2006
11.

Gustav Mahler [electronic resource]: A Concise Biography

This overview of the life and work of Gustav Mahler from the Famous Composers series opens by introducing the composer's parents and the political and social landscape of nineteenth century Bohemia. The film follows the young Mahler's musical education at the Vienna Conservatory and his general education, both supported by his father, Bernard Mahler. By the age of 20, Mahler secured steady work as a conductor and gained great success conducting operas. It was some time before conducting gave way to his own composing, which consisted of symphonies instead of operas. The film traces Mahler's appointments in Vienna and New York and his often difficult personal life through his death in 1911.
Online
2009
12.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart [electronic resource]: A Concise Biography

In this introduction to the biography and work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from the Famous Composers series, viewers are offered a glimpse of court lifestyle in Salzburg, where Leopold Mozart, the composer's father, was a musician, and in other European capitals, where his young children toured and performed. Leopold was an accomplished musician himself, but dedicated himself to the development of his children. Mozart's genius was recognized early and he was performing for nobility by the age of five. At twelve the boy returned to Vienna and composed his first opera and then went on a tour of Italy. The film follows Mozart's European travels, eventually finding him back in Salzburg as court organist. He was treated as a servant, however, and soon resigned. While Mozart was gaining suc [...]
Online
2007
13.

Puccini [electronic resource]: A Concise Biography

This installment of the Famous Composers series offers an overview of the life and work of Italian composer Giacomo Puccini, born in Tuscany to a historically musical family. The film characterizes the young Puccini as a talented but disinterested student until he was inspired by a performance of Verdi's Aida to pursue opera. Following the composer to the Milan Conservatory, the program traces the dramas of his life, starting with the profitable Le Villi and moving on to his scandalous marriage and failed Edgar. Puccini finally settled at Torre del Lago, where he lived and wrote the rest of his operas, including La Boheme and Madam Butterfly. He left just a few times, taking trips to New York and conducting operas there and in Vienna.
Online
2006
14.

Franz Peter Schubert [electronic resource]: A Concise Biography

In this installment of the Famous Composers series, viewers are offered an overview of the life and music of the Austrian composer Franz Peter Schubert. The film begins by introducing the overcrowded living conditions of the composer's childhood. Schubert received a strong education, however, his father being a school teacher, and eventually gained a choir scholarship at the royal seminary. The film discusses the political events overshadowing the musician's school days, mainly Napolean's attacks on Vienna. After seminary, Schubert worked as a schoolmaster with his father and composed prolifically. In 1815 he gave up teaching and moved into a room with his closest friend, Schober, who supported his work and introduced him to Johann Michael Vogl, a baritone who would sing many of Schu [...]
Online
2009
15.

Jan Sibelius [electronic resource]: A Concise Biography

This program from the Famous Composers series provides an overview of the life and work of Finnish composer Jan Sibelius. The video contextualizes the composer's childhood and his later musical production in light of Romantic Nationalism and political atmosphere in Finland. Following Sibelius to Helsinki and then Berlin, the film details both the building of his family and their home, the landscape of which provided inspiration, and then his scare with throat cancer. After the 1920s, Sibelius produced little new work, but his influence on contemporary music world wide and on Finnish culture continued to grow.
Online
2007
16.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky [electronic resource]: A Concise Biography

This program from the Famous Composers series provides an overview of the tumultuous life and influential work of Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, born to a large family with a history of military service. The film details Tchaikovsky's early loss of his mother, and how it influenced him greatly throughout his life. His musical education at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory distanced the composer from both his family, who wished him to pursue life as a civil servant, and his country and fellow Russian composers, who supported a more nationalistic style. The film also follows the composer's failed marriage and emotional breakdown, which gave way to some of his most successful works and an emotional charge in his compositions.
Online
2006
17.

Ludwig van Beethoven [electronic resource]: A Concise Biography

In this program from the Famous Composers series, viewers are introduced to the life and work of Ludwig van Beethoven beginning with an overview of his family's history and eighteenth century Germany. By the age of seven, under the tutelage of his father, Beethoven was playing concerts. At 17 Beethoven went to Vienna for the first time and met Mozart but returned home quickly to help support his family in the wake of his mother's death. He managed to develop successfully at Bonn, however, returning to Vienna years later to take lessons with Haydn and other established musicians. Here Beethoven became known as a major composer and a moody and eccentric character. By the age of 28 the composer began to go deaf, but continued to write and conduct masterpieces.
Online
2006
18.

Richard Strauss [electronic resource]: A Concise Biography

This program from the Famous Composers series introduces the life and work of German composer Richard Strauss, born to a horn player, Franz Strauss, in 1864. The film sheds light on Strauss' childhood in Munich, which revolved around the boy's musical education. His father's conservative tastes played a large role in shaping the composer, but also kept him away from the important influence of Wagner until later in life. By 1883 he left Munich for Berlin, where he began conducting and eventually met the soprano Paline de Ahna. They were married in 1894 and the relationship had a great influence on Strauss' work. The film explores Strauss' complex experience in Nazi Germany, as he opposed the Nazi mission but hoped to benefit from their support of German arts and culture, and his surge [...]
Online
2006
19.

Verdi [electronic resource]: A Concise Biography

This installment of the Famous Composers series introduces the life and work of Italian-born composer Giuseppe Verdi. The film begins by painting a portrait of the village Verdi was born in, then a part of the French Empire, and his childhood there as part of his Roman Catholic family. Following Verdi to Milan at the age of twenty, the film outlines the composers devlopment as a composer and as part of the artistic social circles. He soon returned to his childhood village, though, where he became music master and married, but quickly and tragically endured the deaths of his wife and two children. Verdi was devastated, but went on to remarry and compose a series of very successful operas.
Online
2006
20.

Wilhelm Richard Wagner [electronic resource]: A Concise Biography

This installment of the Famous Composers series offers an introduction to the life and work of German composer Wilhelm Richard Wagner. Wagner's musical interests were initiated by his stepfather's involvement in theater, an influence that remained important to the composer and his philosophy of "the total work of art." His adult life is characterized by a tumultuous marriage, troublesome debt, and political exile. The film explores his socialist politics and years of exile in Paris and Zurich - a time of personal struggle but great musical and written production. Wagner was finally offered financial and professional support under the new king of Bavaria, Ludwig II, in 1864. This cemented his musical success and influence, but this did not end the personal string of scandals in his life.
Online
2005