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Beethoven died on March 26th!


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Today in history: Ludwig van Beethoven died in Vienna, Austria on March 26, 1827.

Today, we mark the "Classical Music Era" as running from 1750 - just before Mozart's birth to 1830 - just after Beethoven's death.

Bach, Handel, Pachelbel, etc. belong to the previous Baroque Music Era.

Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Liszt, etc. belong to the following Romantic Music Era.

If you're a classical piano player and play Baroque Era music, you play it slightly staccato - a slight separation of of silence between notes - and with even loudness because it's music was written primarily for the harpsichord which sounds that way, the piano not being invented until the early 1700's.

If you're playing Classical Era music, you play it exactly as written and let the notes run together smoothly (legato) with varying loudness, especially at the high point of each passage, unless the music is marked otherwise.

If you're playing Romantic Era music, you are allowed to stretch some of the notes out in time, "borrowing" time from the next note (rubato) and use the three strong accents: length of note, height of pitch, and loudness to accent the music as you see fit unless the music is otherwise noted.

That's one reason I love Romantic Era music by composers like Chopin and Schumann - you are "officially allowed" to play with it more than with Mozart's and Bach's stuff.

During a piano lesson where I practiced Schumann's "First Sorrow" - about a young girl's first romantic broken heart - after I auditioned and was accepted to play it as part of the ACE Recital at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins Univ, my teacher, Virtuosa Frances Cheng-Koors said, "This sounds like you're still playing Classical stuff - I better hear some of YOUR feelings in this piece at the recital."

I guess I did ok.  After I played for about 200 people at the recital, I was approached by International Opera Grand Diva Hyunah Yu, a Peabody Graduate who was in the audience, who said she was moved by it!

May 19, 2006, Me standing on left, Hyunah Yu standing in middle, Frances Cheng-Koors seated on right and giving me her critique of my performance:



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