Monday, October 24, 2011

Archangelo Corelli: "The World's FIRST Great Violinist!"

Archangelo Corelli or otherwise known as the "Founder of Modern Violin Technique" the "Father of the Concerto Grosso" or "The World's First Great Violinist!" was born in Italy in 1653. He took on his musical training in Bologna and established himself in Rome during the 1670's and quickly became internationally known for his musicianship. After serving Queen Christina of Sweden in 1679, Corelli was able to leave her courts and gain patronage anywhere he liked. To put this into perspective, Corelli was the Baroque Era's "Paganini". The violin was his passion. He played, composed and even taught it. Corelli made the violin, which was at the time new to the music world, a popular instrument which over the years has cemented its legacy in music. While Corelli toured Europe performing the violin, his compositions were sold and honored throughout Europe, making the violin the most popular instrument in music at that time. Corelli did not produce a large sum of compositions, but he still composed great music. He popularized the form Concerto Grosso by producing pieces that people came to love. "Of all his compositions it was upon his Opus 6 that Corelli labored most diligently and devotedly. Even though he wouldn't allow them to be published during his lifetime, they still became some of the most famous music during the time. The date of composition is not certain, for Corelli spent many years of his life writing and rewriting this music, beginning while still in his twenties." ( Corelli's teachings were remarkable. He produced many writings on the violin and taught prestigious musicians such as Antonio Vivaldi and Geminiani. His style of composition was imitated throughout Europe and his music influenced future musicians, Handel and Bach, who both wrote music dedicated to him. For the last thirty years of his life Corelli attained high positions as a composer, performer and teacher in Rome, before his passing in 1713. Unlike many other musicians from this time, Corelli died a very rich man. On November 4, 2011 The Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes will be performing Corelli's Concerto Grosso in D Major Op. 6, No. 4. Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at 607-936-2873 OR by person at 52 W Market Street (Corner of Walnut St. & Market St.)
Corning, NY 14830
. Tickets are $25 per adult and $5 per student (with valid student ID).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Antonio Vivaldi: "The Red Haired Priest!"

Antonio Vivaldi is noted today as one of Baroque's greatest composer's. Born on March 4th 1678, Vivaldi, not like so many other musicians of the time, was born into a family of wealth. His father, Giovanni Battista Vivaldi, was noted as one of the best violinist's in all of Venice and is credited to being the one who taught Antonio at a young age the life of the violin. Suffering from what appeared to be asthma, Vivaldi was not in the best respiratory health, but was able to still learn the violin at a virtuoso pace. He toured with father from concert hall to concert hall till the life of Priesthood beckoned him at the age of 15. You see, it was not uncommon at the time that the boys of wealthy families grew up to be priest's, simply for the hierarchical position and power they could attain at this position for the family. It was during the next 10 years of Priest training that Vivaldi gained the nickname "il Prete Rosso" or other known as "The Red Haired Priest". It was also during this time that Vivaldi was fighting his illness and only soon after gaining Priesthood at the age of 25, Vivaldi had to give up his Priest duties because of ill health. Bad luck, HUH? From there Vivaldi went on to become the Violin Master for an all girls orphanage named "Devout Hospital of Mercy". He taught music theory, the use of instruments and wrote music for the girls to learn and perform for the public. Soon after he was appointed, the Orphanage started gaining appreciation and esteem across Europe. He wrote everything from sacred works to concerto's for these girls to learn, but it seemed that everyone loved what was happening except for the Board of Directorsn for the Orphanage. After years of on going unanimous voting, Vivaldi was fired by the Board in 1709 only to be bought back in 1711 by the Director's themselves. Obviously they didn't understand Vivaldi's importance to the Orphanage. Vivaldi then in 1714 decided to change scenery and became the Impresario for the Teatro Sant' Angelo in Venice. From there he composed Opera's the first of which, Orlando finto Pazzo, received bad reviews for being to complicated. But from there it seemed that Vivaldi caught fire and produced one great Opera after another. By the end of his life he was able to accumulate about 46 of them, along with 500 concerto's, about 90 sonata's and a large body sacred choral music. Vivaldi ended his tenure in Venice and moved to Mantua in 1717 to make music for the Governor. For him, he produced Tito Manlio and La Silvia. From there Vivaldi moved around a bit starting in 1722 and finally settling again in Venice in 1725, where with in the same year he produced four Opera's. Vivaldi also during this time in Venice was able to crank out his most famous music, "The Four Season's". Four concerto's dedicated on depicting the four season's. Vivaldi seemed like the man from there. He wrote collaborations with some of the best artist's at the time. Everyone ranging from Carlo Goldoni to Pietro Metastasio, the leader of the Arcadian Movement and court poet of Vienna. But then something happened. Vivaldi's music lost interest in the people. The views of music was changing and no one wanted to listen to him anymore. Vivaldi in a last ditch effort to gain a secure job sold most of his pieces to gain money to move to Vienna. His intention was to take up a imperial court job, making music. But his main supporter. The man who was going to get him the gig, Charles VI, died. This left Vivaldi nothing, no job, no place stay. Nothing. Vivaldi shortly there after passed away in the home of a widow in 1741 at the age of 63. Vivaldi's Stabat Mater will be performed by the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Friday November 4th, 2011 at the Christ Episcopal Church in Corning, N.Y. For ticket information you can call 607-936-2873, or email See you there!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Accomplished more in 35 years than most can accomplish in 100.

Quick, tell me what was the last word upon Mahler's lips before he died? Or, tell me the man who Beethoven, as stubborn as he was, actually looked at as a musician who could write a more musical melody then he, himself, could have ever written? This same person wrote his first symphony at the age of eight, his first opera at 12. Don't know? Well, I will let you in on the answer. Mozart. One of the most prolific musicians and composers in the history of Western Classical Music, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, now today's Austria on the 27th of January 1756. From a young age he showed great interest in music. His father, Leopold, capitalized on this and nurtured Mozart into a music playing/composing machine. He started touring Europe at the age of six with his sister and father, showing off his musicianship to the aristocratic circle by sight reading music, playing blind folded and by making music up on the spot. Yes indeed, Mozart was a prodigy and yes, this made his father very wealthy and yes this put a strain on the young musician. In fact while touring for three years straight, Mozart battled through erythema nodosum, rheumatic fever, angina, small-pox, scarlet fever and intestinal typhoid, the latter of which took two months of recovery. But as they say, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!". Fighting off sickness though didn't just make Mozart physically tough. He grew more musically inept with each passing note. Once, while sitting through a performance of Gregorio Allegri's Miserere at the Sistine Chapel, Mozart was able to memorize the whole piece from ear and later write it out only to fix some minor details after he was done. Mozart produced music at a great rate writing everything from Opera's to Concerto's. He was a people person, made friends with many, including composer Joseph Hayden and for whom he wrote six quartet's dedicated to him. He sold out concert's with himself as the soloist and moved to Vienna, the music capitol of the world at that time. Yup, Mozart was good, probably the best of his time, but his personal life was not as perfect as his music. When his later years came to him he fell into debt, not for the fact that he wasn't paid well for his work, O he was paid well. His debt was more self inflicted, he just simply spent more money then he made. At times to make ends meat, Mozart would borrow money from fellow mason member Michael Puchberg to support him, his wife and their two children. As his situation worsened, Mozart fell out of the public eye and went into depression. He continued to fight to pay off his debt's by traveling far for concerts although it relieved little of his debt woes. As the later years of his life came Mozart was finding success with his music again and finances were seeming to look up. He was starting to pay off debt's and was seen more in public. Then tragically his passed away on the fifth of December, 1791. No one knows the exact reason why he passed so suddenly. Some believe that it was mercury poisoning, others believed it was influenza and some believe he was murdered, but in the end we may never know. But he lives on through his great music, all 600 plus compositions. On November fourth, 2011 the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes will be performing a couple pieces of Mozart's music at the Christ Episcopal Church in Corning, New York. Tickets can be bought online at, by phone 607-936-2873, or visit the Orchestra in person at 52 W Market Street (Corner of Walnut St. & Market St.) Corning, NY 14830! See you at the concert!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Liszt: Written about in so many ways, but yet so misunderstood.

This coming up Saturday, October 1st, The Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes will be performing Franz Liszt's Fantasy on the Hungarian Folk Melodies, with Eva Virsik at the piano. As epic as that title sounds, the more resonating claim to this piece is not so much the title, but the composer Franz Liszt himself. Characterized by Felix Mendelssohn as a man whose life was filled with "a continual alternation between scandal and apotheosis", Liszt's adulated life was not as perfect as his hands may have been on a Bechstein, and yes Felix did refer to Liszt as amongst the God's.
Born in 1811 as the only son of Adam and Anna Liszt, Franz showed interest in music at about the age of 6. Being it his fathers dream to be a musician. Adam taught his son everything he knew and Liszt being the virtuoso he was, absorbed everything and anything. Within 22 months of mentor ship Liszt had worked through all the complete works of Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Clementi, Hummel and more, but when asked what inspired his earlier compositions. Liszt was not hesitant to say it was the music of the Gypsies.
As the years followed Liszt and his family settled in Paris where Liszt performed just about non stop. After giving performances to the aristocratic circles of Europe. Liszt learned many cultures and grew just not musically, but socially. Liszt's virtuosity at the piano was hailed as never seen before, even by the likes of Beethoven. He was said to have been able to play the most difficult of music by sight. If that's not impressive, he also played these pieces upside down and while performing them, he would comment on the piece being played.
There was no doubt that at the time, Liszt was the man. Liszt was a show-off and for good reason. He was the first pianist to hold a concert with just written piano music and of course it was hit. Liszt was so naturally in love with music that he would give lessons for free and would travel throughout Europe on mail-coaches visiting everyone he could while playing any instrument handed to him.
Music was not the only love in his life, Liszt would swoon any damsel who would make themselves available. Whether it be a gypsy or a princess, Liszt was such a natural lover that he had three out of wed-lock children.
But it would be to early to say that Liszt had it all. In 1827 his father passed away due to typhus. After the death of his father, and the fall out of a lost love affair. Liszt didn't perform for three years. Depression set in and illness and apathy took control of his life. It took the strength of a Revolution (Revolution of 1830) to bring Liszt from his lethargic musical state.
In 1847 Liszt met his soul mate Princess Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein and from there Liszt took up conducting and composing for the orchestra in Weimar. After the death of two of his children, Liszt shared the last years of his life with rewards, teaching and traveling. In 1886 Liszt passed away from a heart attack.
So lets see, was Liszt amongst the Gods of music? Find out for yourself this Saturday at the Corning Museum of Glass. Tickets can be bought online at or by calling 607-734-8191. See you there!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Beethoven- Symphony No.5

AHHHH, the concert season is right around the corner for the OSFL, and before we will know it October 1st will be here!!!!!! Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 is on the program, and to let our readers out there know a little about what they will hear on the 1st, here is the scoop behind Beethoven's fifth.
Ludwig van Beethoven
, baptized on December 17th, 1770 in Bonn Germany, wrote his fifth Symphony from the years of 1804-1808. Beethoven's fifth can be recognized by just about anyone just from the opening line and is no doubt one of the greatest pieces to have been written in the history of music, but there is more than what meets the ear to be heard about this piece. Beethoven's fifth was written during a span of Beethoven's life that was in and of itself depressing. He was growing very deaf and had shunned himself from the public. In this personal solitary confinement, his only outlet, music, thrived. Being alone, feeling out of place from a society that he could not hear, but also could not relate with, Beethoven would turn his attention to his music and nature. One of his favorite places to visit was the Viennese Parks around which he lived. He would walk for hours, writing music in his head and enjoying the gift of nature.
By the end of 1808 the symphony was finished, performed and at first had little success amongst its listeners. The piece was a break from the tradition of the day and was so full of Beethoven's emotions that it was hard to understand the piece itself. Over time though and as the "Romantic Era" gained stride the popularity of the piece picked up, and is now one of the most recognized and most accomplished pieces of all time!!!!! Beethoven's pain and genius created this masterpiece and can be heard live on October 1, 2011 by the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes!!!! Get your tickets now online at, by phone, 607-733-5639, OR in person at 207 Clemens Center Parkway Elmira, NY 14901-3031!!!!! SEE YOU THERE!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Elements of Style 2011!!!

We are back to our blog after a long delay, but no worries we are still here!!!!! To help start off our season, this Saturday night from 5pm to 7pm is our annual Elements of Style benefit dinner open to our donors and subscription holders. Sorry folks!!! If you have not responded to the invitation sent in the mail it is to late to join in on the fun. This year's Elements of Style is hosted at Raudat's, located in Strathmont Park. First built in 1926 for Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Tompkins. The Raudat's brick home sits just before the turn to circle C in Strathmont park. This impressive structure is led to by a circular driveway that opens from two large brick columns that sit at the front of the driveway.
The Raudat home was designed by architect Charles A. Platt, designer of the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The home itself was featured in the March 1929 issue of the Architect (Architectural Digest). The grounds of the house were designed by Vitale and Geiffert. Vitale is well known for designing the second phase of New York City's Central Park and also the Reflecting pool on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
When the Raudat's bought the house, it needed extensive repairs and some tender loving care. Over the years they have given the house both: always trying to maintain the integrity of the original home. This can be seen in the kitchen area in the attention to detail: matching the areas around the original fireplace, cabinets, sinks, and floors to those of the original structure. The dining room, decorated in Wedgewood blue, is modeled after a Williamsburg dining room, with a one of a kind chandelier made in Ireland for the room. The beautifully appointed main entrance hall gardens. Pictures, fabrics and furniture are unique, mainly having been collected on family trips and travels from around the world, brought eventually to Elmira to enhance this fantastic home!!!!!!! There is so much to see, and as for the osfl??? We are excited to see you there!!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Commemorate Rossini!

141st Anniversary of Rossini's death

Giachino Antonio Rossini was born in 1792 and passed away November 13, 1868. Rossini is best known for his 39 operas and their overtures.

The Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes has performed numerous overtures by Rossini, and as you probably remember, the OSFL opened its 2009-2010 season with the Overture to William Tell. Other recent performances of Rossini include the Overture to Cinderella in 2002 and Overture to The Italian Girl in Algiers in 2001.

The Barber of Seville is one of his most famous operas. This overture has been used throughout television media for years. Click the link below to watch its most famous media appearance! Can you guess what it is?

Barber of Seville