Showing posts from May, 2015

Happy Birthday Arthur Sullivan!

On May 13th, 1842, one of my all-time favorite composers Arthur Sullivan, of Gilbert & Sullivan fame, was born. Son of a bandmaster, he learned how to play all the wind and brass instruments before picking up a violin or sitting at a piano bench, and it shows in his music. His is easily some of the nicest writing for wind instruments I've ever come across.

At nineteen, he premiered his first major work, incidental music to The Tempest, which set him up quite nicely in the public eye, and he did not disappoint. In his next decade, he composed his greatest and/or most enduring orchestral pieces, including his only symphony, and his Overture Di Ballo. He also wrote a ballet, L'ile Enchantee which is not as well known, as well as the cantata The Masque At Kenilworth and the oratorio The Prodigal Son. The Overture Di Ballo is the only piece of this group that really endured, I imagine in part because its eclectic "potpourri" style, though without an opera attached, is…