Remembering Charles Wuorinen

The American composer, Charles Wuorinen, passed away last week. He was 81. In 1970, Wuorinen was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his electronic composition, Time’s Encomium. (Until 2017, he held the distinction of being the youngest person ever to win the music prize). Other works include eight symphonies, four piano concertos, and two operas. Throughout his life, Wuorinen was an unapologetic proponent of the twelve-tone system of composition, in which the twelve pitches …

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Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C Major: Embracing and Transcending Fashion

The Overture which opens J.S. Bach’s First Orchestral Suite was built on a well-established, preexisting model. You could even call it a formula. It was the stylish “French Overture,” dating back to the 1650s, which opened the ballets of Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), a composer who spent most of his life employed by the court of Louis XIV. The French Overture begins with a majestic slow section consisting of stately dotted rhythms fit for …

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