Tuesday, December 30, 2008


The growing emphasis on individualism during the Renaissance began a change of status for composers of music in society. Unlike their medieval predecessors, Renaissnace composers were recognized more often during their lifetimes. The technology of printing permitted a much wider distribution of their works and enabled a larger public into the study of music.

Even when spiritual music was still in a dominant position, secular music was becoming more common and its forms more cultivated than in the previous era. The repertoire of instrumental music became more varied, along with the invention of new instruments - such as the clavichord and the virginal (a keyed instrument resembling the harpsichord) - and many of the instruments of the period were improved.
Masses and motets were the main forms of spiritual vocal polyphony. Secular vocal forms included motets, madrigals, and songs (mostly accompanied by the lute or a small orchestra). Instrumental works were largely short polyphonies, or dancing music.

In comparison with medieval music, Renaissance harmony was more unrestrained and more expressive - the period between Josquin Deprez and Palestrina is known as "the golden age of polyphony." Imitation - where one musical line shares or imitates the same musical theme of the preceeding line - became an important polyphonic technique. Imitation was used to introduce complexitities by simpler means and at the same time give listeners the ability to perceive the structureof the composition. Polyphonic imitation can be heard in the masses and motets of practically all the composers beginning with Desprez, and in the instrumantal music of William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, and Andrea and Giovanni Gabrielli.

Important Composers

Johannes Ockeghem 1425 - 1497
Josquin Desprez 1440 - 1521 or 1524
Andrea Gabrielli 1510 - 1586
Giovanni Luigi da Palestrina 1525 - 1594
Orlande de Lassus 1532 - 1594
William Bird 1543 - 1623
Giovanni Gabrielli 1554 - 1612
Carlo Gesualdo 1560 - 1613
John Dowland 1563 - 1626
Orlando Gibbons 1583 - 1625

Czech Music of the Renaisance
Serious singing in church was in practice connected to instrumantal music according to many comments and illustration in hymn books in Catholic churches when the Jesuits substantially increased the instrumental element. This brought a renewed general appreciation of the organ. In many locations,records mention the construction of new instruments , of which the most famous was the one built at the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, finished in 1567 by the organ-builder from Ceske Budejovice, Jachym Rudner.
The biggest and most important musical institution in the Czech lands was the court ensemble. Founded by Ferdinand I (1526 - 1564) as a group of singers with two organs, under Maximilian (1564 - 1576) several other instruments were added, and it reached its peak of development during the reign of Rudolph II. Czech membership in the group was low, as it was mostly made up of Dutch, Spaniards, Germans, and Italians. For 35 years until his death, its conductor was Philippe de Monte (1521 - 1603), a composer of masses, motets and madrigals. Following the example of the imperial court, local nobles encouraged the growth of music in their courts. In the second half of the 16th century, the Rozmberg ensemble in Krumlov gained fame under both of the last heads of the Rozmberg family, William and Peter Vok. In the first two decades of the 17th century, easily the biggest group was the one at Pecka castle. It was established by Lord Krystof Harant of Polzice (1564 - 1621), a writer, soldier, courtier, and diplomat, who lost his head for his participation in the Czech insurrection. Some of his works that have survived are a six-part motet Qui confidunt in Domino, a five-part motet Maria Kron and an especially beautiful five-part mass in cantus firmus Dolorosi martyr from the popular madrigal of Marenzi's. There are also documented fragments of four other vocal pieces, of which the most interesting is a composition with Czech text Dejz tobe Pan Buh stesti (May the Lord Give You Good Fortune).
The lute was developed for both solo performance and accompanying singers. In Rudolph's Prague, it's master was Jan Vencalek in particular. Vocal compositions were even arranged for lute, as can be seen for example in the transcription of the German song of Regnart's, apparently sung in a Czech arrangement.

In the 16th century, more than in the 15th, a larger role was taken by well-known secular, Czech folk songs, such as Cizku, ptacku zeleneho peri (Siskin, bird of the green feathers), Proc kalina v struze stoji (Why does the rose grow in the ditch), Stoji lipka v sirem poli (The linden stands in the open field), Dorna chodi po louce, (Dorna walks through the meadow). They were used mostly as strains in spiritual songs, and sometimes in form they also became cantus firmus contrapuntal compositions.

Important Composers
Philippe de Monte 1521 - 1603
Jacobus Gallus 1550 - 1591
Krystof Harant of Polzice 1564 - 1621
Jan Vencalek 1598 - ?
Next .. Renaissance

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The History of Music - 20th Century

The 20Th Century
Why do musical styles change? The evolution of musical styles is certainly somewhat a result of the influence individual composers have on one another. Unfortunately, this influence isn't always positive. Sometimes, the work of a composer is a reaction against the style practiced by his predecessors, even when theyadmire the music they produced. An example of this could be drawn from the relationship of the Classical era to the Baroque era which it followed, personified by the relationship of the music of J.S. Bach and his sons.
The late Romantic era had its extremes: it seems that it used the greatest possible extent of harmonies and melodies and that the progression of the art had reached the limits of possibility. It's certainly possible to see the music of the 20th century as a continuation of the Romantic style, but it can also be interpreted as a reaction against Romanticism.
The music of the 20th century is a series of 'isms' and 'neo-isms'. The rough energy of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring was labelled neoprimitivism; the extreme emotional tones of early Schönberg were given the label expressionism; the return to cleanly structured forms and textrues was called neoclassicism. All of these labels came (and are coming) as an attempt at orientation in the heterorogenous world of music in the 20th century.
During the first half of the 20th century, nationalism continued to have a large influence, the study of folk songs enriched the nusic of many composers, such as that of Ralph Vaughan Williams (England), Bela Bartok (Hungary), Heitor Villa Lobos (Brazil) and Aaron Copland (USA). Jazz and popular music also had a strong influence on many "serious" composers, whether in America or Europe.

The advance of technology has also had an enormous impact on the evolution of music in this century, with some composers using, for instance, the cassette player as a compositional tool (ie. Violin Phase by Steve Reich), or electronically generated sounds alongside classical instruments, the use of computers to compose music, and so on.

Important Composers

Leos Janácek 1854-1928
Claude Debussy 1862-1918
Richard Strauss 1864-1949
Carl August Nielsen 1865-1931
Jean Sibelius 1865-1957
Arnold Schönberg 1874-1951
Ralph Vaughan Williams 1872-1958
Maurice Ravel 1875-1937
Béla Bartók 1881-1945
Igor Stravinsky 1882-1971
Anton von Webern 1883-1945
Alban Berg 1885-1935
Sergei Prokofiev 1891-1953
Paul Hindemith 1895-1963
George Gershwin 1898-1937
Kurt Weill 1900-1950
Aaron Copland 1900-1990
Dmitri Shostakovich 1906-1975
Olivier Messiaen 1908-1992
John Cage 1912-1992
Benjamin Britten 1913-1976
Pierre Boulez 1925
Luciano Berio 1925
Philip Glass 1937

Czech Music of the 20th Century
The transition from the founding generation to the the new era was embodied by Josef Bohuslav Foerster (1859 - 1951). He studied at organ school and for several years he was an organist in Prague. After that he left for Hamburg and Vienna with his wife. He returned to Prague after the revolution of 1918, where he worked for 12 years at the Conservatory and occupied other distinguished positions in public life as well (an honorary doctorate from Charles University, 8 years as the president of the Czech Academy of Arts and Sciences).

He was a great composer of songs [the cycles Erotikon, Laska (Love), Nocni violy (Night Violets), and more] of chorals and cantatas [Stabat Mater, Svaty Vaclav (St. Wenceslas), and others], and in the orchestral arena, his output consisted of five symphonies, six suites, and four symphonic poems, as well as operas, chamber pieces and church compositions.
The destruction of Czech modernism was undertaken by Vitezslav Novak (1870 - 1949), who studied composition at the Prague Conservatory under Dvorak. As the professor of the senior class in composing (1909 - 39), he taught a generation of Czech and foreign - largely Slavic - composers. From 1897, he based his work on folk songs, especially Slavic and Slovak. This influence reveals itself particularly in his Slovacke svite (1903) (Slavic Suite). This use of folk songs matured into distinctive features of his later pieces for piano (Muj maj, Sonata eroica) and in his symphonic poemV Tatrach (In the Tatras). He enriched his harmonic and colorful ideas with impressionism, but he escaped the danger this presented to his music with an emphasis on a firm framework (ie. Toman a lesni panna - Toman and the Forest Virgin).

Clearly musical thinking and technical supremacy define his ripe creative period, which began (1910) with his ocean fantasy Boure (Storm) and a piano cycle Pan. Less known are his piano suite Exotikon, and the song cycle Erotikon. In the following years he concentrated on the dramatic genre, which produced the dramas Zvikovsky rarasek, Pohadkova Lucerna, Deduv odkaz a Nikotina

Entirely different tones were brought to Czech music by Josef Suk (1874 - 1935). This talent, flowering from the teaching tradition of the Prague Conservatory, where he was instructed by Benewitz, Stecker a Dvorak. His creative production, on which he very promisingly embarked in his youth, was substantially curtailed by his membership in the Czech Quartet, the severity of his self-criticism, difficult circumstances in his life and a apinful spiritual crisis. Later, his time was considerably taken up by his teaching activity (fron 1922) at the conservatory. With his direct musicianship and versatility, Suk was reminiscent of Dvorak, whose instrumental richness Suk further increased and individualized. He reacted to the worldwide development and intensified poetic capriciousness and expressiveness of its language especially in the melodic and rhythmic components,and he gave to his lyricism in its construction such diversity that he belongs among the greatest personalities of Czech music.

This development is reflected primarily in his orchestral work. String Serenade (1892) and Symphony in E Major are still fully Dvorakian, but then in the music for Zeyer's stories Raduz a Mahulena and Pod jabloni (under the Apple Tree) Suk's characteristic features strongly appear. They proceed into bizarre territory in Fantastickem scherzu, and somewhat receed in the symphonic poem Praga. Then begins a series of symphonic works which together form a large whole: the mournful symphony Azrael, the musical poem Pohadka leta, and Zrani a Epilog. An important testimony to his struggle for his own style is the passionate violin Fantasy in G monor with orchestra.

Besides Novak and Suk,Otakar Ostrcil (1879 - 1935) appeared around the year 1900. In the spirit of his teacher Fibich, he devoted his youth to the syphonic poem (Pohadka o Semikovi), melodrama (Balada o mrtvem sevci a mlade tanecnici) and ballads (Osirelo dite). In the symphonic realm, his most significant works are Imprompta, Suite in C minor and Symfonietta, and in his opera composition there are Kunaluvy oci, Poupe, Legenda z Erinu a Legenda o sv. Zite.

If the advance of Czech modernism is clearly outlined, it matured under the developmental interference of the much older Leos Janacek (1854 - 1928). From youth, after his studies at an organ school, he was active as a conductor, organizer, and teacher. In composition, at first he confined himself to the lesser forms of choral and instrumental music, linking Krizikovsky and Dvorak, who was also his main model in the tragic opera Sarka of Zeyer's poem. His work in cooperation with Fr. Bartos brought him to the collection and study of folk songs and music, and their expression were entirely original arrangements, to which he often returned. From there he began an orchestral version of Lasskych (puvodne Valasskych) tancu, which with Hanacky forms the essence of the ethnographic ballet Rakos Rakoczy. Janacek then applied his ethnographic interest to popular speech, whose melodies he collected and whose cadence later affected the tenor of his succint melodic inventions in their intense rhythms. This structure of Janacek's first emerges in the opera Pocatek romanu and fully appears in the folkloristically colorful and expressively captivating opera Jeji pastorkyne, which is the first Czech opera on a literary drama (Gab. Preissova) written in prose. It's followed by Osud (Fate), the charming Liska bystrouska, and the psychologically and dramatically concentrated Vec Makropulos. An entirely new style was created by Janacek in male choral production, mainly with compositions on the poems of Bezruc (Kantor Halfar, Marycka Magdonova) and his absolute originality stands out in his piano (the cycle Po zarostlem chodnicku) and chamber pieces (Violin Sonata with piano, two string quartets). General recognition came to him only very late - with the Prague opening of Jeji pastorkyne in 1916, and he was awarded the first honorary doctorate from Masarykovo University in Brno.

The politically conscious, anti-romantic generation that appeared after the First World War was led by Bohuslav Martinu (1890 - 1959). He was a pupil of Josef Suk, but he developed fully under the influence of his next teacher, Albert Rousell in Paris, where he lived from 1923 to 1941. After that he moved to the United States, where he became one of the best-known composers in the world. The final years of his life he spent in Italy and Switzerland, where he died.

His production in terms of quantity was enormous. His first successes were with the symphonies Halftime (1924) and La Baggare(1926). Then came Symfonia concertante for two orchestras, Partita for string orchestra and especially Concerto grosso and Doubleconcert for two string orchestras, piano and tympany, which belongs among the best works of all world dramatism of that period. Martinu has numerous concertos (four piano, a concerto for two pianos, a violin concerto, two cello concertos and many others for a wide variety of other instruments). What stand out the most from more than 70 chamber pieces, are his quartets, sonatas for violin and piano, and his sonatas for cello and piano. He had many notable vocal compositions, especially Novy spalicek, Pisnicky na jednu stranku, and pisnicky na dve stranky, as well as operas [Hry o Marii (Plays about Mary), Julietta, Recke pasije (Greek Passion)]. Of his dozens of ballets, the most remarkable is the sung Spalicek.
Important Composers
Josef Bohuslav Foerster 1859 - 1951
Vitezslav Novak 1870 - 1949
Josef Suk 1874 - 1935
Otakar Ostrcil 1879 - 1935
Otakar Zich 1879 - 1934
Rudolf Karel 1880 - 1945
Leos Janacek 1854 - 1928
Ladislav Vycpalek 1882 - 1969
Emil Axman 1887 - 1949
Karel Boleslav Jirak 1891 - 1972
Bohuslav Martinu 1890 - 1959
Pavel Borkovec 1894 - 1972
Alois Haba 1893 - 1973
Jaroslav Jezek 1906 - 1942
Jan Novak 1921 - 1984
Next .. The History of Music - 20th Century

Kate Noelle Holmes

Name : Katie Holmes
Full Name : Kate Noelle Holmes
Date Of Birth : December 18, 1978
Place Of Birth : Toledo, Ohio
Height : 5'8''
Weight : 118 lbs.
Eyes : Green
Hair : Brown
Education : High School (Notre Dame)College: Columbia University, New York, New York (deferred admission)
Occupation : Actress
Father : Martin Holmes (Lawyer)
Mother : Kathy Holmes (Homemaker)
Siblings : four sisters, one brother (Youngest is Katie)
Fan Mail : Katie Holmes c/o The WB 4000Warner Blvd.Burbank, CA 91522USA

* in Toledo, Ohio to Kathleen and Marty Holmes. Katie came from a large family and was the youngest of five children. Her three sisters are Temera, Holly and Nancy and her brother’s name is Martin.

* Was and still is very family oriented. So when she decided to pursue a career in entertainment, her family supported her. As an early teen she was in her school plays and after school she took acting lessons, dancing lessons and even singing lessons. In addition to being talented, she was also a very good looking teenager and also went to Margaret O’Brien’s Modeling School.

* In 1995, she took her first big step towards show business and attended the International Modeling and Talent Association (IMTA) “Hooray for Hollywood” Convention, where a number of talent scouts were looking for fresh young talent. During the talent competition, she caught the eye of some of the scouts, such as Al Onorato. By 1996, she got a manager who was able to get her an audition for a movie in Los Angeles. She auditioned and received the part as Libbets Casey, which was her debut role on the big screen in the movie The Ice Storm with Tobey Maguire. Even though she received great reviews for her performance, she went back to Toledo to finish up her senior year at Notre Dame Academy [a Catholic All-Girl High School] (although she did land the leading role in her school’s rendition of Damn Yankees). School was very important to her and she received good enough grades to gain acceptance to Columbia University (which she deferred – and has only taken one photography class there so far).

* In 1997, while finishing up school, she sent out audition tapes to producers around the country. One of these tapes wound up in the hands of the talent scouts looking for a “girl next door” character for an upcoming television series. After having to reschedule the audition (which was on the same day as the opening performance of Damn Yankees), she impressed the producers and received the role of Joey Potter on the teen television series Dawson’s Creek.

* By late 1997, she moved to North Carolina to film Dawson’s Creek, which became a smash hit. Her role on the show brought her great fame around the world. The show also brought about good friendship of her and the cast (including a well publicized romance between her an co-star Joshua Jackson). Her fame and her beauty has enabled her to appear on many magazine covers around the globe.

* She appeared in her second movie the following year, Disturbing Behavior, which earned her a MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance – Female. She has followed this up with some good (and not so good) movies, including: Go (1999), Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999), Wonder Boys (2000), The Gift (2000) [Her role in The Gift was shrouded in excitement and controversy, because Katie appeared completely topless during one of the scenes (pictures of this nude scene are still some of the most searched for images on the internet).], Abandon (2002) [she sings in the movie and on the soundtrack], Pieces of April (2003) [For Pieces of April, she was nominated for a Golden Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical.] and First Daughter (2004).

* Katie’s naturally good looks has kept her in the eyes of the modeling industry and she became the spokeswoman for Garnier Lumia in 2001. She has also modeled for COACH.

* 2003 brought about a close to the Dawson Creek series. The final show had one of the highest ratings ever on the WB Network.

* Batman Begins, with Christian Bale is opened in theaters on June 19, 2005 which opened up to great reviews.

*Katie is currently working on more movie projects (Thank You for Smoking and Shame on You).

* The big news is the recent dating of her and actor Tom Cruise and the engagement between the two celebrities in June 2005. Cruise proposed to her while they were in France atop the Eiffel Tower. The thing that has most viewers surprised is their 16 year age difference – Cruise is 42, she is 26. This relationship comes only a month after her breakup with actor Chris Klein, with whom she was engaged.

* Even bigger news was made in October 2005, when Katie and Tom announced that they are expecting a baby. Pictures of Suri shown on CBS Evening News on Sept. 5, 2006 during Katie Couric's debut as anchor.

* Katie and Tom have announced on April 19th, that they have had a 7 pound, 7 ounce baby girl they named Suri.

*The couple has announced that will be getting married the weekend of November 18th. The couple were "officially" married in a small civil ceremony in Los Angeles during the week of Nov. 13th, they then had a large wedding ceremony in Italy the following Saturday Nov. 19, 2006.

* Favorites: movies = My Best Friend’s Wedding, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles; TV show = Party of Five, E.R.; Actor/Actress = Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Jodie Foster; food = jelly beans, chocolate, sushi

* Interests & Activities: Running, being with family, dancing, swimming, watching movies, listening to music, Barbie dolls, shopping.
Next .. Kate Noelle Holmes

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The History of Music Baroque

If the eras of musical evolution were to be compared to the eras of evolution in architecture, then the Middle Ages would be symbolized by the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, the Renaissance by a Florentine building, and the Baroque by Louis XIV's palace at Versailles. Baroque music is very rich and textured, especially in comparison with the music that came before it.
At the beginnign of the Baroque age, around the year 1600, a new musical form was developed - opera. This form combined poetry, theater, the visual arts, and music. It arose as a result of the efforts of a group of Italian intellectuals in Florence who wanted to recreate the drama of the ancient Greeks, in which music played a key role. The first big opera was Orfeo, by Claudio Monteverdi, and it was first performed publicly in 1607. The ability of music to express human emotion and tp depict natural phenomena was truly discovered in the Boroque period. Vivaldi's The Four Seasons is the mos t well-known example of this.

Although imitational polyphony remained very substantial, homophony became more and more important. Homophonic music advanced a clear difference between the melodic line and the secondary accompanying parts. This style was very important in opera and in solo vocal music, where it helped listeners to locate the expressive melody of the vocal part.

The style of homophony became more widespread in instrumental music as well. Many baroque pieces contain a continuo part, in which the keyboard (a harpsichord or organ) and the bass instruments produce a harmonic point, which accompanies the melodic line or lines.
New polyphonic forms were devised, and just as during the Renaissance there was an art of the counterapoint that was an essential skill for every baroque composer. Canons and fugues, two very strict forms of imitational polyphony, were extremely popular. It was even commonly expected of a composer of the period to be able to improvise a fugue anytime on the spot, if he wanted to be considered a real composer.
The orchestra was another creation to arrive at the beginning of the Baroque era, evolving from the accompaniment to opera and vocal arrangements. The most popular baroque musical genre was the concerto, in which solo musicians (or small groups of soloists) played "in concert" with an orchestra, which brought about interesting contrasts in dynamic and melody.

Many musical composers were also virtuoso musicians. For example, Archangelo Corelli was known for his ability on the violin and Johann Sebastian Bach was famous in his day for his ability on the organ.

Important Composers
Claudio Monteverdi 1567 - 1643
Heinrich Schütz 1585 - 1672
Arcangelo Corelli 1653 - 1713
Henry Purcell 1659 - 1695
Francois Couperin 1668 - 1733
Antonio Vivaldi 1678 - 1741
Georg Philipp Telemann 1681 - 1767
Jean-Philippe Rameau 1683 - 1764
Johann Sebastian Bach 1685 - 1750
George Friedrich Händel 1685 - 1759
Domenico Scarlatti 1685 - 1757

Czech Music in the Baroque Era
The Imperial Ensemble relocated during the reign of Matthias to Vienna and came to the Czech lands only for large court celebrations. The new focus of Czech music in the latter half of the 17th century became the nobles' ensembles. Especially noteworthy were two groups - the groups of the Bishops of Olomouc Karel Lichtenstein Kastelkorn (1664 - 1695) and Schrattenbach (1711 - 1738). Both of these groups originated in Kromeriz and Olomouc. Secular music also grew in popularity in the monasteries, as numerous documents surviving from the Cistercian monastery in Osek u Duchova can attest.

Opera came to Bohemia for the first time in the year 1627 during the coronation of Ferdinand II, and from then on was repeatedly performed on tours of the sovereign's home. In Prague and Brno at the start of the 18th century, there were numerous staggiony of Italian opera companies; none of them, however, succeeded in establishing themselves here permanently. The decisive turning point came at the coronation of Charles IV in 1723, when Fux's opera Constanza e fortezza (Constancy and Fortitude) was performed with an unusaully showy and beautiful staging, attended by the foremost musicians in all of Europe. As a result of this opera, Count Sporck summoned the opera company Ant. Denzia to his court at Kuks u Jaromere in 1724 and entrusted it with the management of opera in his Prague theater.

The most identifiable of the personalities of early Czech baroque is the composer , organist and poet from Jindrichuv Hradec, Adam Michna z Otradovic (1600- 1676). With his creative energy, he took a significant place in the musical production of the time. In two collections, entitled Ceska marianska muzyka (1647) (Czech music of the Holy Virgin) and Svatorocni muzyka (1661) (Holy year music), he published four-part and five-part spiritual songs, frequently taken from popular tradition. Several of Michna's songs were used by later publishers of hymn books, and his song Chtic, aby spal (Desire to sleep) is still sung today. Somewhat more artistic, Loutna ceska (1653), (Czech lute) was a collection of spiritual compositions for two sopranos accompanied by two or three violas and bass.
The top figures of Czech baroque are undoubtedly Zelenka and Cernohorsky. Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679 - 1745) came from Lounovice pod Blanikem, and studied music in Vienna and Italy. In his melodic inventiveness, especially in rhythm, are recognizable features of Czech music, which considerably separated him from his Italian and German contemporaries. His distinctive melodiousness brought Zelenka to an accomplished mastery, in which he applied a beautiful contrapuntal technique and a freely expanded melody, articulated in the closed form da capo. Zelenka's compositional abilities were praised even during his lifetime by contemporaries such as Telemann and J.S. Bach.

Bohuslav Matej Cernohorsky (1684 - 1742) was born in Nymburk. Little information survives about him, so his biography can only be reconstructed approximately. The same can be said of his compositions, of which, for all his renown, very few have been preserved. Among those that did are the excellent motet Laudetur Jesus Christus (A grandiose vocal fugue with organ accompaniment), Regina coeli a concert cantata, several pieces for organ, fugues and toccatas. An entire school of composers are connected with his name, which includes names like Seger, Zach and Tuma.

Josef Seger (1716 - 1782) was the author of excellent organ pieces and fugues along the lines of J.S. Bach, and fugues to the song Narodil se Kristus Pan Christ the Lord was born).

Important Composers
Adam Michna z Otradovic 1600 - 1676
Jan Dismas Zelenka 1679 - 1745
Bohuslav Matej Cernohorsky 1684 - 1742
Jan Zach 1699 - 1773
Frantisek Tuma 1704 - 1774
Josef Seger 1716 - 1782
Next .. The History of Music Baroque

Kate Elizabeth Winslet

A luminous English rose with ivory skin and strawberry hair, Winslet made an impressive feature debut as Juliet Hulme, an intelligent, spoiled and sickly teenager who helps murder her best girlfriend's mother in Peter Jackson's acclaimed "Heavenly Creatures" (1994). A third-generation thespian, the Reading, England native began studying drama at the age of eleven. Winslet began her career almost immediately when she was cast as a spokesperson for a cereal in British TV commercials. Stage roles followed, including the female leads in a musical version of "Adrian Mole.” She made her TV debut in the drama "Shrinks" and her resume also includes a recurring stint on the sitcom "Get Back.”

Winslet landed the role of Juliet in "Heavenly Creatures" after an impressive audition. Her on screen performance marked her as one to watch: she was riveting as the tubercular, highly intelligent teen who develops a strong rapport with a fellow student, allowing the pair to create a fantasy world and, when threatened with separation, conspire to commit murder. Winslet then played a princess in Disney's "A Kid in King Arthur's Court" (1995) before winning raves and an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her subtle performance as the spirited Marianne Dashwood in "Sense and Sensibility" (also 1995). Winslet continued to appear in period pieces with "Jude" (1996). Adapted from "Jude the Obscure" by Thomas Hardy, the film featured Winslet as Sue, the title character's unconventional cousin whose mercurial nature creates problems. Later that year, she was Ophelia to Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet,” in the actor-director's all-star feature version of the Shakespeare classic.

Moving from Shakespeare, Winslet adopted an American accent as a Philadelphia socialite who finds unlikely romance with a lower-class artist (Leonardo DiCaprio) in James Cameron's spectacular "Titanic" (1997). More than just a film, "Titanic" became a phenomenon: grossing more than $600 million and earning 14 Oscar nominations, including one for Winslet as Best Actress. Her onscreen chemistry with DiCaprio had a cross-generational appeal and the young actress found herself on magazine covers and fodder for the tabloids. Rather than become confined to Hollywood blockbusters, though, Winslet accepted roles in two rather small films that both shared some similarities in that they revolved around a spiritual search. "Hideous Kinky" (1999) cast the actress as the mother of two young daughters who packs up and heads to Marrakech seeking wisdom from a Sufi while "Holy Smoke" (also 1999) saw her portray a cult member whose family hires a deprogrammer. Both roles allowed the young actress to display her emotional intensity and daring range, as well as to play relatively contemporary characters.

In 2000, it was back to the petticoats as Winslet portrayed a laundress in the asylum of Charenton who colludes with the incarcerated Marquis de Sade to help smuggle out his writings in "Quills.” Once again, the actress demonstrated her remarkable gifts for playing intelligent and sensual characters, and to continue to reveal her utter fearlessness as an actress, unafraid to explore dark corners and push conventional boundaries. In "Enigma" (2001), the WWII-era spy drama in which she co-starred as a mathematician working on breaking the German code, she took a role that was less emotionally charged and edgy, instead more subtle. Again she showed a gift for believably thinking on screen in the contemplative drama. "Iris" (also 2001), in which she essayed the youthful incarnation of the British philosopher and novelist Iris Murdoch, was a return to form (although she split the role with Judi Dench, who played Murdoch in her Alzheimer's period, a juicier era for an actress to explore). Nevertheless, Winslet caught Murdoch's unconventional, free-spirited youth and realistically portrayed her romance with her eventual husband. Her work brought the actress a third career Academy Award nomination , this time as Best Supporting Actress. Winslet next appeared as Elizabeth "Bitesy" Bloom, an ambitious reporter investigating the case of a death row inmate in "The Life of David Gale" (2003). Winslet was praised for her performance, but it couldn't overcome the bad feelings engendered by the film's overwrought, unconvincing story and the overkill behind its anti-death penalty message.

The full-figured—and, after childbirth, zaftig—Winslet proudly refused to conform to the typical Hollywood standard for extreme thinness, and her fan base loved her for it—not only was she happy with her figure, she unabashedly displayed it in several films and spoke openly of defying her industry's physical expectations. A small firestorm erupted in 2003, however, when a radically thinned-down Winslet appeared on the cover of GQ magazine. It turned out that the actress was digitally slimmed by photo retouchers, but she blamed the controversy on herself for being so outspoken on the subject—still, she claimed she had no plans to change her own natural shape.

In 2004 Winslett took on another free-spirited role for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" playing Clementine, the ex-girlfriend with the multicolored hair whose break-up with her repressed boyfriend (Jim Carrey) prompts him to undergo a procedure to erase all trace of her from his memory. Again employing a flawless American accent, Winslett turned in a rich, multi-layered performance in one her best films to date, though it was not a major box office champion. The role did, however, earn the actress several award nominations: she was given nods by the Screen Actors Guild, the Golden Globes, and the Academy Awards. In "Finding Neverland" (2004), Winslet was on top of her game once more, playing Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, the widowed mother of four boys who, along with her sons, becomes the muse for "Peter Pan" author J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) and whose life takes a tragic turn. Though she received no major award nominations for the role, she did serve as an effective emotional counterpoint to Depp’s own nominated and much ballyhooed performance.

Retreating to more obscure, independent roles—as well as motherhood and domestic life with husband, director Sam Mendes—Winslet costarred in the emotionally engaging musical “Romance and Cigarettes” (2005), playing a seductive lingerie sales clerk who embarks on a passionate affair with a married ironworker (James Gandolfini). In much of 2006, Winslet was relatively quiet, appearing in Steven Zaillian’s botched and barely noticed rehash of “All the King’s Men” (2006), then voicing the streetwise Rita, a rat living in a vast sewer metropolis stumbled upon by a pampered pet mouse, Roddy (Hugh Jackman), in the middling animated comedy “Flushed Away” (2006). After starring as a single mom who engages in an affair with a discontented married man (Patrick Wilson) in “Little Children” (2006), Winslet shifted gears to costar in a romantic comedy, “The Holiday” (2006), playing an Englishwoman spurned by love who switches houses for the Christmas holiday with a disenfranchised American woman (Cameron Diaz) in Los Angeles, as both find the last thing either wanted—another romance. Her role in “Little Children” earned Winslet several award nominations, including a Golden Globe Awards nod for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama and another for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role – Theatrical Motion Pictures at the 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. She went on to earn another Academy Award nomination, joining Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep in the Best Actress category.

* Also Credited As: Kate Elizabeth Winslet
* Born: October 5, 1975 in Reading, England
* Job Titles: Actor, Singer, Producer, Cashier, Deli worker

* Brother: Joss Winslet. born in 1980
* Daughter: Mia Threapleton. born on October 12, 2000; father is director Jim Threapleton:
* Father: Roger Winslet.
* Grandfather: Oliver Bridges. founded Reading Repertory; maternal grandfather
* Grandmother: Linda Bridges. operated Reading Repertory with her husband; maternal grandmother:
* Mother: Sally Winslet.
* Sister: Anna Winslet. born in 1972; married an actor in October 1998
* Sister: Beth Winslet. born c. 1978; has son George born in 2000
* Son: Joe Mendes. born December 22, 2003; father is director Sam Mendes
* Uncle: Robert Bridges. appeared in original West End production of "Oliver!"

Significant Others:
* Companion: Rufus Sewall. had three month "affair" in 1995
* Companion: Sam Mendes. went public with relationship in November 2001
* Companion: Stephen Tredre. met in 1991 when they appeared together in the BBC sitcom "Dark Season"; born c. 1963; died in December 1997 from bone cancer at age 34; together until c. 1995

* 1986 Began studying a local drama school (date approximate)
* 1987 Appeared in British TV commercials for Sugar Puffs cereal
* 1988 British TV debut in "Shrinks"
* 1991 Left school to pursue career
* 1994 Feature film debut as Juliet Hulme in "Heavenly Creatures", directed by Peter Jackson:
* 1995 Co-starred as Marianne Dashwood in "Sense and Sensibility"; earned first Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress
* 1995 Played female lead in "Jude" opposite Christopher Eccleston
* 1996 Cast as Ophelia opposite Kenneth Branagh in Branagh's feature version of Shakespeare's "Hamlet"
* 1997 Played the heroine Rose in James Cameron's blockbuster "Titanic"; nominated for a Best Actress Oscar
* 1999 Appeared opposite Harvey Keitel in "Holy Smoke", directed by Jane Campion
* 1999 Starred in "Hideous Kinky" playing a hippie mother who takes her two daughters with her on a spiritual journey to Marrakech
* 2000 Starred with Geoffrey Rush and Joaquin Phoenix in "Quills", playing a laundress who helps the incarcerated Marquis de Sade smuggle out his writings
* 2001 Cast as the younger incarnation of the title character in "Iris", a film about novelist Iris Murdoch's struggle with Alzheimer's disease; earned third Oscar nomination, this time as Best Supporting Actress
* 2001 Co-starred in the WWII-era spy drama "Enigma"; screened at Sundance Film Festival; released theatrically in USA in 2002
* 2001 Voiced a character in the animated version of "A Christmas Carol"; had Top Ten single in Great Britain with song "What If" taked from film's soundtrack
* 2003 Cast as a reporter to whom a death row inmate tells his story in "The Life of David Gale"
* 2004 Co-starred with Jim Carrey in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" about a couple who have their memories erased in an attempt to rescue their failing relationship; received Golden Globe, SAG and Oscar nominations for Best Actress
* 2004 Starred opposite Johnny Depp in "Finding Neverland" about the experiences of 'Peter Pan' author J.M. Barrie
* 2005 Played the mistress to James Gandolfini in the musical "Romance & Cigarettes" written and directed by John Turturro; film released theatrically in 2007
* 2006 Co-starred with Jack Black in director Nancy Meyers' romantic comedy "The Holiday"
* 2006 Earned an Emmy nomination for Best Guest Actress for her appearance in the HBO Comedy Series "Extras"
* 2006 Played a adulteress mother in Todd Field's "Little Children"; received Golden Globe, SAG and Oscar nominations for Best Actress
* 2006 Played a southern belle who has an affair with the Louisiana governor in Steven Zaillian's "All the King's Men"
* 2007 Named the new celebrity spokesperson for cosmetics giants Lancome
* Appeared in British stage productions of "Adrian Mole", "Peter Pan" (as Wendy) and "A Game of Soldiers"
* Played recurring role in British sitcom "Get Back"
* Raised in Reading, England
Next .. Kate Elizabeth Winslet

The History of Music Romantic

Just as the word "Classic" brings to mind certain concepts, the word "romantic" is even more evocative. Such examples as Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables" and the paintings of Delacroix - Romaticism implies fantasy, spontaneity and sensitivity.

The Classical period was oriented towards structural clarity and emotional restraint. Classical music was expressive, but not so passionate that it became unbalanced. Beethoven, who was actually responsible for "lighting the flame of Romanticism" and is considered a bridge between the eras, always fought (not always successfully) for maintaining the equilibrium of a piece. Most composers of the Romantic period followed this model of Beethoven's and looked for their own balance between emotional intensity and classical form. "Musical story-telling" also started to play a not negligible role, with pieces having to express some factual content, not only in opera but in purely instrumental compositions. The genre of the symphonic poem was brought to the fore during the Romantic era. In its performance, a conposition had to set a scene, and then tell a story from that scene.
The color of sound is a characteristic, expressive device of Romantic music. New instruments, never before featured there, found their way into orchestras and composers experimented with new ways of wresting new sounds out of old instruments. A large pallet of the colors of sound, necessary for expressing exotic scenes, was an element no composer's technique could be without. Exoticness was an obsession of the 19th century. Russian composers wrote music describing the Spanish countryside (ie. Capriccio Espagnol by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakoff) and German composers about Scotland (ie. Mendelssohn's Scottish Symphony). The stories in opera were also mostly set in exotic localities, such as Verdi's "Aida" in Ancient Egypt.

Another new element brought to music by the Romantic period was the appropriation of folk music for Classical music. Nationalism became a driving force in the later Romantic period, with composers trying to express their cultural identity through their music. These trends were mostly apparent in Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe, where elements of folk songs even became parts of symphonies, symphonic poems and other forms.
The Romantic era was a paradise of virtuosos. Exceptional talents of interpretation were extremely popular. Franz Liszt, a Hungarian pianist and composer, played the piano with such vigour and passion that women fainted. Because so many of the authors of this period were such virtuosos, the music that they wrote is also very demanding in its technical execution.

Important Composers
Franz Schubert 1797 - 1828
Hector Berlioz 1803 - 1869
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy 1809 - 1847
Fryderyk Chopin 1810 - 1849
Robert Schumann 1810 - 1856
Franz Liszt 1811 - 1886
Giuseppe Verdi 1813 - 1901
Richard Wagner 1813 - 1883
Anton Bruckner 1824 - 1896
Johannes Brahms 1833 - 1897
Modest Mussorgsky 1839 - 1881
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky 1840 - 1893
Antonin Dvorak 1841 - 1904
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakoff 1844 - 1908
Gabriel Faur 1845 - 1924
Edward Elgar 1857 - 1934
Giacommo Puccini 1858 - 1924
Gustav Mahler 1860 - 1911

Czech Music of the Romantic Era
This period saw the advance of the National Revival in the Czech Lands. The greatest display of these revivalist tendencies in the spirit of Romanticism appeared primarily in Czech opera. The resounding success of Weigl's singspiel Swiss Family in 1823 inspired Chmelensky and Frantisek Skroup (1801 - 1862) to original Czech singspiel. Skroup was born at Osice u Pardubic and began attempts at composing while still in school there, and continuing to do so during his studies of philosophy and law in Prague. After the performance of his eclectic singspiel Dratenik (1826), he became the conductor of the Theater of the Estates. With Chmelensky he composed other the Czech operas Oldrich a Bozena (1826) and Libusin snatek (1835) (the Marriage of Libuse). The music for Tylo's play Fidlovacka (Spring Festival) is the memorable song Kde domov muj(Where is My Home).
One of the most important authors of this period, and in fact of all Czech composers, alongside Antonin Dvorak and Zdenek Fibich, is Bedrich Smetana (1824 - 1884)
Bedrich Smetana was born in Litomysl to the third marriage of Master Brewer Frant. Smetana to Barbora Linkova. The family was constantly on the move, and young Bedrich went to high school in Jindrichuv Hradec, Jihlava, Havlickuv Brod, Prague and Plzen, where he graduated under the supervision of his cousin. He appeared as a pianist for the first time in 1830 at the Litomysl Academy of Philosophy. A deciding factor in Smetana's artistic development was his study under Josef Proksch in Prague, where he went in 1843. After completing his studies, he founded his own private piano school in Prague, and a year later married his teenage love Katerina Kolarova.

During this period, he devoted his compositional efforts almost exclusively to the piano. The peak of this period's production is his Klavirni trio g moll (1855) (Piano trio in g minor), into which he wrote his grief over the death of his daughter Bedriska. In an attempt to escape a place where evrything reminded him of his lost fortune, Smetana decided to change his locale, and in 1856 he moved to Goteborg, Sweden. When the northern climate accelerated Katerina's illness (she died in 1859), he brought a new bride to Sweden a year later, 20-year-old Bettina Ferdinandiova.
Smetana was a great admirer of Franz Liszt, and they were in frequent contact through correspondence and personal meetings. He was engrossed with Liszt's greatest idea - the symphonic poem. This gave rise to such works as his Richard III., Valdstynuv tabor (Waldstein's Camp) and Hakon Jarl. After the easing of the situation in the Czech lands, he hurried home, where things didn't go too well for him. In 1863 he finished the singspiel Branibory v Cechach (Brandenburgers in Bohemia,with a libretto by Karel Sabina), which was a great success - and brought its author some much-needed finances. He completed Prodanou nevestu (The Bartered Bride) in 1866 and directed it himself.
In 1873, Smetana also became the chief director of opera and drama of the Provisional Theater, where he concentrated his energies primarily on operas. The fruit of these efforts are such works as Dalibor, Rolnicka, Libusin soud and others. During this period, after three years of work, came his masterpiece Libuse. The opera came out of his awareness of his ultimate responsibility, his love of the nation, and his firm belief in its future.

On the nights of October 19 and 20, 1874, as a result of a long illness, Smetana was inflicted with worst misfortune that can befall a composer: absolute deafness. In this state, he undertook the realization of his long-held creative project: to celebrate his homeland and nation with a cycle of symphonic poems. The result was the cycle Ma vlast (My Homeland), consisting of the parts Vysehrad, Vltava, Sarka, Z ceskych luhu a haju (From Czech Fields and Groves), Tabor and Blanik. Towards the end of his life, he composed another great string of operas, Hubicka (1876) (The Kiss), Tajemstvi (1877) (The Secret) a Certova stena (1879 - 82) (The Devil's Wall). Bedrich Smetana died on May 12, 1884 in the Prague Institute for the Mentally Ill.

Another monument of Czech Romanticism is Antonin Dvorak. He was born on September 8, 1841 in Nelahozevse, where he grew up in an atmosphere of village musicianship.
At sixteen, he came to Prague to attend organ school, and he later became the violist in Komzak's ensemble, with which he came to the Provisional Theater. His first work was Hymnus from Halek's Dedicu Bile hory (Inheritors of White Mountain). He won a state scholarship and Johannes Brahms, the most influential member of the panel, recommended him to the Berlin publisher Simrock, for whom he wrote his first piece in 1878 Slovanskych tancu (Slavonic Dance), which immediately became famous all over the world. His symphonic works were promoted by Bulow, Richter and others, and his oratorios and cantatas became representative pieces for domestic singing companies as well as for famous English festivals. In 1890 and 1891, Dvorak was named a Doctor honoris causa at Cambridge and Prague universities. He was a professor after 1891, and after the period from 1892 to 1895, when he was the artistic director for the National Conservatory in New York City, he was the artistic director for the Prague Conservatory. Honored as one of the greatest composers of his time, Dvorak died in Prague on May 1, 1904.

Beside Smetana and Dvorak, the most distinctive figure of this period was Zdenek Fibich (1850 - 1900). His work was dedicated to the widest diversity of subjects. His songs [Sestero pisni (Six of Songs), Jarni paprsky (Spring Rays) a duets have an intimate charcter. His compositions for piano are represented by such pieces as the lyrical cycle Z hor (From the Mountains) and the four-handed Sonata in B Major. His orchestral production encompassed all the genres of the era; his Third Symphony in E minor belongs besides Dvorak's symphonies among the best Czech symphonies of the 19th century. The most important of Fibich's operas Nevesta mesinska (The Bride of Messina) and Sarka. A significant part of Fibich's pieces were melodramas - Stedry den, Pomsta kvetin, (Christmas Eve, Revenge of the Flowers) and so on.

Important Composers
Bedrich Smetana 1824 - 1884
Antonin Dvorak 1841 - 1904
Zdenek Fibich 1850 - 1900
Vilem Blodek 1834 - 1874
Karel Bendl 1838 - 1897
Next .. The History of Music Romantic

Scarlett Johansson

Name : Scarlett Johansson
Birth Name : Scarlett I. Johansson
Date of Birth : 22 November 1984
Place of Birth : New York, New York, USA
Height : 5' 4''
Nationality : American
Profession : Actor, Singer, one-time Songwriter
Spouse : Ryan Reynolds (2008 - present)

Scarlett Johansson Trivia
* Received an "introducing" credit for The Horse Whisperer (1998) although it was her seventh feature film.
* Has a younger twin brother, Hunter Johansson.
* Attended and graduated in 2002 from Professional Children's School in Manhattan, New York City.
* Grandchild of writer Ejner Johansson.
* Is of Danish descent on her father's side and Polish descent on her mother's side.
* Was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in June 2004.
* Applied to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts for the fall 2003 semester, but was not accepted. The rejection allowed her to focus on her career, which blossomed soon after.
* Shortly after Lost in Translation (2003) was released, she said she had a connection to older men and couldn't see herself dating anyone under 30. True to her word, she had a relationship with actor Benicio Del Toro, who is 17 years her senior.
* Was cast as Rebecca in Thumbsucker (2005), but dropped out before filming commenced and was replaced by Kelli Garner.
* Her father Karsten Johansson, a NY architect, and mother Melanie Sloan, her manager, now divorced, separated when she was 13.
* Campaigned for John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential Election.
* Celebrated her 20th birthday at Disneyland.
* Auditioned for a role in The Parent Trap (1998), which finally went to Lindsay Lohan.
* Has an older half-brother (Christian), an older sister (Vanessa), an older brother (Adrian, born 1976) and a twin brother (Hunter).
* Planned to attend Purchase University to study film
* Her older sister, Vanessa Johansson, is also an actress.
* Prepared for her role in Lost in Translation (2003) by living on Hokkaido with then boyfriend Faiz Ahmad.
* She is three minutes older than twin brother Hunter Johansson. She says these three minutes are the most important in her life.
* Had tonsillectomy.
* First role (uncredited) was in a skit during the first year of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (1993) at age 8. She relived this moment during an interview with Conan on July 12, 2005, twelve years later.
* Father Karsten Johansson was born in Denmark, while her mother, Melanie Sloan, comes from a Bronx-bred family of Polish descent.
* Ranked #9 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World (2005). And was also the highest ranking new entry to the list.
* Named #24 on the Maxim magazine
Hot 100 of 2005 list.
* Director Sofia Coppola directed both Scarlett and her boyfriend Josh Hartnett, but not in the same movie. Scarlett was in Coppola's Lost in Translation (2003) and Hartnett starred in The Virgin Suicides (1999)
* She donated many items to Rocky Stone to be given to less fortunate kids as part of the Toy Mountain Campaign.
* Was featured as #63 in Maxim Magazine's "Hot 100 of 2002" supplement. (2002)
* Named #6 on Maxim magazines "Hot 100" list of 2006
* Chosen by FHM readers as "Sexiest Woman Alive" in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World (2006).
* Has a cat named Trooper.
* Named "Sexiest Woman Alive" by Esquire Magazine [October, 2006].
* Named #1 in FHM magazine's "100 Sexiest Women in the World 2006" supplement. (2006).
* Member of the jury at the Venice Film Festival
in 2004.
* Has been named the Sexiest Celebrity of 2007 by Playboy Magazine.
* Is a fan of Woody Allen.
* Ranked #3 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2007 list.
* Has a chihuahua named Maggie.
* Was considered for the role of Susan Storm/Invisible Girl in Fantastic Four (2005).
* Was offered the role of Lindsey Farris in Mission: Impossible III (2006).
* Was offered the role of Evey in V for Vendetta (2005).
* Was offered the role of Lois Lane in Superman Returns (2006).
* Is an alumni of the Lee Strasberg Institute such as actors Frank Miranda, Mickey Rourke, Rosario Dawson, Dennis Hopper, Julia Roberts.
* Was ranked #12 on Forbes List of The 20 Top-Earning Young Superstars.(2007).
* In 2006, she was earning $2 million per year representing L'Oreal cosmetics.
* In 2007, Forbes Magazine estimated her earnings for the year at $5 million.
* Supports Barack Obama.
* Was ranked #1 on Entertainment Weekly's '30 Under 30' the actress list. (2008).
* Raised money for international relief organization Oxfam by auctioning off two tickets for He's Just Not That Into You (2009) on eBay, giving the winning bidders the opportunity to mingle with her. [March 2008]
* Engaged to Ryan Reynolds [May 5, 2008].
* Ranked #2 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 of 2008 list.
*Girlfriend of Josh Hartnett. [2004-late 2006]
* Married fianc Ryan Reynolds in a quiet ceremony in Canada on September 27th, 2008.

Scarlett Johansson Detailed Biography
Scarlett Johansson, (real name: Scarlett I. Johansson; often misspelt as: Scarlett Johanssen, or Scarlet Johanssen) was born on November 22, 1984. is an actress and singer, of dual American and Danish citizenship. Johansson rose to fame with her role in 1998's The Horse Whisperer and subsequently gained critical acclaim for her roles in Ghost World, Lost in Translation (for which she won a BAFTA), and Girl with a Pearl Earring, the latter two earning her Golden Globe Award nominations in 2003.

On May 20, 2008, Johansson debuted as a vocalist on her first album, Anywhere I Lay My Head, with cover versions of Tom Waits songs.

Johansson was born in New York City. Her father, Karsten Johansson, is a Danish-born architect, and her paternal grandfather, Ejner Johansson, was a screenwriter and director. Her mother, Melanie Sloan, a producer, comes from an Ashkenazi Jewish family from the Bronx. Johansson's parents met in Denmark, where her mother lived with Johansson's maternal grandmother, Dorothy, a former bookkeeper and schoolteacher. Johansson has an older sister, Vanessa, who is also an actress; an older brother, Adrian; a twin brother, Hunter, also an actor; and a half-brother, Christian, from her father's re-marriage.

Johansson grew up in a household with "little money" with a mother who was a "film buff". Johansson began her theater training by attending and graduating from Professional Children's School in Manhattan in 2002. She attended P.S. 41 in Greenwich Village for elementary school.
Johansson began acting during childhood, after her mother began taking her to auditions. She made her film debut in 1994's North. After appearing in several films during the late 1990s, including a very brief appearance in the Mandy Moore video for her single "Candy", Johansson garnered praise and widespread attention for her performance in 1998's The Horse Whisperer and 2001's Ghost World.

She won the "Upstream Prize" for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival for her performance in 2003's Lost in Translation. The same year, she was nominated for two Best Actress awards at the Golden Globes, one for drama (Girl with a Pearl Earring) and one for comedy (Lost in Translation). She was also nominated for Best Actress for both films at the BAFTAs, and won Best Actress for Lost in Translation.

Johansson was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June 2004. In the same year, she starred in the films The Perfect Score, In Good Company and A Love Song for Bobby Long, the last of which earned her a third Golden Globe Award nomination. Johansson was involved for a short time with the film Mission: Impossible III, but was not officially cast because of scheduling conflicts, although a falling out with the film's star, Tom Cruise, had been both widely reported and publicly denied. She was replaced by Keri Russell.

In July 2005, Johansson starred with Ewan McGregor in Michael Bay's The Island, making her debut as a female lead in a mainstream action film. In the same year, she starred in the Woody Allen-directed drama Match Point, which opened in December. Johansson received her fourth Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the role, but lost to Rachel Weisz.

Johansson's next film, Scoop, another collaboration with Allen, was released on July 28, 2006. The same year, she appeared in Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia, a film noir shot in Los Angeles and Bulgaria. Johansson has noted that she was a De Palma fan and had wanted to work with him on the film, even though she thought that she was "physically wrong" for the part. Her reviews were mixed: CNN.com noted that Johansson "takes to the pulpy period atmosphere as if it were oxygen," whereas the Kalamazoo Gazette referred to Johansson as "miscast."

On January 14, 2006, Johansson hosted Saturday Night Live. Also in 2006, Johansson starred in a short film directed by Bennett Miller and set to Bob Dylan's "When the Deal Goes Down...", released to promote Dylan's album, Modern Times. Johansson also appeared in the Christopher Nolan thriller The Prestige, which opened on October 20, 2006. She made a return appearance on Saturday Night Live on April 21, 2007, during which she dueted with Andy Samberg for a version of Bonnie Raitt's "Something to Talk About."
Johansson next appeared in 2007's The Nanny Diaries, starring alongside Laura Linney, and 2008's The Other Boleyn Girl, opposite Natalie Portman and Eric Bana. She has filmed her third Woody Allen film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, in Spain.

Johansson has signed on for three new projects. She was cast as the femme fatale Silken Floss in Frank Miller's noir comedy adaptation of Will Eisner's comic The Spirit. The film has completed production and will be released in US theaters on December 25th, 2008. She will also portray Mary, Queen of Scots in a film scheduled to begin production in March 2008, and appear as a pilates instructor in He's Just Not That Into You, with Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Justin Long. The film is directed by Ken Kwapis and produced by Barrymore.
In 2005, Johansson was considered for the role of Maria in Andrew Lloyd Webber's West End revival of The Sound of Music, though the role ultimately went to newcomer Connie Fisher after she won BBC's talent show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? Released May 8, 2006, Johansson sang the track "Summertime" for Unexpected Dreams Songs from the Stars, a non-profit collection of songs recorded by Hollywood actors. She also performed with The Jesus And Mary Chain for a special Coachella Reunion Show in Indio, California in April 2007.

In the summer of 2007, Johansson spent about a month in Maurice, Louisiana recording an album at Dockside Studio, a rural 12 acre complex. The album consists of one original song and ten cover versions of Tom Waits songs. It was produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio and features David Bowie, members from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Celebration. The record, entitled Anywhere I Lay My Head was released on May 20, 2008, through Atco/Rhino Records, amid a negative "critical consensus, stretching from comments on Gawker.com to the pages of The New York Times." Reviews of the album were mainly negative, mostly concentrating on her supposedly sub-par vocal abilities and the perceived failure to add a new dimension to the well-established classics she chose to cover, but some critics found it to be surprisingly alluring, brave in its eccentric selection, and even brilliant.

In 2007, she appeared as the leading lady in Justin Timberlake's music video for "What Goes Around.../...Comes Around," nominated in August 2007 for video of the year at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Johansson does not discuss her personal life with the press, saying "it's nice to have everybody not know your business." This has not stopped Johansson from sharing "select" opinions and personal details. Johansson's ex-boyfriend (and member of the band Steel Train), Jack Antonoff, wrote lyrics that refer to Johansson in the song "Better Love." Antonoff alludes to Johansson in the song "2 O'clock." She has been linked to many famous men, including Derek Jeter, Benicio del Toro, Jared Leto, Justin Timberlake and her Black Dahlia co-star Josh Hartnett. They dated for about two years until the end of 2006, with Hartnett citing their busy lives as the reason for the split. She dated Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds, and on May 5, 2008, it was reported that the two were engaged. On September 27, 2008, Johansson and Reynolds were married at a quiet ceremony outside Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Johansson says she does not believe in monogamy, and has said that it is not human nature to be with just one person. She also said "contrary to popular belief... [I am] not promiscuous" and that she works "really hard" when she's in a relationship "to make it work in a monogamous way." She gets tested for HIV twice a year, and has said "it's part of being a decent human" and it is "disgusting" and "irresponsible" when people do not do so.

Johansson is close to her twin brother Hunter, and often gives him advice on women and dating.

Johansson is a cheese fanatic, saying: "My greatest vice is cheese. Nothing else reigns over my life." She has criticized the media and Hollywood for promoting an image that causes unhealthy diets and eating disorders among women, saying "that being ultra-thin is not sexy at all. Women shouldn't be forced to conform to unrealistic and unhealthy body images that the media promote."

Johansson appeared on the cover of the March 2006 issue of Vanity Fair in the nude alongside actress Keira Knightley and world-renowned fashion designer Tom Ford. In March 2006, she topped the U.S. edition of FHM's poll of the sexiest women alive (in the UK edition Johansson was third). In 2007, Maxim named Johansson #3 in their Hot 100 issue. In November 2006, Johansson was named "Sexiest Woman Alive" by Esquire. In February 2007, she was named the "Sexiest Celebrity" of the year by Playboy.

About her religious affiliation, Johansson says: "That's a very personal question. I would rather not answer." She celebrates a "little of both" referring to Christmas and Hanukkah. She dislikes when celebrities thank God or Jesus in their award acceptance speeches. She described herself as Jewish when she was talking about Woody Allen. "I just adore Woody," she says. "We have a lot in common. We're New Yorkers, Jewish. We have a very easygoing relationship."

Johansson is a Global Ambassador for the aid and development agency, Oxfam. On March 14, 2008, a UK-based bidder by the name of Bossnour paid 20,000 for a 20 minute date with Johansson on an online auction for Oxfam on eBay. The bidder paid for a hair and make up treatment and the chance to accompany Johansson on her July premiere of He's Just Not That Into You.

She is a fan of the children's television show SpongeBob Squarepants. She supplied the voice of Mindy the Mermaid in The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie.
Johansson is a Democrat. In 2004, she campaigned for John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election. She was quoted as saying of George W. Bush's re-election, "[I am] disappointed. I think it was a disappointment for a large percentage of the population." Johansson campaigned for Barack Obama in Iowa on January 2, 2008; her efforts were targeted at small groups of younger voters, including Cornell College students and students at St. Paul Central in Minnesota on Super Tuesday. She has also taken part in the anti-poverty campaign ONE which was organized by U2 lead singer Bono. According to the FEC's website, she donated the maximum allowed amount of $2300 to the Obama campaign on May 8, 2008.

Johansson appeared in the 2008 music video for Black Eyed Peas front man Will.i.am's song, "Yes We Can", directed by Jesse Dylan. The song was inspired by Obama's speech following the 2008 New Hampshire primary.
Next .. Scarlett Johansson

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The History of Salsa

& other Latin Dances

Tracing the Origins of Salsa Music
The Latin music we hear today has its origins in Cuba where the blending of African drum rhythms and Spanish guitar evolved into a variety of Latin American music: Son, Danzón, the rhythms of Carnival, Cha cha cha, Mambo, Salsa.....even Tango came out of Cuba.

During the war in Cuba in 1898 US Soldiers got a taste for Cuban music. Later, during Prohibition in the USA, Americans went to Cuba where drinking alcohol was legal and they became infected with the Latin rhythms.

As early as 1909 radio recordings came out of Cuba. In 1932 American Radio came to Cuba to record Orquesta Anacoana. This amazing all-female orquesta consisted of 10 sisters. They were the first females in Cuba to openly play percussion, horns and other instruments. Locked in the house for days at a time during the war, they had nothing to do but practice. This group evolved into one of Cuba's leading orchestras and one of the first to get top billing in New York. One sister, Graciela, went on to become the lead singer for Machito's orchestra.

It wasn't long before musicians in the USA began incorporating Latin rhythms into their own music. In 1900, W.C. Handy visited Cuba and began our legacy of Latin jazz here in the USA. Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie "Bird" Parker, Stan Getz and Cal Tjader have all followed the tradition by blending and evolving Latin jazz. Gillespie added a Cuban drummer named Chano Pozo to his band in 1938 and they began to compose together.

Even the less esoteric forms of music in the USA have sampled Latin rhythms and incorporated them with great success. Sam Cooke, The Diamonds, Johnny Otis, Elvis Presley, Bo Diddley and Nat King Cole all helped popularize Latin music with hits containing elements from Cuban music. Gloria Estefan is one of the most well-known contemporary popularizers of Latin music in the USA. She has very successfully blended English lyrics and and rock and roll style with her Cuban musical heritage.

To find the roots of Cuban music we look to West Africa where the slave trade thrived. The Yoruba, Congo and other West African people created rhythms in ancient times to call forth various gods. Sadly, these wonderful rhythms were brought over to the New World under dire circumstances. One drummer named Ijibwa was taken captive and placed on a slave ship for America. He was forced to play on deck to keep up the spirits of the prisoners so that the "merchandise" would arrive alive.

The slaves used the drum rhythms in Christian worship too. Slaves were forced to adopt Christianity upon arrival in the new World, but often called their own gods by Christian names so as to avoid punishment. A similar practice was the progenitor of the "Yo Mama is so..." jokes in existence today among African-Americans. "Mama" was actually a code word for "Master". Hardly anyone telling these jokes today remembers what "Mama" actually stood for in slave times. In Latin music most of the listeners are not even aware that the drum rhythms we dance to are actually religious in meaning, dedicated to various African gods. Cabillolos (secret societies) still exist in Cuba and keep alive over 200 different rhythms for different African gods.

Troubadours from Spain brought Flamenco guitar music to Cuba. Out of this came Son. Rural Cubans brought the folk guitar to Havana after the war in 1898. Isaac Oviedo was one of the originators of son. He taught himself the guitar by watching other musicians and started the group Santiga Casana, a charuquita group; kettle drum (timbál), ceramic jog, accordion and guitar. In 1926 Oviedo brought the Matanza Sextet to Havana. Later on Emilio Orfe created the danzón style with violin, cello, flute and African drums. He started his first orchestra at age eleven!

Oreste Lopez helped create Mambo by combining danzón with African rhythms from the street. The dancing itself came out of rehearsals where couples would come over and improvise. Lope put together Arcanos Orchestra in 1938.

Xavier Cugat was another important figure in popularizing Mambo. Born in Spain and raised in Cuba, Cugat was initially trained in classical violin beginning at age 8. His music was a unique blend of Afro-Cuban and Flamenco influences. Cugat spent time in New York and Berlin before giving up music to become a cartoonist for the LA Times (!), but in the 1940's Charlie Chaplin dragged him out of his musical retirement to compose a score for the Chaplin film City Lights. Cugat formed a group, "Cugat and the Gigolos" and found that he could make a living in Hollywood doing tropical music for films. He created a smooth Latin blend of music that was very popular with Busby Berkeley and Fred Astaire.

Don Aspiazu started the Rumba craze in 1930 with his Rumba dance team and full orchestra. Anglo-Americans were in a frenzy over the "fiery tempo and barbaric melody" and thought of Latin music as daring and fascinating. The film industry continued to popularize Latin music with Desi Arnaz and his orchestra singing such songs as "Babalu" and "Cumbanchero". In 1940 he popularized the conga line dance.

Tito Puentes' contribution to Mambo is well-known, as are the contributions of Willy Colon and Celia Cruz. Cruz was recorded on Cuban radio at age 7 and made her first record in 1951. One lesser-known figure is Arsenio Rodriguez, one of the true fathers of Salsa. A blind drummer in Cuba, he began to evolve the Salsa sound from Mambo in the early 1960's.

People continually argue about the difference between Mambo and Salsa. Some say they are the same thing. Some say Salsa is something you eat! Some think Salsa is a generic label for all different types of Latin music. But if you listen to the early Mambo of Tito Puente, Machito, Beny More, Tito Rodriguez and the many greats who started playing before 1960, and then listen to some of the newer folks on the block, you'll find a distinction there easily enough. As to whether to move the body or feet on the first or second beat, that is a whole subject all on its own.

For more information on Latin music, Descarga has an extensive line of recordings, videos and written works on the subject. "The Roots of Rhythm, narrated by Harry Belafonte, was the main source of information for this article. To order it from Descarga, call toll-free 1-800-377-2647.

Rueda de Casino
(from an article in Hoofers Anonymous)
During the late 1950's in Cuba, there was a popular dance -- some might call it a "dance craze!" -- that was done in the streets and in the clubs, and in people's homes. It was called Casino Rueda, or Rueda de Casino, or simply Rueda. Rueda means "wheel". Casino refers to the kinds of turns and breaks you might normally see in ordinary partner Salsa dancing.

"Swing Your Partner Round and Round..." If the first few words of this notorious dance command ring a bell, then open your ears, as you may start to hear phrases like "dame una" (give me one), "dame dos con vuelta" (give me two with a turn), and "exhíbela" (show her off)... the list is endless. Rueda de Casino is Country and Western square dancing SALSA STYLE! If you like dancing Salsa, then imagine the sensation of doing so not with one person but with an entire group. Picture this... you step out to your favorite Latin nightclub. Later in the evening, the floor opens as couples gather in a circle. You know the moves, the names, the signals. You grab a partner and you're about to enter into the most incredible Salsa experience. Rueda de Casino was originally danced in the 1950's to the Cha cha beat in members-only clubs in Cuba known as casinos deportivos. These casinos sponsored dances with live orchestras where dancers would get together and create new styles. It was in these casinos that "la rueda" was born. Unfortunately, the Castro regime stifled a lot of popular cultural activities, forcing them underground. Rueda de Casino eventually resurfaced in people's living rooms, on the street, at clubs and parties. It was first introduced to Miami in the early 90's and is rapidly making its way across the United States.

Rueda de Casino, in its truest form, is an art of communication that requires dancers be alert and quick. A leader calls out or signals the dancers to a short combination of intricate steps followed by commands such as "adios", "enchufa", or "dame..." which are patterns that lead dancers to a change of partners. There are reportedly more than 150 moves, each with a name that often has a double entendre or some cross-cultural humor buried in it. Each pattern also comes with a hand signal or gesture which are well needed in large circles and/or loud night clubs. It's incredible to watch but certainly much more so to participate. Everyone in the wheel, including followers, keep their eyes peeled to the caller. When the dancers are on in "la rueda" it is intoxicating and addictive

The form of the Rueda -- passing partners in a wheel -- hints at its early, colonial origins, which were probably a "mezcla", a blend of French Court Dances (brought to Cuba by Haitians) and the indigenous Afro-Cuban dance movements. With Cuban emigration to the US -- with an especially large influx into Miami -- the Cuban culture, music and dance blossomed here, and, along with Mambo, Cha cha, and Salsa, Rueda has reemerged. Recently, Rueda has sprung up in Los Angeles and here in San Francisco (a dance group from L.A., led by Tomas Montero, performed Rueda at last year's SF Carnival Parade!)

Cha cha is the newcomer of the Latin American Dances. This dance was first seen in the dance-halls of America, in the early fifties, following closely Mambo, from which it was developed. The music is slower than Mambo.

Chonque was the grandfather of Rumba and Cha cha with African rhythms and Spanish guitar, but Enrique Joren came up with the first full-fledged Cha cha in 1951. He wanted it to be a medium rhythm, very recognizable and not too frenetic. His creation came from the idea that there should be a music created specifically for dance and participation, not only for listening, or for a select elite.

The name Cha cha is an imitation of the "rhythm" from dancing Cuban side steps. From the less inhibited night clubs and dance halls the Mambo underwent subtle changes. It was triple Mambo, and then peculiar scraping and shuffling sounds during the "tripling" produced the imitative sound of Cha cha. This then became a dance in itself. Mambo or triple Mambo or cha cha as it is now called, is but an advanced stage in interpretive social dancing born of the fusion of progressive American and Latin music.

After the World War II the Mambo was pushed aside by the Cha cha which became popular around 1956. According to its roots the Cha cha should be played passionately without any seriousness and with staccato allowing the dancers to project an atmosphere of 'naughtiness" to the audience.

The Merengue is the national dance of the Dominican Republic, and also to some extent, of Haiti, the neighbor sharing the island. There are two popular versions of the of the origin of the Merengue.

One story alleges the dance originated with slaves who were chained together and, of necessity, were forced to drag one leg as they cut sugar to the beat of drums. The second story alleges that a great hero was wounded in the leg during one of the many revolutions in the Dominican Republic. A party of villagers welcomed him home with a victory celebration and, out of sympathy, everyone dancing felt obliged to limp and drag one foot. Merengue has existed since the early years of the Dominican Republic (in Haiti, a similar dance is called the Meringue).

It is possible the dance took its name from the confection made of sugar and egg whites because of the light and frothy character of the dance or because of its short, precise rhythms. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the Merengue was very popular in the Dominican Republic. Not only is it used on every dancing occasion in the Republic, but it is very popular throughout the Caribbean and South American, and is one of the standard Latin-American dances.

There is a lot of variety in Merengue music. Tempos vary a great deal and the Dominicans enjoy a sharp quickening in pace towards the latter part of the dance. The most favored routine at the clubs and restaurants that run a dance floor is a slow Bolero, breaking into a Merengue, which becomes akin to a bright, fast Jive in its closing stages. Ballroom Merengue is slower and has a modified hip action. Merengue was introduced in the United States in the New York area. However, it did not become well known until several years later. Ideally suited to small, crowded dance floors, it is a dance that is easy to learn and essentially a "fun" dance.

Recommended Listening:

Afro Cuban All-Stars
Buena Vista Social Club
Introducing...Ruben Gonzalez (RG contributed to many Arsenio Rodriguez recordings)
Llego con Damas
The Rough Guide to Salsa
The Best of Mambo
Mango Santa Maria
Oscar de Leon
Orquesta Avance (local SF Bay Area group)
Orquesta Gitano (local SF Bay Area group)
Grupo Niche
Luis Enrique (Salsa romántico)
Marc Anthony (Salsa romántico)
DLG (Salsa romántico with a bit of hip hop influence)
Next .. The History of Salsa

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The History of Music - Classical Peroid

As implied by the term 'classical', the music of this period looked to the art and philosophy of Ancient Greece and Rome - to the ideals of balance, proportion and disciplined expression. The late Baroque style was polyphonically complex and ornamental and rich in tis melodies. Composers of the Classical era deviated from the evolution of their predecessors - their music had a considerably simpler texture. It's a bit of an irony that two of J.S. Bach's children, Carl Philipp Emanuel (C.P.E.) a Johann Christian (J.C.), belonged among the leaders of the new Classical movement. Their father was the greatest figure in the Baroque style and thanks to the new era of his children, he became old-fashioned.

Homophony - music where the melody and accompaniment are clearly distinct - was the main style during the classical era; new genres were discovered that completed the transformation from the Baroque era to the Classical. The sonata was the most important of these, as well as the most developed. Although Baroque composers also wrote sonatas, the Classical style of sonata is completely distinct.

The foundation of the Classical sonatas is conflict - for instance between two themes of contrasting character. The contrast during the performance of the sonata increases, until it is finally "resolved." The sonata allowed composers to give solely instrumental pieces a dramatic character. All of the main instrumental forms of the Classical era, the quartet, symphony,and concerto, were based on the dramatic structure of the sonata.

One of the most important "evolutionary steps" made in the Classical period was the development of public concerts. Although the aristocracy would still play a significant sponsoring role in musical life, it was now possible for composers to survive without being the permanent employee of some noble or his family. It also meant that concerts weren't limited to the salons and celebrations of aristocratic palaces. The increasing popularity of public concerts led to a growth in the popularity of the orchestra as well, to the enlargement in the number of musicians and the number of orchestras overall. Although chamber music was still performed, the expansion of orchestral concerts necessitated large public spaces. As a result of all these processes, symphonic music (including opera and oratoria) became more extroverted in character.
Important Composers

Carl Philipp Emanuel (C.P.E.) Bach 1714 - 1788
Christoph Willibald Gluck 1714 - 1787
Johann Christian (J.C.) Bach 1735 - 1782
Franz Joseph Haydn 1732 - 1809
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756 - 1791
Ludwig van Beethoven 1770 - 1827
Czech Music of the Classical Period
In the 18th century, the basic European tedencies of social and musical evolution were imbued with characteristic features of Czech popular music tradition. Because of this, Czech music was able to significantly emerge into general Europen context during this period.

An important moment in the progress of the 'musicality' of the Czech people was the simple fact that musical talent and education brought considerable material advantages. The livery, or service, of a manorial footman or gamekeeper was relieved of his labors and dangerous military service. A good musician in service could hope that after some period he might be set free from servitude.

The most important creative figure of Czech Classicism in the country was Frantisek Xaver Brixi (1732 - 1771). In 1744, he was sent to a famous piano school in Kosmonose, after which he met with success in Prague churches as an organist and composer. In 1759, he was entrusted with the most significant musical position in the country, as he became the 27-year-old conductor of the metropolitan Cathedral of St. Vitus at Hradcany. He succeeded to become the most played Czech composer of the 18th century. Although homophonic structure dominates his work, he remarkably mastered polyphonic composition as well and even though he didn't live to see 40 years of age, he left an extensive collection of work, now estimated at around 500 titles. In his work, there is a natural predominance of church pieces; large oratorial compositions like Filius prodigus, Opus patheticum de septem doloribus and Judas Iscariothes. Unfortunate circumstances kept him from making a name for himself as an author of instrumental music; pieces for harpsichord and organ, including a Symphony in D Major, were among the last things he produced.

An honorable place in domestic output is held the pupils of Seger. The most respected of them was Jan Antonin Kozeluh (1738 - 1814) from Velvary. He also studied in Vienna and was the conductor in St. Vitus cathedral for 30 years; his work includes both church and concert works. As the only Czech author of his time, he also composed serious Italian opera: Allesandro nell' Indie was performed in 1769 and Demofoonte in 1772. He was the organist at the Strahov monastery for almost 40 years.

Czech musicians have long left the ccountry for foreign lands. In the 18th century, especially in the second half, this emigration reached an unprecedented intensity. This western flow of emigration most affected the development of the Mannheim Company under the leadership of Jan Vaclav Antonin Stamic (1717 - 1757) the most. Stamic came to the Czech lands before the year 1730 from Maribor in present-day Slovenia, where he was born as the son of an organist, merchant and alderman, to study at a Jesuit school in Jihlava. From the age of 24 he was a violinist in the Mannheim group, and from 1750 he was its concert master.

In Italy, where only the most exceptional foreign musicians could gain a foothold, the most successful was Josef Myslivecek (1737 - 1781). The son of a Prague miller, he was trained in his father's trade before being turned over for the study of music with Fr. Habermann and Josef Seger. In 1763 he left the country to perfect his musical talents with Venetian master, G.B. Pescetti, and in 1767, with the Neapolitan premiere of his opera Bellerofonte, he joined the ranks of the most successful authors of Italian opera seria. Even in other genres, such as symphonies, concertos, sonatas, etc., he developed an uncommonly rich creative activity. He maintained contact with his homeland and several of his operas and oratorios were performed in Prague. He was known by the sobriquet Il Boemo (the Bohemian) in Italy and died of a prolonged illness in Rome.
Important Authors
Frantisek Xaver Brixi 1732 - 1771
Jan Antonin Kozeluh 1738 - 1814
Jan Vaclav Antonin Stamic 1717 - 1757
Josef Myslivecek 1737 - 1781
Jan Krtitel Krumpholz 1742 - 1790
Pavel Vranicky 1756 - 1808
Gottfried Rieger 1764 - 1855
Jakub Jan Ryba 1765 - 1815
Next .. The History of Music - Classical Peroid