Tchaikovsky and more!

May 19th, 2007 by ClickSchooling Leave a reply »

Recommended Website:

San Francisco Symphony’s “Keeping Score” Music History and Appreciation multimedia presentations

Age Range: All!

(As ALWAYS, parents are advised to preview websites to determine suitability of content.)

Once again this week, a big hearty THANK YOU goes to list member Christina Ellyson for pointing us to a remarkable website! What a find! Here you can enjoy multimedia biographies which explore in depth the factors that came into play in the lives and works of great composers such as Tchaikovsky, Copeland, Beethoven, and Stravinsky, with the possibility of more as this series unfolds!

When you reach this page, I’d recommend going directly to the photo of Tchaikovsky at the bottom left corner and clicking “go.” You won’t be disappointed!

This presentation has a section called “Primal Moves” which explores the emotions in various compositions. Here you will click on an emotion and listen to a classical piece which expresses it; after your ear has been attuned to this sort of listening, you can try your hand at matching the musical excerpts with classical paintings.

There are no wrong answers! Your final product will be a slideshow of paintings with classical music accompaniment to show off to your friends and family! :) Oh yes, and when you’re finished with that section, you can watch the feature presentation about Tchaikovsky’s life and work. This is quite full of information and breathtaking music.

Bookmark this site, because there are still three other composers here, and you’re going to want to learn about them all! :)

You’ll find Beethoven’s Eroica, an in-depth treatment of the history and composition of this great masterpiece. Along the way, you can listen to the much-beloved Moonlight Sonata while reading about the young woman who inspired its composition. Read what Mozart (who was older than Beethoven) has to say about him at age 20.

Watch a video about an anger-filled musical duel between Beethoven and Steibelt (another composer of the time) and find out who won! Listen to excerpts from six other symphonies that Beethoven wrote. Read about why he changed his mind about dedicating this work to Napoleon Bonaparte, and the heart-rending (and at the same time inspiring) tale of his legendary accomplishments despite increasing and eventually profound deafness; listen to two of his great compositions as he might have heard them through his deafened ears.

(FYI:  Please note that the opinions expressed on this site are controversial. For example, Beethoven’s deafness is portrayed as a huge tragedy, as opposed to a great triumph of a composer over a disability.)

And don’t miss “Explore the Score” near the top right of the page: here you can listen to excerpts from the Eroica and read real-time commentary, read along with the musical score, watch the key changes, and more!

“Copeland and the American Sound” is another not-to-be-missed section, giving examples of the various types of music that influenced Copeland’s development of what came to be recognized as typical American music. Set aside plenty of time to view the whole presentation; you’ll be glad you did!

You will also want to see “Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring.'” Don’t click anything when you first open this page, or you’ll miss the video introduction. Then select from “A riotous premier” where you can “choose one of these four main players and follow the events and creative process that would lead to the infamous 1913 Rite of Spring Performance.” You can also, as with Beethoven’s Eroica, “Explore the Score.”

Teachers/parents looking for lesson plans can find them by clicking the “Education” tab at the top of the page and then scrolling down to the appropriate section.

Younger children may like to pop on over to the “San Francisco Symphony” main site (click on the logo in the top right corner) and then select “The SFS kids site” near the bottom left for fun and games related to music theory and composition.

Enjoy! :)


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