Author Archives: Ryan Libel

Musical Me: Five Years of Practice

This month marks the five-year anniversary of Musical Me.  I conceived of beginning to play the violin and of chronicling my musical pursuit via this blog whole-cloth on a dreary Monday afternoon in October 2013 as I mourned a dead cat and too much wasted time in my life.  The writing and my playing were […]

Stradivarius News

The latest chapter in the story of the Ames/Totenberg Stradivarius has just begun.  The Totenberg family sold the instrument after it was recovered from the wife of the man who stole it in 1980 when she had it appraised upon his death in 2015.  The instrument was returned to the Totenberg family, who then sold […]

An Opera, A Poem, and Florence

Richard Strauss’s opera Capriccio opens with a sextet for strings – The Jerusalem Quartet opened with the piece as well in the first chamber music performance of the 2018-2019 season yesterday at Chicago’s Symphony Center.  The renowned Israeli ensemble is on tour with the legendary Pinchas Zuckerman on viola and cellist Amanda Forsyth, who round […]

Allegro

As I warmed up for my lesson yesterday, I managed to get through my Wohlfahrt etude that’s all sixteenth notes in 4/4 time at 120 bpm – allegro! I must say doing so felt like an accomplishment. But allegro with an etude and allegro with real music are different things – even getting there in […]

Program Music and the Human Male

The Archduke Rudolph of Austria was one of Beethoven’s closest friends and patrons.  A younger man than the composer, Beethoven began tutoring Rudolph when he was in his thirties and the Archduke was in his mid-teens.  Beethoven developed a strong bond with Rudolph – since he had no children himself, it seems likely that his […]

Busy with Beethoven

As I continue to read the Swafford Beethoven biography, I’m listening to Beethoven almost exclusively.  The author’s passion for the composer’s music is intense, and he imparts in me a desire to listen to all of it.  The biography presents works as they appear in Beethoven’s life, mostly chronologically, with an occasional hint about things […]

Beethoven: Touching Enlightenment and the Work

I’m reading a big Beethoven biography, which is providing great context for his work.  Significantly, Beethoven was born and raised in Bonn, a place where enlightenment thinking took root and blossomed.  Beethoven’s intellectual milieu holds a great interest to me, since his music seems to me to tap into something universal about humanity.  The biographer, […]