Classics for Kids

Classics for Kids

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George Frederick Handel: Other Composers' Water Music

The Water Music that Handel composed may be the most famous classical music associated with water, but there are lots of other composers who wrote watery pieces.

George Frederick Handel: Other Composers' Water Music

George Frederick Handel: The Story of Handel's Water Music Show

As soon as Handel got his first job of court composer to a German prince, he headed for England. Through a bizarre twist of royal succession, that prince ended up becoming king of England. Instead of staying angry at Handel for leaving Germany, King George I asked him to compose music for a huge party he held on barges on the River Thames.

George Frederick Handel: The Story of Handel's Water Music Show

Antonio Vivaldi: Spring Music

Vivaldi is not the only composer who wrote music about the seasons, or about spring. Many other composers wrote springtime music.

Antonio Vivaldi: Violin Concertos Through the Ages

Concertos got their start in 17th century Italy. The history of violin concertos follows the history of great violinists.

Antonio Vivaldi: Violin Concertos Through the Ages

Antonio Vivaldi: Poetry and Sound Effects in Vivaldi's Spring Concerto

Vivaldi based each of his The Four Seasons concertos on a set of sonnets — poems. The music in each of the Four Seasons describes exactly what's going on in the poems. "Spring" includes birds, brooks, breezes and thunderstorms. See how many of those you can hear in Vivaldi's music.

Antonio Vivaldi: Poetry and Sound Effects in Vivaldi's Spring Concerto

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Composer Teachers and their Students

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov spent years as a professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Many of his students became famous composers themselves: Anatol Liadov, Alexander Glazunov, and Igor Stravinsky. A lot of famous composers studied with each other.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Composer Teachers and their Students

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: The Bees and the Birds

There are many pieces of classical music — besides "The Flight of the Bumblebee" — that are about bees, birds, and other winged creatures. Composers use various instruments to imitate insects, and to create all kinds of bird calls.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: The Bees and the Birds

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Operas

Many pieces of music from Russian operas have become much more famous in the concert hall than on the opera stage. Some of these pieces include Tchaikovsky's Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, Alexander Borodin's Polovstian Dances from Prince Igor, and Sergei Prokofiev's march from The Love for Three Oranges.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: The Tale of Tsar Saltan

The Flight of the Bumblebee comes from an opera called The Tale of Tsar Saltan, which is based on a story by the famous Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. In the opera's complicated plot, Prince Gvidon is separated from his father, Tsar Saltan, and ends up ruling an island full of enchanted objects and animals — including an enchanted swan, whom the prince marries once she gets turned back into a princess.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: The Tale of Tsar Saltan

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Story of the Brandenburg Concertos

When Johann Sebastian Bach sent a set of six concertos to the Margrave of Brandenburg — a German official — the Margrave probably never even looked at the music. Bach called his pieces "concertos for a variety of instruments," because each one calls for a different instrumental combination.

Johann Sebastian Bach: The Story of the Brandenburg Concertos

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