While the French composer Maurice Ravel is known as a brilliant composer and innovative orchestrator, he held another job

at one point that isn·t as expected; that of ambulance driver. After having been declared unfit for military service during World War I, Ravel compensated by volunteering to care for the wounded. It was during this time that Ravel started composing a French-inspired suite for solo piano that would eventually become Le Tombeau de Couperin, composed in memory of the friends Ravel had lost during the war. This suite did not stay composed for solo piano for long; as Ravel was waiting for the premiere of the original suite, he orchestrated four of the movements, living up to his quote of ´For me, orchestration is more play than work.µ In a move that humbles today·s symphony audiences and young composers alike, Richard Strauss completed his first horn concerto in 1883, at the age of 18. Strauss·s father, Franz Strauss, was the principal hornist for the Bavarian court orchestra for over 30 years, allowing the younger Strauss to have first-hand experience with the hornist mentality as well as with the technical and mechanical properties of the horn. Around the time of writing, the valved horn was beginning to become more popular, replacing the older valveless horns or ´naturalµ horns. The score is titled ´Concerto for Waldhorn,µ which seems to denote that a natural horn should be used, but most players agree that the concerto would be nearly impossible on a natural, valveless horn. Also worth mentioning is that Strauss wrote this concerto while studying at Munich University, although not while studying music. Strauss entered the university to study philosophy, but eventually changed to music. It is said that when asked by his student Carl Czerny why the Eighth symphony was greeted with less enthusiasm than the Seventh, Beethoven stated "That's because the eighth is so much better." The eighth symphony is a light-hearted affair and follows Beethoven·s

tradition of retreating to a more traditionally classical style in his evennumbered symphonies. Both the seventh and eighth symphonies were written during the summer of 1812, while Beethoven was spending less time in Vienna and more time in Bohemian spas. This was an interesting summer for Beethoven, as it was the summer that Beethoven met German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and perhaps more interestingly, penned three letters to his ´Immortal Beloved.µ While Beethoven never sent these letters, they speak volumes about his emotional state at the time he wrote his eighth symphony. While the eighth was written in a period of years of great emotional turmoil, this is not indicated by the eighth nor by the great amount of music Beethoven composed during this time. The eighth symphony was finished in the fall of 1812 in Linz, Austria. The premiere was held a year and a half later, in February 1814 in Vienna. In addition to the Eighth, to which Beethoven referred as his ´little symphony in F,µ his Seventh symphony and his incredibly popular ´Wellington's Victoryµ were also performed. At this point, Beethoven was growing increasingly deaf, yet insisted on leading the premiere. Contemporaries reported that "the orchestra largely ignored his ungainly gestures and followed the principal violinist instead." Despite this ´interestingµ premiere, Beethoven·s Symphony No. eight has delighted audiences for nearly two hundred years. Kyle D. Vanderburg studies composition under Dr. Carlyle Sharpe at Drury University where he is finishing his BA in Music. He plays bassoon in the Drury Wind Symphony and Drury Chamber Orchestra. After finishing his BA he plans on attending graduate school to further his study of composition.

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