Cerebral Shangrila

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rainbow Quiz - Week 67 - Western Classical Composers

Taking a stab again at my now defunct Rainbow Quiz. Many years ago, I had framed a quiz on " Geniuses who died young". Given my current penchant for Western Classical music, it is time to revisit that topic but focusing exclusively on Classical musicians. This quiz is dedicated to all those geniuses who enriched our lives with their astounding genius and creativity yet died before they turned 40.

1. An easy one to start with. "X" is arguably the most naturally gifted musician in history. He could compose and play the piano & violin by the time he was six. He produced an astonishing body of work touching every facet of music - Symphonies, Concertos, Chamber music , Religious music, and Operas. "X" death was quite poignant as he composed a " Requiem" for a mysterious stranger under the delusion that it was for his own soul. He died at an young age of 35. His wife couldn't afford a grand funeral and no one knows his burial place till today. Who is "X"?

2. His first name when translated to Latin means " Happy man" and very few people have managed to entertain and keep people happy the way he has. He came from a highly intellectual Jewish family - his grandfather was a famous philosopher and mother a gifted musician & painter. By the time he was sixteen , he produced his seminal work - An Overture to Shakespeare's " A midsummer night's dream". By the age of 20, he was conducting the works of Bach and had composed several symphonies, concertos and operas. His sister's death had a devastating effect on him and he died within six months of her death at an young age of 38. Who?

3. By the age of ten, he could play the Piano, Organ, Violin and Viola. By the age of 20, he had composed more than 400 works, yet fame and recognition still eluded him. The death of his idol Beethoven was a terrible blow for him and he never fully recovered from it with the only ambition of being buried next to Beethoven. At an young age of 31, this genius died babbling the name of Beethoven. As per his wishes, he was buried next to his idol with the epitaph " Here lie rich treasure and still fairer hopes".

4. He is called the " poet of the piano" and is recognized as one of the greatest pianists ever. Although born in Poland, he spent his most fruitful years in Paris composing solely for the Piano. He had a very tense relationship with the famous novelist " George Sand" and when the relationship ended, he was devastated. He died at an young age of 39 leaving behind the best body of work composed for the Piano. ( I made it a point to visit his burial place in Paris during my trip early this year).

5. "X" was born in Paris and was a child prodigy on the Piano. By 17, he had written his first symphony and followed it soon with operas. He was a man with a short temper and addiction for chocolates & cakes . He composed for an Opera titled " Carmen" that met with an unenthusiastic response. "X" never fully recovered from the shock and died a few months later at the age of 36. Ironically, a few months after his death " Carmen" was hailed as a masterpiece and produced in every major opera house in Europe. Who is X?

6. "X" was a child prodigy from a highly musical family and legend has it that he could sing an aria at eighteen months. He began studying music theory at two, the piano at three, and by the age of five could apparently play well. X's first five pieces were composed when he was just six years old. An Italian, he is acknowledged as having largely shaped the "Opera" in the 19th century. His most famous works are the "La Sonnambula" and "Norma". He died at an young age of 34 in Paris. Who is X?

7. His father immigrated to the US from Russia. Unlike other prodigies, he started showing an interest in music only at the age of 10. He was then taught by Charles Hambitzer, who introduced him to music of the European classical tradition, and encouraged him to attend orchestra concerts."X" composed his first major classical work - "Rhapsody in Blue" which won him instant fame and popularity. He then wrote one of his popular works ( Later adapted by Hollywood) - "An American in Paris". At the young age of 39, he was dead due to brain hemorrhage . Who is X?

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  • 1. Mozart

    is all I know.

    Thanks to the other questions, have googled for answers :)

    By Blogger Srihari SN, at 1:57 AM  

  • Here are the answers :

    1. Mozart

    2. Mendelssohn

    3. Franz Schubert

    4. Chopin

    5. Bizet

    6. Bellini

    7. Gershwin

    By Blogger Cogito, at 10:18 PM  

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