Celebrate Music in 2018

Essays reaching into music history

The essays below take a more in-depth look at some of the events and people highlighted in the collection, Music Anniversaries in 2018

1968 - "Peace Songs of the 1960s"
1918 - "Women in World War I"
1868 - "William Steinway and Richard Wagner"
1818 - "Western Music in Meiji Japan"
1768 - "Mozart: In Search of the Roots of Genius"


Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Logo

Playlist: Classical Music from Smithsonian Folkways

The origins of Western Classical music can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, who laid down the foundation by establishing music notation and the basic concepts of music theory and terminology.

Album art, A Perspective of Beethoven-Pianoforte, Leonid Hambro, 2004 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings / 1953 Cook Records
Leonid Hambro

A Perspective of Beethoven-Pianoforte

American concert pianist Leonid Hambro, remembered for his legendary memory and ten-year partnership with Victor Borge, recorded these works by Beethoven for Cook Records in 1953.

Album art, German Christmas Songs, Ernst Wolff, 1956, 2004 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings / 1956 Folkways Records
Ernst Wolff

German Christmas Songs

Ernst Wolff (1905–1991), a classically trained singer of opera and German lied (art song), settled in America in 1937 after fleeing to England from Germany in 1933.

Album art, American Revolutionary War Songs to Cultivate the Sensations of Freedom, Arthur F. Schrader, 1976, 2004 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings / 1976 Folkways Records
Arthur F. Schrader

American Revolutionary War Songs to Cultivate the Sensations of Freedom

The first anthologies of Revolutionary War song-texts began to appear in 1842. Fast forward 131 years, and many adaptations later, to find music historian and performer Arthur Schrader revisited the original texts in their primary sources.

In 1768, 250 years ago, Joseph Haydn was newly promoted to the position of music director for the court of Nikolaus I, Prince Esterhazy.  In this role, he wrote a three-act opera, Lo speziale (The Apothecary), which premiered as the inaugural opera of the Esterháza opera house in late 1768.

The video to the right features Smithsonian curator, Kenneth Slowik, discussing Joseph Haydn and an instrument called a baryton.

See collections objects related to Haydn and explore other music events and people from 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 years ago in the collection, Music Anniversaries in 2018

This spotlight was created by Kate Duffus Stein on behalf of Smithsonian Music.