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French composer Olivier Messiaen was fortunate to have literary parents and a musical education at the Paris Conservatoire starting at age 11. And we are fortunate that Sylvain Cambreling is so sensitive to the mysticism and drama in Messiaen's compositions. (read more)
Certainly among the earliest stringed instruments, depictions of the harp have been found among the art of ancient Egypt, dating to roughly 4,000 B.C. The modern instrument spans 6 1/2 octaves with a series of up to seven pedals for altering the pitch. (read more)
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Muzio Clementi was famous throughout his lifetime as both a composer and a virtuoso performer, appearing at the court of France and competing with Mozart in Vienna. His early piano sonatas, which greatly impressed the young Beethoven, were of considerable importance in the development of piano technique and its expressive possibilities. With their emphasis on dynamic contrast, singing lines and emotional impact, these pioneering pieces are arguably among the most influential in the transition of keyboard music from the classical to the romantic style.