Did you ever leave an opera performance wondering why the singers use so much vibrato? Or a symphony, wondering who decided where on stage the orchestra members should sit, or why they tune their instruments to an oboe rather than an electronic tuner? Why is Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture played on the 4th of July? And how does a composer choose what key to compose in?
In Who Knew?: Answers to Questions about Classical Music You Never Thought to Ask, master music educator Robert A. Cutietta provides lucid answers to these and more than 140 other questions submitted by listeners to his popular weekly radio program. Through its pages, this highly readable guide touches on some of the most curiosity-inducing aspects of the tradition, from why audiences refrain from applauding between movements to how opera singers warm up on the night of a big debut. The responses are drawn from conversations with professional musicians and music educators, giving a rare glimpse into how musicians think and talk about their work. Lovers of classical music who would like to flesh out their understanding are sure to find a powerful resource in Cutietta’s down-to-earth guide, and even seasoned listeners are sure to learn a thing or two. This book will provide hours of enjoyment as readers invariably shake their heads and ask in wonderment, “Who knew!”