Programs help to explain the background of a piece or composer. In those descriptions are some hidden gems about the time period, composer, or more. Here are some of the best facts from the Rockport Chamber Music Festival programs.

  • In 1927, the average cost of a movie ticket was 25 cents.
  • French composer Camille Saint-Saëns wrote the first silent film score from a major composer — L’Assasinat du duc de Guise (1908).
  • By far the largest sum owed to Mozart’s estate was Anton Stadler’s debt of 500 florins, equivalent to 18 months rental on Mozart’s apartment at the time. Mozart had several nicknames for Stadler, deliberately misspelling his name as Stodla on occasions, Nàtschibinìtschibi, meaning something like “poor miserable fellow of stupidities,” and RibiselGesicht, literally “red-currant face.”
  • Maurice Ravel said that he once pictured the slow movement in the Sonato for Violin and Cello printed mostly in black ink, which would then change to poppy red ink for the central section.
  • Glenn Gould was the first pianist to be televised in performance in Canada.
  • Glenn Gould tried strapping microphones to the soundboard of the family piano and recording his experiments on a primitive domestic tape recorder.
  • Johann Strauss Sr. and Joseph Lanner’s ensemble would play several Viennese wine bars, beer halls and dance halls all in the same night.
  • Michael Haydn was too ill to complete his work for the Archbishop, so Mozart stepped in to complete it. Ever willing to help a friend—and maybe eager, too, to play a trick on an Archbishop with whom he had crossed swords a few years earlier—Mozart immediately set to work. Carefully avoiding the keys of the four duos Michael Haydn had already completed, he left space at the top of the manuscript for Haydn to insert his own name. Reports from the time have it that Haydn copied out the duos, duped his employer, and treasured his friend’s manuscript for the rest of his life.
  • Manuel de Falla sold the rights to Seven Popular Spanish Songs to a Paris publisher, the legend goes, for less than the price of a bottle of champagne. The songs quickly became the most performed of all Spanish songs and were arranged by various hands for different instruments.