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Someone Special that starts with S
This quiz is all about composers and musicians whose names begin with the letter 'S'.

Someone Special that starts with S

As with the 'B's in another of our Quizzes, S seems to be an initial with which strangely many famous musicians begin. How many can you think of, and how many will you recognise?

1.
The son of a bandmaster, he became a leading chorister at the Chapel Royal and went on to write sacred and chamber music including many beautiful songs such as The Lost Chord (a setting he was moved to compose on attending the deathbed of his singer brother Fred). The one part of his output that he is probably most widely known for, we have carefully not mentioned yet. Who was he?
Charles Villiers Stanford
T C Sterndale-Bennett
Arthur (Seymour) Sullivan
Franz Schubert
... as in 'Gilbert and Sullivan', of Savoy Operas fame
2.
This Dutch keyboard musician, composer and teacher, broadly contemporary with Shakespeare, is credited with creating and writing down the first fugues, which also included fully independent contrapuntal writing for the pedals ~ all of which were features that Bach would perfect around a century later, in the high Baroque period. His own output includes charming variations on folk-tunes such as Under a Green Lime-Tree and My Young LIfe hath its Ending.
Who was he?
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Samuel Scheidt
Gottfried Schoenemann
Hannes Silberling
A remarkable and perhaps unjustly overlooked musician, who reportedly set the pace and standard for northern European music-making in his day
3.
Another former choirboy, this composer grew up in Vienna around the time of the Napoleonic Wars. In a short life (he died before reaching his 32nd birthday, leaving a famous Unfinished Symphony) he composed nine splendid symphonies in all and a great deal of lovely, inventive, melodic and thoughtful chamber music, including over 600 art-songs (Lieder) for which he is perhaps best remembered as a masterly pioneer of the form. The very best social musical evenings of his day were known by a term derived from his surname. Yet he died poor, and was buried next to Beethoven whom he had deeply admired.
Who was he?
Robert Schumann
Franz Peter Schubert
Karol Szymanowski
Jean Sibelius
The musical evenings were known as 'Schubertiade' in his honour
4.
This composer was a Finn by birth, and the Finn brothers who developed the leading brand of music-writing software therefore named this program in his honour. His best-known works are probably the atmospheric Karelia Suite and the tone-poem Finlandia, though there are also several symphonies.
Who was he?
Bedrich Smetana
Pablo Sarasate
Louis Spohr
Jean Sibelius
Sibelius is fondly acknowledged as one of the great 'nationalist' romantic composers of the 20th century
5.
Who was the disappointed rival composer who, so some people believe, may have tried to poison the young and infuriatingly talented Mozart?
Antonio Salieri
Florian Scheinwerfer
Klaus Schnidtner
Giambatista Siciliano
Peter Shaffer's 1980s play and film tell an intriguing story, but it is now accepted that this would be very unlikely to have had any truth in it
6.
What surname is, somewhat unhelpfully, shared not only by the father and son who were the 'Waltz Kings of Vienna', but also by another unrelated but significant composer forenamed Richard? The word itself is also a pun in German, since according to its gender it can mean either an ostrich, or a bunch of flowers!
Spree
Spiegelhalter
Strauss
Schmetterling
The reference is chiefly to Johann Strauss, who captured the sweep of the 'Blue Danube' in music and also wrote many polkas
7.
If Strauss was the waltz king of Vienna, who was the march king of the United States?
Archibald Smith
John Philip Sousa
Fred Shubert
Walter Solomon
JP Sousa wrote The High School Cadets, The Washington Post and The Liberty Bell (sig.tune to Monty Python's Flying Circus) among hundreds of other marches. It somehow seems almost impossible to picture a North American military parade or high-school marching band moving along to the accompaniment of music by anyone else.
This author, under another 'hat', once clued Sousa (in a specialist cryptic crossword for musicians) as 'the quintessential Yankee composer' ('so USA')!
8.
An irascible Ulsterman, this composer is probably most widely remembered for his many beautiful anthems and service settings within the cathedral tradition, but he also wrote songs, chamber music and concerti. His greatest musical legacy, though, is perhaps in the roster of next-generation composers whom he nurtured at the Royal College of Music in London ~ where he was a founding Professor ~ among them Holst and Vaughan Williams, Ireland, Bliss and Frank Bridge (later to be a mentor to Benjamin Britten, who became a grand-pupil of this original composer of whom we are currently thinking).
Who was he?
Jack Strachey
John Stainer
Charles Villiers Stanford
Arthur Sullivan
Stanford's direct and indirect influence on the mainstream of 20th century British classical music would be very hard to overestimate
9.
He had already had success with Petrouchka and The Firebird before his Rite of Spring burst upon a Paris audience in May 1913; there were disturbances in the audience at the raw and deliberately dissonant nature of this then-ultramodern music, which critics described as 'barbaric'. Somewhat alongside Holst's Planets suite, with which the work is more or less contemporary, this colourful work has become and remained one of the most performed and recorded orchestral classics of the 20th century, outside the symphonic repertoire as such.
Who was the composer?
Jean Sibelius
Igor Stravinsky
Erik Satie
Dmitri Shostakovich
This was unmistakeably Stravinsky
10.
This eccentric surrealist French composer included such sounds in his works as typewriters and the clicking ratchet of a bicycle wheel. His response to 'pretentious' and derivative titles on the works of other more conventional composers, such as Gavotte in the form of a Rondo, was to write Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear.
Who was he?
Aristide St-Paul
Moritz Sammerthal
Willem Stenhammar
Erik Satie
His best-known work is probably the set of three Gymnopedies for piano, later orchestrated by Claude Debussy

 

Author:  Ian Miles

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