Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, S.244/2, is the second in a set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies by composer Franz Liszt, and is by far the most famous of the set. Few other piano solos have achieved such widespread popularity, offering the pianist the opportunity to reveal exceptional skill as a virtuoso, while providing the listener with an immediate and irresistible musical appeal.
In both the original piano solo form and in the orchestrated version this composition has enjoyed widespread use in animated cartoons. Its themes have also served as the basis of several popular songs.
It is probable that you have heard this piece of music somewhere at one time or another because it is perhaps the most prominent piece of classical (romantic, actually) music featured in animated cartoons across the years.
Now, let the anvils fall and dynamite explode!
And, in real life, Valentina Lisitsa plays Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
• 1902 ~ Zino (Rene) Francescatti, French concert violinist; passed away in 1991
• 1910 ~ A.J. Fisher of Chicago, IL received a patent for an invention that moms, grandmas and single guys certainly came to appreciate: the electric washing machine. Previous to Mr. Fisher’s invention, washing machines were cranked by hand (not easily done) – or you used a washboard (also sometimes used as a musical instrument).
• 1919 ~ Ruggiero Leoncavallo, Italian composer and librettist, died. He is famous for the single opera “Pagliacci” but never repeated the success with his other works.
More information about Leoncavallo
• 1932 ~ Helen Morgan joined the Victor Young orchestra to record Bill, a popular tune from Broadway’s Showboat.
• 1963 ~ The TV program Ready, Set, Go! premiered on the BBC in London, England. The show gave exposure to such music luminaries as Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones.
• 1964 ~ Joan Baez and Bob Dylan shared the stage for the first time when the singers performed in a concert in Forest Hills, NY.
• 1969 ~ Hot Fun in The Summertime, by Sly and the Family Stone, and Easy to Be Hard, from the Broadway production Hair, were released on this day. Hot Fun made it to number two on the music charts and Easy to Be Hard climbed to number four.
• 1975 ~ Dmitri Shostakovitch, Russian composer, died. He wrote 15 symphonies as well as operas, ballets and film and theater scores.
More information about Shostakovitch
• 2003 ~ Chester Ludgin, a baritone in the New York City Opera for more than 30 years, died at the age of 78.
Ludgin sang a host of lead baritone parts, but was most recognizable in operas including “The Ballad of Baby Doe,” “The Devil and Daniel Webster” and “Susannah.” He debuted at the City Opera in 1957 in JohannStrauss II’s “Fledermaus.”
He also portrayed the part of Sam for Leonard Bernstein’s “A Quiet Place” at the Houston Grand Opera in 1983. He also sang for the San Francisco Opera and other North American companies.
His last appearance at City Opera was in 1991, but he remained on the stage, singing in musical comedies. His most recent lead was in “The Most Happy Fella.”