January 25 in Music History

Snowday

 

 

. 1858 ~ Felix Mendelssohn’s overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”was first used as a wedding march. The bride was Queen Victoria’s daughter, the groom was the Crown Prince of Prussia.

. 1886 ~ Wilhelm Furtwängler, German conductor and composer

1913 ~ Witold Lutoslawski, Polish composer
More information about Lutoslawski

. 1938 ~ Etta James, Singer
More about Etta James

. 1940 ~ Mary Martin recorded My Heart Belongs to Daddy — for Decca Records. The song was her signature song until she starred in “South Pacific” in 1949. Then, Larry Hagman’s mother had a new trademark: “I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair…”
More about Mary Martin

. 1945 ~ Richard Tucker debuted at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City in the production of “La Gioconda”.

. 1964 ~ The Beatles reached the #1 spot on the music charts, as their hit single, I Want to Hold Your Hand, grabbed the top position in “Cash Box” magazine, as well as on the list of hits on scores of radio stations. It was the first #1 hit for The Beatles. “Billboard” listed the song as #1 on February 1. The group’s second #1 hit song, She Loves You, was also released this day – but not on Capitol Records. It was on Swan Records. Other songs by The Beatles were released on Vee Jay (Please, Please Me), M-G-M (My Bonnie with Tony Sheridan), Tollie (Twist and Shout), Atco (Ain’t She Sweet) and the group’s own label, Apple Records, as well as Capitol.

. 1999 ~ Robert Shaw passed away.  Shaw was an American conductor most famous for his work with his namesake Chorale, with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Shaw received 14 Grammy awards, four ASCAP awards for service to contemporary music, the first Guggenheim Fellowship ever awarded to a conductor, the Alice M. Ditson Conductor’s Award for Service to American Music; the George Peabody Medal for outstanding contributions to music in America, the Gold Baton Award of the American Symphony Orchestra League for “distinguished service to music and the arts,” the American National Medal of Arts, France’s Officier des Arts et des Lettres, England’s Gramophone Award, and was a 1991 recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors.

. 2004 ~ Ronald Fredianelli, a co-founder of the 1950s pop vocal group the Gaylords, died in Las Vegas. He was 73. Fredianelli, who performed as Ronnie Gaylord teamed with Bonaldo Bonaldi and Don Rea in the early 1950s. Bonaldi performed as Burt Holiday. Their debut song, Tell Me You’re Mine, was a Top 10 hit in 1953. Other hits included From the Vine Came the Grape and The Little Shoemaker.Although the Gaylords formed in Detroit, Fredianelli and Bonaldi became a staple in Nevada showrooms, where they performed for decades as Gaylord and Holiday. Bonaldi and Rea live in Reno. One of Fredianelli’s sons, Anthony, is guitarist for the rock group Third Eye Blind.

2014 ~ Artemios “Demis” Ventouris Roussos (June 15 1946-January 25, 2015) was a Greek singer and performer who had international hit records as a solo performer in the 1970s after having been a member of Aphrodite’s Child, a progressive rock group that also included Vangelis. He has sold over 60 million albums worldwide.

January 24 in Music History

today

. 1776 ~ Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, composer

. 1913 ~ Norman Dello Joio, American composer
More information about Dello Joio

. 1919 ~ Leon Kirchner, American composer and pianist

. 1925 ~ Maria (Betty Marie) Tallchief, Prima ballerina: Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, New York City Ballet; formed ballet troupe and school (1974) which became Chicago City Ballet in 1980, wife of choreographer George Balanchine

. 1936 ~ Jack Scott (Scafone), Singer

. 1936 ~ Benny Goodman and his orchestra recorded one of the all-time greats, Stompin’ at the Savoy, on Victor Records. The song became such a standard, that, literally, hundreds of artists have recorded it, including a vocal version by Barry Manilow. The ‘King of Swing’ recorded the song in a session at the Congress Hotel in Chicago.

. 1937 ~ Bobby Scott, Singer, pianist, songwriter

. 1939 ~ Doug Kershaw, Cajun fiddle, songwriter, singer

. 1941 ~ Neil Diamond, American pop-rock singer and songwriter

. 1941 ~ Ray Stevens, Singer and entertainer

. 1942 ~ Abie’s Irish Rose was first heard on NBC radio this day as part of “Knickerbocker Playhouse”. The program was a takeoff on the smash play from Broadway that ran for nearly 2,000 performances. Sydney Smith played the part of Abie. Rosemary Murphy was played by Betty Winkler.

. 1973 ~ ‘Little’ Donny Osmond, of the famed Osmond Brothers/Family, received a gold record for his album, “Too Young”. When he played the gold-plated disc on his Mickey Mouse phonograph, all he heard was Ben by ‘little’ Michael Jackson, a competitor in the ‘Kids Who Sing Really High Awards’ battle.

Clementi and Field, Touring Duo

Muzio_Clementi

 

Today, in 1752, Muzio Clementi Italian pianist and composer was born.
More information about Clementi

Clementi was an Italian-born English composer, pianist, pedagogue, conductor, music publisher, editor, and piano manufacturer. Born in Rome, he spent most of his life in England.

Encouraged to study music by his father, he was sponsored as a young composer by Sir Peter Beckford who took him to England to advance his studies. Later, he toured Europe numerous times from his long-time base in London. It was on one of these occasions in 1781 that he engaged in a piano competition with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Influenced by Domenico Scarlatti’s harpsichord school and Haydn’s classical school and by the stile galante of Johann Christian Bach and Ignazio Cirri, Clementi developed a fluent and technical legato style, which he passed on to a generation of pianists, including John Field, Johann Baptist Cramer, Ignaz Moscheles, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Friedrich Kalkbrenner, Johann Nepomuk Hummel and Carl Czerny. He was a notable influence on Ludwig van Beethoven.

His student John Field  would become a major influence on Frédéric Chopin

piano-teachers

 

In 1802, Clementi and Field embarked on a European tour together.  They went to Paris, Vienna and St. Petersburg.

John Field adopted the French word nocturne, meaning “of the night” and became the first composer to use this term in music. He wrote a series of short studies for solo piano which had a gently romantic late-night feeling about them.

Chopin soon took up this idea and wrote 21 nocturnes.

Compare: Field’s Nocturne No. 5 in B flat major

field-nocturne

Chopin’s Nocturne E Flat Major Op.9 No.2 played by Valentina Lisitsa

chopin nocturne

 

 

 

John-Field

 

Today, in 1837, Clementi’s student John Field died.  Field was an Irish pianist, composer, and teacher.  He was very highly regarded by his contemporaries and his playing and compositions influenced many major composers, including Frédéric Chopin, Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann, and Franz Liszt.

January 23 in Music History

today

. 1752 ~ Muzio Clementi, Italian pianist and composer
More information about Clementi

. 1837 ~ John Field died.  Field was an Irish pianist, composer, and teacher.

. 1878 ~ Rutland Boughton, English composer

. 1888 ~ Richard Strauss made his conducting debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker.

. 1893 ~ Phillips Brooks passed away.  Brooks was the lyricist of the Christmas hymn, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

. 1920 ~ Ray Abrams, Jazz/be-bop tenor saxophonist

. 1925 ~ Marty Paich, Pianist, composer, arranger with/for: Peggy Lee, Shorty Rogers’ Giants, Dorothy Dandridge, Shelley Manne, Art Pepper, Shorty Rogers, Dave Pell, Mel Torme, Ray Brown, Anita O’Day, Stan Kenton, Terry Gibbs, Ella Fitzgerald, and Buddy Rich

. 1928 ~ Ken Errair, Singer with The Four Freshmen

. 1933 ~ Chita Rivera (Conchita del Rivero), Singer, dancer, actress

. 1938 ~ Eugene Church, Singer

. 1941 ~ Artie Shaw and his orchestra recorded Moonglow on Victor Records. In the band were such sidemen as Johnny Guarnieri, Jack Jenney, Billy Butterfield and Ray Conniff on trombone.

. 1943 ~ Duke Ellington and the band played for a black-tie crowd at Carnegie Hall in New York City. It was the first of what was to become an annual series of concerts featuring the the Duke.

. 1948 ~ Anita Pointer, Singer with The Pointer Sisters

. 1950 ~ Bill Cunningham, Bass, piano with The Box Tops

. 1950 ~ Patrick Simmons, Singer, guitarist with The Doobie Brothers

. 1974 ~ Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells opened the credits of the movie, “The Exorcist”, based on the book by William Peter Blatty. The song received a gold record this day.

. 1977 ~ Carole King’s landmark album, “Tapestry”, became the longest-running album to hit the charts, as it reached its 302nd week on the album lists.

. 1978 ~ Vic Ames killed in car crash

. 2002 ~ Alfred Glasser, a former director of education for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, died of cancer. He was 70. Glasser held the education post for 30 years before his retirement in 1996. Since 1997, Glasser served as chairman of the board and commentator for Chicago’s concert opera company, da Corneto Opera. For the past decade, he served on the board of Alliance Francaise of Chicago, a French cultural group. Glasser also founded the Lyric Opera Lecture Corps, a community service project.

. 2003 ~ Nell Carter, actress-singer, died at the age of 54. She was best known for her role as the housekeeper in the TV sitcom “Gimme a Break!”. Carter, who was born September 13, 1948, in Birmingham, Alabama, first rose to stardom on the New York stage. After a series of roles on- and off-Broadway — and a short-lived part in the soap opera “Ryan’s Hope” — in 1977 she starred in the show “Ain’t Misbehavin’!”, a revue of the works of composer Fats Waller. She was rewarded for her performance with an Obie Award, and later with a Tony Award when the show moved to Broadway. Several years later, she earned an Emmy for her performance on a television presentation of the musical. Despite her Broadway success, Carter would have preferred to sing opera. “When I was growing up, it was not something you aspired to,” she said in 1988. “I was a weirdo to want to be in show business. Most kids wanted to be teachers or nurses.” “Gimme a Break!” ran from 1981 to 1987. Carter was nominated for two Emmys for her role as housekeeper Nell Harper, who helped run the household of police chief Carl Kanisky, played by Dolph Sweet. She also garnered two Golden Globe nominations for the role.

. 2003 ~ For Sale: One of London’s most famous music venues, which in its heyday in the 1960s played host to The Who, David Bowie and the Rolling Stones, is for sale, its administrators said. The Marquee Club, which in the 1970s was the epicenter of the punk explosion, ran into financial difficulties after its high-profile relaunch last fall, said a spokeswoman for administrator BDO Stoy Hayward. “We’re looking for someone in the music business who can capitalize on the Marquee brand and keep running it as a live venue,” she said. The price tag is at least $200 million. The club opened in London’s Soho district in 1958 and was so cramped and sweaty that, according to legend, Bob Geldof of the Boomtown Rats blacked out on stage. In 1988, it moved to a new location in nearby Charing Cross, but within eight years it had closed down. A high-profile relaunch at a new venue in Islington, north London September 2002 was headlined by the controversial electro-rockers Primal Scream, but according to the club’s administrators, huge start-up costs quickly led to its downfall.

Piano Exercises: Hanon

hanon

Since the first release of this classic Schirmer edition over 100 years ago, almost anyone who has taken piano lessons for more than two years has played from The Virtuoso Pianist. 

Most anyone who has ever played piano has a love-hate relationship with the “Hanon”.

The Virtuoso Pianist (Le Pianiste virtuose) by Charles-Louis Hanon, is a compilation of sixty exercises meant to train the pianist in speed, precision, agility, and strength of all of the fingers and flexibility in the wrists.

First published in Boulogne, in 1873, The Virtuoso Pianist is Hanon’s most well-known work, and is still widely used by piano instructors and pupils although some teachers are getting away from the mechanical playing these can produce.

Personally, I’ve sometimes played these on “auto-pilot” since all one really needs is to get the first pattern going, then move up a step, up a step…

hanon1

Notes by C. L. Hanon: Preparatory exercises for the Acquirement of Agility, Independence, Strength and Perfect Evenness in the Fingers. For studying the 20 exercises, begin with the metronome set at 60, gradually increasing the speed up to 108.

From Wikipedia:

The exercises are intended to address common problems which could hamper the performance abilities of a student. These include “crossing of the thumb”, strengthening of the fourth and fifth fingers, and quadruple- and triple-trills.

The exercises are meant to be individually mastered and then played consecutively in the sections they are placed in.

Apart from increasing technical abilities of the student, when played in groups at higher speeds, the exercises will also help to increase endurance. The exercises are divided in three parts:

  1. Exercises 1 – 20: Labeled “preparatory exercises”, these are also the most famous exercises, and are used to develop finger strength and independence. Each exercise contains a sequence of 8 semiquavers, beginning on C, which is then repeated starting on D, and so on across two octaves. The exercise is then repeated in reverse down two octaves to the starting C. The exercises are intended to be practiced in groups of three, except for the first two which are practiced together.
  2. Exercises 21 – 43: Labeled “further exercises for the development of a virtuoso technique.” This more difficult section is meant to be played after the pianist has fully mastered Part 1. Part 2 includes scales and arpeggios.
  3. Exercises 44 – 60: Labeled “virtuoso exercises for mastering the greatest technical difficulties.” Since this section is considerably more difficult, Hanon recommends the mastery of both previous parts before proceeding to this one. This part includes repeated notes,, and more.

After all three parts are mastered, Hanon recommends all exercises be played through daily to retain technique.

The O’Connor Music Studio has several editions of this work.

January 22 in Music History

today

 

. 1886 ~ John J. Becker, American composer

. 1889 ~ The Columbia Phonograph Company was formed in Washington, DC.

. 1901 ~ Hans Erich Apostel, German-born Austrian composer

. 1904 ~ George Balanchine (Georgi Balanchivadze), Choreographer of Apollo, Orpheus, Firebird, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker. He founded School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet. He was married to Tanaquil Le Clercq.

. 1907 ~ The Richard Strauss opera, “Salome”, was featured with the Dance of the Seven Veils. It was copied by vaudeville performers. Soon, performances of the opera were banned at the Metropolitan Opera House.

. 1916 ~ Henri Dutilleux, French composer

. 1924 ~ James Louis “J.J.” Johnson, Trombonist, composer and bandleader. He was one of first to use the trombone in modern jazz
More about Johnson

. 1931 ~ Clyde McCoy and his orchestra recorded Sugar Blues. The tune became McCoy’s theme song, thanks to its popularity on Columbia Records, and later on Decca, selling over a million copies.

. 1935 ~ Sam Cooke, American rhythm-and-blues singer

. 1949 ~ Steve Perry, Drummer with Radio Stars

. 2002 ~ Pete Bardens, a keyboardist who played alongside such pop stars as Mick Fleetwood, Ray Davies, Rod Stewart and Van Morrison, died of lung cancer. He was 57. He was known for his progressive and New Age rock style on synthesizer, electric piano and organ. In the 1960s, the London-born Bardens played in the Blues Messengers with Davies, who later went on to form The Kinks; Shotgun Express with Stewart; Them with Morrison; and the group Cheynes with Fleetwood and Peter Green, who went on to form Fleetwood Mac. In 1972, Bardens formed the progressive rock band Camel and stayed with it through the late 1970s. In 1978, he began a successful solo career, releasing several well-received records, including “Speed of Light”, and also played on Morrison’s album “Wavelength” and accompanied him on a world tour. Barden continued to compose, produce and perform music through the 1990s, appearing in Europe with his group Mirage.

. 2004 ~ Milt Bernhart, a big band trombonist known for his solo on Frank Sinatra’s I’ve Got You Under My Skin, died. He was 77. During his three-decade career, Bernhart played in bands led by Benny Goodman, Henry Mancini and others. He was performing in Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All-Stars when Marlon Brando arranged for the band to play in the 1954 film The Wild One. Bernhart then became an in-studio musician for Columbia and other film and television studios, and in 1956 added a memorable solo to Sinatra’s I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Born in Valparaiso, Ind., Bernhart was drafted into the Army and was to be sent overseas during World War II before he was transferred to the service’s band. After his music career wound down in 1973, he bought Kelly Travel Service in Los Angeles. He created the Big Band Academy of America in 1986 and planned to retire as the organization’s founding president in March.

. 2004 ~ Ann Miller, a childhood dance prodigy who fast-tapped her way to movie stardom that peaked in 1940s musicals like “On the Town”, “Easter Parade” and“Kiss Me Kate”, died of lung cancer. She was 81. Miller’s film career peaked at MGM in the late 1940s and early ’50s, but she honed her chops into her 60s, earning millions for “Sugar Babies”, a razzmatazz tribute to the era of burlesque featuring Mickey Rooney. Miller’s legs, pretty face and fast tapping (she claimed the record of 500 taps a minute) earned her jobs in vaudeville and night clubs when she first came to Hollywood. Her early film career included working as a child extra in films and as a chorus girl in a minor musical, “The Devil on Horseback”. An appearance at the popular Bal Tabarin in San Francisco won a contract at RKO studio, where her name was shortened to Ann. Her first film at RKO, “New Faces of 1937”, featured her dancing. She next played an acting hopeful in “Stage Door”, with Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball and Eve Arden. When Cyd Charisse broke a leg before starting “Easter Parade” at MGM with Fred Astaire, Miller replaced her. That led to an MGM contract and her most enduring work. She was teamed with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra in “On the Town”, Red Skelton in “Watch the Birdie”, and Bob Fosse in “Kiss Me Kate“. Other MGM films included: “Texas Carnival”, “Lovely to Look At”, “Small Town Girl”, “Deep in My Heart”, “Hit the Deck” and “The Opposite Sex.” The popularity of musicals declined in the 1950s, and her film career ended in 1956. Miller remained active in television and the theater, dancing and belting songs on Broadway in “Hello, Dolly” and “Mame”. In later years, she astounded audiences in New York, Las Vegas and on the road with her dynamic tapping in “Sugar Babies.” The show opened on Broadway in 1979 and toured for years. In 1990, she commented that “Sugar Babies” had made her financially independent. While her career in Hollywood prospered, Miller became a regular figure in the town’s night life, and she caught the eye of Louis B. Mayer, all- powerful head of MGM. After dating, she declined to marry him because her mother would not allow it. She later married and divorced steel heir Reese Milner and oilmen William Moss and Arthur Cameron.

. 2004 ~ Dick Rodgers, an insurance salesman known as the “Polka King” when he hosted a regional television show from the 1950s to the 1970s, died. He was 76. Rodgers’ television show was on the air from 1955-78, starting on WMBV in Marinette, which later moved to Green Bay and became WLUK-TV. The program was shown on 17 Midwestern stations at its height. Rodgers’ accomplishments included membership in the International Polka Music Hall of Fame (1976) and in the World Concertina Congress Hall of Fame (1996). He also was named Orchestra Leader of the Year by the Wisconsin Orchestra Leaders Association in 1967.

January 21 in Music History

today

 

. 1903 ~ First performance of “The Wizard of Oz” as a Broadway musical

. 1917 ~ Billy Maxted, Pianist, songwriter, arranger and bandleader

. 1927 ~ The first opera to be broadcast over a national radio network was presented in Chicago, IL. Listeners heard selections from “Faust” by Charles Gounod.

. 1932 ~ Annunzio Paolo Mantovani gave a memorable concert at Queen’s Hall in England to ‘glowing notices’. This was the beginning of the musician’s successful recording career that provided beautiful music to radio stations for nearly five decades. Better known as just Mantovani, his music still entertains us with hits like Red Sails in the Sunset, Serenade in the Night, Song from Moulin Rouge and Charmaine.

. 1939 ~ Wolfman Jack (Robert Smith), Disc jockey, icon of ’60s radio, broadcasting from XERF, then XERB in Mexico and heard throughout a major part of the U.S.; TV announcer: The Midnight Special; actor: American Graffiti; author: Have Mercy! Confessions of the Original Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal

1941 ~ Placido Domingo, Spanish tenor and conductor
More information about Domingo
Grammy winner
Washington Honored Eastwood, Baryshnikov, Domingo, Berry in 2000

. 1941 ~ Ritchie Havens, American rock singer

. 1942 ~ Mac (Scott) Davis, Singer, actor, host of The Mac Davis Show, songwriter, ACM Entertainer of the Year in 1975

. 1942 ~ Nostalgia buffs will want to grab the greatest hits CD of Count Basie (on Verve) and crank up One O’Clock Jump. Just one of the many signature tunes by Bill Basie; the tune was originally recorded on Okeh Records this day.

. 1948 ~ Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, Italian composer and teacher

. 1950 ~ Billy Ocean, Grammy Award-winning R&B Male Vocal in 1984

. 1957 ~ Singer Patsy Cline appeared on Arthur Godfrey’s nighttime TV show. She sang the classic, Walking After Midnight, which quickly launched her career.

. 1959 ~ The Kingston Trio (Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds and Dave Guard) received a gold record for Tom Dooley. The Kingston Trio recorded many hits, including:Greenback Dollar, M.T.A., Reverend Mr. Black, Tijuana Jail, and the war protest song,Where Have All the Flowers Gone?.

. 1966 ~ George Harrison of The Beatles married Patricia (Patty) Anne Boyd in Surrey, England. The two met on the set of the movie, “A Hard Day’s Night”.

. 1970 ~ ABC-TV presented “The Johnny Cash Show” in prime time. Previously, the show had been a summer replacement. The regular season series was a big boost for country music. Johnny wore black in the all-color show, however, like he still does today.

. 1978 ~ The soundtrack of “Saturday Night Fever” reached #1 on the album charts — a position it held for the next six months.

. 1987 ~ Thirty years after its release, Jackie Wilson’s single, Reet Petite (written by Motown founder Berry Gordy), ended a month at the top of England’s music charts. Three years earlier, on this same date, Jackie Wilson died after being in a coma (following a heart attack) for eight and a half years.

. 2002 ~ Peggy Lee, the singer-composer whose smoky voice in such songs as Is That All There Is? and Fever made her a jazz and pop legend, died of a heart attack. She was 81. Lee battled injury and ill health, including heart trouble, throughout a spectacular career that brought her a Grammy, an Oscar nomination and sold- out houses worldwide. In more than 50 years in show business, which began during a troubled childhood and endured through four broken marriages, Lee recorded hit songs with the Benny Goodman band, wrote songs for a Disney movie and starred on Broadway in a short-lived autobiographical show, Peg. A string of hits, notably Why Don’t You Do Right?, made her a star. Then she fell in love with Goodman’s guitarist, Dave Barbour, and withdrew from the music world to be his wife and raise their daughter, Nicki. She returned to singing when the marriage fell apart. Lee’s other notable recordings included Why Don’t You Do Right? I’m a Woman, Lover, Pass Me By, Where or When, The Way You Look Tonight, I’m Gonna Go Fishin‘ and Big Spender. The hit Is That All There Is? won her a Grammy for best contemporary female vocal performance in 1969. She collaborated with Sonny Burke on the songs for Disney’s The Lady and the Tramp, and was the voice for the wayward canine who sang He’s a Tramp (But I Love Him).