August 31 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1834 ~ Amilcare Ponchielli, Italian composer
More information about Ponchielli

• 1903 ~ Arthur (Morton) Godfrey, Ukulele playing, TV/radio entertainer

OCMS 1918 ~ Alan Jay Lerner, American lyricist for the musical theater Read quotes by and about Lerner
More information about Lerner

• 1939 ~ Jerry Allison, Drummer with The Crickets

• 1939 ~ Frank Sinatra recorded All or Nothing at All with the Harry James Band. The tune failed to become a hit until four years later – after Ol’ Blue Eyes had joined the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

• 1945 ~ Itzhak Perlman, Israeli-born American violinist, recorded with André Previn and Scott Joplin

• 1945 ~ Van Morrison, Songwriter, singer with Them

• 1955 ~ Anthony Thistlethwaite, Saxophone with The Waterboys

• 1957 ~ Glenn Tilbrook, Guitar, singer, songwriter with Squeeze

• 1959 ~ Tony DeFranco, Singer with The DeFranco Family

• 1970 ~ Debbie Gibson, Singer

• 1976 ~ A judge ruled that George Harrison was guilty of copying from the songHe’s So Fine (a 1963 Chiffons hit). The judge said that the chorus to Harrison’s My Sweet Lord was identical to He’s So Fine and it eventually (appeals went on for about five years) cost the former Beatle over half a million dollars.

• 1987 ~ This day saw the largest preorder of albums in the history of CBS Records. 2.25 million copies of Michael Jackson’s Bad album were shipped to record stores. The LP followed in the tracks of the Jackson album, Thriller, the biggest Jackson-seller of all time (35 million copies sold). The Bad album was successful, but sold only 13 million copies.

Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence-Foster-Jenkins

Meryl Streep has made her famous (again)

In the 1940s, New York socialite Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) dreams of becoming a great opera singer. Unfortunately, her ambition far exceeds her talent. The voice Florence hears in her head is beautiful, but to everyone else it is quite lousy. Her husband St. Clair goes to extreme lengths to make sure his wife never finds out how awful she truly is. When Florence announces her plans for a concert at Carnegie Hall, St. Clair soon realizes that he’s facing his greatest challenge yet.

 

August 30 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1853 ~ Percy Goetschius, American music teacher and critic

• 1919 ~ Kitty Wells (Muriel Ellen Deason),‘The Queen of Country Music’, Country Music Hall of Fame, married to Johnny Wright

• 1922 ~ Regina Resnik, American mezzo-soprano

• 1922 ~ The New Orleans Rhythm Kings recorded Tiger Rag, one of the most familiar ragtime jazz tunes ever. It was released on the General record label.

• 1935 ~ John Phillips, Singer with The Mamas & The Papas, actress MacKenzie Phillips’ father

• 1941 ~ John McNally, Singer, guitarist with The Searchers

• 1945 ~ Van Morrison, Irish blues-rock singer, songwriter and instrumentalist

• 1968 ~ The Beatles recorded their first songs for their own Apple label. The initial session included the big hits Revolution and Hey Jude.

• 1968 ~ The stars came out for charity as John and Yoko Lennon hosted the One on One concert in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Among the music greats appearing were Stevie Wonder and Roberta Flack. Over $250,000 was raised to aid mentally  retarded children.

• 1984 ~ Beatles fans paid $271,180 dollars for memorabilia at an auction in London, England. An unpublished manuscript by John Lennon brought the largest amount – $23,056. A snare drum belonging to Ringo Starr brought $1,440.

Piano Puzzlers!

puzzlers

 

The Piano Puzzlers book is available in the O’Connor Music Studio library if you’d like to give any a try.  Piano Puzzlers as heard on American Public Media’s “Performance Today.” Includes 32 tunes with songs by Gershwin, Berlin, Arlen, Porter, Rodgers, Fats Waller, Lennon & McCartney, and others disguised in the styles of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Janacek, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bartok, and Copland.

Includes an introduction by Fred Child, host of “Performance Today” as well as background info by Bruce Adolphe. “Bruce Adolphe has taken a common musician’s party game and elevated it to high art and truly funny musical slapsticks. The Piano Puzzlers are a unique combination of extraordinary insight into the styles of many composers subtle, expert workmanship and great, great fun!”

From http://jasonmorris.blogsome.com/2008/08/08/piano-puzzlers/

If you’re a music geek (like me), I have a program for you. Now, let me be clear, to fully qualify as a music geek…you must have a fond appreciation for classical music (no, Poison, Quiet Riot, and Zepplin do not count as classical music). So, if you’re a “music geek” without an appreciation for classical music…well, I hate to burst your bubble…but, you’re not truly a music geek. Instead, you’re a music appreciator, but not a geek. So, if you just listen to indie music and scowl at anything on a label larger than Matador…don’t bother following the link I’ll provide…the fun will be lost on you…And, you probably won’t have a chance.

Every Wednesday night, on my way home from WNL, I turn on my local NPR station to listen to Piano Puzzlers on Performance Today. It’s absolutely incredible. A pianist/composer (Bruce Adolphe) takes a familiar folk or pop tune and sets it inside a classical masterpiece (or in the style of a particular composer). Sometimes it’s easy…sometimes it’s ridiculously difficult. There are days when I say, “got it” on the first pass. Then there are days when I say, “what the heck?” And, more often than not, I’m able to get either the popular/folk tune or the composer.

This is sad to admit, but there are nights when I’ll slow down on the drive home or sit in the car in the driveway to finish an episode. In fact, I get a little worked up if someone stops me after WNL…as I might miss the beginning of Piano Puzzlers (it usually hits around 8:20pm on our local station).

Take a listen to some of the archives and see if you can figure it out! It’s really cool…but probably only appreciated by music geeks (the kind of people that listen to NPR for their musical programs and not just the snipets of cool indie rock between segments on All Things Considered…which is a great show too).

Play Piano Puzzlers HERE!

August 29 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1920 ~ Charlie Parker, American jazz alto saxophonist
Read quotes by and about Parker
More information about Parker

• 1924 ~ Dinah Washington (Ruth Lee Jones), Singer, Lionel Hampton’s band from 1943 to 1946

• 1928 ~ Thomas Stewart, American baritone

• 1942 ~ Sterling Morrison, Bass, guitar, singer with The Velvet Underground

• 1943 ~ Paul Whiteman Presents, a summertime radio replacement show, was heard for the last time. The hostess for the show was Dinah Shore. Whiteman’s 35-piece orchestra serenaded listeners on the NBC radio network. Whiteman’s well~known theme song was Rhapsody in Blue, composed by George Gershwin.

• 1946 ~ Ella Fitzgerald and The Delta Rhythm Boys recorded It’s a Pity to Say Goodnight on Decca Records. The song turned out to be one of Lady Ella’s most popular.

• 1958 ~ Michael Jackson, American rock singer

• 1964 ~ Roy Orbison’s Oh, Pretty Woman was released. It hit number one (for 3 weeks) on September 26th and became the biggest of his career.  The title was inspired by Orbison’s wife Claudette interrupting a conversation to announce she was going out; when Orbison asked if she was okay for cash, his co-writer Bill Dees interjected “A pretty woman never needs any money.”   Oh, Pretty Woman was Orbison’s second #1 hit. The other was Running Scared on 6/05/61.

• 1966 ~ The Beatles performed at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, CA. It was the group’s last live appearance before they disbanded in 1970.

• 1986 ~ The former American Bandstand studio, at the original home of WFIL-TV in Philadelphia, PA, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The studio is located at 4548 Market Street. We expect that any day now, Bandstand host Dick Clark will also be placed on the National Register.

August 28 ~ This Day in Music History

• 1850 ~ Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin, was performed for the first time.

• 1894 ~ Karl Böhm, Austrian conductor

OCMS   1913 ~ Richard Tucker, American tenor
More information about Tucker

• 1924 ~ Dinah Washington, American rhythm-and-blues singer. She popularized many, many great songs, including What a Diff’rence a Day Makes, Unforgettable, and several hits with Brook Benton.

• 1925 ~ Billy (William Wayne) Grammer, Singer

• 1931 ~ You Rascal You was recorded by Henry Allen, with the Luis Russell Band, for the Victor label.

• 1939 ~ Clem Cattini, Drummer with Tornados

• 1948 ~ Daniel Seraphine, Drummer with Chicago

• 1951 ~ Wayne Osmond, Singer with The Osmond Brothers

• 1964 ~ The Beatles appeared on the cover of LIFE magazine.

• 1965 ~ Shania Twain (Eilleen Regina Edwards), Grammy Award-winning singer

• 1984 ~ The Jacksons’ Victory Tour broke the record for concert ticket sales. The group surpassed the 1.1 million mark in only two months.

• 2002 ~ Kay Gardner, whose last musical work with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra memorialized the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, died of a heart attack. She was in her early 60s.
On hearing of her death, symphony officials scheduled Gardner’s work, “Lament for Thousand,” for the orchestra’s season-opening concert Oct. 13 at the Maine Center for the Arts in Orono.
Gardner was a pianist, flutist and conductor who performed in 46 states and several countries.
More than 20 years ago, she sued the Bangor Symphony, unsuccessfully, for sex discrimination after she had applied for a conducting position and learned that orchestra members had been asked how they felt about working with a female conductor.
In 2000, she was the guest conductor for a 40-member orchestra of women from the Bangor Symphony, playing a repertoire written by women.
Gardner studied music at the University of Michigan and at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In 1972, she helped found a feminist and openly lesbian women’s band, Lavender Jane.