September 26 ~ in Music History

today

• 1887 ~ Emile Berliner patented a disk recording device that made it possible to mass produce phonograph records.

• 1892 ~ The ‘King of Marches’ was introduced to the general public. John Philip Sousa and his band played the Liberty Bell March in Plainfield, New Jersey.

OCMS 1898 ~ George Gershwin (Jacob Gershvin), American composer,  songwriter and pianist
Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is featured in Disney’s Fantasia 2000.
Read quotes by and about Gershwin
More information about Gershwin

• 1901 ~ Ted Weems (Wilfred Theodore Weymes), Orchestra leader, Ted Weems Orchestra, played mostly on network radio shows: violin, trombone

• 1908 ~ An ad for the Edison Phonograph appeared in The Saturday Evening Post. The phonograph offered buyers free records by both the Democratic and Republican U.S. presidential candidates!

• 1930 ~ Fritz Wunderlich, German tenor

• 1925 ~ Marty Robbins (Robertson), Country Music Hall of Famer, Grammy Award Winner, actor, last Grand Ole Opry singer to perform in Ryman Auditorium, first to perform in new Opryland

• 1926 ~ Julie London (Peck), Singer, actress

• 1931 ~ George Chambers, Bass, singer with The Chambers Brothers

• 1937 ~ Bessie Smith passed away
More information about Smith

• 1941 ~ Joe Bauer, Drummer with The Youngbloods

• 1945 ~ Bryan Ferry, Singer with Roxy Music

• 1947 ~ Lynn Anderson, Grammy Award~winning singer, CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, 1971

• 1948 ~ Olivia Newton-John, British country-music and rock singer

• 1954 ~ Craig Chaquico, Guitar, singer with Jefferson Starship

• 1955 ~ Carlene Carter, Singer, June Carter’s daughter

• 1955 ~ Debbie Reynolds married singing idol Eddie Fisher. The couple made it through four tempestuous years.

• 1957 ~ West Side Story opened in New York. The musical ran for 734 performances. The loose adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet produced several hit songs, including Maria and Tonight. Leonard Bernstein was the composer.

• 1962 ~ Tracey Thorn, Singer

• 1962 ~ “Come and listen to the story ’bout a man named Jed…” The Beverly Hillbillies aired on CBS-TV. U.S. audiences were enchanted with Jed, Ellie Mae, Granny, Jethro, Miss Jane and that banker feller. Enchanted, as in a trance, in fact, for 216 shows. Bluegrass stars Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs had the honor of composing and recording the theme song and hit record, The Ballad of Jed Clampett.

• 1969 ~ The Beatles walked the road toward a hit LP for the last time, as Abbey Road was released in London. The 13th and last album for the ‘fab four’ zoomed quickly to the #1 spot on the charts and stayed there for 11 weeks. 1984 ~ History was made at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Neil Shicoff, lead tenor in The Tales of Hoffmann, was unable to perform due to illness. His understudy, a chap named William Lewis, was a bit under the weather as well, and his voice began to falter during the performance. So, Kenneth Riegel was called in to sing the part from the orchestra pit while Mr. Lewis lip-synced the part on stage.

• 2003 ~ Yi Sung-chun, one of the most outstanding musicians of contemporary Korean classics, died at the age of 67. Born in what is now North Korea, Yi moved south during the 1950-53 Korean War and became a pioneer of Korean classics, called Gukak, or national music. Yi first entered a medical college but switched to study Korean classics two years later at the Seoul National University. He earned his doctorate and served his alma mater as a professor for 30 years. Students called him “a real model of Seonbi,” or the disciplined and well-mannered intellectual class of the old royal Korean Joseon Dynasty. Yi produced about 300 pieces of music, and helped reshape the “gayageum,” a traditional Korean instrument with nine strings, into the one with 21 strings to broaden its tones. His name was put on record in 2001 along with 30 other Korean musicians in the New Grove Dictionary of Music, an encyclopedia named after British musician Sir George Grove that lists 3,000 important music figures worldwide.

September 25 ~ in Music History

today

OCMS 1683 ~ Jean-Philippe Rameau, French composer, theorist and organist
Read more about Rameau

 

 

OCMS 1906 ~ Dmitri Shostakovich, Soviet composer
Read more about Shostakovich
Grammy winner
Shostakovich’s music was once condemned as being “un-Soviet” Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto number 2 is featured in Disney’s Fantasia 2000. Read more about Shostakovich

• 1932 ~ Glenn (Herbert) Gould, Canadian pianist, composer, wrote a piano essay about Petula Clark
Read quotes by and about Gould
Read news items about Gould

• 1933 ~ Erik Darling, Folk singer with The Weavers and also The Tarriers

• 1934 ~ Hot Lips was recorded by Henry Busse and his orchestra in Chicago, IL.

• 1943 ~ Gary Alexander, Guitar, singer with The Association

• 1945 ~ Onnie McIntyre, Guitar with Average White Band

• 1950 ~ NBC~TV introduced a new concept in daytime programming. Kate Smith debuted an hourlong show. Her theme song for the show was When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain. Kate’s daytime show ran for four years. God Bless America.

• 1953 ~ John Locke, Keyboards with Spirit

• 1953 ~ Following in the footlights of musical greats like Ignace Jan Paderewski and Victor Borge, a piano player named Liberace made his debut at Carnegie Hall. Liberace performed before a sellout audience. His candelabra and concert grand piano were instant trademarks that lasted throughout his career.

• 1955 ~ Steve Severin (Bailey), Bass with Siouxsie & The Banshees

• 1979 ~ The third musical resulting from the collaboration of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber lit up the Great White Way. Evita opened on Broadway to rave reviews.

• 2002 ~ Bob Radonich, who for 47 years owned a local landmark cafe shaped like a coffee pot, died after suffering a series of strokes. He was 83. His cafe, Bob’s Java Jive, evokes a largely forgotten era of architecture. The street where it sits once featured toy factories shaped like castles, a gas station resembling a colossal neon gas pump and a yellow, lemon-shaped restaurant called the Lemon Lunch. Those other buildings vanished, but the Java Jive survived. Java Jive was originally known as the Coffee Pot Restaurant, built in 1927 by local veterinarian Otis G. Button and designed by an artist, inventor and promoter named Bert Smyser. Radonich bought the cafe in 1955. His wife Lylabell renamed the business for an Ink Spots’ song whose lyrics included I love coffee, I love tea, I love java jive, it loves me. The Java Jive, which was used for a scene in the 1990 movie “I Love You to Death,” was renowned for a pair of chimpanzees, Java and Jive, who played drums while Bobby Floyd, who was Bob and Lylabell’s son, entertained on the organ. Radonich’s daughter now owns and runs Bob’s Java Jive.

• 2009 ~ Alicia de Larrocha, Catalan pianist died. She was considered one of the great piano legends of the 20th century.

• 2012 ~ Andy Williams, American singer, died from bladder cancer at the age of 84

Singer Florence Foster Jenkins

Florence-Foster-Jenkins

Florence Foster Jenkins was an American socialite and amateur soprano who was known and mocked for her flamboyant performance costumes and notably poor singing ability. The historian Stephen Pile ranked her “the world’s worst opera singer … No one, before or since, has succeeded in liberating themselves quite so completely from the shackles of musical notation.”

Despite (or perhaps because of) her technical incompetence, she became a prominent musical cult figure in New York City during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Cole Porter, Gian Carlo Menotti, Lily Pons, Sir Thomas Beecham, and other celebrities were fans. Enrico Caruso is said to have “regarded her with affection and respect”.

In 2016 Meryl Streep made Jenkins 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.

 

September 24 ~ in Music History

today

• 1806 ~ George Alexander Osborne, Irish pianist and composer (La Pluie de perles),

• 1922 ~ Cornell MacNeil, American baritone

• 1927 ~ Alfredo Kraus, Spanish tenor

• 1936 ~ Jim (James Maury) Henson, Creator of vocalist, Kermit the Frog.

There’s a fictional neighborhood where some of the residents are named Kermit, Big Bird, Bert & Ernie, Miss Piggy, and Oscar the Grouch. It’s called Sesame Street. The creator of the lifelike characters, Jim Henson, was born on this day. The puppeteer first named his puppets, Muppets, in 1954 when he was working as a producer of the Washington, D.C. TV show, Sam and Friends. Henson moved his Muppets to network TV in 1969. Children of all ages were able to enjoy the Muppets’ antics on the educational, yet entertaining Sesame Street. The Muppets then got their own show, The Muppet Show; which generated The Muppet Movie and other films, like The Muppets Take Manhattan and The Great Muppet Caper. And Jim Henson got the awards: 18 Emmys, 17 Grammys, 4 Peabody Awards and 5 Ace Awards (National Cable Television Association). The premier muppeteer, and voice of Kermit the Frog, died suddenly in May of 1990. Jim Henson lives on through his Muppets.

• 1938 ~ Pablo Elvira, Puerto Rican baritone

• 1940 ~ Barbara Allbut, Singer with Angels

• 1940 ~ Mamie “Galore” Davis, Blues singer

• 1941 ~ Linda McCartney (Eastman), Photographer for Rolling Stone magazine, singer with Wings with husband Paul McCartney

• 1942 ~ Gerry Marsden, Singer with Gerry & The Pacemakers

• 1942 ~ Glenn Miller ended his CBS radio broadcasts for Chesterfield Cigarettes. It was time for Miller to go to war. The show had aired three times a week for three years.

• 1955 ~ Millions of Americans tuned in to watch Judy Garland make her TV debut on the Ford Star Jubilee. The CBS show received the highest television ratings to that time.

• 1968 ~ The Vogues received a gold record for Turn Around Look at Me on the Reprise label.

• 2002 ~ Tim Rose, a raw-voiced folk-rocker who recorded memorable versions of Hey Joe and Morning Dew, died shortly after surgery for bowel cancer. He was 62. Rose started his music career in his hometown of Washington, D.C., in a duo billed as Michael & Timothy. Rose then worked with Cass Elliot, a future member of the Mamas and the Papas, in a group called The Triumvirate. When James Hendricks – who later married Elliot – joined the group, it was renamed The Big Three. Rose signed a recording contract with Columbia in 1966, and his album, “Tim Rose,” debuted a year later. In 1968, Rose toured in Britain with a band including John Bonham, the drummer for Led Zeppelin. Rose’s musical career stalled in the 1980s. In 1996, he returned to live performing in London with a show that featured reminiscences of his career’s ups and downs.

Happy Birthday, Ray Charles!

Ray Charles (Robinson) was a singer, pianist, composer who was born in Albany, Ga in 1930. He lost his sight (from glaucoma) when he was six and attended a school for the blind where he learned to read and write music in braille and play piano and organ.

Orphaned at age 15, he left school and began playing music to earn a living, moving to Seattle, Wash., in 1947. Dropping his last name, he performed at clubs in the smooth lounge-swing style of Nat “King” Cole.

After some hits on Swing Time Records, he switched to Atlantic Records in 1952 and began to develop a rougher blues and gospel style. For New Orleans bluesman, Guitar Slim, he arranged and played piano on “The Things I Used To Do” (1953); the record sold a million copies. He went on to record his own “I’ve Got a Woman” in 1955 with an arrangement of horns, gospel-style piano, and impassioned vocals that led to the gospel-pop and soul music of the 1960s and to his hit “What’d I Say” (1959).

Possessing a multifaceted talent, he recorded with jazz vibist Milt Jackson, made a country and western album that sold 3 million copies (1962), and continued to release a variety of pop hits, Broadway standards, and blues, gospel, and jazz albums. A major influence on popular black music during his early years, he gradually reached out to influence both white musicians and audiences. And although he had been convicted of using drugs in the 1950s, he lived to see the day when he was so acceptable to mainstream Americans that he became virtually the chief image for promoting Pepsi-Cola and he was asked to perform at many national patriotic and political events.

 

September 23 ~ in Music History

today

• 1870 ~ John Lomax, American folk-song collector and founder of the American Folklore Society at the Library of Congress

• 1923 ~ Jan Savitt and his orchestra recorded 720 in the Books on Decca Records.

• 1926 ~ John (William) Coltrane, American jazz tenor and soprano sax, composer

OCMS 1930 ~ Ray Charles, American soul singer, pianist and songwriter
More information about Charles

• 1935 ~ Les McCann, Singer

• 1940 ~ Paul Williams, Academy Award-winning songwriter

• 1943 ~ Steve Boone, Bass, singer with The Lovin’ Spoonful

• 1943 ~ Julio Iglesias, Singer, Guinness Book of Records for sales of more than 100 million copies of 60 LPs in five languages

• 1945 ~ Ronald Bushy, Drummer with Iron Butterfly

• 1949 ~ Bruce Springsteen ‘The Boss’, American rock singer and songwriter, inducted
into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, 1999

• 1959 ~ Lita Ford, Guitarist with The Runaways

• 1967 ~ The Box Tops from Memphis hit #1 with The Letter. Though the song was #1 for four weeks and remained on the charts for 13 weeks. The Box Tops reorganized right after that first hit and never made it to #1 again.

• 1969 ~ The London Daily Mirror became a rumormonger. It printed a story saying that Beatle Paul McCartney was dead. It was the first, but not the last, time that rumor would make the rounds.

• 1971 ~ The Honey Cone scored their second gold record with Stick-Up on the Hot Wax label. It was a follow~up to their #1 smash, Want Ads on June 12, 1971.

• 1987 ~ Bob Fosse passed away. He was an American dancer, musical theatre choreographer, director, screenwriter, film director and actor.

• 2003 ~ Rex Robbins, a Broadway actor who traveled nationally with “Gypsy,” “Hello Dolly!” and “Into the Woods,” died of a subdural aneurysm while visiting relatives. He was 68. Robbins, who lived in Manhattan, had roles in 18 Broadway shows between 1963 and 2000, including Herbie in the 1974 revival of “Gypsy” with Angela Lansbury and Buckingham in “Richard II” with Al Pacino in 1979. He also appeared in films including the original “Shaft,” “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “1776,” and was in more than 300 television commercials.

• 2006 ~ Sir Malcolm Arnold, English composer and professional trumpeter died. His output of works features music in many genres, including a cycle of nine symphonies, numerous concertos, concert works, chamber music, choral music and music for brass band and wind band. He wrote extensively for the theatre, with five ballets specially commissioned by the Royal Ballet, as well as two operas and a musical. He also produced scores for more than a hundred films, among these The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), for which he won an Oscar.

10 Pianos – 80 Fingers

 

From October 5, 2010

There will be $1.6 million worth of piano on stage at the City Recital Hall on Friday night. With their legs and lids removed for transport, eight Steinway grand pianos will be trucked to the venue.

There they will be reassembled on stage and tuned, ready for eight of Australia’s finest classical pianists.

In The Steinway Spectacular 16 hands and 80 fingers will play some of classical music’s greatest hits.

Conducted by Guy Noble, the pianists will work as an ensemble to perform works by composers such as Ravel, Saint-Saens and George Gershwin. ”It’s a very large affair,” says Noble. ”Logistically, it’s a nightmare.” The piano technician Ara Vartoukian will spend hours tuning the instruments.

For past concerts in Melbourne the process sometimes took all night. ”The pianos all, in essence, sound the same, so they have to be absolutely in tune with each other.”

Even after the most careful tuning, things can go awry.

The pianists – Anthony Halliday, Roger Heagney, Clemens Leske, Tamara Smolyar, Mikhail Solovei, Evgeny Ukhanov, Gerard Willems and Alexey Yemtsov – usually perform as soloists. Every now and again, Noble says, one of them ”goes rogue”.

”One will suddenly break out and play their own thing,” he says. ”I have to herd them back into the pride, glaring at them with eyes of death. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to conduct. It’s like herding cats.”

There is no repertoire for an ensemble of pianists, so Noble has created new arrangements.

His favourite is a rendition of the children’s staple Chopsticks. ”That just goes wild,” he says.

The segment titled So You Think You Can Play Scales is also a crowd pleaser. ”It’s like Piano Idol. People get voted off if they go off the rails.”

Other pieces will feature the organist Calvin Bowman and the soprano Shu-Cheen Yu. Bowman, who usually plays above the stage in a loft, will join the other performers on stage on an electronic organ.

”It’s a relief for him to be down on stage because he suffers terribly from vertigo,” Noble says. ”He’s been terrified in organ lofts all over Australia.”

More boisterous extravaganza than a recital for purists, the performance will appeal to an eclectic crowd.

”We get classical music lovers, as well as people who are just curious. It’s pure fun and enjoyment.”

The Steinway Spectacular is at the City Recital Hall on Friday.

From http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/a-piano-spectacular-for-80-fingers-20101004-164ac.html