October 25 ~ in Music History

today

1825 ~ Johann Strauss, Jr. (1825) Austrian composer, “The Waltz King”

OCMS 1838 ~ Georges Bizet, French composer
More information about Bizet

• 1875 ~ The first performance of the Piano Concerto No. 1 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was given in Boston, Massachusetts with Hans von Bülow as soloist

• 1885 ~ Johannes Brahms’ 4th Symphony in E premiered

• 1912 ~ Minnie Pearl (Sarah Ophelia Colley), Grand Ole Opry singer, CMA Hall of Fame, comedienne

• 1924 ~ Billy Barty, Comedian on The Spike Jones Show

• 1926 ~ Jimmy Heath, Musician, reeds with the Heath Brothers, bandleader

• 1927 ~ Barbara Cook, Tony Award-winning actress, singer in “The Music Man” in 1957, “Flahooley”, “Oklahoma”, “Carousel”, “Plain and Fancy”, “Candide”, “The Gay Life”, “She Loves Me”, “Any Wednesday”, “Funny Girl”, “The Gershwin Years”

• 1937 ~ Jeanne (Gloria) Black, Singer

• 1940 ~ “Cabin in the Sky” opened for the first of 256 shows. Taking a Chance on Love is the one big hit that came from the musical.

• 1941 ~ Helen Reddy, Singer

• 1943 ~ Benny Carter and his orchestra recorded Poinciana on the Capitol label. The real title, incidentally, is Poinciana (Song of the Tree).

• 1944 ~ Jon Anderson, Singer, solo and duo called Jon and Vangelis

• 1944 ~ Taffy Danoff (Nivert), Singer with Starland Vocal Band

• 1948 ~ Glenn Tipton, Guitarist with Judas Priest

• 1951 ~ Ransom Wilson, American flutist and conductor

• 1956 ~ Mathias Jabs, Guitarist with Scorpions

• 1964 ~ “And now, rrrrright here on this stage….” The Rolling Stones were introduced to American audiences on The Ed Sullivan Show on CBS-TV.

• 1969 ~ Canada’s The Guess Who got a gold record for the single, Laughing.

OCMS 1971 ~ Midori (Goto), Japanese violinist
More information on Midori

• 1974 ~ The single, Skin Tight, by The Ohio Players, went gold on this day.

• 1980 ~ Virgil Fox, organist, passed away

• 1984 ~ John Cougar Mellencamp reached the two-million-dollar sales mark with his album, “Uh-Huh”.

• 1984 ~ Country group Alabama went to the three-million-dollar mark with two albums this day with Feels So Right and Mountain Music.

• 2000 ~ Don Brooks, a studio musician who played the harmonica with Harry Belafonte, Ringo Starr, the Bee Gees and Yoko Ono’s band, died of leukemia at the age of 53. Brooks, who was raised in Texas, first picked up the harmonica after hearing an album by bluesman Sonny Terry. He played in Dallas coffee shops in the 1960s and moved to New York in 1967, joining a Greenwich Village folk scene that included David Bromberg and John Hammond Jr. In 1973, he joined singer Waylon Jennings’s band and helped create the sound known as outlaw country music. Brooks recorded with Belafonte, Starr, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Carly Simon, Diana Ross and Bette Midler, among others. He also played with groups such as the Bee Gees, the Talking Heads and Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band. He was a musician on Broadway in “Big River” (1985) and “The Gospel at Colonus” (1988), and he worked on the soundtrack for the television documentary “The Civil War.”

Just in Time for Halloween: Dreams of a Witches’ Sabbath from Symphonie fantastique by Hector Berlioz

berlioz-symphony-fantastique
The final movement is the best known part of the symphony, thanks to its use in the Julia Roberts movie, Sleeping With The Enemy. It features a four-part structure, which Berlioz described in his own program notes from 1845 as follows:

“He sees himself at a witches’ Sabbath, in the midst of a hideous gathering of shades, sorcerers and monsters of every kind who have come together for his funeral. Strange sounds, groans, outbursts of laughter; distant shouts which seem to be answered by more shouts. The beloved melody appears once more, but has now lost its noble and shy character; it is now no more than a vulgar dance tune, trivial and grotesque: it is she who is coming to the Sabbath… Roar of delight at her arrival… She joins the diabolical orgy… The funeral knell tolls, burlesque parody of the Dies irae, the dance of the witches. The dance of the witches combined with the Dies irae.”

The Dies irae melody is one of the most-quoted in musical literature, appearing in the works of many diverse composers.

The traditional Gregorian melody has also been used as a theme or musical quotation in a number of  classical compositions, notable among them:

Free sheet music from IMSLP for the basic Dies irae

Free sheet music from IMSLP for the basic Symphonie fantastique (look under Arrangements and Transcriptions)

The basic Gregorian Chant

An animated version of the  Dreams of a Witches’ Sabbath from Symphonie fantastique.  Can you hear the Dies irae in this?  It starts around 3:18.

Leonard Bernstein conducts the “Orchestre National de France” in Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique
5th Movement