On August 9 ~ in Music History

today

• 1874 ~ Reynaldo Hahn, Venezuelan-born French composer, conductor and music critic

• 1902 ~ Solomon Cutner, Classical pianist. A virtuoso performer, he played Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto at the age of 10. His career was stopped after a stroke in 1965.

• 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.

• 1934 ~ Merle Kilgore, Songwriter Hall of Famer

• 1939 ~ Billy Henderson, Singer with Spinners

• 1955 ~ Benjamin Orr (Orzechowski), Musician, bass guitar, singer with The Cars

• 1963 ~ Whitney Houston, Grammy Award-winning singer

• 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

• 1995 ~ Jerry Garcia passed away

• 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 Johann Strauss 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.”

• 2003 ~ Gregory Hines, American actor and dancer, died of liver cancer at the age of 57

• 2005 ~ News Item:  New Vivaldi work heard for first time in 250 years.

Have You Seen 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!