• 1961 ~ Roy Hay, Musician, guitar with Culture Club
• 1966 ~ The last tour for The Beatles began at the International Amphitheater in Chicago, and John Lennon apologized for boasting that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ. London’s Catholic Herald said Lennon’s comment was “arrogant … but probably true.”
• 1967 ~ Fleetwood Mac made their stage debut at the National Blues and Jazz Festival in Great Britain.
• 1992 ~ John Cage, American composer (Imaginary Landscape No 1/O’O), died of a stroke at the age of 79
Today’s piece is Hungarian Dance #5 by Johannes Brahms. It’s available in Alfred Premier Piano Course Book 4 and many anthologies of classical music.
The Hungarian Dances are a set of 21 lively dance tunes based mostly on Hungarian themes, completed in 1869.
They vary from about a minute to five minutes in length. They are among Brahms’s most popular works and were the most profitable for him. Each dance has been arranged for a wide variety of instruments and ensembles. Brahms originally wrote the version for piano four hands and later arranged the first ten dances for solo piano.
• 1925 ~ Mike Douglas (Dowd), TV host of The Mike Douglas Show; singer, The Music Show, Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge
• 1927 ~ Raymond Leppard, British conductor and harpsichordist
• 1941 ~ Glenn Miller and his Orchestra recorded Elmer’s Tune on Bluebird Records.
• 1942 ~ Mike Hugg, Musician, drums with Chapter Three, Manfred Mann
• 1943 ~ Jim Kale, Musician, bass with The Guess Who
• 1943 ~ Guy Vallari, Singer with Regents
• 1949 ~ Eric Carmen, Musician, bass, keyboards, songwriter, singer with The Raspberries
• 1950 ~ Erik Braunn, Musician, guitar, singer with Iron Butterfly
• 1954 ~ David Ian “Joe” Jackson, English singer, pianist, composer
• 1955 ~ Joe Jackson, Singer
• 1958 ~ Elvis Presley received a gold record for the hit, Hard Headed Woman. The song was featured in the movie King Creole.
• 1987 ~ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles was called “the best album made during the last 20 years” by the respected music publication, Rolling Stone magazine.
• 1996 ~ Rafael Kubelik, Czech conductor, died aged 82. He made his debut with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in 1934 and went into exile in 1948 and made an emotional return when he conducted the opening concert of the 1990 Prague Spring music festival.
• 2020 ~ Trini Lopez died at the age of 83, and suffered from complications of COVID-19.
• 1865 ~ Alexander Konstantinovich Glazunov, Russian symphonic composer, conductor and educator. He wrote eight completed symphonies and two piano concertos. One of his last works (1934) was a concerto for saxophone.
• 1893 ~ Douglas Stuart Moore, American composer and educator
• 1895 ~ The first Promenade concert under conductor Henry Wood took place at Queen’s Hall in London. He remained in sole charge of the “Proms”, the annual British classical music festival, until 1940.
• 1928 ~ Jimmy Dean (Seth Ward), Grammy Award-winning singer, TV host of The Jimmy Dean Show, sausage mogul
• 1928 ~ Eddie Fisher, Singer, TV host of Coke Time with Eddie Fisher, father of Carrie Fisher and Tricia Leigh Fisher
• 1940 ~ Bobby Hatfield, Singer with The Righteous Brothers
• 1943 ~ Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Spector (Bennett), Singer with The Ronettes
• 1947 ~ Ian Anderson, Musician: flute, singer with Jethro Tull
• 1954 ~ Eliot Fisk, American guitarist
• 1954 ~ Elvis Presley made one of his first professional appearances, at Overton Park, in his hometown of Memphis, TN. He used the occasion to debut his new record, That’s All Right (Mama), and was a big crowd pleaser.
• 1961 ~ Jon Farriss, Musician, drums, singer with INXS
• 1967 ~ Lorraine Pearson, Singer with Five Star
• 1968 ~ Michael Bivins, Singer with New Edition, Bell Biv DeVoe
• 1985 ~ Madonna’s album Like a Virgin became the first solo album by a female artist to be certified for sales of five million copies.
• 1987 ~ A Chorus Line celebrated its 5,000th performance. It was estimated that 25 million theatregoers had seen the musical since it opened in 1975. An estimated 16.7 million people had seen the show on Broadway, with another 8.3 million taking in the touring production. A Chorus Line became the longest-running show on The Great White Way on September 29, 1983 and ended its Broadway run in 1990.
• 2003 ~ Gregory Hines, Tony Award winner tap-dancing actor who started on Broadway and in movies including “White Nights” and “Running Scared,” died at the age of 57. The dancer, among the best in his generation, won a 1993 Tony for the musical “Jelly’s Last Jam.”
Hines became internationally known as part of a jazz tap due with his brother, Maurice, and the two danced together in the musical revue “Eubie!” in 1978. The brothers later performed together in Broadway’s “Sophisticated Ladies” and on film in 1984’s “The Cotton Club.”
In “The Cotton Club,” Hines also had a lead acting role, which led to more work in film. He starred with Mikhail Baryshnikov in 1985’s “White Nights” and with Billy Crystal in 1986’s “Running Scared,” and he appeared with Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett in 1995’s “Waiting to Exhale,” among other movies.
On television, he had his own sitcom in 1997 called “The Gregory Hines Show,” as well as a recurring role on “Will and Grace.” March 2003, he appeared in the spring television series “Lost at Home.”
• 2013 ~ Eydie Gorme, American singer, died at the age of 84
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!”
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).
• 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 ~ 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
I have several copies of this book for the music studio so parents can check it out to see if it would be useful for them to buy for home use. If any of the studio parents have this book already, please let me know what you think.
Some of my adult students have this and have found it helpful in doing theory assignments.
• 1939 ~ Philip Balsley, Singer with The Statler Brothers
• 1941 ~ Les Brown and His Band of Renown paid tribute to baseball’s “Yankee Clipper”, Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees, with the recording of Joltin’ JoeDiMaggio on Okeh Records. From that time on, DiMaggio adopted the nickname, Joltin’ Joe.
• 1949 ~ Keith Carradine, Actor and composer, whose recording of I’m Easy reached No. 17 on the U.S. charts in 1976.
• 1950 ~ Andy Fairweather-Low, Musician, guitar, singer with Amen Corner
• 1958 ~ Harry (Harry Lillis III) Crosby, Singer and actor, son of Bing Crosby and Kathryn Grant
• 1958 ~ Chris Foreman, Musician, guitar with Madness
• 1960 ~ Tell Laura I Love Her, by Ray Peterson, wasn’t a big hit in Great Britain. Decca Records in England said the song was “too tasteless and vulgar for the English sensibility.” They destroyed 25,000 of the platters this day.
• 1961 ~ The Edge (David Evans), Musician, guitar with U2
• 1974 ~ Roberta Flack received a gold record for the single, Feel Like Makin’ Love. Flack, born in Asheville, NC and raised in Arlington, VA, was awarded a music scholarship to Howard University in Washington, DC at the age of 15. One of her classmates became a singing partner on several hit songs. Donny Hathaway joined Flack on You’ve Got a Friend, Where is the Love and The Closer I Get to You. She had 10 hits on the pop charts in the 1970s and 1980s.
• 1975 ~ Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderly passed away
• 1997 ~ Duncan Swift, jazz pianist, died at the age of 74
• 2017 ~ Glen Campbell died at the age of 81. He was an American singer, songwriter, musician, television host, and actor.
Today’s piece is a favorite in cartoons as you’ll see below. Hungarian Rhapsody number 2 by Franz Liszt is the second in a set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies and is by far the most famous of the set. They are all based on Hungarian folk tunes, or what Liszt assumed were Hungarian folk tunes. Even though Liszt’s nationality was Hungarian, he wasn’t familiar with the language.
So he ended up making some assumptions. Some of these Hungarian Rhapsodies were not actually gypsy folk tunes at all, but tunes composed by middle-and-upper-class folk, which the gypsies integrated into their own music.
These Rhapsodies are very difficult for pianists since Liszt was a virtuoso musician and liked to compose pieces only he could play.