July 6 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

toccata-d-minor

 

Johann Sebastian Bach’s towering monument of organ music, with its deep sense of foreboding, will forever be associated with Halloween.

Get a free copy of the sheet music at IMSLP or borrow a copy from the O’Connor Music Studio.  I have this arranged for organ, piano, duet, 2-piano, simplified…

It’s also available in Piano Maestro, Piano Pronto Encore and Coda

If you want this in a book with other Bach transcriptions, amazon has this: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and the Other Bach Transcriptions for Solo Piano, arranged by Ferruccio Busoni.

Here, Virgil Fox performs it on his Allen Digital Touring Organ.

 

Diane Bish plays the Massey Memorial Organ at the Chautauqua Institution and talks about this instrument.

 

Animated organ:

And, the most fun…

July 4 in Music History

Happy Fourth!

On July 4, 1776 the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. This declaration announced to the world that the 13 colonies would no longer be held by British rule. Today Americans celebrate by the flying of a flag, cooking at home (usually a cookout, also known as a barbecue), and watching a brilliant fireworks display.

 

Be sure your student reads and listens to Today’s Daily Listening Assignment

 

• 1826 ~ Stephen Foster, American composer of songs
More information about Foster

• 1832 ~ It was on this day that America was sung in public for the first time — at the Park Street Church in Boston, MA. Dr. Samuel Francis Smith wrote the words, borrowing the tune from a German songbook. Ironically, and unknown to Dr. Smith at the time, the melody is the same as the British national anthem.

• 1895 ~ America the Beautiful, the famous song often touted as the true U.S. national anthem, was originally a poem written by Katherine Lee Bates. The Wellesley College professor’s poem was first published this day in the Congregationalist, a church newspaper.

• 1898 ~ Michael Aaron, Piano Educator

• 1900 ~ Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, American jazz trumpeter, singer and bandleader Read quotes by and about Armstrong
More information about Armstrong

• 1902 ~ George Murphy, American politician (US Senator, California), actor and dancer (MGM Parade)

• 1909 ~ Alec Templeton, Pianist

• 1911 ~ Mitch Miller, American conductor, oboist, record company executive, producer, arranger for the Sing Along with Mitch LPs and TV show

• 1937 ~ Ray Pillow, Singer

• 1938 ~ Bill Withers, Grammy Award-winning songwriter, singer

• 1942 ~ The Irving Berlin musical, This is the Army, opened at New York’s Broadway Theatre. Net profits of the show were $780,000.

• 1943 ~ Al ‘Blind Owl’ Wilson, Musician, guitarist, harmonica, singer with Canned Heat

• 1943 ~ The Rhythm Boys, Bing Crosby, Al Rinker and Harry Barris, were reunited for the first time since the 1930s on Paul Whiteman Presents on NBC radio.

• 1948 ~ Jeremy Spencer, Musician, guitarist with Fleetwood Mac

• 1955 ~ John Waite, Singer

• 1958 ~ Kirk Pengily, Rock Musician

• 1985 ~ A crowd, estimated at one million, gathered in Philadelphia to celebrate the 209th anniversary of America’s independence. The Beach Boys were joined by Mr. T. on drums to really add some fireworks to the festivities. The Oak Ridge Boys, Joan Jett and Jimmy Page joined in the celebration.

• 1999 ~ Ronny Graham passed away

• 2001 ~ Maceo Anderson, a tap dancer and founding member of the Four Step Brothers, died in Los Angeles at the age of 90. The group tap danced all over the world, performing for the queen of England and the emperor of Japan. The Four Step Brothers also performed at Radio City Music Hall. The group started as a trio. In the mid-1920s, the group performed at the Cotton Club with Duke Ellington, who wrote The Mystery Song for them. Anderson began dancing as a child in the South. When he was six, he and his mother moved to a basement apartment in Harlem. He taught tap dance at his own school in Las Vegas and across the country until 1999.

 

 

July 4 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

Micky-mouse-4th-of-July-greetings

Today is a great day for patriotic music and there’s nothing better than John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever

A part of every Fourth of July program at the Esplanade in Boston involves a giant American flag unfurling from the ceiling during the Stars and Stripes.  Can you find it?

Piano arrangement by Vladimir Horowitz:

With Horowitz playing:

Marching band:

The Muppets version of Stars and Stripes forever

The animated graphical score:

The Band of the Grenadier Guards

The same melody can be heard with these words:

John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever is never part of a regular circus program. It is reserved for emergency use – sometimes called the “Disaster March”. If a major problem happens — an animal gets loose, a high wind threatens the tent, or a fire breaks out — the band plays the march as a warning signal to every worker on the circus lot that something is wrong.

Find piano arrangements of the Stars and Stripes Forever in Movement 2

Closing out today, enjoy The Year 1812, Festival Overture in E♭ major, Op. 49, popularly known as the 1812 Overture by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Fourth of July!

july4-eisenhower

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain.

Independence Day fireworks are often accompanied by patriotic songs such as the national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner”, “God Bless America”, “America the Beautiful”, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”, “This Land Is Your Land”, “Stars and Stripes Forever”, and, regionally, “Yankee Doodle” in northeastern states and “Dixie” in southern states. Some of the lyrics recall images of the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812.

A bit of audio for your listening pleasure, as played by Vladimir Horowitz…

 

June 14 in Music History

today

Flag DayFlag Day Flag Day

 

 

Be sure your student reads and listens to Today’s Daily Listening Assignment

 

 

• 1594 ~ Orlandus Lassus, Composer (Prophet sybillarum), died at about 61

• 1671 ~ Thomoso Albinoni, Italian composer and violinist
More information about Albinoni

• 1691 ~ Jan Francisci, Composer

• 1709 ~ Gottfried Wegner, Composer, died at the age of 65

• 1744 ~ André Campra, Composer, died at the age of 83

• 1750 ~ Franz Anton Maichelbeck, Composer, died at the age of 47

• 1760 ~ Candido Jose Ruano, Composer

• 1763 ~ Johannes Simon Mayr, Composer

• 1769 ~ Dominique Della-Maria, Composer

• 1789 ~ Johann Wilhelm Hertel, Composer, died at the age of 61

• 1835 ~ Nikolay Rubinstein, Composer

• 1854 ~ Frederik Rung, Composer

• 1891 ~ Auguste Jean Maria Charles Serieyx (1865) Composer

• 1881 ~ The player piano was patented by John McTammany, Jr. of Cambridge, MA.

• 1882 ~ Michael Zadora, Composer

• 1884 ~ John McCormack, Irish/American singer of Irish folksongs

• 1891 ~ Nicolo Gabrielli, Composer, died at the age of 77

• 1895 ~ Cliff Edwards “Ukulele Ike”, Singer of When You Wish Upon a Star

• 1904 ~ Benno Ammann, Composer

• 1909 ~ Burl Ives, American folk singer, banjo player, guitarist and Oscar-winning actor. His gentle voice helped popularise American folk music. He played powerful dramatic roles in movies including “The Big Country,” for which he won an Acadamy Award for best-supporting actor, and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

• 1910 ~ Nappy (Hilton Napoleon) Lamare, Musician with Bob Cats

• 1911 ~ Johan Severin Svendsen, Composer, died at the age of 70

• 1916 ~ Karl-Rudi Griesbach, Composer

• 1916 ~ MIT and the American Telephone and Telegraph Company attempted the largest transcontinental telephone circuit of the time at Symphony Hall!

• 1918 ~ Carter Harman, Composer

• 1920 ~ Helmer-Rayner Sinisalo, Composer

• 1923 ~ Theodore Bloomfield, Composer

• 1923 ~ It was the beginning of the country music recording industry. Ralph Peer of Okeh Records recorded Fiddlin’ John Carson doing The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane— and the first country music recording was in the can.

• 1929 ~ Cy Coleman (Seymour Kaufman), American composer of popular music and pianist
More information about Cy Coleman

• 1932 ~ Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Composer

• 1933 ~ Albert Ross Parsons, Composer, died at the age of 85

• 1940 ~ John Mizelle, Composer

• 1943 ~ Muff (Mervyn) Winwood, Singer, songwriter, bass with The Spencer Davis Group

• 1945 ~ Rod Argent, Keyboard

• 1948 ~ Ernst Henrik Ellberg, Composer, died at the age of 79

• 1948 ~ John Blackwood McEwen, Composer, died at the age of 80

• 1953 ~ Elvis Presley graduated from L.C. Humes High School in Memphis, TN. Within three years, the truck driver-turned-singer had his first number-one record with Heartbreak Hotel.

• 1960 ~ Vladimir Nikolayevich Kryukov, Composer, died at the age of 57

• 1962 ~ Boy George, Singer

• 1965 ~ Guido Guerrini, Composer, died at the age of 74

• 1965 ~ The Beatles released album “Beatles VI”

• 1965 ~ John Lennon’s second book “A Spaniard in the Works” was published

• 1968 ~ Karl-Birger Blomdahl, Swedish opera composer, died at the age of 51

• 1969 ~ John & Yoko appeared on David Frost’s British TV Show

• 1974 ~ Knud Christian Jeppesen, Composer, died at the age of 81

• 1975 ~ America reached the top spot on the Billboard pop music chart with SisterGolden Hair. The group had previously (March, 1972) taken A Horse With No Name to the number one spot. The trio of Dan Peek, Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell had received the Best New Artist Grammy in 1972. America recorded a dozen hits that made it to the popular music charts in the 1970s and 1980s. Though number one, Sister Golden Hair did not qualify for gold record (million-seller) status.

• 1975 ~ Janis Ian released At 17

• 1976 ~ The Beatles were awarded a gold record for the compilation album of past hits titled, Rock ’n’ Roll Music.

• 1978 ~ Theodore Karyotakis, Composer, died at the age of 74

• 1980 ~ Theme From New York, New York by Frank Sinatra hit #32

• 1986 ~ Alan Jay Lerner, Broadway librettist, died in NY at 67
More information about Lerner

• 1989 ~ Carole King got a star in Hollywood’s walk of fame

• 1994 ~ Henry Mancini passed away at the age of 70
More information about Mancini

• 1994 ~ Lionel Grigson, Professor of jazz, died at the age of 52

• 1994 ~ Harry “Little” Caesar, blues singer/actor (City Heat), died at the age of 66

• 1996 ~ Thomas Edward Montgomery, drummer, died at the age of 73

• 2002 ~ Marvin Paymer, Pianist, composer, musicologist and author, died of cancer. He was 81. His son, actor David Paymer, told the Los Angeles Times that Paymer died in San Diego. In 1977, he co-founded and, until his retirement in 1993, served as associate director of the Pergolesi Research Center at City University of New York Graduate Center. Pergolesi was 18th century Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. Paymer authenticated 13 Pergolesi compositions among hundreds of fakes attributed to the posthumously famous composer, who died at 26.

Flag Day

flag-day

 

 

National Flag Day is celebrated annually in the United States on June 14.  This day commemorates the adoption of the United States flag on June 14, 1777.

On National Flag Day, Americans show respect for the U.S. Flag and what it represents.  Our independence and unity as a nation is represented by our flag.  The flag has become a powerful symbol of Americanism and is flown proudly.

 

Betsy Ross is given credit, by many, for creating the first American flag.  Since 1977, the design of the flag has been officially modified 26 times.  For 47 years, the 48-star flag was in effect.  In 1959, the 49-star version became official on July 4.  President Eisenhower ordered the 50-star flag on August 21, 1959.

 

Seventeen-year-old Robert G. Heft of Ohio is credited with designing the 50-star American flag.  Of the more than 1,500 designs that were submitted to President Dwight D. Eisenhower,  his was chosen.

 

June 5 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

Happy Birthday is a song that I like to have each of my students learn at various levels appropriate to their level. When a friend or family member has a birthday, it’s great to be able to sit down and play.

 

It’s only been fairly recently that piano students could have this music in their books.

“Happy Birthday to You”, more commonly known as simply “Happy Birthday”, is a song that is traditionally sung to celebrate the anniversary of a person’s birth. According to the 1998 Guinness World Records, “Happy Birthday to You” is the most recognized song in the English language, followed by “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”.

The melody, or part you sing, of “Happy Birthday to You” comes from the song “Good Morning to All”, which has traditionally been attributed to American sisters Patty and Mildred J. Hill in 1893, although the claim that the sisters composed the tune is disputed.

Patty Hill was a kindergarten principal and her sister Mildred was a pianist and composer.  The sisters used “Good Morning to All” as a song that young children would find easy to sing.  The combination of melody and lyrics in “Happy Birthday to You” first appeared in print in 1912, and probably existed even earlier.

“Happy Birthday” in the style of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Liszt, Dvorak, and Stravinsky.  Find the melody!

 

Lots of legal stuff below which you can skip…

None of the early appearances of the “Happy Birthday to You” lyrics included credits or copyright notices. The Summy Company registered a copyright in 1935, crediting authors Preston Ware Orem and Mrs. R. R. Forman. In 1988, Warner/Chappell Music purchased the company owning the copyright for US$25 million, with the value of “Happy Birthday” estimated at US$5 million. Based on the 1935 copyright registration, Warner claimed that the United States copyright will not expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances of the song are illegal unless royalties are paid to Warner. In one specific instance in February 2010, these royalties were said to amount to US$700. By one estimate, the song is the highest-earning single song in history, with estimated earnings since its creation of US$50 million.In the European Union, the copyright for the song expired on January 1, 2017.

The American copyright status of “Happy Birthday to You” began to draw more attention with the passage of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998. When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Act in Eldred v. Ashcroft in 2003, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer specifically mentioned “Happy Birthday to You” in his dissenting opinion. American law professor Robert Brauneis, who extensively researched the song, concluded in 2010 that “It is almost certainly no longer under copyright.”

In 2013, based in large part on Brauneis’s research, Good Morning to You Productions, a company producing a documentary about “Good Morning to All”, sued Warner/Chappell for falsely claiming copyright to the song.  In September 2015, a federal judge declared that the Warner/Chappell copyright claim was invalid, ruling that the copyright registration applied only to a specific piano arrangement of the song, and not to its lyrics and melody.

In 2016, Warner/Chappell settled for US $14 million, and the court declared that “Happy Birthday to You” was in the public domain.

Legal stuff is finished and people can now sing and play “Happy Birthday to You” whenever and wherever they want.

One of my all-time versions of Happy Birthday, in duet form – and I have the music if you want to tackle it.