October 22 ~ This Day in Music History

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OCMS 1811 ~ Franz Liszt, Hungarian composer and pianist
Read quotes by and about Franz Liszt
More information about Liszt

• 1885 ~ Giovanni Martinelli, Opera singer, tenor with Metropolitan Opera for 30 seasons

• 1904 ~ Paul Arma, Hungarian composer and theorist

• 1917 ~ Leopold Stokowski led the Philadelphia Orchestra in its first recording session, for Victor Records.

• 1930 ~ Dory Previn, Songwriter with André Previn

• 1939 ~ Ray Jones, Bass with Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas

• 1943 ~ Paul Zukofsky, American violinist

• 1943 ~ Bobby Fuller, Singer, guitarist with Bobby Fuller Four

• 1945 ~ Leslie West (Weinstein), Singer, musician, guitarist with Mountain

• 1945 ~ Eddie Brigati, Singer, musician with The (Young) Rascals

• 1959 ~ “Take Me Along” opened on Broadway and quickly became an American classic. Walter Pidgeon starred along with Jackie Gleason.

• 1966 ~ The Supremes rocketed to the top of the pop album charts with “Supremes A’ Go-Go”. They were the first all-female vocal group to hit the top of the LP chart.

• 1969 ~ Giovanni Martinelli passed away

• 1969 ~ Michael Tilson Thomas, the 25-year-old assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, took over for ailing conductor William Steinberg in the symphony’s appearance in New York City.

• 1971 ~ Folk singer Joan Baez received a gold record for her hit, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. It turned out to be her biggest hit, peaking at #3 on the charts on October 2, 1971.

• 1983 ~ Celebrating its 100th anniversary, New York’s Metropolitan Opera featured a daylong concert with some of the world’s greatest opera stars. On stage at the Met were Dame Joan Sutherland, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.

• 2001 ~ Tom Baker, one of Australia’s most respected jazz musicians, died of a heart attack while touring in the Netherlands. He was 49. Baker, a native of California, took up residence in Australia 30 years ago. He was a regular at Sydney’s famous jazz club, The Basement. Willie Qua, drummer and co-founder of one of Australia’s best-known jazz bands, Galapagos Duck, said Baker had often played as “a part-time member” of the band and was an icon of the Sydney jazz scene. Baker formed his first band, Tom Baker’s San Francisco Jazz Band, in 1975, earning himself a reputation as one of Australia’s very best jazz musicians. Recently he toured extensively through Europe and America.

Happy Birthday, Franz Liszt!

liszt-quote

Franz Liszt was born in Raiding, near Ödenburg, October 22, 1811 and died in Bayreuth, July 31, 1886. He was a Hungarian composer and pianist who was a major influence during the romantic period. Liszt was an outstanding pianist at seven, composed at eight and made concert appearances at nine. In addition to being a piano virtuoso, he was also a critic, conductor, city music director, literary writer and transcriber of the works of other composers. He transcribed Beethoven’s Symphonies for the piano.

Franz Liszt began his career as the outstanding concert pianist of the century, who, along with the prodigious violinist Niccoló Paganini (1782-1840), created the cult of the modern instrumental virtuoso. To show off his phenomenal and unprecedented technique, Liszt composed a great deal of music designed specifically for this purpose, resulting in a vast amount of piano literature laden with dazzling, and other technical marvels. In this vein, Liszt composed a series of virtuosic rhapsodies on Hungarian gypsy melodies, the best-known being the all too familiar Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2. Liszt developed the rhapsody as a form of serious music. This kind of music is worlds apart from the generally more introspective, poetic music of pianist-composer Frédéric Chopin.

Liszt was wildly handsome and hugely talented. He was extremely popular in Paris during the 1830’s. It is said that women actually fainted at his piano recitals. He was the first to position the piano so that its lid reflected the sound and the audience could see his profile as he performed.

Liszt was the first to write a tone poem, which is an extended, single-movement work for orchestra, inspired by paintings, plays, poems or other literary or visual works, and attempting to convey the ideas expressed in those media through music. Such a work is Les Préludes, based on a poem in which life is expressed as a series of struggles, passions, and mysteries, all serving as a mere prelude to . . .what? The Romantic genre of the symphonic poem, as well as its cousin the concert overture, became very attractive to many later composers, including Saint-Saëns, TchaikovskyDvorák, Sibelius, and Richard Strauss.


     Liszt’s birthday

     anniversary of Liszt’s death

    Listen to Liszt’s transcription of Meyerbeer’s Hellish Waltz from Robert du Diable, which probably caused more public commotion than any other piano piece in history.


     Read quotes by and about Liszt

     Liszt was the first recitalist

     In Praise of Pianos and the Artists Who Play Them

     History of the Piano

     Franz Liszt

October 21 ~ This Day in Music History

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• 1885 ~ Egon Wellesz, Austrian composer and musicologist

• 1907 ~ The “Merry Widow” opened in New York. The play starred Ethel Jackson and Donald Brian. The operetta had been introduced in Europe two years before.

• 1908 ~ A Saturday Evening Post advertisement offered a chance to buy, for the first time, a two-sided record. It was on Columbia.

• 1912 ~ Sir Georg Solti, Hungarian-born British conductor, Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He conducted the first complete recording of Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen”.

OCMS 1917 ~ Dizzy (John Birks) Gillespie, American jazz trumpeter and bandleader Read quotes by and about “Dizzy” Gillespie
More information about Gillespie

• 1921 ~ Sir Malcolm Arnold, Composer of screen scores: “David Copperfield”, “The Chalk “Garden”, “Suddenly, Last Summer”, “Solomon and Sheba”, “Island in the Sun”, “The Bridge on the River Kwai”, “Trapeze”, “I Am a Camera”, “The Belles of St. Trinian’s” “the Eye Witness series”

• 1924 ~ It was a big night for a big band in New York’s Cinderella Ballroom. The crowd loved the Wolverine Orchestra from Chicago and the guy on the cornet, Bix Beiderbecke, the ‘young man with a horn’.

• 1938 ~ Quaker City Jazz was recorded on the Bluebird label by Jan Savitt’s orchestra. The tune would become the theme of the band. It was not, however, recorded in the Quaker City of Philadelphia. The song was waxed in New York City.

• 1940 ~ Manfred Mann (Michael Lubowitz), Singer with Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers

• 1941 ~ Steve Cropper, Guitarist with the groups: Blues Brothers as well as Booker T and The MG’s

• 1942 ~ Elvin Bishop, Guitarist, singer with Paul Butterfield Blues Band

• 1943 ~ Ron Elliott, Guitarist with Beau Brummels

• 1946 ~ Lee Loughnane, Brass with Chicago

• 1953 ~ Charlotte Caffey, Guitar, singer with The Go-Gos

• 1955 ~ Eric Faulkner, Guitarist with Bay City Rollers

• 1957 ~ Julian Cope, Bass, guitar, singer

• 1957 ~ Steve Lukather, Guitarist with Toto

• 1958 ~ Orchestral strings were used for the first time in a rock and roll tune. Buddy Holly recorded It Doesn’t Matter Anymore, written by Paul Anka. Sadly, it would be Holly’s last studio session. The song wasn’t released until after his death in February of 1959.

• 2001 ~ George Feyer, a pianist and entertainer who played at some of New York’s top hotels, died at the age of 92. Feyer, who was known for setting pop lyrics to classical music, entertained the sophisticated Manhattan cafe society for three decades. He played for decades at the Carlyle, the Stanhope and the Waldorf-Astoria. He made many recordings, including his Echoes album series, which featured Echoes of Paris and Echoes of Broadway. Born in Budapest on Oct. 27, 1908, Feyer attended the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, where he studied with composer Sir Georg Solti. One of his first jobs was playing for silent movies. During World War II, the Nazis put Feyer on forced labor details, then imprisoned him in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp for the final year of the war. Feyer and his family moved to New York in 1951. He stopped working full time in 1982.

October 20 ~ This Day in Music History

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OCMS 1874 ~ Charles Ives, American composer
More information on Ives

• 1913 ~ Grandpa (Louis Marshall) Jones, Country Music Hall of Famer, Grand Ole Opry, singer

• 1923 ~ Robert Craft, American conductor and writer

• 1935 ~ Jerry Orbach, American singer and actor for the musical theater

• 1937 ~ Wanda Jackson, Singer, songwriter

• 1939 ~ Jay Siegel, Singer with The Tokens

• 1939 ~ All the Things You Are was recorded by the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra on the Victor label. Jack Leonard was the featured vocalist.

• 1945 ~ Ric Lee, Drummer with Ten Years After

• 1950 ~ Tom Petty, Singer with The Traveling Wilburys

• 1951 ~ Al Greenwood, Keyboards with Foreigner

• 1955 ~ “Day-O. Day-ay-ay-ay-o!” One of the most popular of the Harry Belafonte hits was recorded for RCA Victor. Day-O didn’t make it to the pop charts for over a year, until January of 1957, after its name had been changed to The Banana Boat Song (Day-O).

• 1958 ~ Mark King, Bass, singer with Level 42

• 1962 ~ With Halloween just around the corner, we remember that Bobby “Boris” Picket and the Crypt Kickers reached the top of the charts this day (for two weeks) with The Monster Mash. And someone, somewhere, has resurrected it every Halloween since.

This piece is now in Piano Maestro in the Halloween section and there is sheet music, if you are interested.

• 1962 ~ The musical, Mr. President, written by Irving Berlin, opened on Broadway. Mr. President ran for 265 performances.

• 1965 ~ The Beatles received a gold record for the single, Yesterday. This song marked the first time a cello was used in a pop hit.

• 2000 ~ Li Yundi, an 18-year-old virtuoso from China, has won Poland’s Frederic Chopin piano competition, becoming one of the youngest players to capture the prestigious international prize. Read the whole story

October 19 ~ This Day in Music History

 

Happy Diwali!

Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in southern hemisphere).  One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.

As per India’s official holiday calendar, Diwali in 2017 will be on October 19, coinciding with the 15th day of Kartik, the holiest month in the Hindu lunar calendar.

 

• 1911 ~ George Cates, Musician, worked with Steve Allen, musical director of the Lawrence Welk Show for 25 years

• 1916 ~ Karl-Birger Blomdahl, Swedish opera composer

• 1916 ~ Emil Gilels, Russian pianist

• 1938 ~ The Bob Crosby Orchestra recorded I’m Free for Decca. Billy Butterfield was featured on trumpet. A few years later, the song would be retitled, What’s New.

• 1939 ~ Benita Valiente, American soprano

• 1944 ~ Peter Tosh (Winston McIntosh), Singer, baritone and musician. He uses homemade instruments and performed reggae with Bob Marley

• 1944 ~ An actor who would become legend in scores of tough guy roles made his stage debut in New York. Marlon Brando appeared in the Broadway hit, “I Remember Mama”.

• 1945 ~ Jeannie C. Riley (Stephenson), Grammy Award-winning singer

• 1953 ~ Julius LaRosa, popular singer of the time, was unceremoniously fired on the air by Arthur Godfrey. “Julie lacks humility,” Godfrey told the stunned audience, while putting his arm around LaRosa. He said, “So, Julie, to teach you a lesson, you’re fired!”

• 1956 ~ Nino DeFranco, Singer with The DeFranco Family

• 1957 ~ Karl Wallinger, Musician, keyboards, guitarist with World Party

• 1959 ~ Twelve-year-old Patty Duke made her first Broadway appearance, in “The Miracle Worker”. The play would last for 700 performances and become a classic motion picture, launching Patty to fame and fortune.

• 1973 ~ Elvis and Priscilla Presley were divorced after six years and one child (Lisa Marie).

Giving Thanks, Day 1: October 18, 2017

ocms-logo

 

This is from a series which is being posted at http://www.maryo.co/category/thankfulness/

Today, since it’s a “teaching day”, I’m thankful for my piano studio, my students, and my piano 🙂

When I was growing up, my dad was a minister, meaning we lived in whatever parsonage the church chose to let us live in.  The one we had in Pawcatuck, CT had an upright piano that someone had put out in the sunroom.  Not the best place for a piano, but I digress.

Since we had the piano already, someone – probably my mom – decided that I would take lessons.  We had the organist from the Baptist church just across the river in Westerly, RI

Apparently, Clara Pashley was fondly remembered at the church (now Central Baptist Church) since she was mentioned in an article from 2010.

 

screenshot-2016-11-04-10-04-33
25-centsMiss Pashley walked to our house each week and taught me (and my mom who was always listening in) piano for the grand sum of 25 cents.

I started with Ada Richter’s classic Teaching Little Fingers to Play, which has now been morphed into the John Thompson library.

From there, it was the Michael Aaron series, and some sheet music.

There was no music store in our town, so I have no idea where any of this music came from – but I still have it all.

My parents did very well for their quarter a week investment, especially since my mom paid good attention and was able to beef up lessons she’d had as a child.  Later on, she played well enough that she was church organist for a local Roman Catholic Church.

But I digress…

In those days, kids couldn’t do a whole lot of activities, so in 6th grade, I decided I wanted to be a Girl Scout.  Bye, bye Clara.

Girl Scouts didn’t last long but I did play piano in a talent show.  I remember, I carefully cut Burgmüller’s Ballade out of my Michael Aaron book and made a nice construction paper cover.  (I still have this, too)

balladeburgmuller

 

I doubt that I played this well but here’s what it was supposed to sound like:

 

A few years intervened and we moved to Springfield, MA.  The parsonage piano there was in terrible shape and in the dark, never-used basement.  But I decided to make it mine and cleared up the area around it and started “practicing”.

My Junior or Senior year of High School I decided I wanted to major in music in college.  I decided to learn, on my own, a piano arrangement of Aragonnaise by Jules Massenet.  I have no idea why or where that sheet music came from but I started working furiously on this piece.

aragonnaise

Hopefully, at some point, it should have sounded like this:

 

 

I started pedaling (no pun intended!) my music to the Universities of Connecticut and Massachusetts and ended up at UMass Amherst since we were state residents.

Early morning gym classes (usually swimming), then wet hair traipsing across campus to music theory in winter 5 days a week.  AARRGGH!

But I stuck it out.

My wonderful piano teacher, Howard Lebow, was killed in a car accident my sophomore year and I was devastated.  There will be more about him in a post on January 26, 2018 here on https://oconnormusicstudio.com

I took yet another break from piano lessons – but I kept playing.

After DH graduated, we moved to Milwaukee, WI for his graduate school.  Besides working 2 jobs, I found time to commandeer the practice rooms at the University of Wisconsin.  I also found a teacher at the Schaum School of Music.  She was amazed that I had no piano at home to practice on.

When we later moved to Alexandria, VA my DH gave me a choice of new car or piano. So, I found a used piano.  The owner had acquired it in a divorce and wanted it gone.  Yesterday.  She even paid to move it out of her apartment.

The new-to-me piano took up half our living room.  When my parents came to visit, their feet were under my piano as they slept on cots.

I found yet another new piano teacher and she is still my best friend to this day.

That piano moved to several locations before I bought a brand new Yamaha grand piano.  The movers accidentally brought in the wrong one and I made them return it.  The people who lived in an apartment were probably unhappy when they had to return my piano and take their own new baby grand back.

I started teaching as a traveling piano teacher in Silver Spring, Maryland.  I continued that in Wilmington, DE.

When we got to Fairfax, VA I decided no more traveling.  Students would come to me.  And so they have since 1973.

What is supposed to be our living room is filled with music books, electric keyboards, the grand piano, 2 organs, 2 violins, 2 clarinets, a hand-made (by me!) dulcimer and other musical “stuff”.

Piano playing has gotten me through the worst times of my life.  Teaching has been a lifeline for me, as well.

I am so thankful for the students who have stayed with me over the years.

 

October 18 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1898 ~ Lotte Lenya (Karoline Blamauer), Austrian actress and Tony Award-winning singer

OCMS 1898 ~ Shin’ichi Suzuki, Japanese educator and violin teacher
More information about Suzuki

• 1918 ~ Bobby Troup, Actor, singer, musician, TV host, married to singer Julie London

• 1926 ~ Chuck (Charles Edward Anderson) Berry, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer inducted in 1986, Lifetime Achievement Grammy (1985)
Washington Honored Eastwood, Baryshnikov, Berry (2000)

• 1935 ~ Victor record #25236 was recorded by Tommy Dorsey and orchestra. It would become one of the most familiar big band themes of all time, I’m Getting Sentimental Over You.

• 1943 ~ Russ Giguere, Guitarist, singer with The Association

• 1947 ~ Laura Nyro, Singer

• 1952 ~ Keith Knudsen, Drummer singer with The Doobie Brothers

OCMS 1961 ~ Wynton Marsalis, American jazz trumpeter, composer
More information about the Marsalis family
Grammy winner

• 1979 ~ Following extensive renovation to return Radio City Music Hall to the look and feel of its 1931 art deco glory, the venerable New York City theatre reopened. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was the first live presentation.

• 1983 ~ Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton received a gold record to add to their collections for their smash, Islands in the Stream.