On August 27 ~ in Music History

today

• 1521 ~ Josquin Desprez, French/Franco-Flemish composer, died. Generally acknowledged as the greatest composer of the High Renaissance.
More information about Desprez

OCMS   1886 ~ Eric Coates, British composer and violist
More information about Coates

• 1889 ~ Charles G. Conn of Elkhart, IN patented the metal clarinet. More than 100 years later the name, Conn, still represents one of the most popular musical instrument names, especially for clarinets.

• 1909 ~ Lester Willis “Prez” Young, American jazz tenor and saxophonist

• 1927 ~ Jimmy ‘Cajun’ Newman, Singer

• 1937 ~ Tommy (Adrian) Sands, Singer

• 1939 ~ Singer Allan Jones recorded I’m Falling in Love with Someone on Victor Records.

• 1942 ~ Daryl Dragon, Grammy Award-winning musician, songwriter, duo in The Captain and Tennille

• 1944 ~ Barry Conyngham, Australian composer

• 1944 ~ Tim Bogert, Bass with these groups: Showmen, Cactus, Vanilla Fudge

• 1949 ~ Jeff Cook, Singer, guitar with Alabama

• 1953 ~ Alex Lifeson, Guitarist with Rush

• 1970 ~ The Troubadour in Los Angeles, CA was the venue of singer Elton John’s first concert appearance in America and a record company executive for UNI records (a division of MCA) signed Elton to a recording contract.

• 1984 ~ The Menetta Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village opened. It was the first new off-Broadway theatre to be built in 50 years in New York City. The ribbon cutting was done by “America’s First Lady of the Stage”, Helen Hayes.

• 1990 ~ Stevie Ray Vaughan, killed in helicopter crash

July 2, 2019 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

Today’s piece is the other one of two pieces that are so often played incorrectly that they have the distinction of being banned from competition in Northern Virginia Piano Teacher competitions.

The first was Fur Elise.  This one is Spinning Song by Albert Ellmenreich.  It’s in many, many piano method books.  When I was in 5th or 6th grade, I tore it out of my book, put it in a construction paper cover and played it for some Girl Scout talent show.  I have no idea why I couldn’t leave it in the book.

The left hand is supposed to sound like the foot pumping the wheel to make it move

 

This is part of a larger work called Musikalische Genrebilder, Op.14 which can be downloaded at IMSLP:

Spinnliedchen (Spinning Song), the best known item from the set, seems to be universally referred to as number four. The announcement of the first edition in Hofmeister’s Monatsberichte lists it as the fifth item. In Schirmer’s 1878 edition (see cover: here) of Op.14 it appears that items two and three were possibly combined into one number (entitled Sorrow and Consolation) so that Spinnliedchen became number four. Perhaps, this is the origin of the re-numbering.

To learn this sheet music, it’s available in Piano Pronto Movement 4 and Alfred Premier Piano Course Book 6

Here’s a sample:

 

A tutorial

With scrolling sheet music

For organ

How to conduct(?)

While this piece is not usually popular with other instruments, a trumpet quartet gave it a try

The DMS Percussion Ensemble

Singers from the Londonderry Middle School gave it a try:

The first half of this video is flute tuning. After that is a lovely flute duet.

 

For clarinet “quartet”.  Quartet is in quotes because the performer wrote “This is a ‘cover’ I did of Spinning Song by Albert Ellmenreich. I played all the parts on my clarinet, using the really crappy camera I have. So the sound quality sucks… Also, I don’t have a bass clarinet, so the low part is edited down… and it sounds like a saxophone… oh well. lol!”

I can’t take any more of these!

 

On April 30 in Music History

today

. 1717 ~ Guillaume Gommaire Kennis, composer

. 1792 ~ Johann Friedrich Schwencke, composer

. 1837 ~ Alfred Gaul, composer

. 1852 ~ Anton Rubinstein’s opera “Dmitri Donskoi”, premiered in St Petersburg

. 1870 ~ Franz Lehar, Austrian composer of operettas. He achieved worldwide recognition for “The Merry Widow”.
More information about Lehar

. 1883 ~ David John de Lloyd, composer

. 1884 ~ Albert Israel Elkus, composer

. 1885 ~ The Boston Pops Orchestra formed

. 1885 ~ Luigi Russolo, composer

. 1886 ~ Frank Merrik, composer

. 1900 ~ Train engineer Casey Jones was killed when trying to save the Cannonball Express as it highballed its way through Vaughn, MS. The famous song about Jones is based on this train accident.

. 1903 ~ Victor Records made its first Red Seal recording this day. The premiere disk featured Ada Crossley, an opera contralto.

. 1916 ~ Robert Shaw, American conductor, Robert Shaw Chorale; music director of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

. 1923 ~ Percy Heath, Jazz musician: bass: founder of Modern Jazz Quartet, The Heath Brothers

. 1933 ~ Willie Nelson, American country music singer, songwriter and guitarist

. 1940 ~ Jimmy Dorsey and his band recorded the bandleader’s signature song, Contrasts, for Decca Records. The song went on to become one of the most familiar big band themes of the era.

. 1941 ~ Johnny Farina, Musician: rhythm guitar with Santo & Johnny

. 1943 ~ Bobby Vee (Velline), Singer

. 1944 ~ Richard Schoff, Singer with The Sandpipers

. 1953 ~ Frank Sinatra and Nelson Riddle became a team this day at Capitol Records in Hollywood. Sinatra’s new musical style, under Riddle’s direction, brought the crooner to the top of the record world for the second time in his illustrious career.

. 1953 ~ Merrill Osmond, Singer with The Osmonds: Alan, Donny, Jay, Marie, Wayne, Jimmy

. 1954 ~ Darius Milhaud’s Fourth Concerto for piano and orchestra premiered in Haifa

. 1956 ~ Richard Farina, folk singer: Reflections in a Crystal Wind

. 1983 ~ Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) passed away.  He was an American blues musician.

. 1987 ~ Three more compact discs of music by The Beatles went on sale for the first time. The discs were Help!, Rubber Soul and Revolver. All became hits again for the Fab Four.

. 2000 ~ Bill Woods, a bandleader who helped Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and other country music stars launch their careers, died. He was 76. In the 1950s, Woods ran The Blackboard country music club in Bakersfield. The club attracted many country music stars and helped develop what became known as the Bakersfield Sound. Woods also could play many instruments, including piano, guitar, fiddle, drums, and the banjo.

. 2000 ~ Jonah Jones, a Grammy award-winning jazz trumpet player who began his career on a Mississippi riverboat and became a star playing with Cab Calloway, died at the age of 90.

. 2001 ~ Herman “Rock” Johnston, a musician known for his innovative work on steel drums, died of prostate cancer. He was 63. Johnston gained acclaim in the early 1960s with an innovation that stretched the musical range of the instrument from 24 to 36 notes. During his career, the Trinidad native appeared at the United Nations, Lincoln Center and Radio City Musical Hall in New York City, and with the Boston Symphony at its summer festival in Tanglewood. His repertoire spanned rock, spiritual, classical, show tunes and Caribbean folk music.

. 2003 ~ Bill Napier, a clarinetist who rose to prominence with the premier San Francisco jazz bands of the 1940s and 50s, died. He was 76. Napier helped create a catchy West Coast style with a Dixieland sound and a San Francisco vibe. He played with jazz stars including trombonist Turk Murphy, Lu Watters and Bob Scobey’s Frisco Jazz Band. Though he took some lessons, Napier essentially taught himself to play. His talent, and his love of music brought him to an eclectic mix of venues – from cable car turnabouts to halftime of Harlem Globetrotters’ games to Silicon Valley soirees at the height of the dot-com boom. His last show was December 30, 2002.

. 2015 ~ Ben E. King [Benjamin Earl Nelson], American soul singer (Stand by Me), died at the age of 76

.2016 ~ Phil Ryan, Welsh keyboardist and composer (Man, Pete Brown), died at the age of 69

Had This Been a Leap Year

Leap-Year-2016

. 1792 ~ Gioachino Rossini, Italian composer
Read quotes by and about Rossini
More information about Rossini

. 1898 ~ Wladimir Rudolfovich Vogel, Russian-born Swiss composer

. 1904 ~ Jimmy Dorsey, American clarinetist, bandleader and saxophonist

. 1916 ~ Dinah (Frances Rose) Shore, Emmy Award-winning singer and entertainer

. 1932 ~ Bing Crosby and the Mills Brothers teamed up to record Shine for Brunswick Records.

. 1936 ~ Fanny Brice brought her little girl character “Baby Snooks” to radio on “The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air” on CBS Radio. Miss Brice presented the character and later sang My Man on the program. She was 44 at the time, and was known as America’s “Funny Girl” long before Barbra Streisand brought her even greater fame and notoriety nearly 30 years later.

. 1964 ~ The United States was in the grip of Beatlemania! I Want to Hold Your Hand, by the lads from Liverpool, was in its 5th week at #1 on the pop charts. It stayed there until March 21, when it was replaced by She Loves You, which was replaced by Can’t Buy Me Love, which was finally replaced by Hello Dolly, by Louis Armstrong, on May 9, 1964. 14 straight weeks of #1 music by The Beatles!

On February 17 in Music History

today

. 1653 ~ Arcangelo Corelli, Italian violinist and composer
More information on Corelli

. 1902 ~ Marian Anderson, American contralto
Read quotes by and about Anderson
More information on Anderson

. 1904 ~ Puccini’s opera, Madama Butterfly was first performed at La Scala, world’s most famous opera house in Milan, Italy.

. 1909 ~ Marjorie Lawrence, Opera soprano: “One of the truest Wagnerian interpreters of our time, unchallenged for the stirring magnificence of her Brunnhilde and the tender simplicity of her Sieglinde, or the stately loveliness of her Elsa and the compelling malevolence of her Ortrud.”

. 1923 ~ Buddy (Boniface) DeFranco, Clarinetist, bandleader. He won all modern jazz music polls in the early 1950s

. 1933 ~ Bobby Lewis, Pianist, singer

. 1941 ~ Gene Pitney, Singer, songwriter

. 1945 ~ Zina Bethune, Dancer, choreographer, actress

. 1946 ~ Dodie Stevens (Geraldine Ann Pasquale), Singer

. 1954 ~ Doris Day’s single, Secret Love, became the #1 tune in the U.S. The song, from the motion picture, “Calamity Jane”, stayed at the top of the music charts for three weeks.

. 1962 ~ The Beach Boys started making waves with their first Southern California hit, Surfin’. Their new musical style swept the U.S. like a tidal wave when they hit nationally with Surfin’ Safari in August of this same year.

. 1962 ~ Gene Chandler hit #1 with Duke of Earl on this day. The song stayed at the top for three weeks. It hit #1 on the rhythm & blues charts, as well. Duke of Earl was Chandler’s biggest hit out of a half-dozen he recorded. His only other million seller came with Groovy Situation in 1970. Curtis Mayfield wrote several hits for Chandler, including Just Be True, What Now and Nothing Can Stop Me. Chandler’s real name is Eugene Dixon. He owned his own record label, Mr. Chand, from 1969 to 1973, though Groovy Situation was recorded in 1970 for Mercury.

. 1966 ~ Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler received a gold record from RCA Victor, for both the album and the single of The Ballad of the Green Berets. Sadler, who recorded one other single (“The “A” Team”) for the label, had served in Vietnam until injuring a leg in a Viet Cong booby trap.

. 1972 ~ Billie Joe Armstrong, Grammy Award-winning singer (1994), guitarist and songwriter with Green Day

. 1998 ~ Bob Merrill passed away.  Merrill was an American songwriter, theatrical composer, lyricist, and screenwriter.

. 2010 ~ Kathryn Grayson [Zelma Hedrick], American vocalist and actress (Anchors Aweigh, Kiss Me Kate), died of natural causes at the age of 88

. 2017 ~ Alan Aldridge, British artist, graphic designer and illustrator whose artwork was used in record covers for The Beatles and The Who, died at the age of 73

On January 14 in Music History

. 1690 ~ Announcement of the invention of the clarinet.

. 1812 ~ Sigismond Thalberg, composer and one of the most famous virtuoso pianists of the 19th century.

. 1780 ~ François-Joseph Dizi, Flemish harpist and composer. He died sometime in 1840

. 1800 ~ Ludwig von Köchel, Austrian musicographer; compiler of the Mozart catalog
More information about von Köchel

. 1875 ~ Albert Schweitzer, Alsatian humanitarian, physician, Bach scholar and organist, winner of Nobel Peace Prize in 1952

. 1888 ~ Stephen Heller, Hungarian composer and pianist, died at the age of 74

. 1900 ~ The Giacomo Puccini opera “Tosca” had its world premiere in Rome. The opera made its U.S. debut on February 4, 1901.

. 1908 ~ Russ Columbo, Singer, bandleader, songwriter

. 1917 ~ Billy Butterfield (Charles William Butterfield), Trumpeter, the founding member of World’s Greatest Jazz Band

. 1925 ~ Alban Berg’s atonal opera “Wozzeck” premiered in Berlin

. 1929 ~ Billy Walker, Singer, known as the ‘masked singer’

. 1931 ~ Caterina Valente, Singer

. 1936 ~ Harriet Hilliard, vocalist and wife of bandleader Ozzie Nelson, sang Get Thee Behind Me Satan, on Brunswick Records.

. 1938 ~ Jack Jones (John Allan Jones), Singer, son of Allan Jones and wife, actress, Irene Hervey.

. 1939 ~ The program, “Honolulu Bound”, was heard on CBS radio. Phil Baker and The Andrews Sisters were featured on the program.

. 1949 ~ Joaquín Turina, Spanish pianist/conductor/composer (Rima), died at the age of 66

. 1953 ~ Ralph Vaughan WilliamsSinfonia Antartica first performance.

. 1956 ~ Rock ‘n’ roller, Little Richard, was singing the newly released Tutti-Frutti. The Pat Boone version became even more popular as a cover record.

. 1964 ~ A hootenanny was held for the first time at the White House, as the New Christy Minstrels entertained President and Lady Bird Johnson, as well as Italy’s President.

. 1965 ~ Jeanette (Anna) MacDonald passed away.  She was an American singer and actress best remembered for her musical films of the 1930s with Maurice Chevalier and Nelson Eddy

. 1968 ~ LL Cool J (James Todd Smith), Rap singer

. 1995 ~ Alexander Gibson, British conductor and founder of the Scottish Opera, died at the age of 68

 

Giving Thanks

Adapted from a post at http://www.maryo.co/giving-thanks-day-2/

 

ocms-logo

 

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 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 during my sophomore year and I was devastated.  There will be more about him in a post on January 26, 2019 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 we under my piano as I slept.

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 accidently 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 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.