September 15 ~ in Music History

today

1876 ~ Bruno Walter, German-born American conductor

• 1903 ~ Roy Acuff, ‘The King of Country Music’, Country Music Hall of Famer, with the Smoky Mountain Boys, publisher with Acuff-Rose Publishing

• 1924 ~ Bobby Short, American pianist, singer of popular music, regular on first Playboy TV series. His autobiography is Black & White Baby

• 1928 ~ Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderly, Musician, Alto/Soprano Saxophone

• 1930 ~ Hoagy Carmichael recorded Georgia on My Mind on the Victor label. Georgia on My Mind has been the official state song of Georgia since 1922. The song has been recorded by many artists over the years.

• 1934 ~ NBC radio presented The Gibson Family to American audiences. The program was the first musical comedy to be broadcast. The show originated from the studios of WEAF in New York City.

• 1940 ~ Jimmy Gilmer, Singer with Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs

• 1941 ~ Les (William) Braid, Bass, organ with The Swinging Blue Jeans

• 1945 ~ Jessye Norman, American soprano

• 1955 ~ Betty Robbins (Mrs. Sheldon Robbins) became the first woman cantor at services held at Temple Avodah in Oceanside, Long Island, New York.

• 1980 ~ The Elephant Man made its debut on Broadway with rock singer David Bowie in his acting debut.

• 2001 ~ Billy Hilfiger, a musician and younger brother of fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger, died after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 45. Hilfiger worked as a landscape architect in New York City but was best known as an avid guitarist. He played with former members of the rock band Blue Oyster Cult and with another brother, Andy Hilfiger, among others.

September 14 ~ in Music History

today

• 1741 ~ George Frederick Handel completed his The Messiah. It took the composer just 23 days to complete the timeless musical treasure which is still very popular during the Christmas holiday season.

• 1888 ~ Michael Haydn (1737) Austrian composer

OCMS 1760 ~ Luigi Cherubini, Italian composer
More information about Cherubini

• 1814 ~ Frances Scott Key, an attorney in Washington, DC, was aboard a warship that was bombarding Fort McHenry (an outpost protecting the city of Baltimore, MD). Key wrote some famous words to express his feelings. Those words became The Star-Spangled Banner, which officially became the U.S. national anthem by an act of Congress in 1931.

• 1910 ~ Lehman Engel, American composer, conductor and writer

• 1927 ~ Gene Austin waxed one of the first million sellers. He recorded his composition, My Blue Heaven, for Victor Records.

• 1941 ~ Priscilla Mitchell, Singer

• 1946 ~ Pete Agnew, Bass, singer with Nazareth

• 1947 ~ Jon ‘Bowzer’ Bauman, Singer with Sha Na Na

• 1950 ~ Paul Kossoff, Guitarist with Free

• 1954 ~ Barry Cowsill, Singer with The Cowsills

• 1959 ~ Morten Harket, Singer with a-ha

• 1964 ~ Mary Howe, American composer and pianist (Sand), died at the age of 82

• 1973 ~ Donny Osmond received a gold record for his hit single, The Twelfth of Never. The song, released in March of 1973, was one of five which turned gold for the young Osmond. His other solo successes were Sweet & Innocent, Go Away Little Girl, Hey Girl and Puppy Love.

• 1985 ~ The first MTV Video Music Awards were presented at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Cars won Best Video honors for You Might Think and Michael Jackson won Best Overall Performance and Choreography for his Thriller video.

• 2002 ~ Jazz saxophonist and bandleader Paul Williams, whose 1949 Rhythm and Blues hit, The Huckle-Buck, was covered by Frank Sinatra, died, at the age of 87. Williams scored one of the first big hits of the R&B era in 1949 with The Huckle-Buck, based on Charlie Parker’s “Now’s the Time.” It was the biggest-selling record in the Savoy label’s 60-year history, topping the R&B charts for 14 weeks, and spawned vocal versions by Sinatra and others. The Huckle-Buck was one of three Top 10 and five Top 20 R&B hits Williams scored for Savoy in 1948 and 1949. Other Top 10 hits were 35-30 in 1948 and Walkin’ Around in 1949. Williams was later part of Atlantic Records’ house band in the ’60s and directed the Lloyd Price and James Brown orchestras until 1964. After leaving the music business temporarily, he opened a booking agency in New York in 1968. Born July 13, 1915, in Birmingham, Alabama, Williams played with Clarence Dorsey in 1946, and then made his recording debut with King Porter in 1947 for Paradise before forming his own band later that year. Saxophonists Noble “Thin Man” Watts and Wild Bill Moore, trumpeter Phil Guilbeau, and vocalists Danny Cobb, Jimmy Brown, Joan Shaw, and Connie Allen were among Williams’ band members.

September 12 ~ in Music History

today

1789 ~ Franz Xaver Richter died.  He was an Austro-Moravian singer, violinist, composer, conductor and music theoretician who spent most of his life first in Austria and later in Mannheim and in Strasbourg, where he was music director of the cathedral.

• 1888 ~ Maurice (Auguste) Chevalier, French chanteur and actor

• 1891 ~ Adolph Weiss, American composer and bassoonist

• 1924 ~ Ella Mae Morse, Singer, first artist to record for Capitol Records

• 1931 ~ George Jones, ‘The Possum’, singer

• 1940 ~ Tony Bellamy, Guitarist with The Tornados

• 1940 ~ Johnny Long’s orchestra recorded the classic A Shanty in Old Shanty Town for Decca Records.

• 1943 ~ Maria Muldaur (d’Amato), Singer

• 1944 ~ Booker T. Jones, American rock-and-roll musician

• 1944 ~ Barry White, Singer, played piano on Jesse Belvin’s Goodnight My Love in 1955

• 1952 ~ Gerry Beckley, Singer in the Grammy Award-winning (1972) group, America

• 1952 ~ Neil Peart, Drummer with Rush

• 1966 ~ “Hey, hey we’re the Monkees — and we don’t monkey around…” The theme song from the NBC-TV show, The Monkees, kicked off a fun-filled weekly series on this day in 1966. Some 400 aspiring actors had auditioned for the Columbia television series by producer Don Kirschner. Davy Jones, a former English horse racing jockey; Michael Nesmith, a session guitarist; Peter Tork of the Phoenix Singers; and Micky Dolenz, who had appeared in the TV series Circus Boy were picked to be America’s answer to The Beatles. The four were picked to become the fabricated music group – not because they could sing, act or play musical instruments – but because they looked the parts. Dolenz and Jones were actors, Tork and Nesmith had some musical experience. The Monkees were the first made-for-TV rock group. Ironically – or maybe not – The Monkees TV show won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series of 1967.

• 1966 ~ The Beatles received a gold record this day for Yellow Submarine.

• 1970 ~ James Taylor’s first single, Fire and Rain, was released. Taylor scored 14 hits on the music charts in the 1970s and 1980s.

• 1980 ~ An in-depth report on the death of Elvis Presley aired on ABC-TV’s 20/20. It raised so many unanswered questions that the official case concerning Elvis’ death was reopened.

• 1993 ~ Herman Nieland, organist/pianist/composer, died at the age of 82

• 2000 ~ Stanley Turrentine, a jazz saxophonist whose hit “Sugar” established him in the popular mainstream and influenced musicians in many other genres, died after suffering a stroke. He was 66. Turrentine played tenor saxophone, and mixed jazz with blues, rock, pop and rhythm and blues. He lived in Fort Washington, Md., outside Washington, D.C. “His impact on jazz was just astonishing,” said his agent, Robin Burgess. “He had a large impact on fusion, electric jazz and organ trio music.” Turrentine grew up in Pittsburgh, surrounded by music. His brother Tommy played trumpet, and the two played together in Pittsburgh while they were still in high school. Turrentine started his professional career playing with Ray Charles and Max Roach. He went solo in the 1960s and scored his biggest hit in 1970 with “Sugar,” which became something of a jazz standard. His blues-influenced riffs brought him commercial success with albums including “Stan ‘The Man’ Turrentine,” “Up at Minton’s,” and “Never Let Me Go.”

• 2003 ~ Johnny Cash, “The Man in Black”, died at the age of 71.
More information about Cash

September 10 ~ in Music History

today

• 1714 ~ Niccolò Jommelli, Italian composer

• 1914 ~ Robert Wise, Academy Award-winning director of The Sound of Music [1965], West Side Story [1961]; Two for the Seesaw, The Andromeda Strain, Star Trek: The Motion Picture

• 1927 ~ Yma Sumac (Zoila Emperatriz Chavarri del Castillo), Peruvian singer, of Inca descent, with a 4-octave range

• 1935 ~ “I’m Popeye the sailor man…” toot! toot! Popeye was heard for the first time on NBC radio. The show was based on the Elzie Crisler Segar comic strip, which featured Popeye, Olive Oyl, Brutas, Wimpy and Sweepea.
Now, eat your spinach in celebration!

• 1937 ~ Tommy Overstreet, Singer

• 1941 ~ Christopher Hogwood, British harpsichordist, musicologist and conductor

• 1942 ~ Danny Hutton, Singer with Three Dog Night

• 1945 ~ Jose Feliciano, Grammy Award-winning singer, Best New Artist in 1968, guitar, songwriter of the theme for Chico and the Man

• 1950 ~ Joe Perry, Guitarist with Joe Perry Project; Aerosmith

• 1950 ~ Don Powell, Drummer with Slade

• 1950 ~ Eddie Cantor moved from radio to TV, as he hosted the Colgate Comedy Hour on NBC.

• 1955 ~ Pat Mostelotto, Drummer with Mr. Mister

• 1955 ~ Bert Parks began a 25-year career as host of the Miss America Pageant on NBC. The show became a TV tradition as Parks sang to the newly~crowned beauty queen, “There She is … Miss America”. The song was composed by Bernie Wayne and was sung for the first time on this day. Sharon Kay Ritchie was the first Miss America to be honored with the song. When she married singer Don Cherry (Band of Gold), There She Is was part of the wedding ceremony.

• 1956 ~ Johnnie Fingers (Moylett), Keyboards, singer with The Boomtown Rats

• 2000 ~ In a flourish of fur and song, whiskers and many tears, “Cats”, the longest-running show in Broadway history, closed after 18 years, 7,485 performances and a box office gross of more than $400 million.
Read the whole news article.

In Memory of Richard Strauss

richard-strauss

 

Richard Strauss was born June 11, 1864 in Munich, Germany. He died on September 8, 1949 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. He was a German composer and conductor known for his intense emotionalism in his symphonic poems. He characterized himself as ‘composer of expression’ which is born out in his colorful orchestration. In his operas he employed Wagnerian principles of music drama, but in a more compact form.

Strauss was composing by the age of six, having received basic instruction from his father, a virtuoso horn player. This was, however, his only formal training. The elder Strauss instilled in his son a love of the classical composers, and his early works follow in their path. Strauss’ first symphony premiered when he was seventeen, his second (in New York) when he was twenty. By that time, Strauss had directed his energies toward conducting, and in 1885 he succeeded Hans von Bülow as conductor of the orchestra in Meiningen. For the next forty years, he conducted orchestras in Munich, Weimar, Berlin and Vienna.

As a conductor, Strauss had a unique vantage point from which to study the workings of the orchestra. From this vantage point he developed a sense for orchestration that was unrivaled. He immediately put this sense to use in a series of orchestral pieces that he called “tone poems”, including Macbeth, Don Juan, Tod und Verklärung, Till Eulenspeigels lustige Streiche and Don Quixote. These works are intensely programmatic, and in the last two, Strauss elevated descriptive music to a level not approached since the techniques of text painting during the Renaissance. He also used his knowledge of orchestral techniques to produce a revised version of Hector Berlioz’s important orchestration treatise; this edition remains a standard to this day.

After the turn of the century, Strauss began to shift his focus to opera. With his principal librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, he created two forward-looking and shocking works: Salome, based on Oscar Wilde’s controversial play, andElektra, Hoffmannsthal’s version of the classical Greek tragedy. In these works, the intense emotions and often lurid narrative elicited a more daring and demanding musical language full of extreme chromaticism and harsh timbres. But with his next opera, Der Rosenkavalier, Strauss seems to have left this aside, turning to a more focused, almost neoclassical approach in his later works. With this, Strauss settled into a comfortable place in German musical society, perhaps too comfortable, given his willingness to acquiesce to the artistic maneuverings of the rising Nazi regime. In the end, he broke with the Nazis on moral grounds, and died virtually penniless in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Musical Examples:

  • Don Quixote
  • Suite from Le Bourgoise gentilhomme, Op.60, Prelude
  • Also Sprach Zarathustrahttps://youtu.be/3rzDXNQxjHsOne of Richard Strauss’ most popular works is Also Sprach Zarathustra since it was made popular in the 1968 Stanley Kubrick science-fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 (Thus Spoke Zarathustra or Thus Spake Zarathustra) is a tone poem by Richard Strauss, composed in 1896 and inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophical treatise of the same name. The composer conducted its first performance on 27 November 1896 in Frankfurt. A typical performance lasts half an hour.

    The work has been part of the classical repertoire since its first performance in 1896. The initial fanfare — entitled “Sunrise” in the composer’s program notes — became particularly well known to the general public due to its use in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as the theme music of the Apollo program. The fanfare has also been used in many other productions.

    The piece starts with a sustained double low C on the double basses, contrabassoon and organ. This transforms into the brass fanfare of the Introduction and introduces the “dawn” motif (from “Zarathustra’s Prologue”, the text of which is included in the printed score) that is common throughout the work: the motif includes three notes, in intervals of a fifth and octave, as C–G–C (known also as the Nature-motif). On its first appearance, the motif is a part of the first five notes of the natural overtone series: octave, octave and fifth, two octaves, two octaves and major third (played as part of a C major chord with the third doubled). The major third is immediately changed to a minor third, which is the first note played in the work (E flat) that is not part of the overtone series.

    “Of Those in Backwaters” (or “Of the Forest Dwellers”) begins with cellos, double-basses and organ pedal before changing into a lyrical passage for the entire section. The next two sections, “Of the Great Yearning” and “Of Joys and Passions”, both introduce motifs that are more chromatic in nature.

    “Of Science” features an unusual fugue beginning in the double-basses and cellos, which consists of all twelve notes of the chromatic scale. It is one of the very few sections in the orchestral literature where the basses must play a contra-b (lowest b on a piano). “The Convalescent” acts as a reprise of the original motif, and ends with the entire orchestra climaxing on a massive chord. “The Dance Song” features a very prominent violin solo throughout the section. The end of the “Song of the Night Wanderer” leaves the piece half resolved, with high flutes, piccolos and violins playing a B major chord, while the lower strings pluck a C.

    One of the major compositional themes of the piece is the contrast between the keys of B major, representing humanity, and C major, representing the universe. Because B and C are adjacent notes, these keys are tonally dissimilar: B major uses five sharps, while C major has none.

Works:

  • Orchestral music, including symphonic poems: Macbeth (1888), Don Juan (1888-1889), Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration, 1889), Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, 1895), Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra, 1896), Don Quixote (1897) and Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life, 1898); 2 symphonies (Domestic, 1903 and Alpine, 1915); 3 concertos (2 for horn, 1 for oboe)
  • 15 operas, including Salome (1905), Elektra (1909), Der Rosenkavalier (The Cavalier of the Rose, 1911), Ariadne auf Naxos (1912) and Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman, 1935)
  • Choral works (with and without orchestra), chamber works

     Strauss’s birthday

     anniversary of Strauss’s death

     Read quotes by and about Strauss

 

September 8~ in Music History

today

OCMS 1841 ~ Antonin Dvorák, Czech composer
More information about Dvorák

• 1849 ~ Richard Strauss, German composer and conductor, died. Strauss wrote in nearly every genre, but is best known for his tone poems and operas.
More information about Strauss

• 1897 ~ Jimmie (James Charles) Rodgers,‘The Blue Yodeler’, Country Music Hall of Famer, First country singer to be in a film

• 1932 ~ Patsy Cline (Virginia Petterson Hensley), Country Music Hall of Famer, American country-music singer

• 1934 ~ Peter Maxwell Davies, British composer

• 1935 ~ The Hoboken Four, featuring Frank Sinatra as lead singer, appeared on Major Bowes Amateur Hour on WOR radio. The group won the competition held at the Capitol Theatre in New York City.

• 1941 ~ Dante Drowty, Singer with Dante and The Evergreens

• 1941 ~ Harry James and his orchestra recorded Misirlou for Columbia Records.

• 1942 ~ Brian Cole, Bass, singer with The Association

• 1947 ~ Valery Afanassiev, Russian pianist

• 1949 ~ Richard Strauss, German composer (Also sprach Zarathustra), died at the age of 85

September 6~ in Music History

today

 

• 1781 ~ Vincent Novello, English music publisher, organist and composer

• 1882 ~ John Powell, American pianist and composer

• 1899 ~ Billy Rose (Rosenberg), producer, author, songwriter

• 1923 ~ William Kraft, American percussionist, composer and conductor

• 1928 ~ Evgeny Svetlanov, Russian conductor and composer

• 1937 ~ Benny Goodman and his orchestra recorded “Sugar Foot Stomp” on Victor Records. The tune was a Fletcher Henderson arrangement.

• 1944 ~ Roger Waters, Musician: bass, songwriter with Pink Floyd

• 1948 ~ Claydes (Charles) Smith, Guitarist with Kool & The Gang

• 1954 ~ Banner Thomas, Bass with Molly Hatchet

• 1958 ~ Georgia Gibbs sang “The Hula-Hoop Song” on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. It was the first national exposure for the Hula-Hoop craze. Many people recorded the song to capitalize on the fad, including Teresa Brewer and Betty Johnson. Like sometimes happens with fads, these songs didn’t become very popular. The Hula-Hoop craze lasted a bit longer…

• 1961 ~ Paul Waaktaar, Guitarist, singer with a-ha

• 1975 ~ Glen Campbell hit #1 on the “Billboard” pop music chart with “Rhinestone Cowboy”. It had reached the top position on the country chart on August 23rd.

• 1976 ~ Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were reunited by Frank Sinatra – after 20 years of going their separate ways. The former comedy team warmly met each other again during a surprise visit by Martin to Lewis’s annual “Labor Day Telethon” for Muscular Dystrophy.

• 1984 ~ Country-music star Ernest Tubb died this day, at the age of 70. Tubb was from Crisp, Texas and was known as the ‘Texas Troubadour’. He patterned his unique style after Jimmie Rodgers. Tubb recorded “I’m Walking the Floor Over You” and sold more than three million copies of the tune. “Blue Christmas”, “I Love You Because”, “Missing In Action” and “Thanks a Lot” were also classics made famous by Tubb. Other recording artists as diverse as The Andrews Sisters, Loretta Lynn and Red Foley recorded with Tubb. His 1979 album, “The Legend and the Legacy”, was a top-ten hit. Tubb was a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1943 and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1965.

• 1984 ~ Ginger Rogers was in Buffalo, NY for a homecoming at Shea’s Theatre. The star of so many great motion pictures, Rogers had played the Shea 55 years earlier.

• 1986 ~ Bananarama hit the top spot on the pop music charts with “Venus”. The tune had also been a number one hit for the Dutch group, The Shocking Blue (2/07/70).

• 1997 ~ The Westminster Abbey funeral for Diana, Princess of Wales, was an extraordinary event, marked by numerous poignant moments: The people sobbing and throwing flowers at the funeral cortege winding through the streets of London. Her sons, walking behind her casket with their heads bowed. And Diana’s brother, who during his funeral oration took aim at the media, who he said made the princess “the most hunted person of the modern age.” Elton John sang a rewritten version of “Candle in the Wind” to “England’s rose”. The song was originally a tribute to film legend Marilyn Monroe, whose own tragic life, like Diana’s, ended at the age of just 36.

• 2002 ~ Rafael Druian, a violinist and conductor who served as concertmaster of four American orchestras, died at the age of 80. Druian’s lengthy career spanned many roles – performer, conductor and teacher. He was the concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Born in Vologda, Russia, Druian grew up in Havana, Cuba and began his musical training at an early age. He came to Philadelphia when he was 10 to audition for Leopold Stokowski, who recommended him for a scholarship at the Curtis School of Music. He graduated from Curtis in 1942 and served in the United States Army for four years and played in the army band. During his career, Druian appeared on some groundbreaking recordings of lesser-known violin works. In the 1950s he made recordings of Block, Janácek and Enesco. After working with orchestras around the country, his final concertmaster position was at the Philharmonic from 1971 to 1974. When he finished there he taught at Boston University and the Curtis Institute of Music.