Happy Birthday, Clara!

cschumann

 

Clara Schumann (1819-96) was much more than the wife of composer Robert Schumann. She was, quite simply, one of the greatest pianists of all time. A child prodigy, her technique and musicianship as a mature artist led to her being regarded as the equal of giants of the keyboard such a Franz Liszt, Sigismond Thalberg and Anton Rubinstein.

And from her girlhood until the end of her marriage she composed wonderful music, mostly solo piano music, but other works as well, including a concerto, a large number of songs and a sublime piano trio.

In her later years, she was an internationally famous teacher, and her performing career lasted more than six decades. She was, quite simply, a phenomenon.

August 25 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

Today is the last one!

The clever arranger has woven together 57 famous classical melodies by 33 composers. You’ve learned about most in the last 3 months.  How many can you identify?

 

Answers below

 

We didn’t listen to all these this summer.  For those we didn’t hear, the numbers after the title are the time you can hear the melody on the video clip.

1. Mozart Eine Kleine Nachtmusik K525 This first melody was on June 22

2. Haydn Symphony 94 “Surprise” II ~ You heard it here.

3. Beethoven Symphony 9 IV (Ode to Joy) ~  It was this day

4. Mendelssohn Wedding March in Midsummer Night’s Dream, second theme ~ June 12!

5. Dvorak Humoresque No.7  July 2

6. Wagner Lohengrin, Bridal Chorus Way back on June 10

7. Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto 1 0:19

8. Saint-Saens Carnival of Animals: Swan 0:19

9. Bach Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 Prelude 1 0:19

10. Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture 0:29

11. Bach Cello Suite No. 1 0:32

12. Mendelssohn Song without Words “Spring” 0:33

13. Schubert Ave Maria 0:40

14. Schubert Symphony 8 “Unfinished” 0:46

15. Verdi “La Donna è Mobile” in Rigoletto 0:51

16. Boccherini String Quartet in E, Op.11 No.5, III. Minuetto 0:55

17. Beethoven Für Elise was June 20

18. CPE Bach Solfeggietto on July 10

19. Paganini Capriccio 24 1:11

20. Mozart Piano Sonata No.11 III (Turkish March) was on June 23

21. Grieg Piano Concerto 1:22

22. Mozart Requiem Lacrimosa 1:26

23. Schubert Serenade 1:30

24. Chopin Prelude in C minor 1:35

25. Strauss II Overture from Die Fledermaus (Bat) 1:46

26. Brahms 5 Lieder Op.49, IV. Wiegenlied (Lullaby) 1:46

27. Satie Gymnopedie 1:56

28. Debussy Arabesque 2:00

29. Holst Planets, Jupiter 2:05

30. Schubert Trout 2:14

31. Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No.2  Fun with cartoons – and more!

32. Mozart Variation on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (AND the Alphabet song)  Find it here.

33. Schumann Op.68, No.10 Merry Peasant 2:47

34. Schubert Military March in D 2:54

35. Bach* (could be Petzold) Minuet in G 3:00

36. Mozart Piano Sonata No.16 in C, K545 3:07

37. Offenbach Can-Can in “Orpheus in the underworld”  The Can-Can was on June 21

38. Beethoven Piano Sonata No.8 “Pathetique” II 3:18

39. Mozart Die Zauberflöte Overture  Find it here, on June 19

40. Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Overture 3:31

18′. CPE Bach Solfeggietto 3:44

41. Beethoven Symphony 5 “Fate” Was on July 7

6′. Wagner Wedding March June 10

42. Rachmaninoff Prelude Op.3 No.2 in C# minor 3:53

18′. CPE Bach Solfeggietto 3:56

43. Chopin Piano Sonata No. 2 III. Funeral March 4:11

44. Williams Imperial March in Star Wars 4:19

45. Tchaikovsky Marche Slave 4:25

46. Smetana Ma Vlast II. Moldau 4:38

47. Tchaikovsky Nutcracker – Flower Waltz (not the main theme!) 4:45

48. Borodin Polovtsian Dances 4:45

49. Strauss II Blue Danube 4:58

50. Vivaldi Four Seasons I. Spring 5:03

51. Handel Messiah, Hallelujah 5:03

52. Handel The Entrance of the Queen of Sheba 5:08

53. Elgar Pomp and Circumstance Marches No. 1 Part of the Graduation post.

54. Pachelbel Canon in D.  It was June 18

55. Mozart Symphony No. 35 in D major (Haffner) K. 385, IV. Finale, Presto 5:27

56. Chopin Etude Op.25 No.9 in G flat, “Butterfly” 5:34

57. Bach Gavotte from French Suite No. 5 in G Major, BWV 816 5:42

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Hands According to Pianists.

pianist-hands

Redditor NeokratosRed had an idea: depict the hands of great composers and pianists, according to the characteristics of their music. He shared it on the social media site, and also punted for suggestions of more. It has since received over 300,000 images views, and lots of further suggestions from fellow Redditors and piano geeks.

Whisks for Chopin’s elegant pianistic souffles, feather dusters for the gentle impressionism of Debussy, instruments of trade for the composer of the thunderous Hammerklavier sonata.

Piano, and the internet – top marks to the both of you.

via This infographic of composers’ hands is painfully (and hilariously) accurate | Classic FM.

Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 in c-sharp minor

liszt

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, S.244/2, is the second in a set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies by composer Franz Liszt, and is by far the most famous of the set. Few other piano solos have achieved such widespread popularity, offering the pianist the opportunity to reveal exceptional skill as a virtuoso, while providing the listener with an immediate and irresistible musical appeal.

In both the original piano solo form and in the orchestrated version this composition has enjoyed widespread use in animated cartoons. Its themes have also served as the basis of several popular songs.

It is probable that you have heard this piece of music somewhere at one time or another because it is perhaps the most prominent piece of classical (romantic, actually) music featured in animated cartoons across the years.

Now, let the anvils fall and dynamite explode!

And, in real life, Valentina Lisitsa plays Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2

This piece is available in Piano Pronto Movement 5 and several anthologies of classical music.

July 31 ~ in Music History

today

• 1828 ~ François Auguste Gevaert, Belgian composer, musicologist, conductor and organist

• 1845 ~ The French Army introduced the saxophone to its military band. The musical instrument was the invention of Adolphe Sax of Belgium.

• 1847 ~ Ignacio Cervantes, Pianist

• 1886 ~ Franz Liszt, Hungarian composer and pianist died. Originator of the symphonic poem, he was a prolific teacher and a huge influence on Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.
More information about Liszt

• 1911 ~ George Liberace, Violinist, conductor; administrator of Liberace Museum; brother of pianist/entertainer Liberace

• 1918 ~ Jan La Rue, American musicologist

• 1918 ~ Hank Jones, Pianist. He accompanied Billy Eckstine and Ella Fitzgerald. He led the Hank Jones Trio

• 1919 ~ Mornam Del Mar, British conductor

• 1923 ~ Ahmet Ertegun, Recording Executive

• 1939 ~ John West, Musician, guitarist with Gary Lewis and the Playboys

• 1942 ~ Harry James and his band recorded the classic I’ve Heard that Song Before, for Columbia Records. Helen Forrest sang on the million-seller.

• 1943 ~ Lobo, Singer

• 1946 ~ Gary Lewis (Levitch), Singer with Gary Lewis and the Playboys, entertainer Jerry Lewis’ son

• 1946 ~ Bob Welch, Guitarist and singer with Fleetwood Mac

• 1947 ~ Karl Green, Musician, guitar and harmonica with Herman’s Hermits

• 1964 ~ Jim Reeves, popular U.S. country music singer, died in an air crash near Nashville.

• 1985 ~ Prince was big at the box office with the autobiographical story of the Minneapolis rock star, Purple Rain. The flick grossed $7.7 million in its first three days of release on 917 movie screens. The album of the same name was the top LP in the U.S., as well.

• 2016 ~Gloria DeHaven, a singer and actress known for starring in several MGM musicals, died at the age of 91.

July 7 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

Today, we’ll listen to the Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, of Ludwig van Beethoven.  It was written between 1804–1808. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music, and one of the most frequently played symphonies. As is typical of symphonies in the classical period, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is in four movements.

I’m sure you’ve heard the first 8 notes before…

 

Since it was written for orchestra, each instrument has its own line:

A piano version, transcribed by Liszt

From Disney’s Fantasia 2000:

Pink learns to play the violin, and interrupts a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with the Pink Panther theme played on various instruments.

Beethoven’s Wig:

 

Arrangements of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony can be found in Piano Maestro and lots of books including Piano Pronto’s Movement 2, Movement 5 (Victory Theme) and Beethoven: Exploring His Life and Music.

June 15 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

liszt-hungarian

Today’s assignment is Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp minor. It is the second in a set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies by composer Franz Liszt, and is by far the most famous of the set.

In both the original piano solo form and in the orchestrated version this composition has enjoyed widespread use in animated cartoons. Its themes have also served as the basis of several popular songs.

Above, Danish comedian and pianist Victor Borge gives every impression of having been asked to play a duet with someone whom he not only doesn’t know but doesn’t particularly like. Forced to come up with a mutually agreeable way of sharing the musical workload, he settles on the most difficult route possible.

It’s not clear why two pianists were needed for this performance of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2, S.244/2.  I think that they did it just for the fun of it.  The result is hilarious.

They’re not the only ones to tackle Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 as a piano duo.

We also have these guys:

 

The “history” of this piece in several cartoons:

This is very interesting:

As he often did, Horowitz arranged it more for his liking:

 

Finally, for real: