October 17 ~ in Music History

today

• 1810 ~ Giovanni Matteo Mario, Italian tenor

• 1849 ~ Frederic Chopin died at the age of 39. Chopin was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era who wrote primarily for solo piano. He has maintained worldwide renown as a leading musician of his era, one whose “poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation.

• 1892 ~ Herbert Howells, British composer

• 1909 ~ Cozy (William Randolph) Cole, Drummer. He played with Cab CallowayLouis Armstrong, in films – Make Mine Music, The Glenn Miller Story and started a drummers’ school with Gene Krupa

• 1938 ~ This was a big day in Tinseltown. NBC moved to the corner of Sunset and Vine, the ‘Crossroads of the World’. The new Hollywood Radio City drew thousands of visitors ready to fill studio-audience seats for popular radio programs.

• 1940 ~ James Seals, Singer, guitar, saxophone, fiddle with Seals and Crofts

• 1940 ~ One year before recording that memorable song, Fry Me Cookie, with a Can of Lard, Will Bradley’s orchestra recorded Five O’Clock Whistle, also on Columbia Records.

• 1941 ~ Alan Howard, Bass with Brian Poole & The Tremeloes

• 1942 ~ Gary Puckett, Singer with The Union Gap

• 1945 ~ Actress Ava Gardner made news. She married bandleader Artie Shaw.

• 1946 ~ Jim Tucker, Guitarist with The Turtles until 1965

• 1949 ~ Bill Hudson, Comedian, singer with The Hudson Brothers, was married to actress Goldie Hawn

• 1953 ~ The first concert of contemporary Canadian music presented in the U.S. was performed by conductor Leopold Stokowski at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

• 1955 ~ Jose Ferrer and Claire Bloom starred on NBC’s Producer’s Showcase. They performed in “Cyrano De Bergerac”. Ferrer also won an Oscar for his performance in the film version.

• 1958 ~ Alan Jackson, Singer

• 1962 ~ Though the ‘Fab Four’ would appear on both radio and television, on what they would call ‘Auntie Beeb’ (the BBC), The Beatles made their first appearance this day on Great Britain’s Grenada TV Network.

• 1967 ~ A controversial rock musical “Hair”, opened on this day at the Anspacher Theatre in New York City. It ran for 1,742 performances and then became a movie.

• 1983 ~ Actor Anthony Quinn lit up the Great White Way in the revival of the 1968 musical, “Zorba”, that reunited Quinn with Lila Kedrova, who played Madame Hortense. They both had appeared in the film portrayal, “Zorba the Greek”, which won Quinn a nomination for Best Actor, and an Oscar for Kedrova as Best Supporting Actress. This was one of the few films that came before the Broadway show, rather than the reverse.

• 2003 ~ Bernard Schwartz, who produced “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” the Academy Award-nominated biopic of country singer Loretta Lynn, died of complications following a stroke. He was 85. Schwartz was a one-time Broadway child actor who got into television and film production in the 1950s, working on the popular paranormal suspense show “Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond” and the hit science fiction film “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” Schwartz’ best known and most lauded production was “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” the 1980 film inspired by Lynn’s song of the same name. Sissy Spacek won an Oscar for her portrayal of Lynn and the film won the Golden Globe award for best musical or comedy. It also was nominated for an Oscar for best picture. In 1985, Schwartz featured Patsy Cline’s life in “Sweet Dreams,” which was named for one of her songs and starred Jessica Lange as the music legend killed in a plane crash. He also produced country singer Amy Grant’s 1986 TV special “Headin’ Home for the Holidays” and worked with Priscilla Presley on the 1988 miniseries “Elvis and Me.” Another of his best-known productions was 1983’s “Psycho II,” the darkly humorous but far bloodier sequel to Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller about troubled motel operator Norman Bates. Other feature films included “The Wackiest Ship in the Army,” “Global Affair,” which starred Bob Hope, and “Rage,” which starred Glenn Ford. Schwartz also produced “That Man Bolt” and “Bucktown,” both vehicles for former football star Fred Williamson, and the thriller “Roadgames” starring Stacey Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis.

From the Radio Show Piano Puzzlers!

puzzlers

 

The Piano Puzzlers book is available in the O’Connor Music Studio library if you’d like to give any a try.  Piano Puzzlers as heard on American Public Media’s “Performance Today.” Includes 32 tunes with songs by Gershwin, Berlin, Arlen, Porter, Rodgers, Fats Waller, Lennon & McCartney, and others disguised in the styles of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Janacek, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bartok, and Copland.

Includes an introduction by Fred Child, host of “Performance Today” as well as background info by Bruce Adolphe. “Bruce Adolphe has taken a common musician’s party game and elevated it to high art and truly funny musical slapsticks. The Piano Puzzlers are a unique combination of extraordinary insight into the styles of many composers subtle, expert workmanship and great, great fun!”

From http://jasonmorris.blogsome.com/2008/08/08/piano-puzzlers/

If you’re a music geek (like me), I have a program for you. Now, let me be clear, to fully qualify as a music geek…you must have a fond appreciation for classical music (no, Poison, Quiet Riot, and Zepplin do not count as classical music). So, if you’re a “music geek” without an appreciation for classical music…well, I hate to burst your bubble…but, you’re not truly a music geek. Instead, you’re a music appreciator, but not a geek. So, if you just listen to indie music and scowl at anything on a label larger than Matador…don’t bother following the link I’ll provide…the fun will be lost on you…And, you probably won’t have a chance.

Every Wednesday night, on my way home from WNL, I turn on my local NPR station to listen to Piano Puzzlers on Performance Today. It’s absolutely incredible. A pianist/composer (Bruce Adolphe) takes a familiar folk or pop tune and sets it inside a classical masterpiece (or in the style of a particular composer). Sometimes it’s easy…sometimes it’s ridiculously difficult. There are days when I say, “got it” on the first pass. Then there are days when I say, “what the heck?” And, more often than not, I’m able to get either the popular/folk tune or the composer.

This is sad to admit, but there are nights when I’ll slow down on the drive home or sit in the car in the driveway to finish an episode. In fact, I get a little worked up if someone stops me after WNL…as I might miss the beginning of Piano Puzzlers (it usually hits around 8:20pm on our local station).

Take a listen to some of the archives and see if you can figure it out! It’s really cool…but probably only appreciated by music geeks (the kind of people that listen to NPR for their musical programs and not just the snipets of cool indie rock between segments on All Things Considered…which is a great show too).

Play Piano Puzzlers HERE!

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.

July 26 ~ in Music History

today

OCMS 1782 ~ John Field, Composer, whose nocturnes for piano were among models used by Chopin.
More information about Field

• 1791 ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Franz Xavier Mozart, Mozart’s son. He didn’t give his first concert until he was 13 and never achieved his father’s fame

• 1874 ~ Serge Koussevitzky, Russian-born American conductor, double-bass player and music publisher, He was conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and founder of the Tanglewood Music Festival.

• 1882 ~ Richard Wagner’s opera “Parsifal” was first performed, at Bayreuth, western Germany.

• 1914 ~ Erskine Hawkins, ’20th Century Gabriel’ Trumpeter bandleader, composer of Tuxedo Junction (with Julian Dash and Bill Johnson)

• 1919 ~ Eva (Evita) Peron

• 1924 ~ Louie Bellson (Balassoni), Drummer with the Duke Ellington Band, drum solo on Skin Deep, composer, music director for wife Pearl Bailey, played with Dorsey Brothers and Count Basie bands

• 1929 ~ Alexis Weissenberg, Bulgarian-born French pianist

• 1939 ~ Sixteen-year-old singer Kay Starr got a big break. She recorded Baby Me with Glenn Miller and his orchestra on Victor Records. Starr was filling in for Marion Hutton who, at the last minute, was unable to attend the recording session.

• 1941 ~ Bobby Hebb, Grammy Award-winning songwriter, singer, Grand Ole Opry at age 12

• 1943 ~ Dobie Gray (Leonard Ainsworth), Singer, songwriter

• 1943 ~ Mick Jagger, British rock singer and songwriter. 41 hits [1964 to 1989], 5 gold records, 8 number one hit, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.   In 2003 he was knighted for his services to popular music and in early 2009 he joined the electric supergroup SuperHeavy.

• 1945 ~ Rick White, Singer

• 1949 ~ Roger Taylor (Meadows-Taylor), Drummer with Queen

• 1992 ~ Mary Wells passed away

• 2001 ~ Cleveland Johnson, a crusader for equality through his Tampa Bay-area newspaper, the Weekly Challenger, died of lung cancer. He was 73. Johnson wrote over the years about the need for social change, warning of the devastating effects of drugs on the black community and preaching the virtues of black economic power. Johnson, whose first love was music, studied at the Juilliard School and the Boston Conservatory. He operated a jewelry and dress store in Miami before moving to St. Petersburg in the mid-1960s and taking a job at the new Weekly Challenger, where he discovered that he had a talent for selling advertising. When founder M.C. Fountain died, Johnson kept the paper. Starting in the 1980s, he urged blacks to spend their money in black-owned businesses.

• 2002 ~ Buddy Baker, musical director for nearly 200 Disney movies and TV shows including “The Mickey Mouse Club,” died. He was 84. The composer penned incidental music and special songs sung by for “The Mickey Mouse Club” child stars and was responsible for music in the 1981 cartoon feature “The Fox and the Hound.” He was nominated for an Academy Award for the score to the 1972 children’s drama “Napoleon and Samantha.” He also scored incidental music for the Disney theme park attractions “Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln,” “It’s a Small World,” and “The Haunted Mansion.” Disney Studios hired him in 1954. He worked on arrangements for the TV show “Davy Crockett” and three “Winnie the Pooh” cartoons and composed original music for the 1975 film “The Apple Dumpling Gang” and 1976’s “The Shaggy D.A.”

• 2002 ~ Kenny Gardner, a tenor who sang with Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, died. He was 89. Gardner, the featured crooner, was remembered for such songs as Enjoy Yourself, It’s Later Than You Think and Frankie and Johnny. The band, one of the most popular orchestras in American dance music, sold more than 100 million recordings and became known for its New Year’s Eve broadcasts of Auld Lang Syne. Gardner started singing for radio shows in Los Angeles. He joined the band after Elaine Lombardo heard him on the air in 1940. Gardner left the group to serve in the military, where he was wounded and received a Purple Heart. He returned to perform with the band until his retirement in 1978.

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.

 

 

May 8 in Music History

OCMS  1829 ~ Louis Moreau Gottschalk, American pianist and composer
Listen to Gottschalk’s music
More information on Gottschalk

• 1948 ~ Oscar Hammerstein I, Playwright, producer

• 1910 ~ Mary Lou Williams, American jazz pianist, composer and arranger

• 1911 ~ Robert Johnson, Blues Hall of Fame, singer, songwriter, guitarist, inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986

• 1941 ~ Anita O’Day recorded Let Me Off Uptown on Okeh Records with Gene Krupa and his band.

• 1943 ~ Toni Tennille, Singer

• 1944 ~ Gary Glitter (Paul Gadd), Singer

• 1945 ~ Keith Jarrett, American jazz pianist and composer

May 6 in Music History

today

 

1896 ~ Puccini’s opera La Bohème made its world premiere in Venice

 

 

• 1913 ~ Chopin’s Polonaise, films: The Eddy Duchin Story, Hollywood Canteen, Out of this World, Diamond Horseshoe

• 1913 ~ Carmen Cavallaro, American actor and pianist (Hollywood Canteen, Diamond Horseshoe)

Yes!  Same video!

• 1915 ~ George Perle, American composer and theorist

• 1918 ~ Godfrey Ridout, Canadian composer

• 1926 ~ Marguerite Piazza (Luft), Soprano and regular on TV’s Your Show of Shows

• 1942 ~ Richard Stilwell, American baritone

• 1945 ~ Bob Seger, Singer

• 1963 ~ Ted Weems passed away. He was an American bandleader and musician.

• 1983 ~ Kai Winding passed away. He was a Danish-born American trombonist and jazz composer.