Leonard Bernstein: What Does Music Mean?

On January 18, 1958 Leonard Bernstein began presenting his television series What does music mean?  The series ran for 53 programs.  Some of the episodes can be found below:

Part 1 What is Classical Music?

Plot: Bernstein conducts Handel’s Water Music and cites it as an indisputable example of classical music. “Exact” is the word that best defines classical music, Bernstein says and he demonstrates with musical illustrations from Bach’s Fourth Brandenburg Concerto, Mozart’s Concerto No. 21 in C Major and The Marriage of Figaro, and Haydn’s Symphony No. 102.

The decline of classical music at the end of the eighteenth century is tied to Beethoven’s innovations and the Romantic movement, and Bernstein conducts Beethoven’s Egmont Overture.


Part 2 What is Melody?

Plot: Bernstein discusses the different forms melody can take, including tune, theme, motive, melodic line and musical phrase. He illustrates by conducting the orchestra in excerpts from Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Hindemith, and Brahms.


Part 3 What is a Mode?

Plot: Bernstein discusses scales, intervals, and tones, and analyzes several pieces, including Debussy’s Fêtes, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, and music from the Kinks and the Beatles, to illustrate different modes.

An excerpt from Bernstein’s ballet Fancy Free is also performed.

 

January 13 in Music History

 

 

. 1683 ~ Johann Christoph Graupner, German harpsichordist and composer of high Baroque music who was a contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Philipp Telemann and George Frideric Handel.

. 1690 ~ Gottfried Heinrich Stolzel, German Baroque composer.

. 1842 ~ Heinrich Hofmann, German pianist and composer

. 1854 ~ The first patent for an accordion was issued to Anthony Fass, of Philadelphia, PA

. 1866 ~ Vasily Sergeyevich Kalinnikov, Russian composer

. 1884 ~ Sophie Tucker (Abuza), Russian-born American burlesque and vaudeville singer

. 1904 ~ Richard Addinsell was born
More information about Addinsell

. 1909 ~ Quentin ‘Butter’ Jackson, Trombonist, played with Duke Ellington

. 1910 ~ Enrico Caruso and Emmy Destinn were heard via a telephone transmitter; rigged by DeForest Radio-Telephone Company to broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

. 1925 ~ Gwen Verdon (Gwyneth Evelyn Verdon), Dancer, Tony Award-winning Actress

. 1930 ~ Robert ‘Squirrel’ Lester, Singer with The Chi-Lites

. 1938 ~ Singer Allan Jones recorded The Donkey Serenade for Victor Records. The song became the one most often associated with the singer. Allan sang and acted in several Marx Brothers films: “A Night at the Opera”, “A Day at the Races”, but the film that catapulted him to stardom was the operetta, “Firefly”, with Jeanette MacDonald. Singer Jack Jones is the son of Allan and wife, actress Irene Hervey.

. 1941 ~ The four Modernaires joined to sing with the Glenn Miller Band on a permanent basis beginning this day. They had a ‘solo’ hit in 1946 with To Each His Own.

. 1957 ~ Elvis Presley recorded All Shook Up and That’s When Your Heartaches Begin for Victor Records in Hollywood. The former tune became Elvis’ ninth consecutive gold record.

. 1961 ~ Wayne Marshall, English pianist, organist and conductor

. 1962 ~ Singer Chubby Checker set a record, literally, with the hit, The Twist. The song reached the #1 position for an unprecedented second time – in two years. The Twist was also number one on September 26, 1960.

. 2001 ~ Kenneth Haas, the former general manager of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra, died after a long illness at the age of 57. Haas was general manager of the Boston orchestra from 1987 to 1996 and was instrumental in appointing Keith Lockhart conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra. Haas was general manager of the Cleveland Orchestra from 1976 to 1987 after performing the same job for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1975. In Cleveland he established the orchestra’s chamber music and recital series.

. 2001 ~ Michael Cuccione, youngest of the five-member spoof boy band 2gether, died at age 16 from complications from Hodgkin’s disease. The teen played Jason “Q.T.” McKnight on the MTV show “2gether,” which poked fun at the boy band craze. His character had a fictional illness, “biliary thrombosis,” but Cuccione really had suffered from Hodgkin’s disease as a child and underwent five months of chemotherapy. The singer-actor set up a cancer research foundation, co-wrote a book with his grandmother and appeared on “Baywatch” as a cancer victim.

Christmas Music: Joy To The World

Joy_To_The_World-Antioch

Joy To The World

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!

Let earth receive her King.

Isaac Watts wrote the words to “Joy to the World” in 1719, based on Psalm 98 in the Bible. The hymn originally glorified Christ’s triumphant return at the end of the age, rather than a song celebrating His first coming. Only the second half of Watts’ lyrics are still used today.

The music was adapted and arranged to Watts’ lyrics by Lowell Mason in 1839 from an older melody which was then believed to have originated from Handel. The name “Antioch” is generally used for the hymn tune.

As of the late 20th century, “Joy to the World” was the most-published Christmas hymn in North America.

There are versions of Joy to the World available at the O’Connor Music Studio for any level of playing, starting with Pre-Reading, all the way up through Advanced and duets.

New for December: LIstening and Coloring Pages

I have just purchased a set of Christmas Shades of Sound Listening & Coloring Book for the studio.

Please let me know if you do not want your student to participate in Christmas activities and I will assign alternate activities.

Each week, I will print out some of the pages for your student and put them in his/her notebook.  After listening to the music on YouTube, the student may color the pages.

After they are colored, please return them to the notebook so that there will be a complete book when finished.

If you are an adult and want to listen and color, too, just let me know and I’ll print you a set.

From the website:

Get your piano students listening to great classical music!

The Shades of Sound Listening and Coloring Books are a great way to encourage students to listen to great piano and orchestral repertoire. Students of all ages will love coloring the fun pictures while listening to and learning from the music of the great composers.

This Shades of Sound Christmas edition includes 20 pieces of piano and orchestral literature for the Christmas season, from the Baroque to the Modern period. Includes background and historical information on the pieces and the composers, and a beautiful coloring page for each piece.

The Christmas Shades of Sound book includes 20 different pieces, including:

  • In Dulci Jubilo from the Christmas Tree Suite by Liszt
  • Pastorale from the Christmas Oratorio by Bach
  • Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach/Hess
  • Farandole from L’arlesienne Suite #1 by Bizet
  • Christmas Sonatina by Reinecke
  • Elegy #4 by Busoni
  • The Adoration of the Magi by Respighi
  • Winter Sonatina by Rowley
  • Christmas Concerto by Corelli
  • Ave Maria by Schubert/Liszt
  • Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Gillock
  • Diversions by Dello Joio
  • Nuit de Noel by Busoni
  • Sheep May Safely Graze by Bach/Petri
  • Carol Symphony by Hely-Hutchinson
  • Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy by Tchaikovsky
  • Trepak by Tchaikovsky
  • Arabian Dance by Tchaikovsky
  • Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsky
  • Hallelujah Chorus by Handel

 

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!

July 9 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1607 ~ God Save the King was first sung

• 1656 ~ Michelangelo Rossi, Italian opera Composer, buried. He was about 55

• 1713 ~ First performance of George Frederic Handel’s “To Deum” & “Jubilate”
More information about Handel

• 1747 ~ Giovanni Battista Bononcini, Italian opera composer, died at the age of 76

• 1755 ~ Gottlob Harrer, Composer, died at the age of 52

• 1774 ~ Giuseppi Maria Carretti, Composer, died at the age of 83

• 1791 ~ Nicolas Ledesma, Composer

• 1794 ~ Pascal Boyer, Composer, died at the age of 51

• 1805 ~ Henry John Gauntlett, Composer

• 1821 ~ Tommaso Sogner, Composer, died at the age of 58

• 1826 ~ Friedrich Ludwig Dulon, Flautist and composer, died at the age of 56

• 1839 ~ Carl Baermann, Composer

• 1841 ~ Carl Christian Lumbye, Composer

• 1855 ~ Johann P Zilcher, German composer

• 1879 ~ Ottorino Respighi, Italian composer, viola-player, pianist and conductor Respighi’s Pines of Rome is featured in Fantasia 2000.
More information about Respighi

• 1882 ~ Richard Hageman, Dutch and American pianist, composer and conductor

• 1883 ~ Adrien Louis Victor Boieldieu, Composer, died at the age of 67

• 1898 ~ Marcel Delannoy, Composer

• 1900 ~ Robert Oboussier, Composer

• 1910 ~ Harold C Fox, Fashion designer and musician

• 1915 ~ David Diamond, American composer, winner of the Paderewski Prize in 1943

• 1916 ~ Joe Liggins, American Composer

• 1918 ~ Herbert Brun, Composer

• 1924 ~ Leonard Pennario, Concert pianist and composer

• 1924 ~ Pierre Cochereau, Composer

• 1925 ~ Alan Dale, American singer

• 1927 ~ Ed Ames, Singer with The Ames Brothers

• 1927 ~ Jim McReynolds, Folk singer with his brother Jesse
More information about Jim McReynolds

• 1929 ~ Lee Hazlewood, Songwriter of The Fool, These Boots are Made for Walkin’; singer with Nancy Sinatra

• 1930 ~ Buddy Bregman, American orchestra leader of the Eddie Fisher Show

• 1933 ~ Nodar Kalistratovich Gabuniya, Composer

• 1934 ~ Otakar Zich, Composer, died at the age of 55

• 1935 ~ Mercedes Sosa, Argentinian singer

• 1936 ~ David Joel Zinman, American composer and conductor

• 1946 ~ Bon (Ronald) Scott, Singer with AC/DC

• 1947 ~ Jerney Kaagman, Dutch singer

• 1949 ~ Fritz Bennicke Hart, Composer, died at the age of 75

• 1949 ~ Benjamin Britten’s Jump Symphony premiered

• 1949 ~ “Cabatgata (A Night Spain)” opened at Broadway New York City for 76 performances

• 1951 ~ Jorgen Bentzon, Composer, died at the age of 54

• 1952 ~ John Tesh, Emmy Award-winning composer and pianist

• 1954 ~ Debbie Sledge, Rhythm and Blues Singer with Sister Sledge

• 1955 ~ Bill Haley & Comets’ Rock Around the Clock hit #1 on Top 100 chart

• 1956 ~ Douglas Moore and John Latouche opera “Ballad of Baby Doe” premiered

• 1956 ~ Dick Clark’s first appearance as host of American Bandstand

• 1957 ~ Alexander Fyodorovich Gedike, Composer, died at the age of 80

• 1959 ~ Marc (Peter) Almond, Singer

• 1959 ~ Jim Kerr, Singer with Simple Minds

• 1960 ~ Edward Burlingame Hill, Composer, died at the age of 86

• 1964 ~ Courtney Love, Rock Singer

• 1965 ~ Frank Bello, Musician, bass with Anthrax

• 1965 ~ Otis Redding recorded Respect

• 1967 ~ The Beatles’ All You Need is Love was released

• 1967 ~ Doors’ Light My Fire hit #1

• 1968 ~ Rock group “Yardbirds” disbanded

• 1972 ~ Paul McCartney appeared on stage for the first time since 1966 as his group, Wings, opened at Chateauvillon in the south of France.

• 1977 ~ Undercover Angel, by songwriter (turned pop singer) Alan O’Day, reached the top spot on the Billboard chart. It was not the first visit to the top of the pop music world for O’Day, though the million-seller would be his last as a singer. He wrote Angie Baby, a number one hit for Helen Reddy and the #3 hit, Rock And Roll Heaven, for The Righteous Brothers.

• 1978 ~ Aladar Zoltan, Composer, died at the age of 49

• 1978 ~ “Hello, Dolly!” closed at Lunt-Fontanne Theater New York City after 152 performances

• 1981 ~ Oscar van Hemel, Composer, died at the age of 88

• 1984 ~ Randall Thompson, American composer, died at the age of 85

• 1986 ~ A new Broadway showplace opened. It was the first new theater on Broadway in 13 years. The Marquis Theatre, located at the corner of 46th Street and Broadway, seated 1,600 theatergoers.

• 1994 ~ Cornelius Boyson, Bassist, died at the age of 57

• 1994 ~ William “Sabby” Lewis, Jazz Pianist and Arranger, died at the age of 79

• 1994 ~ “Les Miserables” opened at Imperial Theatre, Tokyo

June 2 ~ This Day in Music History

today

 

 

Be sure your student reads and listens to Today’s Daily Listening Assignment

 

 

• 1577 ~ Giovanni Righi, Composer

• 1614 ~ Benjamin Rogers, Composer

• 1715 ~ Herman-François Delange, Composer

• 1750 ~ Johann Valentin Rathgeber, German Composer, died at the age of 68

• 1806 ~ Isaac Strauss, Composer

• 1807 ~ Robert Fuhrer, Composer

• 1830 ~ Olivier Metra, Composer

• 1831 ~ Jan G Palm Curaçao, Bandmaster/choir master/composer

• 1857 ~ Sir Edward Elgar, British composer Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, usually heard at graduations, was featured in Disney’s Fantasia 2000.
Read quotes by and about Elgar
More information about Elgar

• 1858 ~ Harry Rowe Shelley, Composer

• 1863 ~ Paul Felix Weingartner, German conductor

• 1873 ~ François Hainl, Composer, died at the age of 65

• 1876 ~ Hakon Borresen, Composer

• 1891 ~ Ernst Kunz, Composer

• 1897 ~ Alexander Tansman, Composer

• 1900 ~ David Wynne, Composer

• 1909 ~ Robin Orr, Composer

• 1913 ~ Bert Farber, Orchestra leader for Arthur Godfrey and Vic Damone

• 1915 ~ Robert Moffat Palmer, American composer

• 1927 ~ Carl Butler, Country entertainer, songwriter

• 1927 ~ Freidrich Hegar, Composer, died at the age of 85

• 1929 ~ Alcides Lanza, Composer

• 1929 ~ Frederic Devreese, Composer

• 1932 ~ Sammy Turner (Samuel Black), Singer

• 1934 ~ Johnny Carter, American singer

• 1937 ~ Louis Vierne, Composer, died at the age of 66

• 1939 ~ Charles Miller, Saxophonist and clarinetist

• 1941 ~ William Guest, Singer with Gladys Knight & The Pips

• 1941 ~ Charlie Watts, Drummer with Rolling Stones

• 1944 ~ Marvin Hamlisch, American pianist, composer and arranger of popular music
More information about Hamlisch

• 1947 ~ Hermann Darewsky, Composer, died at the age of 64

• 1949 ~ Dynam-Victor Fumet, Composer, died at the age of 82

• 1949 ~ Ernest Ford, Composer, died at the age of 91

• 1960 ~ For the first time in 41 years, the entire Broadway theatre district in New York City was forced to close. The Actors Equity Union and theatre owners came to a showdown with a total blackout of theatres.

• 1964 ~ The original cast album of “Hello Dolly!” went gold — having sold a million copies. It was quite a feat for a Broadway musical.

• 1964 ~ “Follies Bergere” opened on Broadway for 191 performances

• 1972 ~ Franz Philipp, Composer, died at the age of 81

• 1977 ~ Henri D Gagnebin, Swiss organist and composer, died at the age of 91

• 1982 ~ “Blues in the Night” opened at Rialto Theater NYC for 53 performances

• 1983 ~ Stan Rogers, musician, died in aircraft fire

• 1985 ~ The Huck Finn-based musical “Big River” earned seven Tony Awards in New York City at the 39th annual awards presentation.

• 1986 ~ Daniel Sternefeld, Belgian conductor and composer died at the age of 80

• 1987 ~ Andres Segovia, Spanish classical guitarist, died at the age of 94. He established the guitar as a serious classical instrument through his numerous concerts and by his transcriptions of many pieces of Bach and Handel.
More information on Segovia

• 1987 ~ Sammy Kaye, Orchestra leader (Sammy Kaye Show), died at the age of 77

• 1994 ~ Prima Sellecchia Tesh, daughter of John Tesh and Connie Sellecca

• 1997 ~ Doc Cheatham, Jazz musician, died of stroke at the age of 91

• 2001 ~ Imogene Coca, the elfin actress and satiric comedienne who co-starred with Sid Caesar on television’s classic “Your Show of Shows” in the 1950s, died at the age of 92. Coca’s saucer eyes, fluttering lashes, big smile and boundless energy lit up the screen in television’s “Golden Age” and brought her an Emmy as best actress in 1951. Although she did some broad burlesque, her forte was subtle exaggeration. A talented singer and dancer, her spoofs of opera divas and prima ballerinas tiptoed a fine line between dignity and absurdity until she pushed them over the edge at the end. With Caesar she performed skits that satirized the everyday – marital spats, takeoffs on films and TV programs, strangers meeting and speaking in cliches. “The Hickenloopers” husband-and-wife skit became a staple.