April 14 in Music History

today

. 1759 ~ George Frideric Handel, organist, violinist and composer, died. Among his best known oratorios are “Saul,” “Israel in Egypt” and the “Messiah”.

. 1900 ~ Salvatore Baccaloni, Opera singer

. 1922 ~ Soprano Jeanette Vreeland sang the first radio concert from an airplane as she flew over New York City.

. 1922 ~ Ali Akbar Khan, Indian composer and maestro sarod player

. 1924 ~ Shorty Rogers (Milton Rajonsky), Musician: trumpet, bandleader, songwriter, composer, arranger

. 1933 ~ Buddy Knox, Singer

. 1933 ~ Morton Subotnick, American composer of experimental music

. 1935 ~ Loretta Lynn, American country music singer, songwriter and guitarist, first woman to earn the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year award; named ACM Artist of the Decade in 1979

. 1941 ~ Hildegarde recorded the standard Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup on Decca Records. Hildegarde was the elegant singer with the long white gloves who was accompanied by the Harry Sosnik Orchestra. It took another 14 years, but Nat ‘King’ Cole turned the song into an even bigger hit, landing at number 7 on the pop music charts.

. 1951 ~ Julian Lloyd Webber, British cellist

. 1958 ~ Pianist Van Cliburn was presented on national TV for the first time on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jack Paar.

. 1958 ~ Laurie London reached the top spot on the music charts with He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, knocking Perry Como’s Catch a Falling Star down a peg or two.

. 1960 ~ The musical Bye Bye Birdie opened at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York City. Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke starred in the Broadway show which ran for 607 performances.

. 1967 ~ Herman’s Hermits, featuring lead singer Peter Noone, went gold with the single, There’s a Kind of Hush. It was a two-sided hit, with the flip-side, No Milk Today, also receiving considerable play. Hush, however, was a top five song, while the ‘B’ side just made it into the top 40 at number 35.

. 1995 ~ Burl Ives, Oscar-winning actor and singer whose gentle voice helped popularize American folk music, died. He played powerful dramatic roles in movies including “The Big Country,” for which he won an Academy Award for best-supporting actor, and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

April 13 in Music History

today

. 1377 ~ Guillaume de Machaut died. French poet and musician. Composer of monophonic and polyphonic music. Leading representative of the Ars nova tradition
More information about Machaut

. 1742 ~ Handel’s Messiah premier in Dublin

. 1810 ~Félicien-César David, French composer

. 1816 ~ Sir William Sterndale Bennett, British pianist, conductor and composer

. 1906 ~ Bud (Lawrence) Freeman, Jazz musician, tenor sax

. 1917 ~ Howard Keel, American singer and actor, born as Harold Clifford Leek. He appeared in singing and acting roles in films from 1948-68 and also appeared on TV in “Dallas.”

. 1928 ~ Teddy Charles, Vibraphonist, songwriter

. 1940 ~ Lester Chambers, Singer, musician, played harmonica

. 1941 ~ Margaret Price, British soprano

. 1944 ~ Jack Casady, Musician, KBC Band, Hot Tuna, Jefferson Airplane

. 1946 ~ Al Green, Singer, songwriter

. 1951 ~ Peabo Bryson, Singer

. 1958 ~ Van Cliburn of Kilgore, TX earned first prize in the Soviet Union’s Tchaikovsky International Piano Contest in Moscow.

. 1961 ~ Carnival opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre in New York City. Anna Maria Alberghetti starred in the musical which ran for 719 performances.

. 1963 ~ Jack Cassidy and Barbara Cook starred in She Loves Me, which opened at the O’Neill Theatre in New York City. The Broadway musical ran for 189 performances.

. 1980 ~ Broadway’s longest-running musical closed after eight years. Grease ran for 3,388 performances and earned $8 million. Though the longest running musical on the Great White Way at the time, Grease was also the third longest-running Broadway show. Other shows in the top five included: The Defiant Ones and Life with Father, Oh! Calcutta, A Chorus Line and Fiddler on the Roof.

. 1985 ~ The Grand Ole Opry, a radio staple from Nashville for 60 years, came to TV. The Nashville Network presented the country music jamboree to some 22-million homes across the U.S.

March 23 in Music History

today

. 1731 ~ Johann Sebastian Bach‘s first performance of the St. Mark Passion.  It was Good Friday that year.

. 1743 ~ It was the first London performance of Handel’s “Messiah”, and King King George II was in the audience. In the middle of the “Hallelujah Chorus, the King rose to his feet in appreciation of the great piece! The entire audience followed suit out of respect for the King. And so began the custom of standing during the singing of the “Hallelujah Chorus”.
More about Handel’s Messiah

. 1750 ~ Johann Matthias Sperger, Austrian contrabassist and composer.

. 1878 ~ Franz Schreker, Austrian composer and conductor

. 1887 ~ Anthony von Hoboken, Dutch music bibliographer; cataloguer of the works of Haydn

. 1917 ~ Johnny Guarnieri, Pianist, played with Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw; played at the Tail O’ The Cock in LA for a decade

. 1926 ~ Martha Wright (Wiederrecht), Singer on The Martha Wright Show

. 1927 ~ Régine Crespin, French soprano

. 1949 ~ Ric Ocasek (Richard Otcasek), Guitarist, singer with The Cars

. 1950 ~ Aaron Copland won an Oscar for his score to the movie The Heiress

. 1953 ~ Chaka Khan (Yvette Marie Stevens), Singer

. 1966 ~ Marti Pellow (Mark McLoughlin), Singer with Wet, Wet, Wet

. 1974 ~ Cher reached the top of the music charts as Dark Lady reached the #1 spot for a one-week stay. Other artists who shared the pop music spotlight during that time included: Terry Jacks, John Denver, Blue Swede, Elton John and MFSB.

. 1985 ~ Singer Billy Joel married supermodel Christie Brinkley in private ceremonies held in New York City.

. 1985 ~ Zoot (John Haley) Sims passed away.  He was an American jazz saxophonist, playing mainly tenor and soprano.

. 1985 ~ We Are the World, by USA for Africa, a group of 46 pop stars, entered the music charts for the first time at number 21.

. 2000 ~ Ed McCurdy, a leading 1950s folk music figure whose songs were recorded by Johnny Cash, Arlo Guthrie and Joan Baez, in Halifax, Novia Scotia. He was 81.

February 23 in Music History

today

. 1648 ~ John Blow, Composer

. 1685 ~ George Frederic Handel, German-born English composer
Listen to Handel’s music
Read quotes by and about Handel
More information about Handel

. 1931 ~ Dame Nellie Melba died.  She was an Australian operatic soprano who became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian Era and the early 20th century.
More information about Melba

. 1937 ~ Bing Crosby sang with Lani McIntyre and his band, as Sweet Leilani was recorded on Decca Records. The Academy Award-winning song was featured in the movie Waikiki Wedding.

. 1944 ~ Mike Maxfield, Guitarist with Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas

. 1944 ~ Johnny Winter (John Dawson III), Musician

. 1946 ~ Rusty Young, Steel Guitar with Poco

. 1950 ~ Steve Priest, Bass with The Sweet

. 1952 ~ Brad Whitford, Guitarist with Aerosmith

. 1955 ~ Howard Jones, Singer

. 1958 ~ David Sylvian (Batt), Guitarist, singer with Japan

. 1963 ~ The Chiffons recording of He’s So Fine was released. It later rose to the #1 position on March 30th for a four-week stay. The song later became the center of one of the most publicized lawsuits in music history. The estate of songwriter Ronnie Marks won the suit against former Beatle George Harrison, saying that the song My Sweet Lord, was a note-for-note copy of He’s So Fine. The Chiffons also scored big with One Fine Day, Sweet Talkin’ Guy and others.

. 1983 ~ The rock group, Toto, won Grammy Awards for the hit single, Rosanna, and the album, Toto IV, at the 25th annual ceremonies in Los Angeles. The group received four other awards to tie the 1965 record of six Grammies (Roger Miller).

. 2001 ~ Guy Wood, a songwriter whose works include Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy, died Friday. He was 89. Wood wrote music for Radio City Music Hall and the children’s television show Captain Kangaroo. His songs include Music of Love (aka The Bell Waltz), After All, Rock-a-Bye Baby, Till Then and My One and Only Love. Wood was born in Manchester, England, where he played saxophone in dance bands before moving to the United States in the early 1930s. He spent five years with the foreign-production divisions of Paramount and Columbia Pictures studios before leading his own band at the Arcadia Ballroom in New York from  1939 to 1942.

. 2003 ~ Rock musician Howie Epstein, bassist for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers for 20 years until ousted from the band last May, died. Epstein, who was 47, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the veteran rock band in 2001. He had battled legal and drug problems in recent years. Epstein, a Milwaukee native who previously played with John Hiatt and Del Shannon, joined the Heartbreakers in 1982. In addition to playing bass, he sang harmony.

. 2003 ~ James Taylor and Yo-Yo Ma performed on the 45th Annual GRAMMY(R) Awards telecast, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Four-time GRAMMY winner and consummate singer/songwriter James Taylor earned a nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Taylor will be accompanied by famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, who has won 14 GRAMMY Awards throughout his career. Established in 1957, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc., also known as the Recording Academy, is dedicated to improving the quality of life and cultural condition for music and its makers. An organization of 18,000 musicians, producers and other recording professionals, the Recording Academy is internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards, and is responsible for numerous groundbreaking outreach, professional development, cultural enrichment, education and human services programs.

. 2014 ~ Maria von Trapp, the last of the singing children immortalized in the musical The Sound of Music, died at the age of 99.

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.