Just in Time for Halloween: Dreams of a Witches’ Sabbath from Symphonie fantastique by Hector Berlioz

berlioz-symphony-fantastique
The final movement is the best known part of the symphony, thanks to its use in the Julia Roberts movie, Sleeping With The Enemy. It features a four-part structure, which Berlioz described in his own program notes from 1845 as follows:

“He sees himself at a witches’ Sabbath, in the midst of a hideous gathering of shades, sorcerers and monsters of every kind who have come together for his funeral. Strange sounds, groans, outbursts of laughter; distant shouts which seem to be answered by more shouts. The beloved melody appears once more, but has now lost its noble and shy character; it is now no more than a vulgar dance tune, trivial and grotesque: it is she who is coming to the Sabbath… Roar of delight at her arrival… She joins the diabolical orgy… The funeral knell tolls, burlesque parody of the Dies irae, the dance of the witches. The dance of the witches combined with the Dies irae.”

The Dies irae melody is one of the most-quoted in musical literature, appearing in the works of many diverse composers.

The traditional Gregorian melody has also been used as a theme or musical quotation in a number of  classical compositions, notable among them:

Free sheet music from IMSLP for the basic Dies irae

Free sheet music from IMSLP for the basic Symphonie fantastique (look under Arrangements and Transcriptions)

The basic Gregorian Chant

An animated version of the  Dreams of a Witches’ Sabbath from Symphonie fantastique.  Can you hear the Dies irae in this?  It starts around 3:18.

Leonard Bernstein conducts the “Orchestre National de France” in Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique
5th Movement

July 29 ~ in Music History

today

• 1856 ~ Robert Schumann passed away.  Schumann was a German composer and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist.
More information about Schumann

• 1887 ~ Sigmund Romberg, Hungarian-born American operetta composer, founding member of ASCAP. He was famous for his operettas “Desert Song”, “Maytime” and “Student Prince”

• 1916 ~ Charlie Christian, American guitarist and blues singer

• 1917 ~ Homer (Henry D. Haynes), Comedy singer, duo: Homer and Jethro

• 1925 ~ Mikis Theodorakis, Composer

• 1930 ~ Paul Taylor, Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Emmy Award-winning choreographer, Kennedy Center Honors in 1992 “…for enhancing the lives of people around the world and enriching the culture of our nation.”

• 1933 ~ Randy Sparks, Folk singer, songwriter with the New Christy Minstrels

• 1935 ~ Peter Schreier, German tenor

• 1946 ~ Neal Doughty, Keyboards with REO Speedwagon

• 1953 ~ Geddy Lee, Bass, singer with Rush

• 1965 ~ The Queen of England attended the premiere of the motion picture, Help!, starring The Beatles. The command performance was held at the London Pavilion. The film later earned first prize at the Rio De Janeiro Film Festival in Brazil.  The Beatles later said the film was shot in a “haze of marijuana”. According to Starr’s interviews in The Beatles Anthology, during the Austrian Alps film shooting, he and McCartney ran off over the hill from the “curling” scene set to smoke a joint.

• 1966 ~ Martina McBride, Country singer

• 1970 ~ Sir John Barbirolli died. He was the British conductor of the Halle Orchestra, and was a famous interpreter of English music, Mahler and Italian opera.

• 1973 ~ Wanya Morris, Rock Singer

• 1974 ~ Singer “Mama” Cass Elliot, American folk-pop singer died.

• 1984 ~ Fred Waring, American musician and conductor died at the age of 84. He was also a promoter, financial backer and eponym of the Waring Blendor, the first modern electric blender on the market.

July 7 in Music History

today

 

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

 

• 1860 ~ Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer and conductor
More information about Mahler
Grammy winner

• 1911 ~ Gian Carlo Menotti, Italian composer and conductor
More information about Menotti

• 1962 ~ Mary Ford (Iris Colleen Summers), Singer with Les Paul

• 1927 ~ Doc (Carl) Severinsen, Bandleader, trumpeter, The Tonight Show Band, The Doc Severinsen Band, played with Charlie Barnet and Tommy Dorsey Orchestras, owner of a trumpet factory

• 1927 ~ Charlie Louvin (Loudermilk), Country singer, joined Grand Ole Opry in 1955

• 1940 ~ Ringo Starr, British rock drummer and singer with The Beatles

• 1944 ~ Warren Entner, Musician, guitarist and singer with The Grass Roots

• 1950 ~ David Hodo, Singer with The Village People

• 1954 ~ Cherry Boone, Singer; daughter of singer Pat Boone, sister of singer Debby Boone

• 1962 ~ Mark White, Rock Musician

• 1962 ~ Orchestra leader David Rose reached the top spot on the popular music charts. The Stripper stayed at the pinnacle of musicdom for one week. Rose’s previous musical success on the charts was in 1944 with Holiday for Strings.

• 2001 ~ Folk singer Fred Neil, who had such hits as Everybody’s Talking, and Candyman, died at the age of 64. Neil started his music career in 1955 when he moved from St. Petersburg to Memphis, Tenn. He released his first single, You Ain’t Treatin’ Me Right/Don’t Put the Blame On Me, two years later. The singer became a cult favorite in New York City’s Greenwich Village folk scene after Roy Orbison released a blues recording of Neil’s Candyman in 1960. Neil released his first solo album, Bleecker & MacDougal, in 1965. After moving back to Florida, Neil took an interest in protecting dolphins. He frequently visited Kathy, the star of the television show Flipper, and wrote a song called The Dolphins, which was released on his 1967 album Fred Neil. In 1970, Neil co-founded the Dolphin Research Project to help curb the capture and exploitation of dolphins worldwide. His last big hit came in 1969 when the film Midnight Cowboy featured singer Harry Nilsson’s version of Neil’s Everybody’s Talking.

• 2002 ~ Dorle Jarmel Soria, a writer and co-founder of the music label Angel Records, died. She was 101. Soria and her husband, Dario Soria, together founded Angel Records, which distributed some of the labels of EMI, a British company. The label released some 500 recordings, including the work of singer Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, pianist Walter Gieseking and conductor Herbert von Karajan. The company was eventually sold by EMI, and the Sorias went on to help found Gian Carlo Menotti’s Festival of Two Worlds in Italy. Before founding Angel, Soria had a career in journalism and worked for Arthur Judson, who was a concert manager for the New York Philharmonic. Soria wrote regularly for several music magazines, and had a weekly column for the Carnegie Hall program in the 1960s. She also published a book about the history of the Metropolitan Opera.

June 26 in Music History

today

 

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

 

• 1284 ~ The Pied Piper exacted his revenge upon the German town of Hamelin this day. The townspeople had promised to pay the piper a large fee if he could rid their town the nasty rats running all over the place. He had played his trusty pipe and the rats had followed him out of town and into the River Weser. But once the rodents were eliminated, the local folks decided not to pay after all. The piper was not pleased and repaid the townspeople by playing his pipe for the children of Hamelin, just like he had done for the rats. And just like the rats, the children followed him out of town.

 

• 1582 ~ Johannes Schultz, Composer

• 1657 ~ Tobias Michael, Composer, died at the age of 65

• 1661 ~ Lazaro Valvasensi, Composer, died at the age of 76

• 1747 ~ Leopold Jan Antonin Kozeluh, Composer

• 1778 ~ Angelo Antonio Caroli, Composer, died at the age of 77

• 1798 ~ Eugene Godecharle, Composer, died at the age of 56

• 1823 ~ Frederick Bowen Jewson, Composer

• 1824 ~ Moritz Furstenau, Composer

• 1836 ~ Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle, author and composer of the Marseillaise, died

• 1870 ~ Wagner’s opera “Valkyrie” premiered in Munich

• 1874 ~ Mikhail Vladimirovich Ivanov-Boretsky, Composer

• 1875 ~ Camille Zeckwer, Composer

• 1878 ~ Albert Siklos, Composer

• 1891 ~ Heinrich Lemacher, Composer

• 1893 ~ “Big Bill” Broonzy, American blues singer and guitarist

• 1894 ~ Bill Wirges, American orchestra leader

• 1901 ~ William Busch, Composer

• 1902 ~ Antonia Brico, Conductor and pianist. Because there were so few opportunities for female conductors, she organized the Woman’s Symphony Orchestra in 1935.

• 1909 ~ “Col Tom” Parker (Dries Van Kruijk), Elvis Presley’s manager

• 1912 ~ Gustav Mahler’s 9th Symphony premiered in Vienna

• 1914 ~ Richard Maltby, Bandleader

• 1914 ~ Wolfgang Windgassen, German tenor with the Stuttgart Opera

• 1916 ~ Guiseppe Taddei, Italian baritone

• 1924 ~ Syd Lawrence, Bandleader

• 1924 ~ Ziegfeld Follies opened on Broadway

• 1928 ~ Jacob Druckman, American composer

• 1931 ~ Lucien Goethals, Composer

• 1933 ~ Claudio Abbado, Italian conductor
More information about Abbado

• 1933 ~ The Kraft Music Hall debuted. It turned out to be one of radio’s longest-running hits. The first program presented Paul Whiteman and his orchestra. SingerAl Jolson became the host of the show shortly thereafter. Several years later, crooner Bing Crosby was named the host. The Kraft Music Hall continued on NBC radio until 1949 and then on TV for many more years; the first year as Milton Berle Starring in the Kraft Music Hall, then Kraft Music Hall Presents: The Dave King Show followed by Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall for four seasons. From 1967 on, The Kraft Music Hall featured a different host.

• 1934 ~ Dave Grusin, Composer of film scores

• 1934 ~ Luis Felipe Pires, Composer

• 1940 ~ Billy Davis, Jr., Singer with The 5th Dimension

• 1942 ~ Larry Taylor, Musician, bass with Canned Heat

• 1943 ~ John Allen Strang, Composer

• 1943 ~ Georgie Fame (Clive Powell), Singer

• 1945 ~ Barry Schrader, Composer

• 1945 ~ Erno Rapee, Composer, died at the age of 54

• 1945 ~ Nikolay Nikolayevich Tcherepnin, Composer, died at the age of 72

• 1953 ~ Ralph Ezell, American singer

• 1954 ~ Robert Davi, American opera singer/actor

• 1956 ~ Clifford Brown, American jazz trumpeter, died at the age of 25

• 1964 ~ A Hard Day’s Night was released by United Artists Records. The album featured all original material by The Beatles and became the top album in the country by July 25, 1964.

• 1965 ~ Mr. Tambourine Man, by The Byrds, reached the number one spot on the pop music charts. The song was considered by many to be the first folk-rock hit. The tune was written by Bob Dylan, as were two other hits for the group: All I Really Want to Do and My Back Pages. The group of James Roger McGinn, David Crosby, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman and Mike Clarke charted seven hits. The Byrds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.

• 1966 ~ “Time for Singing” closed at Broadway Theater New York City after 41 performances

• 1971 ~ Inia Te Wiata, opera singer, died

• 1971 ~ Juan Manen, Composer, died at the age of 88

• 1971 ~ “Man of La Mancha” closed at ANTA Washington Square Theater New York City after 2329 performances

• 1972 ~ David Lichine (Lichtenstein), Russian/American choreographer, died at the age of 61

• 1973 ~ Arnold Richardson, Composer, died at the age of 59

• 1973 ~ London production of “Grease” premiered

• 1977 ~ Lou Reizner, Rock vocalist/producer, died at the age of 43

• 1977 ~ Elvis Presley sang the last performance of his career, in Indianapolis. He died two months later.

• 1981 ~ Peter Kreuder, German composer, died

• 1982 ~ André Tchaikowsy, Pianist and composer, died

• 1983 ~ Walter O’Keefe, Songwriter and TV host, died at the age of 82

• 1983 ~ “Show Boat” closed at Uris Theater New York City after 73 performances

• 1984 ~ Barbra Streisand recorded Here We Are at Last

• 1991 ~ Carmine Coppola, Composer and conductor (Godfather II), died at the age of 80

• 1994 ~ Thomas Henry Wait Armstrong, Organist, died at the age of 96

• 2001 ~ French soprano Gina Cigna, famed for singing Puccini’s “Turandot”, died at the age of 101. Born in Paris in 1900, Cigna made her stage debut at Milan’s La Scala opera house at age 27 under the name Ginette Sens. Her breakthrough came two years later when she performed in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” at La Scala under her own name. Arturo Toscanini, the conductor, was particularly fond of Cigna’s expressive voice, which received widespread acclaim. An auto accident ended Cigna’s performing career in 1947. Until 1965, she coached opera singers in Milan, Siena and Canada.

May 27 in Music History

today

• 1638 ~ Nicolas Forme, Composer, died at the age of 71

• 1652 ~ Jacques Huyn, Composer, died at the age of 39

• 1690 ~ Giovanni Legrenzi, Italian Composer, died at the age of 63

• 1708 ~ Jacques Danican Philidor, Composer, died at the age of 51

• 1738 ~ Bonaventura Furlanetto, Composer

• 1796 ~ James S McLean patented his piano

• 1799 ~ Jacques-François-Fromental-Elie Halévy, French composer whose five-act grand opera La Juive (1835) was, with Giacomo Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots, the prototype of early French grand opera.

• 1806 ~ Charles-Joseph Tolbecque, Composer

• 1819 ~ Julia Ward Howe, Battle Hymn of the Republic
More information about Howe

• 1822 ~ Joseph Joachim Raff, German composer and teacher, greatly celebrated in his lifetime but nearly forgotten in the late 20th century.

• 1822 ~ Henry Wylde, Composer

• 1840 ~ Niccolò Paganini Composer and violinist died at the age of 57. He wrote six concertos for violin.
Read quotes by and about Paganini
More information about Paganini

• 1849 ~ “Blind” Tom Bethune, Pianist and composer

• 1878 ~ Isadora Duncan, Dancer

• 1878 ~ Carlo Marsili, Composer, died at the age of 49

• 1884 ~ Bax Brod, Composer

• 1888 ~ Louis Durey, Composer

• 1891 ~ Claude Adonai Champagne, Composer

• 1900 ~ Leopold Godowsky, Jr., American musician and photographic technician primarily known as a codeveloper of Kodachrome film (1935).

• 1902 ~ Celius Dougherty, Composer

• 1906 ~ First outlining of Gustav Mahler’s 6th Symphony

• 1907 ~ Felix de Nobel, Dutch orchestra leader

• 1908 ~ Harold Rome, Composer

• 1909 ~ Isador Goodman, Composer

• 1914 ~ Hugh Le Caine, Composer

• 1915 ~ Mario del Monaco, Italian opera singer famed for Verdi and Puccini

• 1928 ~ Thea Musgrave, Scottish composer, best known for her concertos operas and choral and other vocal works.

• 1929 ~ Donald Howard Keats, Composer

• 1930 ~ Eino Tamberg, Composer

• 1931 ~ Veroslav Neumann, Composer

• 1932 ~ Jeffrey Bernard, Singer

• 1935 ~ Ramsey Lewis, American jazz pianist, composer and bandleader

• 1935 ~ Elias Gistelinck, Flemish Composer

• 1939 ~ Don Williams, Country singer

• 1940 ~ Rene Koering, Composer

• 1942 ~ Priscilla Anne McLean, Composer

• 1947 ~ Liana Alexandra, Composer

• 1950 ~ Frank Sinatra made his TV debut as he appeared on NBC’s “Star-Spangled Review” with show biz legend, Bob Hope.

• 1957 ~ Siouxsie Sioux (Susan Dallion), Singer with Siouxsie and the Banshees

• 1957 ~ That’ll be the Day, by The Crickets and featuring Buddy Holly, was released by Brunswick Records. On September 14th, the tune became the most popular record in the U.S. It was the first hit for Holly and his group after two previous releases went nowhere on Decca Records in 1956.

• 1961 ~ Singer Johnny Cash turned TV actor. He appeared on the NBC drama, “The Deputy”.

• 1972 ~ “Applause” closed at the Palace Theater in New York City after 900 performances

• 1975 ~ Paul McCartney released Venus & Mars

• 1983 ~ Arnoldus Christian Vlok van Wyk, Composer, died at the age of 67

• 1988 ~ Melvin J “Cy” Oliver, American jazz composer and orchestra leader died at the age of 77

• 1994 ~ Red Rodney, Bebop-trumpeter died at the age of 66

• 1995 ~ C W Stubblefield, Music Promoter died at the age of 64

• 1995 ~ Ulysses Simpson Kay, Composer, died at the age of 78

• 1996 ~ Albert “Pud” Brown, Clarinetist and saxophonist died at the age of 79

• 1996 ~ Ivan Sutton, Concert Promoter died at the age of 82

• 2017 ~ Gregg Allman, the soulful singer-songwriter and rock n’ blues pioneer who founded The Allman Brothers Band with his late brother, Duane, and composed such classics as “Midnight Rider,” “Melissa” and the epic concert jam “Whipping Post,” died at age 69

May 18 in Music History

today

• 1799 ~ Pierre Beaumarchais, French playwright, died. Famed for his two comedies “The Marriage of Figaro” (Mozart used this for an opera) and “The Barber of Seville” Rossini used this for an opera).

• 1830 ~ Karl Goldmark, composer

• 1876 ~ The first issue of the first music magazine in America, Musical America, was published

• 1892 ~ Ezio Pinza, Italian bass and actor

• 1902 ~ Meredith Willson, American composer, flutist, arranger and orchestrator
More information about Willson

• 1909 ~ Isaac Albéniz, Spanish pianist and composer (Suite española, Tango in D), died from nephritis at the age of 48

• 1911 ~ Gustav Mahler, Czech-born Austrian composer, died. His last word was “Mozart”.  He completed nine symphonies and several song-cycles notably “Das Lied von der Erde.”
More information about Gustav Mahler

• 1911 ~ Big Joe (Joseph Vernon) Turner, Rhythm & blues singer

• 1913 ~ Perry (Pierino Roland) Como, Grammy Award-winning American singer of popular music, 15 gold records
More information about Como

• 1919 ~ Dame Margot Fonteyne, British prima ballerina. She started her career with the London Sadler’s Wells company in 1934 and in 1962 began a legendary partnership with Rudolph Nureyev.

• 1922 ~ Kai Winding, Jazz musician: trombone

• 1948 ~ Joe Bonsall, Singer with The Oak Ridge Boys

• 1968 ~ Tiny Tim’s warbly Tiptoe Through the Tulips was released. An eventual top twenty hit, Tiptoe was a remake of a number one hit for Nick Lucas in 1929.

• 1970 ~ Opening this night in New York City was The Me Nobody Knows at the Orpheum Theatre. The musical had a run of 586 performances.

• 2002 ~ Wolfgang Schneiderhan, a violinist who began performing as a child, became a concert master at 17 and played with orchestras across Europe, died. He was 86. A child prodigy, Schneiderhan quickly rose to international fame, performing with leading ensembles, including the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra and the Philharmonic. A regular at Europe’s most important music festivals, Schneiderhan played with Wilhelm Backhaus and other well-known pianists and gave violin concerts under such legendary conductors as Bruno Walter and Wilhelm Furtwängler. Later, Schneiderhan was a teacher at the Salzburg Mozarteum and at the Vienna Academy of Music. At age 11, Schneiderhan played in Copenhagen, Denmark – his first major concert abroad. Already a distinguished interpreter of the music of Mozart and Beethoven, Schneiderhan became concertmaster of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra at age 17, a job he also held with the Vienna Philharmonic in 1937.

• 2003 ~ Broadway’s ‘Les Miserables’ Ended After 16 Years. The pop opera based on Victor Hugo’s 1832 novel closed after 16 years, making it the second longest-running show ever on the Great White Way. The show played 6,680 performances since opening at the Broadway Theater in 1987. Only “Cats” has played more performances on Broadway with 7,485. The last performance at the Imperial Theater included a finale featuring 300 alumni of the Broadway run. Although it is now gone from the New York stage, the show is performed around the world by touring companies and is a fixture in London’s West End.

April 22 in Music History

today

. 1858 ~ Dame Ethel Smyth, British composer

. 1912 ~ Kathleen Ferrier, British contralto singer, born. Best known for her emotional performances of Gustav Mahler’s “Das Lied von der Erde” (“Song of the Earth”).

OCMS 1916 ~ Yehudi Menuhin, American violinist
Read quotes by and about Menuhin
More information about Menuhin

. 1921 ~ Candido (Camero), Musician: bongos, congas, tres, bass: over 100 recording credits with famous jazz, Latin and R&B artists

. 1922 ~ Charles Mingus, American jazz double-bass player, pianist, composer and bandleader

. 1922 ~ Lou Stein, pianist (Tonight! America After Dark)

. 1936 ~ Glen Campbell, Grammy Award-winning singer

. 1940 ~ The first all-Chinese commercial radio program was broadcast over KSAN radio in San Francisco, CA. Later, KSAN would become a pioneer in playing ‘underground rock’ music.

. 1943 ~ Mel Carter, Singer

. 1950 ~ Peter Frampton, Singer, guitarist

. 1956 ~ Elvis Presley made his Las Vegas debut on this night at the Frontier Hotel. With Heartbreak Hotel at the top of the pop charts, one can imagine the excitement generated by the new ‘King of rock and roll’. Even with a number one hit, Elvis was not yet well-received by the middle-aged audience. Management of the Frontier was so unimpressed, they gave Elvis his walking papers after one week of a two-week engagement.

. 1983 ~ Earl “Fatha” Hines, American jazz pianist and bandleader, died at the age of 79

. 2001 ~ Jazz pianist-composer Isaac Cole, brother of the late singer Nat King Cole who worked on his niece Natalie’s multiple Grammy-winning 1991 album, died of cancer. He was 73. Ike Cole said he may have benefited from being compared with his more famous brother, who died in 1965 of lung cancer at 45, but that he disliked being accused of “trying to live off the name.” Ike Cole said he decided against changing his name because, shortly before dying, Nat asked him not to. He and brother Freddy toured in 1990 with a show saluting their famous brother. Ike Cole had played a bass drum in an Army band but in 1957, he formed the Ike Cole Trio in Chicago, where he was born, and went on the road. Winning major TV exposure, he soon was booked steadily for Las Vegas shows. His trio also regularly toured Japan, Australia and Europe as well as the United States. Though he often sang a medley of his older brother’s hits, Ike primarily was a jazzman. He played keyboard when Natalie Cole recorded her late father’s songs for a 1991 album that won three Grammys.