Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 19, 2021

 

Today’s piece is one of those that piano students often try to learn on their own – or a friend will teach them the first 9 notes.  It’s usually played too fast and, often in the wrong octave, or the first couple notes are repeated too many times.

This is one of two pieces that are so often played incorrectly that they have the distinction of being banned from competition in Northern Virginia Piano Teacher competitions.

Stay tuned for the other one!

Für Elise was not published during Beethoven’s lifetime, having been discovered by Ludwig Nohl 40 years after the composer’s death. The identity of “Elise” is unknown.

The very basic melody:

 

 

The actual beginning is a little more involved.

 

And, there’s more!

 

If you’d like to learn to play this piece correctly, find the sheet music at IMSLP, Beethoven: Exploring His Life and Music, and countless compilations of classical music available at the O’Connor Music Studio.

Follow along:

By Valentina Lisitsa:

 

Ragtime!

 

 

 

The Big Piano at FAO Schwartz in NYC:

 

Glass harp:

 

The Mystery Behind Für Elise:

 

Youtube has many, many more versions.  Beethoven would probably go nuts!

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 16, 2020

 

“Ode to Joy” was written in the summer of 1785 by German poet, playwright, and historian Friedrich Schiller and published the following year in Thalia. A slightly revised version appeared in 1808, changing two lines of the first and omitting the last stanza.

“Ode to Joy” is best known for its use by Ludwig van Beethoven in the final (fourth) movement of his Ninth Symphony, completed in 1824. This was Beethoven’s final symphony and lasts over an hour for the whole thing.

The entire final movement:

Beethoven’s text is not based entirely on Schiller’s poem, and introduces a few new sections. His melody (but not Schiller’s words) was adopted as the Anthem of Europe by the Council of Europe in 1972 and subsequently by the European Union.

 

It is often called Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (You) in hymnbooks.

 

Find Ode to Joy in Piano Maestro, Prelude, Beethoven: Exploring His Life and Music and several hym books.

By now, you know I love flashmobs:

 

And Muppets (note the metronome going wild!):

And Barbershop:

 

An animated score:

 

Boomwhackers:

 

The Piano Guys combined Ode to Joy with Joy to the World for a new Christmas arrangement:

 

As the European Anthem:

 

And, finally Joyful, Joyful we Adore Thee by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Do a search on youtube – lots and lots of people have played this famous Beethoven melody.

 

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 5, 2021

 

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 22: Today’s Music History

today

• 1722 ~ Johannes Schmidlin, Composer

• 1759 ~ Gervais-François Couperin, Composer

• 1780 ~ Jan Emmanuel Dulezalek, Composer

• 1783 ~ Thomas Forbes Walmisley, Composer

• 1813 ~ (Wilhelm) Richard Wagner, German composer
Read quotes by and about Wagner
More information about Wagner

Happy Birthday Wagner-Style

• 1820 ~ Alexander Ernst Fesca, Composer

• 1850 ~ Johann Schrammel, Composer

• 1852 ~ Emile Sauret, Composer

• 1865 ~ Enrique Morera, Composer

• 1879 ~ Eastwood Lane, Composer

• 1879 ~ Jean Emile Paul Cras, Composer

• 1884 ~ Alceo Toni, Composer

• 1885 ~ Julio Fonseca, Composer

• 1900 ~ Edwin S. Votey of Detroit, MI patented his pianola, a pneumatic piano player. The device could be attached to any piano. Batteries not included.

• 1914 ~ Sun Ra (Herman Blount), American jazz composer and keyboard player who led a free jazz big band known for its innovative instrumentation and the theatricality of its performances. He passed away in 1993.

• 1916 ~ Gordon Binkerd, Composer

• 1924 ~ Charles Aznavour, French chanteur and composer

• 1924 ~ Claude Andre Francois Ballif, French composer

• 1926 ~ Elaine Leighton, Drummer, played with Billie Holiday

• 1928 ~ Jackie (Jacqueline) Cain, Singer

• 1930 ~ Kenny Ball, Musician, trumpeter, bandleader

• 1933 ~ John Browning, American pianist

• 1934 ~ Peter Nero (Nierow), Pianist

• 1950 ~ Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s lyricist

• 1966 ~ Iva Davies (1955) Guitarist, singer with Icehouse

• 1958 ~ Wedding vows were taken by rock ’n’ roll star, Jerry Lee Lewis and his thirteen-year-old cousin, Myra.

• 1965 ~ The Beatles got their eighth consecutive number one hit as Ticket to Ride rode to the top of the singles list. The song topped the charts for one week and became their eighth consecutive number one hit.

• 1966 ~ Bruce Springsteen recorded his very first song at the age of 16, along with his band, The Castilles. It was titled, That’s What You’ll Get. The song was never released.

• 2003 ~ The final manuscript of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which was annotated by the composer, sold at auction for $3.47 million.

May 8: Today’s 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

• 1953 ~ Alex Van Halen, Amsterdam The Netherlands, Dutch drummer (Van Halen)

• 1960 ~ Hugo Alfven, Swedish composer (Midsommarvaka), died at the age of 88

• 1967 ~ Laverne Andrews, American singer (Andrews Sisters), died at the age of 55

• 1985 ~ Karl Marx, German composer/conductor, died at the age of 87

May 7: Today’s Music History

today

•  1833 ~ Johannes Brahms, German composer
More information about Brahms

• 1840 ~ Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer
Listen to Tchaikovsky’s music
Read about Tchaikovsky
Read quotes by and about Tchaikovsky
More information about Tchaikovsky

• 1919 ~ Eva (Evita) Peron, Argentina’s spiritual leader and wife of Argentina’s President, Juan Peron; actress on stage, film and radio; the subject of the Broadway musical and film Evita

• 1927 ~ Elisabeth Söderström, Swedish soprano

• 1931 ~ Teresa Brewer (Breuer), Singer

• 1941 ~ Glenn Miller and his Orchestra recorded one of the great American music standards, Chattanooga Choo Choo
More information about Chattanooga Choo Choo

• 1942 ~ Felix Weingartner, Austrian conductor and composer, died; best known for his interpretations of Wagner and Beethoven.

• 1958 ~ Pianist Van Cliburn signed an artist’s contract with RCA Victor Records.

• 1966 ~ The Mamas & The Papas made the climb to the top of the Billboard pop music chart with Monday, Monday.

• 1977 ~ The Eagles went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Hotel California’, the group’s fourth US No.1, a No.8 hit in the UK. The Eagles also won the 1977 Grammy Award for Record of the Year for ‘Hotel California’ at the 20th Annual Grammy Awards in 1978. The song’s guitar solo is ranked 8th on Guitar Magazine’s Top 100 Guitar Solos and was voted the best solo of all time by readers of Guitarist magazine.

• 1995 ~ Ray McKinley passed away.  He was an American jazz drummer, singer, and bandleader.

• 2002 ~ Buster Brown, a tap star and choreographer who danced on stage, in films and on television, died. He was 88. Brown was one of the last surviving members of the Copasetics, a legendary group of veteran dancers who performed together. Known for his quick rhythms and charm, Brown was a mentor and teacher for a younger generation of dancers. Brown, who was born James Brown in Baltimore, began his dancing career with a trio called the Three Aces and Speed Kings. He eventually began a solo career, appearing in the Hollywood musical “Something to Shout About” in 1943. Brown toured with the bands of Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington, and was a featured dancer in Ellington’s concerts in the 1960s. He danced in the films “The Cotton Club” and “Tap” and on two public television specials. He also performed with the original casts of the Broadway musicals “Bubbling Brown Sugar” and “Black and Blue.” Brown toured South America with the Cab Calloway Orchestra and was commissioned by the State Department to perform in several African countries. He also taught master classes throughout Europe. Beginning in 1997, Brown was master of ceremonies at a weekly Sunday tap jam at the Manhattan club Swing 46, where young and old dancers stopped by to perform. He recently received an honorary doctorate from Oklahoma City University.

April 27: Today’s Music History

today

. 1867 ~ Charles Gounod’s opera “Romeo et Juliette” was first performed, in Paris.

. 1894 ~ Nicholas Slonimsky, Russian-born American musicologist, musical lexicographer and composer

. 1871 ~ Sigismond Thalberg died.  He was a composer and one of the most famous virtuoso pianists of the 19th century.

. 1915 ~ Alexander Scriabin, Russian composer (Prometheus) and pianist, died at the age of 43

. 1931 ~ Igor Oistrakh, Violinist

. 1932 ~ Maxine (Ella) Brown, Singer

. 1933 ~ Calvin Newborn, Jazz/blues guitarist, brother of piano wizard Phineas Newborn Jr.

. 1938 ~ Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded I Hadn’t Anyone ’til You for Victor Records. Jack Leonard was featured as vocalist.

. 1941 ~ Judith Blegan, American soprano

. 1944 ~ Cuba Gooding, Singer

. 1947 ~ Pete Ham, Musician, guitar, piano, singer

. 1948 ~ Kate Pierson, Musician, organ, singer with the B-52s

. 1959 ~ Sheena Easton, Singer

. 1959 ~ Lloyd Price’s song, Personality, was released. Price had 10 songs that made it on the nation’s pop music charts in the 1950s through early 1960s.

. 1959 ~ Louis Lortie, French Canadian concert pianist

. 1970 ~ Mariah Carey, Singer

. 1976 ~ Maxine Nightingale received a gold record for the single, Right Back Where We Started From. Nightingale was in the productions of Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell and Savages in the early ’70s. Right Back Where We Started From was a number two hit for two weeks in 1976.

. 1981 ~ Former Beatle Ringo Starr married Barbara Bach at the Marylebone Registry Office in London. Paul McCartney and wife Linda, George Harrison and Harry Nilsson were in attendance.

. 1999 ~ Jazz trumpet great Al Hirt died

. 2002 ~ Classical violinist Guila Bustabo died at the age of 86. Bustabo, born in Manitowoc, Wis., in 1916, toured Europe and Asia, performing under such conductors as Herbert von Karajan and Wilhelm Furtwangler. Bustabo studied at the Juilliard School in New York before moving to Paris. During her career, she recorded concertos by Beethoven and Bruch with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Bustabo was arrested in Paris after World War II, accused of being a Nazi sympathizer because she played under conductor Willem Mengelberg. Mengelberg had been affiliated with musical associations sanctioned by the Nazi Party. The accusation against Bustabo was eventually dropped.

. 2007 ~ Mstislav Rostropovich, Russian cellist and conductor died

April 7: Today’s Music History

today

. 1826 ~ Johann Hermann Berens, composer

. 1858 ~ Anton Diabelli, Austria publisher and composer, died at the age of 76. Diabelli was most familiar today as the composer of the waltz on which Ludwig van Beethoven wrote his set of thirty-three Diabelli Variations.

. 1899 ~ Robert Casadesus, French pianist and composer

. 1908 ~ Percy Faith, Grammy Award-winning orchestra leader, composer

. 1915 ~ Billie Holiday, American jazz singer, born as Eleanora Fagan. She sang with all the American big band leaders of her day while developing her own intimate style.

. 1919 ~ Ralph Flanagan, Bandleader

. 1920 ~ Ravi Shankar, Indian sitarist and composer

. 1925 ~ David Carr Glover, Piano Educator

. 1934 ~ Victor Feldman, British jazz pianist and drummer

. 1949 ~ Opening day of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “South Pacific”. It was a musical classic of love and war, and it unfolded on a lush tropical island swarming with Seabees, nurses, natives and coconut trees on this night in 1949. Actually, it was not a tropical island, but the stage of the Majestic Theatre in New York City. Ezio Pinza starred as the suave French plantation owner with a shady past and Mary Martin portrayed the bubbly, pretty, but naive Navy nurse. Mary Martin washed her hair a zillion times as she sang, I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Out of My Hair in 1,925 performances.

. 1950 Tony Awards went to the show and its producers, performers, director (Joshua Logan) and composers nine statuettes. It also earned a Pulitzer Prize in the same year and in 1958 was made into a movie.
More about Mary Martin

. 1951 ~ Janis Ian, Singer-songwriter

. 1954 ~ Gee, by The Crows, became the first rhythm and blues single to gain attention on pop music charts.

. 1970 ~ Leif Ove Andsnes, Norwegian pianist

. 1973 ~ Vicki Lawrence got her number one single as The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia made it to the top of the pop charts on this day.

. 1987 ~ Maxine Sullivan (Marietta Williams) passed away

March 26: Today’s Music History

today

. 1827 ~ German composer Ludwig van Beethoven died in Vienna. Beethoven is considered one of the greatest western composers ever. He composed many of his finest works after he had become totally deaf.

. 1828 ~ Franz Schubert, Austrian composer, performed his one and only public concert in the capital city of Vienna.

. 1871 ~ François-Joseph Fetis died.  He was a Belgian musicologist, composer, teacher, and influential music critic.

. 1918 ~ Cesar Cui, Russian composer, died
More information about Cui

. 1921 ~ Joe Loco (Jose Esteves, Jr.), Jazz musician, arranger, credited with introducing the mambo (1951) and cha-cha-cha (1953) to the US

. 1925 ~ Pierre Boulez, French composer and conductor. His later work, notably “Le Marteau sans maitre,” gained him a worldwide reputation.
More information on Boulez
Grammy winner

. 1929 ~ Maurice Simon, Jazz musician, tenor sax

. 1940 ~ Rod Lauren, Singer

. 1941 ~ Jimmy Lunceford and his orchestra recorded the tune, Battle Axe, for Decca Records. Lunceford began with the Chickasaw Syncopaters, a 10-piece band, in the late 1920s. By 1934, he would add names like Sy Oliver, Willie Smith, Earl Caruthers, Joe Thomas, Al Norris, Moses Allen, and James Crawford to form orchestras that would entertain through the mid-1940s.

. 1944 ~ Diana Ross (Diane Earle), American pop-soul singer with The Supremes

. 1948 ~ Richard Tandy, Bass with Electric Light Orchestra

. 1948 ~ Steven Tyler (Tallarico), Singer with Aerosmith

. 1949 ~ Vicki Lawrence, Emmy Award-winning actress, singer

. 1949 ~ Fran Sheehan, Bass with Boston

. 1950 ~ Teddy Pendergrass, American soul singer, songwriter and drummer

. 1950 ~ Alan Silvestri, American film score composer (Back To The Future, Forrest Gump)

. 1968 ~ Kenny Chesney, American singer

. 1974 ~ David Essex received a gold record for the hit, Rock On. Though a million seller, Rock On never made it to number one on the pop-rock charts – stalling at number five. It was on the charts for a total of 14 weeks. Essex portrayed the role of Christ in the London production of Godspell. He starred in several British films in 1970. 1975 ~ Tommy, the film based on the rock opera by the group, The Who, premiered in London.

. 2000 ~ John Corigliano won an Oscar for the score to the movie The Red Violin

. 2015 ~ Joseph Smith died.  He was a well-liked, modest and warmly adventurous New York pianist.

Benita Meshulam, a close friend, wrote: “Joe was the most curious musician I have ever known, always looking for forgotten works, studying them thoroughly. He was interested not only in the works but the composers and investigated everything. He was a pianist who didn’t care about the condition of the pianos he performed on. It was his message that he wanted to get across–a real musician’s musician who lived and breathed his art. He was also the kindest and most generous colleague.”

March 15: Today’s Music History

 

More about the Ides of March

.1897 ~ First performance of Ludwig van Beethoven‘s Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Op. 60.  It is a symphony in four movements.

. 1835 ~ Eduard Strauss, Austrian composer who, together with brothers Johann Strauss II and Josef Strauss made up the Strauss musical dynasty. He was the son of Johann Strauss I and Maria Anna Streim.

. 1873 ~ Lee Shubert, Broadway producer. Theaters in NY and LA named after him. He died in 1953

. 1907 ~ Jimmy McPartland, Jazz musician: cornetist; played for the Wolverine Orchestra, Embassy Four; bandleader; played at Newport Jazz Festival with wife, Marian

. 1916 ~ Harry James, American jazz trumpeter and bandleader, married to Betty Grable (second of four wives)

. 1918 ~ Lili Boulanger, composer, died at the age of 24
More about Boulanger

. 1933 ~ Cecil Taylor, American jazz pianist and composer

. 1944 ~ Sly Stone, American soul-rock singer and instrumentalist

. 1956 ~ “My Fair Lady” opened at the Mark Hellinger Theater in New York City for 2,715 performances

. 1959 ~ The musical, No Strings, opened on Broadway at the 54th Street Theatre. Richard Kiley and Diahann Carroll starred in the show. Also featured was the show’s composer in an acting role, singing his own lyrics. The composer was Richard Rodgers.

. 1968 ~ LIFE magazine called Jimi Hendrix, “the most spectacular guitarist in the world.”

. 1987 ~ Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Starlight Express” opened on Broadway. This was the first ever roller-skating musical.

. 1964 ~ My Fair Lady, by Lerner and Loewe, opened on Broadway. It ran for 6-1/2 years before 2,717 audiences. It became, thanks to Rex Harrison and an outstanding cast, the longest-running musical to that time.

. 1970 ~ The musical, Purlie, opened a run of 680 continuous performances on Broadway.

. 2001 ~ Ann Sothern died at the age of 92. She was an actress who starred as the saucy, liberated showgirl in MGM’s “Masie” movies during the 1940s and played single working women on TV in “Private Secretary” and “The Ann Southern Show.”