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

February 19 in Music History

today

. Luigi Boccherini, Italian composer
More information on Boccherini

boccherini-minuet

. 1878 ~ Thomas Alva Edison, famed inventor, patented a music player at his laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ. This music device is the one we know as the phonograph. Edison paid his assistant $18 to make the device from a sketch Edison had drawn. Originally, Edison had set out to invent a telegraph repeater, but came up with the phonograph or, as he called it, the speaking machine.

. 1902 ~ John Bubbles (John William Sublett), An actor: Porgy and Bess (1935 Broadway version), films: Cabin in the Sky, Variety Show, A Song Is Born, No Maps on My Taps; dancer: credited with creating ‘rhythm tap’.

. 1912 ~ Stan Kenton, American jazz pianist, composer and Grammy Award-winning bandleader

. 1927 ~ Robert Fuchs, Austrian composer and music teacher. As Professor of music theory at the Vienna Conservatory, Fuchs taught many notable composers, while he was himself a highly regarded composer in his lifetime.

. 1940 ~ “Smokey” Robinson, American rhythm-and-blues singer and songwriter

. 1942 ~ If there was ever such a thing as a jam session, surely, this one was it: Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded I’ll Take Tallulah (Victor Records). Some other musical heavyweights were in the studio too, including Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford and the Pied Pipers, Ziggy Elman and drummer extraordinaire, Buddy Rich.

. 1971 ~ Gil Shaham, Israeli-American violinist

. 1975 ~ Luigi Dallapiccola, composer, died at the age of 71
More about Dallapiccola

. 1981 ~ George Harrison was ordered to pay ABKCO Music the sum of $587,000 for “subconscious plagiarism” between his song, My Sweet Lord and the Chiffons early 1960s hit, He’s So Fine.

February 3 in Music History

today

. 1525 ~ Giovanni Perluigi da Palestrina, composer

. 1736 ~ Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, Austrian musician

. 1809 ~ (Jacob Ludwig) Felix Bartholdy Mendelssohn, German composer
More information about Mendelssohn

. 1900 ~ Mabel Mercer, British-born American cabaret singer

. 1904 ~ Luigi Dallapiccola, Italian composer
More information about Dallapiccola

. 1911 ~ Jehan Alain, French organist and composer

. 1928 ~ Frankie Vaughn (Abelson), Singer

. 1929 ~ Russell Arms, Singer

. 1940 ~ Angelo D’Aleo, Singer with Dion and The Belmonts

. 1941 ~ Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded the classic, Amapola, on Decca Records. Helen O’Connell and Bob Eberly joined in a vocal duet on this very famous and popular song of the Big Band era.

. 1943 ~ Eric Haydock, Bass with The Hollies

. 1943 ~ Dennis Edwards, singer with the Temptations since 1968. He sang on a string of the group’s hits including “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Ball of Confusion” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” in an initial tenure that stretched to 1977.

. 1947 ~ Melanie (Safka), Singer

. 1947 ~ Dave Davies, Singer, guitarist with The Kinks

. 1950 ~ Ed, Gene, Joe and Vic, The Ames Brothers, reached the #1 spot on the pop music charts for the first time, as Rag Mop became the most favorite song in the U.S. The brothers enjoyed many successes with their recording efforts.

. 1959 ~ 22-year-old Buddy Holly, 28-year-old J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) and 17-year-old Ritchie Valens died in an airplane crash near Mason City, Iowa. February 3rd has been remembered as ‘The Day the Music Died’ since Don McLean made the line popular in his 1972 hit, “American Pie”. Buddy Holly, born Charles Hardin Holly in Lubbock, Texas, recorded That’ll Be the Day, Peggy Sue, Oh, Boy,Maybe Baby, and others, including It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (recorded just before his death, a smash in the U.K., non top-10 in the U.S.). Buddy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. A convincing portrait of the singer was portrayed by Gary Busey in The Buddy Holly Story, a made for TV movie. J.P. (Jiles Perry) Richardson was from Sabine Pass, TX. He held the record for longest, continuous broadcasting as a DJ at KTRM Radio in Beaumont, TX in 1956. He was on the air for 122 hours and eight minutes. In addition to his smash hit, Chantilly Lace, Richardson also penned Running Bear (a hit for Johnny Preston) plus White Lightning (a hit for country star, George Jones). Richard Valenzuela lived in Pacoima, CA (near LA) and had a role in the 1959 film, Go Johnny Go. Ritchie Valens’ two big hits were Donna and La Bamba … the last, the title of a 1987 film depiction of his life. La Bamba also represented the first fusion of Latin music and American rock. Of the three young stars who died in that plane crash, the loss of Buddy Holly reverberated the loudest over the years. But, fans of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll will agree, all three have been sorely missed.

. 1959 ~ Lol (Laurence) Tolhurst, Drummer, keyboard with The Cure

. 1964 ~ The British group, The Beatles, received its first gold record award for the single, I Want To Hold Your Hand. The group also won a gold LP award for “Meet The Beatles”. The album had been released in the United States only 14 days earlier.

. 1971 ~ Lynn Anderson received a gold record for the single, Rose Garden. The Grand Forks, ND country singer was raised in Sacramento, CA. In addition to being a singer, she was an accomplished equestrian and California Horse Show Queen in 1966.

. 1974 ~ “Pajama Game” closed at Lunt Fontanne Theater NYC after 65 performances

. 1979 ~ YMCA by Village People peaked at #2 on the pop singles chart.  It was fun to dance to!

. 2002 ~ Remo Palmier, a self-trained guitarist who was a fixture in the New York jazz scene in the 1940s, died at the age of 78, and had been suffering from leukemia and lymphoma, his wife said. Over the course of his career, Palmier played with jazz legends Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie, among others. Born Remo Palmieri in the Bronx, Palmier achieved his greatest fame performing with broadcaster Arthur Godfrey on CBS, and taught Godfrey how to play the ukulele. After Godfrey retired, Palmier released his own albums, “Windflower and “Remo Palmier”. 1893 ~ Bernard Rogers, American composer

. 1912 ~ Erich Leinsdorf, Austrian-born American conductor

. 1937 ~ Glen Gray and his Casa Loma Orchestra recorded A Study in Brown, on Decca Records.

. 1941 ~ John Steel, Singer, drummer with The Animals

. 1944 ~ Florence LaRue (Gordon), Singer with The Fifth Dimension

. 1962 ~ Clint Black, Singer, actor

. 1975 ~ Louis (Thomas) Jordan passed away

. 1983 ~ Karen Carpenter passed away

. 2001 ~ James Louis “J.J.” Johnson, an influential jazz trombonist who later forged a career arranging and recording scores for motion pictures and television, died at the age of 77. The Indianapolis native, who began playing piano at age 11, was a perennial winner of “Down Beat” magazine’s reader’s poll as best trombonist. While he was praised by jazz aficionados, Johnson also made his mark in popular culture, writing and arranging music for such television shows as “Starsky and Hutch”, “Mayberry, R.F.D.” and “That Girl”. His film music credits included “Cleopatra Jones” and “Shaft.” During his long career, he performed with such jazz greats as Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. While touring with jazz bands during the heyday of those ensembles, he played with the Clarence Love and Snookum Russell bands. He got his first big break with the Benny Carter band in 1942.

. 2002 ~ Blues and jazz pianist Abie “Boogaloo” Ames died at the age of 83. Ames was born on Big Egypt Plantation in Cruger, Miss., on May 23, 1918. He began playing piano at the age of 5 and his style earned him the nickname “Boogaloo” in the 1940’s. Ames moved to Detroit as a teenager and started a band, touring Europe with Louis Armstrong in 1936. Ames worked at Motown Studio and befriended other great musicians like Nat King Cole and Erroll Garner. In 1980, Ames moved to Greenville, where he became a regular performer at local clubs and festivals. Cassandra Wilson’s forthcoming Blue Note CD tentatively titled “Belly of the Sun” is set to include Darkness in the Delta, a song written by Ames for the CD. Ames was named the 2001 winner of the Artist’s Achievement Award of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in the state of Mississippi. With his protege and 1990s musical partner Eden Brent, Ames performed at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in 2000. Ames’ last public performance was in October 2001 at the E.E. Bass Cultural Center in Greenville with another former student, Mulgrew Miller.

. 2002 ~ David Stetler, a big band swing drummer who played with Benny Goodman and Spike Jones , died of pneumonia. He was 79. A Seattle native, Stetler was discovered in high school by Lunceford. With a style close to that of Gene Krupa and Jo Jones, Stetler toured the country in the 1940s but returned to Seattle after his first son was born. He backed up national acts in local performances, including many during the world’s fair in 1962.

. 2003 ~ Charlie Biddle, a leader of Montreal’s jazz scene in the 1950s and ’60s who played bass with Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker, died after a battle with cancer. He was 76. Biddle was a native of Philadelphia who moved to Canada in 1948. Over the next five decades, the World War II veteran and former car salesman became synonymous with jazz in Montreal. Biddle opened his own club, Uncle Charlie’s Jazz Joint, in suburban Ste- Therese in 1958. He later performed in such legendary Montreal nightspots as The Black Bottom and the Penthouse, where he worked with the likes of Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker and Lionel Hampton. When there were no jobs in Montreal, Biddle played smaller Quebec cities with a group called Three Jacks and a Jill. Until recently, Biddle played four nights a week at Biddle’s Jazz and Ribs, a Montreal landmark for nearly 25 years. Coincidentally, the club closed Tuesday for planned renovations, which included erecting a wall of fame to honor Biddle and others who have played at the club. In 1979, he organized the three-day festival that some say paved the way for the renowned Montreal International Jazz Festival. News Item about Charlie Biddle

. 2003 ~ Jerome Hines, a bass vocalist who performed regularly at the Metropolitan Opera during a career that spanned more than six decades, died. He was 81. Hines spent 41 years performing at the Met, more than any other principal singer in its history. He was known for his timbral richness, as well as the research he conducted into the historical and psychological background of the roles he portrayed. During his career at the Met, he portrayed 45 characters in 39 works, including title roles in Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” and Colline in Puccini’s “La Boheme.” He gave a total of 868 performances at the Met, retiring in 1987. He went on to perform with regional opera companies and at benefits. Hines, who became a born-again Christian in the 1950s, composed his own opera, “I Am the Way,” about the life of Jesus. He sang the title role at the Met in 1968 and 93 times around the world.

. 2003 ~ Saxophonist Cornelius Bumpus, a former member of the Doobie Brothers who had performed with Steely Dan since 1993, died en route to a series of performances in California. He was 58. Bumpus began his career at age 10, playing alto saxophone in the school band in Santa Cruz, Calif. In 1966, he spent six months performing with Bobby Freeman, and joined Moby Grape in 1977, writing one tune for the “Live Grape” album. Bumpus also recorded two solo albums and toured with his own band. Since performing with The Doobie Brothers in the early 1980s, Bumpus played with a number of bands, most recently with Steely Dan, which won the “Album of the Year” Grammy for its 2000 “Two Against Nature” release. His relations with his former Doobies bandmates turned contentious in the late 1990s, when they sued him and several other musicians over their use of the Doobies name. A federal judge in 1999 ruled against Bumpus and the other musicians, ordering them not to use the name.

Halloween Music: 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

February 3 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1736 ~ Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, Austrian musician

. 1809 ~ (Jacob Ludwig) Felix Bartholdy Mendelssohn, German composer
More information about Mendelssohn

. 1900 ~ Mabel Mercer, British-born American cabaret singer

. 1904 ~ Luigi Dallapiccola, Italian composer
More information about Dallapiccola

. 1911 ~ Jehan Alain, French organist and composer

. 1928 ~ Frankie Vaughn (Abelson), Singer

. 1929 ~ Russell Arms, Singer

. 1940 ~ Angelo D’Aleo, Singer with Dion and The Belmonts

. 1941 ~ Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded the classic, Amapola, on Decca Records. Helen O’Connell and Bob Eberly joined in a vocal duet on this very famous and popular song of the Big Band era.

. 1943 ~ Eric Haydock, Bass with The Hollies

. 1947 ~ Melanie (Safka), Singer

. 1947 ~ Dave Davies, Singer, guitarist with The Kinks

. 1950 ~ Ed, Gene, Joe and Vic, The Ames Brothers, reached the #1 spot on the pop music charts for the first time, as Rag Mop became the most favorite song in the U.S. The brothers enjoyed many successes with their recording efforts.

. 1959 ~ 22-year-old Buddy Holly, 28-year-old J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) and 17-year-old Ritchie Valens died in an airplane crash near Mason City, Iowa. February 3rd has been remembered as ‘The Day the Music Died’ since Don McLean made the line popular in his 1972 hit, “American Pie”. Buddy Holly, born Charles Hardin Holly in Lubbock, Texas, recorded That’ll Be the Day, Peggy Sue, Oh, Boy,Maybe Baby, and others, including It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (recorded just before his death, a smash in the U.K., non top-10 in the U.S.). Buddy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. A convincing portrait of the singer was portrayed by Gary Busey in The Buddy Holly Story, a made for TV movie. J.P. (Jiles Perry) Richardson was from Sabine Pass, TX. He held the record for longest, continuous broadcasting as a DJ at KTRM Radio in Beaumont, TX in 1956. He was on the air for 122 hours and eight minutes. In addition to his smash hit, Chantilly Lace, Richardson also penned Running Bear (a hit for Johnny Preston) plus White Lightning (a hit for country star, George Jones). Richard Valenzuela lived in Pacoima, CA (near LA) and had a role in the 1959 film, Go Johnny Go. Ritchie Valens’ two big hits were Donna and La Bamba … the last, the title of a 1987 film depiction of his life. La Bamba also represented the first fusion of Latin music and American rock. Of the three young stars who died in that plane crash, the loss of Buddy Holly reverberated the loudest over the years. But, fans of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll will agree, all three have been sorely missed.

. 1959 ~ Lol (Laurence) Tolhurst, Drummer, keyboard with The Cure

. 1964 ~ The British group, The Beatles, received its first gold record award for the single, I Want To Hold Your Hand. The group also won a gold LP award for “Meet The Beatles”. The album had been released in the United States only 14 days earlier.

. 1971 ~ Lynn Anderson received a gold record for the single, Rose Garden. The Grand Forks, ND country singer was raised in Sacramento, CA. In addition to being a singer, she was an accomplished equestrian and California Horse Show Queen in 1966.

. 2002 ~ Remo Palmier, a self-trained guitarist who was a fixture in the New York jazz scene in the 1940s, died at the age of 78, and had been suffering from leukemia and lymphoma, his wife said. Over the course of his career, Palmier played with jazz legends Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie, among others. Born Remo Palmieri in the Bronx, Palmier achieved his greatest fame performing with broadcaster Arthur Godfrey on CBS, and taught Godfrey how to play the ukulele. After Godfrey retired, Palmier released his own albums, “Windflower and “Remo Palmier”. 1893 ~ Bernard Rogers, American composer

. 1912 ~ Erich Leinsdorf, Austrian-born American conductor

. 1937 ~ Glen Gray and his Casa Loma Orchestra recorded A Study in Brown, on Decca Records.

. 1941 ~ John Steel, Singer, drummer with The Animals

. 1944 ~ Florence LaRue (Gordon), Singer with The Fifth Dimension

. 1962 ~ Clint Black, Singer, actor

. 1975 ~ Louis (Thomas) Jordan passed away

. 1983 ~ Karen Carpenter passed away

. 2001 ~ James Louis “J.J.” Johnson, an influential jazz trombonist who later forged a career arranging and recording scores for motion pictures and television, died at the age of 77. The Indianapolis native, who began playing piano at age 11, was a perennial winner of “Down Beat” magazine’s reader’s poll as best trombonist. While he was praised by jazz aficionados, Johnson also made his mark in popular culture, writing and arranging music for such television shows as “Starsky and Hutch”, “Mayberry, R.F.D.” and “That Girl”. His film music credits included “Cleopatra Jones” and “Shaft.” During his long career, he performed with such jazz greats as Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. While touring with jazz bands during the heyday of those ensembles, he played with the Clarence Love and Snookum Russell bands. He got his first big break with the Benny Carter band in 1942.

. 2002 ~ Blues and jazz pianist Abie “Boogaloo” Ames died at the age of 83. Ames was born on Big Egypt Plantation in Cruger, Miss., on May 23, 1918. He began playing piano at the age of 5 and his style earned him the nickname “Boogaloo” in the 1940’s. Ames moved to Detroit as a teenager and started a band, touring Europe with Louis Armstrong in 1936. Ames worked at Motown Studio and befriended other great musicians like Nat King Cole and Erroll Garner. In 1980, Ames moved to Greenville, where he became a regular performer at local clubs and festivals. Cassandra Wilson’s forthcoming Blue Note CD tentatively titled “Belly of the Sun” is set to include Darkness in the Delta, a song written by Ames for the CD. Ames was named the 2001 winner of the Artist’s Achievement Award of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in the state of Mississippi. With his protege and 1990s musical partner Eden Brent, Ames performed at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in 2000. Ames’ last public performance was in October 2001 at the E.E. Bass Cultural Center in Greenville with another former student, Mulgrew Miller.

. 2002 ~ David Stetler, a big band swing drummer who played with Benny Goodman and Spike Jones , died of pneumonia. He was 79. A Seattle native, Stetler was discovered in high school by Lunceford. With a style close to that of Gene Krupa and Jo Jones, Stetler toured the country in the 1940s but returned to Seattle after his first son was born. He backed up national acts in local performances, including many during the world’s fair in 1962.

. 2003 ~ Charlie Biddle, a leader of Montreal’s jazz scene in the 1950s and ’60s who played bass with Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker, died after a battle with cancer. He was 76. Biddle was a native of Philadelphia who moved to Canada in 1948. Over the next five decades, the World War II veteran and former car salesman became synonymous with jazz in Montreal. Biddle opened his own club, Uncle Charlie’s Jazz Joint, in suburban Ste- Therese in 1958. He later performed in such legendary Montreal nightspots as The Black Bottom and the Penthouse, where he worked with the likes of Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker and Lionel Hampton. When there were no jobs in Montreal, Biddle played smaller Quebec cities with a group called Three Jacks and a Jill. Until recently, Biddle played four nights a week at Biddle’s Jazz and Ribs, a Montreal landmark for nearly 25 years. Coincidentally, the club closed Tuesday for planned renovations, which included erecting a wall of fame to honor Biddle and others who have played at the club. In 1979, he organized the three-day festival that some say paved the way for the renowned Montreal International Jazz Festival. News Item about Charlie Biddle

. 2003 ~ Jerome Hines, a bass vocalist who performed regularly at the Metropolitan Opera during a career that spanned more than six decades, died. He was 81. Hines spent 41 years performing at the Met, more than any other principal singer in its history. He was known for his timbral richness, as well as the research he conducted into the historical and psychological background of the roles he portrayed. During his career at the Met, he portrayed 45 characters in 39 works, including title roles in Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” and Colline in Puccini’s “La Boheme.” He gave a total of 868 performances at the Met, retiring in 1987. He went on to perform with regional opera companies and at benefits. Hines, who became a born-again Christian in the 1950s, composed his own opera, “I Am the Way,” about the life of Jesus. He sang the title role at the Met in 1968 and 93 times around the world.

. 2003 ~ Saxophonist Cornelius Bumpus, a former member of the Doobie Brothers who had performed with Steely Dan since 1993, died en route to a series of performances in California. He was 58. Bumpus began his career at age 10, playing alto saxophone in the school band in Santa Cruz, Calif. In 1966, he spent six months performing with Bobby Freeman, and joined Moby Grape in 1977, writing one tune for the “Live Grape” album. Bumpus also recorded two solo albums and toured with his own band. Since performing with The Doobie Brothers in the early 1980s, Bumpus played with a number of bands, most recently with Steely Dan, which won the “Album of the Year” Grammy for its 2000 “Two Against Nature” release. His relations with his former Doobies bandmates turned contentious in the late 1990s, when they sued him and several other musicians over their use of the Doobies name. A federal judge in 1999 ruled against Bumpus and the other musicians, ordering them not to use the name.

Getting Ready 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

February 3 in Music History

today

. 1736 ~ Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, Austrian musician

. 1809 ~ (Jacob Ludwig) Felix Bartholdy Mendelssohn, German composer
More information about Mendelssohn

. 1900 ~ Mabel Mercer, British-born American cabaret singer

. 1904 ~ Luigi Dallapiccola, Italian composer
More information about Dallapiccola

. 1911 ~ Jehan Alain, French organist and composer

. 1928 ~ Frankie Vaughn (Abelson), Singer

. 1929 ~ Russell Arms, Singer

. 1940 ~ Angelo D’Aleo, Singer with Dion and The Belmonts

. 1941 ~ Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra recorded the classic, Amapola, on Decca Records. Helen O’Connell and Bob Eberly joined in a vocal duet on this very famous and popular song of the Big Band era.

. 1943 ~ Eric Haydock, Bass with The Hollies

. 1947 ~ Melanie (Safka), Singer

. 1947 ~ Dave Davies, Singer, guitarist with The Kinks

. 1950 ~ Ed, Gene, Joe and Vic, The Ames Brothers, reached the #1 spot on the pop music charts for the first time, as Rag Mop became the most favorite song in the U.S. The brothers enjoyed many successes with their recording efforts.

. 1959 ~ 22-year-old Buddy Holly, 28-year-old J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) and 17-year-old Ritchie Valens died in an airplane crash near Mason City, Iowa. February 3rd has been remembered as ‘The Day the Music Died’ since Don McLean made the line popular in his 1972 hit, “American Pie”. Buddy Holly, born Charles Hardin Holly in Lubbock, Texas, recorded That’ll Be the Day, Peggy Sue, Oh, Boy,Maybe Baby, and others, including It Doesn’t Matter Anymore (recorded just before his death, a smash in the U.K., non top-10 in the U.S.). Buddy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. A convincing portrait of the singer was portrayed by Gary Busey in The Buddy Holly Story, a made for TV movie. J.P. (Jiles Perry) Richardson was from Sabine Pass, TX. He held the record for longest, continuous broadcasting as a DJ at KTRM Radio in Beaumont, TX in 1956. He was on the air for 122 hours and eight minutes. In addition to his smash hit, Chantilly Lace, Richardson also penned Running Bear (a hit for Johnny Preston) plus White Lightning (a hit for country star, George Jones). Richard Valenzuela lived in Pacoima, CA (near LA) and had a role in the 1959 film, Go Johnny Go. Ritchie Valens’ two big hits were Donna and La Bamba … the last, the title of a 1987 film depiction of his life. La Bamba also represented the first fusion of Latin music and American rock. Of the three young stars who died in that plane crash, the loss of Buddy Holly reverberated the loudest over the years. But, fans of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll will agree, all three have been sorely missed.

. 1959 ~ Lol (Laurence) Tolhurst, Drummer, keyboard with The Cure

. 1964 ~ The British group, The Beatles, received its first gold record award for the single, I Want To Hold Your Hand. The group also won a gold LP award for “Meet The Beatles”. The album had been released in the United States only 14 days earlier.

. 1971 ~ Lynn Anderson received a gold record for the single, Rose Garden. The Grand Forks, ND country singer was raised in Sacramento, CA. In addition to being a singer, she was an accomplished equestrian and California Horse Show Queen in 1966.

. 2002 ~ Remo Palmier, a self-trained guitarist who was a fixture in the New York jazz scene in the 1940s, died at the age of 78, and had been suffering from leukemia and lymphoma, his wife said. Over the course of his career, Palmier played with jazz legends Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie, among others. Born Remo Palmieri in the Bronx, Palmier achieved his greatest fame performing with broadcaster Arthur Godfrey on CBS, and taught Godfrey how to play the ukulele. After Godfrey retired, Palmier released his own albums, “Windflower and “Remo Palmier”. 1893 ~ Bernard Rogers, American composer

. 1912 ~ Erich Leinsdorf, Austrian-born American conductor

. 1937 ~ Glen Gray and his Casa Loma Orchestra recorded A Study in Brown, on Decca Records.

. 1941 ~ John Steel, Singer, drummer with The Animals

. 1944 ~ Florence LaRue (Gordon), Singer with The Fifth Dimension

. 1962 ~ Clint Black, Singer, actor

. 1975 ~ Louis (Thomas) Jordan passed away

. 1983 ~ Karen Carpenter passed away

. 1987 ~ The show-biz world was saddened when Liberace died at his Palm Springs, CA estate. He was 67. Lee, as he was known, was the master of Las Vegas. Hundreds of thousands flock to his museum there (operated by his brother, George) to see Liberace’s garish suits, trademark candelabra, and learn of the myths behind this hugely successful star of television, stage and concerts the world over.
More information about Liberace


. 2001 ~ James Louis “J.J.” Johnson, an influential jazz trombonist who later forged a career arranging and recording scores for motion pictures and television, died at the age of 77. The Indianapolis native, who began playing piano at age 11, was a perennial winner of “Down Beat” magazine’s reader’s poll as best trombonist. While he was praised by jazz aficionados, Johnson also made his mark in popular culture, writing and arranging music for such television shows as “Starsky and Hutch”, “Mayberry, R.F.D.” and “That Girl”. His film music credits included “Cleopatra Jones” and “Shaft.” During his long career, he performed with such jazz greats as Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. While touring with jazz bands during the heyday of those ensembles, he played with the Clarence Love and Snookum Russell bands. He got his first big break with the Benny Carter band in 1942.

. 2002 ~ Blues and jazz pianist Abie “Boogaloo” Ames died at the age of 83. Ames was born on Big Egypt Plantation in Cruger, Miss., on May 23, 1918. He began playing piano at the age of 5 and his style earned him the nickname “Boogaloo” in the 1940’s. Ames moved to Detroit as a teen-ager and started a band, touring Europe with Louis Armstrong in 1936. Ames worked at Motown Studio and befriended other great musicians like Nat King Cole and Erroll Garner. In 1980, Ames moved to Greenville, where he became a regular performer at local clubs and festivals. Cassandra Wilson’s forthcoming Blue Note CD tentatively titled “Belly of the Sun” is set to include Darkness in the Delta, a song written by Ames for the CD. Ames was named the 2001 winner of the Artist’s Achievement Award of the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in the state of Mississippi. With his protege and 1990s musical partner Eden Brent, Ames performed at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., in 2000. Ames’ last public performance was in October 2001 at the E.E. Bass Cultural Center in Greenville with another former student, Mulgrew Miller.

. 2002 ~ David Stetler, a big band swing drummer who played with Benny Goodman and Spike Jones , died of pneumonia. He was 79. A Seattle native, Stetler was discovered in high school by Lunceford. With a style close to that of Gene Krupa and Jo Jones, Stetler toured the country in the 1940s but returned to Seattle after his first son was born. He backed up national acts in local performances, including many during the world’s fair in 1962.

. 2003 ~ Charlie Biddle, a leader of Montreal’s jazz scene in the 1950s and ’60s who played bass with Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker, died after a battle with cancer. He was 76. Biddle was a native of Philadelphia who moved to Canada in 1948. Over the next five decades, the World War II veteran and former car salesman became synonymous with jazz in Montreal. Biddle opened his own club, Uncle Charlie’s Jazz Joint, in suburban Ste- Therese in 1958. He later performed in such legendary Montreal nightspots as The Black Bottom and the Penthouse, where he worked with the likes of Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker and Lionel Hampton. When there were no jobs in Montreal, Biddle played smaller Quebec cities with a group called Three Jacks and a Jill. Until recently, Biddle played four nights a week at Biddle’s Jazz and Ribs, a Montreal landmark for nearly 25 years. Coincidentally, the club closed Tuesday for planned renovations, which included erecting a wall of fame to honor Biddle and others who have played at the club. In 1979, he organized the three-day festival that some say paved the way for the renowned Montreal International Jazz Festival. News Item about Charlie Biddle

. 2003 ~ Jerome Hines, a bass vocalist who performed regularly at the Metropolitan Opera during a career that spanned more than six decades, died. He was 81. Hines spent 41 years performing at the Met, more than any other principal singer in its history. He was known for his timbral richness, as well as the research he conducted into the historical and psychological background of the roles he portrayed. During his career at the Met, he portrayed 45 characters in 39 works, including title roles in Mussorgsky’s “Boris Godunov” and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” and Colline in Puccini’s “La Boheme.” He gave a total of 868 performances at the Met, retiring in 1987. He went on to perform with regional opera companies and at benefits. Hines, who became a born-again Christian in the 1950s, composed his own opera, “I Am the Way,” about the life of Jesus. He sang the title role at the Met in 1968 and 93 times around the world.

. 2003 ~ Saxophonist Cornelius Bumpus, a former member of the Doobie Brothers who had performed with Steely Dan since 1993, died en route to a series of performances in California. He was 58. Bumpus began his career at age 10, playing alto saxophone in the school band in Santa Cruz, Calif. In 1966, he spent six months performing with Bobby Freeman, and joined Moby Grape in 1977, writing one tune for the “Live Grape” album. Bumpus also recorded two solo albums and toured with his own band. Since performing with The Doobie Brothers in the early 1980s, Bumpus played with a number of bands, most recently with Steely Dan, which won the “Album of the Year” Grammy for its 2000 “Two Against Nature” release. His relations with his former Doobies bandmates turned contentious in the late 1990s, when they sued him and several other musicians over their use of the Doobies name. A federal judge in 1999 ruled against Bumpus and the other musicians, ordering them not to use the name.