January 3 in Music History

today

• 1710 (or January 4th?) ~ Giovanni Pergolesi, in Jesi, near Ancona, Italy

• 1898 ~ Zasu Pitts, Actress in Busby Berkeley’s 1933 musical, Dames

• 1900 ~ Giuseppe Verdi’s “Aida” was performed in New York.

• 1909 ~ Victor Borge (Borge Rosenbaum), Danish pianist and comedic performer
More information about Borge

• 1918 ~ Maxine (Angelyn) Andrews, Singer with the Andrews Sisters
More information about the Andrews Sisters

• 1926 ~ George Martin born, Record producer, arranger, keyboard for The Beatles; AIR Studios; inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, 1999

• 1940 ~ The Southland Shuffle was recorded on Bluebird Records by Charlie Barnet and his orchestra. A young trumpet player named Billy May was featured.

• 1945 ~ Stephen Stills born, American rock guitarist, singer and songwriter for Buffalo Springfield and also Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

• 1946 ~ John Paul Jones (Baldwin), Bass with Led Zeppelin

• 1969 ~ 30,000 copies of the John Lennon, Yoko Ono album, “Two Virgins”, were confiscated by police in Newark, NJ. John and Yoko were nude on the cover.

• 1972 ~ Don McLean received a gold record for his 8-minute-plus hit, American Pie.

• 1974 ~ Following eight years of inactivity, Bob Dylan toured for 39 dates in 25 cities. His first stop was in Chicago, IL. The tour was recorded and later released as a double-LP set titled, “Before the Flood”.

• 1981 ~ John Lennon’s (Just Like) Starting Over and the album “Double Fantasy” topped the pop music charts just weeks after the death of the former Beatle.

• 1985 ~ Soprano Leontyne Price bid adieu to the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She sang the title role of “Aida”. Price had been part of the Met since 1961.

• 1987 ~ The first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was ‘Lady Soul’: Aretha Franklin. Bill Haley was among the 14 others inducted on this date.

Christmas Music: Carol of the Bells

Carol of the Bells

Carol of the Bells was composed by Mykola Dmytrovych Leontovych (1877-1921) in 1916. Originally titled Shchedryk, this Ukrainian folk song is sometimes called Ukrainian Bell Carol. “Shchedryk” which was associated with the coming New Year, originally celebrated in April.

Leontovych used this tune in 1904 along with lyrics by Peter J. Wilhousky to create the version that everyone knows today. It gained popularity during the 1920s and 1930s, and was introduced to an even wider audience when it was used in the movie “Home Alone”.

It was first performed in the Ukraine on the night of January 13, 1916, on the Julian calendar this is considered New Year’s Eve. In the United States the song was first performed on October 5, 1921 at Carnegie Hall.

This video is from the Christmas special of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, presented at the BYU channel. The orchestra and choir produce a very beautiful sound.

Not the standard version –

The O’Connor Music Studio has several versions of this Christmas Carol available for loan, including this version from the Mannheim Steamroller:

 

Christmas Cantata Tomorrow!

 

“The Mystery and the Majesty”
Let’s get in the Christmas spirit together this Sunday, December 3rd, at our 8:15, 9:30 or 11:00 am Service.
Our amazing Sanctuary Choir (MrsO sings in it!) and Orchestra will present a Cantata by Joseph M. Martin entitled “The Mystery and the Majesty.”

From jubilant glorias to gentle manger lullabies, this inspirational cantata celebrates the wonder and splendor of Christmas. Traditional carols and newly composed seasonal anthems blend with thoughtful narration to help create a meaningful experience.

At PenderUMC, 5 minutes from the O’Connor Music Studio

12401 Alder Woods Drive
Fairfax, VA 22033

 

October 6 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1820 ~ Jenny (Johanna) Lind, Swedish coloratura soprano, “The Swedish Nightengale”

• 1882 ~ Karol Szymanowski, Polish composer

• 1917 ~ A new word cropped up in the American lexicon: Jazz. The Literary Digest described jazz as music that caused people to, “shake, jump and writhe in ways to suggest a return to the medieval jumping mania.”

• 1927 ~ Paul Badura-Skoda, Austrian pianist and music editor

 

• 1927 ~ “Mammy, how I love you, how I love you, my dear old mammy!” It was Al Jolson in blackface, singing in the first full-length talking picture, The Jazz Singer, as it opened in New York City. In reality, The Jazz Singer was not a true talkie. There were only 291 spoken words in the landmark film; however, it was the first to integrate sound and this small amount of dialogue into a story through the Vitaphone disk process; and the first to entertain a large audience. The talking part was mostly singing, and it was Al Jolson who made the flick a success, proving to the critics that an all-talking film could work. (Because he didn’t think the pioneer of talkies would be all the rage, George Jessel actually turned down the starring role; as did Eddie Cantor.) A silent version of the film was released to movie theaters who had not yet popped for the $20,000 or so that it cost to rewire their venue. The audience was thrilled with Jolson’s sound performance as a cantor’s son, Jake Rabinowitz, rejecting the world he came from to become a singer of popular music, changing his name to Jack Robin in the process. Although not jazz as we know it, the songs Jolson sang became part of American music culture: Toot Toot Tootsie (Goodbye), Blue Skies, Waiting for the Robert E. Lee and, of course, My Mammy. For those truly with a need to know, Neil Diamond did not audition for Jolson’s part when finding out that Jessel had turned it down. Diamond performed in a remake of The Jazz Singer in 1980. As Jolson said, “Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet!” Maybe, through the wonders of modern technology, we could hear Jolson and Diamond together, in concert. That would be the Mammy of all jazz singin’.

• 1941 ~ Claude Thornhill and his orchestra recorded Autumn Serenade on Columbia Records.

• 1946 ~ Millie Small (Smith), Singer, known as ‘The Blue Beat Girl’ in her native Jamaica

• 1949 ~ Bobby Farrell, Singer

• 1950 ~ Thomas McClary, Guitarist with The Commodores

• 1951 ~ Kevin Cronin, Singer with REO Speedwagon

• 1960 ~ Steve Lawrence and partner, Eydie Gorme, starred at the new Lotus Club in Washington, DC.

• 1962 ~ Robert Goulet stepped out of the role of Sir Lancelot after singing/acting the part since 1960. The fabulously successful Broadway musical, Camelot, also starred Richard Burton as King Arthur and Julie Andrews as Queen Guenevere.

• 1964 ~ Matthew Sweet, Guitarist, singer, songwriter

• 1969 ~ George Harrison‘s song ‘Something’ was released as the “A” side of a Beatles’ 45, a first for Harrison. Along with Lennon and McCartney’s ‘Come Together’, the single went on reach No.1 on the US chart the following month. Both tracks were lifted from the Abbey Road album.

• 1973 ~ Gene Krupa (1909) passed away

• 1985 ~ Nelson Riddle, Grammy Award-winning orchestra leader passed away

• 2001 ~ Blues singer Mamie “Galore” Davis died of a stroke. She was 61. Davis was born Sept. 24, 1940, in Erwin, where she started singing the blues. She graduated from O’Bannon High School and joined a local band. She performed with such musicians as Little Johnny Burton, Buddy Hicks, Little Milton and the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. Her first solo recording, Special Agent 34-24-38, was recorded on the St. Lawrence label in 1965. Under her first producer, Monk Higgins, she recorded two more singles for St. Lawrence, including her biggest hit, It Ain’t Necessary, in 1966.

• 2003 ~ Victor Buelow, who made it into the record books as the longest-serving community band director, died os an apparent heart attack. He was 94. Buelow directed the Jefferson American Legion Band for 72 years, from 1931 through the 2002 band season. Guinness World Records declared him the longest-serving director anywhere after he retired. Buelow stayed with the band even in retirement, playing the alto horn this summer

• 2007 ~ Queen’s groundbreaking promo for their 1975 hit Bohemian Rhapsody was named the UK’s best music video in a survey of music fans. Out of 1,051 adults polled by O2, 30% named the six-minute video, (which took only three hours to shoot and cost a mere £3,500 to make), their favorite.

New for Fall: LIstening and Coloring Pages

 

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

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

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

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

From the website:

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

This Shades of Sound Halloween edition includes 13 spooky pieces of piano and orchestral literature, ranging from the Baroque to the Modern period. By spending just 5-10 minutes per day listening for just a few days per week, students can listen to and complete the whole book in a few weeks.

Aspiring pianists need to know the literature, hear the greats perform, and be inspired and excited by the great music that is available! Just as writers need to read, read, read, pianists need to listen! Through this fun curriculum, students will learn about the musical periods and the great composers and their works. Listening repertoire selected includes selections from the standard solo piano literature, as well as solo piano and orchestra literature and orchestral works.

My hope is that students can add just 5-10 minutes of listening per day to their normal practicing. Listening to great music will change their understanding of music and will vastly increase their music history knowledge. It will excite and inspire them, encourage further study and listening, give them new pieces to add to their own repertoire wish list, infuse more great music into their lives, homes and families, and will boost their musicianship and expression to the next level.

The Halloween Shades of Sound book includes 13 different pieces, including:

  • Totentanz by Liszt
  • Le Cimetiere, from Clairs de Lune by Abel Decaux
  • Graceful Ghost Rag by William Bolcom
  • Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky/Rimsky-Korsakov
  • Tarantelle, from Music for Children Op. 65 No. 4 by Prokofiev
  • Tarantella by Albert Pieczonka
  • In the Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg
  • Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 by Bach
  • Funeral March, from Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor by Chopin
  • Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens
  • The Banshee by Henry Cowell
  • Scarbo, from Gaspard de la nuit by Ravel
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas

Students may use The Playful Piano – Halloween Listening YouTube playlist to listen along with their book using quality recordings. The playlist is ordered to go right along with the book, and also includes 5 extra pieces (some pages include optional “Further Listening” examples students may listen to).

 

Daily Listening Assignment ~ June 7

 

Today, we’ll be listening to the end of the William Tell Overture by Gioachino Rossini.  This piece, originally the overture to an opera, has been arranged for piano and is in several method books, including Piano Pronto Movements 1 and 2.  It’s also in Bastien Book 4 and Piano Maestro.
The original story

Maybe your grandparents watched the original Lone Ranger

Or you saw the newer Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp

Here’s the entire William Tell Overture played by an orchestra

Piano Solo

Franz Liszt made a really hard version for piano solo. See if you can follow along!

Piano Duet (1 piano, 4 hands)

Piano Duet arranged by Louis Moreau Gottschalk

Piano Duo (2 pianos, 8 hands)

Piano Quartet (4 pianos, 16 hands)

For pipe organ

For synthesizer

And then things get nuts with cartoons. Lots of cartoons used this music. Here are Mickey Mouse and friends

And Spike Jones

Handbells…

Poor Rossini – I think he’d have a fit if he knew how is music was being used.

Have a nice day!

Daily Listening Assignment ~ June 6

 

What can I say about John Cage’s 4′33″?  Pretty much anyone can play this anytime.

It consists of the pianist going to the piano, and not hitting any keys for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. (He uses a stopwatch to time this.) In other words, the entire piece consists of silence or rests.

On the one hand, as a musical piece, 4’33” leaves almost no room for the pianist’s interpretation: as long as he watches the stopwatch, he can’t play it too fast or too slow; he can’t hit the wrong keys; he can’t play it too loud, or too melodramatically, or too subduedly.

On the other hand, what you hear when you listen to 4’33” is more a matter of chance than with any other piece of music — nothing of what you hear is anything the composer wrote.

With orchestra and soloist

Next time you come to a lesson and haven’t practiced, just tell me you’re playing Cage’s 4’33”!