October 6 ~ On This Day in Music

 

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. He was an American jazz drummer, bandleader, actor, and composer known for his energetic style and showmanship. His drum solo on “Sing, Sing, Sing” (1937) elevated the role of the drummer as a frequently used solo voice in the band.

• 1974 ~ “Mack & Mabel” opened at Majestic Theater NYC for 66 performances

• 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.

• 2018 ~ Montserrat Caballé, Spanish soprano, died at the age of 85

 

 

• 2020 ~ Eddie Van Halen (Edward Lodewijk Van Halen) died at the age of 65. was a Dutch-American musician, songwriter, producer, and inventor.

 

• 2020 ~ John Lester Nash Jr. was an American singer-songwriter, best known in the United States for his 1972 hit “I Can See Clearly Now”. Primarily a reggae and pop singer, he was one of the first non-Jamaican artists to record reggae music in Kingston.

Fall 2021 Listening and Coloring Pages

 

I have 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.  They are also available in your Parent/Student Portal.   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 Assignments ~ July 10, 2021

 

Today’s Listening Assignment is Country Gardens by Percy Grainger.

“Country Gardens” is an English folk tune collected by Cecil Sharp from the playing of William Kimber and arranged for piano in 1918 by Percy Grainger.

The tune and the Grainger arrangement for piano and orchestra is a favorite with school orchestras, and other performances of the work include morris dancing.

A piano version:

Piano duet (four-hands)

Clarinet solo

 

Orchestra

The Ambrosian Children’s Choir

From the Muppets

And, how a Morris Dance is done:

Find Country Gardens on IMSLP, Piano Maestro (under the method book section) and Piano Pronto: Movement 2

 

 

Daily Listening Assignments ~ July 8, 2021

 

Today, we’ll listen to the Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, of Ludwig van Beethoven.  It was written between 1804–1808. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music, and one of the most frequently played symphonies. As is typical of symphonies in the classical period, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is in four movements.

I’m sure you’ve heard the first 8 notes before…

 

Since it was written for orchestra, each instrument has its own line:

A piano version, transcribed by Liszt

From Disney’s Fantasia 2000:

Pink learns to play the violin, and interrupts a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with the Pink Panther theme played on various instruments.

Beethoven’s Wig:

 

Arrangements of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony can be found in Piano Maestro and lots of books including Piano Pronto’s Movement 2, Movement 5 (Victory Theme) and Beethoven: Exploring His Life and Music.

Daily Listening Assignments ~ July 5, 2021

 

 

“Morning Mood” is part of Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt, Op. 23 was written in 1875.

The melody uses the pentatonic (five-note) scale, lending itself to beginning piano books.

 

 

Orchestra:

 

Music box:

Cartoon:

 

Flash mob(!!)

Morning Mood is available in Piano Maestro, Piano Pronto Prelude (as Morning Theme) and other books.

Daily Listening Assignments ~ July 1, 2021

 

Today’s piece is Antonin Dvořák’s Humoresque #7.

Humoresques Op. 101 (B. 187), is a piano cycle by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák, written during the summer of 1894. One writer says “the seventh Humoresque is probably the most famous small piano work ever written after Beethoven’s Für Elise.

Yo Yo Ma (cello) and Itzhak Perlman (violin)

Orchestra:

 

Ragtime:

 

Jazz with Wynton Marsalis on trumpet

Zez Confrey gave this a makeover and included Way Down Upon the Swanee River:

 

 

 

Find the original Humoresque on IMSLP. The O’Connor Music Studio Lending Library has versions of Humoresque available at several levels and Confey’s Humorestless played in the video above.

 

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 28, 2021

 

Korobeiniki is a nineteenth-century Russian folk song that tells the story of a meeting between a peddler and a girl, describing their haggling over goods in a veiled metaphor for courtship.

Outside Russia, “Korobeiniki” is widely known as the Tetris theme.

 

Piano duet:

 

Orchestral version:

 

For Boomwhackers:

Vocal:

 

Ragtime:

 

Balalaika:

 

Two bassoons:

The Red Army Choir:

Korobeiniki/Tetris is available in Piano Maestro on the iPad and I have several levels of sheet music for anyone who is interested.

Enjoy!

Daily Listening Assignments ~ June 7, 2021

 

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 Assignments ~ June 6, 2020

 

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”!

May 27: Today’s Music History

 

• 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 co-developer 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