Happy Halloween: Toccata and Fugue in d minor by J.S Bach

toccata-d-minor

 

Johann Sebastian Bach’s towering monument of organ music, with its deep sense of foreboding, will forever be associated with Halloween.

Get a free copy of the sheet music at IMSLP or borrow a copy from the O’Connor Music Studio.  I have this arranged for organ, piano, duet, 2-piano, simplified…

If you want this in a book with other Bach transcriptions, amazon has this: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and the Other Bach Transcriptions for Solo Piano, arranged by Ferruccio Busoni.

Here, Virgil Fox performs it on his Allen Digital Touring Organ.

 

Diane Bish plays the Massey Memorial Organ at the Chautauqua Institution and talks about this instrument.

 

And, the most fun…

Halloween Music: Funeral March of a Marionette by Charles Gounod

funeral

The Funeral March of a Marionette (Marche funèbre d’une marionnette) is a short piece by Charles Gounod. It was written in 1872 for solo piano and orchestrated in 1879. It is perhaps best known as the theme music for the television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which originally aired from 1955 to 1965.

In 1871-72, while residing in London, Gounod started to write a suite for piano called “Suite Burlesque”. After completing one movement, the Funeral March of a Marionette, he abandoned the suite and had the single movement published by Goddard & Co. In 1879 he orchestrated the piece. The instrumentation is: piccolo, flute, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in A, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in D, 2 trumpets in A, 3 trombones, ophicleide, timpani, bass drum, triangle, strings. The work is in the key of D minor, with a central section in D major. Various arrangements by other hands exist.

There is a program underlying the Funeral March of a Marionette: The Marionette has died in a duel. The funeral procession commences (D minor). A central section (D major) depicts the mourners taking refreshments, before returning to the funeral march (D minor).
The score contains the following inscriptions in appropriate places:

La Marionnette est cassée!!! (The Marionette is broken!!!)
Murmure de regrets de la troupe (Murmurs of regret from the troupe)
Le Cortège (The Procession)
Ici plusieurs des principaux personnages de la troupe s’arrêtent pour sa rafrâichir (Here many of the principal personages stop for refreshments)
Retour a la maison (Return to the house). (Wikipedia)

Download this music in several versions from IMSLP.  Click on Arrangements and Transcriptions.  There are also some arrangements for piano at the O’Connor Music Studio.

On Alfred Hitchcock:

From Faber Piano Adventures Performance Book Level 3B No.7 (Also available in the OCMS Library):

Piano 4-hands:

With animation:

On organ:

Mannheim Steamroller:

And, finally, a light show!

Giving Thanks, Day 1: October 18, 2017

ocms-logo

 

This is from a series which is being posted at http://www.maryo.co/category/thankfulness/

Today, since it’s a “teaching day”, I’m thankful for my piano studio, my students, and my piano 🙂

When I was growing up, my dad was a minister, meaning we lived in whatever parsonage the church chose to let us live in.  The one we had in Pawcatuck, CT had an upright piano that someone had put out in the sunroom.  Not the best place for a piano, but I digress.

Since we had the piano already, someone – probably my mom – decided that I would take lessons.  We had the organist from the Baptist church just across the river in Westerly, RI

Apparently, Clara Pashley was fondly remembered at the church (now Central Baptist Church) since she was mentioned in an article from 2010.

 

screenshot-2016-11-04-10-04-33
25-centsMiss Pashley walked to our house each week and taught me (and my mom who was always listening in) piano for the grand sum of 25 cents.

I started with Ada Richter’s classic Teaching Little Fingers to Play, which has now been morphed into the John Thompson library.

From there, it was the Michael Aaron series, and some sheet music.

There was no music store in our town, so I have no idea where any of this music came from – but I still have it all.

My parents did very well for their quarter a week investment, especially since my mom paid good attention and was able to beef up lessons she’d had as a child.  Later on, she played well enough that she was church organist for a local Roman Catholic Church.

But I digress…

In those days, kids couldn’t do a whole lot of activities, so in 6th grade, I decided I wanted to be a Girl Scout.  Bye, bye Clara.

Girl Scouts didn’t last long but I did play piano in a talent show.  I remember, I carefully cut Burgmüller’s Ballade out of my Michael Aaron book and made a nice construction paper cover.  (I still have this, too)

balladeburgmuller

 

I doubt that I played this well but here’s what it was supposed to sound like:

 

A few years intervened and we moved to Springfield, MA.  The parsonage piano there was in terrible shape and in the dark, never-used basement.  But I decided to make it mine and cleared up the area around it and started “practicing”.

My Junior or Senior year of High School I decided I wanted to major in music in college.  I decided to learn, on my own, a piano arrangement of Aragonnaise by Jules Massenet.  I have no idea why or where that sheet music came from but I started working furiously on this piece.

aragonnaise

Hopefully, at some point, it should have sounded like this:

 

 

I started pedaling (no pun intended!) my music to the Universities of Connecticut and Massachusetts and ended up at UMass Amherst since we were state residents.

Early morning gym classes (usually swimming), then wet hair traipsing across campus to music theory in winter 5 days a week.  AARRGGH!

But I stuck it out.

My wonderful piano teacher, Howard Lebow, was killed in a car accident my sophomore year and I was devastated.  There will be more about him in a post on January 26, 2018 here on https://oconnormusicstudio.com

I took yet another break from piano lessons – but I kept playing.

After DH graduated, we moved to Milwaukee, WI for his graduate school.  Besides working 2 jobs, I found time to commandeer the practice rooms at the University of Wisconsin.  I also found a teacher at the Schaum School of Music.  She was amazed that I had no piano at home to practice on.

When we later moved to Alexandria, VA my DH gave me a choice of new car or piano. So, I found a used piano.  The owner had acquired it in a divorce and wanted it gone.  Yesterday.  She even paid to move it out of her apartment.

The new-to-me piano took up half our living room.  When my parents came to visit, their feet were under my piano as they slept on cots.

I found yet another new piano teacher and she is still my best friend to this day.

That piano moved to several locations before I bought a brand new Yamaha grand piano.  The movers accidentally brought in the wrong one and I made them return it.  The people who lived in an apartment were probably unhappy when they had to return my piano and take their own new baby grand back.

I started teaching as a traveling piano teacher in Silver Spring, Maryland.  I continued that in Wilmington, DE.

When we got to Fairfax, VA I decided no more traveling.  Students would come to me.  And so they have since 1973.

What is supposed to be our living room is filled with music books, electric keyboards, the grand piano, 2 organs, 2 violins, 2 clarinets, a hand-made (by me!) dulcimer and other musical “stuff”.

Piano playing has gotten me through the worst times of my life.  Teaching has been a lifeline for me, as well.

I am so thankful for the students who have stayed with me over the years.

 

Today is National Buy a Musical Instrument Day

Piano 8

 

 

Each year on May 22 we observe National Buy a Musical Instrument Day.  The day is all about playing music.  If you are a musician, it might be time for a new instrument.  Maybe you can learn to play a second or third one.  If you have never played an instrument before, National Buy A Musical Instrument Day might be the motivation you need to start.

Naturally, here at the O’Connor Music Studio, a piano, keyboard with weighted keys (and 88 of them!) or organ is recommended but this day is for all types of instruments and is for people of all ages.  Grandpa can play his ukulele while the grandkids play the drums, trombone, and flute. Together they can all make terrific music!

Adapted from http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/national-buy-a-musical-instrument-day-may-22/

 

18 Best Fairfax Piano Teachers | Expertise

 

O’Connor Music Studio

O’Connor Music Studio provides Fairfax-area piano students with high-quality instruction tailored to suit individual needs and learning styles. The dedicated instructor brings over 40 years of teaching experience to every lesson.

She specializes in teaching the piano, organ, and electric keyboard to students of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

 

O’Connor Music Studio emphasizes music theory, performance skills, ear training, history, composition, and more.

Source: 18 Best Fairfax Piano Teachers | Expertise

April 24 ~ This Day in Music History

today

. 1706 ~ Giovanni Battista Martini, Italian music scholar and composer

. 1792 ~ La Marseillaise composed by French army officer Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle

. 1913 ~ Violet Archer, Canadian pianist and composer

. 1916 ~ Stanley Kauffmann, Theatre critic for the New York Times

. 1922 ~ (Samuel) Aaron Bell, Jazz musician, bass, composer

. 1923 ~ Freddy Scott, Singer

. 1928 ~ Johnny Griffin, Jazz musician, tenor sax

. 1934 ~ Shirley Boone (Foley), Singer, married to singer Pat Boone since 1953

. 1934 ~ Shirley MacLaine, Entertainer, Academy Award-winning actress, sister of actor Warren Beatty

. 1934 ~ Laurens Hammond, in Chicago, IL, announced news that would be favored by many churches across the United States. The news was the development of the pipeless organ — and a granting of a U.S. patent for same.
Read more about the Hammond Organ

. 1936 ~ Benny Goodman and his trio recorded China Boy for Victor Records. Gene Krupa, Teddy Wilson and Goodman recorded the session in Chicago.

. 1937 ~ Joe Henderson, Musician, composer. He played live in sextet at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner and also played with Blood Sweat and Tears

. 1942 ~ John Williams, Guitarist

. 1942 ~ Barbra Streisand, American actress and singer of popular music, Grammy Award-winning Best Female Pop Vocalist (1963-1965, 1977, 1986), Best Songwriter in 1977, Academy Award-winning Best Actress, Oscar for Best Song (Evergreen in 1976)
Read a news item about Barbra Streisand

. 1943 ~ Richard Sterban, Musician: bass, singer with The Oak Ridge Boys

. 1945 ~ Doug Clifford, Drummer with Creedence Clearwater Revival

. 1954 ~ Billboard magazine, the music industry trade publication, headlined a change to come about in the music biz. The headline read, “Teenagers Demand Music with a Beat — Spur Rhythm and Blues” … a sign of times to come. Within a year, R&B music by both black and white artists became popular.

. 1959 ~ Your Hit Parade ended after a nine-year run on television and many more years on radio. The show debuted in 1935. On the final show, these were the top five songs on Your Hit Parade:
1 Come Softly to Me
2 Pink Shoelaces
3 Never Be Anyone Else but You
4 It’s Just a Matter of Time
5 I Need Your Love Tonight

. 1965 ~ Game of Love, by Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders, made it to the top spot on the Billboard music chart. Game of Love stayed for a short visit of one week, before Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits took over the top spot with Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter.

. 1968 ~ Climaxing his birthday celebration, the Who’s drummer, Keith Moon, accidentally drove a Lincoln Continental into a hotel swimming pool in Flint, Mich.

. 1969 ~ The singing family, The Cowsills, received a gold record for their hit single, Hair, from the Broadway show of the same name.

. 2000 ~ Singer and pianist George Paoa, whose smooth voice and mellow style introduced generations of tourists to Hawaiian music, died. He was 65. For more than 40 years, Paoa entertained vacationers at isle hotels with a repertoire of old Hawaiian standards, light jazz and hapa-haole music, a tourist favorite with its blend of English lyrics and Hawaiian melodies. Paoa played with the jazz recording star Martin Denny in the 1960s and two of his children sang on his 1994 album, “Walking in the Sand.”

. 2001 ~ Jazz singer Al Hibbler, who was known for his rich baritone and exaggerated phrasing, died at the age of 85. Hibbler is best remembered as one of Duke Ellington’s most colorful vocalists. Hibbler went solo in the 1950s, and enjoyed his biggest hit, Unchained Melody. Another of his hit songs was After the Lights Go Down Low. The Mississippi native, who was blind from birth, joined Ellington’s band in 1943 and became popular for singing tunes with the band that included Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me and I’m Just a Lucky So and So. Hibbler’s penchant for distorted vocal effects were described by Ellington as “tonal pantomime.” Hibbler started his professional singing career in the 1930s, after vocal studies at the Conservatory for the Blind in Little Rock, Ark. After winning amateur concerts in Memphis, Tenn., he led a group in Texas and toured with Kansas City bandleader Jay McShann in 1942. Hibbler went on to record with Ellington’s son, Mercer Ellington, Billy Taylor, Count Basie, Gerald Wilson and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. He sang When the Saints Go Marching In at Louis Armstrong’s funeral.

In Memory of Bob Chiralo, OrganMaster

From https://pendernews.org/2013/04/12/bob-chiralo-organmaster/

 

I’ve been thinking a bit about shoes lately, specifically organ shoes. Many people probably don’t know that organists usually use special shoes to help them play the pedals on an organ. When I was learning a new piece, I would play barefoot to help feel where my feet should go but when playing in church I always had my Organmaster shoes on.

The About Us page of the Organmaster website says in part:

Organmaster Shoes began in 1976 when an organist, Carol Carlson, struggled to find shoes that would work for organOrganmaster Shoes began in 1976 when an organist, Carol Carlson, struggled to find shoes that would work for organ pedaling. She knew that many organists, like herself, were playing in bare feet or slippers. Normal dress shoes did not allow the organist to FEELwhat note the foot was touching and were too slippery on the pedals. After years of searching, she finally decided to design the perfect organ shoes and sell them herself!

Her shoes for Toe-Heel Pedal Technique have a FULL HEEL providing solid contact with the pedals and 1 ¼ inches high to avoid injuring a leg muscle.

The shoes are very secure on the foot while playing the pedals. The women’s shoe has an elasticized strap with a buckle and the men’s shoe is a lace-up dress oxford.

However, it is the SUEDE LEATHER SOLES on the bottom of the shoes which make her shoes so special and which her customers rely on to tell what note the foot is touching. The shoes slide over the pedals, but don’t slip off because the suede provides just the right amount of grip allowing the organist to FEEL his or her way across the pedal board. The shoes also play silently on the pedals.

The shoes were an immediate hit producing an overwhelming response by organists. Very soon the shoes were being shipped all over the world. Many organ teachers tell us they require their students to wear our shoes as well.

Organ legend Virgil Fox took organ shoes to the extreme when he studded the heels with diamonds so that they would sparkle as he was playing Bach’s Gigue Fugue, or as he said “…when I dance the gigue.”

Anyway, shortly after Thanksgiving 2010 our church organist, Bob Chiralo AKA “Mr. Bob” to the kids, learned that he had cancer. During his surgery and treatment, his organ shoes sat neatly behind the organ and I would see them every week at choir rehearsal and Sunday services.

His shoes being there always gave me the hope that he might be back to use them soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011, Bob lost his battle with cancer and at choir rehearsal I noticed that his shoes were gone, too. That struck me as so final.

Bob won’t be back with us but I’m sure he’s putting those shoes to good use playing in heaven.

Thanks for all those years of service you provided to our church!

From Bob Chiralo’s online obituary:

 

bob-chiraloRobert Philip Chiralo died on April 12, 2011 of brain cancer. His wife was at his side, as was Father Alexander Drummond, who administered the Sacraments of the Church and a dear family friend, Jeanne Dalaba.

Bob was born on May 8, 1949 in Reading, Pennsylvania. He was an honor student throughout his school years there and began studying piano at age 8. At age 16, he was certified by the Lutheran Church to serve as an Organist/Choir Director. He continued his organ studies through his undergraduate years and was a lifetime member of the American Guild of Organists, serving in various capacities in that organization. In his deep devotion as a church musician he continuously served at various churches in Pennsylvania, California and most recently as organist at Pender UMC in Fairfax, Virginia.

He was an active Republican grassroots pro-life volunteer, member of the Fairfax County Republican Committee and spent several years as a tour guide at Manassas Battlefield Park. He was a student of world history, particularly military history.

Bob Chiralo had over thirty-five years of technical, management, and business development experience in intelligence and defense with the Federal Government. This began with his early work at the Aerospace Corporation, continued through his employment at Logicon Geodynamics and Logicon Ultrasystems (both now part of TASC, Inc.), and led to his current position at SRI International. Bob established a professional reputation as a pioneer in the area of Measurement and Signature Intelligence, especially in applying the science of sensors to the growing field of overhead sensing systems support for our national security and intelligence communities. This included extensive involvement in the evaluation of new remote sensing and hyperspectral detection technologies and culminating in his role in helping establish the Spectral Information Technology Applications Center (SITAC) to better formalize the evaluation of various new methods in these arenas. Bob’s expertise also led to one of the more interesting assignments of his professional career, his service as a technical advisor on imagery processing in connection with the House of Representatives 1978 investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Bob joined the Washington Office of SRI in 1998 as Intelligence Community Program Development Manager; his responsibilities included support of the company’s business development efforts and Intelligence Community Program Development, including project and program management spanning nearly the entire spectrum of the intelligence and national security communities. He was also quite active professionally. He was a founding member of the Measurement and Signature Intelligence Association, and an officer and past Chairman of the organization, and played a key role in its 2008 reorganization as the Advanced Technical Intelligence Association (ATIA). He was also an active member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), the North American Remote Sensing Industries Association (NARSIA) and the National Military Intelligence Association (NMIA). He held a B.A. in Physics from Wittenberg University (1971) and an MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania (1973) in addition to other ongoing professional studies connected to his work.

He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Monica Dolle Chiralo of Centreville, VA; daughter and son-in-law Monette and Michael Johnstone with grandchildren Melissa Mae and Maxfield Alexander Johnstone of Seattle, WA; parents Anthony Philip and Mary Jane Chiralo of Reading, PA; and brother Joel Anthony Chiralo of Carney, MD.

The Funeral Mass will be held at Saint Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Clifton, VA on Monday morning, April 18 at 11:30 with burial following in the Garden of the Blessed Mother at Fairfax Memorial Park. A celebration of his life and music ministry will follow at Pender United Methodist Church in Fairfax. In lieu of flowers, it was his desire that donations be made to The Jeanne Bussard Center, 555 South Market St., Frederick, MD 21701. This is a facility which serves mentally and physically handicapped adults. It was dear to his heart.

~~

Addendum:
1) Monica says:

“Bob is, indeed, using them (his shoes) – because he is wearing them, with his black cassock, a rosary in his hands and a Phillies’ hat on his head. Sure hope St. Peter isn’t a Yankees fan!”

2) This interview Virgil Fox shows his shoes even better in the first few minutes.

Addendum 2

From http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?112+ful+HJ5031

Virginia’s Legislative Information System

2011 SPECIAL SESSION I

11200137D
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 5031Offered April 25, 2011

Celebrating the life of Robert Philip Chiralo.

———-Patron– Hugo———-Unanimous consent to introduce———-WHEREAS, Robert Philip Chiralo of Centreville, a highly respected professional who played a pioneering role in the development of measurement and signature intelligence, died on April 12, 2011; and

WHEREAS, a native of Pennsylvania, Robert “Bob” Chiralo received a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania; and

WHEREAS, Bob Chiralo enjoyed a successful career that spanned more than three decades and involved technical, management, and business development work in intelligence and defense with the federal government; and

WHEREAS, Bob Chiralo began his distinguished career at the Aerospace Corporation before moving to Logicon Geodynamics and Logicon Ultrasystems (both now part of TASC, Inc.); in 1998 he joined the Washington Office of SRI International; and

WHEREAS, a brilliant innovator, Bob Chiralo recognized the role that the science of sensors could play in the growing field of overhead sensing systems support for the national security and intelligence communities; and

WHEREAS, Bob Chiralo became actively involved in the evaluation of new remote sensing and hyperspectral detection technologies, eventually helping to establish the Spectral Information Technology Applications Center; and

WHEREAS, highly regarded for his technical expertise, Bob Chiralo proudly served his country in a variety of ways, including working as a technical advisor on imagery processing during the investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; and

WHEREAS, Bob Chiralo made numerous contributions to his profession through his affiliation with different organizations; he was a founding member of the Measurement and Signature Intelligence Association and played a key role in its 2008 reorganization as the Advanced Technical Intelligence Association; and

WHEREAS, Bob Chiralo was also an active member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, the North American Remote Sensing Industries Association, and the National Military Intelligence Association; and

WHEREAS, Bob Chiralo was a gifted musician who learned to play the organ as a young boy; at the age of 16, he received certification from the Lutheran church as an organist/choir director and continued his organ studies as an undergraduate; and

WHEREAS, a lifetime member of the American Guild of Organists, Bob Chiralo took great pride in serving as a church musician, most recently at Pender United Methodist Church in Fairfax; and

WHEREAS, an active member of the community, Bob Chiralo was a stalwart member of the Fairfax County Republican Committee and spent several years as a tour guide at Manassas National Battlefield Park; and

WHEREAS, a devoted family man, Bob Chiralo will be greatly missed by his wife of 30 years, Monica; daughter, Monette and her family, including two grandchildren; parents, Anthony Philip and Mary Jane; and numerous other family members, friends, and admirers; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby note with great sadness the loss of a pioneering leader in the intelligence community and respected community supporter, Robert Philip Chiralo; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the family of Robert Philip Chiralo as an expression of the General Assembly’s respect for his memory.

~ From another of my blogs, O’Connor Music Studio