Just in Time for 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…

Just in Time for Halloween: 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!

Day 3: 40 Days of Thankfulness

ocms-logo

 

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 was about him in a post on January 26, 2018 here: 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.

 

July 6 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

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…

It’s also available in Piano Maestro, Piano Pronto Encore and Coda

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.

 

Animated organ:

And, the most fun…

June 19 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

‘The Magic Flute’ (German name: Die Zauberflöteis Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s final opera, and it contains one of the most well-known arias in music. But what is ‘The Magic Flute’ all about?

 

An animated version:

Played as a piano/organ duo:

 

Arranged by Ferruccio Busoni for 2 pianos:

 

Why Mozart’s Magic Flute is a masterpiece – an introduction (The Royal Opera)

 

The accordion version:

Find this in Piano Pronto: Movement 3, Encore, Mozart: Exploring His Life and Music

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/

 

April 24 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.