November 17 ~ in Music History

today

• 1726 ~ The first performance of J. S. Bach‘s Sacred Cantata No. 55 Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht on the 22nd Sunday following Trinity. Was part of Bach’s third annual Sacred Cantata cycle in Leipzig 1725-27

• 1848 ~ Frederic Chopin played his final piano concert at a Polish benefit ball at Guildhall in London.

• 1850 ~ Giuseppe Verdi‘s opera Stifellio was first performed at the Teatro Grande in Trieste despite difficulties with the censors which resulted in cuts and changes.

• 1861 ~ First Performance of Johannes Brahms Piano Quintet No. 1 in g, Op. 25, at a rehearsal in Hamburg, with pianist Clara Schumann.

• 1862 ~ The work noted above received its official premiere with members of the Hellmesberger Quartet; Brahms at the piano, in Vienna.

• 1870 ~ Alfred Hill, Australian composer

• 1876~ The first performance of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky‘s March Slav in Moscow.

• 1877 ~ The first production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera, The Sorcerer, was presented, in London.

• 1888~ The first production of Tchaikovsky‘s Fifth Symphony in St. Petersburg.

• 1891 ~ Poland’s premier and premier ivory tickler, Ignace Jan Paderewski, made his American debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City. In later years, Paderewski, who suffered from arthritis, settled in Paso Robles, CA. The hot mineral baths located there eased his pain. He played only Steinway grand pianos custom-built to his specifications. In fact, five were made just for his use.

• 1919 ~ Hershy Kay, composer/arranger (Olympic Hymn)

• 1925 ~ Sir Charles Mackerras, Australian conductor

• 1930 ~ David Amram, American composer and French-horn player

• 1938 ~ Gordon Lightfoot, Canadian folk singer, songwriter and guitarist

• 1938 ~ Orchestra leader Kay Kyser, speaking to an audience at the College of the City of New York (CCNY) told of the “inner workings and artistic features of swing music.” It marked the first of a series of lectures on swing music presented by Kyser, who went on to present The Kollege of Musical Knowledge on radio.

• 1941 ~ Gene Clark, Singer, guitar with The Byrds

• 1942 ~ Bob Gaudio, Singer with The Royal Teens; The Four Seasons

• 1946 ~ Martin Barre, Guitarist with Jethro Tull

• 1950 ~ Roberta Peters filled in for the lead in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, making her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. She would become one of the Met’s most famous stars.

• 1959 ~ Heitor Villa-Lobos, Brazilian composer/pianist/conductor, died at the age of 72

• 1962 ~ The 4 Seasons, with Frankie Valli as lead singer, began a five-week run at the top of the tunedex with Big Girls Don’t Cry.

• 1967 ~ Ronald DeVoe, Singer with New Edition

• 1970 ~ Elton John recorded an album live, on what was WABC-FM in New York City. It marked the first time that a concert was aired live and recorded for release as aired. The LP was titled, 11/17/70.

• 1981 ~ Bob Eberly died

• 2001 ~ Jerry Jerome, a tenor sax player who was a featured soloist with the bands of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman, died of leukemia. He was 89. One of the big names in the Big Band era, Jerome was a featured soloist with the Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Red Norvo and Artie Shaw orchestras. He then became a successful musical director and conductor on radio and television. Jerome also established a music business, scoring and arranging commercial jingles. Three years ago, Arbors Records released Jerome’s “Something Old, Something New.” The sequel recording, “Something Borrowed, Something Blue,” will be released in December. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Jerome started playing the sax while in high school. He attended the University of Alabama and went on the medical school, playing gigs at jazz clubs to earn tuition money. He joined Goodman’s orchestra at the height of its popularity in 1938. When Goodman broke up his band in 1940, Jerome joined Shaw. While with Shaw, he appeared in the film “Second Chorus,” with Fred Astaire and Burgess Meredith.

• 2003 ~ Arthur Conley, a 1960s soul singer and protege of Otis Redding’s, died at his home in the town of Ruurlo, in the eastern Netherlands. He was 57. Conley was born in Atlanta and started his recording career in 1959 as leader of the group Arthur and the Corvets. He was best known for his 1967 hit, Sweet Soul Music, which he co-wrote with Redding based on a number by Sam Cooke. Conley had several minor hits in the following two years. He moved to Europe in the early 1970s after several tours of the continent, deciding that he was “fed up with the pressure” in the United States, said Giesen. In the Netherlands, Conley appeared on television and radio, and ran an independent record label. In the last five years he was an adviser to The Original Sixties R&B and Soul Show, which sought to reproduce the sound and look of the heyday of soul.

November 6 ~ in Music History

today

OCMS 1814 ~ Adolphe Sax, Belgian instrumentalist, inventor of the saxophone and saxotromba
More information about Sax

 

OCMS 1854 ~ John Phillip Sousa, American bandmaster and composer; “The March King”
Read quotes by and about Sousa
More information about Sousa

OCMS 1860 ~ Ignace Jan Paderewski, Composer, pianist, Polish patriot, First Premier of Poland (1919), brought white Zinfandel wine grapes to U.S. for the first time
More information about Ignace Jan Paderewski

OCMS 1893 ~ Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Russian composer of the late-Romantic period (1812 Overture, Swan Lake), died at the age of 53

.1916 ~ Ray Conniff, American conductor, arranger and composer of popular music, trombonist

.1932 ~ Stonewall Jackson, Singer

.1936 ~ This was the day that big band icon Woody Herman played in his first recording session. He recorded Wintertime Dreams on Decca disc #1056.

.1937 ~ Eugene Pitt, Singer

.1938 ~ P.J. Proby (James Smith), Singer

.1940 ~ Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians recorded one of their lesser-known songs for Decca. It was The Moon Fell in the River.

.1941 ~ Doug Sahm, Singer, founded Sir Douglas Quintet

.1943 ~ Mike Clifford, Singer

.1947 ~ George Young, Guitarist with The Easybeats

.1948 ~ Glenn Frey, Songwriter, singer with The Eagles

OCMS 1965 ~ Edgard Varèse, French-born composer, died at the age of 81

.2001 ~ John Denman, a clarinetist who was most recently artistic adviser to the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s pops division, died from complications of esophageal cancer. He was 68. Denman, a native of London, was a principal clarinetist for the orchestra for more than 20 years. Denman also played principal clarinet with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He taught music at Trinity College in England before coming to teach at the University of Arizona. He joined the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in the late 1970s. In 1984, Denman left the University of Arizona after failing to receive tenure. For the rest of his life, he focused on his performing career. He also designed a small clarinet, the Kinder-Klari, to make practicing easier for young hands. Denman performed and recorded with jazz icon Buddy DeFranco and was a member of several jazz bands.

.2002 ~ Maria Johansson, an organist who became a local legend for singing religious songs and hymns in one of Stockholm’s main squares every day for nearly three decades, died at the age of 84. The daughter of a preacher, Johansson often served homemade sandwiches to the poor during breaks in her daily performance. At one point, she went to work at a bakery to help pay for the sandwiches, her husband said.

.2016 ~ Zoltan Kocsis, Hungarian pianist and conductor, died at the age of 64

October 25 ~ in Music History

today

1825 ~ Johann Strauss, Jr. (1825) Austrian composer, “The Waltz King”

OCMS 1838 ~ Georges Bizet, French composer
More information about Bizet

• 1875 ~ The first performance of the Piano Concerto No. 1 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was given in Boston, Massachusetts with Hans von Bülow as soloist

• 1885 ~ Johannes Brahms’ 4th Symphony in E premiered

• 1912 ~ Minnie Pearl (Sarah Ophelia Colley), Grand Ole Opry singer, CMA Hall of Fame, comedienne

• 1924 ~ Billy Barty, Comedian on The Spike Jones Show

• 1926 ~ Jimmy Heath, Musician, reeds with the Heath Brothers, bandleader

• 1927 ~ Barbara Cook, Tony Award-winning actress, singer in “The Music Man” in 1957, “Flahooley”, “Oklahoma”, “Carousel”, “Plain and Fancy”, “Candide”, “The Gay Life”, “She Loves Me”, “Any Wednesday”, “Funny Girl”, “The Gershwin Years”

• 1937 ~ Jeanne (Gloria) Black, Singer

• 1940 ~ “Cabin in the Sky” opened for the first of 256 shows. Taking a Chance on Love is the one big hit that came from the musical.

• 1941 ~ Helen Reddy, Singer

• 1943 ~ Benny Carter and his orchestra recorded Poinciana on the Capitol label. The real title, incidentally, is Poinciana (Song of the Tree).

• 1944 ~ Jon Anderson, Singer, solo and duo called Jon and Vangelis

• 1944 ~ Taffy Danoff (Nivert), Singer with Starland Vocal Band

• 1948 ~ Glenn Tipton, Guitarist with Judas Priest

• 1951 ~ Ransom Wilson, American flutist and conductor

• 1956 ~ Mathias Jabs, Guitarist with Scorpions

• 1964 ~ “And now, rrrrright here on this stage….” The Rolling Stones were introduced to American audiences on The Ed Sullivan Show on CBS-TV.

• 1969 ~ Canada’s The Guess Who got a gold record for the single, Laughing.

OCMS 1971 ~ Midori (Goto), Japanese violinist
More information on Midori

• 1974 ~ The single, Skin Tight, by The Ohio Players, went gold on this day.

• 1980 ~ Virgil Fox, organist, passed away

• 1984 ~ John Cougar Mellencamp reached the two-million-dollar sales mark with his album, “Uh-Huh”.

• 1984 ~ Country group Alabama went to the three-million-dollar mark with two albums this day with Feels So Right and Mountain Music.

• 2000 ~ Don Brooks, a studio musician who played the harmonica with Harry Belafonte, Ringo Starr, the Bee Gees and Yoko Ono’s band, died of leukemia at the age of 53. Brooks, who was raised in Texas, first picked up the harmonica after hearing an album by bluesman Sonny Terry. He played in Dallas coffee shops in the 1960s and moved to New York in 1967, joining a Greenwich Village folk scene that included David Bromberg and John Hammond Jr. In 1973, he joined singer Waylon Jennings’s band and helped create the sound known as outlaw country music. Brooks recorded with Belafonte, Starr, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Carly Simon, Diana Ross and Bette Midler, among others. He also played with groups such as the Bee Gees, the Talking Heads and Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band. He was a musician on Broadway in “Big River” (1985) and “The Gospel at Colonus” (1988), and he worked on the soundtrack for the television documentary “The Civil War.”

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

Franz Liszt’s Birthday!

liszt-quote

Franz Liszt was born in Raiding, near Ödenburg, October 22, 1811 and died in Bayreuth, July 31, 1886. He was a Hungarian composer and pianist who was a major influence during the romantic period. Liszt was an outstanding pianist at seven, composed at eight and made concert appearances at nine. In addition to being a piano virtuoso, he was also a critic, conductor, city music director, literary writer and transcriber of the works of other composers. He transcribed Beethoven’s Symphonies for the piano.

Franz Liszt began his career as the outstanding concert pianist of the century, who, along with the prodigious violinist Niccoló Paganini (1782-1840), created the cult of the modern instrumental virtuoso. To show off his phenomenal and unprecedented technique, Liszt composed a great deal of music designed specifically for this purpose, resulting in a vast amount of piano literature laden with dazzling, and other technical marvels. In this vein, Liszt composed a series of virtuosic rhapsodies on Hungarian gypsy melodies, the best-known being the all too familiar Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2. Liszt developed the rhapsody as a form of serious music. This kind of music is worlds apart from the generally more introspective, poetic music of pianist-composer Frédéric Chopin.

Liszt was wildly handsome and hugely talented. He was extremely popular in Paris during the 1830’s. It is said that women actually fainted at his piano recitals. He was the first to position the piano so that its lid reflected the sound and the audience could see his profile as he performed.

Liszt was the first to write a tone poem, which is an extended, single-movement work for orchestra, inspired by paintings, plays, poems or other literary or visual works, and attempting to convey the ideas expressed in those media through music. Such a work is Les Préludes, based on a poem in which life is expressed as a series of struggles, passions, and mysteries, all serving as a mere prelude to . . .what? The Romantic genre of the symphonic poem, as well as its cousin the concert overture, became very attractive to many later composers, including Saint-Saëns, TchaikovskyDvorák, Sibelius, and Richard Strauss.


     Liszt’s birthday

     anniversary of Liszt’s death

    Listen to Liszt’s transcription of Meyerbeer’s Hellish Waltz from Robert du Diable, which probably caused more public commotion than any other piano piece in history.


     Read quotes by and about Liszt

     Liszt was the first recitalist

     In Praise of Pianos and the Artists Who Play Them

     History of the Piano

     Franz Liszt

August 20 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1561 ~ Jacopo Peri, Italian composer
More information about Peri

• 1882 ~ Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” first performed in Moscow.

• 1885 ~ The Mikado, by Gilbert and Sullivan, opened at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City.

• 1905 ~ Weldon Leo ‘Jack’ Teagarden, Jazz musician, trombonist and singer whose relaxed, melodic instrumental style was highly influential
More information about Teagarden

• 1923 ~ Jim (James Travis) Reeves, American country singer and actor

• 1926 ~ Frank Rosolino, Musician: trombone, played with Stan Kenton, Harold Land, Bob Cooper, Clarke-Boland Big Band

• 1927 ~ Joya Sherrill, Singer

• 1931 ~ Frank Capp, Musician, drummer with the big jazz band, Capp-Pierce Juggernaut

• 1935 ~ Justin Tubb, Singer, Ernest Tubb’s son

• 1939 ~ Orrin Tucker’s orchestra recorded Oh, Johnny, Oh, Johnny, Oh!, on Columbia Records.

• 1942 ~ Issac Hayes, Grammy and Academy Award-winning American rhythm-and-blues singer, songwriter and arranger

• 1947 ~ Jim Pankow, Trombonist, songwriter with Chicago

• 1948 ~ Robert Plant, British rock singer with Honeydrippers and composer

• 1951 ~ Phyl Lynott, Musician: bass, singer with Thin Lizzy

• 1952 ~ Doug Fieger, Musician, guitar, singer with The Knack

• 1952 ~ Rudy Gatlin, Singer with The Gatlin Brothers

• 1969 ~ Andy Williams received a gold record for the album Happy Heart on Columbia   Records.

• 1977 ~ Best of My Love, by the Emotions, topped the pop charts. It had a number one run of four weeks.

• 2001 ~ Frank C. “Papa” Mangione, father of jazz musicians Chuck and Gap Mangione, died at age 91.
Mangione worked at Eastman Kodak Co., ran a grocery store for about two decades and returned to the photography company until his retirement in 1975. For the next 15 years, he sold music and merchandise on worldwide tours with his more famous son, Chuck, a flugelhorn ace.
A son of Italian immigrants, Mangione’s childhood was chronicled by his brother, Jerry, in a best-selling 1942 memoir called “Mount Allegro: A Memoir of Italian American Life.”
Three of Chuck Mangione’s songs, 60 Miles Young, 70 Miles Young and Papa Mangione, were dedicated to his father.

• 2013 ~ Marian McPartland, British jazz pianist (Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz), died at the age of 95

• 2016 ~ Irving Fields, American composer and pianist (Miami Beach Rhumba), died at the age of 101

 

August 9 ~ in Music History

today

• 1874 ~ Reynaldo Hahn, Venezuelan-born French composer, conductor and music critic

• 1902 ~ Solomon Cutner, Classical pianist. A virtuoso performer, he played Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto at the age of 10. His career was stopped after a stroke in 1965.

• 1902 ~ Zino (Rene) Francescatti, French concert violinist; passed away in 1991

• 1910 ~ A.J. Fisher of Chicago, IL received a patent for an invention that moms, grandmas and single guys certainly came to appreciate: the electric washing machine. Previous to Mr. Fisher’s invention, washing machines were cranked by hand (not easily done) – or you used a washboard (also sometimes used as a musical instrument).

• 1919 ~ Ruggiero Leoncavallo, Italian composer and librettist, died. He is famous for the single opera “Pagliacci” but never repeated the success with his other works.
More information about Leoncavallo

• 1932 ~ Helen Morgan joined the Victor Young orchestra to record Bill, a popular tune from Broadway’s Showboat.

• 1934 ~ Merle Kilgore, Songwriter Hall of Famer

• 1939 ~ Billy Henderson, Singer with Spinners

• 1955 ~ Benjamin Orr (Orzechowski), Musician, bass guitar, singer with The Cars

• 1963 ~ Whitney Houston, Grammy Award-winning singer

• 1963 ~ The TV program Ready, Set, Go! premiered on the BBC in London, England. The show gave exposure to such music luminaries as Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones.

• 1964 ~ Joan Baez and Bob Dylan shared the stage for the first time when the singers performed in a concert in Forest Hills, NY.

• 1969 ~ Hot Fun in The Summertime, by Sly and the Family Stone, and Easy to Be Hard, from the Broadway production Hair, were released on this day. Hot Fun made it to number two on the music charts and Easy to Be Hard climbed to number four.

• 1975 ~ Dmitri Shostakovitch, Russian composer, died. He wrote 15 symphonies as well as operas, ballets and film and theater scores.
More information about Shostakovitch

• 1995 ~ Jerry Garcia passed away

• 2003 ~ Chester Ludgin, a baritone in the New York City Opera for more than 30 years, died at the age of 78.
Ludgin sang a host of lead baritone parts, but was most recognizable in operas including “The Ballad of Baby Doe,” “The Devil and Daniel Webster” and “Susannah.” He debuted at the City Opera in 1957 in Johann Strauss II’s “Fledermaus.”
He also portrayed the part of Sam for Leonard Bernstein’s “A Quiet Place” at the Houston Grand Opera in 1983. He also sang for the San Francisco Opera and other North American companies.
His last appearance at City Opera was in 1991, but he remained on the stage, singing in musical comedies. His most recent lead was in “The Most Happy Fella.”

• 2003 ~ Gregory Hines, American actor and dancer, died of liver cancer at the age of 57

• 2005 ~ News Item:  New Vivaldi work heard for first time in 250 years.