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

J. S. Bach Celebrated International Coffee Day!

bach-coffee

 

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was also apparently a coffee enthusiast. So much so that he wrote a composition about the beverage. Although known mostly for his liturgical music, his Coffee Cantata (AKA Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht, BWV 211) is a rare example of a secular work by the composer. The short comic opera was written (circa 1735) for a musical ensemble called The Collegium Musicum based in a storied Zimmerman’s coffee house in Leipzig, Germany. The whole cantata seems very much to have been written with the local audience in mind.

Coffee Cantata is about a young vivacious woman named Aria who loves coffee. Her killjoy father is, of course, dead set against his daughter having any kind of caffeinated fun. So he tries to ban her from the drink. Aria bitterly complains:

Father sir, but do not be so harsh!
If I couldn’t, three times a day,
be allowed to drink my little cup of coffee,
in my anguish I will turn into
a shriveled-up roast goat.

Ah! How sweet coffee tastes,
more delicious than a thousand kisses,
milder than muscatel wine.
Coffee, I have to have coffee,
and, if someone wants to pamper me,
ah, then bring me coffee as a gift!

The copywriters at Starbucks marketing department couldn’t have written it any better. Eventually, daughter and father reconcile when he agrees to have a guaranteed three cups of coffee a day written into her marriage contract.

 

coffee-machine

March 11 in Music History

today

. 1851 ~ The first performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Rigoletto” was given in Venice.

Rigoletto lacks melody.  This opera has hardly any chance of being kept in the repertoire.” ~ Gazette Musicale de Paris, reviewing Rigoletto shortly after its premiere.

. 1876 ~ Carl Ruggles, American composer

. 1897 ~ Henry Dixon Cowell, American composer
More information about Cowell

. 1903 ~ Lawrence Welk, American accordionist and conductor of “champagne” music
More information about Welk

. 1914 ~ William Lloyd Webber, English composer

. 1919 ~ Mercer Ellington, Trumpeter, bandleader, songwriter, only son of Duke Ellington. He led the Duke’s band after he died.

. 1921 ~ Astor Piazzola, Argentine tango composer, bandoneon player and arranger

and

. 1942 ~ Vaughn Monroe and his orchestra recorded the classic, Sleepy Lagoon. It was the last song Monroe would record for Bluebird Records. Vaughn sang on the track while Ray Conniff played trombone. Both later moved to different record companies. Monroe went with RCA and Conniff to Columbia. The big-voiced baritone of Monroe was regularly heard on radio and he was featured in several movies in the 1950s. He died in May 1973. Racing With the Moon and Ghost Riders in the Sky were two of his greatest contributions to popular music.

. 1950 ~ Bobby McFerrin, Singer, pianist, jazz musician, songwriter, improvisational solo, McFerrin can sing all vocal parts and imitate instruments.

. 1968 ~ Otis Redding posthumously received a gold record for the single, (Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay. Redding was killed in a plane crash in Lake Monona in Madison, WI on December 10, 1967. The song was recorded just three days before his untimely death. He recorded 11 charted hit songs between 1965 and 1969. Otis Redding was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

. 1975 ~ Philip Bezanson, composer, died at the age of 59. He helped guide the Department of Music at UMass Amherst through its period of rapid expansion in the late 1960s and early 1970s (when Mrs. O was a student there!). After graduate study (PhD 1954) and appointment to the faculty at the University of Iowa, Bezanson was brought to UMass in 1964 to become Head of the Music Department and helped to expand and reorient the program, recruiting an increasingly accomplished faculty, including his former student Frederick Tillis.

. 1985 ~ DJs around the U.S. began questioning listeners to see which ones could name the 46 pop music stars who appeared on the hit, We Are the World. The song, airing first on this day as a single, contains a “Who’s Who” of contemporary pop music.

. 2000 ~ Roy Henderson, a baritone famed for his performances of Frederick Delius’ works and a teacher of Kathleen Ferrier, died. He was 100.

. 2003 ~ Sidney Lippman, a songwriter who helped compose hits for Nat King Cole and other artists, died. He was 89. Lippman, who studied musical composition at the Juilliard School in New York, wrote or co-wrote several well-known songs, including Too Young, a song Cole took to the top of the charts in 1951. That hit, co-written by longtime collaborator Sylvia Dee, came two years after he teamed up with Buddy Kaye and Fred Wise on ‘A’ You’re Adorable (The Alphabet Song), a No. 1 hit performed by Perry Como and the Fontane Sisters.

. 2007 ~ Betty Hutton [Elizabeth June Thornburg], American actress, dancer, singer and comedian (Greatest Show on Earth), died of colon cancer at the age of 86

and

. 2015 ~ Jimmy Greenspoon died.  He was an American keyboard player and composer, best known as a member of the band, Three Dog Night.

March 8 in Music History

today

. 1714 ~ Carl Phillip Emanuel (C.P.E.) Bach, German composer
More information on C. P. E. Bach

. 1857 ~ Ruggero Leoncavallo, Italian composer
More information about Leoncavallo

. 1866 ~ “It is possible to be as much of a musician as Saint-Saëns;  it is impossible to be more of one!” ~ Franz Liszt on meeting fellow composer Camille Saint-Saëns in Paris.

. 1869 ~ Hector Berlioz died in Paris

. 1889 ~ John Thompson, Piano educator

. 1911 ~ Alan Hovhaness, American composer
More information about Hovhaness

. 1923 ~ Cyd Charisse, Dancer

. 1927 ~ Dick Hyman, Pianist and music director for Arthur Godfrey

. 1961 ~ Conductor, Sir Thomas Beecham died at the age of 81.

. 1962 ~ The Beatles performed for the first time on the BBC in Great Britain. John, Paul, George and … Pete Best sang Dream Baby on the show, “Teenager’s Turn” on ‘Auntie Beeb’ (as the BBC was known).

. 1993 ~ Billy Eckstine passed away

. 2001 ~ Ballet Legend Dame Ninette De Valois died at the age of 102. She was the founder of Britain’s Royal Ballet who launched dancer Margot Fonteyn on the road to stardom. De Valois, a strict and demanding disciplinarian with her pupils, was a gifted and theatrical choreographer who almost single-handedly put British ballet on the international stage. The doyenne of dance helped to nurture the talents of unknowns like Fonteyn and courted controversy in the 1960’s at the height of the Cold War when she invited Russian dancer Rudolph Nureyev to appear with her company. De Valois always gave credit to Russian impresario Sergei Diaghilev for teaching her all she knew. “Everything,” she once said of the Ballet Russe legend. “Diaghilev just managed the whole company. He knew all about the different teachers. He knew the types of teachers he wanted, he knew the type of ballet he wanted. He was a musician.” Born Edris Stannus in 1898 in the Irish county of Wicklow, she graduated from Irish jig to the ballet, worked with the writer W.B. Yeats at Dublin’s Abbey Theater and then, almost single-handedly, brought ballet to the fore in Britain. The famed diva, who adopted her professional name from an ancestor who had married into a French family, was first inspired at the age of 11 when she watched Anna Pavlova dancing The Dying Swan. In 1923, she joined Diaghilev’s troupe in Monte Carlo and began to lay the foundations of her own ballet empire. She gave up dancing herself after discovering that she had been suffering for years from polio. “It was no tragedy. I wasn’t that great,” she once said. In 1926, she opened her own ballet school in London. From the tiniest beginnings, she built up the Sadlers Wells Ballet in less than a decade. At the end of World War II, the company moved triumphantly into the Royal Opera House. A ballet dynasty was born. De Valois retired in 1963 but remained intimately involved in the ballet school, forever the sharp-tongued martinet who could strike terror in tomorrow’s ballet hopefuls.

. 2001 ~ Maude Rutherford, a singer and dancer in the glory days of black theater during the 1920s, died. She was believed to have been 104. Rutherford was billed as the Slim Princess when she worked with entertainers such as Fats Waller, Josephine Baker and Pearl Bailey. She was a featured performer and favorite at Harlem’s Cotton Club. Rutherford’s theater credits include: “Dixie to Broadway,” (1924), “Chocolate Sandals,” (1927), and “Keep Shufflin”‘ (1928). She retired from show business in 1950 and worked as a switchboard operator at an Atlantic City hotel.

. 2003 ~ Adam Faith, a square-jawed British singer who was briefly a Cockney challenger to Elvis Presley’s rock ‘n’ roll crown, died of a heart attack. He was 62. Born Terry Nelhams in west London in 1940, Faith was a handsome teenager who was playing with a skiffle music group – a mixture of jug band, acoustic, folk, blues and country and western styles – when he was spotted by producers of a British Broadcasting Corp. music program. Adopting the stage name Adam Faith, he became – alongside Cliff Richard, Tommy Steele and Billy Fury – a pop star of the pre-Beatles era. Developing a hiccuping delivery reminiscent of Buddy Holly, Faith had more than 20 British hits, including the chart-topping What Do You Want? and Poor Me. Faith also was a versatile actor, appearing in films like Beat Girl, Mix Me A Person and 1975’s Stardust opposite David Essex. In the 1970s he played a Cockney ex-con in the TV series Budgie.

. 2015 ~ Lew Soloff, American jazz trumpeter (Blood, Sweat and Tears), died at the age of 71

March 7 in Music History

today

. 1809 ~ Johann Georg Albrechtsberger passed away.  He was was an Austrian musician.

. 1824 ~ “I am convinced that the soul and spirit of Mozart have passed into the body of young Liszt” ~ Review of a concert given on this day by Franz List in Paris.

. 1875 ~ Maurice Ravel, French composer
More information on Ravel

. 1907 ~ Victor Alphonse Duvernoy, French piano virtuoso,  composer and professor of piano at the Conservatoire de Paris, died at the age of 64

. 1917 ~ In the United States, RCA released the first jazz record ever: The Dixie Jazz Band One Step by Nick LaRocca’s Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

. 1917 ~ Robert Erickson, American composer

. 1939 ~ Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians recorded one of the most popular songs of the century. The standard, “Auld Lang Syne”, was recorded for Decca Records.

. 1955 ~ “Peter Pan”, with Mary Martin as Peter and Cyril Richard as Captain Hook, was presented as a television special for the first time.
More about Mary Martin

. 1969 ~ The Apollo astronauts began this day of their space voyage by singing Happy Birthday.

. 1985 ~ The song We Are the World, from the album of the same name, was played on the radio for the first time. Forty-five of pop music’s top stars gathered together to combine their talents to record the music of Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson. Richie and Jackson sang, too, while Quincy Jones did the producing of the USA for Africa record. The proceeds of the multimillion-selling recording went to aid African famine victims. The project, coordinated by Ken Kragen, was deemed a huge success.

. 2001 ~ Frankie Carle, a big-band leader best known for Sunrise Serenade, at the age of 97. Carle, who died in Mesa, Ariz., reached the high point of his popularity during World War II, when he was the focus of a bidding war among bands. His repertory was wide, ranging from classics like a revival of Stephen Foster’s Swanee River, to a World War II release that anticipated the Allied victory called I’m Going to See My Baby. Although Carle’s music did not rank high on record industry charts after the 1940s, he still toured and played concerts into the 1980s, some 70 years after he began his musical career.

. 2015 ~ Steve Zegree died.  He was a legendary jazz educator and former Western Michigan University Gold Company director.

January 11 in Music History

today

. 1837 ~ Death of Irish pianist and composer John Field in Moscow, while on tour

 

. 1843 ~ Francis Scott Key, American lawyer, poet and composer of the lyrics to “Star Spangled Banner” died at the age of 63

. 1856 ~ Charles (Johann Christian) Sinding, Norwegian composer

. 1875 ~Reinhold Moritsevich Glière Russian composer
More information about Glière

. 1895 ~ Laurens Hammond, inventor of the Hammond organ. The sound of the Hammond was used by many rock artists including; Procol Harum, Keith Emerson, Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers and The Faces. Hammond died on July 3, 1973.  There is a Hammond organ in the O’Connor Music Studio.

. 1901 ~ Vasily Sergeyevich Kalinnikov died. Kalinnikov was a Russian composer of two symphonies, several additional orchestral works and numerous songs, all of them imbued with characteristics of folksong.

. 1902 ~ Maurice Duruflé, French organist and composer

. 1924 ~ Don Cherry, Singer with Band of Gold

. 1928 ~ Ol’ Man River was recorded on Victor Records by Paul Whiteman and his orchestra. Bing Crosby crooned as the song’s featured vocalist. The tune came from the Broadway musical, “Showboat”.

. 1930 ~ Jack Nimitz, Jazz ‘reed’ musician, toured with Supersax

. 1933 ~ Goldie Hill, Country entertainer, married to country singer, Carl Smith

. 1946 ~ Naomi (Diane) Judd, Grammy Award-winning singer in the duo, The Judds, mother of singers Wynonna and Ashley

. 1949 ~ Dennis (Frederick) Greene, Singer with Sha-Na-Na

. 1958 ~ Vicki Peterson, Guitarist, singer with The Bangles

. 1980 ~ Rupert Holmes was at the top of the pop music charts, with Escape (The Pina Colada Song).

. 1981 ~ Leonard Bernstein began conducting the BR – Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra in Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” in Munich’s Hercules Hall. Performed one act at a time, in January, April, and November of 1981, respectively, Bernstein’s “Tristan und Isolde” was telecast live and later released as an audio recording by Philips–to some controversy.

Karl Böhm remarked, with regards to Bernstein’s exaggeratedly slow tempi, “For the first time, someone dares to perform this music as Wagner wrote it.” Böhm’s own recording of the Prelude was four minutes faster.

Upon completion of the project, Bernstein declared, “My life is complete… I don’t care what happens after this. It is the finest thing I’ve ever done.”

. 2003 ~ Mickey Finn, bongo player with 1970s band T.Rex, died at the age of 55. Formed by flamboyant lead singer Marc Bolan in 1967, T.Rex shot to fame with hits such as Get it On, Hot Love and Children of the Revolution in the early 1970s. The band was originally called Tyrannosaurus Rex but the name was shortened to T.Rex in 1970 after Finn joined, replacing original member Steve Took. The band achieved a huge following in Britain — sparking a period of “T.Rextacy” among devoted fans — but achieved more limited popularity in the United States and elsewhere. Credited with introducing the phenomenon of “glam rock” to pop music and influencing artists such as David Bowie, the band played to crowds of up to 100,000 and sold 39 million albums, according to Rolling Stone music magazine.

. 2004 ~ Randy VanWarmer, who recorded the pop hit Just When I Needed You Most and then had a successful career as a songwriter, died. He was 48. Just When I Needed You Most reached No. 4 on Billboard’s pop chart in 1979. VanWarmer, also a guitarist, had written it when he was 18. More recently, VanWarmer wrote I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why), a No. 1 hit by the country group Alabama in 1992, and I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes, No. 1 by the Oak Ridge Boys in 1984. VanWarmer was born March 30, 1955, in Indian Hills, Colo., and spent much of his childhood in Cornwall, England, after his father died. As a young man he lived in New York City and then Los Angeles before moving to Nashville in 1985. VanWarmer had recently recorded a duet with country singer Razzy Bailey, Sandcastles.

. 2005 ~ Spencer Dryden, drummer for the San Francisco rock band the Jefferson Airplane, died. He was 66.

. 2005 ~ Jimmy Griffin, an Academy Award-winning songwriter and former guitarist for the 1970s pop group Bread, died. He was 61.

Happy Birthday, Franz Liszt!

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