October 27 ~ in Music History

today

OCMS 1782 ~ Niccolò Paganini, Italian violin virtuoso and composer
Read quotes by and about Paganini
More information about Paganini

• 1796 ~ Anton Thadäus Johann Nepomuk Stamitz, German composer

• 1908 ~ George Feyer, Pianist and entertainer, born in Budapest

• 1917 ~ Jascha Heifetz made his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Heifetz was a 16-year-old sensation who had played the violin since age 5.

• 1927 ~ Dominick Argento, American composer

• 1933 ~ Floyd Cramer, Pianist

• 1941 ~ Edda Moser, German soprano

• 1941 ~ Everything I Love, by Buddy Clark, was recorded this day, number 6469 on the Okeh label.

• 1943 ~ Lee (Melvin) Greenwood, CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, 1983 and 1984, sax, piano, bandleader

• 1957 ~ The Crickets started a three-week run at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘That’ll Be The Day’. It was also a No.3 hit in the US where it went on to sell over a million. The song was inspired by a trip to the movies by Holly, Jerry Allison and Sonny Curtis in June 1956. The John Wayne film The Searchers was playing and Wayne’s frequently-used, world-weary catchphrase, “that’ll be the day” inspired the young musicians.

• 1958 ~ Simon LeBon, Singer with Duran Duran

• 1960 ~ Singer Ben E. King recorded “Spanish Harlem” & “Stand By Me”

• 1975 ~ Rocker Bruce Springsteen appeared on the cover of both TIME and Newsweek. Things were certainly going well for ‘The Boss’ that week.

• 2000 ~ Walter Berry, a bass-baritone who won acclaim for his interpretations of Mozart and Strauss and was beloved by Austrians for his renditions of Schubert, died of a heart attack at the age of 71. Known for the powerful timbre of his voice, Berry was a prolific performer who sang 100 different roles in more than 1,280 appearances at the Vienna State Opera. His U.S. debut was a 1963 performance with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His interpretations of classical lieder by fellow Austrian Franz Schubert won him his most loyal following. Austrians who rarely went to the opera loved Berry for his renditions of popular Viennese songs performed as they believed only a native- born son could. In 1989, he became a professor at the Vienna University for Music and Performing Arts.

• 2001 ~ John Roberts, a promoter of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969, died of cancer. He was 56. Roberts produced the festival concert with three others, almost by accident. The idea originally was a pitch for a television comedy show about two young venture capitalists with money but no business plans. Roberts and his partners funded the festival with Roberts’ inheritance and ticket sales. They lost $2.3 million but recovered their loss with royalties from film and album spinoffs, and held on to the profitable name and trademark symbol of a dove on the neck of a guitar. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Roberts later invested in other companies, avoiding the music business. Roberts also was a championship bridge player.

• 2006 ~ Amy Winehouse released her second and final studio album Back to Black. The album spawned five singles: ‘Rehab’, ‘You Know I’m No Good’, ‘Back to Black’, ‘Tears Dry on Their Own’ and ‘Love Is a Losing Game’ and won Best Pop Vocal Album at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. Back to Black sold 3.58 million copies in the UK alone, becoming the UK’s second best-selling album of the 21st century. Worldwide, the album has sold over 20 million copies.

October 26 ~ in Music History

today

OCMS 1685 ~ Domenico Scarlatti, Italian composer and harpsichordist
More information about Scarlatti

• 1898 ~ Beryl Rubinstein, American pianist and composer

• 1911 ~ Mahalia Jackson, American soul and gospel singer

• 1913 ~ Charlie Barnet, Saxophonist, bandleader, his autobiography is Those Swinging Years

• 1934 ~ Cole Porter recorded his own composition titled, You’re the Top, from the show “Anything Goes”, on Victor.

• 1935 ~ A talented twelve-year-old sang on Wallace Beery’s NBC radio show on NBC.  Judy Garland delighted the appreciative audience. The young girl would soon be in pictures and at the top of stardom. It would be only four years before Ms. Garland (George Jessel gave her the name, thinking it would be better than her own, Frances Gumm) captured the hearts of moviegoers everywhere with her performance as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”.

• 1944 ~ Michael Piano, Singer with The Sandpipers

• 1946 ~ Keith Hopwood, Singer, guitarist with Herman’s Hermits

• 1952 ~ NBC~TV premiered Victory at Sea. The show was the first documentary film series to gain wide acceptance. Richard Rodgers wrote the score and Robert Russell Bennett orchestrated it. No Other Love, adapted from one of the songs in the score, became a hit for Perry Como in the summer of 1953.

• 1953 ~ Keith Strickland, Drummer with The B-52s

• 1956 ~ Walter Gieseking, German pianist/composer, died at the age of 60

• 1962 ~ The Rolling Stones consisting of Keith Richard, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, pianist Ian Stewart and drummer Tony Chapman recorded their first demo tape at Curly Clayton Studios in Highbury, London. They recorded three songs, Jimmy Reed’s ‘Close Together’, Bo Diddley’s ‘You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover’ and Muddy Waters’ ‘Soon Forgotten.’

• 1965 ~ The Beatles received MBE medals from the Queen of England, as they became Members of the British Empire. Ceremonies were held at Buckingham Palace. John Lennon returned his medal four years later in protest of Britain’s involvement in the Nigerian Civil War.

• 1971 ~ Memphis minister Al Green received a gold record for his single, Tired of Being Alone.

• 1984 ~ Barbra Streisand won multiplatinum certification for three albums that reached the four-million-dollar sales mark. “Greatest Hits, Vol. II”, “Guilty”, and “A Star is Born” (with Kris Kristofferson) were honored.

• 2001 ~ Laszlo Halasz, the first music director of the New York City Opera, died at the age of 96. Halasz became the opera’s first director in 1943. During his eight-year tenure, the New York City Opera became an important training ground for young singers. The company also became an important venue for new works. Born in Hungary, Halasz studied at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, where his teachers included Béla Bartók, Ernst von Dohnanyi, Leo Weiner and Zoltán Kodály. He made his professional debut as a pianist in 1928, but in 1931 decided to focus on conducting. He came to New York in 1936, and when the New York City Opera was formed in the fall of 1943, Halasz was appointed its music director. The company’s first season included productions of Puccini’s “Tosca,” Flotow’s “Martha” and Bizet’s “Carmen”  Halasz conducted the company’s first American premiere, Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos,” in 1946, and the opera’s first world premiere, of  William Grant Still’s “Troubled Island,” with a libretto by Langston Hughes. But the opera’s board was uneasy with Halasz’s ventures into modern opera. When the board insisted in 1951 that Halasz submit his repertory plans for approval, he resigned. The board ultimately relented, but when Halasz became involved in union disputes later that year, the board fired him. After leaving City Opera, Halasz began a second career as a record producer. He also conducted opera at houses in Frankfurt, Barcelona, Budapest, London and South America. As a teacher, he was on the conducting faculty at the Peabody Conservatory, in Baltimore, and the Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, N.Y.

• 2001 ~ Herbert Weissenstein, a consultant who specialized in classical music, died at the age of 56. Weissenstein began his career in 1970 as public relations director for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He moved on to the New York Philharmonic and in 1979 became director of development and strategic planning at Carnegie Hall. In 1984, he founded H.F. Weissenstein & Co., which specialized in consulting, directing seminars, and publishing articles in the fields of management and development. His clients included the Electronic Media Forum, the Folksbiene Yiddish Theater, the Manhattan Theater Club, the International Organization for the Transition of Professional dancers and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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

In Memory of Richard Strauss

richard-strauss

 

Richard Strauss was born June 11, 1864 in Munich, Germany. He died on September 8, 1949 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. He was a German composer and conductor known for his intense emotionalism in his symphonic poems. He characterized himself as ‘composer of expression’ which is born out in his colorful orchestration. In his operas he employed Wagnerian principles of music drama, but in a more compact form.

Strauss was composing by the age of six, having received basic instruction from his father, a virtuoso horn player. This was, however, his only formal training. The elder Strauss instilled in his son a love of the classical composers, and his early works follow in their path. Strauss’ first symphony premiered when he was seventeen, his second (in New York) when he was twenty. By that time, Strauss had directed his energies toward conducting, and in 1885 he succeeded Hans von Bülow as conductor of the orchestra in Meiningen. For the next forty years, he conducted orchestras in Munich, Weimar, Berlin and Vienna.

As a conductor, Strauss had a unique vantage point from which to study the workings of the orchestra. From this vantage point he developed a sense for orchestration that was unrivaled. He immediately put this sense to use in a series of orchestral pieces that he called “tone poems”, including Macbeth, Don Juan, Tod und Verklärung, Till Eulenspeigels lustige Streiche and Don Quixote. These works are intensely programmatic, and in the last two, Strauss elevated descriptive music to a level not approached since the techniques of text painting during the Renaissance. He also used his knowledge of orchestral techniques to produce a revised version of Hector Berlioz’s important orchestration treatise; this edition remains a standard to this day.

After the turn of the century, Strauss began to shift his focus to opera. With his principal librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, he created two forward-looking and shocking works: Salome, based on Oscar Wilde’s controversial play, andElektra, Hoffmannsthal’s version of the classical Greek tragedy. In these works, the intense emotions and often lurid narrative elicited a more daring and demanding musical language full of extreme chromaticism and harsh timbres. But with his next opera, Der Rosenkavalier, Strauss seems to have left this aside, turning to a more focused, almost neoclassical approach in his later works. With this, Strauss settled into a comfortable place in German musical society, perhaps too comfortable, given his willingness to acquiesce to the artistic maneuverings of the rising Nazi regime. In the end, he broke with the Nazis on moral grounds, and died virtually penniless in the aftermath of the Second World War.

Musical Examples:

  • Don Quixote
  • Suite from Le Bourgoise gentilhomme, Op.60, Prelude
  • Also Sprach Zarathustrahttps://youtu.be/3rzDXNQxjHsOne of Richard Strauss’ most popular works is Also Sprach Zarathustra since it was made popular in the 1968 Stanley Kubrick science-fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 (Thus Spoke Zarathustra or Thus Spake Zarathustra) is a tone poem by Richard Strauss, composed in 1896 and inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophical treatise of the same name. The composer conducted its first performance on 27 November 1896 in Frankfurt. A typical performance lasts half an hour.

    The work has been part of the classical repertoire since its first performance in 1896. The initial fanfare — entitled “Sunrise” in the composer’s program notes — became particularly well known to the general public due to its use in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as the theme music of the Apollo program. The fanfare has also been used in many other productions.

    The piece starts with a sustained double low C on the double basses, contrabassoon and organ. This transforms into the brass fanfare of the Introduction and introduces the “dawn” motif (from “Zarathustra’s Prologue”, the text of which is included in the printed score) that is common throughout the work: the motif includes three notes, in intervals of a fifth and octave, as C–G–C (known also as the Nature-motif). On its first appearance, the motif is a part of the first five notes of the natural overtone series: octave, octave and fifth, two octaves, two octaves and major third (played as part of a C major chord with the third doubled). The major third is immediately changed to a minor third, which is the first note played in the work (E flat) that is not part of the overtone series.

    “Of Those in Backwaters” (or “Of the Forest Dwellers”) begins with cellos, double-basses and organ pedal before changing into a lyrical passage for the entire section. The next two sections, “Of the Great Yearning” and “Of Joys and Passions”, both introduce motifs that are more chromatic in nature.

    “Of Science” features an unusual fugue beginning in the double-basses and cellos, which consists of all twelve notes of the chromatic scale. It is one of the very few sections in the orchestral literature where the basses must play a contra-b (lowest b on a piano). “The Convalescent” acts as a reprise of the original motif, and ends with the entire orchestra climaxing on a massive chord. “The Dance Song” features a very prominent violin solo throughout the section. The end of the “Song of the Night Wanderer” leaves the piece half resolved, with high flutes, piccolos and violins playing a B major chord, while the lower strings pluck a C.

    One of the major compositional themes of the piece is the contrast between the keys of B major, representing humanity, and C major, representing the universe. Because B and C are adjacent notes, these keys are tonally dissimilar: B major uses five sharps, while C major has none.

Works:

  • Orchestral music, including symphonic poems: Macbeth (1888), Don Juan (1888-1889), Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration, 1889), Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, 1895), Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra, 1896), Don Quixote (1897) and Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life, 1898); 2 symphonies (Domestic, 1903 and Alpine, 1915); 3 concertos (2 for horn, 1 for oboe)
  • 15 operas, including Salome (1905), Elektra (1909), Der Rosenkavalier (The Cavalier of the Rose, 1911), Ariadne auf Naxos (1912) and Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman, 1935)
  • Choral works (with and without orchestra), chamber works

     Strauss’s birthday

     anniversary of Strauss’s death

     Read quotes by and about Strauss

 

September 8~ in Music History

today

OCMS 1841 ~ Antonin Dvorák, Czech composer
More information about Dvorák

• 1849 ~ Richard Strauss, German composer and conductor, died. Strauss wrote in nearly every genre, but is best known for his tone poems and operas.
More information about Strauss

• 1897 ~ Jimmie (James Charles) Rodgers,‘The Blue Yodeler’, Country Music Hall of Famer, First country singer to be in a film

• 1932 ~ Patsy Cline (Virginia Petterson Hensley), Country Music Hall of Famer, American country-music singer

• 1934 ~ Peter Maxwell Davies, British composer

• 1935 ~ The Hoboken Four, featuring Frank Sinatra as lead singer, appeared on Major Bowes Amateur Hour on WOR radio. The group won the competition held at the Capitol Theatre in New York City.

• 1941 ~ Dante Drowty, Singer with Dante and The Evergreens

• 1941 ~ Harry James and his orchestra recorded Misirlou for Columbia Records.

• 1942 ~ Brian Cole, Bass, singer with The Association

• 1947 ~ Valery Afanassiev, Russian pianist

• 1949 ~ Richard Strauss, German composer (Also sprach Zarathustra), died at the age of 85

July 31 ~ in Music History

today

• 1828 ~ François Auguste Gevaert, Belgian composer, musicologist, conductor and organist

• 1845 ~ The French Army introduced the saxophone to its military band. The musical instrument was the invention of Adolphe Sax of Belgium.

• 1847 ~ Ignacio Cervantes, Pianist

• 1886 ~ Franz Liszt, Hungarian composer and pianist died. Originator of the symphonic poem, he was a prolific teacher and a huge influence on Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.
More information about Liszt

• 1911 ~ George Liberace, Violinist, conductor; administrator of Liberace Museum; brother of pianist/entertainer Liberace

• 1918 ~ Jan La Rue, American musicologist

• 1918 ~ Hank Jones, Pianist. He accompanied Billy Eckstine and Ella Fitzgerald. He led the Hank Jones Trio

• 1919 ~ Mornam Del Mar, British conductor

• 1923 ~ Ahmet Ertegun, Recording Executive

• 1939 ~ John West, Musician, guitarist with Gary Lewis and the Playboys

• 1942 ~ Harry James and his band recorded the classic I’ve Heard that Song Before, for Columbia Records. Helen Forrest sang on the million-seller.

• 1943 ~ Lobo, Singer

• 1946 ~ Gary Lewis (Levitch), Singer with Gary Lewis and the Playboys, entertainer Jerry Lewis’ son

• 1946 ~ Bob Welch, Guitarist and singer with Fleetwood Mac

• 1947 ~ Karl Green, Musician, guitar and harmonica with Herman’s Hermits

• 1964 ~ Jim Reeves, popular U.S. country music singer, died in an air crash near Nashville.

• 1985 ~ Prince was big at the box office with the autobiographical story of the Minneapolis rock star, Purple Rain. The flick grossed $7.7 million in its first three days of release on 917 movie screens. The album of the same name was the top LP in the U.S., as well.

• 2016 ~Gloria DeHaven, a singer and actress known for starring in several MGM musicals, died at the age of 91.

July 1 in Music History

 

Be sure your student reads and listens to Today’s Daily Listening Assignment

 

• 1586 ~ Claudio Saracini, Composer

• 1592 ~ Marc A Ingegneri, Italian violinist and composer, died

• 1662 ~ Simon Ives, Composer, died at the age of 61

• 1663 ~ Franz Xaver Murschhauser, Composer

• 1688 ~ Johann Ludwig Steiner, Composer

• 1691 ~ Marc’Antonio Pasqualini, Composer, died at the age of 77

• 1735 ~ James Lyon, Composer

• 1742 ~ Bohuslav Matej Czernohorsky, Czech monk and composer, died at the age of 58

• 1764 ~ Georg Christoph Grosheim, Composer

• 1784 ~ Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, composer, son of J.S. Bach, died
More information about Wilhelm Friedemann Bach

• 1805 ~ Georg Ritschel, Composer, died at the age of 60

• 1883 ~ Manuel Gregorio Tavarez, Composer, died at the age of 39

• 1899 ~ Cavan O’Connor, Singer

• 1908 ~ Peter Anders, German opera singer

• 1910 ~ Marius Petipa, French ballet dancer and choreographer, died

• 1914 ~ Earle Warren, Alto sax player

• 1915 ~ Willie Dixon, Blues Musician

• 1917 ~ William Gillock, Educational Music Composer

• 1925 ~ Erik Alfred Leslie Satie, French composer, died at the age of 59
More information about Satie

• 1926 ~ Hans Werner Henze, German composer

• 1927 ~ Hans Eklund, Composer

• 1928 ~ Volker Wangenheim, Composer

• 1930 ~ Leslie Caron, Dancer

• 1933 ~ Strauss and von Hofmannsthal’s opera “Arabella,” premiered in Dresden
More information about Strauss

• 1935 ~ James Cotton, blues vocalist

• 1939 ~ Louis Davids (Simon David), Cabaret performer/chorus performer, died

• 1941 ~ Twila Tharp, Choreographer

• 1941 ~ John Gould, British composer and musical comic

• 1942 ~ Andrae Crouch, Gospel Singer

• 1945 ~ Debbie Harry, American singer

• 1946 ~ June Montiero, American vocalist

• 1947 ~ Clarence Lucas, Composer, died at the age of 80

• 1950 ~ Edward Faber Schneider, Composer, died at the age of 77

• 1954 ~ Fred Schneider, Singer for pop-punk band the B-52s

• 1956 ~ Elvis Presley appeared wearing a tuxedo on the Steve Allen Show

• 1960 ~ Benjamin Britten’s cantata “Carmen Baseliense,” premiered in Basel
More information about Britten

• 1963 ~ The Beatles recorded She Loves You & I’ll Get You

• 1964 ~ Pierre Monteux, French/American conductor, died at the age of 89

• 1965 ~ Claude Thornhill, Composer, died at the age of 55

• 1967 ~ “Funny Girl”, the story of Fanny Brice, closed at Winter Garden Theater New York City after 1348 performances
More information about Fanny Brice

• 1967 ~ The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, went #1 for 15 weeks

• 1968 ~ John Lennon’s first full art exhibition (You are Here)

• 1969 ~ John & Yoko were hospitalized after a car crash

• 1969 ~ Shelby Singleton bought Sun Records from Sam Phillips

• 1970 ~ Jimi Hendrix first recording session (New York City)

• 1972 ~ “Follies” closed at Winter Garden Theater New York City after 524 performances

• 1972 ~ “Hair” closed at Biltmore Theater New York City after 1750 performances

• 1973 ~ Mario La Broca, Composer, died at the age of 76

• 1973 ~ “Jesus Christ Superstar”, by Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice, closed at Mark Hellinger New York City after 711 performances

• 1978 ~ “Act” closed at Majestic Theater New York City after 233 performances

• 1982 ~ John Everett Watts, Composer, died at the age of 51

• 1982 ~ Shon Coco Palm, (Jacobo JM Palm), Curaçan Composer, died

• 1982 ~ ABC national music radio network scheduled premiere, but it never happened

• 1988 ~ Hellmuth Christian Wolff, Composer, died at the age of 82

• 1988 ~ Lex van Delden, Dutch Composer and writer, died at the age of 68

• 1995 ~ “Kiss of the Spider Woman” closed at Broadhurst New York City after 906 performances

• 1996 ~ Placido Domingo became art director of Washington Opera

• 2015 ~ Val Doonican, Irish singer and entertainer, died at the age of 88