On March 22 in Music History

today

 

. 1687 ~ Jean-Baptiste Lully, French composer, died.  He was an Italian-born French composer, instrumentalist, and dancer who spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France. He is considered the chief master of the French baroque style.

. 1840 ~ Clara Wieck wrote a letter dated today to Robert Schumann.  Part of it said: “When I heard Liszt for the first time…I was overwhelmed and sobbed aloud, it so shook me.”

. 1842 ~ Carl August Nicolas Rosa, German violinist and composer. In 1873 he founded the Carl Rosa Opera Company.

. 1865 ~ Theophile Ysaye, Belgian composer and pianist

. 1868 ~ Hamish Maccunn, Scottish Romantic composer, conductor and teacher

. 1911 ~ Herman Jadlowker became the first opera singer to perform two major roles in the same day at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

. 1920 ~ Fanny Waterman, DBE is a piano teacher and the founder, Chairman and Artistic Director of the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition. She is also president of the Harrogate International Music Festival.

. 1925 ~ The first Japanese radio station, Tokyo Shibaura, began broadcasting.

. 1930 ~ Stephen Sondheim, American composer and lyricist of musicals
More information about Sondheim

. 1936 ~ Glen Campbell, Singer and studio guitarist

. 1937 ~ Johnny Ferguson, Singer

. 1943 ~ Keith Relf, Recording artist of The Yardbirds

. 1943 ~ George Benson, American jazz and pop guitarist and singer

. 1944 ~ Jeremy Clyde, Singer with Chad & Jeremy

. 1947 ~ Harry Vanda, Guitarist with The Easybeats

. 1948 ~ Andrew Lloyd Webber, British composer
More information about Lloyd Webber

. 1948 ~ Randy Hobbs, Bass with The McCoys

. 1948 ~ The Voice of Firestone was the first commercial radio program to be carried simultaneously on both AM and FM radio stations.

. 1956 ~ Sammy Davis, Jr. starred in the play, Mr. Wonderful, in New York City. The critics were unkind, saying that they didn’t care for the production. Audiences, however, gave it ‘thumbs up’ and the show went on to be one of Broadway’s more popular musicals — catapulting Davis into the limelight. His father had already launched him into the vaudeville spotlight when Sammy was just three years old. By the time he was Mr. Wonderful, Sammy Davis, Jr. had played vaudeville and the nightclub circuit singing and dancing his way to the top over a twenty-eight-year period. He entertained us for sixty-two years!

. 1956 ~ Perry Como became the first major TV variety-show host to book a rock and roll act on his program. The ‘Incomparable Mr. C.’ booked Carl Perkins for the show and Perkins sang Blue Suede Shoes. 1962 ~ The play, I Can Get It For You Wholesale, opened on Broadway. It featured a 19-year-old named Barbra Streisand. She stopped the show at the famed Shubert Theatre in New York City. Streisand starred as Miss Marmelstein. Audiences kept coming back for more of Barbra for 300 performances.

. 1980 ~ The first CD (compact disc) was put on sale by RCA.  The first major artist to have his entire catalog converted to CD was David Bowie, whose 15 studio albums were made available by RCA Records in February 1985, along with four greatest hits albums.

. 1980 ~ Pink Floyd started a 4-week run in the #1 slot on the pop charts with their smash, Another Brick in the Wall. When the boys popped open their gold record and threw it on the stereo, they heard Flowers on the Wall by the Statler Brothers.

. 2015 ~ Norman O. Scribner, founder and artistic director of the Choral Arts Society of Washington, one of the region’s preeminent symphonic choirs, died

On February 12 in Music History

today

. 1728 ~ Mysterious priest-composer Agostino Steffani died.

. 1760 ~ Jan Ladislav Dussek, Czech composer and pianist.  Along with his friend, famed piano maker John Broadwood, Dussek made important design improvements to the piano, allowing for the more dynamic style of playing that his highly original compositions required. Beethoven himself later used a Broadwood piano with Dussek’s innovations. This helped pave the way for Romanticism and Dussek’s influence on Beethoven’s piano writing has been well documented.

Dussek’s Piano Sonata Op. 77 in F minor (“L’invocation”), from 1812, is the last work he ever composed, and he saved the best for last. This is a neglected masterpiece that foreshadows Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, and Brahms.

. 1881 ~ Anna (Pavlovna) Pavlova, Russia’s premier ballerina

. 1894 ~ Hans von Bülow, German pianist and composer died (b. 1830)
More about von Bulow

. 1898 ~ Roy Harris, American composer

. 1904 ~ Ted Mack (William Maguiness), TV host of The Original Amateur Hour, The Ted Mack Family Hour

. 1914 ~ (Gordon) Tex Beneke, Bandleader, singer, tenor sax in the Glenn Miller Orchestra

, 1915 ~ Charles Emile Waldteufel, composer, died at the age of 77

. 1918 ~ All theatres in New York City were shut down in an effort to conserve coal.

. 1923 ~ Mel Powell, American jazz pianist and composer. One of his works is Mission to Moscow for Benny Goodman. He was also Dean of Music at California Institute of Arts.

. 1923 ~ Franco Zeffirelli, Italian director and producer of opera, theatre, film and television

. 1924 ~ Bandleader Paul Whiteman presented his unique symphonic jazz at the Aeolian Hall in New York City. The concert marked the first public performance of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. The composer, himself, was at the piano this night. Distinguished guests included John Philip Sousa and Jascha Heifetz.

. 1935 ~ Gene McDaniels (Eugene Booker McDaniels), Singer

. 1939 ~ Ray Manzarek, Keyboards with The Doors

. 1942 ~ Mildred Bailey recorded More Than You Know on Decca Records.

. 1948 ~ Joe Schermie, Bass with Three Dog Night

. 1949 ~ “Annie Get Your Gun” closed at the Imperial Theater in New York City after 1147 performances

 

. 1964 ~ The Beatles played two concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City, concluding a very successful American tour.

. 1968 ~ Singer and famed guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, received an honorary high school diploma from Garfield High School in Seattle, WA, where he had dropped out at the age of 14.

. 1972 ~ Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together knocked American Pie out of the top spot on the music charts. The record stayed at the top for one week, before giving way to Nilsson’s Without You. Green returned to his gospel roots in 1980 and is a minister in Memphis, TN. Green recorded 14 hit songs with six of them making it to the Top 10.

. 1976 ~ Sal Mineo, singer, died

. 1983 ~ Eubie Blake, US ragtime-composer/pianist (Memories of You), died at the age of 96

. 2011 ~ Elizabeth “Betty” Garrett, American actress, comedian, singer and dancer (All in the Family), died of an aortic aneurysm at the age of 91

On January 2 in Music History

• 1732 ~ Franz Xaver Brixi, Czech classical composer of the 18th century

• 1837 ~ Mily Balakirev, Russian Composer and collector of Russian Music
More information about Balakirev

• 1899 ~ Alexander Tcherepnin, composer

• 1904 ~ James Melton, Singer in La Traviata

1905 ~ Sir Michael Tippett, British Composer and librettist
More information about Tippett

• 1917 ~ Vera Zorina (Eva Hartwig), Dancer, actress

• 1922 ~ Renata (Ersilia Clotilde) Tebaldi, Opera diva, lyric soprano. She debuted as Elena in Boito’s Mefistofele in 1944 and at the Metropolitan Opera in Verdi’s Otello in 1955
More information about Tebaldi

• 1930 ~ Julius LaRosa, American singer (fired by Arthur Godfrey on the air)

• 1932 ~ Freddy Martin formed a new band and was hired to play the Roosevelt Grill in New York City. Martin became one of the big names in the music business. Merv Griffin later became Martin’s lead vocalist.

• 1936 ~ Roger Miller. American country music singer, guitarist and songwriter, 11 Grammys in 1964-65

• 1941 ~ The Andrews Sisters recorded Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy on Decca Records. LaVerne, Maxine and Patti Andrews recorded in Los Angeles and the song was heard in the movie, “Buck Privates”, starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.

• 1949 ~ Chick Churchill, Keyboards with Ten Years After

• 1958 ~ Leonard Bernstein conducted his first concert as Joint Principal Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, a title he shared with Dimitri Mitropoulos during the 1957-58 season.  At this concert, Bernstein conducted a program similar to that of his November 1943 New York Philharmonic debut: Schumann’s “Manfred” Overture and ‪‎Strauss‬’ “Don Quixote.” Additionally, Bernstein led the New York Philharmonic from the piano in the U.S. premiere of Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

• 1971 ~The George Harrison album ‘All Things Must Pass’ started a seven-week run at No.1 on the US album chart, making Harrison the first solo Beatle to score a US No.1 album. The triple album included the hit singles ‘My Sweet Lord’ and ‘What Is Life’, as well as songs such as ‘Isn’t It a Pity’ and the title track that were turned down by The Beatles.

• 1974 ~ Singing cowboy Tex Ritter died of a heart attack at the age of 67. His son, John, became a significant television star in “Three’s Company”, and in movies, including “Problem Child”.

• 1977 ~ Erroll Garner passed away.  He was an American jazz pianist and composer known for his swing playing and ballads.

• 1980 ~ Officials of the Miss America Pageant announced that Bert Parks would not return as host of the annual beauty contest in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Parks sang There she is, Miss America for 25 years. He was replaced by Gary Collins.

• 1983 ~ The smash musical, “Annie”, closed on Broadway at the Uris Theatre after 2,377 performances: the sixth longest-running show on the Great White Way. The five longest-running shows at the time were: “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Life With Father”, “Tobacco Road”, “Hello Dolly” and “Music Man”.

• 2003 ~ Bluegrass music veteran James McReynolds, who with his mandolin-playing brother Jesse formed the legendary “Jim & Jesse” duo honored in the Country Music Hall of Fame, has died. Backed by their band, “The Virginia Boys,” their first single The Flame of Love, backed byGosh I Miss You All the Time, spent weeks on the national charts. Other songs regarded as Jim & Jesse classics are Cotton Mill Man, Diesel on My Tail, Are You Missing Me and Paradise. Jim’s enhanced high tenor and guitar playing combined with Jesse’s deep-voiced singing and unique mandolin style to produce their distinctive sound. Jesse developed a cross-picking technique and “split-string” style few could duplicate. The brothers’ performing career was interrupted by service in both World War II and the Korean War. They joined the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in 1964, and their numerous honors included induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame’s “Walkway of Stars” and the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Honor.

• 2004 ~ Pioneering black actress and singer Etta Moten Barnett, who sang at the White House and appeared with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Flying Down to Rio, died. She was 102. Barnett was unique because of the romantic, sexy figures she portrayed – as opposed to the motherly nannies and maids that most black actresses were cast as in early Hollywood films. Barnett moved to New York City in her 30s and quickly landed a spot singing with the Eva Jessye Choir. The lead in the Broadway show Zombie followed. She later dubbed songs for actresses and was cast in the Busby Berkeley film Gold Diggers of 1933. In the 1933 film Flying Down to Rio, Barnett was cast as a Brazilian entertainer who sang The Carioca while Astaire and Rogers danced. The song was nominated for an Academy Award as best song. Her voice caught the attention of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who invited her to sing at his White House birthday party. In 1942, she appeared as Bess in Porgy and Bess on Broadway and then toured with the show until 1945. Suffering from a strained voice, she gave her last formal concert in 1952

• 2019 ~ Daryl Frank Dragon was an American musician and songwriter, known as Captain from the pop musical duo Captain & Tennille, with his former wife, Toni Tennille. He died at the age of 76.

December 21 ~ in Music History

today

Christmas Countdown: Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker

• 1810 ~ Ludwig Schuncke, German pianist and composer, and close friend of Robert Schumann.

• 1850 ~ Zdenek Fibich, Czech composer of classical music

• 1913 ~ Andor Foldes, Pianist who played with Budapest Philharmonic at eight years of age

• 1921 ~ Alicia Alonso (Martinez Hoyo), Dancer

• 1933 ~ Freddie Hart, Country singer

• 1940 ~ Frank Zappa, American rock guitarist, composer, arranger and songwriter, with Mothers of Invention, father of Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa

OCMS 1944 ~ Michael Tilson Thomas, American conductor and pianist, jazz band conductor, led the London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic
More information about Tilson Thomas

• 1946 ~ Carl Wilson, Guitarist with The Beach Boys, brother of Brian and Dennis, his original group was Carl and the Passions

• 1953 ~ Andras Schiff, Hungarian pianist

• 1966 ~ The Beach Boys received a gold record for the single, Good Vibrations.

• 1985 ~ Springsteen’s album, Born in the USA, passed Michael Jackson’s Thriller to become the second longest-lasting LP in the top 10. It stayed there for 79 weeks. Only The Sound of Music, with Julie Andrews, lasted longer at 109 weeks.

Happy Birthday, Clara!

cschumann

 

Clara Schumann (1819-96) was much more than the wife of composer Robert Schumann. She was, quite simply, one of the greatest pianists of all time. A child prodigy, her technique and musicianship as a mature artist led to her being regarded as the equal of giants of the keyboard such a Franz Liszt, Sigismond Thalberg and Anton Rubinstein.

And from her girlhood until the end of her marriage she composed wonderful music, mostly solo piano music, but other works as well, including a concerto, a large number of songs and a sublime piano trio.

In her later years, she was an internationally famous teacher, and her performing career lasted more than six decades. She was, quite simply, a phenomenon.

From the Radio Show Piano Puzzlers!

puzzlers

 

The Piano Puzzlers book is available in the O’Connor Music Studio library if you’d like to give any a try.  Piano Puzzlers as heard on American Public Media’s “Performance Today.” Includes 32 tunes with songs by Gershwin, Berlin, Arlen, Porter, Rodgers, Fats Waller, Lennon & McCartney, and others disguised in the styles of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Janacek, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Bartok, and Copland.

Includes an introduction by Fred Child, host of “Performance Today” as well as background info by Bruce Adolphe. “Bruce Adolphe has taken a common musician’s party game and elevated it to high art and truly funny musical slapsticks. The Piano Puzzlers are a unique combination of extraordinary insight into the styles of many composers subtle, expert workmanship and great, great fun!”

From http://jasonmorris.blogsome.com/2008/08/08/piano-puzzlers/

If you’re a music geek (like me), I have a program for you. Now, let me be clear, to fully qualify as a music geek…you must have a fond appreciation for classical music (no, Poison, Quiet Riot, and Zepplin do not count as classical music). So, if you’re a “music geek” without an appreciation for classical music…well, I hate to burst your bubble…but, you’re not truly a music geek. Instead, you’re a music appreciator, but not a geek. So, if you just listen to indie music and scowl at anything on a label larger than Matador…don’t bother following the link I’ll provide…the fun will be lost on you…And, you probably won’t have a chance.

Every Wednesday night, on my way home from WNL, I turn on my local NPR station to listen to Piano Puzzlers on Performance Today. It’s absolutely incredible. A pianist/composer (Bruce Adolphe) takes a familiar folk or pop tune and sets it inside a classical masterpiece (or in the style of a particular composer). Sometimes it’s easy…sometimes it’s ridiculously difficult. There are days when I say, “got it” on the first pass. Then there are days when I say, “what the heck?” And, more often than not, I’m able to get either the popular/folk tune or the composer.

This is sad to admit, but there are nights when I’ll slow down on the drive home or sit in the car in the driveway to finish an episode. In fact, I get a little worked up if someone stops me after WNL…as I might miss the beginning of Piano Puzzlers (it usually hits around 8:20pm on our local station).

Take a listen to some of the archives and see if you can figure it out! It’s really cool…but probably only appreciated by music geeks (the kind of people that listen to NPR for their musical programs and not just the snipets of cool indie rock between segments on All Things Considered…which is a great show too).

Play Piano Puzzlers HERE!

July 29 ~ in Music History

today

• 1856 ~ Robert Schumann passed away.  Schumann was a German composer and influential music critic. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. Schumann left the study of law, intending to pursue a career as a virtuoso pianist.
More information about Schumann

• 1887 ~ Sigmund Romberg, Hungarian-born American operetta composer, founding member of ASCAP. He was famous for his operettas “Desert Song”, “Maytime” and “Student Prince”

• 1916 ~ Charlie Christian, American guitarist and blues singer

• 1917 ~ Homer (Henry D. Haynes), Comedy singer, duo: Homer and Jethro

• 1925 ~ Mikis Theodorakis, Composer

• 1930 ~ Paul Taylor, Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Emmy Award-winning choreographer, Kennedy Center Honors in 1992 “…for enhancing the lives of people around the world and enriching the culture of our nation.”

• 1933 ~ Randy Sparks, Folk singer, songwriter with the New Christy Minstrels

• 1935 ~ Peter Schreier, German tenor

• 1946 ~ Neal Doughty, Keyboards with REO Speedwagon

• 1953 ~ Geddy Lee, Bass, singer with Rush

• 1965 ~ The Queen of England attended the premiere of the motion picture, Help!, starring The Beatles. The command performance was held at the London Pavilion. The film later earned first prize at the Rio De Janeiro Film Festival in Brazil.  The Beatles later said the film was shot in a “haze of marijuana”. According to Starr’s interviews in The Beatles Anthology, during the Austrian Alps film shooting, he and McCartney ran off over the hill from the “curling” scene set to smoke a joint.

• 1966 ~ Martina McBride, Country singer

• 1970 ~ Sir John Barbirolli died. He was the British conductor of the Halle Orchestra, and was a famous interpreter of English music, Mahler and Italian opera.

• 1973 ~ Wanya Morris, Rock Singer

• 1974 ~ Singer “Mama” Cass Elliot, American folk-pop singer died.

• 1984 ~ Fred Waring, American musician and conductor died at the age of 84. He was also a promoter, financial backer and eponym of the Waring Blendor, the first modern electric blender on the market.