Happy Birthday, Clara Schumann

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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.

Piano Puzzlers!

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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 ~ This Day in Music History

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• 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.

June 8 ~ This Day in Music History

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

 

 

• 1612 ~ Hans Leo Hassler, Composer, died at the age of 49

• 1722 ~ Jakob Friedrich Kleinknecht, Composer

• 1740 ~ Gabriele Mario Piozzi, Composer

• 1742 ~ Omobono Stradivari, Italian viol maker, son of Antonio, died at the age of 62

• 1753 ~ Nicolas-Marie Dalayrac, Composer

• 1783 ~ Joseph Lincke, Composer

• 1796 ~ Felice de Giardini, Composer, died at the age of 80

• 1805 ~ Luigi Ricci, Composer

• 1810 ~ Robert Schumann, German composer best known for his song cycles and piano music.
Read quotes by and about Schumann
More information about Schumann

• 1812 ~ Spyridon Xyndas, Composer

• 1814 ~ Friedrich Heinrich Himmel, Composer, died at the age of 48

• 1834 ~ George Garrett, Composer

• 1837 ~ Jan Kleczynski, Composer

• 1856 ~ Natalia Janotha, Composer

• 1858 ~ Antonio Nicolau, Spanish Composer and conductor

• 1876 ~ George Sand (Armandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin), French author and romantic companion of the composer of Chopin, died at the age of 71

• 1881 ~ Prospero Bisquertt, Composer

• 1884 ~ Henry Clay Work, Composer, died at the age of 51

• 1888 ~ Poul Julius Ouscher Schierbeck, Composer

• 1906 ~ Christian Frederik Emil Horneman, Composer, died at the age of 65

• 1908 ~ Johan Lindegren, Composer, died at the age of 66

• 1913 ~ Janos Jagamas, Composer

• 1919 ~ Jacob Fabricius, Composer, died at the age of 78

• 1923 ~ Karel Goeyvaerts, Flemish Composer of Summer Games

• 1926 ~ Anatol Vieru, Composer

• 1927 ~ Paul Whiteman and his orchestra recorded When Day is Done on Victor Records.

• 1928 ~ Jiri Dvoracek, Composer

• 1930 ~ Yannis Ioannidis, Composer

• 1932 ~ Hans Gunter Helms, Composer

• 1936 ~ James Darren (Ercolani), Singer

• 1940 ~ Frederick Shepherd Converse, American Composer, died at the age of 69

• 1940 ~ Sherman Garnes, Rock vocalist with Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers

• 1940 ~ Nancy Sinatra, Singer

• 1942 ~ Chuck Negron, Singer with Three Dog Night

• 1942 ~ Bing Crosby recorded Silent Night

• 1944 ~ “Boz” (William) Scaggs, American rhythm-and-blues singer and songwriter

• 1946 ~ “Lute Song” closed at Plymouth Theater NYC after 142 performances

• 1947 ~ Mick Box, Musician, guitar, songwriter with Uriah Heep

• 1947 ~ Joan La Barbara, Composer

• 1948 ~ Franz Carl Bornschein, Composer, died at the age of 69

• 1949 ~ Emanuel Ax, Polish-born American pianist. He won the Artur Rubinstein Competition in 1974

• 1950 ~ Alex Van Halen, Drummer with Van Halen, brother of Eddie and Michael

• 1963 ~ Kino Haitsma, pianist/arranger

• 1967 ~ Elliot Griffis, Composer, died at the age of 74

• 1968 ~ Gary Puckett & Union Gap released Lady Will Power

• 1968 ~ Rolling Stones released Jumpin’ Jack Flash

• 1969 ~ Brian Jones left The Rolling Stones

• 1969 ~ Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor replaced Brian Jones

• 1972 ~ Jimmy Rushing, American blues singer, died at the age of 68

• 1973 ~ Eino Mauno Aleksanteri Linnala, Composer, died at the age of 76

• 1979 ~ Louis Salvador Palange, Composer, died at the age of 61

• 1981 ~ Fifteenth Music City News Country Awards went to the Mandrell Sisters

• 1984 ~ Gordon Jacob, Composer, died at the age of 88

• 1990 ~ The post office issued another in its series of Stamps for the Performing Arts, this one honoring Cole Porter

• 1992 ~ Twentysixth Music City News Country Awards went to Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks

• 1995 ~ Sheikh Iman, singer, died at the age of 76

• 1995 ~ “Buttons on Broadway” opened at Ambassador Theater NYC for 40 performances

May 16 ~ This Day in Music History

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• 1813 ~ Stephen Heller, Hungarian pianist, teacher and composer whose career spanned the period from Schumann to Bizet, and was an influence for later Romantic composers.

• 1892 ~ Richard Tauber (Ernst Seiffert), Austrian-born British tenor. He sang a wide range of music and was as equally at home in opera, notably Mozart, as in Austrian operetta.

• 1913 ~ Woody (Woodrow Charles) Herman, American jazz clarinetist, bandleader and composer

• 1922 ~ Eddie Bert, Jazz musician, trombone

• 1929 ~ The first Academy Awards were presented on this night, hosted by Douglas Fairbanks and William C. de Mille. This first awards ceremony of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. It attracted an audience of 200 people.

• 1929 ~ Paul Whiteman and his orchestra backed Bing Crosby for the tune, Sposin’, which ‘Der Bingle’ recorded for Columbia Records. Betty Carter (Lillie Mae Jones) (1930) Jazz singer: toured with Lionel Hampton & Miles Davis

• 1946 ~ The Irving Berlin musical, Annie Get Your Gun, at New York’s Imperial Theatre. Once of the most successful shows presented on a Broadway stage, the show ran for 1,147 performances.

• 1947 ~ Barbara Lee, Singer with The Chiffons

• 1947 ~ Darrel Sweet, Drummer, singer

• 1953 ~ Bill Haley and His Comets made it to the Billboard music charts for the first time with Crazy Man Crazy. The tune went to number six and became the first rock ’n’ roll record to make the pop music chart.

• 1965 ~ The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd, a Broadway musical starring Anthony Newley, made its premiere at the Shubert Theatre in New York City. Cyril Ritchard appeared in the production which entertained audiences for 231 performances.

• 1966 ~ Janet Jackson, Singer

• 1990 ~ Jim Henson, the famous creator who of the Muppets, a cast of puppets including Kermit the Frog, Big Bird, Elmo, Ernie and Bert, died at the age of 54.

• 1990 ~ The entertainer who could do it all, Sammy Davis, Jr., died this day, in Beverly Hills, California, USA. From vaudeville at age three (with his father and uncle) to the star of Broadway’s “Mr. Wonderful”, from Las Vegas nightclubs to hit records, the actor, singer, dancer, impersonator, and musician performed his way into the hearts of young and old everywhere. The world mourned the passing of Sammy Davis, Jr. at age 64 of throat cancer.

• 1993 ~ Marv Johnson passed away.  He was an American R&B and soul singer.

• 1995 ~ Lola Flores, fiery Spanish dancer and singer, died. She made many films but was best known for her flamenco movements and passionate songs.

March 22 ~ This Day 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

February 12 ~ This Day 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

. 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

. 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

. 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