On April 1 in Music History

 

 

 

OCMS. 1866 ~ Ferruccio Busoni, Italian pianist and composer
Read quotes by and about Busoni
More information about Busoni

OCMS 1873 ~ Sergei Rachmaninoff, Russian-born American composer and pianist
Read quotes by and about Rachmaninoff
More information about Rachmaninoff

. 1895 ~ Alberta Hunter, American blues singer

. 1909 ~ Eddie Duchin, Bandleader

. 1917 ~ Scott Joplin, U.S. jazz musician famous for his ragtime pieces notably The Entertainer, died.

. 1932 ~ Jane Powell, Singer

. 1932 ~ Debbie Reynolds, Entertainer

. 1984 ~ Marvin (Pentz) Gaye, Jr. passed away.

. 1985 ~ The long-awaited album, We Are the World, was finally released. Eight rock stars donated previously unreleased material for the LP. Three million copies of the award-winning single of the same name had already been sold. The song, We Are the World, was number five, and moving up, on the Billboard magazine pop single’s chart this day.

. 1991 ~ Martha Graham passed away.  She was an American modern dancer and choreographer.

. 2001 ~ Eva Heinitz, who fled Nazi Germany in the prime of her career as a cello performer and was one of the first professional viola da gamba players in modern times, died at the age of 94. Heinitz, a native of Berlin, soared to prominence as a brilliant, temperamental soloist with the greatest orchestras of Europe in her 20s. Initially instructed on the cello, Heinitz taught herself to play the smaller instrument and performed the Bach Passions under the direction of Wilhelm Furtwangler and Otto Klemperer, who called her the world’s best viola da gamba player. Heinitz, who once described herself as “51 percent” Jewish, fled Germany in 1933. She lived in Paris and London, moved to New York in 1939 and was hired by Fritz Reiner as a section cellist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. She came to Seattle in 1948 and was hired as faculty cellist at the University of Washington. During her 28-year tenure, she became one of the founders of the early-music revival, which brought a renewed interest in music and instruments of the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1991, her international colleagues gathered in Indiana and accorded her the title “Grande Dame du Violoncelle” – great lady of the cello.

. 2001 ~ Trinh Cong Son, Vietnam’s most beloved singer-songwriter who opposed the Vietnam War and sought postwar reconciliation, died after a long battle with diabetes at the age of 62. Dubbed the “Bob Dylan of Vietnam” by American folk singer Joan Baez for his anti-war songs, his music is still widely performed in Vietnam and in overseas Vietnamese communities. Son, who was persecuted by the South Vietnamese government in the late 1960s and early ’70s, wrote more than 600 songs. His pacifist songs about the futility of war were banned at the time, but bootleg copies circulated throughout South Vietnam and overseas. When the war ended, most of Son’s family fled overseas but he stayed. He was equally unpopular with the new Communist government for his songs about reconciliation and spent 10 years in forced labor “re-education camps.” But by the late ’80s, he regained popularity, and his songs are still performed by some of Vietnam’s biggest pop artists.

. 2001 ~ Theodore M. “Ted” McCarty, a key figure in the development of the electric guitar and former president of Gibson Guitar Co., died at the age of 91. In his 18 years as president at Gibson, McCarty transformed the Kalamazoo, Mich.-based maker of acoustic musical instruments into the purveyor of guitars to the stars. The solid-body electric guitar was considered something of a gimmick when McCarty left the Wurlitzer Co. to join Gibson in 1948. He had a degree in commercial engineering and had been an engineering designer for the military during World War II. Despite not being musically inclined, McCarty saw possibilities in the electric guitar. At Gibson, he helped bring to life the Les Paul series, named for the blues guitarist who endorsed it, the Explorer series, widely used by both rock and country guitarists, and the radical Flying V. McCarty later bought the Bigsby Co., which manufactures vibratos for guitars. He sold the company and retired in 1999.

. 2015 ~ Cynthia Lennon, the late John Lennon’s wife from 1962-1968, has died at age 75.

On March 28 in Music History

today

. 1880 ~ Rosina Lhevinne, piano teacher

. 1881 ~ Modest Mussorgsky, Russian composer, died from alcoholism. Best known for his “Pictures from an Exhibition” and the opera “Boris Godunov.”

. 1890 ~ Paul Whiteman, Bandleader, Washboard Blues, Ol’ Man River, Felix the Cat, Heartache and Ain’t Misbehavin’

. 1903 ~ Rudolph Serkin, Austrian concert pianist: “An artist of unusual and impressive talents in possession of a crystalline technique, plenty of power, delicacy, and tone pure and full.
A masterly musician … a scholar of profound art without pedantry, with the loftiest conceptions of beauty, whose every thought and emotion is for the glory of his art.

. 1905 ~ Frances Clark, Music Educator

. 1915 ~ Jay Livingston, Composer

. 1923 ~ Thad Jones (Thaddeus Joseph Jones), Trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, played with Count Basie, Thelonious Monk; bandleader for Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, composer

. 1930 ~ Robert Ashley, American composer

. 1930 ~ Eric Dixon, Saxophonist/flutist with the Count Basie Orchestra

. 1930 ~ Bill Anthony, Jazz musician, bass

. 1939 ~ Hal Kemp and his orchestra recorded Three Little Fishies for Victor Records.

. 1942 ~ Samuel Ramey, American bass

. 1943 ~ Sergei Rachmaninov, Russian composer and virtuoso pianist, died in California; best known for his piano concertos and his Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini”.

. 1944 ~ WQXR radio in New York City, owned by The New York Times newspaper, banned singing commercials from its airwaves as of this day. Understandable, since the station has always been the classical music voice of Manhattan and there aren’t many classical singing commercials.

. 1945 ~ Chuck Portz, Bass with The Turtles

. 1947 ~ Barry Miles, Musician: keyboardist

. 1949 ~ Milan Williams, Keyboards, drums, trombone, guitar with Commodores

. 1955 ~ Reba (Nell) McEntire, Multi-Grammy, CMA, ACM Award-winning singer

. 1963 ~ Alec A Templeton, composer/pianist (Alec Templeton Time), died at the age of 52

 

. 1964 ~ Radio Caroline debuted as the first pirate radio station to broadcast off the coast of England. On this day in 1964, the combination of rock music and lively disk jockey patter played to a huge audience in Great Britain; but well out of reach of British authorities. However, that didn’t stop them from trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to shut down the radio station ship. Radio Caroline had become competition to the staid and usually dull British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Today, all that is different, as there is licensed radio competition throughout Great Britain. The BBC and the giant, government-owned network has caught up with the times by offering five different services to appeal to wide audiences. They are simply known as ‘Radio 1′ through ‘Radio 5′ … No ‘Zees’, ‘Qs’ or ‘Bees’, just numbers that include a rock channel, a talk channel, a nostalgia/easy listening channel, a classical/fine arts channel and a news channel.

. 1969 ~ Joe Cocker played his first American concert. He entertained fans at Billy Graham’s Fillmore East in New York City.

. 1974 ~ The group, Blue Swede, received a gold record for the single, Hooked on a Feeling.

. 1974 ~ Dorothy Fields passed away

. 1980 ~ Dick (Richard Benjamin) Haymes passed away.  He was an Argentine actor and singer. He was one of the most popular male vocalists of the 1940s and early 1950s. He was the older brother of Bob Haymes, an actor, television host, and songwriter

. 1981 ~ The group, Blondie, featuring Debbie Harry, received a gold record for the tune, Rapture. At the time, the pop~rock hit was perched at the top of the pop music charts. Blondie had eight charted hits. Four of them were million sellers, beginning with their first release, Heart of Glass in 1979. Four of the eight hits were number one on the charts, as well.

. 1985 ~ Roger Waters of Pink Floyd made radio history. His Radio City Music Hall concert in New York was broadcast live using a new high-tech sound system called ‘holophonics’. It is said to have recreated the stage experience in amazing detail.

. 1986 ~ More than 6,000 radio stations of all format varieties (even Muzak) played We are the World simultaneously at 10:15 a.m. EST. The promotion became part of the biggest participatory event in history by linking a human chain of millions of people from sea to sea. Ken Kragen was the promotion genius behind the plan that raised millions of dollars and created awareness for the African famine relief project.

USA for Africa musicians

Conductor
  • Quincy Jones
Soloists (in order of appearance)
  • Lionel Richie
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Paul Simon
  • Kenny Rogers
  • James Ingram
  • Tina Turner
  • Billy Joel
  • Michael Jackson
  • Diana Ross
  • Dionne Warwick
  • Willie Nelson
  • Al Jarreau
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Kenny Loggins
  • Steve Perry
  • Daryl Hall
  • Huey Lewis
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • Kim Carnes
  • Bob Dylan
  • Ray Charles (Also playing Piano and Keyboards)
Chorus (alphabetically)
  • Dan Aykroyd
  • Harry Belafonte
  • Lindsey Buckingham
  • Mario Cipollina
  • Johnny Colla
  • Sheila E.
  • Bob Geldof
  • Bill Gibson
  • Chris Hayes
  • Sean Hopper
  • Jackie Jackson
  • La Toya Jackson
  • Marlon Jackson
  • Randy Jackson
  • Tito Jackson
  • Waylon Jennings
  • Bette Midler
  • John Oates
  • Jeffrey Osborne
  • Anita Pointer
  • June Pointer
  • Ruth Pointer
  • Smokey Robinson
Band
  • David Paich – synthesizers, musician
  • Michael Boddicker – synthesizers, programming
  • Paulinho da Costa – percussion
  • Louis Johnson – bass
  • Michael Omartian – keyboards
  • Greg Phillinganes – keyboards
  • John Robinson – drums

. 2001 ~ Moe Koffman, one of Canada’s best-known jazz musicians, died of cancer at the age of 72. Koffman, whose best known for his flute piece, Swinging Shepherd Blues, was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. He was for decades a regular fixture at the modest Toronto jazz club, George’s Spaghetti House. Koffman, who also played saxophone and clarinet, composed and arranged many of his own pieces. A formidable break in his career came in 1948 after he won a record deal with New York’s Mainstream Records from a magazine contest. He recorded two records with the music house before moving back to Toronto. He received the Order of Canada in 1993 for his outstanding work and service to the arts.

. 2012 ~ Earl Scruggs, American bluegrass musician, died from natural causes at the age of 88

On March 20 in Music History

. 1812 ~ Jan Ladislav Dussek died.  He was a Czech composer and pianist.

. 1828 ~ Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian playwright. He wrote Peer Gynt, which Grieg later set to music.

. 1873 ~ Sergei V Rachmaninov, Russian/US pianist/composer born (Old Style)

. 1890 ~ Lauritz Melchior, Danish-born American tenor
More information about Melchior

. 1890 ~ Beniamino Gigli, Italian operatic tenor, born; with a repertory of over 60 roles, he retired in 1955 after over 40 years singing.

. 1907 ~ Ozzie Nelson, Bandleader, actor in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. He was married to actress, Harriet Nelson and they were the parents of David and Ricky Nelson.

. 1915 ~ Sviatoslav Richter, Russian pianist
More information about Richter

. 1917 ~ Dame Vera Lynn, English singer and sweetheart of British forces during World War Two

. 1920 ~ Marian McPartland, British jazz pianist
More information about McPartland

. 1936 ~ Benny Goodman and his orchestra recorded Christopher Columbus on Victor Records in Chicago, IL.

. 1948 ~ Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra were featured in the first televised symphonic concert. CBS-TV, with help from its then Philadelphia television station, WCAU-TV 10, carried the program from the Philadelphia Academy of Music, the home of the world-famous orchestra. The concert was televised live, at 5 p.m.

Ninety minutes later, NBC-TV carried TV’s second symphonic concert. This one was from Carnegie Hall in New York City. Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra was featured in a presentation of Wagner compositions.

. 1969 ~ Beatle John Lennon married Yoko Ono at the Rock of Gibraltar on this day. Lennon called the location, “quiet, friendly and British.” He was the second Beatle to marry in eight days. Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman were wed a week earlier.

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

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!

Hands According to Pianists.

pianist-hands

Redditor NeokratosRed had an idea: depict the hands of great composers and pianists, according to the characteristics of their music. He shared it on the social media site, and also punted for suggestions of more. It has since received over 300,000 images views, and lots of further suggestions from fellow Redditors and piano geeks.

Whisks for Chopin’s elegant pianistic souffles, feather dusters for the gentle impressionism of Debussy, instruments of trade for the composer of the thunderous Hammerklavier sonata.

Piano, and the internet – top marks to the both of you.

via This infographic of composers’ hands is painfully (and hilariously) accurate | Classic FM.

April 1 in Music History

 

And by a weird calendar this year…

 

It’s also April Fool’s Day

OCMS. 1866 ~ Ferruccio Busoni, Italian pianist and composer
Read quotes by and about Busoni
More information about Busoni

OCMS 1873 ~ Sergei Rachmaninoff, Russian-born American composer and pianist
Read quotes by and about Rachmaninoff
More information about Rachmaninoff

. 1895 ~ Alberta Hunter, American blues singer

. 1909 ~ Eddie Duchin, Bandleader

. 1917 ~ Scott Joplin, U.S. jazz musician famous for his ragtime pieces notably The Entertainer, died.

. 1932 ~ Jane Powell, Singer

. 1932 ~ Debbie Reynolds, Entertainer

. 1984 ~ Marvin (Pentz) Gaye, Jr. passed away.

. 1985 ~ The long-awaited album, We Are the World, was finally released. Eight rock stars donated previously unreleased material for the LP. Three million copies of the award-winning single of the same name had already been sold. The song, We Are the World, was number five, and moving up, on the Billboard magazine pop single’s chart this day.

. 1991 ~ Martha Graham passed away.  She was an American modern dancer and choreographer.

. 2001 ~ Eva Heinitz, who fled Nazi Germany in the prime of her career as a cello performer and was one of the first professional viola da gamba players in modern times, died at the age of 94. Heinitz, a native of Berlin, soared to prominence as a brilliant, temperamental soloist with the greatest orchestras of Europe in her 20s. Initially instructed on the cello, Heinitz taught herself to play the smaller instrument and performed the Bach Passions under the direction of Wilhelm Furtwangler and Otto Klemperer, who called her the world’s best viola da gamba player. Heinitz, who once described herself as “51 percent” Jewish, fled Germany in 1933. She lived in Paris and London, moved to New York in 1939 and was hired by Fritz Reiner as a section cellist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. She came to Seattle in 1948 and was hired as faculty cellist at the University of Washington. During her 28-year tenure, she became one of the founders of the early-music revival, which brought a renewed interest in music and instruments of the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1991, her international colleagues gathered in Indiana and accorded her the title “Grande Dame du Violoncelle” – great lady of the cello.

. 2001 ~ Trinh Cong Son, Vietnam’s most beloved singer-songwriter who opposed the Vietnam War and sought postwar reconciliation, died after a long battle with diabetes at the age of 62. Dubbed the “Bob Dylan of Vietnam” by American folk singer Joan Baez for his anti-war songs, his music is still widely performed in Vietnam and in overseas Vietnamese communities. Son, who was persecuted by the South Vietnamese government in the late 1960s and early ’70s, wrote more than 600 songs. His pacifist songs about the futility of war were banned at the time, but bootleg copies circulated throughout South Vietnam and overseas. When the war ended, most of Son’s family fled overseas but he stayed. He was equally unpopular with the new Communist government for his songs about reconciliation and spent 10 years in forced labor “re-education camps.” But by the late ’80s, he regained popularity, and his songs are still performed by some of Vietnam’s biggest pop artists.

. 2001 ~ Theodore M. “Ted” McCarty, a key figure in the development of the electric guitar and former president of Gibson Guitar Co., died at the age of 91. In his 18 years as president at Gibson, McCarty transformed the Kalamazoo, Mich.-based maker of acoustic musical instruments into the purveyor of guitars to the stars. The solid-body electric guitar was considered something of a gimmick when McCarty left the Wurlitzer Co. to join Gibson in 1948. He had a degree in commercial engineering and had been an engineering designer for the military during World War II. Despite not being musically inclined, McCarty saw possibilities in the electric guitar. At Gibson, he helped bring to life the Les Paul series, named for the blues guitarist who endorsed it, the Explorer series, widely used by both rock and country guitarists, and the radical Flying V. McCarty later bought the Bigsby Co., which manufactures vibratos for guitars. He sold the company and retired in 1999.

. 2015 ~ Cynthia Lennon, the late John Lennon’s wife from 1962-1968, has died at age 75.