It’s Vladimir’s Birthday!

Vladimir Horowitz

 

 

Destined to become one of the world’s greatest pianists, Vladimir Horowitz was born in 1903 in Kiev, Russia. While most young children were playing games, Vladimir was playing with the ivories. His time was well spent as he was fully capable of performing publicly by the time he was sixteen.

Within four years, the young piano virtuoso was entertaining audiences at recitals throughout Leningrad – 23 performances in one year, where he played over 200 different works of music, never repeating a composition. After Leningrad, Horowitz played in concerts in Berlin, Hamburg and Paris.

In 1928, the Russian pianist traveled to the United States to play with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Arturo Toscanini chose Horowitz to perform his first solo with the New York Philharmonic. It was there that Horowitz met his bride-to-be, Toscanini’s daughter, Wanda. The two were wed in Milan in 1933. New York became Horowitz’ permanent home in 1940. He became a U.S. citizen a few years later, devoting the rest of his career to benefit performances, and helping young, aspiring artists.

His return to the concert stage in May of 1965 was a triumphant success, as was his television recital, Vladimir Horowitz at Carnegie Hall.

Just three years before his death, Vladimir Horowitz returned to his homeland to perform once again for the Russian people on April 20, 1986. They felt he had been away far too long … close to sixty years.

     Horowitz’s birthday

     anniversary of Horowitz’s death

     History of the Piano

     News Item including Horowitz

 

October 1 ~ in Music History

OCMS 1865 ~ Paul Dukas, French composer and music critic Paul Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was featured in the Walt Disney movie Fantasia and Fantasia 2000. More information about Dukas

• 1880 ~ A new director of the United States Marine Corps Band was named. It was fitting that John Philip Sousa have that position. He composed the Marine Corps hymn, Semper Fidelis.

OCMS 1904 ~ Vladimir Horowitz, Russian-born American concert pianist
More information about Horowitz

• 1926 ~ Max Morath, Ragtime pianist

• 1926 ~ Roger Williams (Louis Weertz), Pianist

• 1928 ~ Duke Ellington recorded The Mooche on the Okeh label.

• 1928 ~ Forever, by Ben Pollack and his band, was recorded on Victor Records. In Pollack’s band were two talented young musicians: Benny Goodman and Jack Teagarden.

• 1932 ~ Albert Collins, Grammy Award-winning musician, blues guitarist, songwriter, Blues Hall of Fame in 1989

• 1933 ~ Richard Harris, Actor, singer

• 1935 ~ Julie Andrews, British singer and actress.

• 1943 ~ Herb Fame (Feemster), Singer – Herb of Peaches & Herb

• 1944 ~ Scott McKenzie (Phillip Blondheim), Singer, songwriter

• 1945 ~ Donny Hathaway, Singer, sang with Roberta Flack

• 1956 ~ Albert Von Tilzer, died
More information about Von Tilzer

• 1966 ~ I Love My Dog was released by Cat Stevens. He was 19 years old. Five years later, he recorded such hits as Wild World, Morning Has Broken, Peace Train and Oh Very Young. By 1979, Cat Stevens (born Steven Demitri Georgiou), disenchanted with the music business, converted to the Islamic religion and changed his name to Yusef Islam. He may not have liked the music biz anymore but Cat still loves his dog.

• 2000 ~ Robert Allen, who composed songs performed by Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis and Billie Holiday, died at the age of 73. Allen wrote his biggest hits with lyricist Al Stillman. The two collaborated on “Chances Are”, and “It’s Not for Me to Say”, which were major hits for Mathis, as well as a series of hits for the group The Four Lads in the mid-1950s. They also wrote “Home for the Holidays”, which has been recorded by dozens of performers, such as Garth Brooks and Andy Williams. On his own, Allen wrote the fight song for Auburn University and soundtrack music for the movies “Lizzie”, ” Enchanted Island”, and “Happy Anniversary.” In 1963, he wrote the music for and produced “Three Billion Millionaires”, a benefit album for the United Nations by Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Danny Kaye, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jack Benny and Carol Burnett.

• 2018 ~ Charles Aznavour, French singing star, died at the age of 94

July 4 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

Micky-mouse-4th-of-July-greetings

Today is a great day for patriotic music and there’s nothing better than John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever

A part of every Fourth of July program at the Esplanade in Boston involves a giant American flag unfurling from the ceiling during the Stars and Stripes.  Can you find it?

Piano arrangement by Vladimir Horowitz:

With Horowitz playing:

Marching band:

The Muppets version of Stars and Stripes forever

The animated graphical score:

The Band of the Grenadier Guards

The same melody can be heard with these words:

John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever is never part of a regular circus program. It is reserved for emergency use – sometimes called the “Disaster March”. If a major problem happens — an animal gets loose, a high wind threatens the tent, or a fire breaks out — the band plays the march as a warning signal to every worker on the circus lot that something is wrong.

Find piano arrangements of the Stars and Stripes Forever in Movement 2

Closing out today, enjoy The Year 1812, Festival Overture in E♭ major, Op. 49, popularly known as the 1812 Overture by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Fourth of July!

july4-eisenhower

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain.

Independence Day fireworks are often accompanied by patriotic songs such as the national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner”, “God Bless America”, “America the Beautiful”, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”, “This Land Is Your Land”, “Stars and Stripes Forever”, and, regionally, “Yankee Doodle” in northeastern states and “Dixie” in southern states. Some of the lyrics recall images of the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812.

A bit of audio for your listening pleasure, as played by Vladimir Horowitz…

 

June 15 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

liszt-hungarian

Today’s assignment is Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp minor. It is the second in a set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies by composer Franz Liszt, and is by far the most famous of the set.

In both the original piano solo form and in the orchestrated version this composition has enjoyed widespread use in animated cartoons. Its themes have also served as the basis of several popular songs.

Above, Danish comedian and pianist Victor Borge gives every impression of having been asked to play a duet with someone whom he not only doesn’t know but doesn’t particularly like. Forced to come up with a mutually agreeable way of sharing the musical workload, he settles on the most difficult route possible.

It’s not clear why two pianists were needed for this performance of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2, S.244/2.  I think that they did it just for the fun of it.  The result is hilarious.

They’re not the only ones to tackle Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 as a piano duo.

We also have these guys:

 

The “history” of this piece in several cartoons:

This is very interesting:

As he often did, Horowitz arranged it more for his liking:

 

Finally, for real:

June 12 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

Since we had the Bridal Chorus a couple days ago, it’s time to march the bride and groom back up the aisle with the Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn.

This Wedding March comes from Mendelssohn’s incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It became customary to play this at marriage ceremonies from about the mid 19th Century, and particularly after the daughter (also called Victoria) of Queen Victoria chose the piece for her own wedding in 1858.

Notice all the triplets (3)!  If you don’t know what they are, be sure to ask at your next lesson.

Find this in Movement 2 and Piano Maestro.

 

 

Franz Liszt and Vladimir Horowitz added some variations

On an organ

An organist who needed a bit more practice

With an orchestra

See you tomorrow!

 

June 3 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

Today we’re going to listen and learn about the opera Carmen.

I chose this for today since it’s the anniversary of French composer Georges Bizet‘s death.

Georges Bizet was born in Paris, France. Both his parents were musicians, and they actually wanted their son to become a composer when he grew up! Bizet loved music, but he also loved to read books. His parents wound up hiding his books so that he would spend more time on his music.

When Georges was 10 years old, his father enrolled him in the Paris Conservatory. While he was there, he wrote his only symphony, but it wasn’t performed until many years after he died. Bizet graduated from the Conservatory with awards in both composition and piano.

Bizet also composed operas. His most famous opera is Carmen. When Carmen first opened in Paris, the reviews were terrible. Many critics said there were no good tunes in it, so audiences stayed away.

In the middle of the night during the first round of Carmen performances, Bizet died. He was only 36. Four months later, Carmen opened in Vienna, Austria, and was a smash hit. It is now one of the most popular operas ever written. Bizet never knew that audiences would come to consider it his masterpiece.

 

Vladimir Horowitz made Carmen his own by turning it into a fantasy (or the more musical spelling – fantasie).

The fantasia (Italian; also English: fantasy, fancy, fantazy, phantasy, German: Fantasie, Phantasie, French: fantaisie) is a musical composition with its roots in the art of improvisation. Because of this, like the impromptu, it seldom approximates the textbook rules of any strict musical form.

When you play wrong notes for an audience, just tell the audience it’s a “Fantasie”, not the original work!

As you can see, Carmen is a popular work. Here it is for two pianos, played by Anderson and Roe.

The Canadian Brass tell the story of Carmen in their own humorous words.

If you want to learn this, just let me know!