Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Robert Fayrfax (1464-1521)
Andrea Luchesi (1741-1801)
Ruggiero Leoncavallo (1857-1919)
Arthur Farwell (1872-1952)
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986)
Artie Shaw (1910-2004)
Jean Françaix (1912-1997)
Alicia de Larrocha (1923-2009)
Robert Moog (1934-2005)
Roy Orbison (1936-1988)
Joel Feigin (1951)

and

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
James Patrick (J. P.) Donleavy (1926-2017)
Coleman Barks (1937)
Barry Hannah (1942-2010)-
Jane Kenyon (1947-1995)

From the former Writer's Almanac:

Today is the birthday of Roy Orbison (1936), born in Vernon, Texas. One day, during a songwriting session with his partner Bill Dees, Orbison asked his wife, Claudette Frady Orbison, if she needed any money for her upcoming trip to Nashville. Dees remarked, “Pretty woman never needs any money.” Forty minutes later, Orbison’s most famous hit, “Oh, Pretty Woman,” had been written.
And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1993, Morten Lauridsen's "Les Chanson des Roses"(five French poems by Rilke) for mixed chorus and piano was premiered by the Choral Cross-Ties ensemble of Portland, Ore., Bruce Browne conducting.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709)
Dame Ethel Smyth (1858-1944)
Eric Fenby (1906-1997)
Kathleen Ferrier (1912-1953)
Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999)
Charles Mingus 1922-1979)
Michael Colgrass (1932)
Jaroslav Krcek (1939)
Joshua Rifkin (1944)
Peter Frampton (1950)
Jukka-Pekka Saraste (1956)

and

Henry Fielding (1707-1754)
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977)
Louise Glück (1943)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this date in 2001, the Philharmonic Hungarica gives its final concert in Düsseldorf. The orchestra was founded by Hungarian musicians who fled to West Germany after the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. For London/Decca Records the Philharmonic Hungarica made the first complete set of all of Haydn's symphonies under the baton of its honorary president, the Hungarian-American conductor Antal Dorati.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Randall Thompson (1899-1984)
Leonard Warren (1911-1960)
Bruno Maderna (1920-1973)
Locksley Wellington 'Slide' Hampton (1932)
Easley Blackwood (1933)
Lionel Rogg (1936)
John McCabe (1939-2015)
Iggy Pop (1947)
Richard Bernas (1950)
Melissa Hui (1966)

and

Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855)
John Muir (1838-1914)
Elaine May (1932)
Nell Freudenberger (1975)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1937, Copland's play-opera for high school "The Second Hurricane," was premiered at the Grand Street Playhouse in New York City, with soloists from the Professional Children's School, members of the Henry Street Settlement adult chorus, and the Seward High School student chorus, with Lehman Engle conducting and Orson Welles directing the staged production. One professional adult actor, Joseph Cotten, also participated (He was paid $10).

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Nikolai Miaskovsky (1881-1950)
Lionel Hampton (1908-2002)
Christopher Robinson (1936)
John Eliot Gardiner (1943)
Robert Kyr (1952)

and


Pietro Aretino (1492-1556) Harold Lloyd (1893-1971)
Joan Miró (1893-1983)
Sebastian Faulks (1953)

And from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1928, in Paris, the first public demonstration of an electronic instrument invented by Maurice Martenot called the "Ondes musicales" took place. The instrument later came to be called the "Ondes Martenot," and was included in scores by Milhaud, Messiaen, Jolivet, Ibert, Honegger, Florent Schmitt and other 20th century composers.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Alexandre Pierre François Boëly (1785-1858)
Max von Schillings (1868-1933)
Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983)
Ruben Gonzalez (1919-2003)
Dudley Moore (1935-2002)
Bernhard Klee (1936)
Kenneth Riegel (1938)
Jonathan Tunick (1938)
David Fanshawe (1942-2010)
Murray Perahia (1947)
Yan-Pascal Tortelier (1947)
Natalie Dessay (1965)

and

Sarah Kemble Knight (1666-1727)
Etheridge Knight (1931-1991)
Sharon Pollock (1936)
Stanley Fish (1938)

and from the New Music Box:

On April 19, 1775, William Billings and Supply Belcher, two of the earliest American composers who at the time were serving as Minutemen (militia members in the American Revolutionary War who had undertaken to turn out for service at a minute's notice), marched to Cambridge immediately after receiving an alarm from Lexington about an impending armed engagement with the British.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Young artists shine in the spotlight with the Vancouver Symphony (WA)

Every year as I get older, the young people seem to get younger. That was especially true at the Vancouver Symphony concert on Saturday afternoon (April 13), which featured the gold medal winners of its annual young artists contest. This time around, one of the winners, Julin Cheung, was only eleven years old! That is the youngest winner ever that I am aware of.

Cheung won the wind competition and played Vivaldi’s Flute Concerto No. 2 (“La notte”) with as much verve, artistry, and technique as a seasoned flutist twice his age. His tone was beautiful and clear. He created trills that lingered exquisitely. He leaned into long notes and let the short ones flow smoothly. Combined with excellent breath control and tremendous poise, Cheung made the music a pleasure to hear and look a lot easier than it was – the sign of a fine artist indeed. The audience responded to an immediate standing ovation. Cheung is someone to keep an eye on…

Next on the program came Aaron Greene, a tall 17-year-old, who has been one of the co-concertmasters of the Portland Youth Philharmonic for the past two years. Greene delivered an outstanding performance of Ravel’s “Tzigane.” His opening cadenza showed flashes of inspiration that conveyed the gypsy-imbued spirit of the piece. He excelled with double-stops and the pizzicato passages and supplied a bit of fire to finish off the emotive phrases. Supported by sensitive playing by the harp and the orchestra, Greene created a fine freewheeling swirl of sound through the rest of the piece with only a brief problem with a tricky pizzicato phrase.

Jenna Tu, a 16-year-old pianist, gave a lovely interpretation of the first movement of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. She played with terrific confidence and artistry, creating a deep, rich sound in the opening segment. All of the wonderful melodies that surge forward and ebb to the back sparkled in the hands of Tu. Her pacing was excellent, including the build up to the final theme. It was fun to follow her fingers on the big screens above the stage and watch her elegant technique. Like Greene and Cheung, Tu received thunderous applause from an enthusiastic audience. Music Director Salvador Brotons brought all three soloists out on stage for one final bow that everyone appreciated.

The second half of the program was devoted to Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade,” one of the most popular of all symphonic works in the Romantic style. Brotons, conducting from memory, inspired an evocative performance from the orchestra. The brass established an angry sultan. Concertmaster Eva Richey spun the image of the story-telling wife, Scheherazade. The strings and woodwinds generated the ocean waves and all the forces contributed to the swashbuckling adventures in exotic lands. Excellent contributions abounded, especially from principal French Horn (Dan Partridge), clarinet (Igor Shakhman) , bassoon (Margaret McShea), trombone (Graham Middleton), flute (Rachel Rencher), harp (Matthew Tutsky), trumpet (Bruce Dunn) and oboe (Alan Juza) and the rock solid percussion section. The dynamics could have provided more contrast and there was occasional muddiness in the strings, but overall, the orchestra transported listeners to a realm of imagination that only vanished with the final waves of notes.

Today's Birthdays

Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674)
Franz von Suppé (1819-1895)
Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977)
Miklós Rózsa (1907-1995)
Sylvia Fisher (1910-1996)
Penelope Thwaites (1944)
Catherine Maltfitano (1948)

and

Clarence Darrow (1857-1938)
Bob Kaufman (1925-1986)
Susan Faludi (1959)

Also a historical tidbit from (the former) Writer's Almanac:

On this day in 1906 an earthquake struck San Francisco. The earthquake began at 5:12 a.m. and lasted for a little over a minute. The world-famous tenor Enrico Caruso had performed at San Francisco's Grand Opera House the night before, and he woke up in his bed as the Palace Hotel was falling down around him. He stumbled out into the street, and because he was terrified that that shock might have ruined his voice, he began singing. Nearly 3,000 people died.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Today's Birthdays

Johann David Heinichen (1683-1729)
Jan Václav Tomášek (1774-1850)
Artur Schnabel (1882-1951)
Maggie Teyte (1888-1976)
Harald Saeverud (1897-1992)
Gregor Piatigorsky (1903-1976)
Pamela Bowden (1925-2003)
James Last (1929-2015)
Anja Silja (1940)
Siegfried Jerusalem (1940)
Cristina Ortiz (1950)

and

Karen Blixen aka Isak Dinesen (1885-1962)
Thornton Wilder (1897-1975)
Brendan Kennelly (1936)

and from the Composers Datebook:

On this day in 1906 - on tour in San Francisco with the Metropolitan Opera touring company, the great Italian tenor Enrico Caruso sings a performance of Bizet's "Carmen" the day before the Great San Francisco Earthquake.