Eugen d'Albert (1864-1932)
Henry Wood (1869-1944)
Margaret Bonds (1913-1972)
Frank Wigglesworth (1918-1996)
Doc Watson (1923-2012)
Martin Lovett (1927)
Florence Quivar (1944)
Roberta Alexander (1949)
Katia Labèque (1950)
James Merrill (1926-1995)
From the Writer's Almanac:
Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata was published on this date in 1802.
Its real name is the slightly less evocative “Piano Sonata No. 14 in C
Sharp Minor, Opus 27, No. 2,” and its Italian subtitle is translated as
“almost a fantasy.” In 1832, five years after Beethoven’s death, a
German critic compared the sonata to the effect of moonlight shining on
Lake Lucerne, and the interpretation became so popular that, by the end
of the century, the piece was universally known as the “Moonlight
Sonata.” Beethoven himself had attributed the emotion of the piece to
sitting at the bedside of a friend who had suffered an untimely death.
It was on this day in 1875 that the opera Carmen
appeared on stage for the first time at the Opéra-Comique in France.
When it premiered, the audience was shocked by the characters of Carmen,
a gypsy girl, and her lover, Don José. The opera ran for 37
performances even though it came out late in the season, and it came
back the next season, too.
Nietzsche heard Carmen 20 different
times, and thought of it as a musical masterpiece. Tchaikovsky first
heard Carmen in 1880. Bizet died of a heart attack just three months
after the opera's debut.
It was on this day in 1931 that "The Star-Spangled Banner" became the official national anthem of the United States.
lyrics come from a poem written by Francis Scott Key more than a
century before, "Defence of Fort McHenry." He'd spent a night toward the
end of the War of 1812 hearing the British navy bombard Baltimore,
Maryland. The bombardment lasted 25 hours — and in the dawn's early
light, Francis Scott Key emerged to see the U.S. flag still waving over
Fort McHenry. He jotted the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry" on the back
of an envelope. Then he went to his hotel and made another copy, which
was printed in the Baltimore American a week later.
The tune for
the Star-Spangled Banner comes from an old British drinking song called
"To Anacreon in Heaven," which was very popular at men's social clubs
in London during the 1700s. Francis Scott Key himself did the pairing of
the tune to his poem. It was a big hit.
For the next century, a
few different anthems were used at official U.S. ceremonies, including
"My Country Tis of Thee" and "Hail Columbia." The U.S. Navy adopted "The
Star-Spangled Banner" for its officialdom in 1889, and the presidency
did in 1916. But it wasn't until this day in 1931 — just 80 years ago —
that Congress passed a resolution and Hoover signed into law the decree
that "The Star-Spangled Banner" was the official national anthem of the
United States of America.