Erik Satie (1866-1925)
Sandor Vegh (1905-1997)
Birgit Nilsson (1918-2005)
Dennis Brain (1921-1957)
Taj Mahal (1942)
Paul Crossley (1944)
Brian Rayner Cook (1945)
Bill Bruford (1949)
Ivor Bolton (1958)
Dorothy Richardson (1873-1957)
Alfonso Reyes (1889-1959)
Gary Paulsen (1939)
and from the New Music Box:
May 17, 1846, Belgian-born instrument builder and clarinetist Adolphe
Sax patents the saxophone, an instrument that would have a profound
impact on American jazz. Over a century later, on May 17, 1957, a
computer was used to make music for the first time.
and from the Writer's Almanac:
famous Kreutzer Sonata was first performed on this day in 1803 at
Augarten-Halle in Vienna, Austria. Beethoven had been asked to write a
sonata by George Bridgetower, a handsome and ambitious half-West Indian
violin virtuoso who wished to perform the piece with the great composer.
But Beethoven hated writing custom pieces, and so he put off writing it
until the last minute, leaving the pianoforte copy almost entirely
blank. For the finale, a resentful Beethoven simply tacked on a finale
from an earlier work.
But when Beethoven and Bridgetower began to
play at the 8:00 a.m. concert, both performed beautifully, and
Beethoven was so impressed with Bridgetower’s performance — Bridgetower
improvising much of it — that he jumped up and hugged the violinist
midway through the performance.
Later, however, Bridgetower and
Beethoven quarreled (scholarly opinion differs on the nature of the
argument — some say it was about a man they both knew, some say it was
about Beethoven doing such a last-minute job on the original
composition) and Beethoven angrily undedicated the sonata to Bridgetower
and rededicated it to Rudolph Kreutzer, a prominent Parisian violinist
who had recently traveled to Vienna. It is rumored that when Kreutzer
first saw the composition, he proclaimed the part written for violin too
difficult to play. He is believed to have never played the sonata that
now carries his name.
What became of Bridgetower after the Augarten concert is lost to history.