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Old March 28th, 2017, 09:41 AM   #1

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On this Day in Music (TWO)

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in 1621 - Heinrich Schwemmer, composer is born.
in 1643 - Jose Solana, composer is born.

in 1687 - Constantine Huygens, diplomat/poet/composer (Bluebottles), dies at 90.

Sir Constantijn Huygens, Lord of Zuilichem (4 September 1596 – 28 March 1687), was a Dutch Golden Age poet and composer. He was secretary to two Princes of Orange: Frederick Henry and William II, and the father of the scientist Christiaan Huygens.

Constantijn Huygens was born in The Hague, the second son of Christiaan Huygens (senior), secretary of the Council of State, and Susanna Hoefnagel, niece of the Antwerp painter Joris Hoefnagel.

Constantijn was a gifted child in his youth. His brother Maurits and he were educated partly by their father and partly by carefully instructed governors. When he was five years old, Constantijn and his brother received their first musical education.

They started with singing lessons, and they learned their notes using gold colored buttons on their jackets. It is striking, that Christiaan senior imparted the "modern" system of 7 note names to the boys, instead of the traditional, but much more complicated hexachord system. Two years later the first lessons on the viol started, followed by the lute and the harpsichord. Constantijn showed a particular acumen for the lute. At the age of eleven he was already asked to play for ensembles, and later — during his diplomatic travels — his lute playing was in demand; he was asked to play at the Danish Court and for James I of England, although they were not known for their musical abilities.

They were also schooled in art through their parents art collection, but also their connection to the magnificent collection of paintings in the Antwerp house of diamond and jewellery dealer, Gaspar Duarte (1584–1653), who was a Portuguese Jewish exile.

Constantijn also had a talent for languages. He learned French, Latin and Greek, and at a later age Italian and English. He learned by practice, the modern way of learning techniques. Constantijn received education in maths, law and logic and he learned how to handle a pike and a musket.

In 1614 Constantijn wrote his first Dutch poem, inspired by the French poet Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas, in which he praises rural life. In his early 20s, he fell in love with Dorothea, however their relationship did not last and Dorothea met someone else.

In 1616, Maurits and Constantijn started studies at Leiden University. Studying in Leiden was primarily seen as a way to build a social network. Shortly after, Maurits was called home to assist his father. Constantijn finished his studies in 1617 and returned home. This was followed by six weeks of training with Antonis de Hubert, a lawyer in Zierikzee. De Hubert was committed to the study of language and writing, having held consultations with Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, Laurens Reael and Joost van den Vondel concerning language and orthography in 1623.

In the Spring of 1618 Constantijn found employment with Sir Dudley Carleton, the English envoy at the Court in The Hague. In the summer, he stayed in London in the house of the Dutch ambassador, Noël de Caron. During his time in London his social circle widened and he also learned to speak English. In 1620, towards the end of the Twelve Years' Truce, he travelled as a secretary of ambassador François van Aerssen to Venice, to gain support against the threat of renewed war. He was the only member of the legation who could speak Italian. In January 1621 he traveled to England as the secretary of six envoys of the United Provinces with the object of persuading James I to support the German Protestant Union, returning in April of that year. In December 1621 he left with another delegation, this time with the aim of requesting support for the United Provinces, returning after a year and two months in February 1623. There was yet another trip to England in 1624.

He is often considered a member of what is known as the Muiderkring, a group of leading intellectuals gathered around the poet Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, who met regularly at the castle of Muiden near Amsterdam. In 1619 Constantijn came into contact with Anna Roemers Visscher and with Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft. Huygens exchanged many poems with Anna. In 1621 a poetic exchange with Hooft also starts. Both would always try to exceed the other. In October of that year Huygens sent Jacob Cats a large poem in Dutch, entitled 't Voorhout, about a woodland near the Hague. In December he started writing 't Kostelick Mal, a satirical treatment of the nonsense of the current vogue. In 1623 Huygens wrote his Printen, a description of several characteristics of people. This satirical, moralising work was one of the most difficult of Huygens' poems. In the same year Maria Tesselschade and Allard Crombalch were married. For this occasion verses were written by Huygens, Hooft and Vondel. During the festival, Constantijn flirted with Machteld of Camps. As a result of this he wrote the poem Vier en Vlam. In 1625 the work Otia, or Ledige Uren, was published. This work showcased his collected poems.

In 1622, when Constantijn stayed as a diplomat for more than one year in England, he was knighted by King James I. This marked the end of Constantijn's formative years, and of his youth. Huygens was employed as a secretary to Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, who — after the death of Maurits of Orange — was appointed as stadtholder. In 1626 Constantijn fell in love with Suzanna van Baerle. Earlier courtship by the Huygens family to win her for Maurits had failed. Constantijn wrote several sonnets for her, in which he calls her Sterre (Star). They wed on 6 April 1627.

Huygens describes their marriage in Dagh-werck, a description of one day. He worked on this piece, which contains almost 2000 lines, during the entire time they were married.

The couple had five children: in 1628 their first son, Constantijn Jr., in 1629 Christiaan, in 1631 Lodewijk and in 1633 Philips. In 1637 their daughter Suzanna was born; shortly after her birth their mother died.

Huygens started a successful career despite his grief over the death of his wife (1638). In 1630 he was appointed to the Council and Exchequer, managing the estate of the Orange family. This job provided him with an income of about 1000 florins a year. In that same year he bought the heerlijkheid Zuilichem and became known as Lord of Zuilichem (in Dutch: Heer van Zuilichem). In 1632, Louis XIII of France - the protector of the famous exiled jurist Hugo Grotius - appointed him as Knight of the Order of Saint-Michel. In 1643 Huygens was granted the honor of displaying a golden lily on a blue field in his coat of arms.

In 1634 Huygens received from Prince Frederick Henry a piece of property in The Hague on the north side of the Binnenhof. The land was near the property of a good friend of Huygens, Count Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen, who built his house, the Mauritshuis, around the same time and using the same architect, Huygens' friend Jacob van Campen.

Aside from his membership in the Muiderkring (which was not as formerly supposed, an official club), at the start of the 1630s he was also in touch with René Descartes, with Rembrandt, and the painter Jan Lievens. He became friends with John Donne, and translated his poems into Dutch. He was unable to write poetry for months because of his anguish over his wife's death, but eventually he composed, inspired by Petrarch, the sonnet Op de dood van Sterre (On the death of Sterre), which was well received. He added the poem to his Dagh-werck, which he left unfinished: the day he has described has not ended yet, but his Sterre is already dead. After sending the unfinished work to different friends for approval, he eventually published it in 1658 as part of his Koren-bloemen.

After a couple of years as a widower, Huygens bought a piece of land in Voorburg and commissioned the building of Hofwijck. Hofwijck was inaugurated in 1642 in the company of friends and relatives. Here Huygens hoped to escape the stress at court in The Hague, forming his own "court", indicated by the name of the house which has a double meaning: Hof (=Court or courtyard) Wijck (=avoid or township). In that same year, his brother Maurits died. Due to his grief Huygens wrote little Dutch poetry, but he continued to write epigrams in Latin. Shortly afterwards, he began writing Dutch pun poems, which are very playful by nature. In 1644 and 1645 Huygens began more serious work. As a new year's present for Leonore Hellemans, he composed the Heilige Daghen, a series of sonnets on the Christian holidays. In 1647 he published another work, in which play and seriousness are united, Ooghentroost, addressed to Lucretia of Trello, who was losing her sight and who was already half-blind. The poem was offered as consolation.

From 1650 to 1652 Huygens wrote the poem Hofwijck in which he described the joys of living outside the city. It is thought that Huygens wrote his poetry as a testament to himself, a memento mori, because Huygens lost so many dear friends and family during this time: Hooft (1647), Barlaeus (1648), Maria Tesschelschade (1649) and Descartes (1650).
Education of his sons and the new royal Prince

In 1645, his sons Constantijn Jr. and Christiaan began their studies in Leiden. In these years Prince Frederick Henry of Orange, Huygens' confidante and protector, became increasingly ill, and died in 1647. The new stadtholder, William II of Orange, greatly appreciated Huygens and gave him the estate of Zeelhem, but he died too in 1650.

The emphasis of Huygens' activities moved more and more to his presidency of the Council of the house of Orange, which was in the hands of the young Prince inheritor, a small baby. He traveled frequently during that time, in connection with his work. There were however strong disagreements between the baby's widowed mother in law Amalia van Solms, and widow daughter in law Mary, Princess Royal, (4 November 1631 – 24 December 1660, aged 29) on even the name for christening the Dutch-English Royal newborn.
In 1657, his son Philips died after a short sickness during his Grand Tour while in Prussia. In that same year Huygens became seriously ill, but healed in a miraculous manner.

In 1680 Constantijn Jr. moved with his family out of the house of his father. To stop the gossiping which started shortly afterwards, Huygens write the poem Cluijs-werck, in which he shows a glimpse of the latter stages of his life.

He still tried to find time to publish more of his work. In 1647 a number of Huygens' musical creations, Pathodia sacra et profana, was published in Paris. It contained some compositions in Latin on the words of psalms in French, and Italian amorous worldly texts. The work was dedicated to the pretty niece, Utricia Ogle, of an English diplomat.

In 1648 Huygens wrote Twee ongepaerde handen for a harpsichord. This work was connected with Marietje Casembroot, a twenty-five-year-old harpsichord player, with whom he could share his love for music.

In 1657 the collected work of his Dutch poems, the Koren-bloemen appears. Some of its contents contain: Heilighe Daghen (1645), Ooghen-troost (1647), Hofwijck (1653) and Trijntje Cornelis (1653). This last work, Trijntje Cornelis, is an explosion of Huygens' creativity. It testifies to the rare language - and expressive capacity - of the author. Considering that the piece was written in a rather short time, it can be considered work of an enormous performance. Since his mother Suzanna was from Antwerp, he visited there often and Trijntje Cornelis takes place in Antwerp.

In 1660 his daughter Suzanna married her cousin, Philips Doublet, son of Huygens' sister Geertruijd. In 1661, a grandfather by now, Huygens was sent to France by the circle of tutors of William III, to recover possession of the county of Orange. The county was returned to the family of Orange-Nassau in 1665 and Huygens returned to the Netherlands.

On his return, Huygens designed the new sand road in The Hague, running through the dunes to Scheveningen. He had already planned this road in 1653, and wrote about it in his work the Zee-straet. The road was made according to Huygens' design.

In 1676 the second edition of the Koren-bloemen appeared, a collected work containing 27 books. New in this edition were the Zee-straet, the Mengelingh (a section of serious poems written after 1657) and seven books with snel-dichten (quick poems). As he was older now, Huygens found refuge in music. He wrote around 769 compositions during his lifetime.
Constantijn Huygens died in The Hague on Good Friday, 28 March 1687 at the age of 90. A week later he was buried in the Grote Kerk in the Hague, together with his son, the famous scientist Christiaan Huygens.

In 1947 a literary award was created, the Constantijn Huygens Award, to honor his legacy.

in 1737 - Francesco Zannetti, composer is born.
in 1741 - Johann Andre, composer is born.
in 1766 - Joseph Weigl, Austria composer/conductor (Emmeline) is born.
in 1779 - Angelo Maria Benincori, composer is born.
in 1817 - Mariano Soriano Fuertes y Piqueras, composer is born.
in 1818 - Giuseppe Antonio Capuzzi, composer, dies at 62.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQdrNcj-rxA&feature=related"]YouTube - Capuzzi Double Bass Concerto[/ame]
in 1847 - Mariano Rodriguiz de Ledesma, composer, dies at 67.
in 1856 - Pyotr Ivanovich Turchaninov, composer, dies at 76.
in 1859 - 1st performance of John Brahms' 1st Serenade for orchestra.
in 1860 - Johann Ludwig Bohner, composer, dies at 73.
in 1868 - Wojciech Gawronski, composer is born.
in 1877 - Vincenzo Fioravanti, composer, dies at 77.
in 1880 - Rosina Lh‚vinne, Kiev Ukraine, pianist/prof (Juiliard Grad School) is born.
in 1880 - Achille Peri, composer, dies at 67.

in 1881 - Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, composer, dies at 42 [OS=Mar 16] Mussorgsky (1839-1881) is generally acclaimed the finest of the group of Russian composers known as the Mighty Five.

Without Modest Mussorgsky the notion of the Russian 19th century as one of musical realism would be unsupportable. In his operas, especially Boris Godunov, he successfully explored human emotions and failings individually and collectively in a new and forthright manner singularly bereft of the pretensions and emotional excess of the 19th century. His operatic work marks a crossroads in the understanding and use of the form in music history.

Mussorgsky was born on March 9, 1839, in the village of Karevo in the Pskov district. His family was of the middle landed gentry, which placed them high above the serfs, although Mussorgsky had some serf blood. His cultured mother gave him piano lessons and encouraged his clumsy but early efforts at composition. At 10 he went to St. Petersburg to study piano with Anton Herke, to prepare for cadet school, and to be tutored in the ways of a young urban gentleman. He entered the Imperial Guards Cadet School in 1852 and, in the course of the year, published (at his family's expense) Porte Enseigne Polka for his classmates. His lessons with Herke continued until 1854. Mussorgsky joined the glittering Preobrazhensky Imperial Guards Regiment in 1856.

As a teen-age officer, Mussorgsky met, while on duty, Aleksandr Borodin, a medical officer. The two were not to come together as members of the Mighty Five for some few years, but Borodin remembered Mussorgsky as a smart, dapper, well-mannered, slightly French and slightly foppish youth who played the piano coquettishly at parties, eliciting cries of "charmant!" and "delicieux!" from the assembled young women.
The years brought considerable change in that image. In 1859 Mussorgsky met Aleksandr Dargomyzhsky, who introduced him to César Cui, also a military officer, and to Mily Balakirev, later the leader of the Mighty Five. In late 1857 and 1858 Mussorgsky went through the first of several emotional crises and resigned from the Guards in 1859.

That same year he spoke to Balakirev of having been "reborn," not only in the sense of recovery from his nervous disorder but in his conversion, he said, from cosmopolitan to patriot. The thinking of the music and art critic Vladimir Stasov is reflected here, but more particularly that of the Russian social critics Chernyshevsky and Dobroliubov. Among these new friends, Mussorgsky was writing music with some seriousness. In 1860 his Scherzo in B-flat for orchestra was performed in St. Petersburg. In 1861 Mussorgsky's financial base was destroyed: the emancipation of the serfs led to the liquidation, over a 2-year period, of the family estate.

In the early 1860s Mussorgsky felt musically dependent on, but fretted under, Balakirev and was close to Dargomyzhsky. Mussorgsky had established certain work patterns: he started something new with great enthusiasm only to bog down in self-doubt, insecure in his technical abilities. Three projected operas were among such works. Mussorgsky did not associate with the other members of the Balakirev circle but with "proletarian" friends in a communal setting. In 1863 he began work on the opera Salammbo (from Gustave Flaubert's novel). Although he did not finish it, music from this opera figured in later work, most importantly in Boris Godunov. He left another opera, The Marriage (1864-1868), unfinished; Cherepnin completed the work in 1909.

By 1869 Mussorgsky had abandoned his communal style of living and reentered government service, in the Forestry Department. He was already a serious alcoholic with epileptic tendencies. Though he was a nominal member of the Mighty Five (the term, literally the "Mighty Fist," was used by Stasov in 1867), his life style set him apart from the others. Indeed, he often denied vehemently his belonging, creatively, to any group.
From a suggestion by Stasov, but developing his own ideas and preparing his own libretto from texts by Aleksandr Pushkin and Nicolai Karamzin, Mussorgsky set to work on Boris Godunov in 1868. The first version was finished in 1869; that date was but the beginning of a fitful series of redrawings of music and scenario by Mussorgsky and others which has probably not even yet ended. He returned to it in 1871 and again in 1872 but was lured away by, among other things, the joint effort at an opera, Mlada, by himself, Borodin, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and Cui.

The collective effort was abortive, but all used music from it for other works. In 1872 Mussorgsky also started Khovanshchina, an opera based on another Russian historical episode. This, too, was unfinished, but enough was done to establish it as one of his major works. He worked on Khovanshchina and another opera, Sorochinsk Fair (finished by Liadov and Karatygin), until 1880. The period 1871-1881 also saw the piano tribute to artist-architect Viktor Hartmann, Pictures at an Exhibition (1874; orchestrated by various composers, including Maurice Ravel in 1922), The Songs and Dances of Death (1875), and a number of other works, making this, though his last, his most productive decade.

The Mighty Five had begun to disintegrate as a circle after 1872, and Mussorgsky's health was worsening. Near the end of his life he toured with the singer Daria Leonova. He died, more or less in her care, on March 16, 1881, in St. Petersburg.

Musically one turns again and again to Boris Godunov to reveal what Mussorgsky was and what he wanted. The work is intensely, intimately vocal. And, although he wrote effectively for orchestra, the voice was the instrument he trusted and understood (he had given voice lessons). He had a lyric quality that was curiously enhanced by laconic punctuation; and it was just such anomalies that disturbed the doctrinaire Rimsky-Korsakov, who complained of the "absurdity, ugliness, and illogic" of so much of Mussorgsky's music. Made vulnerable by his technical lapses, Mussorgsky thus suffered, too, for his originality.

There is a relentless, inevitable movement forward in Mussorgsky's style, in significant measure related to his understanding of the folk process in music, which provides him with the deftness of the caricaturist's hand: his vignettes of a drunken priest, a clown, an idiot, a vain princess, or a mad czar are sure and convincing. The crowd scenes in Boris Godunov are particularly telling; they range from groups of worshipers through coronation crowds to peasants and soldiers. It is not sufficient to point out the approximations to human speech and sounds; Mussorgsky believed that speech itself followed strict musical rules and that music, like all art, is a means of communicating with people. He not only dealt in living scenes of real people but drew out of such situations certain principles and truths. And it is in the latter rather than the former that realism lies. That Czar Boris is the tortured product of forces of both good and evil is nowhere stated; but in depicting his inchoate rage at his enemies on the one hand and the beauty of his tenderness to his daughter on the other, Mussorgsky focuses effectively on the conflict.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFWhl13AEuU"]Mussorgsky - Boris Godunov. Coronation scene. Bolshoi - YouTube[/ame]

in 1883 - William H Harris, composer is born.
in 1885 - Marc-Jean-Baptiste Delmas, composer is born.
in 1885 - Fredrick Vilhelm Ludvig Norman, composer, dies at 53.
in 1886 - Jaroslav Novotny, composer is born.
in 1887 - Rudolf F W Boskaljon, Curacao, musician/composer is born.
in 1890 - Paul Whiteman, Denver Co, orch leader (Paul Whiteman's TV Teen Club) is born.
in 1896 - The opera "Andrea Chenier" is produced (Milan).
in 1900 - Achille Longo, composer is born.
in 1902 - Paul Godwin, [Goldfein], Polish/Dutch violinist is born.
in 1903 - Rudolf Serkin, Eger Bohemia, pianist (Marlboro Sch of Music) is born.
in 1907 - Herbert "Herb" Hall, clarinetist/saxophonist is born.

in 1907 - Pavel Ivanovich Blaramberg, Russian composer, dies at 65 in Nice.

His father was a geographer of French origin and his mother was Greek. At the age of 14 he went to St. Petersburg, where he later became a functionary of the Central Statistical Committee. He was largely selftaught in music, apart from occasional advice from Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1878 he settled in Moscow as an instructor at the newly founded Phil. Inst. In 1898 he went to the Crimea, then to France.

in 1910 - Edouard [Juda] Colonne, French violinist and conductor, dies at age 71.

He who was a champion of the music of Berlioz and other eminent 19th-century composers.

Colonne was the son and grandson of musicians of Italian-Jewish descent. From the age of eight, he played flageolet and accordion, and then began violin studies with Baudoin. Starting in 1855, Colonne studied at the Conservatoire in Paris, where he won first prizes in both harmony and violin. For almost a decade (1858–67) he was first violinist at the Opéra in Paris, as well as playing second violin in the Lamoureux Quartet. In 1871 he directed concerts at the Grand-Hôtel and Massenet's music for the staging of Les Érinnyes in 1873.

Also in 1873, Colonne, along with the music publisher Georges Hartmann, founded the "Concert National" at the Odéon Théatre. Two years later, the venue moved to the Théâtre du Châtelet and the name of the enterprise was changed to 'L'Association Artistique du Châtelet'. The Association's performances eventually became known as the Concerts Colonne; and this name continued to be used until the 1960s.

In 1878 Colonne had met Tchaikovsky during the Russian composer's visit to Paris, and, as well as giving the local premiere of his 4th Symphony, remained in contact, which led to 'exchange' concert trips for Colonne in Russia.

Colonne was noted for his interest in Berlioz (then, on the whole, more highly regarded in the English- and German-speaking countries than in France). Pierre Monteux (first violist and then assistant conductor of the Colonne orchestra) used Colonne's annotated score for his 1931 recording of Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique.

In addition, Colonne stood out for his support of the music of Wagner, Mahler and Saint-Saëns. He introduced the descriptive note into programme booklets.

Another of his significant contributions was in the technological sphere: he was the first conductor of note to make commercial phonograph records, all for the French Pathé company. His earliest recordings were issued on wax phonograph cylinders, none of which is known to survive, but a later group of recordings, made circa 1906 and issued on Pathé discs, has been remastered and reissued on CD. The works range from Beethoven to Widor, and announcements by Colonne are included.

Colonne's second wife was the soprano Elise Vergin.

in 1914 - Hanus Trnecek, composer, dies at 55.
in 1915 - Jay Livingston, composer (Buttons and Bows, Mona Lisa, Tammy) is born.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaroUGdpuso"]YouTube - Never Let me Go (Jay Livingston)[/ame]

in 1918 - Youly Algaroff, ballet dancer is born.
in 1919 - Jacob Avshalomov, Tsingtao China, composer (Sinfonietta, The Oregon) is born.
in 1926 - Francis Burt, composer is born.
in 1927 - Karl Prohaska, composer, dies at 57
in 1928 - Giuseppe Ferrata, composer, dies at 63
in 1928 - Jose Luis de Delas, composer is born.
in 1930 - Robert Ashley, composer is born.

in 1930 - 1st performance of Walter Piston's Suite for orchestra (Boston)

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjWW0mv46uI"]YouTube - Walter Piston - Prelude and Allegro for Organ and Strings (1943)[/ame]

in 1934 - Siegfried Thiele, composer is born.

in 1937 - Karol Szymanowski dies at age 55. Polish composer and pianist, born in Tymoszówka, then in the Russian Empire, now in Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine. He studied music with his father, a wealthy Polish land owner, before going to Gustav Neuhaus' Elizavetgrad School of Music. From 1901 he attended the State Conservatory in Warsaw, where he was later director from 1926 until retiring in 1930. Musical opportunities in Russian-occupied Poland being quite limited at the time, he travelled widely throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the USA, travels, especially those to the Mediterranean area, whch provided much inspiration to the composer and esthete (died in a sanatorium in Lausanne, Switzerland from tuberculosis).

in 1941 - Alf Clausen, Minneapolis Mn, orch leader (Mary, Simpsons) is born.
in 1942 - Brian Jones, [Lewis B Hopkin], English pop guitarist (Rolling Stones) is born.

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Old March 28th, 2017, 09:44 AM   #2

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in 1943 - Sergei Vasilievitch Rachmaninov, Russian composer/pianist, dies at 69.

Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff, also commonly spelled in English as Rachmaninov, (Russian: Сергей Васильевич Рахманинов, tr. Sergey Vasil'evich Rakhmaninov) (1 April 1873 [O.S. 20 March]–28 March 1943) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. He was one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, very nearly the last great representative of Russian late Romanticism in classical music. Early influences of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and other Russian composers gave way to a thoroughly personal idiom that included a pronounced lyricism, expressive breadth, structural ingenuity, and a tonal palette of rich, distinctive orchestral colors. The piano features prominently in Rachmaninoff's compositional output. He made it a point to use his own skills as a performer to explore fully the expressive possibilities of the instrument. Even in his earliest works, he revealed a sure grasp of idiomatic piano writing and a striking gift for melody.

Rachmaninoff was born in 1873 in Semyonovo, near Veliky Novgorod, in north-western Russia. He was born into a noble family of Tatar descent, who had been in the service of the Russian tsars since the 16th century. His parents were both amateur pianists. When he was four, his mother gave him casual piano lessons, but it was his paternal grandfather, Arkady Alexandrovich Rachmaninoff, who brought Anna Ornatskaya, a teacher from Saint Petersburg, to teach Sergei in 1882. Ornatskaya remained for "two or three years", until the family home had to be sold to settle debts and the Rachmaninoffs moved to Moscow.

Sergei studied at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory before moving alone to Moscow to study piano under Nikolai Zverev and Alexander Siloti (who was his cousin and a former student of Franz Liszt). He also studied harmony under Anton Arensky and counterpoint under Sergei Taneyev. Rachmaninoff was found to be quite lazy, failing most of his classes, and it was the strict regime of the Zverev home that instilled discipline in the boy.

In his early years, he showed great skill in composition. While still a student, he wrote the one-act opera, Aleko, for which he was awarded a gold medal in composition, his First Piano Concerto, and a set of piano pieces, Morceaux de fantaisie (Op. 3, 1892), which includes the famous Prelude in C sharp minor. The composer later became annoyed by the public's fascination with this piece, composed when he was 19 years old. He would often tease an expectant audience in the days when it was traditional for the audience to request particular compositions, by asking, "Oh, must I?" or claiming inability to remember anything else.

In Moscow, he met the composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who became an important mentor and commissioned the teenage Rachmaninoff to arrange a piano transcription of the suite from his ballet The Sleeping Beauty. This commission was first offered to Siloti, who declined, but instead suggested Rachmaninoff would be more than capable. This alternative was accepted; Siloti supervised the arrangement. Rachmaninoff confided in Zverev his desire to compose more, requesting a private room where he could compose in silence. Zverev saw him only as a pianist and severed his links with the boy, refusing even to speak to him for three years. Rachmaninoff moved out and continued to compose.

The sudden death of Tchaikovsky in 1893 made a strong impression on Rachmaninoff; he immediately began writing a second Trio élégiaque to his memory, clearly revealing the depth and sincerity of his grief in the music's overwhelming aura of gloom. His First Symphony (Op. 13, 1896) premiered on 27 March 1897 in one of a long-running series of "Russian Symphony Concerts", but was likened by nationalist composer and critic César Cui to a depiction of the ten plagues of Egypt, suggesting it would be admired by the "inmates" of a music conservatory in hell. The deficiencies of the performance, conducted by Alexander Glazunov, were not commented on. Alexander Ossovsky in his memoir about Rachmaninoff tells, first hand, a story about this event. In Ossovsky's opinion, Glazunov made poor use of rehearsal time, and the concert program, which contained two other first performances, was also a factor. Rachmaninoff's wife and other witnesses later suggested that Glazunov may have been drunk and, although this was never intimated by Rachmaninoff, it would not seem out of character. (Remarkably, César Cui is the only member of the group of Russian nationalist composers known as The Five whose music is hardly ever performed now.)

After the horrific reception to the First Symphony came a period of severe depression that lasted three years, during which he wrote virtually no music. One stroke of good fortune came from Savva Mamontov, a famous Russian industrialist and patron of the arts, who two years earlier had founded the Moscow Private Russian Opera Company. He offered Rachmaninoff the post of assistant conductor for the 1897-8 season, which the cash-strapped composer accepted. He also met the bass Feodor Chaliapin through Mamontov's opera company, starting what would become a long, deep friendship.

In early January 1900, Rachmaninoff and Chaliapin were invited to Yasnaya Polyana, the home of Leo Tolstoy, whom Rachmaninoff had greatly respected. That evening, Rachmaninoff played one of his compositions, then accompanied Chaliapin in his song "Fate", one of the pieces Rachmaninoff had written after his First Symphony. After they had finished, Tolstoy took the composer aside and started, "Tell me, is such music needed by anyone? I must tell you how I dislike it all. Beethoven is nonsense, Pushkin and Lermontov also." (The song "Fate" is based on the two opening measures of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.) And when they were leaving, Tolstoy said, "Forgive me if I've hurt you by my comments," and Rachmaninoff replied, "How could I be hurt on my own account, if I was not hurt on Beethoven's?"

During this whole time, the Russian Orthodox Church maintained its objection to Rachmaninoff marrying his cousin, Natalia Satina, which only deepened his depression.

In 1900, Rachmaninoff began a course of autosuggestive therapy with psychologist Nikolai Dahl, himself an amateur musician. Rachmaninoff quickly recovered confidence and overcame his writer's block. A result of these sessions was the composition of Piano Concerto No. 2 (Op. 18, 1900–01), dedicated to Dr. Dahl. The piece was very well received at its premiere, at which Rachmaninoff was soloist. Rachmaninoff's spirits were further bolstered when, after years of engagement, he was finally allowed to marry Natalia. They were married in a suburb of Moscow by an army priest on 29 April 1902, using the family's military background to circumvent the church. Although he had an affair with the 22-year-old singer Nina Koshetz in 1916, his and Natalia's union lasted until the composer's death. A lesser-known fact is that Rachmaninoff had another outstanding singer protégée. In 1911, at the request of Alexander Ossovsky, Rachmaninoff auditioned, in Kiev, Ossovsky's cousin, young Ksenia Derzhinskaia (1889–1951) and helped to launch her operatic career. She became an eminent singer and prima donna of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

After several successful appearances as a conductor, Rachmaninoff was offered a job as conductor at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1904, although political reasons led to his resignation in March 1906, after which he stayed in Italy until July. He spent the following three winters in Dresden, Germany, intensively composing, and returning to the family estate of Ivanovka every summer.

Rachmaninoff made his first tour of the United States as a pianist in 1909, an event for which he composed the Piano Concerto No. 3 (Op. 30, 1909) as a calling card. This successful tour made him a popular figure in America. Nevertheless, he loathed the tour and declined offers of future American concerts.

The death in 1915 of Alexander Scriabin, who had studied with him under Zverev, affected Rachmaninoff so deeply that he went on a tour giving concerts exclusively devoted to Scriabin's music. When asked to play some of his own music, he would reply, "Only Scriabin tonight."

The 1917 Russian Revolution meant the end of Russia as the composer had known it. With this change followed the loss of his estate, his way of life, his livelihood and essentially his world. On 22 December 1917, he left St. Petersburg for Helsinki with his wife and two daughters on an open sled, having only a few notebooks with sketches of his own compositions and two orchestral scores, his unfinished opera Monna Vanna and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's opera The Golden Cockerel. He spent a year giving concerts in Scandinavia while also laboring to widen his concert repertory. Near the end of 1918, he received three offers of lucrative American contracts. Although he declined all three, he decided the United States might offer a solution to his financial concerns. He departed Kristiania (Oslo) for New York on 1 November 1918. Once there, Rachmaninoff quickly chose an agent, Charles Ellis, and accepted the gift of a piano from Steinway before playing 40 concerts in a four-month period. At the end of the 1919-20 season, he also signed a contract with the Victor Talking Machine Company. In 1921, the Rachmaninoffs bought a house in the United States, where they consciously recreated the atmosphere of Ivanovka, entertaining Russian guests, employing Russian servants, and observing Russian customs.

Just as the Rachmaninoff household in the United States strove to reclaim the lost world of the pre-revolutionary Russia of his youth, Rachmaninoff also sought out the friendship and company of some great Russian musical luminaries. In addition to befriending the operatic bass Chaliapin, he was to meet the pianist Vladimir Horowitz in 1928.

The story has become legendary. Arranged by Steinway artist representative Alexander Greiner, the meeting took place at the basement of Steinway Hall on 57th Street, on 8 January 1928, just four days prior to Horowitz’s debut at Carnegie Hall playing the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto. Referring to his own Third Piano Concerto, Rachmaninoff said to Greiner he heard that “Mr. Horowitz plays my Concerto very well. I would like to accompany him.”

For Horowitz, it was a dream come true to meet Rachmaninoff, to whom he referred as “the musical God of my youth ... To think that this great man should accompany me in his own Third Concerto ... This was the most unforgettable impression of my life! This was my real debut!” For Rachmaninoff their Steinway basement meeting was equally unforgettable. Speaking of Horowitz’s interpretation to Abram Chasins, he said “He swallowed it whole ... he had the courage, the intensity, the daring.”

The meeting between composer and interpreter would mark the beginning of a friendship that continued until Rachmaninoff's death. In fact, the two men were quite supportive of each other's careers and greatly admired each other's work. Horowitz stipulated to his manager that “If I am out of town when Rachmaninoff plays in New York, you must telegraph me, and you must let me come back, no matter where I am or what engagement I have.” Likewise Rachmaninoff was always present at Horowitz’s New York concerts and was “always the last to leave the hall.”

Notably, the composer was present at Carnegie Hall for Horowitz’s American debut on 12 January 1928. Recognizing the great pianistic ability, Rachmaninoff offered his friendship and advice to Horowitz, telling him in a letter that “You play very well, but you went through the Tchaikovsky Concerto too rapidly, especially the cadenza. Come and have dinner with me, and we will talk it over.”

Though they did meet for dinner, Horowitz never agreed with the criticism of his tempo, and retained his interpretation in future performances of the work. But there was certainly no loss of admiration between the men as a result of the criticism.

Rachmaninoff’s fatherly insights and advice regarding his own music were to prove invaluable to Horowitz. For Rachmaninoff, Horowitz was a champion of both his solo works and his Third Concerto, about which Rachmaninoff remarked publicly after the performance that “This is the way I always dreamed my concerto should be played, but I never expected to hear it that way on Earth.”

In 1985, in the movie The Last Romantic, Horowitz said: "Rachmaninoff is a pianist. I played with him (Arturo Toscanini, who is also mentioned in the conversation), Rachmaninoff and we... [plays the beginning of 3rd piano concerto]. He was a wonderful pianist and a nice friend. He was my best friend! First of all he was composer, pianist and conductor. Three things at once and first class, all three, I think so."

Due to his busy concert career, Rachmaninoff's output as composer slowed tremendously. Between 1918 and his death in 1943, while living in the U.S. and Europe, he completed only six compositions. This was partly due to spending much of his time performing in order to support himself and his family, but the main cause was homesickness. It was during these years that he traveled the United States as a touring pianist. When he left Russia, it was as if he had left behind his inspiration. His revival as composer became possible only after he had built himself a new home, Villa Senar on Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, where he spent summers from 1932 to 1939. There, in the comfort of his own villa which reminded him of his old family estate, Rachmaninoff composed the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, one of his best known works, in 1934. He went on to compose his Symphony No. 3 (Op. 44, 1935–36) and the Symphonic Dances (Op. 45, 1940), his last completed work. Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra premiered the Symphonic Dances in 1941 in the Academy of Music.

In late 1940 or 1941 he was approached by the makers of the British film Dangerous Moonlight to write a short concerto-like piece for use in the film, but he declined. The job went to Richard Addinsell and the orchestrator Roy Douglas, who came up with the Warsaw Concerto.

Rachmaninoff fell ill during a concert tour in late 1942 and was subsequently diagnosed with advanced melanoma. The family was informed but the composer was not. On 1 February 1943 he and his wife became American citizens. His last recital, given on 17 February 1943 at the Alumni Gymnasium of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, included Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2, which contains the famous Marche funèbre (Funeral March). A statue called "Rachmaninoff: The Last Concert", designed and sculpted by Victor Bokarev, now stands in World Fair Park in Knoxville as a permanent tribute to Rachmaninoff. He became so ill after this recital that he had to return to his home in Los Angeles.

Rachmaninoff died of melanoma on 28 March 1943, in Beverly Hills, California, just four days before his 70th birthday. A choir sang his All Night Vigil at his funeral. He had wanted to be buried at the Villa Senar, his estate in Switzerland, but the conditions of World War II made fulfilling this request impossible. He was therefore interred on 1 June in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.

Rachmaninoff wrote five works for piano and orchestra—four concertos plus the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Of the concertos, the Second and Third are the most popular. He also wrote three symphonies. The second and third symphonies are both considered among his greatest works. Other orchestral works include The Rock (Op. 7), Caprice Bohémien (Op. 12), The Isle of the Dead (Op. 29), and the Symphonic Dances (Op. 45).

Works for piano solo include the Preludes, ten in Op. 23 and thirteen in Op. 32. Together with the Prelude in C-sharp minor (Op. 3, No. 2) from Morceaux de fantaisie (Op. 3), they traverse all 24 major and minor keys. Especially difficult are the two sets of Études-Tableaux, Opp. 33 and 39, which are very demanding study pictures. Stylistically, Op. 33 hearkens back to the preludes, while Op. 39 shows the influences of Scriabin and Prokofiev. There are also the Six moments musicaux (Op. 16), the Variations on a Theme of Chopin (Op. 22), and the Variations on a Theme of Corelli (Op. 42). He wrote two piano sonatas, both of which are large scale and virtuosic in their technical demands. Rachmaninoff also composed works for two pianos, four hands, including two Suites (the first subtitled Fantasie-Tableaux), a version of the Symphonic Dances (Op. 45), and an arrangement of the C-sharp minor Prelude. He also wrote a Russian Rhapsody and arranged his First Symphony (below) for piano four-hands. Both these works were published posthumously.

Rachmaninoff wrote two major a cappella choral works—the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the All-Night Vigil (also known as the Vespers). Other choral works include a choral symphony, The Bells, the Spring Cantata, the Three Russian Songs and an early Concerto for Choir (a cappella). He also completed three operas, Aleko, The Miserly Knight, and Francesca da Rimini. He started another opera in 1907, based on a work by Maurice Maeterlinck, titled Monna Vanna, but did not finish it. It was completed by Igor Buketoff and had its first performance in 1984.

His chamber music includes two piano trios, both which are named Trio Elégiaque (the second of which is a memorial tribute to Tchaikovsky), and a Cello Sonata. In his chamber music, the piano tends to be perceived by some to dominate the ensemble. He also composed many songs for voice and piano, to texts by Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy, Alexander Pushkin, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Victor Hugo and Anton Chekhov, among others. Among his most popular songs is the wordless Vocalise.

Rachmaninoff's style showed initially the influence of Tchaikovsky. Beginning in the mid-1890s, his compositions began showing a more individual tone. His First Symphony has many original features. Its brutal gestures and uncompromising power of expression were unprecedented in Russian music at the time. Its flexible rhythms, sweeping lyricism and stringent economy of thematic material were all features he kept and refined in subsequent works. After the three fallow years following the poor reception of the symphony, Rachmaninoff's style began developing significantly. He started leaning towards sumptuous harmonies and broadly lyrical, often passionate melodies. His orchestration became subtler and more varied, with textures carefully contrasted, and his writing on the whole became more concise.

Especially important is Rachmaninoff's use of unusually widely spaced chords for bell-like sounds: this occurs in many pieces, most notably in the choral symphony The Bells, the Second Piano Concerto, the E flat major Étude-Tableaux (Op. 33, No. 7), and the B-minor prelude (Op. 32, No. 10). He was also fond of Russian Orthodox chants. He uses them most perceptibly in his Vespers, but many of his melodies found their origins in these chants. The opening melody of the First Symphony is derived from chants. (Note that the opening melody of the Third Piano Concerto is not derived from chants; when asked, Rachmaninoff said that "it had written itself"). Rachmaninoff's frequently used motifs include the Dies Irae, often just the fragments of the first phrase.

Rachmaninoff had great command of counterpoint and fugal writing, thanks to his studies with Taneyev. The above-mentioned occurrence of the Dies Irae in the Second Symphony is but a small example of this. Very characteristic of his writing is chromatic counterpoint. This talent was paired with a confidence in writing in both large- and small-scale forms. The Third Piano Concerto especially shows a structural ingenuity, while each of the preludes grows from a tiny melodic or rhythmic fragment into a taut, powerfully evocative miniature, crystallizing a particular mood or sentiment while employing a complexity of texture, rhythmic flexibility and a pungent chromatic harmony.

His compositional style had already begun changing before the October Revolution deprived him of his homeland. The harmonic writing in The Bells (composed in 1913 but not published until 1920) became as advanced as in any of the works Rachmaninoff would write in Russia, partly because the melodic material has a harmonic aspect which arises from its chromatic ornamentation. Further changes are apparent in the revised First Piano Concerto, which he finished just before leaving Russia, as well as in the Op. 38 songs and Op. 39 Études-Tableaux. In both these sets Rachmaninoff was less concerned with pure melody than with coloring. His near-Impressionist style perfectly matched the texts by symbolist poets. The Op. 39 Études-Tableaux are among the most demanding pieces he wrote for any medium, both technically and in the sense that the player must see beyond any technical challenges to a considerable array of emotions, then unify all these aspects

The composer's friend Vladimir Wilshaw noticed this compositional change continuing in the early 1930s, with a difference between the sometimes very extroverted Op. 39 Études-Tableaux (the composer had broken a string on the piano at one performance) and the Variations on a Theme of Corelli (Op. 42, 1931). The variations show an even greater textural clarity than in the Op. 38 songs, combined with a more abrasive use of chromatic harmony and a new rhythmic incisiveness. This would be characteristic of all his later works — the Piano Concerto No. 4 (Op. 40, 1926) is composed in a more emotionally introverted style, with a greater clarity of texture. Nevertheless, some of his most beautiful (nostalgic and melancholy) melodies occur in the Third Symphony, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and Symphonic Dances.

His reputation as a composer generated a variety of opinions, before his music gained steady recognition across the world. The 1954 edition of the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians notoriously dismissed Rachmaninoff's music as "monotonous in texture ... consist[ing] mainly of artificial and gushing tunes" and predicted that his popular success was "not likely to last". To this, Harold C. Schonberg, in his Lives of the Great Composers, responded, "It is one of the most outrageously snobbish and even stupid statements ever to be found in a work that is supposed to be an objective reference."

In a poll of classical music listeners announced in October 2007, the ABC in Australia found that Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto came second, topped only by the Emperor Concerto of Beethoven.

The Conservatoire Rachmaninoff in Paris, as well as streets in the cities of Veliky Novgorod and Tambov he used to visit, are named after the composer. In 1986, Moscow Conservatory dedicated a concert hall on its premises to Rachmaninoff, designating the 252-seat auditorium Rachmaninoff Hall.

As a pianist, Rachmaninoff ranked among the finest pianists of his time, along with Leopold Godowsky, Ignaz Friedman, Moriz Rosenthal and Josef Hofmann, and perhaps one of the greatest pianists in classical music history. He was famed for possessing a flawless, clean and inhuman virtuoso piano technique, which listeners may dismiss as emotional conservatism at the first listen. His playing was marked by precision, rhythmic drive, an exceptionally accurate staccato and the ability to maintain complete clarity when playing works with complex textures. He applied these qualities to excellent effect in music by Chopin, especially the B flat minor Piano Sonata. Rachmaninoff's repertoire, excepting his own works, consisted mainly of standard 19th Century virtuoso works plus music by Bach, Beethoven, Borodin, Debussy, Grieg, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann and Tchaikovsky.

Rhythmically, Rachmaninoff was one of the best Romantic performers. He never lost the basic metric pulse, yet he constantly varied it. Harold C. Schonberg suggests the young Vladimir Horowitz might have gotten this kind of rhythmic snap from Rachmaninoff. In addition, Rachmaninoff's playing had extreme musical elegance, with attention paid to the shape of the melodic line. His playing possessed a masculine, aristocratic kind of poetry. While never becoming sentimental, he managed to wring dry the emotional essence of the music. He did so through subtly nuanced phrasing within his strong, clear, unmannered projection of melodic lines.

Rachmaninoff possessed extremely large hands, with which he could easily maneuver through the most complex chordal configurations. His left hand technique was unusually powerful. His playing was marked by definition—where other pianists' playing became blurry-sounding from overuse of the pedal or deficiencies in finger technique, Rachmaninoff's textures were always crystal clear. Only Josef Hofmann shared this kind of clarity with him. Both men had Anton Rubinstein as a model for this kind of playing—Hofmann as a student of Rubinstein's and Rachmaninoff from hearing his famous series of historical recitals in Moscow while studying with Zverev.

Incidentally, it might not have been a coincidence that the two pieces Rachmaninoff singled out for praise from Rubinstein's concerts became cornerstones for his own recital programs. The compositions were Beethoven's Appassionata and Chopin's Funeral March Sonata. Moreover, he may have based his interpretation of the Chopin sonata on Rubinstein's. Rachmaninoff biographer Barrie Martyn points out similarities between written accounts of Rubinstein's interpretation and Rachmaninoff's audio recording of the work.

As part of his daily warm-up exercises, Rachmaninoff would play the phenomenally difficult Étude in A flat, Op. 1, No. 2, attributed to Paul de Schlözer.

From those barely moving fingers came an unforced, bronzelike sonority and an accuracy bordering on infallibility. Correct notes seemed to be built into his constitution, and a wrong note at a Rachmaninoff recital was an exceedingly rare event. Arthur Rubinstein wrote:

He had the secret of the golden, living tone which comes from the heart ... I was always under the spell of his glorious and inimitable tone which could make me forget my uneasiness about his too rapidly fleeting fingers and his exaggerated rubatos. There was always the irresistible sensuous charm, not unlike Kreisler's.

Coupled to this tone was a vocal quality not unlike that attributed to Chopin's playing. With Rachmaninoff's extensive operatic experience, he was a great admirer of fine singing. As his records demonstrate, he possessed a tremendous ability to make a musical line sing, no matter how long the notes or how complex the supporting texture, with most of his interpretations taking on a narrative quality. With the stories he told at the keyboard came multiple voices—a polyphonic dialogue, not the least in terms of dynamics. His 1940 recording of his transcription of the song "Daisies" captures this quality extremely well. On the recording, separate musical strands enter as if from various human voices in eloquent conversation. This ability came from an exceptional independence of fingers and hands.

Rachmaninoff also possessed an uncanny memory—one that would help put him in good stead when he had to learn the standard piano repertoire as a 45-year-old exile. He could hear a piece of music, even a symphony, then play it back the next day, the next year, or a decade after that. Siloti would give him a long and demanding piece to learn, such as Brahms' Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel. Two days later Rachmaninoff would play it "with complete artistic finish." Alexander Goldenweiser said, "Whatever composition was ever mentioned—piano, orchestral, operatic, or other—by a Classical or contemporary composer, if Rachmaninoff had at any time heard it, and most of all if he liked it, he played it as though it were a work he had studied thoroughly."

Rachmaninoff also possessed an uncanny memory—one that would help put him in good stead when he had to learn the standard piano repertoire as a 45-year-old exile. He could hear a piece of music, even a symphony, then play it back the next day, the next year, or a decade after that. Siloti would give him a long and demanding piece to learn, such as Brahms' Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel. Two days later Rachmaninoff would play it "with complete artistic finish." Alexander Goldenweiser said, "Whatever composition was ever mentioned—piano, orchestral, operatic, or other—by a Classical or contemporary composer, if Rachmaninoff had at any time heard it, and most of all if he liked it, he played it as though it were a work he had studied thoroughly."

Along with his musical gifts, Rachmaninoff possessed physical gifts that may have placed him in good stead as a pianist. These gifts included exceptional height and extremely large hands with a gigantic finger stretch. They and Rachmaninoff's slender frame, long limbs, narrow head, prominent ears, and thin nose suggest that he may have had Marfan syndrome, a hereditary disorder of the connective tissue. This syndrome would have accounted for several minor ailments he suffered all his life. These included back pain, arthritis, eye strain and bruising of the fingertips.

Many of Rachmaninoff's recordings are acknowledged classics. Rachmaninoff recorded first for Edison Records on their "Diamond Disc" records, since they claimed the best audio fidelity in recording the piano at the time. Thomas Edison, who was quite deaf, didn't care for Rachmaninoff's playing and referred to him as a "pounder". Further, Rachmaninoff recorded on an upright piano that the inventor admitted was below average; however, the discs provided the composer with some much-needed income. Rachmaninoff believed his own performances to be variable in quality and requested that he be allowed to approve any recordings for commercial release. Edison agreed but still issued multiple takes, a common practice in the gramophone record industry at the time. This angered Rachmaninoff, and he left Edison and signed a contract with the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1920 and with its successor, RCA Victor. The company was pleased to comply with Rachmaninoff's restrictions, and proudly advertised him as one of their great recording artists. His recordings for Victor continued until 1942, when the American Federation of Musicians imposed a recording ban in the U.S.

Particularly renowned are his renditions of Schumann's Carnaval and Chopin's Funeral March Sonata, along with many shorter pieces. He recorded all four of his piano concertos with the Philadelphia Orchestra, including two versions of the second concerto with Leopold Stokowski conducting, and a world premiere recording of the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, soon after the first performance (1934) with the Philadelphians under Stokowski. The first, third, and fourth concertos were recorded with Eugene Ormandy. Rachmaninoff also made three recordings conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra in his own Third Symphony, his symphonic poem Isle of the Dead, and his orchestration of Vocalise.

Rachmaninoff was also involved in various ways with music on piano rolls. Several manufacturers, and in particular the Aeolian Company, had recorded his compositions on perforated music rolls from about 1900 onwards. His sister-in-law, Sofia Satina, remembered him at the family estate at Ivanovka, pedalling gleefully through a set of rolls of his Second Piano Concerto, apparently acquired from a German source, most probably the Aeolian Company's Berlin subsidiary, the Choralion Company. Aeolian in London created a set of three rolls of this concerto in 1909, which remained in the catalogues of its various successors until the late 1970s.

From 1919 he made 35 piano rolls (12 of which were his own compositions), for the American Piano Company (Ampico)'s reproducing piano. According to the Ampico publicity department, he initially disbelieved that a roll of punched paper could provide an accurate record, so he was invited to listen to a proof copy of his first recording. After the performance, he was quoted as saying "Gentlemen — I, Sergei Rachmaninoff, have just heard myself play!" For demonstration purposes, he recorded the solo part of his Second Piano Concerto for Ampico, though only the second movement was used publicly and has survived. He continued to record until around 1929, though his last roll, the Chopin Scherzo in B-flat minor, was not published until October 1933.

Rachmaninoff's music is often quoted, especially themes from his second and third piano concertos, and the eighteenth variation of the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.

The soundtrack of the 1945 film Brief Encounter, directed by David Lean, prominently features the second piano concerto played by Eileen Joyce. The 1953 film The Story of Three Loves, directed by Vincente Minnelli, features the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Tom Ewell's character in the comedy The Seven Year Itch believes a recording of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 is the key ingredient with which to seduce the character played by Marilyn Monroe.

In the motion picture Somewhere In Time (1980) the character played by Christopher Reeve uses the 18th variation of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini to win the heart of the character played by Jane Seymour. The action is set in 1912, but the movie involved time travel from the early 1980s to the past, so the piece (premiered in 1934) would have been known to Christopher Reeve's character. In one scene, Reeve's character is humming the tune, Seymour's character asks what it is, and he tells her it is by Rachmaninoff. She says she had heard Rachmaninoff play with "the Philharmonic once. I love his music but I've never heard this piece". In an allusion to that, the movie Groundhog Day (1993) has Bill Murray's character learning to play the same piece.

In the 1996 film Shine, which is based on a true story, the pianist David Helfgott is obsessed with Rachmaninoff. Helfgott, played by Geoffrey Rush, enters a piano competition, choosing to play the third piano concerto despite the warnings of a teacher that the piece may be too demanding. Helfgott completes the piece and suffers a nervous breakdown.

Bruce Beresford was signed in March 2006 to direct a feature film based on Rachmaninoff's life, as seen through the eyes of his widow, to be called Rhapsody.

In the editorial comic strip 9 Chickweed Lane, the primary character Edda is known for playing Rachmaninoff's works with much enthusiasm.

Eric Carmen's first two solo singles were based on melodies from Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2.

The influence of Sergei Rachmaninoff's work (specifically Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor and also Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor) can be heard in the songs "Space Dementia" and "Butterflies and Hurricanes" by Muse. Matthew Bellamy of Muse has cited Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Chopin as a source of inspiration.

In 2010, a newly discovered 290-kilometre-wide impact basin on Mercury was named Rachmaninoff.

In the television show Lost, episode 9 of season 4 "The Shape of Things to Come" the character Ben Linus plays Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C sharp minor.

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in 1945 - Chuck Portz, Santa Monica Ca, bassist (Turtles-Happy Together) is born.
in 1946 - Richard Sussman, rocker is born.
in 1947 - Rudolph Hermann Simonsen, composer, dies at 57.
in 1948 - John Evans, (Aka Evan) rock drummer (Jethro Tull) is born.
in 1949 - Milan Williams, US keyboardist (Commodores-Three Times a Lady) is born.

in 1949 - Grigoraș Ionică Dinicu (Romanian: [
ɡriɡoˈraʃ i.oˈnikə diˈniku]) Romanian violin virtuoso and composer, dies at age 59. He is most famous for his often-played virtuoso violin showpiece "Hora staccato" (1906) and for making popular the tune Ciocârlia, composed by his grandfather Angheluș Dinicu for "nai" (the Romanian pan flute). It is rumored that Jascha Heifetz once said that Grigoraș Dinicu was the greatest violinist he had ever heard. In the 1930s he was involved in the political movement of the Romanian Roma and was made honorary president of the "General Union of the Romanian Roma". Other well known compositions are: Hora mărțișorului (Mărțișor, literally "little March", is a major Romanian seasonal holiday on March 1st), Ceasornicul (The Clock) and Căruța poștei (The Post Wagon).

He was born in Bucharest, in the neighborhood of the lăutari named Scaune (Chairs). Because his father was busy with his activity as a lăutar, he handled him to "moș Zamfir", an old violinist, who taught him the first tunes. He attended the Bucharest Conservatory, where he studied with Dumitru Georgescu-Kiriac. The most famous of his teachers was Carl Flesch, the violin pedagogue, with whom he studied in 1902. He received a scholarship at the Vienna Conservatory, but he was not allowed to go there because he was Romani, an episode that he never forgot.

After graduation he played violin with the Orchestra of the Ministry of Public Instruction, and also performed as a soloist. Hora staccato dates from the beginning of this period; he wrote it as a graduation exercise. For forty years, from 1906 until 1946, he directed popular music concerts. He also toured abroad as a soloist and conductor, and he also played a great deal of light music in nightclubs, hotels, restaurants, and cafés in Bucharest and throughout Western Europe.

His music is mostly for violin and piano, though some pieces (such as Hora staccato) have later been arranged for other combinations of instruments (for example, trumpet and piano, as well as violin and orchestra and a popular arrangement by Russian mandolin virtuoso Dave Apollon).

He died in Bucharest of laryngeal cancer.

The jazz manouche violinist Stéphane Grappelli was a great admirer of Dinicu and of the way that the violin was played in the lăutarească music.

in 1955 - Reba McEntire, McAlester OK, country singer (Can't Even Get the Blues) is born.

Applying her distinctive, tremulous vocals to a long run of Top 10 hits, Reba McEntire became the most successful female country performer of the 1980s and 1990s. While other singers of the 1980s faded into obscurity during the following decade, McEntire remained on top through consistently fine song selection and a warm, down-to-earth public persona. In keeping with this image McEntire imbued her songs with a refreshingly female perspective, choosing material that explored the many aspects of contemporary women’s lives. Her voice, a wide-ranging instrument recalling the sound of country legend Patsy Cline, was the perfect vehicle for her songs of loss, faith, and determination. By the beginning of the millennium she had proven her resiliency, overcoming personal tragedy and finding success on the Broadway stage and television.

Raised on an Oklahoma cattle ranch, McEntire spent her childhood performing in rodeos with her father, professional steer rider Clark McEntire, while gaining music instruction from her mother Jackie. With her sisters she formed the group the Singing McEntires, recording a song, “The Ballad of John McEntire,” that received local radio play in Oklahoma. After performing the national anthem at the National Rodeo Finals in Oklahoma City in 1974, McEntire was approached by country singer and songwriter Red Steagall, who suggested she record as a solo artist. With the blessings of her family she broke away from the Singing McEntires and, through Steagall’s connections, signed a recording contract with Mercury Records in 1975. During this time she married steer wrestler Charlie Battles and completed her teaching diploma at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Although McEntire achieved a degree of commercial success on Mercury, her sound did not fully coalesce until moving to MCA Records in 1984. On MCA she achieved stardom through infusing her recordings with more of her tough but tender personality. Proving herself a skilled dramatic interpreter, McEntire shone on songs that cast her in a wide range of roles, from bored society wife in “Little Rock” to the neglected spouse of “Whoever’s in New England” (both 1986). On the latter she establishes a new female country image for the late 1980s; neither aggressive nor overly submissive, McEntire sounds confident that her husband will come back: “When whoever’s in New England’s through with you / And Boston finds better things to do . . . you’ll always have a place to come back to.” Unfamiliar with life “up north,” McEntire’s character is distinctly southern, unworldly but far from naïve. Like the characters on the popular late 1980s television program Designing Women, McEntire epitomizes the traditional but contemporary woman of the “New South,” secure in her values while approaching modern pressures with open-mindedness. In keeping with this duality, McEntire retained the country twang in her voice even as her records sounded increasingly slick and polished as the 1980s drew to a close.

In 1990 seven members of McEntire’s nine-piece band were killed in a plane crash. Devastated, McEntire released For My Broken Heart (1991) as a means of coming to terms with the loss. Although the songs avoid addressing the tragedy specifically, all feature characters looking back on their lives with autumnal regret. On “All Dressed up (with Nowhere to Go),” an old woman in a nursing home, forgotten by her family, waits in her Sunday finery for the ride to church that will never come. While the scene’s grim irony approaches the southern gothic style of writer Flannery O’Connor, McEntire’s straightforwardness grounds it in everyday experience. As such, the song is as much a statement about respect for the elderly as an exploration of loss and mortality. Even at her most adventurous McEntire remains populist, maintaining a directness that assures her ongoing appeal to country audiences. Still, her art is sometimes less simple than it appears. On “I Wouldn’t Go That Far,” another of For My Broken Heart’s highlights, she describes a late-night car ride taken in her youth: “He drove me down that old dusty road . . . he wanted me and I wanted him.” At first, McEntire’s character seems to be saying no to sex; only later is it apparent that she “wouldn’t go that far” in love: “I didn’t follow my heart.” By the end, she sings with the sadness and resignation of one who has lost the great love of her life. A fine storyteller, McEntire makes listeners feel they are in private conversation with her, the soulful tug in her voice contributing to her authenticity.

In 1994 McEntire released one of her most courageous songs, “She Thinks His Name Was John,” the only country hit to address the topic of AIDS. Serious without being heavy-handed, the song is all the more impressive for its lack of moralizing. “I’m not a person who judges,” she told the AIDS magazine A&U in 2001. Like all of McEntire’s best work, “She Thinks His Name Was John,” gives voice to the multiple challenges women face in a changing world. During the remainder of the 1990s McEntire continued to release albums that displayed confidence and vocal growth. While her work during this period sometimes erred on the side of blandness, it never sounded less than pleasant. On So Good Together (1999), her voice is supple and strong, richer and less wobbly than on earlier releases. Her lower register in particular sounds full and rounded, while her tough vocal growl remains intact. On songs such as “‘Til I Said It to You,” she employs a skilled sense of timing, fitting long strings of words into the rhythm without sounding rushed or strained. The same rhythmic assurance informs the bass-driven title track, which reflects McEntire’s interest in other musical styles, namely rhythm and blues.

While McEntire cut back on her recording activities after the late 1990s, she found success in the New York theater, replacing Broadway star Bernadette Peters in a revival of the classic musical Annie Get Your Gun in 2001. McEntire won raves from the tough New York critics for her spirited, high-strung performance. Crediting her with rescuing an otherwise labored production, the New York Times asserted, “She makes a highly polished performance look so easy you wonder why we aren’t all Broadway stars.” In the fall of 2001 she premiered her own sitcom, Reba, which, in keeping with McEntire’s trademark realism, dealt with a mature subject: single motherhood and teen pregnancy. During this period McEntire also published two autobiographical books and continued her activities as a successful businesswoman, running Starstruck Enterprises, a combination booking, publishing, promotions, and private jet company, with second husband Narvel Blackstock. Despite her success McEntire remained chipper, funny, and engaging during interviews, seeming more like a friendly next-door neighbor than a multimillionaire performer. As if in recognition of this accessibility, McEntire attested on “I’m a Survivor” (2001) that, “I may be the queen of broken hearts / But I don’t hide behind the crown”—lyrics that hold true for her entire career. McEntire’s down-home honesty and pop sophistication paved the way for successful 1990s country singers such as Shania Twain and Faith Hill. Unlike these performers, McEntire maintains close ties with her country roots, her voice never losing its twangy cadences. Ignoring trends in country music that call for hard-rock pyrotechnics, McEntire relies on subtle communication and storytelling for the effectiveness of her work, creating music that speaks to a female audience while remaining universally likable. Through her presence in other areas of the media, including television and theater, McEntire has succeeded in bringing country further into the cultural mainstream.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJQYTdehtM4"]YouTube - Reba McEntire - Forever Love[/ame]

in 1957 - Elvis Presley appeared live at The Chicago International Theatre.

in 1957 - Jazz musician Billie Holiday (41) weds mafia enforcer Louis McKay.

in 1958 - Buddy Holly kicked off the first night of a 43 date tour at Brooklyn Paramount Theatre in Brooklyn, New York. The Alan Freed’s Big Beat Show also featured Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Frankie Lymon, The Diamonds, Billy Ford, Danny & The Juniors, The Chantels, Larry Williams, Screaming Jay Hawkins, The Pastels, Jo-Ann Campbell and Ed Townsend. On most days the acts played two shows.

in 1958 - W(illiam) C(hristopher) Handy, foresighted American composer of early blues and jazz, bandleader, and brass player, dies at N.Y. at age 84.

Though he may not have lived up to his billing as the Father of the Blues, Handy was the first important musician to popularize the form. Steeped in classical music traditions and a veteran of decades of leading bands in the South, he nevertheless recognized the appeal of rural blues and nascent jazz music and began to compose in these idioms relatively late in life. His best-known songs, particularly "The St. Louis Blues" but also "The Memphis Blues" and "The Beale Street Blues," touched off the first boom in blues music in the 1920s.

The son and grandson of ministers, Handy encountered family resistance to his early ambition to make a career of music. Nevertheless, he was able to learn to play the guitar, take organ lessons in sacred music, and study music in school. He also learned the cornet and played in the Florence Brass Band.

At 15 he joined Bill Felton's minstrel show as first tenor in a vocal quartet, but the group broke up after a brief tour. He also sang in the church choir. He taught school locally for a year after graduating in 1891. In September 1892 he went to Birmingham, Ala., to take a teaching examination; he passed it but became a manual laborer in Bessemer because the pay was better. There he organized a brass band and led a small string orch.

Moving back to Birmingham, Handy organized the Lauzetta Quartet, which traveled to Chicago for the 1893 World's Fair, though it did not appear there. The group then went to St. Louis, where it disbanded. Handy endured a period of destitution in St. Louis and Evansville, Ind. (later reflected in "The St. Louis Blues"), then joined the Hampton Cornet Band and moved to Henderson, Ky. There he met Elizabeth Virginia Price, whom he married on July 19, 1898.

The couple had six children: Lucile, Katherine (who became a singer), William, Florence (who died in infancy), Elizabeth, and Wyer. After his wife's death, Handy married his former secretary, Irma Louise Logan, on Jan. 1, 1954.

Handy's major career break came in August 1896, when he joined W. A. Mahara's Minstrels, eventually becoming the troupe's bandmaster. He stayed with Mahara until 1900, then joined the faculty of the Agricultural and Mechanical Coli. in Normal, Ala., as musical director. He stayed there for two years, then returned to Mahara for a year. In 1903 he took over the Knights of Pythias Band in Clarksdale, Miss. There he became acquainted with the blues music of the Miss. Delta and began to adapt his own music to the style. He moved on to Thornton's Knights of Pythias Band in Memphis and also organized a dance orchestra in that city.

In 1909, Handy wrote "Mr. Crump," a campaign tune in support of Edward H. Crump's successful run for mayor of Memphis. In 1912 it was published as "The Memphis Blues," the first published commercial blues song and the first published song incorporating an improvisational jazz break. Handy sold the rights to the song, and lyrics were added by George A. Norton for its 1913 re-publication.

Nevertheless, the first successful recording, by Prince's Orchestra in 1914, was an instrumental. That same year the dance team of Vernon and Irene Castle, introduced to the song by their bandleader, James Reese Europe, were inspired by it to invent the fox-trot, their most popular dance. Other successful early recordings were made by the Victor Military Band (also an instrumental) and by Arthur Collins and Byron Harlan.

Ted Lewis revived the song on record in 1927; it was used in the film Birth of the Blues in 1941, where it was sung by Bing Crosby; and Harry James's 1942 recording became a hit during the recording ban in 1944. Though Handy did not benefit financially from the song's success until he renewed its copyright in 1940, he was identified as its author, and his career as a bandleader blossomed to the extent that he employed three touring bands.

He also was inspired to do more composing, and in September 1914 he wrote "The St. Louis Blues," an even greater success than "The Memphis Blues," which was published by Pace and Handy Music Co., his own firm. Again, Prince's orchestra made the first successful recording, in 1916.

Other hit recordings of the song were achieved by Al Bernard (1919), Marion Harris (1920), the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (with Bernard on vocals; 1921), Handy himself (1923), Bessie Smith (with Louis Armstrong on cornet; 1925), Armstrong (1930), Rudy Vallee (1930), Cab Calloway (1930 and again in 1943), the Mills Brothers (1932), the Boswell Sisters (1935), the Benny Goodman Quartet (1936), Guy Lombardo (1939), Earl Hines (under the title "Boogie Woogie on the St. Louis Blues"; 1940), and Billy Eckstine (1953). The song also was used in half a dozen Broad way shows and in nearly a dozen motion pictures.

Reportedly the most recorded song of the first half of the century, "The St. Louis Blues" had been recorded more than 400 times by 1950, when it was still earning Handy $25,000 a year in royalties. Handy's other major songs include "Yellow Dog Blues" (successfully recorded by Joseph c. Smith's arch., Ben Pollack, Lewis, Joe Darensbourg, and Johnny Maddox), "Joe Turner Blues" (a hit for Prince's arch.), "Hesitating Blues" (a hit for Prince's arch. and for Art Hickman), and "Loveless Love" (recorded by Ray Charles as "Careless Love" and by Smith as "Careless Love Blues"). His most successful song after "The St. Louis Blues" was "The Beale Street Blues" (1917), which produced hits for Prince's arch., Earl Fuller, Harris, Alberta Hunter, Joe Venuti, and Lombardo between 1917 and 1942.

Handy contracted to make recordings for a variety of labels, including Banner, Black Swan, Columbia, Lyratone, Okeh, Paramount, Puritan, and Varsity, and he frequently traveled to N.Y. to record. He recorded a total of about 50 sides between 1917 and 1939, most of the sessions taking place in the late 1910s and early 1920s. In 1918 he gave up full-time bandleading and moved his family and his publishing company to N.Y. Initially this venture was a success, as compositions such as "Aunt Hagar's Blues" (1920) and "John Henry Blues" (1922) became hits. But the business declined as his partner, Harry H. Pace, withdrew; he also suffered from eyesight problems, eventually becoming blind. Still, he managed to reestablish his company as Handy Brothers Music, and he remained active as a publisher and musician until shortly before his death.

Just after he died, Handy was the subject of the biographical film St. Louis Blues, starring Nat "King" Cole. This renewed the popularity of the title song, which was recorded on more than a dozen chart albums over the next 10 years, including renditions by Cole, Pat Boone, Perry Como, Duane Eddy, and Lou Rawls. In the 1970s and 1980s the song was recorded by a diverse collection of artists, ranging from Deodato to Hank Williams Jr. - Born at Florence, Ala., Nov. 16, 1873.
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGqBmlZR3dc]W.C. Handy - Memphis Blues - YouTube[/ame]
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmFUXYaZIMk]ST LOUIS BLUES by W C Handy and Orchestra - YouTube[/ame]

in 1962 - Ged Grimes, [Danny Wilson], rocker (Mary's Prayer is born.
in 1963 - Alec A Templeton, composer/pianist (Alec Templeton Time), dies at 52.

in 1964 - Madame Tussauds, London unveiled the wax works images of The Beatles, the first pop stars to be honoured.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAp2pjpyVe0"]YouTube - Madame Tussauds: The Beatles[/ame]

in 1967 - Working on session for the new Beatles album Sgt Pepper at Abbey Road studios in London, John Lennon recorded his lead vocal for ‘Good Morning Good Morning’, and Paul McCartney added a lead guitar solo to the track. Lennon had decided he wanted to end the song with animal sound effects, and asked that they be sequenced in such a way that each successive animal was capable of scaring or eating the preceding one.

in 1969 - Salt, rocker (Salt 'n' Pepa-Shake Ya Thang) is born.
in 1969 - Joe Cocker played his first American concert.

in 1970 - Simon and Garfunkel were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', the duo's only UK No.1. Only Art Garfunkel sang on the track.

in 1971 - Felix Wolfes, composer, dies at 78.

in 1972 - Elvis Presley recorded "Burning Love." It would turn out to be his last major hit.
in 1974 - During a UK tour, Queen appeared at Aberystwyth University in Wales.

in 1974 - Arthur William "Big Boy" Crudup, American Delta blues singer, songwriter and guitaristm dies of a stroke at the age of 69. He is best known outside blues circles for his songs "That's All Right" (1946), "My Baby Left Me" and "So Glad You're Mine", later covered by Elvis Presley and other artists.

Crudup was born in Forest, Mississippi, to a family of migrant workers traveling through the South and Midwest. The family returned to Mississippi in 1926, where he sang gospel music. He began his career as a blues singer around Clarksdale, Mississippi. As a member of the Harmonizing Four, he visited Chicago in 1939. He stayed in Chicago to work as a solo musician but barely made a living as a street singer. The record producer Lester Melrose allegedly found him while Crudup was living in a packing crate, introduced him to Tampa Red and signed him to a recording contract with RCA Victor's Bluebird label.

He recorded with RCA in the late 1940s and with Ace Records, Checker Records and Trumpet Records in the early 1950s. He toured black clubs in the South, sometimes playing with Sonny Boy Williamson II and Elmore James. He also recorded under the names Elmer James and Percy Lee Crudup. His songs "Mean Old 'Frisco Blues", "Who's Been Foolin' You" and "That's All Right" were popular in the South. These and his other songs "Rock Me Mama", "So Glad You're Mine", and "My Baby Left Me" have been covered by many artists, including Elvis Presley, Elton John and Rod Stewart.

Crudup stopped recording in the 1950s, because of disputes over royalties. He said, "I realised I was making everybody rich, and here I was poor". His last Chicago session was in 1951. His 1952–54 recording sessions for Victor were held at radio station WGST, in Atlanta, Georgia. He returned to recording, for Fire Records and Delmark Records, and touring in 1965. Sometimes labeled "The Father of Rock and Roll", he accepted this title with some bemusement. During this time Crudup worked as a laborer to augment the low wages he received as a singer (he was not receiving royalties). After a dispute with Melrose over royalties, he returned to Mississippi and took up bootlegging. He later moved to Virginia, where he lived with his family, including three sons and several of his siblings, and worked as a field laborer. He occasionally sang in and supplied moonshine to drinking establishments, including one called the Dew-Drop Inn, in Northampton County.

In 1968, the blues promoter Dick Waterman began fighting for Crudup's royalties and reached an agreement in which Crudup would be paid $60,000. However, Hill and Range Songs, from which he was supposed to get the royalties, refused to sign the legal papers at the last minute, because the company thought it could not lose more money in legal action. In the early 1970s, two Virginia activists, Celia Santiago and Margaret Carter, assisted him in an attempt to gain royalties he felt he was due, with little success.

On a 1970 trip to the United Kingdom, Crudup recorded "Roebuck Man" with local musicians. His last professional engagements were with Bonnie Raitt.

Crudup died in 1974, four years after the failed royalty settlement. There was some confusion about the date of death because of his use of several names, including those of his siblings. He died of complications of heart disease and diabetes in the Nassawadox hospital in Northampton County, Virginia, in March 1974.

Crudup has been honored with a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail, placed at Forest. Elvis Presley acknowledged Crudup's importance to rock and roll when he said, "If I had any ambition, it was to be as good as Arthur Crudup".

in 1974 - Dorothy Fields dies at age 68. American librettist and lyricist from New Jersey and grew up in New York. She wrote over 400 songs for musicals and films. Along with Ann Ronell, Dana Suesse, Bernice Petkere, and Kay Swift, she was one of the first successful Tin Pan Alley and Hollywood female songwriters. Songs include "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby", "Exactly Like You", and "On the Sunny Side of the Street". She teamed up with her brother Herbert Fields, with whom she wrote the books for three Cole Porter shows, Let's Face It!, Something for the Boys, and Mexican Hayride. Together, they wrote the book for Annie Get Your Gun, a musical inspired by the life of Annie Oakley. In the 1950s, her biggest success was the show Redhead in '59, which won 5 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. When she started collaborating with Cy Coleman in the 1960s, her career took a new turn. Their first work together was Sweet Charity. Her last hit was from their second collaboration in 1973, Seesaw. Its title song was "It's Not Where You Start, It's Where You Finish" (died of a stroke).

in 1974 - Rock group Raspberries breakup.
in 1975 - Renzo Massarani, composer, dies at 77.

in 1976 - Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt and Alan Lancaster from Status Quo were arrested after an incident at Vienna Airport, all three were released on bail.

in 1976 - Genesis began their first North American tour since Peter Gabriel left the band, appearing in Buffalo, New York, with Phil Collins taking over as lead singer.

in 1977 - During a UK tour, Pink Floyd played the first of four sold out nights at New Bingley Hall, Staffordshire County Showground, Stafford. 1981, Blondie started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Rapture', the group's fourth US No.1, a No.5 hit in the UK.

in 1977 - Angelo Garcia, Brooklyn NY, singer (Menudo-Cannonball) is born.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m8XS02ftmQ"]YouTube - The Morning After by Angelo Garcia - NEW DEMO TRACK (June 10, 2010)[/ame]

in 1978 - Dino Ciani dies at age 32. Italian pianist born in Fiume, now Rijeka in Croatia, and studied piano with Marta del Vecchio in Genoa. He obtained his diploma at the Conservatory in Rome at the age of 14 and in 1958-1962 attended the advanced courses of Alfred Cortot, whom he most revered, in Paris, Lausanne and Siena. His career begun when he won second prize at the Liszt-Bartók Competition in Budapest in 1961. The venues in which he performed included Salle Pleyel, Carnegie Hall and Chicago Philharmonic, Kennedy Center. He made his debut at Teatro alla Scala under the baton of Claudio Abbado with Beethoven's fourth piano concerto in 1968. With Abbado he also performed Prokofiev's fifth piano concerto in 1969 and at Teatro alla Scala. His repertoire encompassed the complete sonatas of Beethoven, works by Weber, Dino was the first to record the complete sonatas, in 1967, Schubert, Schumann, Chopin, Debussy, and Bela Bartok. His recordings for Deutsche Grammophon of the complete Debussy Preludes-1972, Schumann's Noveletten-1968 and Weber's second and third piano sonatas-1970 are particularly renowned (road accident in Rome).

in 1980 - Richard "Dick" Haymes dies at age 63.
Dick Haymes was one of the most splendid ballad singers of his era, the near-equal of Crosby and Sinatra on classics of the form like "It Can't Be Wrong," "Till the End of Time," and "It Might as Well Be Spring." Though he was unable to cash in during the '50s golden era of adult pop (due to alcoholism, troubles with the government, and a few tempestuous relationships), Haymes continued performing and recording until his death in 1980.

Born in Buenos Aires in 1918, Haymes was the son of British parents, who at the time were living on the cattle ranch they owned in Argentina. After they separated, he was reared by his mother in Paris before the Depression crippled their finances. He spent the rest of his formative years in the United States, where his mother performed as a singer. Haymes made his own professional debut at the age of 15, singing with a hotel band in New Jersey while on summer vacation. He left school in 1933 to move to Hollywood, and worked as a stuntman or extra on several films during the mid-'30s. After writing a few songs in 1939, he approached Harry James with hopes the bandleader would buy them; though James wasn't very impressed with his songwriting skills, he hired Haymes one year later, to replace Frank Sinatra as his leading male singer.

During 1941-1942, Dick Haymes recorded a few hits with James, including "A Sinner Kissed an Angel" and "The Devil Sat Down and Cried." (His biggest hit with James, "I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You)," hit number one in 1944, three years after its recording.) Haymes also sang with Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey before signing to Decca in 1943. One of his first singles, "You'll Never Know," hit number one in July 1943. Another, "It Can't Be Wrong," was also a substantial hit at the same time. He moved from extra to starring roles in Hollywood, most notably appearing in 1945's State Fair, and scored a Top Five hit with the Oscar-winning "It Might as Well Be Spring" from the film. Though he never again scored another number one hit, Haymes spent much of the mid-'40s near the top of the charts with the songs "Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey," "Laura," "Till the End of Time," and "That's for Me." He also hosted a radio show with Helen Forrest, and starred in several more films after the success of State Fair.

Though the hits continued until the end of the decade, both Haymes' professional and personal life began to decline. He divorced his wife, actress Joanne Dru, began drinking heavily, and mishandled his finances. Many of his film appearances were panned and he was eventually dropped from his movie and recording contracts. A whirlwind romance and two-year marriage to Rita Hayworth hardly settled things down; when added to immigration and tax troubles, it made for a very obvious low point in the singer's life.

He began a professional comeback in 1955, thanks to a contract with Capitol Records, the foremost label for adult pop. Haymes recorded two LPs for Capitol, Rain or Shine and Moondreams, but continued to be plagued by alcoholism. After moving to Ireland in the early '60s, Haymes finally kicked his drinking habit and returned to recording with 1969's Now and Then, which alternated Haymes classics with more contemporary material. He moved back to America in the '70s, performing numerous club dates and recording a live album at Cocoanut Grove. He last recorded in 1978, and lost his long bout with cancer two years later.

in 1981 - Elton John's version of The Beatles 'I Saw Her Standing There' was released as a tribute to John Lennon.

in 1981 – Blondie started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Rapture', the group's fourth US No.1 and the first No. 1 song in the US to feature rap and its lyrics, notable for name-checking hip-hop pioneers Fab Five Freddy and Grandmaster Flash.

in 1982 - David Crosby was arrested after crashing his car on the San Diego Highway. Police also found cocaine and a pistol in the Crosby Stills & Nash stars car. When the police asked Crosby why he carried the gun, his reply was, "John Lennon."

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in 1984 - Carmen Dragon, American conductor, composer and arranger (b. 1914) who in addition to live performances and recording, worked in radio, film, and television, dies at age 69.

Dragon was born in Antioch, California. He attended Antioch High School and, while a student there, composed a song for the school. Forward, Antioch! was performed between acts of a school play on February 28, 1930. (A newspaper article erroneously identified the composer as "a high school girl, Carmen Dragon.")

He was very active in pops music conducting and composed scores for several films, including At Gunpoint (1955), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Night into Tomorrow (1951), and Kiss Tomorrow Good-bye (1950).

With Morris Stoloff, he shared the 1944 Oscar for the popular Gene Kelly/Rita Hayworth musical Cover Girl, which featured songs by Jerome Kern and Ira Gershwin.

He made a popular orchestral arrangement of "America the Beautiful" and also re-arranged it for symphonic band. In his obituary published March 29, 1984, the New York Times noted: "In 1964 he won an Emmy for producing the Glendale Symphony Orchestra Christmas Special on NBC."

Dragon conducted the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra, and they performed on The Standard School Broadcast, broadcast on NBC in the western U.S. for elementary schools from 1928 through the 1970s. The show was sponsored by the Standard Oil Company of California (now the Chevron Corporation), but other than the name there were no commercials. The program featured a high quality introduction to classical music for young people growing up in the 1940s and early 1950s.

In the summer of 1947, Dragon and Frances Langford had a program on NBC. Langford sang, accompanied by Dragon and his 25-piece orchestra. The show began June 5 and ran for 13 weeks as a summer replacement for George Burns and Gracie Allen's program.

Dragon also hosted a regular classical music radio show broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio Network well into the 1980s.

By May 1935, Dragon had his own orchestra. A Santa Cruz, California, newspaper reported about the San Jose State freshman dance, "The dancers will travel over the world with the orchestra of Carmen Dragon furnishing the appropriate music of each locality." A couple of months later, a Fresno, California, newspaper contained an advertisement promoting "Carmen Dragon, Ace Stanford Band, The Sensation of the Coast."

Dragon made a series of popular light classical albums for Capitol Records during the 1950s with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Some of these recordings have been reissued by EMI on CD. Dragon appeared as himself briefly at the end of the 1979 film The In-Laws, conducting the fictitious Paramus Philharmonic.

Dragon has a star in the Radio section of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Located at 6104 Hollywood Boulevard, it was dedicated September 7, 1989.
Personal life

Dragon had a wife, Eloise, "who sang on his Maxwell House series and Starlight Concert."

Carmen Dragon died of cancer in a Santa Monica, California hospital.

Son, Daryl Dragon of the 1970s pop music duo Captain & Tennille
Daughter, Carmen E. Dragon (January 17, 1948 - July 11, 2010), classical harpist
Son, Dennis Dragon, drummer for the surf band Surf Punks; also was one of the last Byrds drummers when they were falling apart in early 1973, also produced much of Captain & Tennille's music.
Daughter, Kathryn Dragon Henn (died April, 2012), was the manager of her father's Orchestral Pops Rental Library
Son, Douglas - a musician and singer

in 1987 - Mel and Kim were at No.1 on the UK singles chart 'Respectable', giving the production team of Stock, Aitken and Waterman their second UK No.1.

in 1985 - Nand Baert, Belgian radio/tv-host, dies at 53.

in 1987 - Maria Augusta von Trapp nee Kutschera dies at age 82. Maria Augusta von Trapp also known as Baroness von Trapp, was the stepmother and matriarch of the Trapp Family Singers. She wrote The Story of the Trapp Family Singers which was published in 1949. The story served as the inspiration for the 1956 West German film The Trapp Family, which in turn inspired the Broadway musical The Sound of Music (1959) and the 1965 film of the same name.

Maria was born on 26 January 1905, the daughter of Augusta (née Rainer) and Karl Kutschera. She was delivered on a train heading from her parents' village in Tyrol to a hospital in Vienna, Austria. She was an orphan by her seventh birthday. She graduated from the State Teachers College for Progressive Education in Vienna at age 18, in 1923. In 1924 she entered Nonnberg Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in Salzburg, as a postulant, intending to become a nun.

In 1926, while still a schoolteacher at the abbey, Maria was asked to teach one of the seven children of widowed naval commander Georg von Trapp His wife, Agatha Whitehead, had died in 1922 from scarlet fever.

Eventually, Maria began to look after the other children, as well. Georg von Trapp, seeing how much she cared about his children, asked Maria to marry him, although he was 25 years her senior. Frightened, she fled back to Nonnberg Abbey to seek guidance from the Mother Abbess. The Mother Abbess advised Maria that it was God's will that she should marry the Captain; since Maria was taught always to follow God's will, she returned to the family and told the Captain she would marry him. She later wrote in her autobiography that on her wedding day she was blazing mad, both at God and at her husband, because what she really wanted was to be a nun: "I really and truly was not in love. I liked him but didn't love him. However, I loved the children, so in a way I really married the children. I learned to love him more than I have ever loved before or after."

Maria and Georg married on 26 November 1927. They had three children together: Rosmarie (born 1928 or 1929), Eleonore ("Lorli") (born 1931), and Johannes (born 1939), who were the others' half-sisters and half-brother. A discrepancy exists for the birth date of their oldest child, Rosmarie. In 1944, Maria, under oath in her Declaration of Intention for naturalization, gave the date of the marriage as 26 November 1927 and the date of her first child's birth as 8 February 1928. This would indicate she was pregnant at the time of their marriage, and she gave birth only two months and 14 days after her marriage. She confirmed both the marriage and birthdate in her Petition for Naturalization, signed under oath, on 26 May 1948. The Trapp family disputes the 1928 date, and Maria used the year 1929 in her book.

In 1935, the Trapps faced financial ruin. Georg had transferred his savings, held until then by a bank in London, to an Austrian bank run by a friend, Frau Lammer. Austria was at the time experiencing economic difficulties during a worldwide depression, because of the Crash of 1929. Lammer's bank failed, and the family faced a financial emergency. To survive, the Trapps sent away most of their servants, moved into the top floor of their home, and rented out the other rooms. The Archbishop sent Father Franz Wasner to stay with them as their chaplain, and thus began their singing career.

Soprano Lotte Lehmann heard the family sing, and she suggested they perform at concerts. When the Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg heard them on the radio, he invited them to perform in Vienna.

After performing at a festival in 1935, they became a popular touring act. They experienced life under the Nazis after the annexation of Austria by Germany in March 1938. Life became increasingly difficult as they witnessed hostility towards Jewish children by their classmates, the use of children against their parents, the advocacy of abortion both by Maria's doctor and by her son's school, and finally by the induction of Georg into the German Navy. They visited Munich in the summer of 1938 and encountered Hitler at a restaurant. In September, the family left Austria and travelled to Italy, and then to the United States. The Nazis made use of their abandoned home as Heinrich Himmler's headquarters.

Initially calling themselves the "Trapp Family Choir", the von Trapps began to perform in the United States and Canada. They performed in New York City at The Town Hall on 10 December 1938. The New York Times wrote:

There was something unusually lovable and appealing about the modest, serious singers of this little family aggregation as they formed a close semicircle about their self-effacing director for their initial offering, the handsome Mme. von Trapp in simple black, and the youthful sisters garbed in black and white Austrian folk costumes enlivened with red ribbons. It was only natural to expect work of exceeding refinement from them, and one was not disappointed in this.

Charles Wagner was their first booking agent, then they signed on with Frederick Christian Schang. Thinking the name "Trapp Family Choir" too churchy, Schang Americanized their repertoire and, following his suggestion, the group changed its name to the "Trapp Family Singers". The family, which by then included ten children, was soon touring the world giving concert performances. Alix Williamson served as the group's publicist for over two decades. After the war, they founded the Trapp Family Austrian Relief fund, which sent food and clothing to people impoverished in Austria.

In the 1940s, the family moved to Stowe, Vermont, where they ran a music camp when they were not touring. In 1944, Maria and her stepdaughters, Johanna, Martina, Maria, Hedwig, and Agathe applied for U.S. citizenship. Georg never applied to become a citizen. Rupert and Werner became citizens by serving during World War II. Rosemarie and Eleonore became citizens by virtue of their mother's citizenship. Johannes was born in the United States in September 1939, during a concert tour in Philadelphia. Georg von Trapp died in 1947 in Vermont after suffering lung cancer.

The family made a series of 78 rpm discs for RCA Victor in the 1950s, some of which were later issued on RCA Camden LPs. There were also a few later recordings released on LPs, including some stereo sessions. The family also made an appearance on an Elvis Presley Christmas record[citation needed]. In 1957, the Trapp Family Singers disbanded and went their separate ways. Maria and three of her children became missionaries in Papua New Guinea. In 1965, Maria had moved back to Vermont to manage the Trapp Family Lodge, which had been named Cor Unum. Maria began turning over management of the Lodge to her only son, Johannes, although she was initially reluctant to do so.

Maria von Trapp died of heart failure on 28 March 1987 (aged 82), in Morrisville, Vermont, three days following surgery. Maria, her husband Georg, and four of her stepchildren (Hedwig von Trapp, Martina von Trapp, Rupert von Trapp, and Werner von Trapp) are interred in the family cemetery at the Lodge.

in 1992 - over a $100,000 (£58,800) worth of damage was caused at The Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, California, when Ozzy Osbourne invited the first two rows of the audience on stage. Several others took up the offer and the band was forced to exit the stage.

in 1992 - during a North American tour Pearl Jam appeared at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago with Smashing Pumpkins as the support act.

in 1994 - Eugene Ionesco, playwright (Rhinoceros, Bald Soprano), dies at 84.

in 1995 - Singer Jimmy McShane died of Aids. He had the 1985 UK No.3 single and European hit 'Tarzan Boy with Italian dance outfit Baltimora.

in 1995 - Country singer Lyle Lovett and actress Julia Roberts announced they were separating after 21 months of marriage.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o3m1FwhusY"]YouTube - Lyle Lovett: She's No Lady[/ame]

in 1998 - Kiss played the first of five sold-out nights on their Alive II world Tour at the Budokan in Tokyo, Japan.

in 1999 - French act Mr Oizo went to No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Flat Beat.' The tune was used in a Levis jeans ad.

in 2000 - Jimmy Page accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages from a magazine which claimed he had caused or contributed to the death of his Led Zeppelin bandmate John Bonham. Page's solicitor, Norman Chapman, told High Court Judge Mr Justice Morland that the feature in Ministry magazine printed in 1999 claimed Page was more concerned with keeping vomit off his bed than saving his friend's life, and that he stood over him wearing Satanist robes and performing a useless spell.

in 2001 - The artist formerly known as both Puffy and Puff Daddy said in an interview on MTV he now wanted to be known as P. Diddy. In August 2005, he changed his stage name to simply "Diddy."

in 2001 - it was reported that singer songwriter James Taylor and his wife Caroline Smedvig were expecting twin boys, carried by a surrogate mother who was a family friend.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gic6B-B6rpg"]YouTube - James Taylor - Carolina In My Mind[/ame]

in 2001 - he artist formerly known as both Puffy and Puff Daddy said in an interview on MTV he now wanted to be known as P. Diddy. In August 2005, he changed his stage name to simply "Diddy."

in 2001 - Moe Koffman dies at age 71. Canadian saxophone, clarinet, composer; born in Toronto he attended the Toronto Conservatory of Music, but dropped out of school to perform in dance bands. In 1950, he moved to the US, where he played with big bands including those of Sonny Dunham and Jimmy Dorsey. In 1955, he returned to Toronto where he formed a quartet and later a quintet. He recorded Swinging Shepherd Blues in 1958 which helped establish his reputation as a flutist and ranked him alongside Herbie Mann and Yusef Lateef and later Jeremy Steig as great influential jazz flute players. During the 1970s, Moe recorded several popular albums with arrangements of works by composers including Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi. He also was a guest performer with a number of symphony orchestras across Canada. He performed with Dizzy Gillespie and Peter Appleyard during the 1980s. He often performed with Rob McConnell's Boss Brass. From 1956 to 1990, Moe booked performers for George's Spaghetti House in Toronto, where he performed weekly (sadly cancer).

in 2003 - Farrell "Rusty" Draper dies at age 80. American country and pop singer who achieved his greatest success in the 1950s. Born in Kirksville, Missouri he began performing on his uncle's radio show in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the mid 1930s. He moved on to work at radio stations in Des Moines, Iowa before settling in California. There he began to sing in local clubs, becoming resident singer at the Rumpus Room in San Francisco. By the early 1950s he had begun appearing on national TV shows including The Ed Sullivan Show and Ozark Jubilee. In 1952, Mercury Records released his debut single, "How Could You (Blue Eyes)". The following year, after a national club tour, his cover version of Jim Lowe's "Gambler's Guitar” made No.6 on both the country and pop charts, and sold a million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Other hits included "Seventeen", "The Shifting, Whispering Sands", "Are You Satisfied?", "In The Middle Of The House", and the skiffle hit "Freight Train". He also reached the UK Singles Chart with a rendition of "Muleskinner Blues". He remained a steady concert draw in years to follow, and also appeared in stage musicals and on television.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llo49yKs9SU"]YouTube - Rusty Draper - Freight Train 45rpm (Mercury)" target="_blank">YouTube - Rusty Draper - Freight Train 45rpm (Mercury)[/ame]

in 2004 - Usher was at No.1 on the UK album chart with ‘Confessions’, his second UK No.1 album.

in 2005 - after playing a warm-up date the night before at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, U2 kicked off their Vertigo tour at the iPay One Center in San Diego, California. The 131 date world tour would see the band playing in North America, Europe, South America and Japan. By the time it finished, the Vertigo Tour had sold 4,619,021 tickets, grossing $389 million; the second-highest figure ever for a world tour.

in 2005 - Dame Moura Lympany DBE /Mary Gertrude Johnstone dies at age 88. English concert pianist, born in Saltash, Cornwall. She was sent to a convent school in Belgium, where her musical talent was encouraged, and she went on to study at Liège, later winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London. She made her concert debut at Harrogate in 1929, aged 12, playing the G minor Concerto of Felix Mendelssohn, the only concerto she had memorised up to that point. After the war she became more widely known, performing throughout Europe and in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India. When living in New York, Moura continued her concert and recording career. In 1979, fifty years after making her debut, she performed at the Royal Festival Hall for Charles, Prince of Wales and the following year she was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). In 1992 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order (DBE). Dame Moura also received honours from the Belgian, French, and Portuguese governments.

in 2005 - After playing a warm-up date the night before at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, U2 kicked off their Vertigo tour at the iPay One Center in San Diego, California. The 131 date world tour would see the band playing in North America, Europe, South America and Japan. By the time it finished, the Vertigo Tour had sold 4,619,021 tickets, grossing $389 million; the second-highest figure ever for a world tour.

in 2006 - Proinsias Ó Maonaigh dies at age 83. Irish a fiddler from Gaoth Dobhair, County Donegal, famous for his distinguished fiddle playing and his unique and vast contribution to Irish music and culture. He is credited for such works as "Francie Mooney's German", "Francie Mooney's Mazourka" and "Francie Mooney's Highland". His most famous song he wrote about his hometown called "Gleanntáin Ghlas' Ghaoth Dobhair". He also wrote pantomimes for the local theater, and translated many songs from English into Irish. In 2003 he was honoured by the Oireachtas when he was the president of the Letterkenny event. (died after a brief illness)

in 2006 - Tina Brown the sister-in-law of Whitney Houston sold pictures taken in her bathroom to the National Enquirer claiming Whitney Houston had been taking crack cocaine. The pictures showed drug paraphernalia including a crack-smoking pipe, rolling papers, cocaine-caked spoons and cigarette ends strewn across the surface tops of the bathroom.

in 2009 - Kelly Clarkson started a two-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with ‘All I Ever Wanted’, the singer’s fourth studio album.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra-Om7UMSJc"]YouTube - Kelly Clarkson - Because Of You" target="_blank">YouTube - Kelly Clarkson - Because Of You[/ame]

in 2009 - Maurice-Alexis Jarre dies at age 84. French composer and conductor, born in Lyon, he composed several concert works, but is maybe he is best known for his film scores, and is particularly known for his collaborations with legendary film director David Lean. He composed the scores to all of Lean's films since Lawrence of Arabia-1962. Other notable scores include The Message-1976, Witness-1985 and Ghost-1990. His UK chart hits include 'Somewhere My Love' (to his tune Lara's Theme) by the Michael Sammes Singers in 1966, it spent 38 weeks on the chart. Maurice was a three time Academy Award winner, for Lawrence of Arabia-1962, Doctor Zhivago in 1965 and A Passage to India-1984, and was Oscar nominated a total of eight times. He also won three Golden Globes and was nominated for ten. His television work includes the score for the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth-1977, Shogun-1980, and the theme for PBS's Great Performances. Maurice scored his last film in 2001, a TV movie about the Holocaust entitled Uprising.

in 2010 - Herb Ellis dies at age 88. American jazz guitarist, born in Farmersville, Texas. Hearing George Barnes on the radio inspired Herb to take up guitar, and he majored in music at North Texas State. University. After gaining recognition with Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra he joined the Jimmy Dorsey band where he played some of his first recorded solos. He remained with Dorsey until 1947, traveling and recording extensively. Then Herb, with pianist Lou Carter and jazz violinist/bassist John Frigo, formed The Soft Winds group, staying together until 1952. Herb became prominent after performing with the Oscar Peterson Trio from 1953 to 1958 along with Peterson and bassist Ray Brown. He was a somewhat controversial member of the trio, because he was the only white person in the group in a time when racism was still very much widespread. They also served as the "house rhythm section" for Norman Granz's Verve Records, supporting the likes of tenormen Ben Webster and Stan Getz, as well as trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, and Sweets Edison and other jazz stalwarts. With drummer Buddy Rich, they were also the backing band for popular "comeback" duo albums Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Also along with fellow jazz guitarists Joe Pass, Barney Kessel, and Charlie Byrd, he created another ensemble, the Great Guitars. (Alzheimer's disease)
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTnIM5TlfAM"]YouTube - "Georgia (On My Mind)" Herb Ellis & friends" target="_blank">YouTube - "Georgia (On My Mind)" Herb Ellis & friends[/ame]

in 2011 - Lee Hoiby dies at age 85. American composer, born in Madison, Wisconsin, he began playing the piano at the age of 5 and studied at the University of Wisconsin and at Mills College. He became influenced by a variety of composers, particularly personalities in the twentieth century avant garde, including the Pro Arte String Quartet led by Rudolf Kolisch. During his youth, he played with Harry Partch's Dadaist ensembles. He was introduced Hoiby to opera, and became involved in the Broadway productions of The Consul and The Saint of Bleecker Street. His first opera, The Scarf, was produced by Menotti and premiered in 1957, and was recognized by TIME and the Italian press as the hit of the first Spoleto Festival. His most recent opera is a setting of Romeo and Juliet awaits its world premiere. (metastatic melanoma)

in 2011 - Bill Scarlett dies at age 82. American jazz saxophonist, clarinatist and teacher; born in Little Rock, Ark., he earned a master’s degree in music performance from Louisiana State University. He moved to Knoxville to teach clarinet at the University of Tennessee, and a few years later formed the UT Jazz Giants, made up of students, faculty, and local professional players. The group, made up of students and faculty, still exists today as the UT Jazz Ensemble. He was one of a trio of local octogenarian sax players whose contributions to the local jazz community were honored last year on the Tenors and Satin album produced by internationally renowned pianist/composer Donald Brown (cancer)

in 2012 - Jerry "Boogie" McCain dies at age 81. American electric blues musician, best known as a harmonica player, born in Gadsden, Alabama. He made his recording debut in 1953 under the name "Boogie McCain", the two tracks were "East of the Sun" and "Wine-O-Wine". During 1955–57 he developed his amplified harmonica style, and unusual blues lyrics and released noted songs as such "My Next Door Neighbor" and "The Jig's Up".

His recordings "She's Tough"/"Steady" was an inspiration to Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Kim Wilson duplicated his harp work on their version. The City of Gadsden honored Jerry by including his own day at their annual Riverfest Event; a four day music event and in 1996, he was selected by the Etowah Youth Orchestras as the most well-known musician from Gadsden.

The EYO commissioned Julius Williams to write a work for solo harmonica and orchestra, to be performed by Jerry and the EYSO, as a part of the City of Gadsden's Sesquicentennial Celebration. "Concerto for Blues Harmonica and Orchestra" was premiered in November 1996. In 2000, he released an all-star album This Stuff Just Kills Me featuring Johnnie Johnson, John Primer, Anson Funderburgh, Jimmie Vaughan, along with the Double Trouble rhythm section of Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton. - Born June 18th 1930.

in 2012 - Alexander Arutiunian dies at age 91. Armenian composer, pianist, and Prof of Yerevan State Conservatory, widely-known for his Trumpet Concerto in A-flat major in 1950. He was awarded by the Stalin Prize in 1949; State Prize of Armenia in 1970; People's Artist of the USSR in 1970; Armenian SSR-1964 honorary titles, Aram Khachaturian Prize in 1986, "St Mesrop Mashtots" and "Khorenatsi" Armenian medals, "Alexandrov" Gold medal 1976, "Orpheus Award" and "St Sahak and St Mesrop" Order by Holy Etchmiadzin in 2004. - Born September 23rd 1920.

in 2012 - Earl Scruggs dies at age 88. American bluegrass musician born in Shelby, North Carolina; he is noted for popularizing a three-finger banjo-picking style, now called Scruggs style, that is a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. Although other musicians had played in three-finger style before him, Scruggs shot to prominence when he was hired by Bill Monroe to fill the banjo slot in his group, the Blue Grass Boys in late 1945.

In 1948 he and guitarist Lester Flatt left Monroe's band and formed the Foggy Mountain Boys, also later known simply as Flatt and Scruggs. In 1969, they broke up, and he started a new band, the Earl Scruggs Revue, featuring several of his sons. Flatt and Scruggs won a Grammy Award in 1969 for Earl's instrumental "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." They were inducted together into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985. In 1989, he was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship. He was an inaugural inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1991. In 1992, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. In 1994, Earl teamed up with Randy Scruggs and Doc Watson for the song "Keep on the Sunny Side" to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Country.

In 2002 Earl won a second Grammy award for the 2001 recording of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown". On February 13th 2003, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. That same year, he and Flatt were ranked No. 24 on CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music. On Sept 13th 2006, Earl was honored at Turner Field in Atlanta as part of the pre-game show for an Atlanta Braves home game (natural causes) - Born January 6th 1924.

in 2013 - Robert Zildjian, founder of Sabian Cymbals, the second largest manufacturer of cymbals in the world, dies at age 89 at his home in Brunswick, Maine after a battle with cancer.

While breaking away from his family's business dynasty, Robert Zildjian took a closely guarded secret with him — a cymbal-making process with roots in the 17th century — and founded his own noisy empire in 1981.

A legal settlement prevented him from trading on the Zildjian name long synonymous with cymbals, so he called his Canadian-based company Sabian, an acronym based on the names of his children, Sally, Bill and Andy.

As Sabian evolved into a premier cymbal manufacturer, it cut into the market once dominated by Zildjian, the Boston-based company he left behind in a bitter feud with his brother.

He was an heir to a family business that began in Constantinople in 1623 when an ancestor stumbled upon a mix of metals and a process that resulted in cymbals with an unrivaled musical tone.

The sultan then in power gave the family the last name of Zildjian – Armenian for "son of a cymbal maker" – and the formula began its quiet march through the generations. It was largely passed from father to oldest son before coming to America in the late 1920s through Robert's father, Avedis Zildjian III, who saw a tremendous potential market with the advent of jazz.

"American Zildjian cymbals became just as coveted by jazz and rock players of the 20th century as they had been by orchestra percussionists for centuries," according to a 1981 Times article that pointed out that the family's cymbals had been world-famous since at least 1779.

When Avedis died in 1979, he broke with tradition and left the Massachusetts company to both sons. But his oldest, Armand, was given the controlling interest. It was "a terrible blow," Robert later said, because "I was running 80% of the business."

It set the stage for a divisive legal battle that ended with a Solomon-like split. His brother retained control of the Zildjian business and Robert took over the company's Canadian factory, which had produced a lower-end line of cymbals. In his late 50s, he launched Sabian.

"Having been dealt a major setback at an age where most men would have opted for retirement, RZ," as Robert Zildjian was nicknamed, "instead chose to re-invent the cymbal business with his own hand-crafted brand," Sabian said in a statement.

In the Sabian plant in tiny Meductic, Canada, ingots of copper and tin are melted into a bronze alloy, which is baked and shaped into cymbals by artisans.

Their hand-hammering produces a rich sound that caught the attention of drummers when Sabian's first cymbals reached U.S. stores in the early 1980s, Zildjian's son Andy told Music Trades magazine in 2006, the year he became president of the company.

A quarter-century after it was founded, Sabian was a "dramatic success" story with annual sales of more than 1 million cymbals in about 120 countries, according to Music Trades.

The Sabian logo has adorned the cymbals of such drummers as Phil Collins, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Matt Sorum of Guns N' Roses and Chris Wilson of Good Charlotte.

On Twitter, Smith called Zildjian an "innovator and Cymbal visionary," and Sorum wrote, "you made us drummers the best noise makers around."

Born July 14, 1923, in Boston, Zildjian became an apprentice at his father's factory when he was 14.

During World War II, he served as an Army infantryman in Europe and upon his return earned a degree from Dartmouth College.

Returning to the Zildjian company, he concentrated on building sales in Europe and often traveled with his wife, Willi, whom he married in 1951. The couple journeyed to Istanbul in 1960 to finalize the purchase of a competitor, the original K. Zildjian Co.

"He was blunt, relished being politically incorrect, and, until he fell ill, loved the challenge of running the business," Music Trades editor Brian T. Majeski wrote in a tribute.

Even after his brother died in 2003, Zildjian referred to the business he left behind as "the competitor." Yet both sides of the rift agreed that the fierce sibling rivalry had a creative upside — it pushed the development of cymbals to new heights.

Zildjian is survived by his wife, Willi; three children, Bill, Sally and Andy; and eight grandchildren.

in 2013 – Justin Bieber ran into some trouble at Munich airport when customs officials detained and quarantined his monkey. Bieber had recently been given the capuchin monkey as a pet by record producer Mally Mall. Bieber apparently brought the monkey along to join him on the Austrian and German leg of his European tour, but he didn't have the documentation required to bring his new friend into Germany. Bieber went on to perform in Munich while the monkey was kept in the custody of authorities.

in 2013 - Hugh C. McCracken, American rock guitarist and session musician based in New York City, primarily known for his performance on guitar and also as a harmonica player, dies of leukemia in New York City, age 70. McCracken was additionally an arranger and producer.
Born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, McCracken grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Especially in demand in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, McCracken appeared on many recordings by Steely Dan, as well as albums by Donald Fagen, Jimmy Rushing, Billy Joel, Roland Kirk, Roberta Flack, B. B. King, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, The Monkees, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Idris Muhammad, James Taylor, Phoebe Snow, Bob Dylan, Linda McCartney, Carly Simon, Graham Parker, Yoko Ono, Eric Carmen, Loudon Wainwright III, Lou Donaldson, Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, The Four Seasons, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Hank Crawford, Jerry Jemmott, Gary Wright and Andy Gibb.

In the middle 1960s, McCracken played in a North Jersey night club cover band called The Funatics under the stage name of Mack Pierce. The band became Mario & The Funatics for a short time when it merged with saxophonist Mario Madison. He was a member of Mike Mainieri's White Elephant Orchestra (1969–1972), a 20-piece experimental jazz-rock outfit based in New York City. The band was made up of Steve Gadd, Tony Levin, Warren Bernhardt, George Young, Frank Vicari, Michael Brecker, Ronnie Cuber, Jon Faddis, Lew Soloff, Randy Brecker, Barry Rogers, Jon Pierson, Steve Goodman, David Spinozza and Joe Beck.

Among the many albums he performed on was the 1970 recording by writer/critic Robert Palmer's Insect Trust, Hoboken Saturday Night, together with Bernard "Pretty" Purdie and Elvin Jones. In 1971, because of such high demand for his work, McCracken declined Paul McCartney's invitation to help form his new band, Wings. McCracken also played on, arranged and co-produced with Tommy LiPuma, Dr. John's City Lights (1978) and Tango Palace (1979).

in 2014 – Tickets for Kate Bush first live shows in 35 years sold out in less than 15 minutes. The Before the Dawn concerts, which were booked to take place this August and September, marked the singer's first return to the stage since The Tour Of Life in 1979. Demand was so high that the singer's own website, as well as some ticket-selling sites, crashed as people tried to log on.

in 2015 - Ronald Stevenson, British composer, pianist, and writer about music, dies at age 87.

The son of a Scottish father and Welsh mother, Stevenson was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, in 1928. He studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music (now incorporated in the Royal Northern College of Music), studying composition with Richard Hall and piano with Iso Elinson, graduating with distinction in 1948. He married Marjorie Spedding in 1952. He moved to Scotland in the mid-1950s. As a pacifist, he refused to do National Service, and spent the two-year period in prison.

Among his many compositions, the largest (in terms of duration) and most famous is his Passacaglia on DSCH for solo piano, written between 1960 and 1962, based on a 13-note ground bass derived from the musical motif D-E-C-B: the German transliteration of Dmitri Shostakovich's initials ("D. Sch."). Stevenson's work takes more than an hour and a quarter to perform and is one of the longest unbroken single movements composed for piano.

Stevenson's other works include two piano concertos, the second of which was first performed at the Proms in 1972, a violin concerto commissioned by Yehudi Menuhin, and a cello concerto in memoriam Jacqueline du Pré. He also wrote several chamber works including a String Quartet and Piano Quartet, numerous songs (among these, many settings of Hugh MacDiarmid, William Soutar and James Joyce) and works for solo piano. In 2007 he completed a choral symphony, Ben Dorain, on Hugh MacDiarmid's translation of the poem of that name by Duncan Ban MacIntyre. This work, for full chorus and chamber choir with chamber orchestra and symphony orchestra, was begun in the 1960s and laid aside for many years. The world premiere was given in City Halls, Glasgow, on 19 January 2008 by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, with the composer present.

Stevenson was very active as a transcriber of music other than his own, chiefly for the piano, in the tradition of Ferrucio Busoni, Percy Grainger and Leopold Godowsky. His transcriptions covered composers as diverse as Henry Purcell and Frederick Delius. Notable examples include piano solo versions of Grainger's Hill Song No.1 (originally for wind orchestra), the first movement of Gustav Mahler's Tenth Symphony, and of the six unaccompanied violin sonatas of Eugène Ysaÿe as piano sonatas. There is also a collection of piano solos based songs from the 19th and 20th centuries entitled L'art nouveau de chant appliqué au piano, a title that recalls deliberately the collection of song-transcriptions by Sigismond Thalberg. Stevenson made many arrangements of folk music from countries as far apart as Scotland and China, while many of his own works exist in several different instrumentations.

Stevenson was also noted as a teacher. He was senior lecturer in composition at the University of Cape Town in the mid-1960s, delivered seminars at the Juilliard School in New York, and was responsible for a course entitled The Political Piano at the University of York in the early 1980s.

Stevenson died at his home in West Linton, Scotland. His widow and three children survive him. His daughter Savourna Stevenson (born 1961) has recorded many works on the Scottish harp. His daughter Gerda Stevenson is a film and theatre actress, and a poet. His granddaughter Anna Wendy Stevenson is a Scots folk fiddler.

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in 1484 - Johann Spangenberg, composer is born.
in 1616 - Johann Erasmus Kindermann, composer is born.
in 1636 - Esaias Reusner, composer is born.
in 1697 - Nikolaus Bruhns, composer, dies.

in 1719 - Sir John Hawkins, eminent English music historian, is born at London. He studied law while serving as a clerk, and soon was able to act as an attorney. An ardent devotee of music, he entered the musical society of the time and was on friendly terms with Handel; he also participated in literary clubs, and knew Samuel Johnson, Goldsmith, and others. A wealthy marriage (1753) enabled him to devote his leisure to literature and music.

In 1761 he became a magistrate, and in 1763 chairman of the Quarter Sessions. He was knighted in 1772. His first publication dealing with music was Memoirs ofthe Life of Sig. Agostino Steffani (1758). He then brought out An Account of the Institution and Progress of the Academy of Ancient Music (1770). The culmination of 16 years of labor was his monumental A General History of the Science and Practice of Music (5 vols., 1776).

The first volume of Burney's General History of Music appeared at the same time; thus, Hawkins undoubtedly held priority for the first general history of music published in England. However, its reception was rather hostile; Burney himself derided Hawkins in an unpublished poem. Yet the Hawkins work contained reliable information, particularly dealing with musical life in London in the 18th century. Hawkins died of a paralytic stroke and was buried in Westminster Abbey. - Died at London, May 21, 1789.

in 1725 - Joseph Franz Xaver Dominik Stalder, composer is born.

in 1747 - Johann Wilhelm Hassler, German organist, composer, and pianist, is born at Erfurt. His father was a maker of men's headwear. He followed his father's trade while studying organ with his uncle, Johann Christian Kittel. At the age of 14, he was able to earn his living as organist at an Erfurt church. After his father's death, in 1769, he maintained for some years a manufactory of fur muffs.

A meeting in Hamburg with C. P. E. Bach gave him a fresh impetus toward continuing his musical activities. He gave concerts as a pianist, and published several piano sonatas. On Feb. 8, 1779, he married his pupil Sophie Kiel. In 1780 he opened public winter concerts in Erfurt; his wife appeared there as a singer and choral director. In 1789 he played in Berlin and Potsdam; in Dresden he took part in a contest with Mozart, as organist and pianist, without producing much impression either on Mozart himself or on the listeners. In 1790 he went to London, where he performed piano concertos under the direction of Haydn. In 1792 he went to Russia, where he remained until his death. In Moscow he became greatly renowned as a pianist, as a composer, and particularly as a teacher.

Most of his works were published in Russia; these included sonatas, preludes, variations, fantasies, etc., and also pieces for piano, 4-hands. His style represents a transition between Bach and Beethoven, without attaining a degree of the imagination or craftsmanship of either. However, his piano pieces in the lighter vein have undeniable charm. His Grande gigue was well known. His autobiography is included in W. Kahl, Selbstbiographien deutscher Musiker (Cologne, 1948). - Died at Moscow, on his birthday, 1822.

in 1752 - Edward Jones, composer is born.

in 1795 – Ludwig van Beethoven (24) has his debut performance as pianist in Vienna.

in 1802 - Frederic Thieme, composer, dies at 51.

in 1827 - 20,000 attend Ludwig von Beethovens burial in Vienna.

in 1862 - Carl (Reinholdt) Busch, Danish-American conductor and composer, is born at Bjerre, He studied at the Royal Conservatory in Copenhagen with Hartmann and Gade (1882-85), at the Brussels Conservatory (1885), and with Godard in Paris (1886). In 1887 he went to Kansas City, where he was active as founder-conductor of the Symphony Orchestra (1911-18); he also appeared as a guest conductor throughout the U.S. and Europe and was active as a teacher in Chicago, Salt Lake City, and South Bend, Ind. He received knighthoods from the kings of Denmark and Norway. A number of his compositions dealt with American subjects, most notably the American Indian. - Died at Kansas City, Mo., Dec. 19, 1943.

in 1876 - Jan Ingenhoven, composer is born.
in 1879 - Tchaikovsky's opera " Eugene Onegin," premieres in Moscow.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhQr7w055-Y"]YouTube - Nicolai Ghiaurov - Eugene Onegin - Gremin's Aria[/ame]´

in 1880 - Jakob Axel Josephson, composer, dies at 62.

in 1886 - Gustaf Adolf Tiburt(ius) Bengtsson, Swedish conductor and composer, is born at Vadstena. He studied at the Stockholm Conservatory, then in Berlin with Juon and in Leipzig with Riemann. Subsequently he was active in Karlstad as a composer and teacher, and later as a conductor in Linkoping (1943-49). - Died at Vadstena, Oct. 5, 1965.

in 1888 - Charles-Henri Valentin Alkan, French-Jewish composer and virtuoso pianist, dies at 74.

At the height of his fame in the 1830s and 1840s he was, alongside his friends and colleagues Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt, among the leading pianists in Paris, a city in which he spent virtually his entire life.

Alkan earned many awards at the Conservatoire de Paris, which he entered before he was six. His career in the salons and concert halls of Paris was marked by his occasional long withdrawals from public performance, for personal reasons. Although he had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances in the Parisian artistic world, including Eugène Delacroix and George Sand, from 1848 he began to adopt a reclusive life style, while continuing with his compositions – virtually all of which are for the keyboard. During this period he published, among other works, his collections of large-scale studies in all the major keys (Op. 35) and all the minor keys (Op. 39). The latter includes his Symphony for Solo Piano (Op. 39, nos. 4–7) and Concerto for Solo Piano (Op. 39, nos. 8–10), which are often considered among his masterpieces and are of great musical and technical complexity. Alkan emerged from self-imposed retirement in the 1870s to give a series of recitals that were attended by a new generation of French musicians.

Alkan's attachment to his Jewish origins is displayed both in his life and his work. He was the first composer to incorporate Jewish melodies in art music. Fluent in Hebrew and Greek, he devoted much time to a complete new translation of the Bible into French. This work, like many of his musical compositions, is now lost. Alkan never married, but his presumed son Élie-Miriam Delaborde was, like Alkan, a virtuoso performer on both the piano and the pedal piano, and edited a number of the elder composer's works.

Following his death (which according to persistent but unfounded legend was caused by a falling bookcase) Alkan's music became neglected, supported by only a few musicians including Ferruccio Busoni, Egon Petri and Kaikhosru Sorabji. From the late 1960s onwards, led by Raymond Lewenthal and Ronald Smith, many pianists have recorded his music and brought it back into the repertoire.

Alkan was born Charles-Valentin Morhange on 30 November 1813 at 1, Rue de Braque in Paris to Alkan Morhange (1780–1855) and Julie Morhange, née Abraham. Alkan Morhange was descended from a long-established Jewish Ashkenazic community in the region of Metz;[10] the village of Morhange is located about 30 miles (48 km) from the city of Metz. Charles-Valentin was the second of six children – one elder sister and four younger brothers; his birth certificate indicates that he was named after a neighbour who witnessed the birth.

Alkan Morhange supported the family as a musician and later as the proprietor of a private music school in le Marais, the Jewish quarter of Paris. At an early age, Charles-Valentin and his siblings adopted their father's first name as their last (and were known by this during their studies at the Conservatoire de Paris and subsequent careers). His brother Napoléon (1826–1906) became professor of solfège at the Conservatoire, his brother Maxim (1818–1897) had a career writing light music for Parisian theatres, and his sister, Céleste (1812–1897), was also a pianist.[14] His brother Ernest (1816–1876) was a professional flautist, while the youngest brother Gustave (1827–1882) was to publish various dances for the piano.

Alkan was a child prodigy. He entered the Conservatoire de Paris at an unusually early age, and studied both piano and organ. The records of his auditions survive in the Archives Nationales in Paris. At his solfège audition on 3 July 1819, when he was just over 5 years 7 months, the examiners noted Alkan (who is referred to even at this early date as "Alkan (Valentin)", and whose age is given incorrectly as six-and-a-half) as "having a pretty little voice". The profession of Alkan Morhange is given as "music-paper ruler". At Charles-Valentin's piano audition on 6 October 1820, when he was nearly seven (and where he is named as "Alkan (Morhange) Valentin"), the examiners comment "This child has amazing abilities."

Alkan became a favourite of his teacher at the Conservatoire, Joseph Zimmermann, who also taught Georges Bizet, César Franck, Charles Gounod, and Ambroise Thomas. At the age of seven, Alkan won a first prize for solfège and in later years prizes in piano (1824), harmony (1827), and organ (1834).[20] At the age of seven-and-a-half he gave his first public performance, appearing as a violinist and playing an air and variations by Pierre Rode. Alkan's Opus 1, a set of variations for piano based on a theme by Daniel Steibelt, dates from 1828, when he was 14 years old. At about this time he also undertook teaching duties at his father's school. Antoine Marmontel, one of Charles-Valentin's pupils there, who was later to become his bête noire, wrote of the school:

Young children, mostly Jewish, were given elementary musical instruction and also learnt the first rudiments of French grammar ... [There] I received a few lessons from the young Alkan, four years my senior ... I see once more ... that really parochial environment where the talent of Valentin Alkan was formed and where his hard-working youth blossomed ... It was like a preparatory school, a juvenile annexe of the Conservatoire.

From about 1826 Alkan began to appear as a piano soloist in leading Parisian salons, including those of the Princesse de la Moskova (widow of Marshal Ney), and the Duchesse de Montebello. He was probably introduced to these venues by his teacher Zimmermann. At the same time, Alkan Morhange arranged concerts featuring Charles-Valentin at public venues in Paris, in association with leading musicians including the sopranos Giuditta Pasta and Henriette Sontag, the cellist Auguste Franchomme and the violinist Lambert Massart, with whom Alkan gave concerts in a rare visit out of France to Brussels in 1827. In 1829, at the age of 15, Alkan was appointed joint professor of solfège – among his pupils in this class a few years later was his brother Napoléon. In this manner Alkan's musical career was launched well before the July Revolution of 1830, which initiated a period in which "keyboard virtuosity ... completely dominated professional music making" in the capital, attracting from all over Europe pianists who, as Heinrich Heine wrote, invaded "like a plague of locusts swarming to pick Paris clean". Alkan nonetheless continued his studies and in 1831 enrolled in the organ classes of François Benoist, from whom he may have learnt to appreciate the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, of whom Benoist was then one of the few French advocates.

Throughout the early years of the July Monarchy, Alkan continued to teach and play at public concerts and in eminent social circles. He became a friend of many who were active in the world of the arts in Paris, including Franz Liszt (who had been based there since 1827), George Sand, and Victor Hugo. It is not clear exactly when he first met Frédéric Chopin, who arrived in Paris in September 1831. In 1832 Alkan took the solo role in his first Concerto da camera for piano and strings at the Conservatoire. In the same year, aged 19, he was elected to the influential Société Académique des Enfants d'Apollon (Society of the Children of Apollo), whose members included Luigi Cherubini, Fromental Halévy, the conductor François Habeneck, and Liszt, who had been elected in 1824 at the age of twelve. Between 1833 and 1836 Alkan participated at many of the Society's concerts. Alkan twice competed unsuccessfully for the Prix de Rome, in 1832 and again in 1834; the cantatas which he wrote for the competition, Hermann et Ketty and L'Entrée en loge, have remained unpublished and unperformed.

In 1834 Alkan began his friendship with the Spanish musician Santiago Masarnau, which was to result in an extended and often intimate correspondence which only came to light in 2009. Like virtually all of Alkan's correspondence, this exchange is now one-sided; all of his papers (including his manuscripts and his extensive library) were either destroyed by Alkan himself, as is clear from his will, or became lost after his death. Later in 1834 Alkan made a visit to England, where he gave recitals and where the second Concerto da camera was performed in Bath by its dedicatee Henry Ibbot Field; it was published in London together with some solo piano pieces. A letter to Masarnau and a notice in a French journal that Alkan played in London with Moscheles and Cramer, indicate that he returned to England in 1835. Later that year, Alkan, having found a place of retreat at Piscop outside Paris, completed his first truly original works for solo piano, the Twelve Caprices, published in 1837 as Opp. 12, 13, 15 and 16. Op. 16, the Trois scherzi de bravoure, is dedicated to Masarnau. In January 1836, Liszt recommended Alkan for the post of Professor at the Geneva Conservatoire, which Alkan declined, and in 1837 he wrote an enthusiastic review of Alkan's Op. 15 Caprices in the Revue et gazette musicale.

From 1837, Alkan lived in the Square d'Orléans in Paris, which was inhabited by numerous celebrities of the time including Marie Taglioni, Alexandre Dumas, George Sand, and Chopin. Chopin and Alkan were personal friends and often discussed musical topics, including a work on musical theory that Chopin proposed to write. By 1838, at 25 years old, Alkan had reached a peak of his career. He frequently gave recitals, his more mature works had begun to be published, and he often appeared in concerts with Liszt and Chopin. On 23 April 1837 Alkan took part in Liszt's farewell concert in Paris, together with the 14-year-old César Franck and the virtuoso Johann Peter Pixis. On 3 March 1838, at a concert at the piano-maker Pape, Alkan played with Chopin, Zimmerman, and Chopin's pupil Adolphe Gutmann in a performance of Alkan's transcription, now lost, of two movements of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony for two pianos, eight hands.

At this point, for a period which coincided with the birth and childhood of his natural son, Élie-Miriam Delaborde (1839–1913), Alkan withdrew into private study and composition for six years, returning to the concert platform only in 1844. Alkan neither asserted or denied his paternity of Delaborde, which, however, his contemporaries seemed to assume. Marmontel wrote cryptically in a biography of Delaborde that "[his] birth is a page from a novel in the life of a great artist". Alkan gave early piano lessons to Delaborde, who was to follow his natural father as a keyboard virtuoso.

Alkan's return to the concert platform in 1844 was greeted with enthusiasm by critics, who noted the "admirable perfection" of his technique, and lauded him as "a model of science and inspiration", a "sensation" and an "explosion". They also commented on the attending celebrities including Liszt, Chopin, Sand and Dumas. In the same year he published his piano étude Le chemin de fer, which critics, following Ronald Smith, believe to be the first representation in music of a steam engine. Between 1844 and 1848 Alkan produced a series of virtuoso pieces, the 25 Préludes Op. 31 for piano or organ, and the sonata Op. 33 Les quatre âges. Following an Alkan recital in 1848, the composer Giacomo Meyerbeer was so impressed that he invited the pianist, whom he considered "a most remarkable artist", to prepare the piano arrangement of the overture to his forthcoming opera, Le prophète. Meyerbeer heard and approved Alkan's arrangement of the overture for four hands (which Alkan played with his brother Napoléon) in 1849; published in 1850, it is the only record of the overture, which was scrapped during rehearsals at the Opéra.

In 1848 Alkan was bitterly disappointed when the head of the Conservatoire, Daniel Auber, replaced the retiring Zimmermann with the mediocre Marmontel as head of the Conservatoire piano department, a position which Alkan had eagerly anticipated, and for which he had strongly lobbied with the support of Sand, Dumas, and many other leading figures. A disgusted Alkan described the appointment in a letter to Sand as "the most incredible, the most shameful nomination"; and Delacroix noted in his journal "By his confrontation with Auber, [Alkan] has been very put out and will doubtless continue to be so." The upset arising from this incident may account for Alkan's reluctance to perform in public in the ensuing period. His withdrawal was also influenced by the death of Chopin; in 1850 he wrote to Masarnau "I have lost the strength to be of any economic or political use", and lamented "the death of poor Chopin, another blow which I felt deeply." Chopin, on his deathbed in 1849, had indicated his respect for Alkan by bequeathing him his unfinished work on a piano method, intending him to complete it,[41] and after Chopin's death a number of his students transferred to Alkan. After giving two concerts in 1853, Alkan withdrew, in spite of his fame and technical accomplishment, into virtual seclusion for some twenty years.

Little is known of this period of Alkan's life, other than that apart from composing he was immersed in the study of the Bible and the Talmud. Throughout this period Alkan continued his correspondence with Ferdinand Hiller, whom he had probably met in Paris in the 1830s, and with Masarnau, from which some insights can be gained. It appears that Alkan completed a full translation into French, now lost, of both the Old Testament and the New Testament, from their original languages. In 1865, he wrote to Hiller: "Having translated a good deal of the Apocrypha, I'm now onto the second Gospel which I am translating from the Syriac ... In starting to translate the New Testament, I was suddenly struck by a singular idea – that you have to be Jewish to be able to do it."

Despite his seclusion from society, this period saw the composition and publication of many of Alkan's major piano works, including the Douze études dans tous les tons mineurs, Op. 39 (1857), the Sonatine, Op. 61 (1861), the 49 Esquisses, Op. 63 (1861), and the five collections of Chants (1857–1872), as well as the Sonate de concert for cello and piano, Op. 47 (1856). These did not pass unremarked; Hans von Bülow, for example, gave a laudatory review of the Op. 35 Études in the Neue Berliner Musikzeitung in 1857, the year in which they were published in Berlin, commenting that "Alkan is unquestionably the most eminent representative of the modern piano school at Paris. The virtuoso's disinclination to travel, and his firm reputation as a teacher, explain why, at present, so little attention has been given to his work in Germany."

From the early 1850s Alkan began to turn his attention seriously to the pedal piano (pédalier). Alkan gave his first public performances on the pédalier to great critical acclaim in 1852. From 1859 onwards he began to publish pieces designated as "for organ or piano à pédalier".

It is not clear why, in 1873, Alkan decided to emerge from his self-imposed obscurity to give a series of six Petits Concerts at the Érard piano showrooms. It may have been associated with the developing career of Delaborde, who, returning to Paris in 1867, soon became a concert fixture, including in his recitals many works by his father, and who was at the end of 1872 given the appointment that had escaped Alkan himself, Professor at the Conservatoire. The success of the Petits Concerts led to them becoming an annual event (with occasional interruptions caused by Alkan's health) until 1880 or possibly beyond. The Petits Concerts featured music not only by Alkan but of his favourite composers from Bach onwards, played on both the piano and the pédalier, and occasionally with the participation of another instrumentalist or singer. He was assisted in these concerts by his siblings, and by other musicians including Delaborde, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Auguste Franchomme.

Those encountering Alkan at this phase included the young Vincent d'Indy, who recalled Alkan's "skinny, hooked fingers" playing Bach on an Érard pedal piano: "I listened, riveted to the spot by the expressive, crystal-clear playing." Alkan later played Beethoven's Op. 110 sonata, of which d'Indy said: "What happened to the great Beethovenian poem ... I couldn't begin to describe – above all in the Arioso and the Fugue, where the melody, penetrating the mystery of Death itself, climbs up to a blaze of light, affected me with an excess of enthusiasm such as I have never experienced since. This was not Liszt—perhaps less perfect, technically—but it had greater intimacy and was more humanly moving..."

The biographer of Chopin, Frederick Niecks, sought Alkan for his recollections in 1880 but was sternly denied access by Alkan's concierge – "To my ... enquiry when he could be found at home, the reply was a ... decisive 'Never'." However, a few days later he found Alkan at Érard's, and Niecks writes of their meeting that "his reception of me was not merely polite but most friendly."

Alkan was described by Marmontel (who refers to "a regrettable misunderstanding at a moment of our careers in 1848"), as follows:

"We will not give the portrait of Valentin Alkan from the rear, as in some photographs we have seen. His intelligent and original physiognomy deserves to be taken in profile or head-on. The head is strong; the deep forehead is that of a thinker; the mouth large and smiling, the nose regular; the years have whitened the beard and hair ... the gaze fine, a little mocking. His stooped walk, his puritan comportment, give him the look of an Anglican minister or a rabbi – for which he has the abilities."

Alkan was not always remote or aloof. Chopin describes, in a letter to friend, visiting the theatre with Alkan in 1847 to see the comedian Arnal: "[Arnal] tells the audience how he was desperate to pee in a train, but couldn't get to a toilet before they stopped at Orléans. There wasn't a single vulgar word in what he said, but everyone understood and split their sides laughing."[79] Hugh Macdonald notes that Alkan "particularly enjoyed the patronage of Russian aristocratic ladies, 'des dames très parfumées et froufroutantes [highly perfumed and frilled ladies]', as Isidore Philipp described them."

Alkan's aversion to socialising and publicity, especially following 1850, appeared to be self-willed. Liszt is reported to have commented to the Danish pianist Frits Hartvigson that "Alkan possessed the finest technique he had ever known, but preferred the life of a recluse." Stephanie McCallum has suggested that Alkan may have suffered from Asperger syndrome, schizophrenia or obsessive–compulsive disorder.

Alkan's later correspondence contains many despairing comments. In a letter of about 1861 he wrote to Hiller: "I'm becoming daily more and more misanthropic and misogynous ... nothing worthwhile, good or useful to do ... no one to devote myself to. My situation makes me horridly sad and wretched. Even musical production has lost its attraction for me for I can't see the point or goal." This spirit of anomie may have led him to reject requests in the 1860s to play in public, or to allow performances of his orchestral compositions. However, it should not be ignored that he was writing similarly frantic self-analyses in his letters of the early 1830s to Masarnau.

Jack Gibbons writes of Alkan's personality: "Alkan was an intelligent, lively, humorous and warm person (all characteristics which feature strongly in his music) whose only crime seems to have been having a vivid imagination, and whose occasional eccentricities (mild when compared with the behaviour of other 'highly-strung' artistes!) stemmed mainly from his hypersensitive nature." Macdonald, however, suggests that "Alkan was a man of profoundly conservative ideas, whose lifestyle, manner of dress, and belief in the traditions of historic music, set him apart from other musicians and the world at large."

Alkan grew up in a religiously observant Jewish household. His grandfather Marix Morhange had been a printer of the Talmud in Metz, and was probably a melamed (Hebrew teacher) in the Jewish congregation at Paris. Alkan's widespread reputation as a student of the Old Testament and religion, and the high quality of his Hebrew handwriting testify to his knowledge of the religion, and many of his habits indicate that he practised at least some of its obligations, such as maintaining the laws of kashrut. Alkan was regarded by the Paris Consistory, the central Jewish organisation of the city, as an authority on Jewish music. In 1845 he assisted the Consistory in evaluating the musical ability of Samuel Naumbourg, who was subsequently appointed as hazzan (cantor) of the main Paris synagogue; and he later contributed choral pieces in each of Naumbourg's collections of synagogue music (1847 and 1856). Alkan was appointed organist at the Synagogue de Nazareth in 1851, although he resigned the post almost immediately for "artistic reasons".

Alkan's Op. 31 set of Préludes includes a number of pieces based on Jewish subjects, including some titled Prière (Prayer), one preceded by a quote from the Song of Songs, and another titled Ancienne mélodie de la synagogue (Old synagogue melody). The collection is believed to be "the first publication of art music specifically to deploy Jewish themes and ideas." Alkan's three settings of synagogue melodies, prepared for his former pupil Zina de Mansouroff, are further examples of his interest in Jewish music; Kessous Dreyfuss provides a detailed analysis of these works and their origins. Other works evidencing this interest include no. 7 of his Op. 66. 11 Grands préludes et 1 Transcription (1866), entitled "Alla giudesca" and marked "con divozione", a parody of excessive hazzanic practice; and the slow movement of the cello sonata Op. 47 (1857), which is prefaced by a quotation from the Old Testament prophet Micah and uses melodic tropes derived from the cantillation of the haftarah in the synagogue.

The inventory of Alkan's apartment made after his death indicates over 75 volumes in Hebrew or related to Judaism, left to his brother Napoléon (as well as 36 volumes of music manuscript). These are all lost. Bequests in his will to the Conservatoire to found prizes for composition of cantatas on Old Testament themes and for performance on the pedal-piano, and to a Jewish charity for the training of apprentices, were refused by the beneficiaries.

Brigitte François-Sappey points out the frequency with which Alkan has been compared to Berlioz, both by his contemporaries and later. She mentions that Hans von Bülow called him "the Berlioz of the piano", while Schumann, in criticising the Op. 15 Romances, claimed that Alkan merely "imitated Berlioz on the piano." She further notes that Ferruccio Busoni repeated the comparison with Berlioz in a draft (but unpublished) monograph, while Kaikhosru Sorabji commented that Alkan's Op. 61 Sonatine was like "a Beethoven sonata written by Berlioz". Berlioz was ten years older than Alkan, but did not attend the Conservatoire until 1826. The two were acquainted, and were perhaps both influenced by the unusual ideas and style of Anton Reicha who taught at the Conservatoire from 1818 to 1836, and by the sonorities of the composers of the period of the French Revolution. They both created individual, indeed, idiosyncratic sound-worlds in their music; there are, however, major differences between them. Alkan, unlike Berlioz, remained closely dedicated to the German musical tradition; his style and composition were heavily determined by his pianism, whereas Berlioz could hardly play at the keyboard and wrote nothing for piano solo. Alkan's works therefore also include miniatures and (among his early works) salon music, genres which Berlioz avoided.

Alkan's attachment to the music of his predecessors is demonstrated throughout his career, from his arrangements for keyboard of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony (1838), and of the minuet of Mozart's 40th Symphony (1844), through the sets Souvenirs des concerts du Conservatoire (1847 and 1861) and the set Souvenirs de musique de chambre (1862), which include transcriptions of music by Mozart, Beethoven, J. S. Bach, Haydn, Gluck, and others. In this context should be mentioned Alkan's extensive cadenza for Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto (1860), which includes quotes from the finale of Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Alkan's transcriptions, together with original music of Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Mendelssohn, Couperin and Rameau, were frequently played during the series of Petits Concerts given by Alkan at Erard.

As regards the music of his own time, Alkan was unenthusiastic, or at any rate detached. He commented to Hiller that "Wagner is not a musician, he is a disease." While he admired Berlioz's talent, he did not enjoy his music. At the Petits Concerts, little more recent than Mendelssohn and Chopin (both of whom had died around 25 years before the series of concerts was initiated) was played, except for Alkan's own works and occasionally some by his favourites such as Saint-Saëns.

"Like ... Chopin", writes pianist and academic Kenneth Hamilton, "Alkan's musical output was centred almost exclusively on the piano". Some of his music requires extreme technical virtuosity, clearly reflecting his own abilities, often calling for great velocity, enormous leaps at speed, long stretches of fast repeated notes, and the maintenance of widely spaced contrapuntal lines. The illustration (right) from the Grande sonate is analysed by Smith as "six parts in invertible counterpoint, plus two extra voices and three doublings – eleven parts in all." Some typical musical devices, such as a sudden explosive final chord following a quiet passage, were established at an early stage in Alkan's compositions. Macdonald suggests that

unlike Wagner, Alkan did not seek to refashion the world through opera; nor, like Berlioz, to dazzle the crowds by putting orchestral music at the service of literary expression; nor even, as with Chopin or Liszt, to extend the field of harmonic idiom. Armed with his key instrument, the piano, he sought incessantly to transcend its inherent technical limits, remaining apparently insensible to the restrictions which had withheld more restrained composers.

However, not all of Alkan's music is either lengthy or technically difficult; for example, many of the Op. 31 Préludes and of the set of Esquisses, Op. 63.

Moreover, in terms of structure, Alkan in his compositions sticks to traditional musical forms, although he often took them to extremes, as he did with piano technique. The study Op. 39, no. 8 (the first movement of the Concerto for solo piano) takes almost half an hour in performance. Describing this "gigantic" piece, Ronald Smith comments that it convinces for the same reasons as does the music of the classical masters; "the underlying unity of its principal themes, and a key structure that is basically simple and sound."

Some of Alkan's music gives hints of the obsessiveness which some have detected in his personality. The Chant Op. 38, no. 2, entitled Fa, repeats the note of its title incessantly (in total 414 times) against shifting harmonies which make it "cut ... into the texture with the ruthless precision of a laser beam." In modelling his five sets of Chants on the first book of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words, Alkan ensured that the pieces in each of his sets followed precisely the same key signatures, and even the moods, of the original. Alkan was rigorous in his enharmonic spelling, occasionally modulating to keys containing double-sharps or double-flats, so pianists are occasionally required to come to terms with unusual keys such as E-sharp major, enharmonic equivalent to F major, and the occasional triple-sharp.

Alkan's earliest works indicate, according to Smith, that in his early teens he "was a formidable musician but as yet ... industrious rather than ... creative". Only with his 12 Caprices (Opp.12–13 and 15–16, 1837) did his compositions begin to attract serious critical attention. The op. 15 set, Souvenirs: Trois morceaux dans le genre pathétique, dedicated to Liszt, contains Le vent (The Wind), which was at one time the only piece by the composer to figure regularly in recitals. These works, however, did not meet with the approval of Robert Schumann, who wrote: "One is startled by such false, such unnatural art ... the last [piece, titled Morte (Death), is] a crabbed waste, overgrown with brush and weeds ... nothing is to be found but black on black". Ronald Smith, however, finds in this latter work, which cites the Dies Irae theme also used by Berlioz, Liszt and others, foreshadowings of Maurice Ravel, Modest Mussorgsky and Charles Ives. Schumann did, however, respond positively to the pieces of Les mois (originally part published as Op. 8 in 1838, later published as a complete set in 1840 as Op. 74): "[Here] we find such an excellent jest on operatic music in no. 6 [L'Opéra] that a better one could scarcely be imagined ... The composer ... well understands the rarer effects of his instrument." Alkan's technical mastery of the keyboard was asserted by the publication in 1838 of the Trois grandes études (originally without opus number, later republished as Op. 76), the first for the left hand alone, the second for the right hand alone, the third for both hands; and all of great difficulty, described by Smith as "a peak of pianistic transcendentalism".[128] This is perhaps the earliest example of writing for a single hand as "an entity in its own right, capable of covering all registers of the piano, of rendering itself as accompanied soloist or polyphonist."

Alkan's large scale Duo (in effect a sonata) Op. 21 for violin and piano (dedicated to Chrétien Urhan) and his Piano Trio Op. 30 appeared in 1841. Apart from these, Alkan published only a few minor works between 1840 and 1844, after which a series of virtuoso works was issued, many of which he had played at his successful recitals at Érard and elsewhere; these included the Marche funèbre (Op. 26), the Marche triomphale (Op. 27) and Le chemin de fer (also published, separately, as Op. 27). In 1847 appeared the Op. 31 Préludes and his first large-scale unified piano work, the Grande sonate Les quatre âges (Op. 33). The sonata is structurally innovative in two ways; each movement is slower than its predecessor, and the work anticipates the practice of progressive tonality, beginning in D major and ending in G-sharp minor. Dedicated to Alkan Morhange, the sonata depicts in its successive movements its 'hero' at the ages of 20 (optimistic), 30 ("Quasi-Faust", impassioned and fatalistic), 40 (domesticated) and 50 (suffering: the movement is prefaced by a quotation from Aeschylus's Prometheus Unbound). In 1848 followed Alkan's set of 12 études dans tous les tons majeurs Op. 35, whose substantial pieces range in mood from the hectic Allegro barbaro (no. 5) and the intense Chant d'amour-Chant de mort (Song of Love – Song of Death) (no. 10) to the descriptive and picturesque L'incendie au village voisin (The Fire in the Next Village) (no. 7).

A number of Alkan's compositions from this period were never performed and have been lost. Among the missing works are some string sextets and a full-scale orchestral symphony in B minor, which was described in an article in 1846 by the critic Léon Kreutzer, to whom Alkan had shown the score. Kreutzer noted that the introductory adagio of the symphony was headed "by Hebrew characters in red ink ... This is no less than the verse from Genesis: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." Kreutzer opined that, set beside Alkan's conception, Joseph Haydn's Creation was a "mere candle (lampion)." A further missing work is a one-act opera, mentioned frequently in the French musical press of 1846-7 as being shortly to be produced at the Opéra-Comique, which however never materialized. Alkan also referred to this work in a letter of 1847 to the musicologist François-Joseph Fétis, stating that it had been written "a few years ago." Its subject, title and librettist remain unknown.

During his twenty-year absence from the public between 1853 and 1873 Alkan produced many of his most notable compositions, although there is a ten-year gap between publication of the Op. 35 studies and that of his next group of piano works in 1856 and 1857. Of these, undoubtedly the most significant was the enormous Opus 39 collection of twelve studies in all the minor keys, which contains the Symphony for Solo Piano (numbers four, five, six and seven), and the Concerto for Solo Piano (numbers eight, nine and ten). The Concerto takes nearly an hour in performance. Number twelve of Op. 39 is a set of variations, Le festin d'Ésope (Aesop's Feast). The other components of Op. 39 are of a similar stature. Smith describes Op. 39 as a whole as "a towering achievement, gathering ... the most complete manifestation of Alkan's many-sided genius: its dark passion, its vital rhythmic drive, its pungent harmony, its occasionally outrageous humour, and, above all, its uncompromising piano writing."

In the same year appeared the Sonate de Concert, Op. 47, for cello and piano, "among the most difficult and ambitious in the romantic repertoire ... anticipating Mahler in its juxtaposition of the sublime and the trivial", and with its four movements showing again an anticipation of progressive tonality, each ascending by a major third. Other anticipations of Mahler (who was born in 1860) can be found in the two "military" Op. 50 piano studies of 1859 Capriccio alla soldatesca and Le tambour bat aux champs (The drum beats the retreat), as well as in certain of the miniatures of the 1861 Esquisses, Op. 63.[139] The bizarre and unclassifiable Marcia funebre, sulla morte d'un Pappagallo (Funeral march on the death of a parrot, 1859), for three oboes, bassoon and voices, described by Kenneth Hamilton as "Monty-Pythonesque", is also of this period.

The Esquisses of 1861 are a set of highly varied miniatures, ranging from the tiny 18-bar no. 4, Les cloches (The Bells), to the strident tone clusters of no. 45, Les diablotins (The Imps), and closing with a further evocation of church bells in no. 49, Laus Deo (Praise God). They were preceded in publication by Alkan's deceptively titled Sonatine, Op. 61, in 'classical' format, but a work of "ruthless economy [which] although it plays for less than twenty minutes ... is in every way a major work."

Two of Alkan's substantial works from this period are musical paraphrases of literary works. Salut, cendre du pauvre, Op. 45 (1856), follows a section of the poem La Mélancolie by Gabriel-Marie Legouvé; while Super flumina Babylonis, Op. 52 (1859), is a blow-by-blow recreation in music of the emotions and prophecies of Psalm 137 ("By the waters of Babylon ..."). This piece is prefaced by a French version of the psalm which is believed to be the sole remnant of Alkan's Bible translation. Alkan's lyrical side was displayed in this period by the five sets of Chants inspired by Mendelssohn, which appeared between 1857 and 1872, as well as by a number of minor pieces.

Alkan's publications for organ or pédalier commenced with his Benedictus, Op. 54 (1859). In the same year he published a set of very spare and simple preludes in the eight Gregorian modes (1859, without opus number), which, in Smith's opinion, "seem to stand outside the barriers of time and space", and which he believes reveal "Alkan's essential spiritual modesty." These were followed by pieces such as the 13 Prières (Prayers), Op. 64 (1865), and the Impromptu sur le Choral de Luther "Un fort rempart est notre Dieu" , op. 69 (1866).[146] Alkan also issued a book of 12 studies for the pedalboard alone (no opus number, 1866) and the Bombardo-carillon for pedalboard duet (four feet) of 1872.

Alkan's return to the concert platform at his Petits Concerts, however, marked the end of his publications; his final work to be issued was the Toccatina, Op. 75, in 1872.

Alkan had few followers; however, he had important admirers, including Liszt, Anton Rubinstein, Franck, and, in the early twentieth century, Busoni, Petri and Sorabji. Rubinstein dedicated his fifth piano concerto to him, and Franck dedicated to Alkan his Grand pièce symphonique op. 17 for organ. Busoni ranked Alkan with Liszt, Chopin, Schumann and Brahms as one of the five greatest composers for the piano since Beethoven. Isidor Philipp and Delaborde edited new printings of his works in the early 1900s. In the first half of the twentieth century, when Alkan's name was still obscure, Busoni and Petri included his works in their performances. Sorabji published an article on Alkan in his 1932 book Around Music; he promoted Alkan's music in his reviews and criticism, and his Sixth Symphony for Piano (Symphonia claviensis) (1975–76), includes a section entitled Quasi Alkan. The English composer and writer Bernard van Dieren praised Alkan in an essay in his 1935 book, Down Among the Dead Men, and the composer Humphrey Searle also called for a revival of his music in a 1937 essay. The pianist and writer Charles Rosen however considers Alkan "a minor figure", whose only music of interest comes after 1850 as an extension of Liszt's techniques and of "the operatic techniques of Meyerbeer."

For much of the 20th century, Alkan's work remained in obscurity, but from the 1960s onwards it was steadily revived. Raymond Lewenthal gave a pioneering extended broadcast on Alkan on WBAI radio in New York in 1963, and later included Alkan's music in recitals and recordings. The English pianist Ronald Smith championed Alkan's music through performances, recordings, a biography and the Alkan Society of which he was president for many years. Works by Alkan have also been recorded by Jack Gibbons, Marc-André Hamelin, Mark Latimer, John Ogdon, and Hüseyin Sermet, among many others. Ronald Stevenson has composed a piano piece Festin d'Alkan (referring to Alkan's Op. 39, no. 12) and the composer Michael Finnissy has also written piano pieces referring to Alkan, e.g. Alkan-Paganini, no. 5 of The History of Photography in Sound. Marc-André Hamelin's Étude No. IV is a moto perpetuo study combining themes from Alkan's Symphony, Op. 39, no. 7, and Alkan's own perpetual motion étude, Op. 76, no. 3. It is dedicated to Averil Kovacs and François Luguenot, respectively activists in the English and French Alkan Societies. As Hamelin writes in his preface to this étude, the idea to combine these came from the composer Alistair Hinton, the finale of whose Piano Sonata No. 5 (1994–95) includes a substantial section entitled "Alkanique".

Alkan's compositions for organ have been among the last of his works to be brought back to the repertoire.[167] As to Alkan's pedal-piano works, due to a recent revival of the instrument, they are once again being performed as originally intended (rather than on an organ), such as by Italian pedal-pianist Roberto Prosseda, and recordings of Alkan on the pedal piano have been made by Jean Dubé and Olivier Latry.

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in 1945 - John “Speedy” Keen, drummer and lead singer of rock act Thunderclap Newman, is born at London. John “Speedy” Keen was previously a member of several minor British beat groups including The in 1900 - Henri-Bertrand Etcheverry, French bassbaritone, is born at Bordeaux, March 29,1900; d. Paris, Nov. 14, 1960. He studied in Paris, where he made his operatic debut as Ceprano in Rigoletto at the Opera in 1932; from 1937 he was a member of the Paris Opera-Comique, and he also sang at London's Covent Garden (1937, 1949). He was greatly admired for his portrayal of Golaud; among his other notable roles were Don Giovanni, Wotan, Boris Godunov, and Gounod's Mephistopheles and Friar Lawrence.

in 1901 - Sidney (J.) Arodin (Arnondrin), jazz clarinetist/ writer, is born at Westwego, La. Arodin took up clarinet at the age of 15 and was working regularly within a year. He played on riverboats with drummer Johnny Stein and others, and worked with Freddie Newman at the Ringside in the early 1920s. He went to N.Y. in 1922 with The Original New Orleans Jazz Band, and left them in the summer of 1925. (During this period it seems that Arodin worked for several months in Jimmy Durante's band.) Arodin worked with The New Orleans Rhythm Masters (1926) in San Antonio, Tex.; with The New Orleans Harmony Kings (1927); and recorded with Wingy Manone in N.Y. (December 1927). Returning to New Orleans in 1928, Arodin played with The Halfway House Orch., Sharkey Bonano, Monk Hazel, Johnny Miller, and others. Arodin toured with trombonist Sunny Clapp and His Band of Sunshine (1929), and with Chink Martin in The New Orleans Swing Kings (1930). He recorded with the Jones-Collins Astoria Hot Eight, although he didn't perform regularly with Jones or Collins. Arodin gigged in Kansas City, Mo., in the summer of 1933, then moved to N.Y. with Louis Prima's band in August 1934. He worked with Wingy Manone in 1935, then returned to New Orleans, where he led his own band, including a residency at the Puppy House in 1939-40. Seriously ill in 1941, he never fully recovered and for the rest of his life suffered long periods of illness in New Orleans and Westwego, and made only occasional public appearances. Arodin recovered sufficiently to play for a while on the riverboats, but was taken ill again in St. Louis, returned to New Orleans, and died shortly afterwards. Arodin composed the melody of the popular song "Lazy River”. - Died at New Orleans, Feb. 6,1948.

in 1902 - William Walton, England, composer (Troilus and Cressida, Wise Virgins) is born.
in 1905 - Annunzio Mantovani, Venice Italy, orch leader (Mantovani) is born. [see 1980]

in 1906 - E(dward George) Power Biggs, eminent English-born American organist, is born at Westcliff on Sea, Essex. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, graduating in 1929. In 1930 he emigrated to the U.S. and became a naturalized citizen in 1937. After making his N.Y. recital debut in 1932, he launched a career as one of the most distinguished concert organists of his time. He became particularly popular via his weekly CBS radio broadcasts (1942-58), his extensive recital tours, and his numerous recordings. His repertoire was vast, ranging from the great masters of the past to scores commissioned from contemporary composers, among them Piston, Harris, Hanson, and Quincy Porter; Britten also wrote a work for him. Biggs refused to perform on electronic organs, which in his opinion vulgarized and distorted the classical organ sound. His own style of performance had an unmistakable austerity, inspired by the Baroque school. - Died at Boston, March 10, 1977.

in 1909 - Moon Mullican, hillbilly pianist (7 Nights of Rock) is born.
in 1911 - Felix Alexandre Guilmant, composer, dies at 74
in 1915 - George Chisholm, Scottish jazz trombonist is born.
in 1917 - Fran Gerbic, composer, dies at 76.

in 1918 - Pearl Bailey, Newport News Va, singer (Hello Dolly) is born.
Video Note: Doing the song this way was Pearl
 Baileys idea, and she's not playing a maid but a housewife, originally they had her doing the song on stage with a glamorous background in a glamorous dress, and she saw that this would not work and told them to give her an ordinary house dress and shoes and this home setting, because the song obviously is about how she is tired of her married relationship with her husband.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIuR6AP9WG0"]YouTube - pearl bailey[/ame]

in 1924 - Jules de Corte, blind Dutch ballad singer is born.

in 1924 - Sir Charles Villiers Stanford dies at age 71. Irish-born composer born in Dublin, but, resident in England for much of his life. He first became known as a composer with his incidental music to Tennyson's Queen Mary in 1876; and in 1881 his first opera, The Veiled Prophet, was given at Hanover and revived at Covent Garden in 1893); He was appointed professor of composition at the Royal College of Music in 1883; was conductor of The Bach Choir from 1886 to 1902; was professor of music at Cambridge from 1887; conductor of the Leeds Philharmonic Society from 1897 to 1909, and of the Leeds Festival from 1901 to 1910 and was knighted in 1902. He also wrote lighter peices of music under the pseudonym of Karel Drofnatski.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUs6UwICex0"]YouTube - Magnificat in B flat - Sir Charles Villiers Stanford[/ame]

in 1924 - Charles Villiers Stanford, Irish composer/writer, dies at 71
in 1928 - Vaclav Felix, composer is born.

in 1929 Actress and dancer Ginger Rogers (17) weds her dancing partner Jack Pepper (26).

in 1931 - Gloria Davy, black American soprano, is born at N.Y. She was a student of Belle Julie Soudent at the Juilliard School of Music in N.Y. (1948-53) and of Victor de Sabata in Milan. In 1953 she sang in the touring production of Porgy and Bess. On April 2, 1954, she appeared as the Countess in the U.S. premiere of Capriccio in N.Y. She made her European operatic debut in Nice as Aida in 1957, a role she repeated for her Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. on Feb. 12, 1958. She remained on the Metropolitan roster until 1961, appearing as Pamina, Nedda, and Leonora in II Trovatore. Aida was her debut role at the Vienna State Opera in 1959 and at London's Covent Garden in 1960. From 1961 she appeared at the Berlin Deutsche Oper, singing such roles as Aida, Fiordiligi, Donna Anna, Go-Go-San, Donna Elvira, and Salome. She also pursued guest engagements in other European operatic centers (1963-69). From 1975 to 1985 she made regular concert tours in Europe. In 1983 she made her London recital debut at Wigmore Hall. She served as a professor at the Ind. University School of Music in Bloomington from 1985 to 1993.

in 1933 - Alexander Schmuller, Russian/Dutch violinist/conductor, dies at 52
in 1934 - Ernstalbrecht Stiebler, composer is born.

in 1935 - Ruby Murray (RUBY FLORENCE CAMPBELL MURRAY), is born. A very popular British singer, Belfast native Ruby Murray was a major star in the Fifties. Inspired to be an entertainer after witnessing a minstrel show at age four, she first appeared on Irish television at 12. Leaving school at 14 and passing through a series of menial positions, she was aided by her mother in joining a touring variety show through Northern Ireland. After performing in London at age 16, Murray was hired by BBC producer Richard Afton for a singing role in the television series, Quite Contrary. Signed by Columbia Records, she nearly topped the British charts with her second release, ‘Heartbeat’ (1954). Voted Britain’s top female vocalist in a 1955 Melody Maker poll, Murray dominated the charts that year with six Top 10 entries including ‘Happy Days And Lonely Nights’ and her signature piece ‘Softly Softly’. With her vulnerable “girl next door” persona, the husky voiced Murray sang in a natural, unadorned manner. Marrying singer Bernie Burgess of The Jones Boys in 1957, Murray begin an extremely rocky 16-year marriage. After returning from her first US tour, she had her final hit in 1959 with ‘Goodbye Jimmy, Goodbye’. Although she remained in demand with both television and stage audiences, Murray semi-retired from music to raise a family. Her marriage in tatters, and drinking heavily, Murray became romantically involved with married comedian Frank Carson. After a messy divorce in 1977, Murray battled alcoholism for the rest of her life, and was twice hospitalised after suffering nervous breakdowns. Sporadically performing late in life, she last hit the stage in 1993 at London’s Brick Lane Music Hall, her final performance marred by insecurity. She succumbed to bronchial pneumonia and liver cancer at Torbay Hospital, in Torquay, Devon. Her body had been ravaged by years of hard drinking, and she spent her last eight months in a nursing home. In the UK her name has since become immortalised as Cockney rhyming slang for curry. - Died December 17, 1996.

in 1936 - Sir Richard Rodney Bennet, eminent English composer, is born at Broadstairs Kent, England. He began composing in his youth, and then studied with Howard Ferguson and Lennox Berkeley at the Royal Academy of Music in London (1953-56). After further training in Paris with Boulez on a French government scholarship (1957-59), he returned to London. From 1963 to 1965 he was professpr of composition at the Royal Academy of Music. In 1983 he became vice president of the Royal College of Music. He held the International Chair of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in 1995. In 1977 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and in 1998 he was knighted. Bennett is a remarkable composer whose prolific output reveals a facile and inventive mind. He has written scores in all of the principal genres in a style that has incorporated traditional, atonal, and jazz elements.

in 1937 - Karol Szymanowski, Polish/Ukraine composer (Stabat Mater), dies at 54.
Szymanowski was born into a wealthy land-owning Polish gentry family (of the Korwin/Ślepowron coat-of-arms) in Tymoszówka, then in the Russian Empire, now in Cherkasy Oblast, Ukraine. He studied music privately with his father before going to Gustav Neuhaus' Elizavetgrad School of Music from 1892. From 1901 he attended the State Conservatory in Warsaw, of which he was later director from 1926 until retiring in 1930. Musical opportunities in Russian-occupied Poland being quite limited at the time, he travelled widely throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the US. These travels, especially those to the Mediterranean area, provided much inspiration to the composer and esthete.

The fruits of these trips included not only musical works, but poetry and his novel on Greek love Efebos, parts of which were subsequently lost in a fire in 1939. The central chapter was translated by him into Russian and given as a gift in 1919 to Boris Kochno, who was his beloved at the time. Szymanowski also wrote a number of love poems, in French, to the 15-year-old boy. Among these are Ganymède, Baedecker, N'importe, and Vagabond.

Writing about his novel, Szymanowski said, "In it I expressed much, perhaps all that I have to say on this matter, which is for me very important and very beautiful." It remains available in a German translation as Das Gastmahl. Ein Kapitel aus dem verlorenen Roman Ephebos.

Szymanowski maintained a long correspondence with pianist Jan Smeterlin, who was a significant champion of his piano works. Their correspondence was published by Allegro Press in 1969.

Szymanowski died in a sanatorium in Lausanne, Switzerland from tuberculosis.

Szymanowski was influenced by the music of Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, Max Reger, Alexander Scriabin and the impressionism of Claude Debussy, and Maurice Ravel. He also drew much influence from his countryman Frédéric Chopin and from Polish folk music. Like Chopin he wrote a number of mazurkas for piano. He was specifically influenced by folk music from the Polish Highlands [Górale], which he discovered in Zakopane, in the southern Tatra highlands, even writing in an article entitled About Górale Music: "My discovery of the essential beauty of Górale (Polish Highlander) music, dance and architecture is a very personal one; much of this beauty I have absorbed into my innermost soul." According to Jim Samson, it is "played on two fiddles and a string bass," and, "has uniquely 'exotic' characteristics, highly dissonant and with fascinating heterophonic effects." Carefully digesting all these elements, eventually Szymanowski developed a highly individual rhapsodic style and a unique harmonic world of his own.

Among Szymanowski's better known orchestral works are four symphonies (No. 3, Song of the Night with choir and vocal soloists and No. 4, Symphonie Concertante, with piano concertante) and two violin concertos. His stage works include the ballets Harnasie and Mandragora and the operas Hagith and Król Roger ('King Roger'). He wrote much piano music, including the four Etudes, Op. 4 (of which No. 3 was once his single most popular piece), many mazurkas and the exquisite and highly individual Metopes. Other works include the Three Myths for violin and piano, two string quartets, a sonata for violin and piano, a number of orchestral songs (some to texts by Hafiz and James Joyce) and his Stabat Mater, an acknowledged choral masterpiece.

According to Samson "Szymanowski adopted no thorough-going alternatives to tonal organization [...] the harmonic tensions and relaxations and the melodic phraseology have clear origins in tonal procedure, but [...] an underpinning tonal framework has been almost or completely dissolved away."

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PU4ygWvhCRU"]Karol Szymanowski - Symphony No. 3 'The Song of the Night', III - YouTube[/ame]

in 1940 - Raymond Davis, US rock vocalist (Funkadelic-Knee Deep) is born. A founding member of the bombastic soul-funk ensemble Parliament-Funkadelic, Ray Davis provided the deep bass vocals on their hits, such as ‘Tear The Roof Off The Sucka (Give Up The Funk)’, ‘Flashlight’, ‘Aqua Boogie’ and ‘One Nation Under A Groove – Part I’. Wearing outrageous costumes and employing outlandish stage props – including a massive spaceship – the band was led by the dreadlocked George Clinton. Originally formed in the Sixties as a doo-wop soul act called The Parliaments, the band helped to create the funk genre of the Seventies. For much of the decade, the large conglomerate of singers, dancers and musicians operated in two overlapping camps, Funkadelic and Parliament, which eventually merged as “P-Funk”. In the mid Nineties, following the death of Melvin Franklin, Davis joined a touring version of The Temptations, and also later toured with former members of The P-Funk All Stars. - Died July 5, 2005 succuming to respiratory complications at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

in 1941 1st performance of Benjamin Britten's "Requiem Symphony".
in 1941 WPAT radio in NJ begins broadcasting (country music format).
in 1943 - Vangelis, [Papathanasiou], composer/keyboardist (Chariots of Fire) is born.

in 1944 - Frank Becker, American composer, is born at Paterson, NJ. He studied with Joseph Wood at the Oberlin (Ohio) College Conservatory of Music, and composition with Robert Palmer and jazz improvisation with Elston Husk. A Ford Foundation grant took him for two years to Wichita, Kans., where his works were widely performed; he subsequently went to Japan, becoming famous in avant-garde circles as a composer, performer (on synthesizer), and producer. Since his return to the U.S. in 1981, he has written many film and television scores. Among his concert works are Stonehenge for Flute and Tape (a mixture of new age, minimalist, and pseudo-Japanese styles) and Philiapaideia for Orchestra (1973), which won the Prix Francis Salabert in 1975.
Tomcats and The Cat. As Pete Townshend’s personal assistant and chauffeur, one of his earliest compositions, ‘Armenia City In The Sky’, was recorded by The Who, appearing on the 1967 album The Who Sell Out. The song sounded remarkably like something Townshend might have written himself. A year later, Townshend assembled a band around Keen, adding jazz pianist Andy “Thunderclap” Newman, a post office engineer, and 15-year-old Scottish guitarist Jimmy McCulloch. Written by Keen, Thunderclap Newman scored a psychedelic-tinged, UK number one over the summer of ’69 with ‘Something In The Air’, which Townshend produced, arranged the string section and contributed bass under the pseudonym Bijou Drains. Never comfortable as a live act, the group released their only album, Hollywood Dream, in 1970. Keen later released two solo albums, Previous Convictions (1973) and Y’Know Wot I Mean (1975), which spawned the minor hit ‘Someone To Love’, and toured France with The Who. Turning to production work, Keen oversaw Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers’ 1977 punk album L.A.M.F. (the poor mixing and mastering of which drew strong criticism) and Motörhead’s 1977 début Motörhead. A perennial favourite on rock radio, ‘Something In The Air’ has appeared in numerous films and commercials and was a minor hit in 1993 for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. (Heart Attack) - Died March 29, 2002.

in 1947 - Bobby Kimball, [Robert Toteaux], Vinton LA, rocker (Toto-Roseann) is born.

in 1949 - Michael Brecker, pop-jazz tenor saxophonist, brother of Randy Brecker, is born at Philadelphia. He grew up in a musical family and his father is a jazz pianist. As a child, he shared his brother's love of R&B; he began playing the clarinet at seven, switched to alto sax, and then tenor. He studied under Vince Trombetta and Joe Allard and Charles Banacos in the mid 1960s, and cut his teeth in local bands before being turned onto jazz through the recordings of Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, and John Coltrane while studying at the University of Ind.

Michael originally intended to become a doctor, but one of his teachers convinced him that he should be in music. In 1970, after about one semester, he left college and joined Randy in N.Y.; his first professional work was with Edwin Birdsong in another R&B outfit which also featured Billy Cobham, who soon became a close friend and accomplice of both brothers. They also both made the first of a number of hard- driving recordings with Hal Galper, first as part of his Guerrilla Band and later as part of an acoustic jazz group. Later that year, the Breckers formed the fusion group Dreams, which recorded two albums for Columbia Records before disbanding in 1971.

Michael and Randy would continue to work in tandem, teamed together in 1973 as the front line for Horace Silver's quintet, and again in 1974 recording and touring with Cobham. In 1975, they formed a funk-based band and released their debut album as The Brecker Brothers. Over the next six years, The Brecker Brothers would release six widely acclaimed albums, earning seven Grammy nominations along the way. Described by the New York Times as having "the most valid blend of jazz and rock than any group has yet achieved," the two brothers created, according to Down Beat, "the most widely recognized and most influential horn sound of the 1970s."

That sound appeared to be a development of wind parts to be found in early Kool and the Gang and instrumental JB's albums c. 1969-74. During the late 1970s, Michael became one of the most sought after session musicians and played on a freelance basis with everyone from Charles Mingus, James Taylor, Horace Silver, Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Yoko Ono's touring group, and a series of Average White Band albums.

In 1977, Michael and Randy opened up a jazz club in lower Manhattan called Seventh Avenue South, a place where all the great names on the scene would stop by and play. Around 1979-80, he was recruited by Joni Mitchell to join with an all-star band including Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorius to tour and record Joni's acclaimed album Shadows and Light and a concert video. At Seventh Avenue South, the band Steps evolved through some informal late-night jams between Michael, Mike Mainieri, Steve Gadd, Don Grolnick, and Eddie Gomez. Conceived in 1979 as an acoustic ensemble, the quintet grew into a high-powered fusion band with the advent of MIDI technology and later changed their name to Steps Ahead.

Brecker consulted with Nyle Steiner, inventor of the EWI (electronic wind instrument), a winddriven synth controller that put MIDI at his fingertips and used his own custom built model until Akai released the EWI commercially. He recorded six albums with the band, three under the name Steps, and three under the name Steps Ahead. Michael also continued touring and recording as a soloist and sideman on various projects, working with Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Jaco Pastorius and arranger Claus Ogerman. During the period 1980-81, he overcame a longstanding problem with heroin addiction by going through a rehab program.

His busy studio schedule has included work with Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, Steely Dan, and Bruce Springsteen. He took up the role of bandleader on Michael Brecker, an album released in 1987 that was named "Jazz Album of the Year" by both Downbeat and Jazziz magazines, and nominated for two grammys; it was the No.1 album on Billboard's Jazz Chart for 21 weeks. In 1988, Brecker's second solo album, Don't Try This at Home, won the Grammy for "Best Jazz Instrumental Performance."

In addition to headlining around the world with his own band, Brecker took time out that year for a stint as featured soloist with Herbie Hancock's Headhunters II band. He toured with Paul Simon as featured soloist to support the Rhythm of the Saints album. Once back home in 1992, Michael reunited with his brother Randy for a much anticipated world tour and GRP recording, Return of the Brecker Brothers. Three Grammy nominations and a year of touring later, the brothers returned to the studio in the fall of 1994 to record Out of the Loop.

This time not only did they win the Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance, Michael won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition for "African Skies." In addition to touring throughout the U.S. and Europe in 1995, the Brecker Brothers were the first international contemporary jazz group to perform in the People's Republic of China, playing before sell-out crowds in Beijing and Shanghai. In 1995, he toured with McCoy Tyner. In the summer of 1997, he played with Pat Metheny at the Montreal Jazz Festival and in Japan in August 1997. As ofJune 1998, he has appeared on over 450 albums.

A true virtuoso, Brecker has gone from early work in fusion and jazzrock to one of the most in-demand studio musicians, accompanying all kinds of artists, to one of the most influential saxophonists today in all idioms including acoustic jazz. Heavily influenced by Coltrane, he uniquely adapted many of Coltrane's methods for use in fusion and funk contexts.

in 1951 - Barry Goudreau, rocker is born.

in 1951 - "The King and I" opened on Broadway at St James Theater NYC for 1246 performances.

in 1956 - Patty Donahue, the wry, lead singer of the early Eighties new wave group The Waitresses, is born. Donahue had joined the group on a lark. The Waitresses were the brainchild of songwriter Chris Butler, formerly of Tin Huey. Based in Kent, Ohio, they emerged out of a local music scene which had spawned the likes of Devo and The Rubber City Rebels. Recording a track for an Akron, Ohio, compilation album, Bowling Balls From Hell, The Waitresses created a buzz with the track, ‘I Know What Boys Like’. Providing surly, spoken word-like vocals, Cleveland native Patty Donahue possessed no previous musical experience. Migrating to New York City in 1980, The Waitresses released the début album Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful? (1981), which also included ‘I Know What Boys Like’. Following up with an EP I Could Rule The World, the group scored a minor hit with the infectious ‘Christmas Wrapping’. It was followed by the group’s theme song for the CBS sitcom Square Pegs. After recording the Hugh Padgham-produced album Bruiseology, Donahue left the group in May of 1983 and was replaced by former Holly and The Italians singer, Holly Beth Vincent. Donahue briefly returned to the band in early 1984 before they disbanded. Donahue later landed a position at MCA publishing in New York City, her first signing coming with the alternative rock group, The Idle Wilds. (Cancer) She died at New York City December 9, 1996.

in 1958 - Connie Francis enjoys her first chart success as "Who's Sorry Now?" reached Billboard's #4 spot. Over the next ten years she will place 55 more songs on the Billboard hit parade.

in 1959 - Sara Wennerberg-Reuter, composer, dies at 84
in 1961 - Ane-Marie Sanches, newscaster (Suriname TV/Radio) is born.

in 1962 - Emmet Miller, singer, dies. Emmett Dewey Miller was born in Macon, Georgia, on February 2, 1903. Miller began his performing career as a teenager, performing with traveling minstrel troupes. By the early 1920s he was settled in New York, where he began appearing in local vaudeville theaters, often working with Cliff Edwards (aka Ukulele Ike). Through Edwards, he got his first opportunity to record in 1924, cutting his first hit, “Anytime.” From the start, Miller’s unique singing style was featured on his recordings; he would suddenly break from his normal voice into a crying falsetto. Miller’s falsetto yodel also became a vocal trademark for Hank Williams.

In August 1925 Miller was appearing in Asheville, North Carolina, where he again had the opportunity to record. His “Lovesick Blues” was recorded here, complete with his warbling yodels. On a later trip to the city in 1927, Miller met the Callahan Brothers, who learned “St. Louis Blues” from him, which was among their first recordings. Miller may also have encountered and influenced Jimmie Rodgers in Asheville, although there is some question if the two ever met or if Rodgers simply heard Miller’s recordings. Although he continued to tour the South, Miller spent the balance of the 1920s back in New York. In 1928 he rerecorded his early hits, and also cut for the first time “St. Louis Blues” and “I Ain’t Got Nobody.”He cut a total of 28 sides during 1928–29, including blackface minstrel dialogues, reflecting his long experience in MINSTREL TRAVELING SHOWS.

Miller remained committed to vaudeville and traveling shows through the 1930s and 1940s, making his last recordings in 1936. Meanwhile, many country artists were emulating his style. However, Miller was forgotten as a performer, and died in obscurity on this date.

in 1962 - Gene Chandler received a gold record for "Duke of Earl."

in 1963 - The Shadows had their fifth and final UK No.1 single with 'Foot Tapper.' 1964, The first night of a UK tour kicked of at The Coventry Theatre with The Hollies, the Dave Clark Five, The Kinks and The Mojos.

in 1964 - Ted Collins, pianist (Kate Smith Evening Hour), dies at 63.

in 1965 - Zlatko Balokovic dies at age 70) Croatian violinist, in 1913, already excellent and renowned, the invitation came to play with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. That year he won the annual Austrian "Staatspreis" and soon made artistic tours to Berlin, Vienna, and Genova. He stayed in Trieste during World War I. After living in Britain from 1920 to 1923, he accepted an offer for an American tour, so on January 1, 1924, he left for New York. In 1946 he and his wife returned to Yugoslavia as officials of the American Committee for Yugoslav Relief and were showered with that nation's gratitude. He gave 36 concerts and hundreds of speeches, travelling the entire country and personally came to know many high-ranking figures in the Yugoslav government, including Marshal Josip Broz Tito, Georgi Dimitrov of Bulgaria, and Enver Hoxha of Albania. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1947, he made a coast-to-coast tour to advocate for the people he had met. In 1954, he made a second "jubilee" tour. Tito presented him with the Grand Cross of the Yugoslav Flag in recognition of his artistic and humanitarian achievements benefitting nations.

in 1966 - Harry Daugherty, trombonist (Spike Jones and City Slickers), dies at 50.

in 1966 - Rolling Stone Mick Jagger was injured during a gig in Marseilles after a fan threw a chair at the stage, Jagger required eight stitches in the cut.

in 1966 - The Rolling Stones played a concert at L'Olympia Bruno Coquatrix, Paris, France. About 85 people were arrested for rioting after the show.

in 1966 - Fans mobbed the Walker Brothers as they entered a hotel in Cheshire resulting in two of the group being concussed. The group were in the UK for a tour and TV appearances.

in 1967 - during a European tour The Rolling Stones appeared at the Bremen-Stadthalle in Germany. Also on the tour, The Easybeats and The Creation.

in 1967 - Working at Abbey Road studios The Beatles finished recording ‘Good Morning Good Morning’. They then started work on a new song ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’, (originally titled ‘Bad Finger Boogie’), recording 10 takes of the rhythm track, then Ringo overdub a double-tracked lead vocal.

in 1968 - Lucy Lawless, New Zealand actress, activist and musician best known for playing the title character of the internationally successful television series "Xena: Warrior Princess", is born.

Also widely known for her role as Number Three on the re-imagined "Battlestar Galactica" series, and for the role of Lucretia on the television series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand", its prequel "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena", and its sequel "Spartacus: Vengeance".

in 1969 - John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Black Sabbath, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, Curved Air, J.J. Jackson's Dilemma, Shy Limbs, Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Sunflower Brass Band and Toe Fat all appeared at the London Free Easter Festival in Bethnal Green, London, England.

in 1969 - Blood Sweat & Tears went to No.1 on the US album chart with their self- titled album.

in 1969 - James Atkin, rocker (EMF-Unbelievable) is born.
in 1969 - Perry Farrell, rocker (Jane's Addiction, Porno For Pyros) is born.

in 1973 - Dr. Hook And The Medicine Show got their picture on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine after their hit, "The Cover of Rolling Stone" reached number 6 on the US singles chart. According to members of the group, they really did buy five copies for their mothers, just like the song said.

in 1975 - Labelle went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Lady Marmalade', the group's only No.1. British act All Saints had an UK No.1 with the song in 1998.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDlHaZz9PNo"]YouTube - Lady Marmalade by Labelle 1975 Midnight Special[/ame]

in 1975 - Led Zeppelin had all their six albums in the US Top 100 chart in the same week with their latest album Physical Graffiti at No.1.

in 1976 - during a European tour Neil Young started a three night run at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. Tickets cost £1–4 ($1.70–$6.80).

in 1978 - David Bowie kicked off his Low / Heroes 77-date World Tour at San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego, California.

in 1978 - After fourteen years of marriage, Tina Turner's divorce from her husband Ike became final.

in 1980 - Mantovani/Annunzio Paolo Mantovani dies at age 74. Italian orchestra leader, a popular conductor and light orchestra-style entertainer, cascading strings technique developed by Binge became Mantovani's hallmark and is mostly associated with the light orchestra genre. His family moved to England in 1912, where he studied at Trinity College of Music, London. After graduation, he formed his own orchestra, which played in and around Birmingham. By the time World War II broke out, his orchestra was one of the most popular in England, both on the BBC and in live performances. He recorded for Decca until the mid-1950s, and then London Records. He recorded over 50 albums on that label, many of which were top-40 hits. These included Song from Moulin Rouge and Cara Mia, which reached No. 1 in Britain in 1953 and 1954, respectively. In the United States, between 1955 and 1972, he released over 40 albums with 27 reaching the Top 40 and 11 the Top Ten. His biggest success was with the album Film Encores, which made it to No. 1 in 1957. Similarly, Mantovani Plays Music From 'Exodus' and Other Great Themes made it to No. 2 in 1961 and sold over one million albums. He made his last recordings in 1975 (died while at a care home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent)

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__tm_j8FPl0"]YouTube - Mantovani And His Orchestra - Charmaine (1958)[/ame]

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in 1980 - Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon', spent its 303rd week on the US album chart, beating the record set by Carole King's album 'Tapest.

in 1980 - The BeeGees were sued by a Chicago man for plagiarism of the song "How Deep Is Your Love." The BeeGees won the case on appeal.

in 1981 - Shakin' Stevens was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with his version of the Rosemary Clooney hit 'This Ole House', the Welsh singers first of four UK No.1's.

in 1982 - Carl Orff dies at age 86. German composer, born in Munich and most known for Carmina Burana-1937, a "scenic cantata". It is the first of a trilogy that also includes Catulli Carmina and Trionfo di Afrodite. Carmina Burana reflected his interest in medieval German poetry. Together the trilogy is called Trionfi, or "Triumphs". The composer described it as the celebration of the triumph of the human spirit through sexual and holistic balance. The work was based on thirteenth-century poetry found in a manuscript dubbed the Codex latinus monacensis found in the Benedictine monastery of Benediktbeuern in 1803 and written by the Goliards. While "modern" in some of his compositional techniques, he was able to capture the spirit of the medieval period in this trilogy, with infectious rhythms and easy tonalities. The medieval poems, written in Latin and an early form of German, are often racy, but without descending into smut .

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEllLECo4OM"]YouTube - Carl Orff: Carmina Burana[/ame]

in 1983 - at the end of their 29 date 'War' UK tour, U2 appeared at Hammersmith Palais in London.

in 1985 - Jeanine Deckers /The Singing Nun dies at age 51. Belgian nun, and a member, as Sister Luc Gabriel, of the Dominican Fichermont Convent in Belgium. She became internationally famous in 1963 as Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile) when she scored a hit with the song "Dominique". In the English speaking world, she is mostly referred to as "The Singing Nun". She gave concerts and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. To date, "Dominique" is the only Belgian number one hit single in the United States. In 1966, a movie called The Singing Nun was made about her, starring Debbie Reynolds in the title role. Deckers rejected the film as "fiction". Sally Field spoofed the role starting the following year as the title character in the television series The Flying Nun. In 1967, she left her monastery to continue her musical career under the name Luc Dominique and released an album called "I Am Not a Star in Heaven". Her repertoire consisted of religious songs and songs for children. Most of her earnings went to the convent. Her musical career over, she opened a school for autistic children in Belgium. In the late 1970s the Belgian government claimed that she owed around US$63,000 in back taxes. Jeanine countered that the money was given to the convent and therefore exempt from taxes. Lacking any receipts to prove her donations to the convent and her religious order, she ran into heavy financial problems. (Citing their financial difficulties in a note, she and her companion of ten years, Anna Pécher, both committed suicide by an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol. In a great irony, the very day of her suicide and unknown to her, the Belgian association that collects royalties for songwriters (SABAM) awarded her approximately $300,000 /571,658 Belgian francs, more than enough to pay off her $65,000 debt/99,000 Belgian francs and provide for her).

in 1986 - Austrian singer Falco started a three-week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Rock Me Amadeus', also a No.1 in the UK. Falco became the first German speaking artist to achieve a No.1 on the US charts.

in 1986 - Cliff Richard and The Young Ones were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Living Doll.' In aid of Comic Relief, a re-recording of his 1959 No.1, with the cast of the TV show 'The Young Ones'.

in 1986 - Beatle records officially go on sale in Russia. Before that, only tapes were available on the black market, but most Soviet music lovers could not afford them. There was little information about The Beatles in the USSR and official Soviet publications about the band were mainly critical and condemnatory.

in 1993 - William Parker, American baritone, dies at N.Y. He took German language and literature courses at Princeton University (B.A., 1965); after singing in the U.S. Army Chorus in Washington, D.C., he pursued serious vocal training with Bernac and Ponselle. He won 1st prize in the Toulouse Competition and the special Poulenc Prize in the Paris Competition, then gained wide recognition in 1979 when he took 1st prize in the Kennedy Center- Rockefeller Foundation International Competition for Excellence in the Performance of American Music.

In subsequent years, Parker acquired a fine reputation as a concert singer; also sang with various opera companies in the U.S. and abroad. He was especially admired for his cultured approach to art song interpretation and for his advocacy of contemporary American music.

After contracting AIDS, he commissioned a number of composers to contribute selections to The AIDS Quilt Songbook. With the baritones Kurt Oilman, William Sharp, and Sanford Sylvan, he gave the premiere of the cycle at N.Y/s Alice Tully Hall in 1992. Parker continued to make appearances until his last public concert in Minneapolis on Jan. 1, 1993. - Born at Butler, Pa., Aug. 5, 1943.

in 1994 - Albert Goldman dies. Goldman can lay claim to having been rock music’s most loathed biographer, having written scathing, mean-spirited, high-profile biographies of Elvis Presley and John Lennon, and also comedian Lenny Bruce. Georgia-born Goldman earned a PhD in English from Columbia University. Attracted to popular music in the Sixties, Goldman earned a reputation for firing volleys at cultural icons. A reckless journalist, in a 1968 Life magazine article he compared a Rolling Stones concert to a Nazi rally. Receiving a $1 million advance, Goldman viciously attacked Presley in the 1981 tome Elvis, offering exaggerated accounts of gluttony, drug abuse and peculiar sexual habits. Although promoted as the definitive Presley biography, Elvis was subsequently discredited by Presley scholars, notably the American writers Greil Marcus and Peter Guralnick, not least for its many factual inaccuracies. Similarly, in The Lives Of John Lennon, Goldman portrayed the former Beatle as arrogant and self-absorbed, and suggested that Lennon might even have committed murder while in Germany. Much of his evidence relied on dubious speculation, and it was said that if Goldman were ever to show his face in Liverpool he might face a lynch mob. A key premise of Goldman’s books on both Presley and Lennon was that the subjects lacked serious talent and that their fans had somehow been deceived into believing otherwise; that their celebrity was a sham and their fans were foolish dupes. This was hardly likely to win Goldman any friends among devotees, and hardback copies of both Elvis and The Lives Of John Lennon wound up on the shelves of cut-price bookshops, which suggests that the public were unimpressed by Goldman’s hatchet jobs despite the controversy they aroused. In 1999 both books were out of print. At the time of his death, Goldman was preparing a biography on Doors’ leader Jim Morrison. Many of Goldman’s essays from Life magazine were compiled in the book, Freakshow. He died aboard an aeroplane en route from Miami to London of a heart attack. - Born April 15, 1927.

in 1995 – Singer Jimmy McShane Northern Irish singer, known as the front-man of Italian band Baltimora dies at age 37 of Aids. He had the 1985 UK No.3 single and European hit 'Tarzan Boy with Italian dance outfit Baltimora.

McShane was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. He learned at a young age to play bass and guitar. As a child, he was allegedly shunned by his family after they learned of his homosexuality. Later as a young man in the late 1970s, McShane left Northern Ireland to study at a stage school in London, where he learned to dance, sing and recite.

Hired as a stage dancer and backing singer, McShane soon went around Europe with Dee D. Jackson and her band. During a visit to Italy with the band, McShane was attracted to the country's underground dance scene, which led to him settling in Milan in 1984. He told Dick Clark on American Bandstand in 1986 that he fell in love with Italy from that moment. He also learned the Italian language.

He made his debut playing in small clubs in his hometown and was presented to various audiences, without success. In view of his low artistic success, McShane decided to work as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for the Red Cross until he met Italian record producer & keyboardist Maurizio Bassi, with whom he created Baltimora. The act found success with its most popular single, "Tarzan Boy", released in 1985.

In America, he was overwhelmed with the success of "Tarzan Boy". Some sources state lead vocals were performed by Maurizio Bassi, the group's keyboardist, with McShane actually providing the backing vocals. This still remains uncertain, and it should be noted that McShane lip synched while appearing in the "Tarzan Boy" music video, and not Bassi. Both the music and the lyrics of Baltimora were written mostly by Bassi and Naimy Hackett, though McShane wrote the lyrics to some of their songs, such as the single "Survivor in Love".
Break-up of Baltimora and aftermath

After the release of "Survivor in Love", with no label support of a follow up album and due to its poor success, Bassi decided it was time to move on to other projects and Baltimora disbanded.

The single "Tarzan Boy" bounced back into the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March 1993 as a remix, climbing to No. 51, at the time of its appearance in a Listerine commercial. The song was also featured in the films Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), Beverly Hills Ninja (1997) and was then referenced in A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014).

McShane was diagnosed with AIDS in Milan during 1994. A few months later he returned to Northern Ireland to spend his final year, and died in his native Derry on 29 March 1995 at the age of 37. A family spokesman issued the following statement after his death: "He faced his illness with courage and died with great dignity." In the centre of Derry, a commemorative plaque was bestowed upon the grave of McShane and his father, who had died three years prior.

in 1996 - 10th Soul Train Music Awards: Patti Labelle, Boyz II Men.

in 1999 - The David Bowie Internet Radio Network broadcast its first show for Rolling Stone Radio. The show was Bowie's favourite songs with Bowie introducing each track.

in 1996 - Howard Wyeth (HOWARD PYLE WYETH) dies. The drummer for Bob Dylan during his Rolling Thunder Revue in the mid Seventies, Howard Wyeth also appeared on two Dylan albums, Desire and Hard Rain. Wyeth also backed Roger McGuinn and Don McLean, and appeared on four albums with Robert Gordon. In the Nineties, he was leading The Howie Wyeth Ragtime Band in the clubs of New York City. (Heart attack) He died at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City. - Born April 22, 1944.

in 1996 - Two former members of the 1950's vocal group, The Teddy Bears, filed suit in Los Angeles against producer Phil Spector and several labels. Carol Connors and Marshall Lieb alleged they had not received royalties from re-issues of their 1958 number one hit "To Know Him Is To Love Him".

in 1998 - Shania Twain began her first headlining tour in her Canadian homeland in Sudbury, Ontario.

in 1999 - Joe Williams dies at age 80. American jazz vocalist, an elegant and sophisticated baritone, singing blues, ballads, popular songs, and jazz standards. By his early teens, he had taught himself to play piano and formed his own gospel vocal quartet, "The Jubilee Boys". He got his first big break in 1938 when clarinet/saxophone player Jimmie Noone asked him to sing with his band. In less than a year, he was earning a reputation at Chicago dance halls and on a national radio station that broadcast his voice from Massachusetts to California. He toured the Midwest in 1939 and 1940 with the Les Hite band. The following year, he went on tour with saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. He went onto play with all the greats, performing regularly at jazz festivals, both in the U.S. and aboard, as well as on the nightclub circuit. He has performed at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival 12 times, spanning from 1959 t0 1993, sharing the stage with jazz greats such as Sarah Vaughan, Miles Davis, Cal Tjader, Dianne Reeves, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, Carmen McRae, Herbie Hancock, Nat Adderley, and Dizzy Gillespie. During the 1980s he appeared at Chicago's, Playboy Jazz Festival ten times. He was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1983, next to Basie's. When Basie died in 1984, Williams sang a rendition of Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday" at his funeral. In 1985, Williams received a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocalist for the album I Just Want to Sing. In 1991 Williams attended his own gala tribute, "For the Love of Joe", which celebrated the contribution that he had made and was still making to music. In 1992, he won his second Grammy Award, for the release Ballad and Blues Master "I Just Want to Sing." In 1997, Joe sang a duet with Nancy Wilson during the opening show of the San Francisco Jazz Festival, singing the song "You're Too Good to Be True".

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g-m9SHp7KU"]YouTube - Joe Williams sings "Here's To Life"" target="_blank">YouTube - Joe Williams sings "Here's To Life"[/ame]

in 2000 - Phil Collins took out a high court action against two former members of Earth, Wind And Fire. Collins claimed his company had overpaid the musicians by £50,000 ($85,000) in royalties on tracks including ‘Sussudio’ and ‘Easy Lover’.

in 2001 - the man who hid in a cathedral organ to try to video the baptism of Madonna and Guy Ritchie's son Rocco, was fined a £1,000. He admitted disorderly conduct at Dornoch court in Sutherland.

2001 - Brian Wilson was honored in a three hour tribute at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Guest performances included Billy Joel singing "Don't Worry Baby", while Paul Simon sang an acoustic version of "Surfer Girl". Wilson - Phillips made a rare appearance, as did The Go-Gos and the trio of Carly Simon, David Crosby and Jimmy Webb. Also singing Beach Boy songs were Ann and Nancy Wilson, Elton John and Aimee Mann. Brian Wilson himself joined the fun when he took the stage for the final three songs, "Barbara Ann", "Surfin' U.S.A." and "Fun, Fun, Fun".

in 2001 - John Lewis dies at age 80. American jazz pianist; in 1945 after moving to New York, he joined Dizzy Gillespie's bop-style big band as their drummer. He developed his skill further by composing and arranging for the band as well as attending the Manhattan School of Music. In January 1948, the band made a tour of Europe, he stayed in Europe after the tour, writing and studying piano. On his return from 1948 to 1951 he played with Charlie Parker, Illinois Jacquet, Lester Young after which he, Milt Jackson, Clarke, and Ray Brown formed the Milt Jackson Quartet. In 1952 Percy Heath replaced Brown on bass and the Modern Jazz Quartet was born, in which John served as its music director and pianist. From 1958 to 1982 he also served as music director of the annual Monterey Jazz Festival, and in 1962 he formed the cooperative big band Orchestra U.S.A., By the early 1980s he was performing with the reunited MJQ and with his sextet, the John Lewis Group, and, in 1985, with Gary Giddins and Roberta Swann, he founded the American Jazz Orchestra. In the 1990s he continued to compose, teach, and perform, both with the MJQ and independently. He participated in the "Re-birth of the Cool" sessions with Gerry Mulligan in 1992. He was also involved in various third stream music projects with Gunther Schuller and others, as well as being an early and somewhat surprising advocate of the music of Ornette Coleman. (prostate cancer)
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNr5KLiGxq8"]YouTube - John Lewis and Billy Taylor - Jazz Piano Masters" target="_blank">YouTube - John Lewis and Billy Taylor - Jazz Piano Masters[/ame]

in 2004 - a court in Lithuania sentenced French rock star Bertrand Cantat, lead singer with Noir Desir to eight years in prison for killing his actress girlfriend during a fight. Cantat was convicted of fatally beating Marie Trintignant in a Vilnius hotel room in 2003. Cantat had admitted killing Ms Trintignant but said it was an accident.

in 2005 - Neil Young was treated for a brain aneurysm at a hospital in New York. Doctors expected the 59 year old to make a full recovery. The aneurysm was discovered when Young's vision became blurred after the induction ceremony for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month.

in 2007 - U2 singer Bono accepted an honorary knighthood at a ceremony in Dublin. Fellow band members The Edge and Adam Clayton joined the frontman's wife and four children at the British ambassador David Reddaway's official residence. The rock star and campaigner, 46, was not entitled to be called "Sir" because he is not a British citizen. The U2 singer's new title is Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE).

in 2005 - Jonathan King, most often remembered for his 1965 hit "Everyone's Gone To The Moon", was freed from a UK prison after serving half of his seven-year term for four indecent assaults and two serious sexual offences on boys aged 14 and 15. As he left Maidstone Prison King said: "I'm innocent of the charges against me. There is no issue of the acts being consensual, there were no acts."

in 2006 - Tom Jones was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace for his services to music.

in 2007 - ‘Umbrella’, by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z was released in the US. The track went on to reach No.1 in various countries, including the US. A No.1 in the UK for 10 consecutive weeks making it the longest running No.1 single since Wet Wet Wet's ‘Love Is All Around’ in 1994, and the longest running No.1 by a female artist since Whitney Houston's ‘I Will Always Love You.’

in 2008 - US rapper Rick Ross was at No.1 on the US album chart with his second album ‘Good Time.’

in 2009 - Maurice Jarre dies at age 84. French composer and conductor, although he composed several concert works, he is best known for his film scores, particularly known for his collaborations with film director David Lean. He composed the scores to all of Lean's films since Lawrence of Arabia in 1962. Other notable scores include The Message-1976, Witness-1985 and Ghost-1990. He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Three of his compositions spent a total of forty-two weeks on the U.K. singles chart chart; the biggest hit was 'Somewhere My Love' to his tune Lara's Theme, with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster by the Michael Sammes Singers, which reached No.14 in 1966 and spent 38 weeks on the chart. Maurice was a three time Academy Award winner, for Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, and A Passage to India, all of which were directed by David Lean. He was Oscar nominated a total of eight times. His television work includes the score for the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth-1977 directed by Franco Zeffirelli; Shogun-1980; and the theme for PBS's Great Performances. He scored his last film in 2001, a TV movie about the Holocaust entitled Uprising

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irPSvEkQl8Q"]YouTube - Maurice Jarre - Lawrence Of Arabia" target="_blank">YouTube - Maurice Jarre - Lawrence Of Arabia[/ame]

in 2009 - Andy Hallett dies at age 33. American actor and singer best known for playing the part of Lorne, The Host in the TV series Angel. He used his singing talents often on the show, and performed two songs on the series' 2005 soundtrack album, Angel: Live Fast, Die Never (congestive heart failure).
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn--FjBYCV8"]YouTube - Andy Hallett - It's Not Easy Being Green" target="_blank">YouTube - Andy Hallett - It's Not Easy Being Green[/ame]

in 2011 – A website that illegally sold Beatles songs online for 25 cents each agreed to pay record companies almost $1m (£625,000) to settle a legal case. BlueBeat.com, based in the US, streamed and sold music by The Beatles, Coldplay and others until it was sued in 2009. In the few days before it was forced to shut down, it had distributed more than 67,000 Beatles tracks.

in 2011 - Ray Herr, guitarist for The Ides Of March on their 1970 hit "Vehicle", died of esophageal cancer at age 64.

in 2011 - Robert Tear CBE dies at age 72. British opera singer born in Barry, Glamorgan, Wales, UK; he made his operatic début in 1966 as Peter Quint in Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw on the English Opera Group's tour of England and Russia. In 1970, he made his début at Covent Garden as Lensky in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and made his début as a conductor in 1985 in Minneapolis. Robert made over 250 records for many major recording companies. Roles he sang range from Uriel in Haydn's "Creation" to the painter in Alban Berg's Lulu, and from Pitichinaccio in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann to Sir Harvey in Donizetti's Anna Bolena. His many classical recordings include performances of Bach, Handel, Monteverdi, Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Bruckner, Stravinsky, Janácek and Messiaen. In the English canon, he also recorded songs by Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Arthur Butterworth (cancer).

in 2012 - A TV ad for Madonna's new perfume, Truth or Dare, was deemed too racy for ABC network television. Dressed in leotards, fishnets and harnesses, the Material Girl was shown licking her lips while wearing black lingerie and a mask, rolling around on the floor.

in 2013 – Vincenzo Jannacci , more commonly known as Enzo Jannacci (Italian pronunciation: [(vintʃ)ˈɛntso janˈnattʃi]), Italian singer-songwriter, pianist, actor and stand-up comedian. Dies at age 77 of cancer. He is regarded as one of the most important artists in the post-war Italian music scene.

Jannacci is widely considered as a master of musical art and cabaret, and in the course of his career has collaborated with many famous Italian musicians, performing artists, journalists, television personalities and comedians. He has written around thirty albums and soundtracks, some of which have since come to be seen as milestones in the history of Italian popular music.

A cardiologist in his day job, he is also regarded as one of the founders of Italian rock and roll music, along with Adriano Celentano, Luigi Tenco and Giorgio Gaber, with whom he collaborated for over forty years.

Enzo Jannacci was born in Milan on 3 June 1935. On his father's side his family is from Apulia in the far south: his grandfather, also called Vincenzo, moved to Milan from Bari just before the onset of the First World War. His mother's side of the family is from Lombardy.

His father was an aeronautical official and worked at Forlanini airport (now more commonly known as Linate). During the Second World War he took part in the Italian resistance movement, in particular during the defense of Milanese aviation at Piazza Novelli, an act which later inspired songs such as Sei minuti all'alba ("Six Minutes to Dawn").

After finishing high school at the Liceo Scientifico Leonardo da Vinci, Jannacci graduated in harmony, composition and conducting at the Milan Conservatory. Later in 1967 he graduated with a degree in medicine from the University of Milan. He left Italy for South Africa and United States to specialise in cardiac surgery, where he joined the team of Christiaan Barnard, the famous surgeon. On 23 November 1967 he married Giuliana Orefice, who gave birth to Paolo, their only child, five years later. Today Paolo is a musician and conductor.

Jannacci started his musical career in 1956, becoming the keyboardist of the group "Rocky Mountains". Lead member of the group initially was Tony Dallara, that was later replaced by Giorgio Gaber. In 1957 he became the keyboardist of the Rock Boys, a rock'n'roll group accompanying Adriano Celentano. In 1958, even keeping on perform with Rock Boys, he formed with Gaber the musical duo "I due corsari" with whom he made his first recordings.[5] In the same years he was able to accompany as a jazz pianist several great names such as Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Bud Powell and Franco Cerri, with whom he recorded several albums.

Jannacci started his solo career in early sixties, recording two songs, "L'ombrello di mio fratello" and "Il cane con i capelli", that already revealed its ironic and surreal style, and in 1962 he debuted on stage with the recital Milanon Milanin. The following year he made his debut as stand-up comedian in the Milan comedy club Derby; there he met Dario Fo and the duo Cochi & Renato, with whom he collaborated several times over the years.[

In 1964 his popularity grew significantly thanks to the recital 22 canzoni, of which he was the author together with Dario Fo, and thanks to the song "L'Armando", his first real success. In 1968 he topped the Italian hit parade with the main success of his career, "Vengo anch'io (no tu no)". The same year he took part at the musical contest Canzonissima; he reached the final, but the song he had chosen for the final, "Ho visto un re", was censored by RAI and replaced with "I due zingari". "Ho visto un re" despite the ostracism (RAI even forbade the radio broadcasting of the song) became a classic and reached 7th place on hit parade.

Between 1968 and 1972 Jannacci temporarily slowed his activities focusing on his activity of doctor; during these years he however appeared as leading actor in two films, Mario Monicelli's Le coppie (in the segment Il frigorifero) and Marco Ferreri's L'udienza. In 1973 he wrote the comedy play Il poeta e il contadino, that was later turned in a TV-series broadcast by RAI, and in 1974 he wrote, together with Beppe Viola, the book L'incompiuter. In these years he also successfully composed several film soundtracks, including Mario Monicelli's Come Home and Meet My Wife and the Academy Award nominated Lina Wertmüller's Seven Beauties. In 1975 he published the album Quelli che... which eponymous single was one of his most known songs, especially thanks to the variety show Quelli che... il Calcio that had it as the theme song for eight years.

In 1977 Mina covered ten songs of Jannacci in the album Mina quasi Jannacci, where the songwriter duet with her in the song "E l'era tardi". In 1978 he composed the soundtrack and collaborated to the screenplay of Saxofone, the directorial debut of his longtime friend Renato Pozzetto. In 1979, after several years off, he went back to make live concerts. In these years he also collaborated with Paolo Conte, signing successful songs such as "Sudamerica" and "Bartali".

In 1980 Jannacci released the album Ci vuole orecchio that, pulled by the title song, realized excellent sales. In 1982 he hosted the variety television Gran simpatico; the same year he reformed the musical duo with Giorgio Gaber for the EP Ja-Ga Brothers. Starting from the second half of eighties he focused his activity on stage leading several recitals. In 1989 he entered the Sanremo Music Festival with the critically apprecciated song "Se me lo dicevi prima"; he came back to Sanremo three more times, in 1990 with "La fotografia" (which won the Critics Award, and was translated in English by Ute Lemper, that recorded with title The Photograph), in 1994 with "I soliti accordi", a duet with the comedian Paolo Rossi, and in 1998 with "Quando il musicista ride". In 1996 he hosted, together with Piero Chiambretti, the Raitre late night show Il laureato.

The late years were for Jannacci full of tributes and honors, but also difficult on records. While a great number of anthologies and collections are released, between 1994 and his death Jannacci was able to release just two new original albums in 2001 and 2003, with the independent label Ala Bianca. Both the albums won the art music prize Premio Tenco.

On 1 January 2003, his friend Giorgio Gaber died after a long illness at his home near Camaiore. He went to the funeral, which was held two days later at Chiaravalle Abbey where Gaber had married Ombretta Colli, but was only able to say that he had lost a brother.

The 2006 collection The Best 2006 is his latest album, a double CD containing 35 tracks, rearranged and produced by his son Paolo with 3 new songs.

In 2010 Jannacci starred in a role of weight in Sergio Castellitto's comedy film La bellezza del somaro.[14] Between 2010 and 2011 he appeared several times in the variety show Zelig as stand-up comedian. On 19 December 2011 Fabio Fazio hosted a TV special about Jannacci, Vengo anch'io. Ovvero Enzo Jannacci, a tribute event full of guests that was the last public appearance for the already diseased Jannacci. In February 2012 he was celebrated by a radio documentary series, Ho visto un re, Enzo Jannacci, broadcast by Radio Due.

in 2014 – Billy Mundi (born Antonio Salas), American drummer best known as a member of The Mothers of Invention and Rhinoceros, dies at age 71 due to complications from diabetes. He also worked as a session musician. He sometimes used the name Tony Schnasse.

A former Hells Angel, his career dates back to the late 1950s, when he majored in music at UCLA. After graduation, Mundi worked for three months as a timpanist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic before moving into studio work and a succession of local bands. In the early 1960s he played in Skip Battin's group, Skip and The Flips, and worked as a session musician on Tim Buckley's debut album among others. Mundi was briefly a member of The Lamp of Childhood in mid-1966.

In 1966, he joined The Mothers of Invention during the recording of the album Freak Out!, and later provided drums for several subsequent Mothers albums. He also featured in the movie Uncle Meat. He was enticed away from the Mothers by Jac Holzman at Elektra Records to form a supergroup, Rhinoceros. According to Frank Zappa, Holzman "offered Billy Mundi a huge amount of money, a place to live, the whole package — we'll make you a star, you'll work with these top-grade musicians instead of those comedy guys... But I don't blame Billy for taking the job, because at that time we were so poor he was living in the Albert Hotel and he couldn't get enough to eat — he used to come in and tell us how he'd quell his appetite by drinking the hot water in the shower...".

Around 1970, Mundi moved to Woodstock, New York, where he worked with Geoff Muldaur and Maria Muldaur and as a session musician. He lived in California with his wife of 31 years, Patty.

in 2015 – 72-year-old Norman Greenbaum, who wrote and sang the 1969 hit 'Spirit in the Sky', was critically injured when the car he was riding in turned left, crossing into the path of an on-coming motorcycle. The 20-year-old motorcyclist was killed and his passenger was severely injured. After a lengthy recovery, Greenbaum returned to the stage in Santa Rosa, California on November 15, 2015.

in 2016 – Donald Harris, American composer who taught music at The Ohio State University for 22 years, dies at age 84. He was Dean of the College of the Arts from 1988 to 1997.

Harris earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in Music from the University of Michigan. He completed further studies at the Tanglewood Music Center and the Centre Français d'Humanisme Musical in Aix-en-Provence. He studied with Ross Lee Finney, Max Deutsch, Nadia Boulanger, Boris Blacher, Lukas Foss, and André Jolivet. He founded the Contemporary Music Festival at Ohio State in 2000. Prior to joining the faculty at Ohio State, he served on the faculties and as an administrator of the New England Conservatory of Music and the Hartt School of Music. From 1954 to 1968, Harris lived in Paris, where he served as music consultant to the United States Information Agency and produced the city's first postwar Festival of Contemporary American Music. A documentary about Harris entitled Sonata 1957 was produced by Daniel Beliavsky through opus1films in 2011. It explores Harris’ development in mid 20th-century Paris, when pre-war musical thought bridged with post-war experimentation.

in 2016 – Andy Newman from Thunderclap Newman died aged 73. Thunderclap Newman, whose 1969 No.1 hit 'Something in the Air' became one of the indestructible staples of British 1960s pop. Primarily a keyboard player his schoolfriends nicknamed him Thunderclap in honour of his playing technique. The band that would become Thunderclap Newman was formed in late 1968 at the instigation of the Who’s Pete Townshend.

in 1016 - Patty Duke, who placed two songs on the Billboard Pop chart in 1965 with "Don't Just Stand There" (#8), and "Say Something Funny", (#22), died of sepsis from a ruptured intestine at the age of 69.

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Old March 29th, 2017, 01:05 AM   #8

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I'll miss the old thread--long live the new one!
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Old March 29th, 2017, 09:33 AM   #9

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Great to hear from you. I will miss it too. I ran into a glitch or the thread only holds a limited number of screens. Chip is looking into it. I was hoping the see if the counter would register one million views. I figure we will hit the mark sometime before Christmas. Might even surpass five million words.
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Old March 29th, 2017, 08:29 PM   #10

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30 MARCH ............................................ total views 612,158
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in 1687 - Johann Balthasar Freisslich, composer is born.

in 1727 - Tommaso (Michele Francesco Saverio) Traetta, esteemed Italian composer, father of Filippo Traetta, is born at Bitonto, near Bari. He entered the Conservatory di S. Maria di Loreto in Naples at the age of 11, where he studied with Porpora and Durante. After leaving the Conservatory in 1748, he wrote his first known opera, II Farnace, which was produced at the Teatro San Carlo with fine success, on Nov. 4, 1751; there followed several more operas in Naples, and later in other Italian cities.

In 1758 he was appointed maestro di cappella to the Duke of Parma. His Armida was staged in Vienna (Jan. 3, 1761) with excellent success, and he was commissioned to write another opera for Vienna, Ifigenia in Tauride, which was produced there on Oct. 4, 1763. He settled in Venice in 1765, and was director of the Cons. dell'Ospedaletto S. Giovanni for 3 years. In 1768 he was engaged for the court of Catherine the Great as successor to Galuppi, and arrived in St. Petersburg in the autumn of that year.

He staged several of his operas there (mostly versions of works previously performed in Italy); also arranged music for various occasions (anniversary of the coronation of Catherine the Great, celebration of a victory over the Turkish fleet, etc.). He left Russia in 1775 and went to London, where he produced the opera Germondo (Jan. 21, 1776), without much success.

By 1777 he had returned to Venice, where he produced his last 2 operas, La disfatta di Dario (Feb. 1778) and Gli eroi dei campi Elisi (Carnival 1779). In many respects, Traetta was an admirable composer, possessing a sense of drama and a fine melodic gift. In musical realism, he adopted certain procedures that Gluck was to employ successfully later on; he was highly regarded by his contemporaries. Besides operas, he wrote an oratorio, Rex Salomone (Venice, 1766), a Stabat Mater and other church music, 3 sinfonie, an overture, etc. - Died at Venice, April 6, 1779.

in 1750 - John Stafford Smith, composer is born.
in 1757 - Johann Wenzel Anton Stamitz, composer, dies at 39.

in 1764 - Pietro Locatelli dies at age 68. Italian composer, violinist; born in Bergamo, Italy, a child prodigy on the violin, he was sent to study in Rome under the direction of Arcangelo Corelli. His works are mainly for the violin, an instrument on which he was a virtuoso. L'Arte del Violino, printed in Amsterdam in 1733, was one of the most influential musical publications of the early eighteenth century. It is a collection of twelve concertos for solo violin, strings and basso continuo, with a 'capriccio' for unaccompanied violin inserted into the first and last movements of each concerto as a sort of cadenza. (died in Amsterdam)

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1BHpgQVqFs"]YouTube - Locatelli - Violin Concerto in D Major - Mov. 1-2/5" target="_blank">YouTube - Locatelli - Violin Concerto in D Major - Mov. 1-2/5[/ame]

in 1772 - Johann Wilhelm Wilms, composer is born.

in 1779 - Carl Friedrich Peters, German music publisher, is born at Leipzig. In 1814 he purchased Kuhnel & Hoffmeister's Bureau de Musique (founded, 1800; Hoffmeister left the firm in 1805, and Kuhnel led it from 1805 until his death in 1813). It became known as Bureau de Musique C.F. Peters, but encountered difficulties as a result of the Battle of Leipzig and Peters's committal to an asylum; nevertheless, it acquired a notable reputation through its publication of the first collected editions of the works of J.S. Bach and of a number of works by Beethoven.

In 1828 the manufacturer Carl Gotthelf Siegmund Bohme (1785-1855) took charge of the firm; after his death, the town council took it over as a charity foundation. In 1860 it was purchased by the Berlin book and music seller Julius Friedlander, who took the lawyer Max Abraham (1831-1900) into partnership in 1863; Abraham became sole owner in 1880 and proceeded to build an international reputation for the firm.

In addition to publishing works by the foremost composers of the day, the firm launched the inexpensive and reliable Edition Peters in 1867, opened its large and valuable Musikbibliothek Peters to the public in 1893, and published the scholarly Jahrbuch der Musikbibliothek Peters from 1895 (it was the Deutsches Jahrbuch der Musikwissenschaft from 1956 to 1977; then the Jahrbuch Peters).

Abraham's nephew, Heinrich Hinrichsen (b. Hamburg, Feb. 5,1868; d. in the Auschwitz concentration camp, Sept. 30,1942), became a partner in 1894 and sole owner in 1900; his son Max Hinrichsen (b. Leipzig, July 6, 1901; d. London Dec. 17,1965) joined the firm in 1927 and became a full partner in 1931; another son, Walter Hinrichsen (b. Leipzig, Sept. 23,1907; d. N.Y, July 21,1969), joined the firm in 1931, and a third son, Hans-Joachim Hinrichsen (b. Leipzig, Aug. 22, 1909; d. in the Perpignan concentration camp, Sept. 18,1940), joined it in 1933.

Walter left the firm in 1936 and founded the C.F. Peters Corp. in N.Y. in 1948; Max left the firm in 1936, and in 1938 founded the Hinrichsen Edition in London, which became the Peters Edition in 1975; Heinrich and Hans- Joachim were deprived of their ownership by the Nazis in 1939, and Johannes Petschull took control of the firm. During and after World War II, the original Leipzig firm encountered great difficulties; the German Democratic Republic took it over in 1949-50. With the Hinrichsen heirs as partners, Petschull founded a new company in Frankfurt am Main in 1950. The Leipzig firm publishes much contemporary music while issuing revised and updated editions of earlier scores. The London firm has brought out much English music, while the N.Y firm has a deep commitment to modern music. - Died at Sonnenstein, Bavaria, Nov. 20, 1827.

in 1804 - Salomon Sulzer, composer is born.
in 1805 - Adrien de La Fage, composer is born.
in 1811 - Angelo Catelani, Italian composer/conductor is born.
in 1815 - Wincenty Studzinski, composer is born.
in 1830 - Auguste Tolbecque, composer is born.
in 1835 - Bernhard Scholz, composer is born.

in 1864 - Louis (Ludwig) Alexander Balthasar Schindelmeisser nineteenth-century German clarinetist, conductor and composer, dies 52. He was born Königsberg, Prussia, and studied in Berlin and Leipzig. He was an early and enthusiastic partisan of Richard Wagner, arranging his first performances in Wiesbaden and Darmstadt of Tannhäuser, of which he conducted the premiere, Rienzi and Lohengrin.

Schindelmeisser attended High School for music in Berlin where he studied clarinet under the guidance of French virtuoso J. M. Hostié who had moved to Berlin in 1824. However, it is possible that he taught him earlier in Königsberg since Hostié had settled there already in 1812. He died in Darmstadt.

His own operas were in the tradition of von Weber and Spohr and "he kept the lyrical and dramatic components in balance". Of note is his Sinfonia Concertante Op. 2 for four clarinets and orchestra composed in 1833, believed to be the only one of its kind, Georg Druschetzky wrote a piece for three clarinets and orchestra.

in 1871 - Harry (John S. MacDonald) Macdonough, leading tenor of the early recording era and top recording artist in the U.S. during the first decade of the 20th century, is born at Ontario. Macdonough began his career as a musical comedy performer on Broadway during the 1880s and 1890s, then began to record for the Edison and Berliner labels in the late 1890s.

He was an original member of the Edison Male Quartet, which scored a hit with Stephen Foster's "My Old Kentucky Home" (1898) before the group changed its name to the Haydn Quartet. With the Haydn Quartet, Macdonough sang lead on such hits as "Bedalia" (1904), "Blue Beir (1904), and "Sunbonnet Sue" (1908). He was also a member of the Lyric Quartet and the Orpheus Quartet (billed as Harry Macdonough and the Orpheus Quartet on its biggest hit, "Turn Back the Universe and Give Me Yester Day" in 1916).

Like most Victor artists, Macdonough sang with the Victor Light Opera Co. He was heard on the hits "In the Good Old Summer Time" (1903) by Sousa's Band, "Smiles" (1918) by John C. Smith's Orch., and "Till We Meet Again" (1919) by Nicholas Orlando's Orch. But his greatest success came as a solo performer. He made nearly a hundred hit records between 1899 and 1918; the most successful included "Tell Me, Pretty Maiden" (1901) (with Grace Spencer), "Shine On, Harvest Moon" (1909) (with "Miss Walton," probably Elise Stevenson), "Where the River Shannon Flows" (1910), "Down by the Old Mill Stream" (1911), and "They Didn't Believe Me" (1915) (with Alice Green, actually Olive Kline). After World War I, Macdonough retired from singing and became a record company executive. - Died Sept. 26, 1931.

in 1872 - Sergei (Nikiforovich) Vasilenko, noted Russian conductor, pedagogue, and composer, is born at Moscow. He studied jurisprudence at the University of Moscow, graduating in 1895, and also took private music lessons with Gretchaninoff and G. Conus. In 1895 he entered the Moscow Conservatory in the classes of Taneyev, IppolitovIvanov, and Safonov, graduating in 1901. He also studied ancient Russian chants under the direction of Smolensky. In 1906 he joined the faculty of the Moscow Conservatory; subsequently was professpr there (1907-41; 1943-56). From 1907 to 1917 he conducted in Moscow a series of popular sym. concerts in programs of music arranged in a historical sequence. In 1938 he went to Tashkent to help native musicians develop a national school of composition. His music is inspired primarily by the pattern of Russian folk song, but he was also attracted by exotic subjects, particularly those of the East; in his harmonic settings, there is a distinct influence of French Impressionism. - Died at Moscow, March 11, 1956.

in 1872 - Frederic Austin, English baritone and composer, brother of Ernest Austin, is born at London. He studied with Charles Lunn. After working as an organist and music teacher in Liverpool, he appeared as a singer in London in 1902. In 1908 he made his debut at London's Covent Garden as Gunther in the English-language mounting of the Ring cycle. He subsequently was principal baritone of the Beecham Opera Co. In 1920 he prepared a new version of The Beggar's Opera for London, in which he scored notable success in the role of Peachum. He then brought out a new edition of its sequel, Polly (London, Dec. 30, 1922). After serving as artistic director of the British National Opera Co. in London (1924-29), he devoted himself to teaching voice. Among his other compositions were a Symphony, a symphonic poem, and choral music. - Died at London, April 10, 1952.

in 1872 - Nikolaos Halikiopoulos Mantzaros (Greek: Νικόλαος Χαλικιόπουλος Μάντζαρος or Italian: Niccoló Calichiopoulo Manzaro, Italian-Greek composer born in Corfu and the major representative of the so-called Ionian School of music (Επτανησιακή Σχολή), dies at age 76.

Mantzaros was of noble Italian descent, coming from one of the most important and wealthy Venetian families of the "Libro d'Oro" di Corfu and therefore he never considered himself a "professional composer". Recent research and performances have led to a re-evaluation of Mantzaros as a significant composer and music theorist.

He was taught music in his native city by the brothers Stefano (pianoforte) and Gerolamo Pojago (violin), Stefano Moretti from Ancona (music theory) and cavalliere Barbati, possibly a Neapolitan (music theory and composition). Mantzaros presented his first compositions (three concert or substitute arias and the one-act azione comica Don Crepuscolo) in 1815 in the theatre of San Giacomo of Corfu.

From 1819 onwards he was regularly visiting Italy (Venice, Bologna, Milan, Naples), where, among others, he met the veteran Neapolitan composer Niccolo Antonio Zingarelli. His compositions include incidental music, vocal works in Italian and demotic Greek, sacred music for the Catholic Rite (three masses (1819?, 1825, 1835?), a Te Deum (1830)) and the Orthodox Church (notably, a complete mass based on the septinsular polyphonic traditional chanting (1834)), band music, instrumental music (24 piano sinfonie, some of them also for orchestra) etc. Mantzaros also composed the music for the first concert aria in Greek in 1827, the Aria Greca.

Mantzaros was an important music theorist, contrapuntist and teacher. From 1841 and until his death he was the Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Society of Corfu.

in 1875 - Marie Moke Pleyel, composer, dies at 63
in 1884 - Hans Hampel, composer, dies at 61
in 1904 - Akarova, [Marguerite Acarin], Belgian dancer (Les Biches) is born.
in 1908 - Camille Schmit, composer is born.
in 1908 - Kurt Bruggemann, composer is born.

in 1908 - Oscar Hammerstein signed Luisa Tetrazzini to a five-year contract.
in 1911 - Dennis Gomm, musician is born.

in 1913 - Frankie Laine, (originally, Lo Vecchio, Francesco Paolo), vibrant American singer, is born at Chicago. Among the most popular singers of the late 1940s and early 1950s, Laine epitomized the transition from the jazz-tinged pop ballads of the Swing Era to the inventively produced novelty material of the post-World War II period. His powerful voice lent itself well to impassioned performances of melodramatic songs such as "Mule Train," "Jezebel," and "I Believe," each of which became a million-selling record for him.

Among his 60 pop chart entries between 1947 and 1969, his other biggest hits were "That Lucky Old Sun," "The Cry of the Wild Goose," and "Moonlight Gambler." Laine's parents, Giovanni (John) and Cresenzia (Anna) Concetta Salerno Lo Vecchio, were Italian immigrants; his father was a barber. He sang in the church choir as a child and made his first public appearance at 15 at the Merry Garden Ballroom in Chicago.

But he had an unusually long wait for recognition as a singer, during which time he competed in dance marathons and sometimes held jobs outside of music. In 1943 he moved to the West Coast, where he worked in the defense industry. His break came in March 1946 when he sang Hoagy Carmichael's "Rockin' Chair" while sitting in at a Hollywood nightclub. Carmichael, who was in the audience, was impressed and arranged for him to be hired by the club. There he came to the attention of Mercury Records, which signed him.

Laine's revival of the 1931 ballad "That's My Desire" (music by Helmy Kresa, lyrics by Carroll Loveday) became his first hit, peaking in the Top Ten in October 1947 and selling a million copies. A revival of the 1924 song "Shine" (music by Ford Dabney, lyrics by Cecil Mack and Lew Brown) reached the Top Ten in April 1948 and was another million-seller. Laine was signed to Columbia Pictures and made his first brief movie appearance in Make Believe Ballroom, released in April 1949.

At Mercury he began to work with A&R director Mitch Miller; Miller mounted elaborate productions to showcase Laine's emphatic delivery. Their first hit record together, "That Lucky Old Sun" (music by Beasley Smith, lyrics by Haven Gillespie), topped the charts in October 1949 and sold a million copies, becoming the biggest song of Laine's career. The defining recording of their collaboration, however, was the Western-themed "Mule Train" (music and lyrics by Johnny Lange, Hy Heath, and Fred Glickman), which featured the sound effect of a whip being cracked; it reached #1 in November 1949 and sold a million copies.

Laine scored a fifth million-seller with "The Cry of the Wild Goose" (music and lyrics by Terry Gilkyson), which topped the charts in March 1950. On June 15 he married actress Nan Grey (real name Eschal Miller); they remained together until her death on July 25,1993. In August he appeared in his second motion picture, When You're Smiling. Mitch Miller moved to Columbia Records in 1950, and Laine followed him after his Mercury contract expired at the end of March 1951.

His first hit for Columbia was the single "Jezebel" (music and lyrics by Wayne Shanklin)/"Rose, Rose, I Love You" (music based on a traditional Chinese melody arranged by Chris Langdon, lyrics by Wilfred Thomas) in May; both songs hit the Top Ten, and the disc became his sixth million-seller. He starred in his third motion picture, Sunny Side of the Street, released in August, and in October began a short-lived network radio series, The Frankie Laine Show. His next Top Ten hit was a duet with Jo Stafford on a pop arrangement of the country song "Hey, Good Lookin'" (music and lyrics by Hank Williams) in November; in December he was back in the Top Ten with a revival of the 1925 British song "Jealousy (Jalousie)" (music by Jacob Gade, lyrics by Vera Bloom).

Laine and Stafford had another Top Ten hit in April 1952 with "Hambone" (music and lyrics by Leon Washington and Red Saunders, based on a traditional children's song), and Laine paired with Doris Day for the Top Ten hit "Sugarbush" (music and lyrics by Josef Marais) in August. That month he starred in his fourth film, Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder, and made a memorable appearance at the London Palladium. In September he reached the Top Ten with his recording of the theme from the motion picture High Noon, "Do Not Forsake Me" (music by Dimitri Tiomkin, lyrics by Ned Washington); thereafter, he became a favorite singer for songs associated with Westerns. Laine's recording of the inspirational song "I Believe" (music and lyrics by Ervin Drake, Irvin Graham, Jimmy Shirl, and Al Stillman) entered the U.S. charts in February 1953, went to #1, and sold a million copies; it also hit #1 in the UK, where it became the biggest hit of the year.

Laine next paired with child star Jimmy Boyd on the novelty "Tell Me a Story" (music and lyrics by Terry Gilkyson), which hit the Top Ten in April, followed by "Hey Joe!" (music and lyrics by Boudleaux Bryant) in October. "Hey Joe!" topped the u.K. charts, as did "Answer Me" (music by Gerhard Winkler and Fred Rauch, English lyrics by Carl Sigman) in November. Laine began appearing on his own syndicated television show, Frankie Laine Time, earning a 1954 Emmy nomination for Best Male Singer.

In June 1955 he starred in his fifth film, Bring Your Smile Along. In July he launched a network TV series, The Frankie Laine Show, as a summer replacement for Arthur Godfrey and His Friends; it ran until September. He scored his next Top Ten hit, "Humming Bird" (music and lyrics by Don Robertson), in August. Laine appeared briefly in the film Meet Me in Las Vegas in March 1956 and made his final screen appearance starring in He Laughed Last in July. The Frankie Laine Show returned to network television for a second summer from Aug. 1 to Sept. 19, 1956. Laine's recording of "AWoman in Love" (music and lyrics by Frank Loesser) from Columbia's studio cast recording of the Broadway musical Guys and Dolls hit #1 in Great Britain in October. In the U.S. the singer scored his eighth millionseller with "Moonlight Gambler" (music by Philip Springer, lyrics by Bob Hilliard), which reached the Top Ten in January 1957.

He hit the Top Ten for the last time with "Love Is a Golden Ring" (music and lyrics by Richard Dehr, Frank Miller, and Terry Gilkyson) in April. That same month he had his first charting LP, Rockin'. Laine continued to sing title songs for Westerns, notably the themes for Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (music by Dimitri Tiomkin, lyrics by Ned Washington), released in May 1957, and 3:10 to Yuma (music by George Duning, lyrics by Ned Washington), released in August.

And he was the voice for the title song of the television series Rawhide (music by Dimitri Tiomkin, lyrics by Ned Washington), which ran for seven years, from January 1959 to January 1966. Columbia Records took advantage of his affinity for Western material on his second charting Lp, Hell Bent for Leather!, released in October 1961, which featured many of his movie and television themes and stayed in the charts more than eight months.

Laine left Columbia in 1964 and moved to Capitol Records for two years, without success. In 1966 he joined ABC Records and, working with producer Bob Thiele, enjoyed a modest comeback, returning to the Top 40 with a revival of the 1927 song 'Tll Take Care of Your Cares" (music by James V. Monaco, lyrics by Mort Dixon) in March 1967, followed by "Making Memories" (music and lyrics by Larry Kusik and Eddie Snyder) in May; his I'll Take Care of Your Cares LP, released in April, spent more than six months in the charts.

He continued to score minor hits through 1969, returning to the pop Top 40 and hitting #1 on the easy listening charts with "You Gave Me a Mountain," specially written for him by Marty Robbins, in March 1969. Laine continued to perform and to record occasionally after the 1960s. In 1974 he spoofed his movie themes (albeit unwittingly) by singing the title song to the comedy film Blazing Saddles (music by John Morris, lyrics by Mel Brooks) and, when the song was nominated for an Academy Award, performed it at the Oscar ceremony in 1975.

The compilation LP The Very Best of Frankie Laine hit the U.K. Top Ten in 1977. He underwent quadruple-bypass heart surgery in 1985, but by 1987 had recovered sufficiently to appear with the Cincinnati Pops Orch., conducted by Erich Kunzel, on Round-Up, an album containing many of his Western movie themes, released by Telarc. He underwent triple-bypass heart surgery in April 1990. In February 1998, at age 84, he released Wheels of a Dream, his first all-new studio album in many years, on the After 9 label. - Laine died of heart failure on February 6, 2007, at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego.

in 1914 - Sonny Boy Williamson, [John Lee], blues musician (Down and Out Blues) is born. An innovative, Delta-styled blues harmonica player and singer, Williamson was a self-taught musician. Mastering the instrument at a young age, Williamson toured throughout the South with the likes of Robert Nighthawk and Sleepy John Estes. Landing in Chicago in 1934, Williamson was signed by Lester Melrose to RCA-Bluebird Records in 1937. Beginning with the frequently covered ‘Good Morning Schoolgirl’ (1937), Williamson recorded heavily during the next decade. A crucial figure in the rise of blues, Williamson furthered the role of the harmonica in the blues genre. As the Forties progressed, Williamson’s sound became more urban and his singing more raucous on hits such as ‘Shake The Boogie’ (1947) and the posthumously released ‘Better Cut That Out’ (1948). Williamson’s name was later appropriated by Aleck Ford “Rice” Miller, who for a time pretended to be the dead bluesman. He was murdered in Chicago, repeatedly struck in the head during a street robbery, June 1, 1948.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG3Z_R9wJ-w&feature=related"]YouTube - Sonny Boy Williamson I`m A Lonely Man" target="_blank">YouTube - Sonny Boy Williamson I`m A Lonely Man[/ame]

in 1917 - Rudolf Bruci, composer is born.

in 1917 - Els Aarne, Estonian composer and teacher, is born at Makeyevka, Ukraine. She studied piano with Lemba at the Tallinn Conservatory in Estonia and composition with A. Kapp. From 1944 to 1974 she taught at the Tallinn Conservatory. - Died at Tallin, June 14, 1995.

in 1921 - Kan Ishii, composer is born.

in 1921 - Oto Ferenczy, Slovak composer and teacher, is born at Brezovica nad Torysou. He went to Bratislava and studied musicology and psychology at the Comenius University (PhD., 1945). From 1945 to 1951 he was head of the music dept. of the University Library. In 1951 he became a lecturer, in 1953 a senior lecturer, and in 1966 a professor at the Academy of Music and Drama, where he also was pro-rector (1956-62) and rector (1962-66) before retiring in 1989. He was head of the Union of Slovak Composers (1970-72; 1982-86).

in 1922 - Peter Jona Korn, composer is born.
in 1922 - German Germanovich Galinin, composer is born.

in 1923 - Viorel Cosma, Romanian musicologist, lexicographer, music critic, and pedagogue, is born at Timisoara. He studied at the Timisoara Conservatory (1929-31) and the Bucharest Conservatory (1945-50), and later attended the musicology seminars under Martin Runcke in Erlangen and Nuremberg (1972-73). In 1951 he joined the faculty of the Bucharest Conservatory, where he was a lecturer (1964-85) and an assoc. professor (1996-99). From 1993 to 1996 he also was professor of music history at the Hyperionon University in Bucharest. Cosma has contributed numerous articles to journals, books, and reference works. Among his own books (all published in Bucharest) are Compozitori si muzicologi romdni: Mic Lexicon (1965), Muzicieni romdni: Lexicon (1970), A Concise History of Romanian Music (1982), Exegeze muzicologice (1984),40 de ani in fotoliul de orchestra: Eseuri, siudii, cronici muzicale (1946-1976) (Vol.
I, 1986), Muzicienidin Romania: Lexicon (A-E, 2 vols., 1989, 1999), Interpreti din Romania (Vol. I, A-F, 1996), and Enciclopedia marilor personalititti din istoria, stiinta si cultura romaneasca de-a lungul timpului (1998).

in 1924 - Milko Kelemen, composer is born.
in 1925 - Ivo Malek, composer is born.
in 1926 - John Heddle Nash, singer is born.

in 1926 - Werner Torkanowsky, German-born American conductor, violinist, and composer, is born at Berlin. He was taken to Palestine in 1933. After obtaining a violin diploma at the Palestine Conservatory in Tel Aviv (1947), he emigrated to the U.S. in 1948 and pursued his studies with Rafael Bronstein. In 1952 he became a naturalized American citizen and a violinist in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Following studies in conducting with Pierre Monteux (1954-59), he won the Naumburg Award for conducting in N.Y. in 1961. From 1963 to 1977 he was music director of the New Orleans Philharmonic, and then of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra from 1981. He also was active as a violinist, mainly as a chamber musician. Among his works were orchestra pieces, chamber music, and songs. - Died at Bar Harbor, Maine, Oct. 20, 1992.

in 1928 - Diether de la Motte, composer is born.

in 1931 - Harold Burrage, US singer/pianist (Hi Yo Silver) is born. A northern US soul singer, Chicago-based pianist Harold Burrage scored his solitary hit in 1965 with ‘Got To Find A Way’, and penned the blues standard ‘Crying For My Baby’. Burrage later discovered and mentored R&B singer Tyrone Davis. (Heart attack) - Died November 25, 1966.

in 1931 - Sandor Szokolay, composer is born.
in 1935 - Gordon Mumma, composer is born.

in 1935 - Romanos Hovakimi Melik'yan, Armenian composer and teacher., dies at 51.

He graduated from the Rostov music college in 1905, and then studied in Moscow with Ippolitov-Ivanov, Taneyev and Yavorsky (1905–7) and at the St Petersburg Conservatory with Kalafati and Steinberg (1910–15). In 1908 he organized in Tbilisi the Music League, an Armenian society which did important work in education. Melik‘ian was appointed director

in 1935 - John (Charles) Eaton, American composer and teacher, is born at Bryn Mawr, Pa. He studied composition with Babbitt, Cone, and Sessions at Princeton University (1953-59; B.A., M.F.A.). He also received training in piano from Steuermann, Erich Kahn, and Frank Sheridan. In 1959, 1960, and 1962 he held American Prix de Rome prizes. In 1962 and 1965 he held Guggenheim fellowships. In 1970 he became composer-in- residence at the Ind. University School of Music in Bloomington, where he was assoc. professor (1971-73) and professor (1973-91). In 1976-77 he was composer-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome. In 1990 he received the MacArthur Award. He was a professor at the University of Chicago from 1991. He published the book Involvement with Music: New Music since1950 (1976).Eaton has made use of various modern resources in his compositions, including electronics. In some pieces, he has employed the Syn-Ket, a synthesizer invented by Paolo Ketoff.

in 1936 - Antonio Ballista, Italian pianist and teacher, is born at Milan. He studied piano and composition at the Milan Conservatory, graduating in 1955. He subsequently pursued a successful career as a soloist; was particularly noted for his discerning performances of avant-garde music; he also appeared in duo recitals with the pianist Bruno Canino. Ballista was a professor at the Milan Conservatory from 1974.

in 1936 - Conchita Supervía dies at age 40. Spanish opera singer born in Barcelona; she made her stage debut in 1910 at the age of 15 at the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, Argentina in Stiattesi's Bianca de Beulieu. In 1911 she sang the role of Octavian in the first Italian language production of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier at the Teatro Constanzi in Rome. In 1912 she appeared as Carmen at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in her native city, a role with which she would be associated for the rest of her career. Conchita made her US debut in 1915 as Charlotte in Massenet's Werther at the Chicago Opera. Back in Europe by the end of WWI she was invited to Rome, where she started the Rossini revival that made her world-famous, as Angelina in La Cenerentola, Isabella in L'italiana in Algeri and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, in the original keys. Her Covent Garden debut was in 1934 in La Cenerentola and in 1935 (Conchita died after giving birth to a stillborn baby daughter).
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmu0ytn8vtg"]YouTube - Conchita Supervia "Una voce poco fa" Il Barbiere de Siviglia" target="_blank">YouTube - Conchita Supervia "Una voce poco fa" Il Barbiere de Siviglia[/ame]

in 1940 - Astrud Gilberto, Brazilian jazz-pop singer; wife of Joao Gilberto, is born at Bahia, Brazil.

Astrud Gilberto was born Astrud Evangelina Weinert, the daughter of a Brazilian mother and a German father, in the state of Bahia, Brazil. She was raised in Rio de Janeiro. She married João Gilberto in 1959 and emigrated to the United States in 1963, residing in the U.S. from that time. Astrud and João divorced in the mid-1960s and she began a relationship with her musical partner, American jazz saxophone player Stan Getz.

Her husband Joao Gilberto was in the process of recording a bossa nova LP with himself on vocals and Stan Getz providing the main accompaniment. For one song, "The Girl from Ipanema," Astrud, who had had virtually no musical experience, was asked to sing some of the verses (she was a native of the Ipanema beach area). When the track was issued as a single, it was edited so that only Astrud's section was heard. "The Girl From Ipanema" was one of 1964's surprise smashes, reaching #5 on the American chart. Astrud's plaintive, even eerie vocal quality was riveting and widely imitated. Although there were no further U.S. hit singles, she became a cult figure in American jazz circles during the mid-1960s and rivaled her husband's status in their native country. In Britain, "The Girl From Ipanema" originally peaked at #29; it reentered the charts (#55, 1984) during a mini-boom in jazz, led by such acts as Sade, Everything But the Girl, and Working Week.

She sang on two tracks on the influential 1963 album Getz/Gilberto featuring João Gilberto, Stan Getz, and Antônio Carlos Jobim, despite having never sung professionally before this recording. The 1964 single version of "The Girl from Ipanema", taken from the 1963 album, omitted the Portuguese lyrics sung by João Gilberto, and established Astrud Gilberto as a Bossa Nova singer. It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc. In 1964, Gilberto appeared in the films Get Yourself a College Girl and The Hanged Man. Her first solo album was The Astrud Gilberto Album (1965). Upon moving to the United States, she went on tour with Getz. Beginning as a singer of bossa nova and American jazz standards, Gilberto started to record her own compositions in the 1970s. She has recorded songs in Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, and Japanese.

In 1982, Gilberto's son Marcelo joined her group, touring with her for more than a decade as bassist. In addition, he collaborated as co-producer of the albums Live in New York (1996) and Temperance (1997). Her son Gregory Lasorsa played guitar on the Temperance album on the song "Beautiful You", which features singer Michael Franks.

Gilberto received the Latin Jazz USA Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1992, and was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2002. In 1996, she contributed to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Rio produced by the Red Hot Organization, performing the song "Desafinado" (Portuguese for "slightly out of tune", or "off key") along with George Michael. Although she did not officially retire, Gilberto announced in 2002, that she was taking "indefinite time off" from public performances.

Her original recording of "Fly Me to the Moon" was edited as a duet using a recording of the same song by Frank Sinatra for the soundtrack of Down with Love (2003). Her recording "Who Can I Turn To?" was sampled by The Black Eyed Peas in the song "Like That" from the album Monkey Business. Her vocals on "Berimbau" were sampled by Cut Chemist in his song "The Garden". Her recording of "Once I Loved" was featured in the 2007 film Juno. The "Astrud" track on Basia Trzetrzelewska's 1987 album, Time and Tide, is a tribute to Gilberto.

Gilberto is an ardent advocate of animal rights.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJkxFhFRFDA"]YouTube - Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz: THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA - 1964" target="_blank">YouTube - Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz: THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA - 1964[/ame]

in 1942 - Graeme Edge, England, rock drummer (Moody Blues-Your Wildest Dreams) is born.

in 1945 - Eric Clapton, Ripley England, singer/guitarist (Tears in Heaven) is born.

Guitarist/singer/songwriter Eric Clapton became one of music’s biggest superstars in the late 1960s. He has maintained that status throughout his career despite suffering tremendous personal chaos at many junctures of his life. Although successful in a variety of musical styles, Clapton keeps returning to the blues, a musical form that inspired him from the onset and seems to mollify the up-and-down circumstances of his life. Clapton grew up in post–World War II Ripley, England. At nine years old, he discovered that his parents were, in fact, his grandparents; that his sister was actually his mother, and that his brother was his uncle; and that his mother had turned the newborn Clapton over to her parents after giving birth at age sixteen following an affair with a married soldier. The emotional fallout from the discovery of his illegitimate birth fueled Clapton’s insecure and enigmatic behaviors throughout his life.

As a preteen, Clapton enjoyed all music but was exhilarated by the blues. He received a guitar from his grandparents at thirteen and practiced so obsessively that it interfered with schooling. Clapton finally dropped out of Kingston College of Art in 1962 to pursue music professionally. He joined the Yardbirds in 1963. They recorded two albums before Clapton fled the pop-driven band (fellow guitar icon Jeff Beck replaced him) to immerse himself in the blues with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Soon he impressed critics and fellow musicians alike with his blues-rooted, imaginative guitar improvisations, swelling his popularity. The worshipful phrase “Clapton is God” became a standard chant at live performances and commonly appeared as graffiti. Clapton left Mayall after a year and formed the power trio Cream, with drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce, in 1966. Egos clashed from the start and their substance abuse was rampant, but Cream managed to last until 1968. They produced some of rock’s most prolific songs, including “Sunshine of Your Love” and “White Room.”

After Cream Clapton fleetingly jumped in and out of various band formations leaving behind a scattered trail of classic songs and albums. Clapton played for a short time with close friend and Beatle George Harrison. In addition, he journeyed with another Beatle, John Lennon and his Plastic Ono Band. Clapton joined Traffic’s Steve Winwood and formed Blind Faith in 1969. Blind Faith recorded one album and enjoyed a sold-out world tour before breaking up. At that point, Clapton decided to record his first solo album and he chose friends, Delaney and Bonnie, who had backed up Blind Faith, as his playing mates. It spawned the classic “After Midnight” but Clapton left Delaney and Bonnie to form another short-lived, legendary group, Derek and the Dominoes. Here he worked and formed a deep friendship with famed guitarist Duane Allman. His signature “Layla” along with many other dynamic songs came about during this time, as did a heroin addiction. Drugs and an obsessive love affair with George Harrison’s wife, Patti Boyd, whom he later married, began to consume Clapton. Additionally, he was staggered by the 1971 deaths of Allman and fellow guitar mate Jimi Hendrix. Derek and the Dominoes tried to record again but anguish coupled with drug use left Clapton emotionally paralyzed and he disappeared into seclusion.

He resurfaced three years later, drug-free, and his solo albums 461 Ocean Boulevard (1974) and Slowhand (1977) offer a glimpse into his musical eclecticism. They feature the reggae-styled “I Shot the Sheriff” from 461 Ocean Boulevard and the chunky rock of “Cocaine” and easy groove of “Lay Down Sally” from Slowhand. Incidentally, Slowhand is a nickname that still sticks to Clapton from the “Clapton is God” era when the audience would patiently wait for him to change a broken guitar string by clapping in a slow, rhythmic manner.

Although he had kicked hard narcotics, alcoholism debilitated Clapton throughout the early 1980s. He con tinued to tour, release solo albums, and score soundtracks to the Lethal Weapon films, but his personal life and his health were in a shambles. In 1986 his union with Italian model Lori Del Santo produced a son, Conor, and his tumultuous relationship with Boyd ended in divorce in 1988. Along the way, Clapton received treatment for alcoholism and issues stemming from his disjointed childhood, both of which were destroying his career. In 1990 Clapton emerged in strong physical and mental health and looked forward to becoming an active parent to his son. A four-CD career retrospective, Crossroads (1988), and the
roots-oriented Journeyman (1989) were big successes, plus he won his first Grammy Award in 1990 from Journeyman for “Bad Love.” The cloud looming over Clapton seemed
to be lifting. However, a series of numbing tragedies waylaid this comeback period.

In August of that year, Clapton’s close friend and virtuoso guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter accident after the two had performed together in concert. Additionally, two members of Clapton’s touring entourage, also his close friends, lost their lives in the mishap. Clapton was devastated. Vaughan, also an alcoholic in recovery, was at the high point of his career. However, there was barely time to grieve. On March 20, 1991, Conor died after falling to the street from a high-rise Manhattan apartment through a window that had been left open accidentally.

Numbed with heartache, a secluded Clapton received an outpouring of love from fellow musicians. He continued to stay sober through Alcoholics Anonymous and used music to channel his sorrow. Clapton wrote several songs about Conor and one of those, “Tears in Heaven,” became a hit. The song appeared on the soundtrack for the movie Rush (1991) and was included on his Grammy Awardsweeping acoustic effort, Unplugged (1992). The album, performed live, also features a reworked version of his signature “Layla,” and a variety of old blues classics such as “Rollin and Tumblin” and “Before You Accuse Me.” The success of the raw Unplugged furthered Clapton’s decision to record From the Cradle (1994), an album comprised solely of old blues classics. Recorded live in the studio with almost no overdubs, the album was a huge success and Clapton showed that his electric blues guitar skills were still comparable to his days with Mayall and Cream. Additionally, Clapton was finally gaining recognition for his vocal skills. A reluctant singer, Clapton began focusing on singing in his days with Delaney and Bonnie. He honed his singing in subsequent solo efforts and surfaced as a likable pop voice in mainstream hits “Wonderful Tonight,” “Forever Man,” “She’s Waiting,” and many others. Many younger fans, unfamiliar with his “Guitar God” status, primarily consider Clapton a singer.

He scored a Grammy Award in 1997 with the single “Change the World,” written by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds for the soundtrack to the film Phenomenon (1996). The song inspired his introspective Pilgrim (1998), an impressive departure from the unprocessed blues of From the Cradle. Driven by rhythm and blues flavorings and techno-electronic influence, Pilgrim presents Clapton’s voice as soulful and meditative. The autobiographically styled songs chronicle the mindset of an artist who has endured great pain. The song “Circus” deals with his son’s death as does “My Father’s Eyes,” which also alludes to issues regarding Clapton and his own father, whom he has never met.

When Clapton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 for his work as a solo performer, he became the only performer in music history ever triple honored. Previously he was inducted with the Yardbirds in 1992 and Cream in 1993. Riding with the King (2000)— on which Clapton collaborates with the celebrated “King of the Blues,” B.B. King—marked a strong return to the blues. The two bluesmen trade guitar and vocal licks on twelve classics that come mostly from King’s repertoire. Riding with the King won a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album.

Sorrow greeted Clapton again when his uncle Adrian, his mother’s brother with whom he was raised, passed away during the recording of Reptile (2001). He dedicated the album to Adrian, whom he had believed to be his brother throughout the early days of their childhood. Reptile serves as a career montage of sorts for Clapton with nearly every musical style that he has played through the years embodied within the fourteen songs. He followed Reptile’s release with a world tour, reportedly to be his last, and chronicled the tour with the live, One More Car, One More Rider (2002).

Although hailed for a lengthy portion of his career as “God,” Clapton’s understated demeanor suggests none of it. He usually performs dressed in comfortably casual attire with eyeglasses adding to his relaxed and modest manner. The aura is more of a sage survivor who has learned plenty along the way. However, when the spirit moves, usually stimulated by the familiar chug of a twelvebar blues backdrop, Clapton ascends to the playing that brought about all the worship in the first place.

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