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Pedro November 29th, 2012 03:51 AM

29 November
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in 1643 - Italian composer Claudio Monteverde died in Venice at the age of 76.
in 1761 - Fridolin Weber composer is born.

in 1768 -
Johann Lorenz Albrecht, German writer on music and composer, dies at Muhlhausen. He was educated in Leipzig, then pursued his career in Muhlhausen, where he served as Kantor and music director of the Marienkirche. Among his compositions were a Passion, various cantatas, and keyboard and vocal pieces for students. His writings included Grundliche Einleitung in die Anfangslehren der Tonkust: Zum Gebrauche musikalischer Lehrstunden...nebst...einem kurzen Abrisse einer musikalischen Bibliothek (Langensalza, 1761), Gedanken eines thilringischen Tonkilnstler ilber die Streitigkeit welche der Herr...Sorge wider den Herrn...Marpurg...erreget hat (n.p., 1761), Abhandlung ilber die Frage, ob die Musik bey dem Gottesdienst zu dulden oder nicht (Berlin, 1764), and Versuch einer Abhandlung von der Ursachen des Hasses, welche einige Menschen gegen die Musik von sich Blicken. (Frankenhausen, 1765). - Born at Gormar, near Muhlhausen, Jan. 8,1732.

in 1770 -
Peter Hansel composer is born.
in 1775 - Lorenzo Somis composer, dies at 87.
in 1816 - Carl Binder composer is born.

in 1797 -
(Domenico) Gaetano (Maria) Donizetti, famous Italian composer, brother of Giuseppe Donizetti, is born at Bergamo; died there, April 1, 1848.

His father was from a poor family of artisans who obtained the position of caretaker in the local pawnshop. At the age of nine, Gaetano entered the
Lezioni Caritatevoli di Musica, a charity institution that served as the training school for the choristers of S. Maria Maggiore; he studied singing and harpsichord there, later studying harmony and counterpoint with J.S. Mayr. With the encouragement and assistance of Mayr, he enrolled in the Liceo Filarmonico Comunale in Bologna in 1815, where he studied counterpoint with Pilotti; later, he studied counterpoint and fugue with Padre Mattei.

His first opera,
II Pigmalione (1816), appears never to have been performed in his lifetime. He composed two more operas in quick succession, but they were not performed. Leaving the Liceo in 1817, he was determined to have an opera produced. His next work, Enrico di Borgogna, was performed in Venice in 1818, but it evoked little interest. He finally achieved popular success with his opera buffa II Falegname di Livonia, o Pietro il grande, czardelle Russie (Venice, Dec. 26, 1819). In Dec. 1820 he was exempted from military service when a woman of means paid the sum necessary to secure his uninterrupted work at composition. His opera seria Zoraide de Granata (Rome, Jan. 28, 1822) proved a major success. During the next nine years, Donizetti composed 25 operas, none of which remain in the active repertoire today; however, the great success of his L'Ajo nell'imbarazzo (Rome, Feb. 4, 1824) brought him renown at the time. In 1825-26 he served as musical director of the Teatro Carolino in Palermo. From 1829 to 1838 he was musical director of the royal theaters in Naples. With Anna Bolena (Milan, Dec. 26, 1830), Donizetti established himself as a master of the Italian operatic theater. Composed for Pasta and Rubini, the opera was an overwhelming success. Within a few years it was produced in several major Italian theaters, and was also heard in London, Paris, Dresden, and other cities. His next enduring work was the charming comic opera l/elisir d'amore (Milan, May 12, 1832).

The tragic
Lucrezia Borgia (Milan, Dec. 26, 1833), although not entirely successful at its premiere, soon found acceptance and made the rounds of the major opera houses. In 1834 Donizetti was appointed profesor of counterpoint and composition at the Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella in Naples. His Maria Stuarda (Oct. 18, 1834) was given its first performance as Buondelmonte in Naples after the Queen objected to details in the libretto. He then went to Paris, where his Marino Faliero had a successful premiere at the Theatre-Italian on March 12, 1835. Returning to Italy, he produced his tragic masterpiece Lucia di Lammermoor (Naples, Sept. 26, 1835). Upon the death of Zingarelli in 1837, Donizetti was named director pro tempore of the Conservatorio in Naples.

On
July 30, 1837, he suffered a grievous loss when his wife died following the 3rd stillbirth of a child after nine years of marriage. On Oct. 29, 1837, Roberto Devereux garnered acclaim at its first performance in Naples. In 1838 Donizetti resigned his positions at the Conservatorio when his post as director was not made a permanent appointment. When the censor's veto prevented the production of Poliuto due to its sacred subject (it was written for Nourrit after Corneille's Polyeucte), he decided to return to Paris. He produced the highly successful La Fille du regiment there on Feb. 11, 1840. It was followed by Les Martyrs (April 10, 1840), a revision of the censored Poliuto, which proved successful. His La Favorite (Dec. 2, 1840) made little impression at its first performance, but it soon became one of his most popular operas.

He spent 1841-42 in Italy, and then went to Vienna. His
Linda di Chamounix received an enthusiastic reception at its premiere there on May 19, 1842. The Emperor appointed Donizetti Maestro di Cappella e di Camera e Compositore di Corte. In 1843 he once more went to Paris, where he brought out his great comic masterpiece Don Pasquale. With such famous singers as Grisi, Mario, Tamburini, and Lablache in the cast, its premiere on Jan. 3, 1843, was a triumph. He then returned to Vienna, where he conducted the successful premiere of Maria di Rohan on June 5, 1843. Back again in Paris, he produced DomSebastien (Nov. 11, 1843). The audience approved the work enthusiastically, but the critics were not pleased. Considering the opera to be his masterpiece, Donizetti had to wait until the Vienna premiere (in German) of 1845 before the work was universally acclaimed.

The last opera produced in his lifetime was
Caterina Cornaro (Naples, Jan. 12, 1844). By this time Donizetti began to age quickly; in 1845 his mental and physical condition progressively deteriorated as the ravages of syphilis reduced him to the state of an insane invalid. In 1846 he was placed in a mental clinic at Ivry, just outside Paris; in 1847 he was released into the care of his nephew, and was taken to his birthplace to await his end. Donizetti was a prolific composer of operas whose fecundity of production was not always equaled by his inspiration or craftsmanship. Many of his operas are hampered by the poor librettos he was forced to use on so many occasions. Nevertheless, his genius is reflected in many of his operas. Indeed, his finest works serve as the major link in the development of Italian opera between the period of Rossini and that of Verdi. Such operas as Anna Bolena, L' elisird'amore, Lucia di Lammermoor, Roberto Devereux, La Favorite, La Fille du regiment, and Don Pasquale continue to hold a place in the repertoire.

in 1825 - 1st Italian opera in US,
"Barber of Seville" premiered at the Park Theater in New York City.

in 1830 -
Charles-Simon Catel, French composer and pedagogue, dies at Paris. He studied in Paris with Gossec and Gobert at the Ecole Royale de Chant. He served as accompanist and teacher there (1787), and also was accompanist at the Opera and asst. conductor (to Gossec) of the band of the Garde Nationale (1790). In 1795, on the establishment of the Conservatory, he was appointed professor of harmony, and was commissioned to write a Traite d'harmonie (published 1802), a standard work at the Conservatory for 20 years thereafter. In 1810, with Gossec, Mehul, and Cherubini, he was made an inspector of the Conservatory, resigning in 1816. He was named a member of the Academic des Beaux-Arts in 1817. As a composer, Catel was at his best in his operas, written in a conventional but attractive style of French stage music of the time. - Born at L'Aigle, Orne, June 10,1773.

in 1843 -
Marco Santucci composer, dies at 81.
in 1852 - Paul Joseph Guillaume Hillemacher composer is born.
in 1860 - Hans Haym composer is born.
in 1862 - Friedrich Klose composer is born.

in 1863 -
Spyridon Filiskos Samaras Greek composer is born
Samaras is known for composing the Olympic Anthem, the words of which were contributed by Kostis Palamas. The Anthem was first performed during the opening ceremony of the 1896 Summer Olympics, the first modern Olympic Games. It was declared the official anthem of the Olympic movement by the International Olympic Committee in 1958 and has been used at every Olympic opening ceremony since the 1960 Winter Olympics.
in 1866 - Waldemar von Bausznern, German composer, is born at Berlin. He studied music with Kiel and Bargiel in Berlin. He subsequently was active mainly as a choral conductor. He taught at the Conservatory of Cologne (1903-8), at the Hochschule fur Musik in Weimar (1908-16), where he also served as director, and at the Hoch Conservatory, in Frankfurt am Main, where he was a teacher and director (1916-23). He also taught at the Academy of Arts and the Academy for Church and School Music in Berlin. Among his many works were the operas Dichter und Welt (Weimar, 1897), Dtirer in Venedig (Weimar, 1901), Herbert und Hilde (Mannheim, 1902), and Der Bundschuh (Frankfurt am Main, 1904), as well as eight symphonies, of which the third and the fifth have choral finales, numerous sacred choral works, four string quartets, two piano quintets, two piano trios, and two violin sonatas. He edited the score of the opera Der Barbier von Bagdad by Peter Cornelius, and completed his unfinished opera Gunlod, which was produced in this version in Cologne in 1906. His symphonies, academically Romantic in their high-flown idiom, still retain a spark of vitality, to judge by their infrequent performances in Germany. - Died at Potsdam, Aug. 20, 1931.

in 1869 -
Sir Ivor (Algernon) Atkins, English organist, conductor, and composer, is born at Llandaff. He studied in Truro and Hereford. From 1897 to 1950 he served as organist at Worcester Cathedral, and also was conductor of the Three Choirs Festivals for more than 50 years. He was knighted in 1921. Atkins championed the music of Elgar and was active as an ed. of the music of Bach. His own output consisted of choral music. - Died at Worcester, Nov. 26, 1953.

in 1872 -
Anna Bahr-von Mildenburg Austrian soprano/director is born.
in 1872 - Giovanni Tadolini composer, dies at 83.
in 1877 - Thomas A. Edison demonstrated his hand-cranked phonograph.

in 1891 -
Richard Frank Donovan, American organist, conductor, teacher, and composer, is born at New Haven, Conn. He studied music at Yale University and at the Institute of Musical Art in N.Y. (M.B., 1922); also took lessons in organ with Widor in Paris. Returning to America, he served as organist in several N.Y.churches; from 1923 to 1928 he was on the faculty of Smith College; in 1928 he was appointed to the School of Music at Yale University, where he later was a professor of theory (1947-60). From 1936 to 1951 he conducted the New Haven Symphony Orchestra; was also organist and choirmaster of Christ Church in New Haven. As a composer, Donovan adopted a modern polyphonic style in his choral works, while his instrumental scores often reveal impressionistic traits. - Died at Middletown, Conn., Aug. 22, 1970.

in 1894 -
Lucille Hegamin an American singer and entertainer, and a pioneer African American blues recording artist is born. Born Lucille Nelson in Macon, Georgia. From an early age she sang in local church choirs. By the age of 15 she was touring the US South with the Leonard Harper Minstrel Stock Company. In 1914 she settled in Chicago, Illinois, where, often billed as "The Georgia Peach", she worked with Tony Jackson and Jelly Roll Morton before marrying pianist Bill Hegamin. She later told a biographer: "I was a cabaret artist in those days, and never had to play theatres, and I sang everything from blues to popular songs, in a jazz style. I think I can say without bragging that I made the "St. Louis Blues" popular in Chicago; this was one of my feature numbers."

The Hegamins moved to Los Angeles, California in 1918, then to New York City the following year. Bill Hegamin led his wife's accompanying band, called
the Blue Flame Syncopators; Jimmy Wade was a member of this ensemble.

In November 1920 Lucille Hegamin became the second African American blues singer to record, after Mamie Smith. Hegamin made a series of recordings for the Arto record label through 1922, then a few sides for Black Swan, Lincoln, Paramount and Columbia. From 1922 through late 1926 she recorded for Cameo Records; from this association she was billed as "The Cameo Girl". Like Mamie Smith, Hegamin sang in a lighter, more pop-tune influenced style than the rougher rural-style blues singers such as Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith who became more popular a few years later. Her influences included Annette Hanshaw and Ruth Etting.


Two of her earliest recordings,
The Jazz Me Blues and Arkansas Blues became classic tunes.

In 1926 Lucille Hegamin performed in Clarence Williams' Review at the Lincoln Theater in New York, then in various reviews in New York and Atlantic City, New Jersey through 1934. In 1929 she appeared on the radio show "Negro Achievement Hour" on WABC, New York. In 1932 she recorded for Okeh Records.


About 1934 she retired from music as a profession, and worked as a nurse. She came out of retirement to make more records in 1961 and 1962.


Lucille Hegamin died in Harlem Hospital in New York on March 1, 1970 and was interred in the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn, New York.

in 1895 - Busby Berkeley (William Berkeley Enos) (musical film choreographer) is born.
in 1895 - Lodovico Rocca composer is born.
in 1899 - Gustave Reese composer is born.

in 1902 -
Danny Alvin, (originally Viniello, Daniel Alvin), jazz drummer, is born at N.Y. The father of Teddy Walters (vocals/guitar), Alvin's first professional work was accompanying "Aunt Jemima" at the Central Opera House, N.Y in 1918. During the following year he began a three-year spell accompanying vocalist Sophie Tucker. Alvin moved to Chicago in 1922 and joined Jules Buffano's band at Midnite Frolics and worked with Frankie Quartell and Charley Straight before joining The Midway Gardens Orchestra. He spent a brief period with Joe Kayser's band, then worked in Florida with Arnold Johnson's Orchestra during 1926 and 1927. Returning to Chicago, Alvin joined Al Morey's Orchestra, then worked with Wayne King's band until 1930. He also worked with Ted Fio Rite before joining Amos Ostot and His Crimson Serenaders. Alvin led his own band in Chicago at the 100 Club until 1933, then spent three years working mostly with pianist Art Hodes, usually at the Vanity Fair Cafe. Alvin moved to N.Y in 1936 and did extensive gigging before spending two years with Wingy Manone. After spending time with various groups in the 1940s, Alvin organized his own band for residency at Rupneck's in late 1949. During the 1950s, he led his own Kings of Dixieland and ran his own club. - Died at Chicago, Dec. 6, 1958.

in1903 -
Franco Autori, Italian-born American conductor, is born at Naples. After study in Italy, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1928 and became a naturalized citizen in 1936. He conducted at the Chicago Civic Opera (1928-32) and the Dallas Symp-hony Orchestra summer series (1932-34). After serving as a staff conductor with the Federal Music Project in N.Y. (1934-37), he was conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic (1936-45), associate conductor of the N.Y. Philharmonic (1949-59), and conductor of the Tulsa Philharmonic (1961-71). - Died at Tulsa OK, Oct. 16, 1990.

in 1904 -
Piet Ketting pianist/conductor/composer (Glorify Kokila) is born.
in 1907 - Merle Travis Muhlenberg County KY, country singer (16 Tons) is born.
in 1913 - Dennis Sandole (US guitarist, sax, teacher;Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra/sessionist) is born.
in 1914 - Hal McIntyre (US saxophone, clarinet; Glenn Miller/own band) is born.
in 1915 - Billy Strayhorn (American composer, pianist; Duke Ellington) is born.
in 1916 - Valentino Bucchi composer is born.
in 1917 - Merle Travis (US country music singer, songwriter) is born.
in 1919 - Pearl Primus dancer is born.
in 1921 - Ivan Caryll composer (Pink Lady), dies at 60.
in 1922 - Bobby Donaldson (US jazz drummer) is born.
in 1924 - Erik Satie's Relâche, premiers in Paris.

in 1924 -
Giacomo Puccini dies at age 73. Italian composer, organist; his operas, including La bohème, Tosca, and Madama Butterfly, are among the most frequently performed in the standard repertoire. Some of his arias, such as "O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi, "Che gelida manina" from La bohème, and "Nessun dorma" from Turandot, have become part of popular culture. (throat cancer led his doctors to recommend a new and experimental radiation therapy treatment, he died of complications from the treatment; uncontrolled bleeding led to a heart attack the day after surgery)

in 1925 -
Karl Flodin composer, dies at 67.
in 1928 - Otto Bredl (German jazz trombonist) is born.
in 1932 - Antoine Tisne composer is born.
in 1932 - John Gary (American pop vocalist) is born.
in 1933 - John Mayall (UK blues singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist; Bluesbreakers) is born.

in 1936 -
Davide Anzaghi, Italian composer, is born at Milan. He studied piano, conducting, and composition (with Maggioni) at the Milan Conservatory, graduating in 1957, and then took courses in composition with Ghedini and Donatoni in Venice. He subsequently taught at the Milan Conservatory.

in 1937 -
John Brecknock, English tenor, is born at Long Eaton, Nov. 29, 1937. He studied with Frederic Sharp and Dennis Dowling at the Birmingham School of Music. In 1967 he made his debut as Alfred in Die Fledermaus at the Sadler's Wells Opera in London, and continued to sing with fine success; also appeared at the Glyndebourne Festival (1971) and at London's Covent Garden (debut as Fenton, 1974). On March 23,1977, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Tamino. He also appeared in various European operatic centers. Although best known for such roles as Mozart's Belmonte and Ottavio, Rossini's Count Almaviva and Comte Ory, and Verdi's Duke of Mantua, he also sang in contemporary roles.

in 1939 –
Meco (Domenico Monardo) (US keyboardist, producer; studio musician) is born.
in 1940 - Billy Hart (Jazz drummer; Herbie Hancock/various bands) is born.

in 1940 -
Chuck Mangione (US jazz pianist, flugelhorn, trumpet, composer, arranger) is born.
Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Mangione and his pianist brother Gap led the Jazz Brothers group which recorded three albums for Riverside Records. He attended the Eastman School of Music from 1958 to 1963, and afterwards joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, for which he filled the trumpet seat, previously held by greats such as Clifford Brown, Kenny Dorham, Bill Hardman, and Lee Morgan.

In the late 1960s, Mangione was a member of the band The National Gallery, which in 1968 released the album Performing Musical Interpretations of the Paintings of Paul Klee.[3] Mangione served as director of the Eastman jazz ensemble from 1968 to 1972, and in 1970, he returned to recording with the album Friends and Love, recorded in concert with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and numerous guest performers.


Mangione's quartet with saxophonist Gerry Niewood was a popular concert and recording act throughout the 1970s. "Bellavia," recorded during this collaboration, won Mangione his first Grammy Award in 1977 in the category Best Instrumental Composition.


Mangione's composition "Chase the Clouds Away" was used at the 1976 Summer Olympics, held in Montreal, Quebec, with a later composition, "Give It All You Got," being used as the theme to the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, held in Lake Placid, New York. He performed it live at the closing ceremonies, which were televised globally.[6] In 1978 Mangione composed the soundtrack for the film "The Children of Sanchez" starring Anthony Quinn. This album won him his second Grammy, in the category Best Pop Instrumental performance in 1979 and the title song, almost 15 minutes long in full version and featuring one of the most recognizable wind section themes, has not lost its popularity to this day.


In December 1980, Mangione held a benefit concert in the American Hotel Ballroom in Rochester to benefit the victims of an earthquake in Italy. The nine-hour concert included jazz luminaries such as Chick Corea, Steve Gadd and Dizzy Gillespie, among a host of other session and concert greats. Soon thereafter, A&M released “Tarantella,” named for the Italian traditional dance, a vinyl album of some of the concert’s exceptional moments, which has yet to resurface on CD.


A 1980 issue of Current Biography called "Feels So Good" the most recognized tune since "Michelle" by The Beatles. Recently, smooth jazz stations throughout the United States have recognized Mangione's "Feels So Good" as their all-time number one song.[7] He raised over $50,000 for St. John's Nursing Home at his 60th Birthday Bash Concert, held at Rochester's Eastman Theatre and played a few bars of "Feels So Good.

29 November
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Pedro November 29th, 2012 03:54 AM

29 November
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in 1940 -
Zambo Cavero (Arturo Cavero Velásquez) (Afro Peruvian singer, song interpreter) is born.
in 1941 - Dennis Doherty Halifax Canada, rocker (Mamas and The Papas) is born.
in 1941 - Jody Miller (US country singer) is born.
in 1942 - Philippe Huttenlocher (Swiss opera singer) is born.
in 1944 - Felix Cavaliere Pelham NY, rock keyboardist (Rascals-Lonely too Long) is born.
in 1946 - Brian Cadd (Australian singer-songwriter) is born.

in 1946 -
Carole Ann Farley, talented American soprano, is born at Le Mars, Iowa. She studied at the Ind. University School of Music (Mus.B., 1968), with Reid in N.Y., and on a Fulbright scholarship with Schech at the Munich Hochschule fur Musik (1968-69). In 1969 she made her debut at the Linz Landestheater and also her U.S. debut at N.Y.'s Town Hall; subsequently appeared as a soloist with major orchestras of the U.S. and Europe, and sang with the Welsh National Opera (1971-72), the Cologne Opera (1972-75), the Strasbourg Opera (1975), the N.Y. City Opera (1976), and the Lyons Opera (1976-77). She made her formal Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y.as Lulu on March 18, 1977, and continued to sing there in later seasons; she also sang at the Zurich Opera (1979), the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf (1980-81; 1984), the Chicago Lyric Opera (1981), the Florence Maggio Musicale (1985), and at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires (1989). In addition to her esteemed portrayal of Lulu, which she essayed over 80 times in various operatic centers, she also sang Poppea, Donna Anna, Violetta, Massenet's Manon, Mimi, and various roles in Richard Strauss's operas. She married Jose Serebrier in 1969.

in 1947 -
Ronnie Montrose (US guitarist, singer; solo/freelance) is born.
in 1948 - 1st opera to be televised, "Othello," broadcast from the Met (NYC).
in 1949 - Stan Rogers (Canadian folk singer, songwriter) is born.
in 1951 - Barry Doudreau Boston Mass, rock guitarist (Boston) is born.
in 1951 - Roger Troutman (US vocalist; Zapp) is born.

in 1954 -
Oliver "Dink" Johnson dies at age 62. American multi musician; played drums with Jelly Roll Morton, clarinet with the Five Hounds of Jazz and recorded extensivley mainly on piano. He worked around Mississippi and New Orleans, before moving to the western United States in the early 1910s. He played around Nevada and California, often with his brother Bill. Most prominently he played with the Original Creole Orchestra, mainly on drums. He made his first recordings in 1922 on clarinet with Kid Ory's Band. For many years he was based in LA, where he led a band in the 1920s. He made more recordings in the '40s and '50s, mostly on piano, also doing some one-man band recordings, he played all three of his instruments through over dubbing.

in 1957 - Austrian-American composer
Erich Wolfgang Korngold died in Los Angeles, CA at the age of 60.
in 1958 - Michael Dempsey (UK bassist; The Cure/The Associates) is born.
in 1959 - Fritz Brun composer, dies at 81.
in 1985 - Babi Yar by the English composer Steve Martland premiered in St. Louis, Miss.
in 1959 - Wendy Wu (Wendy Cruise) (UK singer; The Photos) is born.

in 1960 -
Paul McCartney and Pete Best were deported from West Germany after being arrested on suspicion of arson after the hotel room they were staying in mysteriously caught fire. They were released and deported the next day.

in 1962 -
Masayoshi Yamashita (Japanese bass guitarist; Loudness) is born
in 1962 - Andy LaRocque (Anders Allhage) (Swedish guitarist; King Diamond) is born

in 1963 -
Ernesto Lecuona y Casado dies at age 68. Cuban composer and pianist born in Guanabacoa, Havana. He composed over six hundred pieces, mostly in the Cuban vein, and was a pianist of exceptional quality. He was a prolific composer of songs and music for stage and film. His works consisted of zarzuela, Afro-Cuban and Cuban rhythms, suites and many songs which are still very famous. They include Siboney (Canto Siboney), Malagueña and The Breeze And I (Andalucía). In 1942, his great hit, Always in my heart (Siempre en mi Corazon) was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song; however, it lost to White Christmas. Lecuona was a master of the symphonic form and conducted the Ernesto Lecuona Symphonic Orchestra. The Orchestra performed in the Cuban Liberation Day Concert at Carnegie Hall.
in 1963 - Beatles release "I Want to Hold Your Hand".
in 1963 - 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' by The Beatles was released in the UK. For the first time ever in the UK advanced orders passed the million mark before it was released.

in 1965 -
Yutaka Ozaki (Japanese singer, songwriter) is born.

in 1965 -
This week's UK Top 5 albums, No.5, 'Out Of Our Heads', The Rolling Stones, No.4, 'Highway 61 Revisited', Bob Dylan, No.3, 'Help!', The Beatles, No.2, 'Mary Popins', Soundtrack and at No.1, 'Sound Of Music', Soundtrack.

in 1965 - Colorado
Governor John A. Love declared a Rolling Stones day throughout the State as The Stones appeared at The Denver Coliseum in Colorado during a North American tour.

in 1968 -
John and Yoko release their 1st album "Two Virgins" in UK.

in 1969 -
The Beatles went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Come Together / Something', the group's 18th US No.1.

in 1968 -
Martin Carr (lead guitar, songwriter; The Boo Radleys) is born.
in 1968 - Jonathan Knight (US singer; New Kids On The Block) is born.
in 1969 - John Knight rocker is born.
in 1970 - Robert Ruthenfranz composer, dies at 65.
in 1970 - Frank Delgado (US keyboardist; Deftones) is born.
in 1971 - Heinz Tiessen composer, dies at 84.

in 1971 -
The UK Top 5 singles: at No.5, The Piglets, 'Johnny Reggae', No.4, Cher, 'Gypsys, Tramps and Thieves', No.3, Benny Hill, 'Ernie, (The Fastest Milkman In The West)', No.2, T Rex, 'Jeepster', No.1, Slade, 'Coz I Love You.'

in 1972 -
Carl Stalling dies at age 81. American composer and arranger born in Lexington, Missouri; he was a composer for music in animated films. He is most closely associated with the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts produced by Warner Bros., where he averaged one complete score each week, for 22 years.
in 1975 - German trio Silver Convention started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Fly Robin Fly', it peaked at No.28 in the UK.

in 1976 - Lancaster local council cancelled
the Sex Pistols gig at Lancaster Poly, England. The reason was given in a statement by the council saying: 'We don't want that sort of filth (The Sex Pistols) in the town limits.'

in 1978 -
Alan Richardson composer, dies at 74.
in 1978 - Paradise Lost, by the Polish composer, Krzysztof Penderecki premiered in Chicago.
in 1979 - The Game (Jayceon Taylor) (US rapper) is born.

in 1980 -
Abba scored their ninth and last UK No.1 single with 'Super Trouper', the group's 25th Top 40 hit in the UK. The name "Super Trouper" referred to the gigantic spotlights used in stadium concerts.

in 1980 -
John and Yoko's 'Double Fantasy' album was released. A No.1 in the US & the UK the set featured the No.1 single 'Just Like Starting Over.'

in 1981 -
Nicholas Teo (Malaysian singer, actor) is born.

in 1985 -
Kiss played the first night on their 91-date North American Asylum Tour at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.

in 1986 -
'Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band Live / 1975-85' started a seven week run at No.1 on the US album chart.

in 1989 -
Ann Burton [Anna Rafalowicz], singer, dies at 56.
in 1992 - Cary Scott Lowenstein dancer/singer, dies of AIDS at 30.
in 1994 - Sviatoslav Soulima Stravinsky French/US composer/son of Igor S., dies at 84.
……………….. [some sources give this date rather than yesterdays].

in 1995 - Van Halen singer
Sammy Hagar married model Kari Karte in San Francisco.

in 1996 - American singer and ukulele player
Tiny Tim (Herbert Khaury) died from a heart attack on stage while playing his hit ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips’ at a club in Minneapolis. On 17 December 1969, he married Victoria Mae Budinger on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, a publicity stunt that attracted over 40 million viewers. (they had a daughter, Tulip Victoria). He performed at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival in front of a crowd of 600,000 people.
in 1997 - Whitney Houston pulled out of a concert sponsored by the Moonies two hours before she was due on stage after finding out the event was a mass wedding for over 1,000 Moonie couple's. The religious group said they had no intention of suing providing the singer returned the $1m fee she had received.

in 1997 -
Celine Dion went to No.1 on the UK album chart with 'Let's Talk About Love.'

in 1997 -
'Perfect Day' performed by various artists including Elton John, Bono, Tom Jones & David Bowie went to No.1 on the UK singles chart. Originally written and recorded in 1973 by Lou Reed, this new collaboration of 29 major artists was a fund raiser for the BBC Children In Need charity.

in 1998 -
George Van Eps dies at age 85. American swing and mainstream jazz guitarist and son of the legendary classic banjo player Fred Van Eps. Often called "the Father of the Seven String Guitar", he was noted both for his recordings as a leader, and for his work as a session musician. He was also the author of instructional books that explored his approach to guitar-based harmony. He was well known as a pioneer of the seven-string guitar, which allowed him to incorporate sophisticated bass lines into his improvisation. He was a strong influence on later seven-string players such as Howard Alden, Bucky Pizzarelli, and John Pizzarelli.

in 1999 -
Curtis Knight (Curtis McNear) dies at age 54. American singer; he worked and recorded with Jimi Hendrix in the early 60's and introduced Hendrix to Ed Chalpin who had him sign a contract that gave Hendrix only 1% of any royalties that his recordings earned. In the 70s Curtis moved to London, England where he formed the group "Curtis Knight & Zeus", and toured throughout Europe, relying on his "Hendrix" connection for many years.
in 1999 - It was reported that Oasis singer Liam Gallagher had gone missing after leaving his house three days earlier. The band were due to fly out to the US at the end of the week to start a tour.

in 2000 - U2's
Larry Mullen came to the rescue of motorcyclist who had been involved in an accident. Larry was driving home when he saw the motorcyclist who had crashed and stopped to call for help on his phone and then waited for the ambulance to arrive.

in 2001 - Former Beatles guitarist
George Harrison died in Los Angeles of lung cancer aged 58. Following the breakup of The Beatles Harrison had a successful career as a solo artist and later as part of the Traveling Wilburys. The youngest member of The Beatles, (aged 16 when he joined), his compositions include ‘Taxman’, ‘Here Comes the Sun’, ‘Something’, and ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’. Harrison released the acclaimed triple album, All Things Must Pass, in 1970, from which came the worldwide No.1 single ‘My Sweet Lord.’ He was the co-founder of Handmade Films, collaborated with Madonna and the members of Monty Python. An accomplished gardener, Harrison restored the grounds of his 120 roomed English home Friar Park.

in 2001 -
Mic Christopher dies at age 32. Irish singer and songwriter born in the Bronx, New York, but he moved back to Dublin with his parents. In 1990 Christopher formed the band, the Mary Janes with former Kila bass player and fellow busker, Karl Odlum, with Simon Goode on guitar and Steven Hogan on drums. Over the following years The Mary Janes played everywhere from the Feile and the Fleadh music festivals in Ireland, to Glastonbury Festival in England, to the CMJ in New York. The band also performed a six week stint in Bosnia with the War Child charity organization. The Mary Janes finally split in 1999 and Christopher embarked on a three month solo tour of Victoria, Australia. Mic had been working on a solo album entitled Skylarkin' prior to his death. (while in Groningen, Netherlands, after he had played his set, Mic was found unconscious, having apparently struck his head on some steps following a fall. On arrival at a local hospital, he was found to have lapsed into a coma as a result of severe swelling to the brain.
in 2002 - Three paintings by Sir Paul McCartney were bought for just £35 each at the Secrets Postcard Sale at London's Royal College of Art. Members of the public gambled on whether they were buying works by celebrity artists at a fraction of their value, as a picture's creator was only made known after it has sold.

in 2003 -
A five-hour charity show, to boost the fight against Aids, was held at the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town. Acts who appeared included, Bono, Queen, Ms Dynamite, Peter Gabriel, Eurythmics, Beyonce, Youssou N'Dour, Anastacia, The Corrs, Jimmy Cliff and Chaka Chaka. The show was also broadcast live on the internet.

in 2005 - Pop Idol creator
Simon Fuller dropped his £100m copyright case against the X Factor's Simon Cowell after Fuller settled the case out of court in a deal which made him a joint partner in the X Factor show. Mr Fuller had claimed Mr Cowell's ITV talent show X Factor copied his successful Pop Idol format, in a case taken to London's High Court. As part of the settlement, Mr Cowell agreed to appear in at least five more series of American Idol.

in 2006 -
The High School Musical: The Concert tour began in San Diego, California, continuing until January 28th, 2007 playing in major cities around the United States, Canada and Latin America.

in 2007 -
Control, the biopic about late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, scooped five prizes at the British Independent Film Awards. The black-and-white film, which featured The Killers, David Bowie and New Order on the soundtrack, was shot for just £3m.

in 2007 -
Morrissey was set to sue UK music weekly the NME after it failed to apologise for an article focusing on his views on immigration. The magazine had criticised the 48 year old singer and former Smiths star for allegedly telling a reporter Britain had lost its identity due to high levels of immigration.

in 2007 - Former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer
Artimus Pyle, a convicted sex offender, was arrested for failing to properly register a new permanent address. The 59-year-old had pleaded guilty in 1993 to charges of attempted capital sexual battery by an adult on a victim younger than 12 and being principal to lewd and lascivious behavior on a child younger than 16. He was sentenced to eight years of probation.

in 2007 -
Jim Nesbitt dies at age 76. American country comic singer; his first hit "Please Mr. Kennedy" reached No.1, he recorded over 200 tunes including "A Tiger In My Tank", "New Frontier" "Lookin' For More In '64" (died after battling a heart condition for several years)
in 2007 - Tom Gerald Terrell dies at age 57. He was a music journalist, photographer, deejay, promoter, and NPR music reviewer. He made his mark as a radio personality and concert promoter, impacting the music scene as a programmer for WHFS and WPFW, and was an early force behind d.c. space, its non-profit offshoot, District Curators Inc., and the Nightclub 9:30. Blessed with a honey baritone "radio voice" and encyclopedic music knowledge, his pioneering radio shows included "Stolen Moments" on WPFW, and "Sunday Reggae Splashdown" and "Café C'est What" on WHFS. His perceptive music journalism was carried in the Unicorn Times, the Washington City Paper, JazzTimes, Vibe, Essence, Emerge, Savoy, JAZZIZ, Trace, Village Voice, MTV Magazine, Down Beat Magazine, and Global Rhythms, to name a few. He was a life-long musicologist who recognized talent and trends long before they became popular, and, until his death from , worked to promote new acts in jazz, funk, rock, hip-hop, and world music.

in 2008 -
Taylor Swift went to No.1 on the US album chart with ‘Fearless’, the country singers second studio album.

in 2009 -
Susan Boyle's album became the best-selling debut in UK chart history when it went to No.1 on the UK.

in 2010 -
John Gerrish dies at age 100. American composer, best known for The Falcon, a cappella piece for SATB based on the Middle or Early Modern English Corpus Christi Carol. Other better-known works include Variations on a Burgundian Carol for 3 Recorders, based on the carol Patapan, published in New York by Associated Music Publishers in 1957, I Sing A Maiden-1953, Fifteen Christmas melodies for soprano recorder and piano-1954, and the piano solos Country Dance, Mountain Climbing and 'South Wind-1954.

in 2010 -
Peter Hofmann dies at age 66. German operatic tenor, born in born in Marienbad, German Sudetenland (now modern Mariánské Lázne, Czech Republic) and grew up in Darmstadt. He made his professional opera debut in 1972 as Tamino in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Magic Flute at Theater Lübeck and sang his first Siegmund in Richard Wagner's Die Walküre, a role which he became closely associated with, at the Wuppertal Opera in 1974. Peter wnet on to have a successful performance career within the fields of opera, rock, pop, and musical theatre. He first rose to prominence in 1976 as a heldentenor at the Bayreuth festival where he drew critical acclaim for his performance of Siegmund in Richard Wagner's Die Walküre. He was active as one of the world's leading Wagnerian tenors over the next decade, performing roles like Lohengrin, Parsifal, Siegfried, and Tristan at major opera houses and festivals internationally (dementia and Parkinson's disease).
29 November
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Pedro November 29th, 2012 09:03 PM

30 November
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in 1592 –
Giovanni Guidet'ti dies. After taking holy orders, he became Palestrina's pupil, and in 1575 was appointed 'cappcallano' (a clerical beneficiary) and chorister in the Papal choir. For several years he worked with Palestrina on a revised edition of the Gradual and Antiphonar'; but this work being forestalled by the publication of Leichtenstein's edition (Venice, 1580), he turned his attention to other fields, and published Directorium chart ad usum sacro-sancta basilicce Vaticance . . . (Rome, 1582, and other editions); Cantus eccl. passionis Domini Nostri Jesti Christi, secundum Afatifurum, Marcum, Lucam et Joannem (Rome, 1586); Cantus eccles. officii majoris hebdomadce . . . (Rome, 1587; new ed. 1619); and Prcefationes in cantu firmo . . .' (Rome, 1588).

in 1593 -
Johann Dilliger is born in Eisfeld; cantor and deacon at Koburg, where he died Aug. 28, 1647. Published numerous works (sacred and secular) between 1612-42.

in 1634 -
Andres de Sola composer is born.

in 1645 -
Andreas Werck'meister is born in Bcneckenstein; d. Halberstadt, Oct. 26, 1706, as organist from 1696 of the .Martinskirche. He is interesting as the author of the earliest treatise on equal temperament, Musikalische Temperatur (1691). Also publ. numerous works on theory, esthetics, organ, etc. Of his compositions only a few of his pieces with continuo have been preserved.

in 1659 - Walter Porter,
English tenor, lutenist, and composer dies in London. He was a chorister at Westminster Abbey, and then may have been a pupil of Monteverdi in Italy. In 1617 he was made a tenor in the Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal. In1639 he became Master of the Choristers at WestminsterAbbey. With the outbreak of Civil War, he was compelled to seek other employment, and from 1644 to 1656 he was in the service of Sir Edward Spencer. He published Madrigales and Ayres (London, 1632) and Mottets of TwoVoyces (London, 1657). His madrigals are some of the earliest examples of English madrigals in concertato style a la Monteverdi.

in 1693 -
Christoph For'ster organist; is born in Thuringia. Ducal Kapellmaster at Merseburg; in 1745 Kapellmaster at Rudolstadt.—Works are over 300 in number (cantatas, symphonies, overtures, organ-music, pf. -pieces).

in 1703 -
Nicolas de Grigny composer, dies at 31.
Nicolas de Grigny was born in 1672 in Reims in the parish of Saint-Pierre-Le-Vieil. The exact date of his birth is unknown; he was baptized on 8 September. He was born into a family of musicians: his father, his grandfather, and his Uncle Robert were organists at the Reims Cathedral, the Basilica of St. Pierre and St. Hilaire, respectively. Few details about his life are known, nothing at all about his formative years. Between 1693 and 1695 he served as organist of the abbey church of Saint Denis, in Paris (where his brother André de Grigny was sub-prior). It was also during that period that de Grigny studied with Nicolas Lebègue, who was by then one of the most famous French keyboard composers. In 1695 de Grigny married Marie-Magdeleine de France, daughter of a Parisian merchant. Apparently he returned to his hometown soon afterwards: the record of the birth of his first son indicates that de Grigny was already in Reims in 1696. The couple went on to produce six more children.

By late 1697 de Grigny was appointed titular organist of Notre-Dame de Reims (the exact date of the appointment is not known), the city's famous cathedral in which French kings were crowned. In 1699 the composer published his Premier livre d'orgue [contenant une messe et les hymnes des principalles festes de l'année] in Paris. De Grigny died prematurely in 1703, aged 31, shortly after accepting a job offer from Saint Symphorien, a parish church in Reims. His Livre d'orgue was reissued in 1711 through the efforts of his widow. The collection became known abroad: it was copied in 1713 by Johann Sebastian Bach, and later by Johann Gottfried Walther.

in 1753 - Johann Schenck is born in Wiener-Neustadt, Lower Austria; d. Vienna, Dec. 29, 1836. Pupil of Tomaselli (singing); of Stol at Baden, and of Schneller and Wagenseil at Vienna. In 1778 he produced a mass, which made his reputation; it was followed by other church-music, and then by a series of operettas which enjoyed great popularity, especially Der Dorfbarbier. Schenck was Beethoven's secret instructor while the latter was taking lessons from Haydn.—Operettas (all at Vienna): Die Weinlese (1785), Die Weihnacht auf dem Lande (1786), Im Finstern ist nicht gut tappen (1787), Das unvermutete Seefest (1789), Das Singspiel ohne Titcl (1790), Der Erntekranz (1791), Achmet und Almanzine (1795), Der Dorfbarbier (1796), Der Petlelsludent (1796), Der Fassbinder (1802).—In 1819 he wrote his last works, 2 cantatas. Die Huldigung and Der Mai.

in 1756 -
Ernst Florens Friedrich Chlad'ni, is born in Wittenberg; d. Breslau, Apr. 3, 1827. At first a student and professor of law at Wittenberg and Leipzig, he turned to physics, and made highly important researches in the domain of acoustics. He discovered the 'Tonfiguren' (tone-figures; i.e., the regular patterns assumed by dry sand on a glass plate set in vibration by a bow) ; and invented the Euphonium (glass-rod harmonica) and Clavicylinder (steel-rod keyboard harmonica.) To introduce his ideas and inventions, he made long journeys and delivered many scientific lectures. His earlier publications, Entdeckungen iiber die Theorie des Klanges (1787), ijber die Longitiidinalschwingungen der Saiten und Stdbe, and a series of minor articles in various periodicals, were followed by the important works Die Akustik (1802; French, 1809): Neue Beitrdge zur Akustik (1817); Kurze Ubersicht der Schall- und Klanglehre (1827).

in 1764 -
Dieudonne Raick composer, dies at 61.
Baptisé à Liège en 1703, Dieudonné Raick (1703 - 1764) quittera très tôt cette ville pour Anvers, où il sera choriste de la cathédrale. Dès 1721, il en tiendra les orgues. Ordonné prêtre en 1726, il assure la charge d’organiste de la collégiale Saint-Pierre à Louvain. Peut-être y a-t-il reçu les conseils de Matthias van den Ghein. Il aurait également suivi des cours de théologie à Lyon. Avant son retour à Anvers, où il finira ses jours, Raick séjournera encore à Soignies et Gand. Il reste connu aujourd’hui pour ses pièces de clavecin qui constituent la majeure partie qui nous soit parvenue de son oeuvre. Leur style est assez composite et emprunte beaucoup à la musique française, mais aussi à Haendel et à l’Italie.

in 1764 -
Franz Xaver Gerl composer is born.
Franz Xaver Gerl was a bass singer and composer of the classical era. He sang the role of Sarastro in the premiere of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute.
Gerl was born in Andorf (then Bavaria, since 1780 part of Austria). He sang as a chorister as a child in Salzburg; the New Grove asserts that he was probably the pupil of Leopold Mozart. He attended the University of Salzburg, studying logic and physics. His career as a bass began 1785 with the theatrical company of Ludwig Schmidt.

He evidently had an impressively low vocal range; Branscombe (1991) observes that the very low notes that Mozart included in the part of Sarastro have been "the despair of many a bass singer since."


By 1787 he had joined the theatrical company of Emanuel Schikaneder, for which he sang the demanding role of Osmin in Mozart's opera The Abduction from the Seraglio and other roles. In 1789 the troupe settled at the Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna. Gerl participated in a system of joint composition used by Schikander's troupe, in which Singspiele were produced rapidly by having several composers collaborate. As such, Gerl may have been the composer of the aria "Ein Weib ist das herrlichste Ding", for which Mozart wrote a set of variations for piano, K. 613 (the composer may instead have been another singer-composer in the troupe, Benedikt Schack).


Mozart gradually came to participate more in the activities of the Schikaneder troupe, culminating in his opera The Magic Flute (1791), with libretto by Schikaneder. Gerl premiered the role of Sarastro, and continued to sing this part in many performances through 1792. He left Schikaneder's troupe in 1793.


Gerl may have been a participant in a rehearsal of Mozart's Requiem on the day before the composer died; for details see Benedikt Schack.


Gerl's later career took him to Brno and Mannheim, where he retired in 1826. He died there March 9, 1827.


in 1777 -
Jean-Marie Leclair composer, murdered at 74.
Jean-Marie Leclair l'aîné, also known as Jean-Marie Leclair the Elder, was a Baroque violinist and composer. He is considered to have founded the French violin school. His brothers Jean-Marie Leclair the younger (1703–77), Pierre Leclair (1709–84) and Jean-Benoît Leclair (1714–after 1759) were also musicians.

Leclair was born in Lyon, but left to study dance and the violin in Turin. In 1716, he married Marie-Rose Casthanie, a dancer, who died about 1728. Leclair had returned to Paris in 1723, where he played at the Concert Spirituel, the main semi-public music series. His works included several sonatas for flute and basso continuo.


In 1730 Leclair married for the second time. His new wife was the engraver Louise Roussel, who prepared for printing all his works from Opus 2 onward. Named ordinaire de la musique by Louis XV in 1733, Leclair resigned in 1737 after a clash with Guidon over control of the musique du Roy.


Leclair was then engaged by the Princess of Orange – a fine harpsichordist and former student of Handel – and from 1738 until 1743 served three months annually at her court, working in The Hague as a private maestro di cappella for the remainder of the year. He returned to Paris in 1743. His only opera Scylla et Glaucus was first performed in 1746 and has been revived in modern times. From 1740 until his death in Paris, he served the Duke of Gramont.


Leclair was renowned as a violinist and as a composer. He successfully drew upon all of Europe's national styles. Many suites, sonatas, and concertos survive along with his opera, while some vocal works, ballets, and other stage music is lost.

In 1758, after the break-up of his second marriage, Leclair purchased a small house in a dangerous Parisian neighborhood, where he was found stabbed to death in 1764. Although the murder remains a mystery, there is a possibility that his ex-wife may have been behind it – her motive being financial gain – although the strongest suspicion rests on his nephew, Guillaume-François Vial.
Whether at the hands of a relative who had not forgiven him for abandoning the family, or as the work of another musician envious of his talent, on or about October 23, 1764, Jean-Marie Leclair was killed by a stab in the back. Literally or methaphoricaly thus is the life of a musician.

In 1780 –
Leopold Mozart writes a letter to his 24 year old son Wolfgang giving him detailed advice on how to treat his catarrh, complete with the assurance that Leopold himself would willingly travel from Salzburg to Munich to nurse Mozart if necessary. ‘If I’d been with your mother, I could hope that she’d still be alive’, he wrote.

in 1783 -
Caftarelli (real name Gaetano Majorano), brilliant soprano dies on his estate Santo Dorato, near Naples, born in Bari, April 16, 1703. A poor peasant-bov, endowed with a beautiful voice, he was discovered by a musician named Caffaro [not Pasquale Cafaro], who taught him, and sent him to Porpora at Naples. In gratitude to his patron he assumed the name of Caftarelli. After 5 years' hard study Porpora dismissed him with the words: 'Go, my son, I have nothing more to teach you; you are the greatest singer in Italy and in the world.' He was indeed a master of the pathetic song, and excelled in coloratura as well; he read the most diflicult music at sight, and was an accomplished harpsichord-player. His debut at the Tcalro Valle (Rome, 1724) in a female role (such was the custom for artifical soprani) was attended by a perfect ovation; his renown increased from year to year. In 1738 he sang in London, and apparently made little impression; but in Italy, Spain, Paris and Vienna, he was triumphantly successful. He amassed a fortune, bought the dukedom of Santo Dorato, and assumed the title of duke.

in 1792 -
Ernst Wilhelm Wolf composer, dies at 57.
Wolf was born in Grossen Behringen in Thuringia, today part of the Hörselberg-Hainich municipality. His elder brother Ernst Friedrich was a composer and organist who studied under Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel. Ernst Wilhelm's musical talent manifested itself early, and already by age nine he was a skilled harpsichordist, particularly apt at figured bass realization. Wolf attended gymnasiums at Eisenach and at Gotha, where he became a choir prefect. It was in Gotha that Wolf first heard the music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Carl Heinrich Graun; he was particularly fascinated with Bach's work. The admiration was mutual: a performance of some of Wolf's compositions in 1752 drew praise from Bach. Wolf and Bach's friendship lasted throughout their lives; Wolf helped collect subscriptions for Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's für Kenner und Liebhaber (for Connoisseurs and Amateurs) works (piano sonatas and rondos).

Following his brother's advice, in 1755 Wolf entered the University of Jena. There he became the director of the collegium musicum, for which he composed a number of works. After three years he moved to Leipzig in 1758, and then to Naumburg, where he worked as music teacher for the von Ponickau family. Wolf later decided to journey to Italy, but ended up settling in Weimar, where he spent the rest of his life. He first worked as music teacher to Duchess Anna Amalia's sons, then became court Konzertmeister (1761), organist (1763) and finally Kapellmeister (1772). In 1770 Wolf married Maria Carolina Benda (1742–1820), daughter of the famous Bohemian violinist and composer Franz Benda. At one point an offer was made to Wolf by Frederick II of Prussia to succeed Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, but Wolf declined, possibly at Anna Amalia's instigation. In his later years Wolf's activity slowed down, and he became increasingly depressed. After a stroke, Wolf's health started deteriorating, and died in late 1792.


Wolf's reputation during his lifetime was very high already from the earliest years, when he was a child prodigy. It further increased after his sojourns in Gotha, Jena, and Leipzig, partly through the efforts of Johann Friedrich Doles, the most important practitioner of Protestant church music in late 18th-century Germany, and Johann Adam Hiller, composer and writer on music. Wolf's music was known far beyond Weimar and his writings were acclaimed by experts (even though Wolf wrote primarily for amateurs).The most important part of Wolf's surviving oeuvre is his instrumental music. He composed at least thirty-five symphonies, of which twenty-six survive,[2] some twenty-five harpsichord/piano concertos, more than 60 keyboard sonatas, and numerous chamber works, including string quartets, piano quintets, and other music. Stylistically these works are close to those of the composers of the Mannheim school. Particularly interesting are the harpsichord sonatas, which reflect the influence of C.P.E. Bach, but generally use more forward-looking structures. Like Bach and older masters, Wolf advocated studying counterpoint, and recommended Johann Sebastian Bach's preludes and fugues to his students; however, his views went out of fashion in late 18th century.


Wolf also produced a great number of stage and sacred works. For the Weimar court, he composed some 20 Singspiele, influenced by Johann Adam Hiller's style. Although these works are not as advanced as his instrumental music, some include very progressive passages in the vein of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Wolf's sacred music shows influence of C.P.E. Bach and Carl Heinrich Graun.


30 November

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Pedro November 29th, 2012 09:06 PM

30 November
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in 1796 -
(Johann) Karl (Gottfried) Loewe is born. He was the perfecter of the 'ballade' for solo voice. His father, a school-master and cantor, taught him at first; in 1809 he was sent to the Francke Institut, Halle, where his beautiful soprano voice and clever attempts at composition attracted attention. He received a yearly stipend of 300 Thaler from King Jerome until 1812; Tiirk was his teacher in music until 1813, after which Loewe joined the Singakademie founded by Naue. He studied theology at the University, 1817-19, also producing some vocal works; was appointed cantor at St. Jacob's, and teacher at the gymnasium at Stettin in 1820, and town musical director in 1821, remaining there until 1866, when he settled in Kiel. From Greifswald University he received the title of Dr. of phil. (hon. c). On journeys to German cities, Vienna (1844), London (1847), Sweden and Norway (1851), and Paris (1857), Loewe, being an excellent vocalist, introduced his ballades to public notice. His publ. works, 145 opus-numbers, include 1 opera, Die drei WilnscJie ; 17 oratorios; a cantata; his most important and characteristic works, the ballades for voice with piano, are published by Peters and Schlesinger in 'Loewe-Albums' containing 20 and 16 numbers respectively (among the finest are Edward, Erlkonig, Der Wirthin Tochterlein, Der Nock, Archibald Douglas, Tom der Reimer, Heinrich der Vogler, Oluf, and Die verfallene Milhle); 3 string-quartets(op.24;G,F. Bb);apf.-trio(op. 12, G m.); several sonatas. 4 other operas , symphonies, overtures, etc., were left in MS. A Loewe-Verein was founded in Berlin in 1882.

in 1798 -
Friedrich Fleischmann composer, dies at 32.
Johann Friedrich Anton Fleischmann (July 19, 1766 at Marktheidenfeld – November 30, 1798 in Meiningen) was a German composer. (Some sources give his first name as Josef rather than Johann.)

He studied at Mannheim with Ignaz Holzbauer and Georg Joseph Vogler before going to the University of Würzburg. He then became private secretary and tutor to the Regierungs-präsident at Regensburg in 1786, before going on to be cabinet secretary to Georg I, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen. 1792 he married at Themar Johanna Christiane Louise von Schulthes (1771-1856, daughter of Johann Adolf von Schultes). They had several children.


He composed orchestral and chamber works, songs and Singspiele. His main work was the Singspiel Die Geisterinsel after Shakespeare's The Tempest.


According to Goretzki/Krickenberg the song "Schlafe mein Prinzchen Schlaf ein", often attributed to Mozart (KV350) or Bernhard Flies, was composed by Fleischmann.


in 1805 -
Charles-Frangois Jupin is born; d. Paris, June 12, 1839. Precocious violinist, pupil of Monticelli and Georgis, then of Baillot at Paris Consservatory, taking 1st prize in 1823; from 1826- 35, prof, and conductor in Strassburg.— Works: An opera comiquc, La Vengeance italienne (1834); Vars. brillantes for orch; a vln. -concerto; a string-trio, a pf.-trio; Fantasie f. pf. and vln. ; Vars. concertantes f. pf. and vln.; etc. in Lia'punov, Serge Michailovitch, born Yaroslav, Russia, Nov. 30, 1859. Student 1878-83 at Moscow Cons, under Klindworth and Pabst (pf.j,and Hubert, Tchaikovskvand S. Taneiev (comp.). From 1884-1902 'subdirector of the Imperial Choir at Petrograd; 1902-10, inspector of music at St. Helen's Inst.; since 1910 prof, at the Cons, in Petrograd. Appeared as conductor (by invitation) in Berlin and Leipzig (1907), and as pianist in Germany and Austria (1910-11); attended the mus. congress in Rome (1911) as representative of the Russian government. He is a member of the Imperial Geographical Soc., in which latter capacity he was commissioned in 1893 to -collect the folk-songs in the Governments of Vologda, Viatna and Kostroma (publ. w. pf.-accomp. in 1897). Works: For orch.: Op. 2, Ballade; op. 4, Pf.-concerto Xo. 1; op. 7, Ouverture solennelle (on Russian themes); op. 12, Symphony in B m.; op. 16, Polonaise: op. 28, Rapsodie f. pf. and orch. (on Ukrainian themes); op. 37, Yelasova Vola, symph. poem; op. 38, Pf.-concerto Xo. 2; for pf. : Op. 1, Trots morceaux; op. 6, Sept preludes; op. 11, Douze etudes d'execution transcendante; etc.; songs. ' Edited the correspondence between Tchaikovsky and Balakirev (1912; in Russian).

in 1806 -
Franz (Karl Friedrich) Mul'ler is born in Weimar died there Sept. 2, 1876, as government councillor. One of the first to recognize Wagner's real greatness. — Published the treatises Tannhduser (1853), R. Wagner und das Musikdrama (1861), Der Ring des Nibelungen: eine Studie (1862), Tristan und Isolde (1865), Lohengrin (1867), and Die Meistersinger von NUmberg (1869), the last three at the desire of King Ludwig II of Bavaria; also Im Foyer (1868; on theatrical affairs in Weimar).

in 1809 -
Thomas Molleson Mudie is born. Pupil of Crotch and Potter at the R. A. M., 1823-32; professor of piano. there, 1832-44; organist at Galton, Surrey, 1834-44; then taught in Edinburgh, and returned to London in 1863.—Works include: Symphonies in C, Bb, F, and D; string-quintets, -quartets, -trios, etc.; pf.-music; anthems, sacred duets and songs, songs, etc. Macfarren praises 3 symphonies, a quintet, and a trio, produced by the Society of British Music.

in 1813
- Friedrich August Baum'bach, composer and writer dies in Leipzig. born 1753. From 1778-89, Kapellm. at Hamburg opera; then settled in Leipzig as a composer. Works: Songs, instramental-pieces (for harpsichord, piano, 'cello, violin, guitar, etc.); also wrote the musical articles for the Kurz gefasstes Handivorterbuch iiber die schonen Kunste (Leipzig, 1794).

in 1813 -
Henri-Valentin Alkan is born in Paris; d. there March 29, 1888; a pupil of Zimmerman in the Paris Conservatory, to which he was admitted when but 6 years of age; took the first piano prize at 10, and after 1831 occupied himself with composition and teaching, with occasional appearances in public as pianist. His published works reach op. 74. His romantic compositions for performance are highly original, diversified, and often very difficult, embracing numerous Preludes, characteristic pieces, marches, a concerto, several pieces of familiar modern types, and a variety of excellent etudes. His chief performance –pieces are Etudes-Caprices, op. 12, 13, 16; concert study Le Preux, op. 17; 3 Grandes Etudes (op. 15), Aime-moi, Le vent, Morte; Nocturne, op. 22; Saltarelle, op. 23; Marche fiinebre, op. 26; Marche triomphale, op. 27; Bourrce d'Auvergne, op. 29; pf.-trio, op. 30; 25 Preludes, op. 31; Receuil d'Impromptus, op. 32; Grande Senate, op. 33; Douze Etudes, op. 35; 12 Grandes Etudes, op. 39; Minuetto alia tedesca, op. 46; the works for the pedal-piano ('Pedaliergrand'), op. 64, 66, 69 and 72, are valuable.

in 1822 -
David Baptie, is born in Edinburgh, d. Glasgow, March 26, 1906. He composed many anthems, glees, part-songs, etc.; compiled a number of song-books (among them 'Moody &Sarkey'sHymn-Book,' 1881), and published A Hand-Book of Music. Biography (1883; 2d ed., 1887, pp. 260), and Musicians of All Times (London, 1889), containing 12,000 'skeleton' biographical sketches. From 1846-98 he compiled a Descriptive Catalogue of upwards of 23,000 part-songs, glees, madrigals, trios, quartets, etc.; the manuscript was acquired by the British Museum, and is there available for reference.

in 1824 -
Johann Georg Christoph Schetky composer, dies at 87.

in 1824 -
Luigi Mosca dies. Likewise a pupil of Fenaroli, and a dramatic comp., having produced 14 operas. He was maestro al cembalo at the San Carlo Theater, and later professor, of singing at the Conservatory, di San Sebastiano. Also comp. an oratorio, Joas, a festival mass, etc.

in 1833 -
Adelaide Phillipps, alto dramatic singer, is born at Stratford-on-Avon, Engl., died at Karlsbad, Oct. 3, 1882. The family emigrated to America in 1840, settling in Boston. Taught by her mother, Adelaide appeared as a child-dancer at the Tremont Theater, Jan. 12, 1842, and was engaged. at the Museum Theater, 1843-50, as a dancer and actress. Jenny Lind then started a subscription to enable her to study singing; at first under Garcia in London, and then in Italy. Her debut was at the Teatro Carcano, Milan, Dec. 17, 1854, as Rosina. Returning to Boston in 1855, she sang in concerts and English opera; her first American appearance in Italian opera being at the Acad, of Music, New York, Mar. 17, 1856, as Azucena. Her great success won her an engagement for five seasons. She next went to Havana, and thence to Paris (1861), Madrid, Barcelona, Hungary, and Holland, singing leading contralto parts in all the Italian operas then in vogue. Joining the 'Boston Ideal Opera Company' in 1879, she made her last Boston appearance at the Museum on Nov. 30, 1880; and her final stage-appearance at Cincinnati in December, 1881. Miss Phillipps also excelled in oratorio, and on the concertstage.

in 1834 -
Josephis Mo'senthal born. Pupil of his father and Spohr: for 4 years leader of 2d violins in the court orch. cond. by Spohr. Went to America 1853; became organist and choirmaster in Calvary' Ch., New York, in 1860, resigning in 1887. From 1867 to the day of his death, he was cond. of the N. Y. Mendelssohn Glee Club; played for forty years with the first violins in the Philharm. Orch.; and was 2d violin in the Mason and Thomas Quartet during the 12 years of its existence.—Publ. works: Anthems, hymns, etc., for the Episcopal church; partsongs f. male ch. (Thanatopsis, Bl-est pair of Sirens, Music of the Sea, etc.) ; Sunday Lyrics (6 songs); psalm TJie earth is the Lord's; numerous songs.

in 1834
Moseph Mosenthat is born in Kassel, Germany; died Jan. 6, 1896, New York , was trained by his father, Spohr, Bott, Kraushaar and others, and for four years played second violin under Spohr. In 1853 he migrated to New York, where in 1855-68 he was a member of the Mason-Thomas Quintet and in 1860-87 organist of Calvary Church, besides being forty years among the first violins of the Philharmonic Society. From 1867 he was also leader of the Mendelssohn Glee Club, his life closing nearly thirty years later at a rehearsal. He wrote anthems, sacred songs, many fine part-songs for men's voices, such as ' Thanatopsis,' 'Blest Pair of Sirens,' 'The Music of the Sea,' and numerous secular songs.

in 1847-
Ernst Eulenburg is born. Studied at the Leipzig Conservatory; established, in 1874, in Leipzig the publishing house bearing his name; since his acquisition of Payne's 'Kleine Partitur-Ausgabe' in 1892 he enormously increased the scope of that publication so that now the largest orchestral scores are included.

in 1847 -
August Friedrich Martin conductor is born in Cothen; died in Dessau, Aug. 3, 1902. Studied with Blassznann and Reichel at Dresden; theater conductor at Posen, Lubeck, Weimar, court music director at Weimar, Neustrehtz, and Dessau; influenced by Liszt but was not extreme in following him, composed 4 operas, 5 symph., 2 suites, 5 overtures, chamber music, symphonic poem Leonore, pianoforte music among many others.

in 1850 -
Frederick J. Crowest is born in London. Joined editorial staff of Cassell, Fetter & Galpin in 1886; held various editorial positions; since 1901 general manager and editor of Walter Scott Publishing Co., Ltd.^Writings: The Great Tone-Poets (1874); Book of Musical Anecdote (1878; 2 vols.; rev. cd. 1902, as Musicians' Wit, Humour and Anecdote); Phnses of Musical England (1881); Musical History and Biography in the Form of Question and Answer (1883); Advice to Singers; Musical Groundwork; Cheruhini fin 'C.re.il Musicians' Series); Dictionary of British Musicians (1895); Tlie Story of 'British Music (vol. i, 1895); Catechism of Musical History (10th thousand 1904); Story of Music (1902; in America Story of tlie Art of Music); Verdi: Man arid Musician (1897).

in 1859 -
Sergius Michailovitch Lliapunov is born in Yaroslav, Russia). In 1902-10 he was music-inspector at St. Helen's Institute, and after 1910 was professor at the Petrograd Conservatory. He also appeared in European capitals as conductor or pianist. To the list of works add the 2nd piano-concerto, op. 38, a 'Rapsodie' on Ukrainian themes, op. 28, for piano and orchestra, and the symphonic poem 'Yelasova Vola,' op. 37. He edited letters between Tchaikovsky and Balakirev, 1912.

in 1861 -
Ludwig Thuille (Wilhelm Andreas Maria), is born in Bozen, Tyrol; d. Munich, Feb. 5, 1907. Pupil of Jos. Peinbaur at Innsbruck (pf., cpt.); 1879- 83 of Carl Baermann (pianoforte.) and Rheinberger (composition) at the Munich Music-School. From 1883, teacher of pianoforte and theory there; also cond. the male choral union 'Liederhort.' In 1891, Kgl. Prof.—Works: The operas Theuerdank (Munich, 1897; v. succ; won the Luitpold Prize); Lobetanz (Karlsruhe and Berlin, 1898; M. O. H., 1911); Gugeline (Bremen, 1901). For orch., Romantische Ouvertiire (op. 16) and Symphonischer Festmarsch (op. 38) ; Traiimsommernacht for fem. ch. w. vl. solo, harp and pf. (op. 25); sextet in Bb for pf. and wind-instrs. (op. 6); pf.- quintet in ES? (op. 20); 2 vcl. -sonatas (op. 1, D m.; op. 30, E m.); a vcl. -sonata in D m. (op. 22); an organ-sonata in A m. (op. 2); many fine male choruses; songs (op. 7, a cycle, Von Lieb und Leid); pf.-pcs. Made a vocal score of Cornelius's Cid. With R. Louis he wrote a valuable Harmonielehre (1907; 4th ed. 1913).
in 1863 - Gellio Benvenuto Corona'ro is born; pianist and comp. [protege of Sonzogno] ; debut as pianist at the age of 8; and at 9, org. in Vicenza; at 13, theatre-conductor at Marosteca; at 15, chorusmaster; in 1882 he entered the Liceo Rossini at Bologna, where his teachers were Busi, Parisini and Mancinelli; graduated 1883, carrying off the first prize with a 1-act opera, Jolanda, which was produced, at the Conservatory. — Works: Opera Jolanda (Milan, 1889); 1-act dramatic sketch Festa a Marina [took 1st prize in 1892, offered by Sonzogno] (Venice, 1893; mod. succ); operetta Minestrone Napoletano (Messina, 1893; succ); 2-act op. seria Claudia (Milan, 1895; unsucc); Bertoldo (Milan, 1910). Also wrote 2 masses, a madrigal a 5, a string-quartet, songs, pf.-pieces, and an album for organ.

in 1866 -
Andreas Dippel dramatic tenor and impresario; is born in Kassel, Germany. From 1882-87 he was employed in a bankinghouse at Kassel, meanwhile beginning vocal study with Frau Zottmayr, a well-known singer at the Court Theatre. In 1887 he continued his studies under Hey (Berlin), Leoni (Milan), and Johann Ress (Vienna), and in that year was eng. at the Bremen Stadttheater, making his debut in Sept. as Steuermann in Der fliegende Hollander. Remained here till 1892, with leave of absence in season of 1890-1 to sing in the Metr. Op. H., New York (debut Nov. 26, 1890, in Franchetti's Asrael; Seidl cond.). First American concert-tour in 1892; eng. at Stadtth. in Breslau 1892-3, and at the Court Opera Vienna, 1893-8. From 1898-1908 he was connected with the Metr. Opera Co. (Grau, Conried), touring the United States; also sang at Covent Garden, London, the Royal Opera, Munich, and the Bayreuth Festivals (debut 1889, as Voice of Sailor in Tristan), winning international fame. His remarkable repertory comprises nearly 150 operatic roles (German from Mozart to Wagner, Italian from Donizetti to Puccini, and the leading French operas), besides chief parts in over 60 oratorios. Perhaps his most distinctive impersonations are those of Wagner'sheroes. In 1908 he became administrative manager at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York; a post relinquished in the spring of 1910, when he assumed control of the Phila. -Chicago Grand Opera Company, of which he was general manager till 1913; since then director of his own company, producing the better class of light opera.

in 1869 –
Ernest Newman is born in Liverpool, England; was originally meant to enter Civil Service work in India, but was diverted by ill-health into business in Liverpool, taking up writing as an avocation. In 1903-05, however, he taught music in the Midland Institute at Birmingham, andafter 1905 was a music-critic, in 1905-06 for the Manchester 'Guardian,' in 1906-19 for the Birmingham 'Post' and since 1919 for the London 'Observer.' His extensive knowledge and incisive style have made him eminent as a writer. He published Gluck and the Opera, 1895, A Study of Wagner, 1899, Wagner, 1904, Musical Studies, 1905, Elgar, 1906, Hugo Wolf, 1907, Richard Strauss, 1908, Wagner as Man andt Artist, 1914, and A Musical Motley, 1919, besides translating Weingartner's Ueber das Dirigieren, Schweitzer's /. S. Bach, and most of the Wagner opera-texts in the Breitkopf & Hartel edition. He has also edited The New Library of Music and Fifty Songs of Hugo Wolf, and was a contributor to The Art of Music, 1914-17.

in 1870 -
Cecil Forsyth is born in Greenwich, England), was educated at Cranbrook and Edinburgh University (M. A., bursar and classical prizeman), and studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Stanford (composition) and Parry (musical history). For a time he played viola in the Royal Philharmonic and Queen's Hall Orchestras, and was also active as conductor. Since the end of 1914 he has lived in New York. He has composed the operas 'Westward Ho' and 'Cinderella'; two comic operas (with Alfred Scott-Gatty) , produced at the Savoy and Aldwych Theatres, London; a violaconcerto in G minor and a 'Chant Celtique' for viola and orchestra, both performed by E. Ferir under Wood's direction ; four orchestral studies from Les Miserables, played by the Queen's Hall Orchestra ; a setting of Keats' 'Ode to a Nightingale' for baritone and orchestra ; two masses ; chamber-music ; songs and part-songs. He has also written Music and Nationalism, 1911, an extensive treatise on Orchestration, 1914, a readable History of Music (with Stanford), 1916, and Choral Orchestration, 1920. He wrote on ' The English Musical Renaissance' in Vol. iii. of The Art of Music (1915).

in 1871 -
Jacques-Joseph-Andre G. Vallat, celebrated baritone and singing-master is chosen by Massenet to create the title-role in his Don Cesar de Bazan after seeing his debut as Mephistopheles in Faust’s Grand Opera at Paris. ); also created Escamillo in Carmen (Mar. 3, 1875); also sang at Cov. Garden in 1882; from 1885-9 in N. Y. as dir. of the N. Y. Cons.; then returned to Paris, sang again at the Grand Opera, and created the role of the High Priest in Samson et Dalila (Nov. 23, 1892). After another stay in the U. S. (1904-7) he settled in Paris as a teacher. Many of his pupils (Clara Butt, Witherspoon, Rains, etc.) have become famous.

in 1871 - Piotr (Solomonovich) Stoliarsky
significant Russian violin pedagogue is born in Lipovets, near Kiev. He began hisviolin training with his father, then studied with S.Barcewica at the Warsaw Conservatory and with E. Mlynarskiand Josef Karbulka at the Odessa Music School (graduated,1898). He played violin in the Odessa Opera orchchestra (1898-1914), and also taught in his own music school (from 1911). In 1920 he joined the faculty of the OdessaConservatory, where he was made a professor in 1923; opened another school for talented youths that was the first of its kind in the Soviet Union (1933). His role in musical pedagogy was similar to that of Auer in training students from limited backgrounds to attain international stature as virtuosi; among his notable pupils were Oistrakh, Gilels, and Milstein.

in 1871 - Gustav Haug
Swiss organist, teacher, and composer is born in Strasbourg. He studied at the Strasbourg Conservatory, then settled in St. Gallen, where he was active as a church organist and voice teacher. As a composer, he produced a number of singable choral anthems, several works for solo voice with orch. accompaniment, and many songs to German texts.

in 1873 -
Walter Rabl, is born in Vienna. While studying at the (Gymnasium in Salzburg he received a thorough musical training from J.F. Hummel, the director of the Mozarteum; then studied composition with K. Navn'itil in Vienna, and musicology with G. .Viler in Prague (Dr. phil. 1897). After some months as asstistant at the Prague opera he went to the HofofKer in Dresflen; 1903-6, then Kapellm. at the municipal theatres in Essen 734 and Dortmund; since 1915 municipal Musikdirektor in Magdeburg.—Works: The opera Liane (Strassburg, 1903); Symphony in D m., op. 8; quartet for clar., vl., vcl. and pf., in E m., op. 1 (won 1st prize of Vienna Tonkijnstlerverein, 1897); a vl. -sonata in D, op. 6: Sturmlieder for soprano and orchestera, op. 13; 4 songs w. pf. and vcl., op. 5; etc.

in 1879 -
George Benjamin Allen, composer and singer dies in Brisbane, Queensland; b. London, Apr. 21, 1822; Successively chorister, conductor, and organist, in England, Ireland, and Australia; also manager of a comedy-opera company, producing several of Sullivan's operas.—-Works: 2-act opera. Castle Grim (London, 1865); 5-act opera, The Viking (not perf.); opera. Tire Wicklow Rose (Manchester, 1882); two others in MS.; 3 cantatas; 2 Te Deums; anthems; much concerted vocal music, many songs, etc.

in 1884 - (Anders Johan) Ture Rangstrom
prominent Swedish conductor, music critic, and composer is born in Stockholm. Hestudied counterpoint with Johan Lindegren in Stockholm(1903-04), then went to Berlin, where he took courses in singing with Hey and in composition with Pfitzner (1905-06); continued his vocal training withHey in Munich (1906-08). He was a music critic for Stockholm's Svenska Dagbladet (1907-09), the Stockholms Dagblad (1910-14; 1927-30), and the Nya Dagligt Allehanda(1938). He was conductor of the Goteborg Symphony Orchestra (1922-25), and thereafter made guest conducting appearances in Scandinavia. His music is permeated with a lyrical sentiment, and his forms are rhapsodic; in his symphonies he achieved great intensity by concentrated development of the principal melodic and rhythmic ideas; his songs are also notable.

in 1885 - Opera
"El Cid" premieres (Paris)

30 November

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Pedro November 29th, 2012 09:09 PM

30 November
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in 1890 -
Eleanor Spencer, talented pianist, was born in Chicago. First taught by Mrs. V. Cheney, and at 10 was exhibited as a prodigy in Chicago; after 2 years of study (1902-4) with W. Mason in New York she spent the winter of 1904 with H. Bauer in Paris; 1905-10, with Leschetizky in Vienna. Debut in recital in London, April 28, 1910; played there every spring for the next 4 years, also with orchchestra; soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra (Nikisch) during Coronation Week (June, 1911); from 1911-13 appeared with success in the principal cities of Germany; has made 2 tours of Holland, in 1911 and 1916. She was received with marked favor at her American debut (recital, Carnegie Hall, N. Y., Nov. 11, 1913), and since played every winter in the U. S., both in recitals and with leading orchestras. Resides in New York.

in 1890 -
John Tasker Howard eminent American writer on music is born in Brooklyn. He attended Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., then studied composition with Howard Brockway and Mortimer Wilson. He was managing editor of the Musician (1919-22), and served as educational director of the Ampico Corp. (1922-28). He edited the music section of McCall's Magazine (1928-30) and Cue (1936-38), and then taught at Columbia Univ. (1950-54). From 1940 to 1956 he was the curator of the Americana Music Collection at the N.Y. Public Library, which he enriched to a great extent. His major achievement was the publication of several books and monographs on American music and musicians. He was also a composer of modest, but respectable, attainments. He wrote a piece for Piano and Orchestra, Fantasy on a Choral Theme (Orange, N.J., Feb. 20, 1929), Foster Sonatina for Violin and Piano, piano pieces, and some songs.

in 1895 -
Johann Nepomuk David composer is born
in 1897 - Andreas Nezertis composer is born
in 1897 - Quinto Maganini composer is born
in 1899 - Hans Krasa Czech opera composer (Brundibar) is born (will die in Nazi concentration camp)
in 1904 - Aldine Sillman Kieffer composer, dies at 64

in 1906 -
Adolf Dop'pler dies in Graz, where he was born on Mav 1, 1850. Pupil of F. Thieriot, J. Buwa, and W. A. Remy; established a successful music school in Graz in 1878, which he directed till his death. Composer of a successful opera, Viel Ldrm um Nichts (Leipzig, 1896), several pianofortes, sonatas, male choruses and songs.

in 1907 -
Gyorgy Ranki composer is born in Budapest. He studied composition with Zoltán Kodály at the Budapest Academy of Music from 1926-1930. He became interested in folk music and ethnomusicology, working with László Lajtha at the Museum of Ethnography in Budapest and later further studies in Asian folk music in London and Paris (at the Musée de l'Homme). He directed the music section of Hungarian radio in 1947–8, after which he gave his attention to composition. Ránki not only employed authentic folk melodies and musical idioms in his music but also pulled on jazz elements. He possessed a gift for the grotesque and unusual, the colourful and humorous, which may be traced in part perhaps to his studies of non-Western music.

in 1909
- the song “My Pony Boy” debuts. It was an interpolation by Charlie O’Donnell and Bobby Heath (1889–1952) into the show Miss Innocence Ada Jones had the hit (Victor 16356), and it remains a favorite children’s song. “Casey Jones” (1909) is the #1 favorite of railroad buffs.

in 1909 -
Robert Lee McCollum (Robert Nighthawk) (US guitarist, slide guitar) is born
in 1909 - Robert Lee McCollum/Robert Nighthawk (US guitarist, slide guitar) is born.

in 1911 -
Jorge Alberto Negrete Moreno (Mexican singer, actor) is born. Considered one of the most popular Mexican singers and actors of all time. Negrete was born in Guanajuato where he was raised together with his brother and three sisters: David, Consuelo, Emilia and Teresa, and also lived in San Luis Potosí. He graduated with the rank of sub-lieutenant from El Colegio Militar, Mexico's military academy. Handsome, with a very strong will and a trained, fascinating voice, he is still a top idol in Mexico, Spain and Latin America, more than 50 years after his death. His recording of "México Lindo y Querido" ("Beautiful and Beloved México"), his country's unofficial anthem, is the best known recording of the song. His career is often compared to that of Pedro Infante, the most popular Mexican actor of the time. The public rivalry didn't carry over to their private lives, as they were close friends until Negrete's death.
in 1912 - Constant Stotijn Dutch oboist (Residence Orchestra) is born



in 1915 - Ludwig Rottenberg produces an opera, Die Geschwister in Frankfort. Born in Czernowitz, Bukowina, Oct. 11, 1864. While attending the Gymnasium he studied music with A. Hi'imaly; then pupil of R. Fuchs and E. Mandyczewski in Vienna; 1891-2, Kapellm. at the Stadtth. in Briinn; then at the Frankfort opera; conductor of the Wagner performances at Cov. Garden in 1912 and '13. He published a collection of 30 songs. Rottenberg was the father-in-law of Paul Hindemith.

in 1915 –
Walter Brown "Brownie" McGhee blues singer/guitarist is born. As a child he had polio, which incapacitated his leg. His brother Granville "Sticks" or "Stick" McGhee was nicknamed for pushing young Brownie around in a cart. His father, George McGhee, was a factory worker known around University Avenue for playing guitar and singing. Brownie's uncle made him a guitar from a tin marshmallow box and a piece of board. McGhee spent much of his youth immersed in music, singing with local harmony group the Golden Voices Gospel Quartet and teaching himself to play guitar. A March of Dimes-funded leg operation enabled McGhee to walk.

in 1916 -
Benny Moten (American swing-style bass player) is born
in 1922 - Robert Evett composer is born
in 1924 - Allan Sherman/ Allan Copelon (US comedy singer) is born
in 1924 - Klaus Huber composer is born
in 1925 - Maxwell Street Jimmy Charles Davis Thomas blues musician is born.

in 1926 -
The Desert Song debuted. It took its theme from the headlines of the day. It was great romantic stuff, and, with the help of OTTO HARBACH and OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II, Romberg fashioned a score rich in memorable songs. They include “The Riff Song,” “It,” “The Desert Song,” and the hauntingly beautiful “One Alone.” According to Gerald Bordman, in his biography of Jerome Kern, at a bridge game Kern tried to give his partner, Sigmund Romberg, a clue as to how many trumps he was holding by humming “One Alone.” When the scheme failed and the hand was lost, Kern got him aside and said, “You dumb Dutchman. What was I humming to you?” Romberg replied, “One of my songs.” Kern: “What was the title?” Romberg: “Who knows from lyrics?”

in 1929 -
Dick Wagstaff Clark (DJ, host to American Bandstand) is born.
in 1930 - Doug Oldham (US gospel music singer) is born.
in 1931 - Jack Sheldon (US jazz trumpeter, singer, actor) is born.
in 1931 - John Hyatt Brewer composer, dies at 75.
in 1931 - Marc-Jean-Baptiste Delmas composer, dies at 46.

in 1931 -
Teddy Wilburn (The Wilburn Brothers) is born.
Known mainly for his long-time work with brother Doyle as The Wilburn Brothers, Teddy's musical career started early as a part of The Wilburn Children. Teddy and Doyle went to work for the Webb Pierce Show, joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1953 and, as writers and performers, scored over 30 hits on the country charts. Their forays into booking, publishing, artist management and their syndicated television show helped to spark the careers of many bluegrass and country artists. After Doyle's death in 1982, Teddy continued on as a solo act.

in 1931 -
Gunther Herbig German conductor is born in Usti-nadLabem, Czechoslovakia. He studied conducting with Abendroth at the Weimar Hochschule fur Musik, and received further training from Scherchen, Yansons, and Karajan. He was conductor of the German National Theater in Weimar (1957-62), music director of the Hans Otto Theater in Potsdam (1962-66), and conductor of the (East) Berlin Sym. Orch. (1966-72). He was Generalmusikdirektor (1970-72) and chief conductor (1972-77) of the Dresden Phil., and then was chief conductor of the (East) Berlin Sym. Orch. (1977-83), and principal guest conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (1979-81) and BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra in Manchester (1981-83). From 1984 to 1990 he was music director of the Detroit Sym. Orch., and from 1990 to 1994 of the Toronto Symphony.



in 1932 - Bob Loyce Moore (American session musician, orchestra leader, and bassist) is born.
in 1933 - Raul Indipwo (Portuguese singer; Ouro Negro Duo) is born.

in 1934 - Philip Hale
eminent American music critic dies in Boston. He took music lessons in his early youth, and as a boy played the organ in the Unitarian Church at Northampton, Mass. He went to Yale University to study law, and was admitted to the bar in 1880. He then took organ lessons with Dudley Buck; subsequently went to Europe (1882-87), where he studied organ with Haupt in Berlin, and composition with Rheinberger in Munich and with Guilmant in Paris. Returning to America, he served as a church organist in Albany and Troy, N.Y., and in Boston, but soon abandoned this employment for his true vocation, that of drama and music critic. Hale was music critic for the Boston Home Journal (1889-91), the Boston Post (1890-91), the Boston Journal (1891-1903), and the Boston Herald, of which he was also drama ed. (1904-33). He was also editor of the Boston Musical Record (1897-1901). From 1901 to 1933 he compiled the program books of the Boston Symphony Orch., setting a standard of erudition and informative annotation. He was joint author, with L. Elson, of Famous Composers and Their Works (1900), and was editor of the collection Modern French Songs (2 vols., 1904). J. Burk ed. Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes (Garden City, N.Y., 1935; 2nd ed., rev., 1939). Hale was a forceful and brilliant writer; his articles were often tinged with caustic wit directed against incompetent performers and, regrettably, against many modem composers; he also disliked Brahms, and was credited with the celebrated but possibly apocryphal quip that the exits in the newly opened Symphony Hall in Boston should have been marked not "Exit in Case of Fire," but "Exit in Case of Brahms." Another verbal dart attributed to Hale was his dismissal of a singer with the concluding sentence, "Valuable time was consumed."

in 1937 -
Frank Ifield (Australian singer, songwriter, yodeler) is born.
in 1937 - Jimmy Bowen rocker is born.
in 1940 - Fritz Volbach German musicologist/conductor/composer, dies at 78.
in 1943 - J[ames] J[ay] Barnes US gospel/singer (Please Let Me In) is born.

in 1943 -
Jerry Hunt composer is born in Waco, Texas. Hunt was an American composer who created works using live electronics partly controlled by his ritualistic performance techniques, influenced by his interest in the occult. He committed suicide in response to terminal cancer. He used carbon monoxide.
His collaborators included Karen Finley, Mike Patton, Paul Panhuysen, and Philip Krumm. Hunt was also the founder of IRIDA Records, which released recordings with works by Larry Austin, James Fulkerson, Dary John Mizelle, Rodney Waschka II, and others, as well as recordings of his own music.

in 1943 -
Leo Lyons Standbridge Beds, rock bassist (Ten Years After) is born.
in 1943 - Oscar Harris Surinames/Dutch singer (Try a Little Love) is born.
in 1944 - Luther Ingram (R&B, soul singer, songwriter) is born.
in 1944 - Rob Grill LA Calif, rock bassist/vocalist (Grass Roots) is born.
in 1945 - Johnny Dyani (South African jazz double bassist, pianist; The Blue Notes) is born.

in 1945 -
Radu Lupu Galati Romania, pianist (Enesco 1st prize-1967) is born.
Radu Lupu is a Romanian concert pianist. He has won a number of the most prestigious awards in classical piano, including first prizes in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition.Lupu was born in Galaţi, the son of Meyer Lupu and Ana Gabor. He began piano as a six-year old (with Lia Busuioceanu), making his public debut at age 12, in a concert featuring his own compositions. After completing high school in Galaţi, and graduating from the Popular School for the Arts in Braşov, Lupu continued his studies at the Bucharest Conservatory with Florica Musicescu (who also taught Dinu Lipatti), and Cella Delavrancea. In 1961, he was awarded a scholarship to the Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky State Conservatory, where he studied with Galina Eghyazarova, Heinrich Neuhaus (who also taught Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gilels), and Stanislav Neuhaus. [Lupu's concert appearances and recordings for Decca, though not frequent, consisting of a limited repertoire, have been consistently acclaimed. Although trained in the Russian pianistic tradition, he is particularly noted for his interpretations of the great 19th century German and Austrian composers, especially Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from the 18th century. He is also noted for performances of works by the Czech Leoš Janáček, and the Hungarian Béla Bartók.

Lupu made his American debut in 1972 with the Cleveland Orchestra, with Daniel Barenboim conducting in New York City, and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with Carlo Maria Giulini conducting. Whilst Lupu has performed with all of the major orchestras of the world and at major music festivals, he is a somewhat reclusive figure. He has regularly refused to grant interviews to journalists for over 30 years. In one rare published interview, originally from 1991, Lupu expressed his philosophy of music-making as follows:

Everyone tells a story differently, and that story should be told compellingly and spontaneously. If it is not compelling and convincing, it is without value.

In his concert performances, Lupu does not use a piano bench, but instead an office chair.[3] Lupu has participated in notable chamber music partnerships with, among others, the violinist Szymon Goldberg, the soprano Barbara Hendricks, and his fellow pianist, Murray Perahia.

He currently resides in Lausanne, Switzerland.

in 1945 -
Roger Glover (UK bassist, percussion, synthesizer; Deep Purple) is born.
in 1948 - Franco Vittadini composer, dies at 64.
in 1948 - Stan Sulzmann (British alto saxophonist) is born.
in 1949 - Terry Reid (UK singer, guitarist) is born.
in 1950 - Greg Gordon rock vocalist (Boys Band) is born.

in 1952 -
Mandel Bruce "Mandy" Patinkin (US actor, tenor singer) is born.
Mandel Bruce "Mandy" Patinkin (play /pəˈtɪŋkɨn/; born November 30, 1952) is an award-winning American actor of stage and screen and a tenor vocalist. Patinkin is a noted interpreter of the music of Stephen Sondheim and is known for his work in musical theatre, originating iconic roles such as Georges Seurat in Sunday in the Park with George, Archibald Craven in The Secret Garden, Burrs in The Wild Party and Che in the original Broadway production of Evita.
He has also appeared in television series such as Chicago Hope, Dead Like Me and the first two seasons of Criminal Minds. He currently plays Saul Berenson in the Showtime series Homeland.
Patinkin's most noted film role was as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride. Other noteworthy film roles include Alien Nation, Yentl, Men With Guns, Run Ronnie Run, Dick Tracy, and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland.
Patinkin was born in Chicago, Illinois, of Russian and Polish Jewish descent, the son of Doris "Doralee" Sinton, a homemaker, and Lester Patinkin, who worked for the People's Iron & Metal Company and the Scrap Corporation of America. His mother wrote Grandma Doralee Patinkin's Jewish Family Cookbook.[4] Patinkin is a cousin of Mark Patinkin, author and nationally syndicated columnist for The Providence Journal, and Jason "Dink" Patinkin, President of Columbia University's EarthCo. One of his other cousins is Sheldon Patinkin of Columbia College Chicago's Theater Department and a founder of The Second City.

Patinkin grew up in a middle class Jewish family and was raised in Conservative Judaism, attending religious school daily "from the age of seven to 13 or 14" and singing in synagogue choirs, as well as attending the Camp Surah in Michigan. He attended South Shore High School, Kenwood Academy (1970 graduate), the University of Kansas, and Juilliard School. At Juilliard, he was a classmate of Kelsey Grammer. When the producers of the popular American sitcom Cheers were auditioning for the role of Dr. Frasier Crane, Patinkin put Grammer's name forward.

After some TV commercial and radio appearances, including the CBS Radio Mystery Theater in 1974, Patinkin had his first success in musical theater, where he played the part of Che in Evita on Broadway in 1979. Patinkin went on to win that year's Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical. He then moved to film, playing parts in movies such as Yentl[2] and Ragtime. He returned to Broadway in 1984 to star in the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George, which saw him earn another Tony Award nomination for Best Actor (Musical).

Patinkin played Inigo Montoya in Rob Reiner's 1987 The Princess Bride (which Patinkin considers his favorite role), in which he delivers the iconic line, "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Patinkin found his studies a huge asset in The Princess Bride, playing the role of the best swordsman in the country, short of the main character, and part of his role included proficiency in fencing, at a professional level. Over the next decade he continued to appear in various movies, such as Dick Tracy and Alien Nation.


On Broadway, over the next decade, he appeared in the Tony Award-winning musical The Secret Garden for 706 performances. He also released two solo albums, titled Mandy Patinkin and Dress Casual.


In 1994, he took the role of Dr. Jeffrey Geiger on CBS' Chicago Hope for which he won an Emmy Award. However, despite the award and the ratings success of the show, Patinkin left the show during the second season, as he was unhappy spending so much time away from his wife. He returned to the show in 1999 at the beginning of the sixth season, but it was later cancelled in 2000. Since Chicago Hope, Patinkin has appeared in a number of films. However, he has mostly performed as a singer, releasing three more albums. In 1995 he guest starred in The Simpsons in the episode "Lisa's Wedding" as Hugh Parkfield, Lisa's future English groom.


In 1998, he debuted his most personal project, Mamaloshen, a collection of traditional, classic, and contemporary songs sung entirely in Yiddish ("Mamaloshen" is Yiddish for "mother tongue"). The stage production of Mamaloshen was performed on and off–Broadway, and has toured throughout the country. The recording of Mamaloshen won the Deutschen Schallplattenpreis (Germany’s equivalent of the Grammy Award).


In 1999 he co-starred in The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland as the villainous Huxley, who tries to steal Elmo's blanket. He returned to Broadway in 2000 in the New York Shakespeare Festival's The Wild Party, earning another Tony Award nomination for Best Actor (Musical). Recently, he has also been seen in the Showtime comedy-drama Dead Like Me as Rube Sofer. In 2004, he played a six–week engagement of his one–man concert at the Off Broadway complex Dodger Stages.


In September 2005, he debuted in the role of Jason Gideon, an experienced profiler just coming back to work after a series of nervous breakdowns, in the CBS crime drama Criminal Minds.


Patinkin was absent from a table read for Criminal Minds and did not return for a third season.[8] The departure from the show was not due to contractual or salary matters, but over creative differences. Many weeks before his departure, in a videotaped interview carried in the online magazine Monaco Revue, Patinkin told journalists at the Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo that he loathed violence on television and was uncomfortable with certain scenes in Criminal Minds. He also spoke of having planned to tour the world with a musical and wanting to inject more comedy into the entertainment business.[10] The dark and violent nature of the show got to be too much for Patinkin, and in later episodes during the 2007-2008 season, Patinkin's character was written out of the series. He was replaced by Special Agent David Rossi, played by Joe Mantegna.


On October 14, 2009, it was announced that Patinkin would be a guest-star on an episode of Three Rivers, which aired on November 15, 2009. He played a patient with Lou Gehrig's Disease injured in a car accident who asks the doctors at Three Rivers hospital to pull him off life support so his organs can be donated. He filmed an appearance on The Whole Truth that had been scheduled to air December 15, 2010, but ABC pulled the series from its schedule two weeks prior.


He starred in the new musical Paradise Found, co-directed by Harold Prince and Susan Stroman, at the Menier Chocolate Factory, London. The musical played a limited engagement, from May 2010 through June 26.[13]


The Associated Press reported on August 1, 2011 that Patinkin will team up with his former Evita co-star Patti Lupone to bring their concert "An Evening with Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin" to Broadway for a limited 63 performance run starting November 21, 2011 at the Barrymore theatre. This teaming will mark the first time the pair will perform on a Broadway stage since Evita.


Patinkin married actress and writer Kathryn Grody in 1980. They have two sons, Isaac and Gideon. Gideon joined his father onstage in Dress Casual in 2011.


Patinkin suffered from keratoconus, a degenerative eye disease, in the mid-1990s. This led to two corneal transplants, his right cornea in 1997 and his left in 1998. He also was diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer in 2004. He celebrated his first year of recovery in 2005 by doing a 280-mile charity bike ride with his son Isaac — the Arava Institute Hazon Israel Ride: Cycling for Peace, Partnership & Environmental Protection.[18] He subsequently joined the boards of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies and Hazon.


Patinkin has been involved in a variety of Jewish causes and cultural activities. He sings in Yiddish, often in concert, and on his album Mamaloshen. He also wrote introductions for two books on Jewish culture, The Jewish American Family Album, by Dorothy Hoobler and Thomas Hoobler, and Grandma Doralee Patinkin's Holiday Cookbook: A Jewish Family's Celebrations, by his mother, Doralee Patinkin Rubin. He is an avid toy train hobbyist.


Patinkin contributed to the children's book Dewey Doo-it Helps Owlie Fly Again: A Musical Storybook inspired by Christopher Reeve prior to Christopher and Dana Reeve's deaths. The award winning book, published in 2005, benefits the Christopher Reeve Foundation and includes an audio CD with Patinkin singing and reading the story as well as Dana Reeve and Bernadette Peters singing.


Patinkin's song Coffee in a Cardboard Cup is a frequent fixture in comedian Jimmy Pardo's live shows and podcast.





30 November
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Pedro November 29th, 2012 09:11 PM

30 November
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in 1953 -
June Pointer (US singer; Pointer Sisters/solo) is born.
June Antoinette Pointer was an American Pop/R&B singer and was a founding member/and lead vocalist of the vocal group The Pointer Sisters.

Born the youngest of six to minister parents Reverend Elton and Sarah Pointer, June shared a love of singing with her sisters. In 1969, she and sister Bonnie founded The Pointers - A Pair. The duo sang at several clubs, then became a trio later on that year when Anita quit her job as a secretary to join them. The group changed its name to The Pointer Sisters. The trio scored a record deal with Atlantic Records and released a few singles, none of which made any substantial impact on the charts. After a few single releases, sister Ruth joined the group in 1972, making it a quartet. The group then signed with Blue Thumb Records and their careers finally began taking off.

Releasing their self-titled debut album in 1973, the Pointer Sisters found fame with pop hit singles such as "Yes We Can Can", the country hit, "Fairytale", and the R&B hits, "How Long (Betcha Got a Chick on the Side)" and "You Gotta Believe" before Bonnie exited from the group to forge a solo career in 1977. June had briefly left the group in 1976 to sort out a growing problem with an addiction to cocaine.

The remaining sisters continued on as a trio with June returning to the group and then found huge success, hitting the Top 10 with a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Fire" (1978), then following that with "He's So Shy" (1980), and "Slow Hand" (1981). They then would release what would be their biggest album to date, 1983's Break Out, which included the hits "Automatic"; "Jump (for My Love)"; a re-release of "I'm So Excited", which became a bigger hit than when originally released in 1982; and Neutron Dance". Other hits from follow up albums included "Dare Me" "Freedom" and "Goldmine". June is notable for being the lead singer of "He's So Shy", "Jump (For My Love)", "Baby Come And Get It" and "Dare Me" among others. The group eventually would receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


During the 1980s, June ventured into a solo career, releasing albums in 1983 and 1989. She scored modest hits with "Ready For Some Action" (1983) and 1989's "Tight On Time (I'll Fit U In)". She also performed the song "Little Boy Sweet" for the 1983 film National Lampoon's Vacation. Together with Bruce Willis she scored a top 5 pop single in 1987 with a cover of the Staples Singers' "Respect Yourself". June also gained some notoriety for posing for Playboy magazine in the 80's.


Struggling with drug addiction for much of her career, June was ousted from the Pointer Sisters by 2004 as her sisters hoped and waited for her to become drug-free. Ruth's daughter filled in for June during stage performances.


On April 22, 2004, June Pointer was charged with felony cocaine possession and misdemeanor possession of a smoking device. She was ordered to a rehabilitation facility.


Pointer was divorced from William Oliver Whitmore II after a 13-year marriage that ended in 1991. She had no children.


June had a troubled history of drug and alcohol abuse, and suffered a stroke on February 27, 2006. While in the hospital, June was also diagnosed with cancer which had metastasized in her breast, colon, liver and bone.


June died at 1:10pm on April 11, 2006 at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California in the company of her older sisters and brothers: Ruth, Anita, Aaron, and Fritz.


in 1953 -
Shuggy Otis (US R&B vocalist, harmonica, guitar, bass; freelance/son of Johnny Otis) is born.
in 1954 - George McArdle (Australian bassist; Little River Band) is born.

in 1954 -
Nat King Cole played the first of six nights at Harlem's Apollo in New York.
Nathaniel Adams Coles known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. Although an accomplished pianist, he owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres. He was one of the first black Americans to host a television variety show, and has maintained worldwide popularity since his death.
On November 5, 1956, The Nat King Cole Show debuted on NBC-TV. The Cole program was the first of its kind hosted by an African-American, which created controversy at the time.

Beginning as a 15-minute pops show on Monday night, the program was expanded to a half hour in July 1957. Despite the efforts of NBC, as well as many of Cole's industry colleagues—many of whom, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, Frankie Laine, Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, and Eartha Kitt, worked for industry scale (or even for no pay)[6] in order to help the show save money—The Nat King Cole Show was ultimately done in by lack of a national sponsorship. Companies such as Rheingold Beer assumed regional sponsorship of the show, but a national sponsor never appeared


The last episode of "The Nat King Cole Show" aired December 17, 1957. Cole had survived for over a year, and it was he, not NBC, who ultimately decided to pull the plug on the show. NBC, as well as Cole himself, had been operating at an extreme financial loss. Commenting on the lack of sponsorship his show received, Cole quipped shortly after its demise, "Madison Avenue is afraid of the dark."This statement, with the passing of time, has fueled the urban legend that Cole's show had to close down despite enormous popularity. In fact, the Cole program was routinely beaten by the competition at ABC, which was then riding high with its travel and western shows. In addition, musical variety series have always been risky enterprises with a fickle public; among the one-season casualties are Frank Sinatra in 1957, Judy Garland in 1963, and Julie Andrews in 1972.


In January 1964, Cole made one of his final television appearances on The Jack Benny Program. In his typically magnanimous fashion, Benny allowed his guest star to steal the show. Cole sang “When I Fall in Love” in perhaps his finest and most memorable performance. Cole was introduced as “the best friend a song ever had” and traded very humorous banter with Benny. Cole highlighted a classic Benny skit in which Benny is upstaged by an emergency stand-in drummer. Introduced as Cole’s cousin, five-year-old James Bradley, Jr., stunned Benny with nearly-incredible drumming talent and participated with Cole in playful banter at Benny’s expense. It would prove to be one of Cole's last performances.Cole fought racism all his life and rarely performed in segregated venues. In 1956, he was assaulted on stage during a concert in Birmingham, Alabama, with the Ted Heath Band (while singing the song "Little Girl"), by three members of the North Alabama White Citizens Council (a group led by Education of Little Tree author Asa "Forrest" Carter, himself not among the attackers), who apparently were attempting to kidnap him. The three male attackers ran down the aisles of the auditorium towards Cole and his band. Although local law enforcement quickly ended the invasion of the stage, the ensuing melée toppled Cole from his piano bench and injured his back. Cole did not finish the concert and never again performed in the South. A fourth member of the group who had participated in the plot was later arrested in connection with the act. All were later tried and convicted for their roles in the crime.


In 1948, Cole purchased a house in the all-white Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. The Ku Klux Klan, still active in Los Angeles well into the 1950s, responded by placing a burning cross on his front lawn. Members of the property-owners association told Cole they did not want any undesirables moving in. Cole retorted, "Neither do I. And if I see anybody undesirable coming in here, I'll be the first to complain."


In 1956, he was contracted to perform in Cuba and wanted to stay at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Havana, but was not allowed to because it operated a color bar. Cole honored his contract, and the concert at the Tropicana was a huge success. The following year, he returned to Cuba for another concert, singing many songs in Spanish. There is now a tribute to him in the form of a bust and a jukebox in the Hotel Nacional.[

Cole was a smoker of Kool menthol cigarettes, believing that smoking up to three packs a day gave his voice the rich sound it had (Cole would smoke several cigarettes in rapid succession before a recording). He died from lung cancer on February 15, 1965, at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California.

Cole's funeral was held at St. James Episcopal Church on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. His remains were interred inside Freedom Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale. His last album, L-O-V-E, was recorded in early December 1964—just a few days before he entered the hospital for cancer treatment—and was released just prior to his death. It peaked at #4 on the Billboard Albums chart in the spring of 1965. A "Best Of" album went gold in 1968. His 1957 recording of "When I Fall In Love" reached #4 in the UK charts in 1987.


In 1983, an archivist for EMI Electrola Records, EMI (Capitol's parent company) Records' subsidiary in Germany, discovered some songs Cole had recorded but that had never been released, including one in Japanese and another in Spanish ("Tu Eres Tan Amable"). Capitol released them later that year as the LP "Unreleased."


Cole was inducted into both the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. In 1990, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1997 was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame. In 2007, he was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.


In 1991, Mosaic Records released "The Complete Capitol Recordings of the Nat King Cole Trio," an 18-compact-disc set consisting of 349 songs. (This special compilation also was available as a 27-LP set.)


Cole's youngest brother, Freddy Cole, and Cole's daughter Natalie are also singers. In the summer of 1991, Natalie Cole and her father had a hit when Natalie's own newly-recorded voice track was mixed with her father's 1961 rendition of "Unforgettable" into a new duet version as part of a tribute album to her father's music. The song and album of the same name won seven Grammy awards in 1992.There has been some confusion as to Cole's actual year of birth. Cole himself used four different dates on official documents: 1915, 1916, 1917, and 1919; however, Nathaniel is listed with his parents and older siblings in the 1920 U.S. Federal census for Montgomery, Alabama, Ward 7, with his age given as nine months old. Since this is a contemporary record, it is very likely he was born in 1919. This is also consistent with the 1930 census which finds him at age 11 with his family in Chicago, Illinois, Ward 3. In the 1920 census, the race of all members of the family (Ed, Perlina, Eddie M., Edward D., Evelina and Nathaniel Coles) is recorded as mulatto. Cole's birth year is also listed as 1919 on the Nat King Cole Society's web site.


Cole's first marriage, to Nadine Robinson, ended in 1948. On March 28, 1948 (Easter Sunday), just six days after his divorce became final, Cole married singer Maria Hawkins Ellington (although Maria had sung with Duke Ellington's band, she was not related to Duke Ellington). The Coles were married in Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church by Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. They had five children: Natalie (born 1950), who herself would go on to have a successful career as a singer; adopted daughter Carole (1944–2009, the daughter of Maria's sister), who died of lung cancer at 64; adopted son Nat Kelly Cole (1959–1995), who died of AIDS at 36; and twin daughters Casey and Timolin (born 1961).


Cole had affairs throughout his marriages. By the time he developed lung cancer, he was estranged from his wife Maria and living with actress Gunilla Hutton, best known as the second Billie Jo Bradley on Petticoat Junction (1965–1966) and also notable as a regular cast member (Nurse Goodbody) on "Hee Haw". But Cole was with Maria during his illness, and she stayed with him until his death. In an interview, Maria expressed no lingering resentment over his affairs. Instead, she emphasized his musical legacy and the class he exhibited in all other aspects of his life.


An official United States postage stamp featuring Cole's likeness was issued in 1994.


In 2000, Cole was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the major influences for early Rock and Roll.

Cole sang at the 1956 Republican National Convention in the Cow Palace, San Francisco, California, on August 23, 1956. There, his "singing of 'That's All There Is To That' was greeted with applause. " He was also present at the Democratic National Convention in 1960 to throw his support behind Senator John F. Kennedy. Cole was also among the dozens of entertainers recruited by Frank Sinatra to perform at the Kennedy Inaugural gala in 1961. Cole frequently consulted with President Kennedy (and later President Johnson) on civil rights.
30 November
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Pedro November 29th, 2012 09:14 PM

30 November
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in 1954 -
Wilhelm Furtwängler dies at age 68.

The first two-thirds of Furtwängler's life held few clues of what was to come. He was born in Berlin in 1886 into an enviably comfortable environment. His father was a famed archeologist and his mother a gifted painter. Educated at home, the youngster was nurtured in German culture by tutors and family friends who included philosophers and artists.


Furtwängler's musical talent surfaced early. His deepest love was Beethoven. By age 12, Furtwängler reportedly had memorized most of the master's works and could play them on the piano. But above all else, Furtwängler aspired to be a composer and by age 10 had written trios, quartets and six piano sonatas. Following his father's death, though, he turned to conducting, primarily to support the family but also with the hope of fostering performances of his own works. The gesture was characteristic, and was but the first of many instances when Furtwängler would temper his ideals with practicality.


Furtwängler followed the usual route of a musical journeyman by serving as assistant and ultimately conductor in increasingly prestigious German musical posts. His mentors included Felix Mottl, a close associate of Wagner who had led the world premieres of several of his operas, Hans Pfitzner, one of Germany's foremost composers, and especially Artur Nikish, the greatest orchestral conductor of the era, known for mesmerizing musicians and audiences alike with his galvanizing fervor, deeply personal inflections and a unique orchestral "sound."


Furtwängler's rise was meteoric, conquering Breslau, Zurich, Munich, Strasbourg, Lubeck, Mannheim and Frankfort. He was touted by the press as "Das Wunder Furtwängler." ("Wunder" means amazing or incredible.) In 1922 he succeeded Nikish both at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic, the most prestigious orchestra in Germany, and at the venerable Leipzig Gewandhaus, whose unmatched century-long tradition of excellence had begun with Mendelssohn. By 1928, Furtwängler also held the top spot in Vienna, the musical capitol of Europe. In 1930 he became Music Director of the Bayreuth Festival, established by Wagner and regarded as the crown of German culture.

Furtwängler's only setback had been in America at the helm of the New York Philharmonic, where he had dazzled audiences for three seasons but then was edged out by a furiously jealous Toscanini, who cruelly exploited Furtwängler's solemnity, social awkwardness and refusal to grovel to the society sponsors who controlled the pursestrings. But no matter: oblivious to the political storm that was gathering, by 1932 Furtwängler stood at the pinnacle of artistic success and his future, in Europe at least, seemed limitless.


Furtwängler's recording career began in 1926. Over the following decade, he recorded for Polydor mostly German/Austrian fare from Bach to Wagner, but with some uncharacteristic Rossini and Johann Strauss as well. While evidencing little of the visionary insight of his later readings, each of the records displays the unified ensemble of a great orchestra under a leader solidly versed in Germanic musical culture. Thus, the Bach is heavy and committed, the Mozart weighty and severe, the Weber mystical and ecstatic, the Wagner dark and brooding and the Beethoven noble and solid.


Furtwängler's early recordings clearly evidence an artist at the top of his professional world, a self-assured, solid exemplar of the rich German performing tradition. As the entry in the authoritative Grove's Dictionary of Music aptly put it at the time: "Control and balance are prominent characteristics of his conducting; his interpretations, though full of vitality, are not impulsive and his personal manner at the conductor's desk is usually restrained."

Then came Hitler.


The prolific German classical music scene soon became a vacuum. Among conductors alone, Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer and Erich Kleiber – Furtwängler's chief rivals – all left. Some fled as a matter of conscience, but others had no choice; as Jews, they were barred by the new racial laws from performing, teaching and, ultimately, living. Soon after Hitler's ascent, Furtwängler was the only notable conductor left. He clearly bore no malice toward the horde of emigrants, as he naively invited many to return and appear with him in future seasons and seemed genuinely hurt when they all declined. Nearly all Furtwängler's former associates begged him to take a stand and join them; when he refused to leave, they branded him a traitor to humanity and shunned further contact.

The crucial question which would plague Furtwängler for the rest of his life was why he stayed behind when all the other great artists fled. The standard explanation is that he lacked moral fortitude. But, as so often emerges with ethical issues, the full story is far more complex. If anything, the opposite is true: Furtwängler stayed primarily out of a sincere, albeit naive, conviction.


Out of the depths of his cultural and intellectual roots, Furtwängler regarded Hitler and Nazism as a passing phase in German politics. Indeed, many observers at the time found it hard to take seriously the short, dark, brown-eyed Austrian's ranting about tall, blond Aryan supremacy. From the very outset, Furtwängler saw two Germanies: the permanent, cultural one of which he remained a proud member, and an irrelevant, political one which was a temporary nuisance. To Furtwängler, there was no such thing as Nazi Germany, but rather a Germany raped by Nazis. Furtwängler truly believed that by maintaining his artistic convictions he would succeed in resisting Hitler and upholding the everlasting purity of great German culture. All of his wartime activities were bent upon achieving this goal.


Furtwängler believed to the depth of his soul that music was a force for moral good, a route out of chaos that would assist the cause of humanity. In 1943, he wrote: "The message Beethoven gave mankind in his works ... seems to me never to have been more urgent than it is today." He later told the Chicago Daily Tribune: "It would have been much easier to emigrate, but there had to be a spiritual center of integrity for all the good and real Germans who had to stay behind. I felt that a really great work of music was a stronger and more essential contradiction of the spirit of Buchenwald and Auschwitz than words could be." Richard Wolff, the first violinist of the Berlin Philharmonic (whose Jewish wife remained unharmed during the war through Furtwängler's protection) agreed: "Furtwängler could have enjoyed a secure and comfortable life abroad during the dreadful years of the Nazi regime, but he felt it his responsibility to stay behind and help educate the younger German generation and to keep alive spiritual values in Germany in her darkest hour."


But all of these noble thoughts can be dismissed as facile rationalization by a gutless pawn, and indeed there were more practical reasons why Furtwängler remained. The Nazis reportedly threatened to imprison his mother. They harassed and ultimately expelled his Jewish personal secretary. Knowing Furtwängler's attachment to the Berlin Philharmonic, they hinted that they would disband and conscript the group in favor of a more loyal ensemble. Above all, they exploited Furtwängler's fear that his art would not be understood outside Germany: when Furtwängler was offered conducting posts abroad the government readily agreed, but subject to a new emigration law that would forever bar his return to Germany – a condition they knew Furtwängler could never accept. Thus, Furtwängler found himself effectively imprisoned in his homeland.


And the Nazis intended to keep it that way by poisoning Furtwängler's image abroad. Thus, when Furtwängler refused to join the Nazi party, he was made a Staatsrat (State Councilor) for life, an official-sounding but purely honorary title he could not legally refuse and which Nazi news releases often invoked to brand him with a rank outside his choice. When he refused to salute Hitler at a concert, the crafty Führer leaped to the stage and warmly grasped Furtwängler's hand, a moment captured by photographers and circulated worldwide as alleged evidence of capitulation. And when faced with Furtwängler's public silence, the Nazis routinely generated false news items proclaiming his support, enhanced by fabricated quotations in praise of Nazi policies and leadership.


The perverse efficiency of the Nazi propaganda machine was displayed in 1935, when Furtwängler was offered the helm of the New York Philharmonic upon Toscanini's retirement. His candidacy came with a seemingly ironclad guarantee of success – the insistence of the Maestro himself, acknowledged by an adoring American public to be the world's greatest conductor, that only Furtwängler was worthy to succeed him. The timing of the offer was propitious, as Furtwängler was upset with the Nazi regime and this once was sorely tempted. But as the heir apparent savored his options, Prime Minister Göring announced that Furtwängler's rehabilitation was complete and that he would resume his duties at the Berlin State Opera. With that, the damage was done: despite Furtwängler's attempts to clarify his position, both the New York press and the Philharmonic subscribers now would have nothing to do with bringing an officially reconfirmed Nazi to their shores. Furtwängler tried to bow out graciously with a telegram "postponing" his US appearances "until the public realizes that music and politics have nothing to do with each other," but this was hardly a message apt to placate an isolationist America alarmed over reports of Nazi outrages.


As a final measure of insurance, the Nazis seized upon the most terrible and effective weapon of all. Herbert von Karajan was a brilliant and ambitious Austrian conductor who was everything Furtwängler was not: handsome, energetic, charismatic, young and utterly compliant and unprincipled. Throughout the war, the Nazis played the two against each other with diabolical brilliance, denying von Karajan the ultimate praise with which the state-controlled press kept showering Furtwängler while keeping the older man in perpetual fear that his rival might supplant him, even going so far as to tout him as "Das Wunder Karajan," a cruel echo of Furtwängler's own earlier moniker.


The fabricated rivalry with von Karajan hit Furtwängler at the very core of his being. Furtwängler lived and breathed music so thoroughly that he constantly conducted imaginary orchestras as he walked. Furtwängler had dedicated his entire life to perpetuating the traditions of German culture in which he had been immersed from his earliest youth and of which he had become the most visible champion. German music was the sole reason for his existence. Indeed, in 1938, after the annexation of Austria, the already overworked conductor doubled his duties by taking charge of all musical activity in Vienna, as he felt compelled to preserve that city's proud tradition and in particular the independence and excellence of its famed Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which was threatened with State control.


The Nazis needed Furtwängler as much as he needed Germany. Hitler deeply admired his artistry. The Party itself was keenly aware that Furtwängler was the foremost symbol of the past glory of German culture and that his loss would be a final blow to national prestige which would validate all the foreign criticism.


Throughout the era, Furtwängler took consistent advantage of the respect the Nazis were forced to accord him. When presented with contracts having "Aryan-only" clauses, he refused to sign and went on to tweak the promoters by spotlighting Jewish orchestra members as soloists. When ordered to replace his Jewish concertmaster, he threatened to cancel his concerts. When a ban was imposed on further performances by Jewish artists, Furtwängler demanded a meeting with Propaganda Minister Goebbels to get it rescinded. When the Berlin Philharmonic was to be "aryanized," he personally met with Hitler to reverse the decree. (Ultimately, of course, these measures of relief all were to be overturned, but that hardly diminishes their import at the time.)


Despite the appearances to the outside world, Furtwängler did not collaborate. Thus, he never gave the Nazi salute, even when Hitler was present at a concert. He generally refused to perform in halls in which swastikas were displayed. He avoided appearing at official government functions. He would not conduct orchestras in overrun countries. He never began concerts with the Nazi anthem. And he never played the fawning socialist-themed patriotic works that flooded other concert programs. That Furtwängler got away with such treasonous conduct attests to the esteem in which he was held by both the Party and the people.


Furtwängler's relationship to the Nazis was defined in 1934 when he programmed Paul Hindemith's new opera Mathis der Maler. The composer's wife was Jewish and therefore his music, as yet unheard, was automatically condemned as degenerate. The libretto (also by Hindemith) probably didn't help matters either. The title character is a visionary painter caught up in a civil war, desperately seeking a way to apply his talents to better mankind. Despite the opera's medieval setting, its central theme of an artist's duty to constructively embrace social issues was painfully modern, and the Nazis surely grasped its challenging parallels with current history – perhaps the very reason why Furtwängler resolved to champion a work that spoke so directly to his own gnawing concerns.


When Göring banned the work, Furtwängler scheduled an orchestral suite of the opera's music instead. The concert received enormous acclaim as a rallying point for anti-Nazi frustrations. Furtwängler then published a lengthy article in defense of Hindemith in which he insisted that ideology was irrelevant and that the only valid aesthetic criterion was the quality of the artistry itself. He was attacked by the state press, led by Goebbels, who insisted with equal vigor that only ardent Nazis could be true artists. Sickened over the regime's repressive ideology, Furtwängler resigned all his positions (except, of course, the permanent Staatsrat), devoted himself to composition and gazed wistfully overseas. (It was at this point that the opportune New York Philharmonic offer was made.)


During the following months the conductor was miserable, torn from the means of promoting great German music of which he considered himself the guardian. The government was upset as well: substitute concerts were sparsely attended, subscribers demanded refunds, the orchestra was plunged into deficit and the foreign press exploited the incident to denounce the oppression of a regime that apparently had to silence its foremost artist.


The standoff finally was resolved when Furtwängler agreed to publicly acknowledge Hitler's dominance of artistic policies (which could hardly be denied) in exchange for being allowed to work free-lance and never to have to accept a political position or perform at any state function. True to form, the state press reported the matter as Furtwängler's full capitulation and never mentioned the rest of the deal.


But Furtwängler did not simply retreat into himself or the sanctum of art. Rather, according to numerous testimonials, he displayed enormous moral courage, constantly placing his life and reputation in jeopardy. For the next decade, he spent much of his time intervening with party officials in nearly impossible tasks of protection and rescue for potential victims who sought his assistance, including strangers and even professional enemies. Although the evidence is often anecdotal, archivist Fred Prieberg claims that his research alone has documented over eighty people at risk who were saved by Furtwängler's efforts.


While Furtwängler's outward passivity (quashed beneath distorted Nazi news reports) was interpreted abroad as collaboration, we now know that his quiet heroism saved far more lives than abrasive ranting or symbolic emigration. As Paul Minchin, Chairman of the English Furtwängler Society, has aptly observed: "It takes far more courage to oppose a totalitarian regime from within." It is clear that Furtwängler had at least as much courage as the self-proclaimed champions of humanity who branded him a coward but who lobbed all their verbal grenades from the safe harbor of the free world.


So was Furtwängler a neglected saint? Not quite. There is, unfortunately, a less laudable side to his wartime activities.

Notwithstanding his courage, Furtwängler did not act out of pure altruism. Nearly everything he did was intended to preserve the integrity of German music. But since Furtwängler considered himself the foremost exemplar of that art, his activity served to solidify his status and gratify his ego. Furtwängler can hardly be compared to Raoul Wallenberg, Oskar Schindler and other heroes who had nothing to gain and acted purely as a matter of conscience, ultimately sacrificing all they had in order to oppose Nazi genocide. Focussed solely on art, Furtwängler simply did not concern himself with the larger social context.


This narrow focus produced mixed results. Inextricably tied to each of Furtwängler's laudable goals and achievements was an unintended drawback. Despite his valid cultural intentions, he unwittingly bolstered the German war effort.

For example, Furtwängler accepted the Vice Presidency of the mandatory performers' union and served on a commission that approved the programs of all public concerts. He assumed these positions of leadership in order to maximize his impact upon preserving cultural integrity and assuring exposure to composers and artists of quality. But his constant visibility also served to legitimize and lend credibility to the Nazi regime, not only in the eyes of foreign observers, but to the citizenry as well: after all, how could the Nazis be thoroughly depraved barbarians if someone like Furtwängler could coexist with them?

Similarly, after the War many asserted that Furtwängler concerts had served to rally Resistance members. These events succeeded in assembling a core group of cultural leaders for a post-war Germany who would vaunt humanism over militarism. Even outside Germany, many emigrants were inspired by Furtwängler as a symbol of their dissent. Thus, Furtwängler's wartime activities may have produced lasting humanitarian benefits. In the short run, though, they had the opposite effect.


As biographer Sam Shirakawa aptly notes, Furtwängler may have offered his art for the sake of "true Germans," but he had no control over its dissemination. Thus, his concerts were broadcast to bolster troop morale. Worse, Hitler and his top henchmen often attended Furtwängler concerts to bask in his musical balm. That same balm may have lulled the frustrations of intellectuals and artists into indifference and diverted their energies from actively opposing the ongoing war and genocide. Furtwängler only saw music as a force for moral redemption. He once told Toscanini: "Human beings are free wherever Wagner and Beethoven are played and if they are not free at first, they are freed while listening to these works." But the hearts of Nazi soldiers did not melt and the souls of their leaders proved impervious to aesthetic redemption. Were those responsible for (or at best indifferent toward) the liquidation of innocent millions really entitled to have their consciences set free by the liberating glory of music?


Nor was Furtwängler's personal outlook free of paradox. Indeed, even his attitude toward Jews was inconsistent. One of the axioms of Nazi social engineering was that Jews were incapable of being true spiritual Germans and therefore were less than fully human and a social pollution. Nowhere was the absurdity of this assumption more apparent than in classical music, as many of Germany's finest performers were Jews. Indeed, the pianist Artur Schnabel, a Jew, was universally hailed as the preeminent exponent of Mozart, Schubert and especially Beethoven, the quintessential German musicians. And yet, although he was ideally equipped to reject the Nazi racist view, Furtwängler often drew distinctions between two classes of Jews.


On the one hand, he ardently supported Jews who had arrived at the top of their musical, artistic, scientific or academic professions. Furtwängler vehemently opposed Nazi efforts to oust such individuals, as they had become an integral part of, and significant contributors to, German culture. The vast majority of Jews whom Furtwängler assisted were professionals (or their families or acquaintances).


On the other hand, though, Furtwängler apparently felt that Jews outside these exalted ranks were potentially subversive and therefore expendable. He endorsed attacks upon alleged Jewish domination of newspapers because, in his view, this supplanted the development of a truly "German" press. Similarly, he seemed to indulge boycotts of Jewish commerce, protesting only the resultant adverse foreign publicity and the threat of a spill-over that could deplete the arts.


Even as late as May 1945, Furtwängler did not seem to fully grasp the consequence of Nazi racism. From the geographic and historical perspective of sanctuary in Switzerland, he had ample time to reflect upon the prior decade. His principal concern, though, became a fear that in the aftermath of defeat the now-publicized atrocities would be blamed upon the entire German people, thus unfairly ignoring their cultural greatness and inner nobility. Despite all he had witnessed, Furtwängler simply could not accept that the culture which once had produced Goethe and Beethoven had now rotted into a mire of jackboots and crematoria. Fred Prieberg calls this a protective mythology which Furtwängler created to shield himself from accountability in a real world in which civilizations do fail, in which people are held responsible for their leaders, and in which art cannot be so conveniently isolated from politics. Furtwängler's tragedy was that he had to believe this illusion of permanent German cultural merit in order to justify his life's work. Concludes Prieberg: "Furtwängler sacrificed himself to his own fiction."


In recent years, we have been regaled by a pathetic parade of aged German artists claiming dewy-eyed ignorance of the Holocaust. Would Furtwängler have been one of these? Other than a few post-war expressions of shame, there is no evidence that he ever took a stand against the awful culmination of his casual tolerance of antisemitism. Indeed, it seems inconceivable that a man who spent so much of his time closely studying political leaders and social trends and successfully manipulating them to his professional benefit could have been genuinely ignorant of this cornerstone of Nazi activity and policy. Or, knowing, did he view the world through artistic blinders and simply not care?


Speculation as to Furtwängler's state of mind is confusing and inconclusive. Fortunately, though, there is a far more reliable index to his conscience. When we listen to wartime performances by Strauss, Böhm, von Karajan, Krauss, Mengelberg and other Axis amoralists, we hear conductors utterly at peace with themselves, blissfully oblivious to the horrors around them, comfortably nestled in their insular worlds of abstract artistic contentment.


But Furtwängler's output of the time is of a wholly different dimension, ranging far beyond the bounds of accepted classical tradition, distended by brutally twisted structures, outrageous tempos, jagged phrasing, bizarre balances and violent dynamics. This is simply not the expression of a cold-hearted Nazi. Rather, it clearly and irrefutably signifies a sensitive but deeply troubled man torn by inner conflict and soul-wrenching doubt, constantly on the verge of exploding with torment.


Debate over Furtwängler's wartime politics may continue to swirl among academics, historians and social philosophers, but his artistry confers the ultimate proof of his humanity. There is no room for subtlety or doubt. No one sensitive to the interpretation of music can possibly mistake it.


30 November

page 5 of 10


Pedro November 29th, 2012 09:17 PM

Furtwängler continued
30 November

page 6 of 10


The prolific German classical music scene soon became a vacuum. Among conductors alone, Bruno Walter, Otto Klemperer and Erich Kleiber – Furtwängler's chief rivals – all left. Some fled as a matter of conscience, but others had no choice; as Jews, they were barred by the new racial laws from performing, teaching and, ultimately, living. Soon after Hitler's ascent, Furtwängler was the only notable conductor left. He clearly bore no malice toward the horde of emigrants, as he naively invited many to return and appear with him in future seasons and seemed genuinely hurt when they all declined. Nearly all Furtwängler's former associates begged him to take a stand and join them; when he refused to leave, they branded him a traitor to humanity and shunned further contact.


The crucial question which would plague Furtwängler for the rest of his life was why he stayed behind when all the other great artists fled. The standard explanation is that he lacked moral fortitude. But, as so often emerges with ethical issues, the full story is far more complex. If anything, the opposite is true: Furtwängler stayed primarily out of a sincere, albeit naive, conviction.


Out of the depths of his cultural and intellectual roots, Furtwängler regarded Hitler and Nazism as a passing phase in German politics. Indeed, many observers at the time found it hard to take seriously the short, dark, brown-eyed Austrian's ranting about tall, blond Aryan supremacy. From the very outset, Furtwängler saw two Germanies: the permanent, cultural one of which he remained a proud member, and an irrelevant, political one which was a temporary nuisance. To Furtwängler, there was no such thing as Nazi Germany, but rather a Germany raped by Nazis. Furtwängler truly believed that by maintaining his artistic convictions he would succeed in resisting Hitler and upholding the everlasting purity of great German culture. All of his wartime activities were bent upon achieving this goal.


Furtwängler believed to the depth of his soul that music was a force for moral good, a route out of chaos that would assist the cause of humanity. In 1943, he wrote: "The message Beethoven gave mankind in his works ... seems to me never to have been more urgent than it is today." He later told the Chicago
Daily Tribune: "It would have been much easier to emigrate, but there had to be a spiritual center of integrity for all the good and real Germans who had to stay behind. I felt that a really great work of music was a stronger and more essential contradiction of the spirit of Buchenwald and Auschwitz than words could be." Richard Wolff, the first violinist of the Berlin Philharmonic (whose Jewish wife remained unharmed during the war through Furtwängler's protection) agreed: "Furtwängler could have enjoyed a secure and comfortable life abroad during the dreadful years of the Nazi regime, but he felt it his responsibility to stay behind and help educate the younger German generation and to keep alive spiritual values in Germany in her darkest hour."

But all of these noble thoughts can be dismissed as facile rationalization by a gutless pawn, and indeed there were more practical reasons why Furtwängler remained. The Nazis reportedly threatened to imprison his mother. They harassed and ultimately expelled his Jewish personal secretary. Knowing Furtwängler's attachment to the Berlin Philharmonic, they hinted that they would disband and conscript the group in favor of a more loyal ensemble. Above all, they exploited Furtwängler's fear that his art would not be understood outside Germany: when Furtwängler was offered conducting posts abroad the government readily agreed, but subject to a new emigration law that would forever bar his return to Germany – a condition they knew Furtwängler could never accept. Thus, Furtwängler found himself effectively imprisoned in his homeland.


And the Nazis intended to keep it that way by poisoning Furtwängler's image abroad. Thus, when Furtwängler refused to join the Nazi party, he was made a Staatsrat (State Councilor) for life, an official-sounding but purely honorary title he could not legally refuse and which Nazi news releases often invoked to brand him with a rank outside his choice. When he refused to salute Hitler at a concert, the crafty Führer leaped to the stage and warmly grasped Furtwängler's hand, a moment captured by photographers and circulated worldwide as alleged evidence of capitulation. And when faced with Furtwängler's public silence, the Nazis routinely generated false news items proclaiming his support, enhanced by fabricated quotations in praise of Nazi policies and leadership.


The perverse efficiency of the Nazi propaganda machine was displayed in 1935, when Furtwängler was offered the helm of the New York Philharmonic upon Toscanini's retirement. His candidacy came with a seemingly ironclad guarantee of success – the insistence of the Maestro himself, acknowledged by an adoring American public to be the world's greatest conductor, that only Furtwängler was worthy to succeed him. The timing of the offer was propitious, as Furtwängler was upset with the Nazi regime and this once was sorely tempted. But as the heir apparent savored his options, Prime Minister Göring announced that Furtwängler's rehabilitation was complete and that he would resume his duties at the Berlin State Opera. With that, the damage was done: despite Furtwängler's attempts to clarify his position, both the New York press and the Philharmonic subscribers now would have nothing to do with bringing an officially reconfirmed Nazi to their shores. Furtwängler tried to bow out graciously with a telegram "postponing" his US appearances "until the public realizes that music and politics have nothing to do with each other," but this was hardly a message apt to placate an isolationist America alarmed over reports of Nazi outrages.


As a final measure of insurance, the Nazis seized upon the most terrible and effective weapon of all. Herbert von Karajan was a brilliant and ambitious Austrian conductor who was everything Furtwängler was not: handsome, energetic, charismatic, young and utterly compliant and unprincipled. Throughout the war, the Nazis played the two against each other with diabolical brilliance, denying von Karajan the ultimate praise with which the state-controlled press kept showering Furtwängler while keeping the older man in perpetual fear that his rival might supplant him, even going so far as to tout him as "Das Wunder Karajan," a cruel echo of Furtwängler's own earlier moniker.


The fabricated rivalry with von Karajan hit Furtwängler at the very core of his being. Furtwängler lived and breathed music so thoroughly that he constantly conducted imaginary orchestras as he walked. Furtwängler had dedicated his entire life to perpetuating the traditions of German culture in which he had been immersed from his earliest youth and of which he had become the most visible champion. German music was the sole reason for his existence. Indeed, in 1938, after the annexation of Austria, the already overworked conductor doubled his duties by taking charge of all musical activity in Vienna, as he felt compelled to preserve that city's proud tradition and in particular the independence and excellence of its famed Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which was threatened with State control.


The Nazis needed Furtwängler as much as he needed Germany. Hitler deeply admired his artistry. The Party itself was keenly aware that Furtwängler was the foremost symbol of the past glory of German culture and that his loss would be a final blow to national prestige which would validate all the foreign criticism.


Throughout the era, Furtwängler took consistent advantage of the respect the Nazis were forced to accord him. When presented with contracts having "Aryan-only" clauses, he refused to sign and went on to tweak the promoters by spotlighting Jewish orchestra members as soloists. When ordered to replace his Jewish concertmaster, he threatened to cancel his concerts. When a ban was imposed on further performances by Jewish artists, Furtwängler demanded a meeting with Propaganda Minister Goebbels to get it rescinded. When the Berlin Philharmonic was to be "aryanized," he personally met with Hitler to reverse the decree. (Ultimately, of course, these measures of relief all were to be overturned, but that hardly diminishes their import at the time.)


Despite the appearances to the outside world, Furtwängler did not collaborate. Thus, he never gave the Nazi salute, even when Hitler was present at a concert. He generally refused to perform in halls in which swastikas were displayed. He avoided appearing at official government functions. He would not conduct orchestras in overrun countries. He never began concerts with the Nazi anthem. And he never played the fawning socialist-themed patriotic works that flooded other concert programs. That Furtwängler got away with such treasonous conduct attests to the esteem in which he was held by both the Party and the people.


Furtwängler's relationship to the Nazis was defined in 1934 when he programmed Paul Hindemith's new opera
Mathis der Maler. The composer's wife was Jewish and therefore his music, as yet unheard, was automatically condemned as degenerate. The libretto (also by Hindemith) probably didn't help matters either. The title character is a visionary painter caught up in a civil war, desperately seeking a way to apply his talents to better mankind. Despite the opera's medieval setting, its central theme of an artist's duty to constructively embrace social issues was painfully modern, and the Nazis surely grasped its challenging parallels with current history – perhaps the very reason why Furtwängler resolved to champion a work that spoke so directly to his own gnawing concerns.

When Göring banned the work, Furtwängler scheduled an orchestral suite of the opera's music instead. The concert received enormous acclaim as a rallying point for anti-Nazi frustrations. Furtwängler then published a lengthy article in defense of Hindemith in which he insisted that ideology was irrelevant and that the only valid aesthetic criterion was the quality of the artistry itself. He was attacked by the state press, led by Goebbels, who insisted with equal vigor that only ardent Nazis could be true artists. Sickened over the regime's repressive ideology, Furtwängler resigned all his positions (except, of course, the permanent Staatsrat), devoted himself to composition and gazed wistfully overseas. (It was at this point that the opportune New York Philharmonic offer was made.)


During the following months the conductor was miserable, torn from the means of promoting great German music of which he considered himself the guardian. The government was upset as well: substitute concerts were sparsely attended, subscribers demanded refunds, the orchestra was plunged into deficit and the foreign press exploited the incident to denounce the oppression of a regime that apparently had to silence its foremost artist.


The standoff finally was resolved when Furtwängler agreed to publicly acknowledge Hitler's dominance of artistic policies (which could hardly be denied) in exchange for being allowed to work free-lance and never to have to accept a political position or perform at any state function. True to form, the state press reported the matter as Furtwängler's full capitulation and never mentioned the rest of the deal.


But Furtwängler did not simply retreat into himself or the sanctum of art. Rather, according to numerous testimonials, he displayed enormous moral courage, constantly placing his life and reputation in jeopardy. For the next decade, he spent much of his time intervening with party officials in nearly impossible tasks of protection and rescue for potential victims who sought his assistance, including strangers and even professional enemies. Although the evidence is often anecdotal, archivist Fred Prieberg claims that his research alone has documented over eighty people at risk who were saved by Furtwängler's efforts.


While Furtwängler's outward passivity (quashed beneath distorted Nazi news reports) was interpreted abroad as collaboration, we now know that his quiet heroism saved far more lives than abrasive ranting or symbolic emigration. As Paul Minchin, Chairman of the English Furtwängler Society, has aptly observed: "It takes far more courage to oppose a totalitarian regime from within." It is clear that Furtwängler had at least as much courage as the self-proclaimed champions of humanity who branded him a coward but who lobbed all their verbal grenades from the safe harbor of the free world.


So was Furtwängler a neglected saint? Not quite. There is, unfortunately, a less laudable side to his wartime activities.

Notwithstanding his courage, Furtwängler did not act out of pure altruism. Nearly everything he did was intended to preserve the integrity of German music. But since Furtwängler considered himself the foremost exemplar of that art, his activity served to solidify his status and gratify his ego. Furtwängler can hardly be compared to Raoul Wallenberg, Oskar Schindler and other heroes who had nothing to gain and acted purely as a matter of conscience, ultimately sacrificing all they had in order to oppose Nazi genocide. Focussed solely on art, Furtwängler simply did not concern himself with the larger social context.


This narrow focus produced mixed results. Inextricably tied to each of Furtwängler's laudable goals and achievements was an unintended drawback. Despite his valid cultural intentions, he unwittingly bolstered the German war effort.


For example, Furtwängler accepted the Vice Presidency of the mandatory performers' union and served on a commission that approved the programs of all public concerts. He assumed these positions of leadership in order to maximize his impact upon preserving cultural integrity and assuring exposure to composers and artists of quality. But his constant visibility also served to legitimize and lend credibility to the Nazi regime, not only in the eyes of foreign observers, but to the citizenry as well: after all, how could the Nazis be thoroughly depraved barbarians if someone like Furtwängler could coexist with them?


Similarly, after the War many asserted that Furtwängler concerts had served to rally Resistance members. These events succeeded in assembling a core group of cultural leaders for a post-war Germany who would vaunt humanism over militarism. Even outside Germany, many emigrants were inspired by Furtwängler as a symbol of their dissent. Thus, Furtwängler's wartime activities may have produced lasting humanitarian benefits. In the short run, though, they had the opposite effect.


As biographer Sam Shirakawa aptly notes, Furtwängler may have offered his art for the sake of "true Germans," but he had no control over its dissemination. Thus, his concerts were broadcast to bolster troop morale. Worse, Hitler and his top henchmen often attended Furtwängler concerts to bask in his musical balm. That same balm may have lulled the frustrations of intellectuals and artists into indifference and diverted their energies from actively opposing the ongoing war and genocide. Furtwängler only saw music as a force for moral redemption. He once told Toscanini: "Human beings are free wherever Wagner and Beethoven are played and if they are not free at first, they are freed while listening to these works." But the hearts of Nazi soldiers did not melt and the souls of their leaders proved impervious to aesthetic redemption. Were those responsible for (or at best indifferent toward) the liquidation of innocent millions really entitled to have their consciences set free by the liberating glory of music?

Nor was Furtwängler's personal outlook free of paradox. Indeed, even his attitude toward Jews was inconsistent. One of the axioms of Nazi social engineering was that Jews were incapable of being true spiritual Germans and therefore were less than fully human and a social pollution. Nowhere was the absurdity of this assumption more apparent than in classical music, as many of Germany's finest performers were Jews. Indeed, the pianist Artur Schnabel, a Jew, was universally hailed as the preeminent exponent of Mozart, Schubert and especially Beethoven, the quintessential German musicians. And yet, although he was ideally equipped to reject the Nazi racist view, Furtwängler often drew distinctions between two classes of Jews.


On the one hand, he ardently supported Jews who had arrived at the top of their musical, artistic, scientific or academic professions. Furtwängler vehemently opposed Nazi efforts to oust such individuals, as they had become an integral part of, and significant contributors to, German culture. The vast majority of Jews whom Furtwängler assisted were professionals (or their families or acquaintances).


On the other hand, though, Furtwängler apparently felt that Jews outside these exalted ranks were potentially subversive and therefore expendable. He endorsed attacks upon alleged Jewish domination of newspapers because, in his view, this supplanted the development of a truly "German" press. Similarly, he seemed to indulge boycotts of Jewish commerce, protesting only the resultant adverse foreign publicity and the threat of a spill-over that could deplete the arts.


Even as late as May 1945, Furtwängler did not seem to fully grasp the consequence of Nazi racism. From the geographic and historical perspective of sanctuary in Switzerland, he had ample time to reflect upon the prior decade. His principal concern, though, became a fear that in the aftermath of defeat the now-publicized atrocities would be blamed upon the entire German people, thus unfairly ignoring their cultural greatness and inner nobility. Despite all he had witnessed, Furtwängler simply could not accept that the culture which once had produced Goethe and Beethoven had now rotted into a mire of jackboots and crematoria. Fred Prieberg calls this a protective mythology which Furtwängler created to shield himself from accountability in a real world in which civilizations do fail, in which people are held responsible for their leaders, and in which art cannot be so conveniently isolated from politics. Furtwängler's tragedy was that he had to believe this illusion of permanent German cultural merit in order to justify his life's work. Concludes Prieberg: "Furtwängler sacrificed himself to his own fiction."


In recent years, we have been regaled by a pathetic parade of aged German artists claiming dewy-eyed ignorance of the Holocaust. Would Furtwängler have been one of these? Other than a few post-war expressions of shame, there is no evidence that he ever took a stand against the awful culmination of his casual tolerance of antisemitism. Indeed, it seems inconceivable that a man who spent so much of his time closely studying political leaders and social trends and successfully manipulating them to his professional benefit could have been genuinely ignorant of this cornerstone of Nazi activity and policy. Or, knowing, did he view the world through artistic blinders and simply not care?


Speculation as to Furtwängler's state of mind is confusing and inconclusive. Fortunately, though, there is a far more reliable index to his conscience. When we listen to wartime performances by Strauss, Böhm, von Karajan, Krauss, Mengelberg and other Axis amoralists, we hear conductors utterly at peace with themselves, blissfully oblivious to the horrors around them, comfortably nestled in their insular worlds of abstract artistic contentment.


But Furtwängler's output of the time is of a wholly different dimension, ranging far beyond the bounds of accepted classical tradition, distended by brutally twisted structures, outrageous tempos, jagged phrasing, bizarre balances and violent dynamics. This is simply not the expression of a cold-hearted Nazi. Rather, it clearly and irrefutably signifies a sensitive but deeply troubled man torn by inner conflict and soul-wrenching doubt, constantly on the verge of exploding with torment.


But even these extraordinary achievements pale beside the miracle of the 1944 Bruckner
Symphony # 9, which after mediocre LP transfers has been restored to remarkably decent sound on Music & Arts CD 730. Unlike the other wartime performances, on this particular occasion there was no audience to intrude upon the intensely private communion between conductor and orchestra. The sole witnesses were the microphones, to preserve the event for broadcast. But in a deeper sense there was another essential participant: Bruckner himself.

Traditional classical music is a recreative art: a composer writes down his musical thoughts, which artists of other cultures and generations must revitalize. All musicians struggle to wrest from the cold notation their understanding of what the composer wanted to communicate, but the gulf of years and unique personalities are formidable barriers. Throughout the nineteenth century, the performer reigned supreme, and fidelity to creators' intentions was a foreign concept, at best of purely academic interest.


Furtwängler inherited this outlook. Even though he labored to find the inner meaning of each work, he had such an overwhelming personality that his approach, despite the validity of his musical thought, was not necessarily on the same wavelength as the composers themselves. All the more remarkable, then, that for one critical moment his personal torment coincided so precisely with that of Bruckner that it yielded a performance that is as close as we will ever come to a perfect melding of composer and performer.


The composition of the
Symphony # 9 consumed the last agonized decade of Bruckner's life. He was a peasant who craved acceptance but was crushed by the snubs of society and the critical establishment. His music was strikingly original, but the cultural gatekeepers of the time insisted on editing and reorchestrating it to conform to their own artistic norms. He was obsessed with morbidity, and was increasingly terrified by his own imminent end. He was deeply religious and dedicated his final work to God, but could not comprehend how God could refuse him the strength and inspiration to finish it.

The symphony is incomplete in far more than the immediate sense of lacking a final movement; Bruckner clearly struggled for something new and far-reaching but ultimately died unable to realize it. The first movement, in particular, seems fragmentary and rough. Every other conductor tries to smooth the score into a cohesive whole. Furtwängler's approach, though, is far, far different.


Furtwängler once said that "an interpreter can render only what he has first lived through." Of all the conductors who have grappled with the complex challenges of the Bruckner
Ninth, Furtwängler was best positioned to understand what Bruckner had achieved. Bruno Walter had hinted at this when he observed that he never understood Bruckner until he became mortally ill. The Ninth is not a failed attempt at a cohesive artistic statement. Rather, it is a complete and perfect musical depiction of a tortured mind: a desperate snatch at a vision that grew ever more elusive, a vain quest for understanding and fulfillment in a world that would not provide it, a fevered groping for fragments of life in the lengthening shadow of death. As he wrestled with his Ninth Symphony, Bruckner stood at the very edge of that abyss. By late 1944, Furtwängler stood there too.

The first climax of the first movement heralds his emotion. The Berlin Philharmonic is fully controlled and its ensemble perfectly together, and yet the tempo is so unstable and dynamically alive that no note falls quite where its predecessors would suggest, as if to reflect the entire orchestra's heaving, nervous desperation. Furtwängler often spent entire rehearsals polishing crucial transitions, but not here; he chops the first movement into dozens of inconclusive fragments, deliberately wrenching the mood from lilting lyricism to raw savagery, the tempos from standstill to runaway, and dynamics from inaudible to heavily overloaded. The movement ends in screaming trumpets, a primordial burst of sheer abject terror as both Bruckner and Furtwängler confronted the most horrifying fear of all: that at the very end of their struggles there would be only a void.


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Debate over Furtwängler's wartime politics may continue to swirl among academics, historians and social philosophers, but his artistry confers the ultimate proof of his humanity. There is no room for subtlety or doubt. No one sensitive to the interpretation of music can possibly mistake it.


Several critics have explained Furtwängler's art as melding two often conflicting principles. The first, a structural logic, sense of proportion and intellectual probing, was derived from Furtwängler's upbringing and is clearly evident in his early Polydors. The second – unbridled emotion and improvisation – was forged in the hideous caldron of Nazi Germany.

Great music never emerges from comfort, well-being and privilege. Rather, throughout the history of music, the finest work arises from the most trying of circumstances. All of the great artists – composers and performers – were tortured souls. Even Beethoven was a gifted but largely derivative composer until driven to the brink of suicide by deafness, the cruellest blow of all for a budding musician. Like his idol, Furtwängler's art was fueled by the loss of his own most treasured possession: the stability of an absolute artist, sheltered from sordid social and political reality.

All conductors take their music seriously, but Furtwängler was driven by a deeper urge: he saw music as a moral force which had the power to impel listeners toward the good. He believed that music was a biological index that reinforced the ideals of humanity, its sonic struggles between tension and relaxation moving the listener toward an objective understanding of one's position in the universe. Music to Furtwängler was nothing less than a search for the meaning of existence.


Furtwängler's spirituality lent a deeply religious aura to his concerts. Some reportedly ended in meditative silence, the audience quietly leaving without daring to break the rarified mood with applause. This phenomenon is suggested by a recording of a 1950 Stockholm concert (on Music & Arts CD-799) in which a smattering of hesitant clapping begins a full 20 seconds after the final sustained note of Sibelius's
En Saga evaporates.

Furtwängler's method was the antithesis of the typical autocratic conductor who forces himself upon an orchestra. Henry Holst, who played under both leaders, recalled that Toscanini demanded, whereas Furtwängler persuaded. Rather than imposing a rigid frame on his musicians, Furtwängler wanted to cultivate an organic performance by nurturing his orchestra's inspiration. Furtwängler explained the conductor's role as "the outpouring of spiritual energy into a body of instrumentalists [which] creates the material quality of the sound produced, together with its rhythmical, harmonic and tonal life."


To achieve this partnership, Furtwängler used the most unconventional baton technique ever known. He refused to give the types of precise cues upon which musicians rely for cohesion and ensemble. Rather, as Holst observed, "Furtwängler wanted a precision that grew out of the players' own initiative, as in chamber music." Hans Peter Schmitz, a flutist in the Berlin Philharmonic, recalled that Furtwängler never beat time as such, but rather drew melodic shapes in an effort to depict the organic cohesion of a piece. Karl Schumann described Furtwängler's bizarre gestures as "agogic," concerned only with flow, continuity and expression.

Music works best as an autonomous form of art. While music occasionally can blend well with certain other art forms such as dance (to produce ballet) and poetry (to create song), the most affecting musical experiences have no need of such linkage. The greatest music, like all great performing art, rarely translates well into verbiage. The mere fact that Furtwängler's technique was so often described, both by himself and by others, in such vague and abstract terms serves as powerful testimony to the depth of his intrinsically musical quality. And yet, such obtuse language carries with it an underlying frustration in denying us the ability to envision and to understand just how Furtwängler achieved what he did.


Attempts to crystallize such nebulous accounts into a visual image would be all but impossible were it not for a few precious newsreel clips of Furtwängler rehearsals. Several are contained in a recent video,
The Art of Conducting: Great Conductors of the Past (Teldec 4504-95038-3). The most intriguing clip shows Furtwängler in the throes of eliciting an emotion-drenched account of the last three minutes of the Brahms Symphony # 4.

Words can barely convey the bizarre spectacle of Furtwängler's technique, which violinist Hugh Bean once described as "a puppet on a string" (to which perhaps should be added: "held by a spastic puppeteer"). His right hand and baton roughly keep the beat, his left hand weaves round, flowing patterns having no apparent connection with the music, and his head and torso constantly jerk convulsively. How any orchestra could derive meaningful, much less expressive, cues from such seemingly random movements is amazing; that the Berlin Philharmonic could produce readings of compelling unity and power is simply miraculous.


But despite our natural fascination with seeing the process of artistic creation, of far greater significance is an artist's success in translating his technique into valid musical terms. For that, we have the resource of Furtwängler's recorded legacy.


Furtwängler flatly rejected the modernist notion of a standardized process by which a conductor simply assures the accurate playing of the written score. Legend has it that he once stormed out of a Toscanini concert, cursing the Maestro as a mere "time-beater." Furtwängler felt that a valid performance required him to internalize a score, completely identify with the composer and then vicariously repeat the act of creation, transmitting anew the tonal conception he heard inwardly. In the process, Furtwängler sought to master all the unique gestures and details of a work and then weave them into an organic whole. His vision, although deeply personal, was never arbitrary, but always sought inspiration in the mind of the composer.


One of the clearest examples of the validity of his unusual approach is found in the opening of Beethoven's
Symphony # 7. The work begins with four full orchestral chords, separated by increasingly complex wind figures. There is nothing in the score to indicate anything other than a sharp attack; indeed, every other known recording presents the chords with as much precision as the orchestra can muster – a rapt call to attention and nothing more. In each Furtwängler recording, though, the chords are blurred and rough, each instrument emerging tentatively and out of synch. The impression is one of great effort, as if the chords had to struggle to overcome the smothering silence.

This is no mere empty rhetorical flourish. Rather, it reflects Furtwängler's rethinking of the entire work. Most conductors adhere to Berlioz's famous characterization of the
Symphony # 7 as an apotheosis of the dance and emphasize its abundant grace and rhythmic drive. Furtwängler, though, placed the work in a far deeper region of Beethoven's psyche and performs it as a profound meditation on the elemental struggle between energy and fatigue, lightness and dark, motion and stasis. His opening chords are both the introduction to and the distillation of his vision.

Another extraordinary example of Furtwängler's art can be heard in his very last recording. The third act of Wagner's
Die Walküre begins with the famous "Ride of the Valkyries" (often heard as an orchestral excerpt) in which the swirling excitement builds to wave after wave of thrilling climaxes. As eight warrior-sisters arrive at a rocky summit and boast of their exploits, the effect is indeed thrilling, with the sopranos belting out their ecstatic lines over the thrashing full orchestra. But Furtwängler recognized the inherent problem with playing this scene at full boil, a temptation which no other conductor seems able to resist: the remaining hour of the act, in which all of the important thematic action occurs, can seem awfully lax by comparison.

To Furtwängler, the "Ride of the Valkyries," as exciting as it can be, must yield to the far more serious business of Act III: the battle of wills between Brunhilde, the errant oldest daughter, and her father Wotan, the head of the gods. In a long, deeply moving scene, she begs forgiveness which he cannot grant without destroying his own authority, and ultimately is punished with banishment and mortality. Furtwängler deliberately forgoes the initial thrill for a more valid overall dramatic progression.


His recording heralds the drama perfectly, both in tempo and in texture. He begins the "Ride" at a brisk pace, but then gradually decelerates so that Brunhilde arrives not on a buoyant note of ecstasy but crushed by impending tragedy. The feeling is reinforced by the orchestral balances: shimmering and nearly devoid of bass at the outset but then gradually deepening so that the climax is mired in a heavy sludge of sound. As with the Beethoven, there is nothing in the score to suggest this; rather, Furtwängler reconceives the score in highly individual terms in order to elicit Wagner's overall meaning.


Furtwängler is often described as a "slow" conductor, but that reputation is only half true. Furtwängler favored extreme tempos, both slow and fast. The overall feeling of torpor is due far more to the bass-heavy sonority and reverberant concert halls Furtwängler favored than to the pulse itself.


Perhaps the most striking instance of Furtwängler's exaggerated tempos is found at the very end of Beethoven's
Symphony # 9 ("Choral"), which Furtwängler regarded as the greatest of masterworks. Right before the end the final words of the chorus are slow and stately. This passage leads abruptly to an orchestral coda, marked "presto," which most conductors indeed take at a healthy clip. In each of his recordings, though, Furtwängler brings the pulse to a near-halt and then plunges into the coda at a superhuman pace more than twice as fast as any other recording, so fast that the musicians cannot possibly play the notes accurately. The musical sense becomes utterly lost and the work invariably ends in a jumble of confusion.

Why mangle the final sublime moment of the ultimate orchestral work of the greatest composer in this way? Because Furtwängler reminds us just who Beethoven was – not a gentle genius but the great rebel who constantly pushed music into uncharted territory. Thus, Furtwängler ends the symphony not with a refined and satisfying aesthetic touch but with an uncontrolled explosive outburst, blowing away the bounds of musicianship and culture just as the composer himself had done. In a single gesture, Furtwängler transcends the immediate moment and even the symphony itself to integrate the coda into the entire life, personality and outlook of its composer. At the same time his daring approach empowers the modern listener to relive the shock felt by Beethoven's own audiences.


Furtwängler was a conceptual artist: his "why" is far more important than his "what." Furtwängler's conducting often seems mannered, quixotic and even arbitrary until we discern his reasons and then recognize that his artistry is driven by genius.


Hearing inspired Furtwängler interpretations like these is revelatory, leaving other performances to sound flat and routine. The depth of his thought is simply staggering. Furtwängler's true magic was his ability to convey worlds of new meaning within even the most familiar pieces.


In 1937, Furtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic switched labels to HMV and recorded a Beethoven
Symphony # 5. Aside from richer sound and a first movement repeat, the performance is virtually identical to their earlier 1926 Polydor reading. The next year, they returned to the studio for a solid Tchaikovsky Symphony # 6 ("Pathetique") and several Wagner excerpts. All the HMVs are now on Biddulph WHL 006-7 (2 CDs). During the War itself, they recorded only Gluck's Alceste Overture, the Adagio from Bruckner's Symphony # 7 and an orchestration of the Cavatina from Beethoven's Quartet in B Flat, Opus 130. All three are collected on Teldec CD 9031-76435-2 and are far more remarkable for the unrelieved somberness of the repertoire than for any particular musical insight.

In purely artistic terms, the wartime studio recordings are barely significant. But from a psychological perspective, it seems amazing that such a sensitive artist was able to so fully suppress the turmoil and anguish that buffeted his personal and professional life. Perhaps this was an instinctive aversion to the unnatural mechanics of the recording process in which music was chopped into four-minute fragments and often recorded out of sequence, a system utterly repugnant to Furtwängler's organic approach to music. Or perhaps it was a measure of the extreme will power by which Furtwängler was able to erect a shield of artistic purity against which he refused to allow even the most intense outside political forces to intrude.


Whatever the reason, Furtwängler's emotional dam burst in concert. The first documentation of this change is heard in two marvelous London performances from May, 1937. Act III from Wagner's
Die Walküre (on Myto MCD 914.43) boasts a magnificent sense of headstrong flow and inevitability, while Beethoven's Symphony # 9 (on Music & Arts CD 818) is gripping and highly inflected. While lacking the ultimate abandon that would emerge during the war itself, these live renditions are far more intense and overtly dramatic than the Wagner and Beethoven pieces Furtwängler was recording in the studio for HMV.

Other than his own
Symphonic Concerto and some snippets from Wagner operas, we seem to have no further live Furtwängler recordings until 1942 to 1944, when Radio Berlin taped twenty concerts. By then, Furtwängler's artistry had become completely transformed.

The pickup consisted of a principal microphone at the podium, mixed at the back of the hall with 3 others; all were omnidirectional and picked up a lot of audience noise. The sound was relayed by telephone line to Radio Berlin headquarters, where it was recorded on machines in 20 minute segments on 14 inch reels of iron oxide tape running at 30 inches per second. Although 49 pieces reportedly were recorded, many of the tapes were lost, damaged or erased for reuse. The survivors were removed by Soviet occupation forces. After generating decades of Russian LP bootlegs, 22 were returned to Berlin in 1987. Nineteen were issued on ten DGG CDs in 1989. Now out of print, many have emerged on the American Music & Arts label.


Admittedly, it is rather difficult to listen to them today, knowing that the recordings originally were made to boost combat morale and that the highly audible audience coughs arose from the pampered throats of Nazi military and government elite. But such perverse uses of art aside, perhaps we can take some comfort in Furtwängler's hope that these broadcasts would also bolster the courage and humanity of civilian listeners. In any event, our ears know little of political correctness; none of the performances is less than fascinating, and more than a few are among the most intense of all time.


If there is a single common quality to all of these performances, it is the extreme cohesion between conductor and orchestra, hard enough to find in standard readings but nearly impossible to achieve when the interpretation is impulsive and radically reconceived. This remarkable quality arose from the symbiosis between Furtwängler and the Berlin Philharmonic, whose mutual needs were both artistic and practical. The orchestra needed Furtwängler, without whose adoration by Hitler they would have lost their government subsidy and faced disbandment; indeed, the intensity of their playing has been ascribed to the fear that each performance might have been their last. And Furtwängler equally needed his players, his self-described "right arm," whose 20-year association enabled the musicians to understand and respond meaningfully to his bizarre gestures in a way that no other ensemble ever approached.


The magic bond is confirmed by both records and anecdotes. Wartime concerts have recently surfaced featuring Furtwängler conducting the Beethoven
Symphony # 9 with the Stockholm Philharmonic (on Music & Arts CD-2002) and the Bruckner Symphony # 8 with the Vienna Philharmonic (on Music & Arts CD-764). Both works were Furtwängler specialties, but the readings lack even a hint of the gripping tension he regularly achieved with the Berlin Philharmonic. Also indicative of the Berlin players' unique understanding of their leader are the abundant tales from other orchestras, ranging from the Italian concertmaster who mistook Furtwängler's incomprehensible baton motions for nervousness and sought to reassure him, to the quip of a German musician that he knew when to start playing only by sitting down and counting to ten.

Among the highlights of the DGG series is a Strauss
Sinfonia Domestica (on 427 781-2) that actually makes structural and dramatic sense of this diffuse, sprawling drivel; a frighteningly intense Beethoven Symphony # 7 (on 427 775-2) in which the finale accelerates completely out of control; a deeply-felt Brahms Piano Concerto # 2 (on 427 776-2) with Furtwängler's philosophical soul-mate Edwin Fischer as soloist; a haunting Sibelius En Saga (on 421 783-2, the effect of which unfortunately is compromised by extreme audience noise); a boldly impassioned Bruckner Symphony # 5 (on 427 774-2); a deeply mystical Beethoven Symphony # 4 (on 421 777-2); and, perhaps most surprising, a soaring Ravel Daphnis et Chloe Suite (on 427 783-2). Perhaps the best DGG disc of all is 427 781-2, which combines a powerful Schubert Symphony # 9 with a Weber Freischutz Overture that ranks as the finest example on record of Furtwängler's acclaimed ability to color and shape each individual phrase with a world of expressive insight.

The very best of the wartime performances, though, are found outside the DGG series. A December 1944 Beethoven
Symphony # 3 ("Eroica") (Music & Arts CD 814) is massive but with a sharp nervous undertone unmatched in any other recording. A 1943 performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto with George Kulenkampff transforms the usual fleet virtuostic display piece into a mournful study of mystery and menace. There is also an emphatic 1942 "Prelude and Leibestod" from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde (Music & Arts CD 730) and ecstatic Brahms Symphonies 2 and 4 from January 1945 and November 1943 (Music & Arts CD 804). An absolutely staggering January 1945 account of the finale of the Brahms Symphony # 1 (Music & Arts CD 805) was recorded at

Even more startling is a March 1942 performance of Beethoven's
Symphony # 9 on Music & Arts CD 653. John Ardoin's fine notes aptly describe it as a reading "of cyclonic fury, ... frightening and exhausting, ... drenched with torment, anger and a sense of struggle." Ardoin attributes this approach to Furtwängler's "acute awareness that ... one of the noblest utterances of the human spirit was being voiced in a country engaged in some of the most appalling atrocities to be committed in the 20th century," which led Furtwängler to "somehow attempt through the music to alter or reverse the events surrounding him." Regardless of whether this performance qualifies as idiomatic Beethoven, it is an astounding example of Furtwängler's ability to fully internalize and then regenerate a work as his own.

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Although nothing could eclipse the unparalleled power of the opening, the wonders of this radical reworking of the Bruckner
Ninth do not end with the shattering climax of the first movement. Furtwängler whips the scherzo and trio from a slightly menacing waltz and bucolic pastorale into a furiously driven, vertiginous ride to damnation. He then gradually builds the unintended adagio finale to a terrifying dissonance, after which the exhausted fragments wither into eternal silence.

None of this is explicit in the score. It took Furtwängler to recognize and recreate an absolutely perfect depiction of a single mind and, by extension, an entire world on the brink of collapse.


Furtwängler may have been pushed to the very edge by the pressure and ambivalence of his role, but by early 1945 Nazi tolerance of Furtwängler's insolence had reached the breaking point as well. As the Thousand Year Reich lurched toward its early end, SS Chief Heinrich Himmler prepared to launch a grim final legacy: improving the world by ridding it of disloyal Germans who had thwarted faultless leadership and betrayed their nation's destiny of global domination.


The Gestapo had compiled a huge dossier on Furtwängler, who was near the top of their blacklist; as Himmler so delicately put it, "There is no Jew, filthy as he may be, for whom Furtwängler does not stretch out a helping hand." Under pretext of complicity in a failed July 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler, Furtwängler was targeted for liquidation. Albert Speer, chief architect of the Reich and an ardent admirer, warned Furtwängler that he had to flee for his life.


After conducting in Vienna, Furtwängler claimed to have fallen and suffered a concussion and informed Berlin that his return would have to be delayed until he recuperated. On February 7, 1945 he escaped to Switzerland. There, he reunited with his wife, who had gone earlier to give birth to his only legitimate child. (Furtwängler had fathered at least four other children, all of whom he acknowledged and supported.)


In Switzerland, he was in limbo. German sympathizers considered him a traitor, while others deemed him a collaborator. In a sense, Furtwängler's predicament was fundamentally unfair. We rarely condemn doctors or clergymen who stay behind to attend to the medical or spiritual needs of the civilian population in wartime. Why, then, should an artist who tries to preserve the cultural health of the populace be held to a different humanitarian standard?


In any event, Furtwängler was unable to work pending a denazification investigation, which was delayed until the conclusion of the Nuremburg war crimes trial, a proceeding that ultimately consumed an entire year. The Allied command was not to be rushed, as they considered Furtwängler's celebrity to be a useful symbol of defeated Germany.


During this period, Furtwängler composed his
Symphony # 2, which he intended as his artistic testament. But instead of the seething, emotional catharsis suggested by the circumstances of its composition, or a beleaguered artist's visionary escape into new tonal territory, the sprawling work is a pastiche of older styles, meandering among glimmers of Brahms, Strauss, Sibelius and Bruckner without ever asserting an identity of its own.

Admittedly, its virtues are obscured by the blandness of Furtwängler's own indifferent 1951 DG studio runthrough with the Berlin Philharmonic. Far more convincing is his blazing 1953 Vienna concert version (on Orfeo CD 375 941). Even so, it is clear that Furtwängler sought refuge in the past and that his talent lay in interpretation rather than innovation.

Perhaps more revealing of Furtwängler’s post-War psyche and aesthetic outlook is his last composition, his
Symphony # 3 in c-sharp minor. Although lacking Bruckner’s assertive themes or wide emotional range, its massive, sprawling, thickly-scored sobriety evoke that composer, yet ironically they share more than fundamental style – like Bruckner’s Ninth, despite intensive effort Furtwängler died unable to achieve the finale.

Noting that Furtwängler always considered himself primarily a composer for whom conducting was a practicality, Gottfried Kraus felt that the work was a creative means to overcome the crises in his life. In his diary Furtwängler stated that he “wanted to make neither a mystical and mathematical construction nor an ironical and skeptical consideration of the time but nothing more and nothing less than a tragedy.” The three completed movements, marked largo, allegro and adagio, were entitled “Disaster,” “Under compulsion to life” and “Beyond.” (The finale was to have been “The conflict continues.”) A fine realization is a 1980 concert (Orfeo CD 406 961) by the Bayeriches Staatsorchester conducted by Wolfgang Sawallich, who sees the Third as reflecting strong personal values in an introverted, confessional work that extends the general mourning of the time into deeply spiritual spheres.

Furtwängler's trial began on December 11, 1946. Based on its preliminary investigation, the tribunal conceded that Furtwängler was not part of any National Socialist organization, that he avoided outward obeisance to the Nazis and that he tried to help persecuted people because of their race. Even so, Furtwängler stood accused of holding one official position (the nettlesome Staatsrat), performing at one Nazi function, uttering one anti-Semitic slur, and generally serving the purposes of the Nazi regime. The first three were readily rebutted or explained, but the last was troublesome. It was, quite simply, guilt by association.


Furtwängler had no attorney and was ill prepared to defend himself. As Yehudi Menuhin observed: "Furtwängler was the last of an age that did not expect a man to be both a creator and a salesman at the same time. He explained himself badly." Even so, Furtwängler tried to convince the tribunal that he had to cooperate with the government to some extent in order to work against it from within the system. This, of course, is the principle of all underground movements. Thus, Furtwängler conceded that he had to couch correspondence in the Nazis' preferred racial language: "To a certain degree I had to fight with their weapons; otherwise I could not have achieved anything."


After a week-long recess, Furtwängler presented several persuasive character witnesses who swore to his unstinting rescue efforts. Furtwängler's summation proudly defended his record: "The fear of being misused for propaganda purposes was wiped out by the greater concern for preserving German music as far as this was possible. I could not leave Germany in her deepest misery. To get out at that moment would have been a shameful flight. I am a German, whatever may be thought of that abroad. I do not regret having done it for the German people."


Furtwängler was fully acquitted. The
New York Times, though, published a distorted account of the trial and its outcome, implying that the charges against Furtwängler essentially had been proven. This influential report was picked up by wire services, spread throughout the free world, and hardened public opinion against Furtwängler.

The persistence of this cruel fiction throughout the rest of Furtwängler's life is preserved in two reference books published in 1954, his final year. David Ewen's
Encyclopedia of Concert Music refers to Furtwängler's "intimate associations with the Nazi regime," and the updated Grove's Dictionary of Music noted: "Under the Nazi regime in Germany, and particularly during the second world war, Furtwängler seems to have enjoyed a privileged position."

Only in recent times has such innuendo been superseded by a more balanced view. Thus, the current edition of Compton's Encyclopedia reports: "He had difficulties with the Nazi government in the early 1930s but an uneasy truce was made. In Germany he was generally considered anti-Nazi, but elsewhere a conspirator." Encarta goes even further: "Although he remained in Germany through most of World War II, he opposed the Nazi regime and was exonerated of charges of collaboration."

Even though he had been completely absolved, Furtwängler still could not work until the Allied Command certified to his "normalization," a procedure that dragged on for 5 months. At long last, the papers were issued and the final phase of Furtwängler's career was at hand.


For his first concert in over two years Furtwängler chose an all-Beethoven program with the Berlin Philharmonic, which was hurriedly scheduled for May 25, 1947. Fittingly, the program duplicated the first concert Furtwängler had led upon resuming activity after the Hindemith affair.


Throughout the war, to minimize friction over his refusal to give the Nazi salute, Furtwängler had briskly strode to the podium, baton in hand, and immediately began conducting. This time, he made a normal entrance. The audience understood the gesture and gave him a fifteen minute ovation. Furtwängler then proceeded to pour into Beethoven all of the repressed emotions he had withheld from his own second symphony. The
Symphony # 5 progresses from a grimly powerful opening to an ecstatic explosion of triumph. And the transition from the thunderstorm to the pastoral hymn of thanksgiving in the Symphony # 6 has never been rendered with such exquisite earnestness. The event is preserved on Music & Arts CD-789.

Clearly, Furtwängler seized upon the deep symbolism of these works and through them recreated his own personal odyssey from misery to freedom. The symbolism was extended two weeks later, when Furtwängler devoted his first post-war concert with the Vienna Philharmonic to an all-Mendelssohn program, whose works had been among the first to have been banned by the Nazis.


Furtwängler quickly reestablished his reputation in most of Europe. Even Toscanini, who had demonized Furtwängler throughout the war, was quoted in 1948 as considering him the second best conductor in the world (Toscanini, of course, being the first).


But much of the rest of the world did not forget as quickly. Furtwängler concerts outside of German-speaking countries were protested, especially in England and Holland. Plagued with guilt over his country's misdeeds, Furtwängler refused to challenge misperceptions over his past and backed away from confrontation. As a sad indication of this extreme post-war sensitivity, Joachim Kaiser recalls how Furtwängler was greatly impressed at a 1950 Leonard Bernstein concert in Amsterdam but resisted any attempt to express his admiration for fear that even a passing contact could damage the young American's career.


America remained especially elusive. In 1949, Furtwängler was offered the helm of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, but the announcement provoked a firestorm of protests, fueled by rumors of collaboration and fanned by jealous rival conductors. The most sought-after soloists, including Artur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz and Jascha Heifetz, all warned that they would boycott any orchestra that engaged Furtwängler.

Yehudi Menuhin, who had heard many testimonials among the displaced people for whom he played in Europe following the war and who was the first Jew to perform again with Furtwängler, attempted to air the facts, but to little avail. Bruno Walter accurately summed up the problem as the one which would haunt Furtwängler for the rest of his life: as Germany's most prominent musician, he became an unwitting magnet for anti-German frustrations. The matter was concluded when the Chicago musicians union refused Furtwängler a work permit.


Furtwängler settled in Switzerland and wanted to remain free-lance, but his hand was forced by von Karajan, who desperately coveted the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic. Largely as a defensive measure, Furtwängler agreed to become the orchestra's Music Director for life in January 1952 on condition that he have full and exclusive control over all its activities.


But rather than settle into the contented life of a tenured master, Furtwängler remained pursued by demons. His hearing had declined to the point where he wore headphones at rehearsals and feared that the impairment would soon compromise his integrity. He felt mired in a golden culture of the past which history had left behind. He was still tarred by the very politics he had abhorred. And an upcoming Berlin Philharmonic tour of the United States promised a repeat of the bitter Chicago protests of 1949.


In late October 1954, exhausted from completing a Vienna studio version of Wagner's massive opera
Die Walküre, Furtwängler was diagnosed with pneumonia. His doctors were confident of his full recovery, but his depression grew. He confided to his wife that he no longer wanted to live. For the first time in two decades, Furtwängler got what he wanted. But so did von Karajan, who eagerly replaced him, led the Berlin Philharmonic on a triumphant US tour, and in appreciation for his services was made the orchestra's new permanent conductor, a power-base to which he would cling for the remaining thirty-four years of his life and parlay into the most profitable career in the history of music.

Furtwängler hated the recording process as freezing an art that should constantly evolve and be recreated anew. And yet, after the war he succumbed to the studio, waxing dozens of works with the Vienna Philharmonic. Among the best are exquisitely polished accounts of the Beethoven
Symphonies # 3 ("Eroica") and # 6 ("Pastorale") on EMI CDH 7 63033 2 and CDH 7 63034 2. Only a handful have been converted to CD, but the loss is not that severe.

All display a fine sense of architecture and are well-played but lack the inspiration of his prime work. Perhaps Furtwängler knew that only the Berlin Philharmonic could respond with instinctive precision to his impulses and therefore didn't even attempt spontaneous wonders with other ensembles. Or perhaps Furtwängler sensed that he could discharge his distasteful studio assignments most efficiently by avoiding any unusual interpretive features that might produce flaws and require retakes.

Furtwängler poured into his concerts an artistic vision that had become transformed through his life experiences. As John Ardoin aptly observes in
The Furtwängler Record, the pre-war recordings found Furtwängler at the height of technical achievement, recreating sound through the combined resources of mind and heart; during the war years his technique was tempered by a powerful sense of history and rage; and finally, all that had gone before was recast through a hard-won serenity and sense of perspective. The post-war concerts are monumental, the power of the past now embedded in pride and dignity.

Furtwängler's most famous post-war concert took place on July 29, 1951 at the rededication of the Festival Hall at Bayreuth and fully exemplifies his transformed outlook. Inaugurated 75 years earlier by Richard Wagner for the presentation of his operas, Bayreuth had become the embodiment of German musical culture. Furtwängler, himself the paradigm of German classical tradition, was the obvious choice to reopen the theater. To Furtwängler, the occasion had deep personal significance, as it symbolized the reemergence of German culture from the ashes of wartime politics and thus reflected and vindicated the very philosophy to which he had adhered during the war and for which he had suffered so greatly.


To Furtwängler, only one work in all of music could possibly suffice for such a momentous event: Beethoven's
Symphony # 9. The performance stands in striking contrast to his astounding 1942 Berlin performance. The timings of the movements are virtually identical, but there all similarity ends. Each reading is overwhelmingly passionate, but conceived in utterly divergent terms. The wartime performance is organized around slashing, brutal climaxes, while the Bayreuth concert builds its power subtly into a seething continuum. Fury has yielded to spirituality. Animal ferocity has evolved into human emotion. If the Berlin performance was a cry of desperation, the Bayreuth concert was a valedictory confirmation of the ultimate triumph of the artistic spirit. Furtwängler's achievement, both personal and aesthetic, is absolutely magnificent.

Furtwängler could never bring himself to make a studio recording of this favorite work, and so after his death his widow arranged for release of the tape of the Bayreuth concert. It became a best-seller when first issued in 1955 on RCA LM-6043, and has remained in print for succeeding generations through reissues on Angel's Great Recordings of the Century (COLH 78-79), Seraphim budget LPs (IB-6068) and now EMI CD 7 69801 2. It is hard to imagine a more fitting and lasting tribute to the man and to his art.


Furtwängler's other great post-war achievement was in opera. Furtwängler avoided the silly, contrived fluff that leads to ridicule of the genre, turning instead to works that have something profound to say about the human condition. Virtuoso CDs present magnificent Salzburg Festival performances of Verdi's
Otello (on 2697382), Mozart's Magic Flute (2699192), Mozart's Don Giovanni (2699052) and Weber's Der Freischutz (2697222). These performances are of particular appeal to those who tend to shy away from opera, since Furtwängler took a symphonic approach to the music and deemphasized the libretto.

Furtwängler's closest identification in the public mind was with Wagner, who had transformed German music with an aesthetic that was as revolutionary and brilliant as his racist political writings were reactionary and depraved. The summit of Wagner's art was
The Ring of the Nibelung, a series of four operas lasting over fifteen hours which tell a sweeping mythological tale of mortal and godly creation, evolution, love, greed, betrayal and downfall. Extraordinary vocal and scenic demands render the mounting of even a single Ring opera rare enough, but Furtwängler led two complete post-war cycles in Italy. (It is a true testament to the Italians' love of opera that they would lavish their resources on the revival of this summit of German art!)

The first Furtwängler
Ring was recorded live in 1950 at the famous La Scala opera house in Milan. A 1952 Rome "sampler" of Act I of Die Walküre and Act III of Gotterdämmerung is on Music and Arts CD 866 (2 CDs).

Opera fanatics will forever debate the relative merits of the two full cycles. The La Scala set is swifter and boasts the spontaneous excitement (as well as the flaws, noise, awkward balances and grueling exhaustion) of a real opera performance, while the Rome broadcasts are more relaxed and better recorded. For some fans, the choice is dictated by the female lead: the icy beauty of Kirsten Flagstad in 1950 or the rougher drama of Martha Mödl in 1953. True opera buffs would never part with either set and rank both among the finest Wagner ever recorded.

But it was
Fidelio to which Furtwängler kept returning. Not only was this the sole opera of his beloved Beethoven, but its theme of fidelity and love triumphing over political repression struck a deep chord within Furtwängler's own experiences.

The final act, in particular, throbs with heartfelt commitment under Furtwängler's baton, from its opening in the dungeon as Florestan hallucinates hope, through his devoted wife's daring rescue, the thwarting of the murder scheme, the lovers' fervent embrace, a sublime orchestral "underture" which blends all of these themes, and the final cathartic choruses in praise of love, devotion and liberty.


Furtwängler viewed
Fidelio more as a Mass than a mere opera. As he wrote in 1950, "What Beethoven was trying to express in Fidelio ... extends beyond the narrow limits of a musical composition; it touches the heart of every human being and will always appeal directly to the conscience of Europe. ... The emotions expressed in the whole of this music ... are ... the constituents of a religion of humanity. After all that we have experienced and suffered in recent times, this religious faith has never seemed so essential as it does today." Furtwängler led post-war performances of Fidelio as a moral imperative. It is no coincidence that the truly great recordings of Fidelio (Toscanini (RCA 60273), Furtwängler and Bernstein (DGG 419 436)) were all crafted by men of deep social and political conscience.

Fortunately, beyond a bland 1953 studio version we have three recordings of Furtwängler
Fidelios: a 1948 Salzburg performance, incomplete and in rotten sound but the most fleet and overtly dramatic (on Melodram CDM 25009), a glowing 1950 Salzburg version with a dream cast (on EMI CDM 7 64901 2) and a profound 1953 Vienna performance (on Virtuoso 2697272 or EMI CDHB 64496).

Furtwängler's post-war orchestral repertoire ranged from Bach and Handel through Hoeller, Blacher, Fortner and other contemporaries. But his most memorable interpretations were of the nineteenth century German symphonic literature (especially Beethoven, Brahms and Bruckner), to which he brought unique insight. The most fascinating of his performances are listed in the sidebar. As a general rule, though, it's hard to go far wrong with any Furtwängler concert.

In a 1948 BBC interview, Furtwängler insisted that "the conductor has one arch-enemy to fight: routine." While he may ultimately have succumbed to the wounds of life's other battles, this was the one fight that Furtwängler undeniably won. As
New York Times critic Harold Schonberg concluded: "It is safe to say that never in his life did Furtwängler give a routine performance."

Karl Schumann has observed that Furtwängler had no direct successors, since his personality, experiences and subjective outlook were truly unique. Thus, while the specific approach of a Toscanini could be copied (and was, quite extensively), the highly personal vision of a Furtwängler could only be caricatured. And yet, Toscanini's vast former popularity has waned, while Furtwängler has become the inspiration of a host of performers willing to trust their vision and artistic instincts above tradition and the written score.


Foremost among these is Sergiu Celibidache (pronounced "Chell-ee-bee-DAY-chee"), who was as close as Furtwängler ever came to having a protege. His career, like Furtwängler's, has been seeped in mystique and controversy. Fans laud his eccentricities as the hallmarks of genius; others condemn them as the signs of a charlatan.

During the long wait for Furtwängler's trial and rehabilitation, the leadership of the Berlin Philharmonic fell to this unknown Rumanian music student who had won a contest and apparently was one of the very few conductors whose politics and wartime activities were above suspicion. Upon his return, Furtwängler retained Celibidache as his assistant. Several of Celibidache's Berlin Philharmonic concerts from 1948 to 1953 are preserved on Hunt 734 (3 CDs) and are quite similar in style to Furtwängler.


Celibidache's recording career is surely the shortest in modern history, having both begun and ended in 1948, when he cut records of Tchaikovsky's
Symphony # 5 and Nutcracker Suite (now on London 425 958-2). Their passion, impulse and freshness already mark Celibidache daring to take his master's qualities to the extreme. Among the conductors' other shared values was their aversion toward recordings. But Celibidache magnified his mentor's mere distaste into abject hatred, proclaiming recordings to be obscene, "like a photograph of love-making." Lacking Furtwängler's practical willingness to accommodate, following his early venture Celibidache has steadfastly refused to set foot ever again in a recording studio.

Another quirk which Celibidache refused to compromise was his insistence upon a dozen or more rehearsals for every concert, many times the number any commercially responsible orchestra could possibly afford. Consequently, Celibidache's activities were effectively limited to occasional projects with heavily subsidized European radio ensembles. His immense talent is preserved in tapes of some of those broadcasts. The results are truly awesome and prove the value of his unorthodox approach: under his baton and attention, even the most provincial group plays with the assurance and subtlety of the Vienna Philharmonic.


A further benefit of Celibidache's rehearsal mania was that by solving performance problems beforehand he was free to explore unconventional interpretations that enthralled audiences bored with safe and indifferent runthroughs of familiar repertoire. Like Furtwängler, Celibidache prefers slow tempos, but unlike his mentor rarely opts for extreme speed as well. He also eschews Furtwängler's sense of melodrama in favor of blending dynamics and sonority into a continuous emotional flow.


In the late 1970s Celibidache began to settle down, gravitating first toward the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra and then the Munich Philharmonic, of which he has now become the permanent conductor. The Exclusive, Artists Live and Originals labels have all released concerts that evidence even a finer sheen than Celibidache was able to achieve with the earlier Italian ensembles. His artistic temperament is ideally suited to Bruckner, and concerts of the
Mass # 3 (on Exclusive 37/38), the Symphony # 3 (on Exclusive 59), the Symphonies 4 and 9 (on Exclusive 23/24), the Symphonies 5 and 8 (on Exclusive 44/46) and the Symphony # 6 (on Artists Live FED 063) shine a uniquely mesmerizing light on their sprawling structures.

For having scorned the expected role of the congenial, cosmopolitan, well-recorded modern maestro, Celibidache is often dismissed by the musical establishment as an insignificant kook. But his work is utterly unique, and in our days of boring perfunctory standardization, that in itself makes him invaluable.


Celibidache apparently refuses to discuss his feelings toward Furtwängler. But he doesn't have to. Furtwängler's artistic soul and spirit clearly infuse his work and endure through his talent.


It has been said that the truest measure of a man often lies in the esteem of his enemies. And so it is that the most intriguing pendant to the Furtwängler saga summons once again his younger nemesis.


After taking the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic upon Furtwängler's death, Herbert von Karajan won unprecedented fame and fortune by polishing his performances to a superhuman precision, purging the music of any vestige of human emotion, as if to deliberately suppress memories of the approach of his predecessor. And yet, decades after Furtwängler's tortured demise, toward the end of his own charmed life, the wealthiest and most successful musician of all time seems to have become haunted with a most peculiar concern. Reportedly, even while bathed in constant public adulation by legions of sycophants and forever ecstatic audiences, von Karajan would privately despair and scowl at all the acclaim.


What doubt possibly could have troubled the mind of the world's greatest musician? That Furtwängler wouldn't have approved!


Furtwängler continued

30 November

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