Ready for our next installment of “on this day”? I wanted to call it “this week in history” for a while, but am too lazy. It’s still divided by day, and you can still go right to the “on this day” link to view the week’s post if you’re dying to know what happened musically when you get up in the morning. Let’s get started. Also, I’ll be in Shanghai for most of this week, so we will see if I can get a post up here or not.
1607 – L’Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi, one of the first works recognized as an opera, receives its première performance.
1711 – The London première of Rinaldo by George Frideric Handel, the first Italian opera written for the London stage.
Four people were born on this day that I’ve never really heard of. On to deaths:
2001 – Theodore Marier, American composer and educator, founded the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School
2002 – Leo Ornstein, Ukrainian-American pianist and composer
I’m a little perturbed. I know Leo Ornstein lived to be 108 (check the last music post for a piece by this dude), and that he died in 2002 or 2003. Do the math. The listing here said
he was born in 1912, but he was actually almost TWENTY years old by that time. The actual article on Ornstein has the correct dates. The dude lived a very long time. I covered this in the post here.
Lots of war happened today. Lots of war making, not much music making.
1906 – Boris Papandopulo, Croatian composer and conductor
1918 – Rena Kyriakou, Greek pianist and composer
1971 – Peter Jablonski, Swedish Concert Pianist
Some recognizable names in there. Well, maybe just one. Deaths:
1906 – Anton Arensky, Russian pianist and composer (we will eventually be talking about this guy, too. And his teacher).
2006 – Thomas Koppel, Danish pianist and composer (this guy apparently also had a pop music career, as well, but wrote string quartets, a piano concerto, a ballet, and operas. Dunno about his pop music endeavors.)
Again, not much musical on this unmusical Wednesday. Let’s see who began and ended. Births:
1879 – Frank Bridge, English violist and composer (this guy wrote a piano sonata that I discovered last week and am quite enamored with. It will certainly have its day here soon. I didn’t know he was a violist. Maybe I did.)
1930 – Lazar Berman, Russian pianist (This guy’s good, but he refuses to play Chopin. He entered a Chopin competition in Warsaw years ago and didn’t even qualify. Pride was hurt and he vowed never to play Chopin again. Interesting career choice.).
(1932 – Johnny Cash, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor (not at all classical, I know, but of interest perhaps.))
1969 – Hitoshi Sakimoto, Japanese composer (for video games, I know, but that stuff is getting popular. A dubious inclusion)
1913 – Felix Draeseke, German composer (Gah!!! This guy also wrote a piano sonata that I just discovered and am pretty interested in. Important in the musical scene in his era, but was regarded as unable to make his long-term stay in the history books of music. Seems this is true. I don’t know that many people have ever heard of him, but his first piano sonata was hailed by Liszt as being of great significance.)
1981 – Howard Hanson, American composer
A birth and a death of some people I hadn’t heard of before just a few weeks ago. I will be covering the Draeseke and Bridge sonatas eventually, but I wonder how well-known these folks are. Who knows if I would ever have the chance to hear either of these works performed live (chances are, living here, much less, but even something like the Reubke sonata, which might be slightly better-known, I also don’t have any hopes of hearing live like, ever.
Nothing of interest in history. Births:
1877 – Adela Verne, English pianist and composer
1943 – Morten Lauridsen, American composer and conductor
1947 – Gidon Kremer, Latvian violinist and conductor
1965 – Frank Peter Zimmermann, German violinist
1975 – Evgenia Manolidou, Greek composer and conductor (young!)
Lots of those today, with not a single person I know of. Deaths:
1878 – Artur Kapp, Estonian composer
1943 – Charles Bernstein, American composer (film and television music, and, no, they’re not related. I checked. (Also a dubious entry…)
1971 – Junya Nakano, Japanese composer (of video game music… I included the other guy, too).
1935 – Chiquinha Gonzaga, Brazilian pianist, composer, and conductor (Wikipedia article doesn’t say much about her classical career, but it certainly sounds like she fought hard for it)
2002 – Helmut Zacharias, German violinist and composer
2013 – Armando Trovajoli, Italian pianist and composer
We are skipping 2/29 this year, because there isn’t one. Moving on to March.
There has to be more going on in the musical world than these articles are saying. When was everything premiered?
1939 – Leo Brouwer, Cuban guitarist and composer
1958 – Chosei Komatsu, Japanese conductor
Nothing exciting here. Births:
1900 – Kurt Weill, German-American composer
1970 – Wibi Soerjadi, Dutch pianist and composer (this guy’s image on his Wiki page made me take this entry less than seriously, but then I read it. Seriously, look at this kid’s [I say kid. He’s much older than me, but doesn’t look it] image on Wikipedia, then go do an image search… is that the best they could do?) (Note to self: Read about Soerjadi)
2003 – Malcolm Williamson, Australian composer
And that’s another week of musical events.
It is becoming apparent to me as I do these that the frequency of titles in the list of births and deaths like composer, conductor, pianist, violinist, etc. become increasingly less frequent as we move toward the twentieth century. There is almost always a “German organist” or “Italian violinist and composer” or something in the sixteenth or seventeenth century births, if not a handful. As we move into the twentieth century, the births become “Jazz pianist and beatboxer” or “avant-garde impressionist fiddler” (not really, but you get the idea), and all the musicians are pop idols or rock stars. Jazz and ragtime and song composers comprise more and more of the ‘composer’ category than classical styles.
It’s interesting to see on any given day (I assume there is zero reason why any musical person would be born on one day as opposed to another, so I take the past few weeks’ patterns as indicative of every other day of the year) how there’s a general shift away from “Classical music” talent. More and more of the births in the 20th century are of footballers, serial killers, politicians, actors and actresses of unsavory films, and I have seen more than a few tug of war competitors. We shall keep digging through history to find musically significant people and events. Needless to say, Chopin wins this week’s “most notable” entry, although Ornstein, Bridge, and Draeseke will most certainly be making appearances, maybe sooner than later now that they’ve gotten mentions.