On this day: Week of Feb 24, 2014

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. 
Feb 24:
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. 
1842 – Arrigo Boito, Italian journalist, author, and composer
1846 – Luigi Denza, Italian composer 
1877 – Rudolph Ganz, Swiss pianist, conductor, and composer
1932 – Michel Legrand, French pianist, composer, and conductor
Four people were born on this day that I’ve never really heard of. On to deaths:
1666 – Nicholas Lanier, English composer and painter
1674 – Matthias Weckmann, German composer
1704 – Marc-Antoine Charpentier, French composer
1929 – André Messager, French pianist, composer, and conductor
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.

Feb 25:
Lots of war happened today. Lots of war making, not much music making. 
1651 – Johann Philipp Krieger, German organist and composer 
1708 – Felix Benda, Bohemian organist and composer
1727 – Armand-Louis Couperin, French organist and composer
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:
1643 – Marco da Gagliano, Italian composer
1682 – Alessandro Stradella, Italian composer
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.)
Feb 26:
Again, not much musical on this unmusical Wednesday. Let’s see who began and ended. Births:
1587 – Stefano Landi, Italian composer
1677 – Nicola Fago, Italian composer and educator
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.)
1910 – Olav Roots, Estonian pianist and composer (that is his real name. It struck me as odd). 
1924 – Mark Bucci, American composer and playwright 
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)
1552 – Heinrich Faber, German composer
1630 – William Brade, English violinist and composer
1770 – Giuseppe Tartini, Italian violinist and composer
1889 – Karl Davydov, Russian cellist and composer
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 
2013 – Marie-Claire Alain, French organist
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. 
Feb 27:
Nothing of interest in history. Births:
1702 – Johann Valentin Görner, German composer
1848 – Hubert Parry, English composer and historian
1870 – Louis Coerne, American composer and educator
1877 – Adela Verne, English pianist and composer 
1943 – Morten Lauridsen, American composer and conductor
1947 – Gidon Kremer, Latvian violinist and conductor
1954 – JoAnn Falletta, American 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:
1887 – Alexander Borodin, Russian composer and chemist (Composer and chemist; how cool is that?)
1978 – Vadim Salmanov, Russian composer
2003 – John Lanchbery, English-Australian composer and conductor
Feb 28:
Nada. Births:
1616 – Kaspar Förster, German singer and composer 
1619 – Giuseppe Felice Tosi, Italian organist and composer
1878 – Artur Kapp, Estonian composer
1916 – Svend Asmussen, Danish violinist
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. 
March 1:
There has to be more going on in the musical world than these articles are saying. When was everything premiered?
1810 – Frédéric Chopin, Polish pianist and composer  (May have heard of this guy…?)
1896 – Dimitri Mitropoulos, Greek pianist, conductor, and composer
1939 – Leo Brouwer, Cuban guitarist and composer
1958 – Chosei Komatsu, Japanese conductor
1620 – Thomas Campion, English poet and composer
1643 – Girolamo Frescobaldi, Italian pianist and composer 
1777 – Georg Christoph Wagenseil, Austrian composer
1882 – Theodor Kullak, German pianist, composer, and educator
1976 – Jean Martinon, French conductor and composer
March 2: 
Nothing exciting here. Births:
1755 – Antoine-Frédéric Gresnick, Belgian composer
1824 – Bedřich Smetana, Czech composer
1900 – Kurt Weill, German-American composer
1905 – Marc Blitzstein, American composer
1912 – Henry Katzman, American pianist, composer, and painter (This guy did some important things)
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. 

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