Greetings From the Gray, Chilly Pacific Northwest!
According to the calendar, Spring started almost two weeks ago, but it's still very wintery here with another week of rain and possible snow forecast. So, I guess I'll keep the heater on under my desk and get caught up with my reviews and sheet music proofing as well as finishing up the April issue of "Pianotes"! Enjoy!
Composers GF Handel and Johann Matheson were very good friends. They had a big argument once and settled it with a sword fight. Music history could have been changed when Handel was stabbed, but Matheson's sword was stopped by a button on Handel's coat.
In about 1840, Clara Schumann became the first pianist to make a practice of playing from memory in public. Before her, it was considered an insult to the composer to play without the written music.
American jazz-piano great Jelly-Roll Morton (born Ferdinand La Menthe), had a gold front tooth into which a diamond was set.
As usual, there is a very diverse selection of reviews for you this month. There should be something for just about everyone! I also reviewed two new sheet music books and an art book that includes another aspect of Spencer Brewer's (and others!) artistry - assemblage. So kick back for a little while and check them all out here
Songs of whales are reported to rhyme. How can they tell?
Johann Nepomuk Maelzel was an inventor. His most famous invention is the metronome. Among his other inventions were a mechanical bugler who played flat and an automatic chess player that always lost.
George F. Handel composed his great “Messiah” in less than three weeks.
New Interview & Articles:
I have a new interview this month with pianist Irina Moreland
that is very interesting. Steve Yip wrote a preview
of Taj Mahal's upcoming album, Savoy
, which will be released on April 28th. I'll be reviewing that one, too, as Taj was one of my favorite performing artists in the Bay Area a whole lot of years ago! It was great to learn that he's still very active at the age of 80! I also put together a page with the Album of the Year Nominations for Whisperings Solo Piano Radio
with links to the four nominees all in the same place. Michael Borowski snagged the top prize with his Gardens of Zion in the Rain
, but all four albums are exceptional. Congratulations to all four nominees: Michael Borowski, Joe Bongiorno, Christine Brown and Michele McLaughlin!
I should have an interview with Craig Urquhart ready in the next few weeks, and I'll also be working on interviews with Dimitri K., Tobin Mueller and Zach Sprowls, so stay tuned!
Franz Josef Haydn's compositions have more nicknames that those of any other composer in the history of music. It's no wonder when you realize that he wrote at least 22 symphonies in D major.
Wurlitzer introduced its first electric piano in 1955.
Mozart's full given name was Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. "Amadeus" is the Latin form of the name "Theophilus," which was his godfather's name. Both names mean "beloved of God." Mozart preferred the Latin name and became known as "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.”
Concert in Eugene, OR:
For those of you who are within driving distance of Eugene, OR, David Nevue, Neil Patton and Louis Landon will be performing a piano concert on Sunday, April 23rd at 3:30 PM! The concert will be at Unity of the Valley Church at 3912 Dillard Road. Quoting Davids website: "It's going to be a great afternoon of inspiring music (and spontaneity) at the piano! Join us for this casual, fun, and uplifting event! Suggested Donation is $20 per person. RSVP to Reserve Your Seats!
" Tickets are free and there is a suggested donation at the door. All three pianists are excellent performers and were regulars in my house concert series. If you are in Florence, OR (or close-by), car-pooling is an option. Let me know if you are interested in that: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mom and I will be there!
Willie Nelson only made $50 for his song "The Family Bible." He sold the rights early, and it made the people who bought those rights a lot of money.
Anselm Hettenbrenner, who was at Beethoven's bedside when he died, said that in his final moments, Beethoven roused himself from his coma to shake an angry fist at the heavens. There was a dramatic clap of thunder and a flash of lightning, and then the composer was dead.
The country with the oldest military band tradition is Turkey, whose band dates back to the 1500’s.
April Music Holidays and Observances:
All Month: International Guitar Month & Jazz Appreciation Month
Weeks: 16-23: International Trombone Week
19-21: International Mariachi Week
23-29: National Dance Week and National Karaoke Week
1st: National Trombone Players Day
3rd: Fan Dance Day & National Film Score Day
11th: Barbershop Quartet Day, International “Louie Louie” Day, and Eight Track Tape Day
15th: Record Store Day
16th: World Voice Day
22nd: National Dance Day
24th: New Kids On the Block Day
29th: International Dance Day
30th: International Jazz Day
Hallet & Davis is the oldest U.S. brand of pianos in continuous production with the first piano created in 1835. The Pearl River Piano Group in China has produced the HD&C line since 2014.
"Chopsticks" was first published in Glasgow, Scotland in 1877. It was written as a piano exercise by Arthur de Lully. The title was the pen-name of a 16-year-old girl named Euphemia Allen.
Around 1940, John Cage developed what he called the "prepared piano." He put all sorts of different objects on the strings of the piano to change its sound. Some of the things he tried were pie plates, nails, bolts and screws, rubber weatherstripping, and pieces of paper.
April Birthdays: Here is a list of some “notable” April birthdays:
4/4: Andy Mitran, Loren Evarts
4/5: Frank Horvat
4/9: Jim Chappell
4/11: Roth Herrlinger & Isabelle De Ferrari
4/13: Stacey Bonk
4/14: Milana Zilnik, Alejandro & David Clavijo
4/16: Josie Quick & Sean Michael Paddison
4/21: RJ Lannan
4/22: Stephanie Sante
4/23: Michael Brant DeMaria
4/24: Carol Nicodemi
4/25: Faith Angelina
4/26: Scott D. Davis
4/28: John Nilsen & Carolyn Southworth
Happy Birthday to all of you!
People of Beethoven's time often paid composers to dedicate pieces of music to them.
The singing of hymns was introduced into Christian churches by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, in 386 AD.
People in Mozart's time believed that regular bathing was unhealthy and used perfumes to cover up their body odors. One bath every six months or so was considered to be enough, so the stench in a crowded room must have been overwhelming!
Wishing everyone a great month and Happy Easter to all who celebrate it! I didn't take any photos in March, so I pulled out some favorite house concert photos from when I was in Hercules, CA. I hosted a couple of the very first Whisperings Concerts and the lineup for those was stellar! Enjoy this look back!
The first complete mass by one composer was “Notre Dame Mass” composed by Guillaume de Machaut (c. 1300-1377).
While he was in college, Robert Schumann had a vision that was sadly prophetic: "The moon was shining on the water. I fell asleep and dreamt that I had drowned in the Rhine." Several years later, he went out for an evening walk and unsuccessfully tried to drown himself in that same river.
A story is told about Beethoven, a man not known for social grace. Because of his deafness, he found conversation difficult and humiliating. When he heard of the death of a friend’s son, Beethoven hurried to the house, overcome with grief. He had no words of comfort to offer, but he saw a piano in the room. For the next half hour he played the piano, pouring out his emotions in the most eloquent way he could. When he finished playing, he left. The friend later remarked that no one else’s visit had meant so much.
Whisperings in Hercules, CA 2003: front: Steven Cravis, Michael Dulin & David Nevue; back: Suzanne Ciani & Janie Horton.
Scott D. Davis in action! 2003
David Nevue, Scott D. Davis & Kevin Kern 2005
Scott D. Davis, David Lanz, David Nevue & Jeff Bjorck 2006
Michael Hoppe & me in 2007. Florence, OR
Not a concert photo, but I love this photo of Mom and Chelsea (our dog) on the beach in Florence shortly after we moved here in 2007.
Trivia Disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge, the music trivia and "factoids" within Pianotes are true, but I can’t guarantee it.