How did June slip by so quickly? Wow! I hope all of you are doing well and that your summer is off to a great start! Things are mostly good here - getting ready for the upcoming surgery and looking forward to an (eventual) end to the limp and pain! More about that below! Most of the trivia this month is interesting and sometimes goofy things about some of our favorite classical composers. As usual, as far as I know, they are all true, but I can't guarantee it.
GF Handel composed his “Royal Fireworks Music” to accompany a fireworks display presented by King George I. A fire broke out in the fireworks box, causing all of the fireworks to explode at once. In the chaos that followed, the musicians were unable to finish playing their music.
Mozart is said to have been afraid of ghosts and trumpets. He was also a terrible speller and was poor at math. Some of his symphonies were mis-numbered - #24 is really #31, and there is no #37.
Franz Josef Haydn believed he could not compose well unless he was wearing a ring given to him by Frederick the Great.
There are quite a few new reviews on MainlyPiano.com this month. They include great new albums from Michael Whalen, Doug Hammer, Peter Calandra, Tobin Mueller, harpist Peter Sterling, Swedish piano and winds jazz duo Lars Jansson and Thomas Agergaard, and the British boys choir, Libera - all of them stellar! There are also reviews of four new singles by Heidi Breyer as well as singles from Nina Simone, John Paris, David Wahler, Peter Calandra and Suzanne Herman - great stuff! I also wrote reviews of the revised songbook for Doug Hammer's Heart
and sheet music by Suzanne Herman. You can check them all out here
GF Handel had a rather unique way of dealing with the singers in his operas. When one of them disagreed with the way he wanted her to sing one of his arias, he held her out a window until she saw it his way.
Towering genius?? Records show that Beethoven, Mozart and Shoenberg were 5'4"; Schubert was 5'2"; Wagner was 5'5"; and Stravinsky was 5'3".
Money was scarce when Johannes Brahms was growing up. As a young boy, he supplemented the family income by playing the piano in seedy bars and taverns in the dockyards. He reportedly didn't enjoy it very much.
New Interviews: I didn't get any new interviews done in June, but I plan to interview both Michael Whalen and Peter Calandra in July, so check back and see what's new with this two amazing artists!
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was always a sensitive little boy. The slightest scolding from his nanny would send him into a long sulk. She called him a "porcelain child."
Igor Stravinsky is the only composer in the history of music to write a polka for a troupe of elephants. The first performance was billed as "50 Elephants and 50 Beautiful Girls in an Original Choreographic Tour de Force" at Ringling Brothers' Circus
For one of his recitals, Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) had a card printed up telling the audience that the purchase of a ticket entitled them to sit quietly and listen, but not to express their opinion of the music.
Soon To Be a New Hippie! As I mentioned last month, I'll be getting a new hip on July 24th, and I'm really looking forward getting it done. I don't expect to be out of commission too long, but it's impossible to know exactly what the recovery time-table will be. I plan to get the August newsletter together before the surgery so I can send it out the end of the month as usual, and I should be able to update everyone on how it's going. I'm sure I won't get as many reviews done as I usually do later in July and early August, but I'll be back in action soon after that!
In November 1989, Albi Rosenthal paid L880,000 (more than $2 million) for a manuscript signed by Robert Schumann. The manuscript was of Schumann's only finished piano concerto, begun in 1841 for his wife, Clara. The manuscript also has her handwriting, indicating that she apparently helped compose the concerto. Rosenthal bought the piece for a German library.
Beethoven composed five piano concerti, nine symphonies, thirty-two piano sonatas, one opera ("Fidelio"), two masses, and hundreds of shorter pieces.
Amy Beach's (1867-1944) "Gaelic Symphony" was the first symphonic work by an American woman. It was premiered by the Boston Symphony in 1896.
July Birthdays: Here is a partial list of musical birthdays in July:
5th: Dan Chadburn
6th: Gary Clark
9th: Ed Bonk
12th: Brad Jacobsen, Kosta Jevtic
16th: David Rogers
17th: Jeff Pearce, Iwo Piano and Joey, our lovably neurotic Australian Shepherd (he’ll be 11 years old!)
18th: Kelsey Lee Cate
19th: Emilee Hartley
20th: Isolde Fair
21st: Neil Patton and Daria Fedorovich Murphy
22nd: Michele McLaughlin
25th: AnayaMusic Kunst
Happy Birthday to all of you!!!
Johann Strauss was “The Waltz King of Vienna.” So was his father, whose name was also Johann Strauss. They had a very bitter rivalry, but the son ended up being the more famous of the two.
The San Francisco Opera House was the birthplace of the Charter for The United Nations on June 26, 1945.
George Frederic Handel composed his “Water Music” to entertain King George I on a cruise up and down The Thames River. Handel and about fifty musicians were aboard the barge and had to play the entire suite three times to keep the king and his friends amused.
July Music Holidays and Celebrations: I can't get too excited about many of these, but here are some music celebrations coming up in July!
1st: International Reggae Day, Blink 182 Day (182nd day of the year), and National Television Heritage Day
2nd: National Disco Day
4th: Boom Box Parade Day and National Country Music Day
7th: National Day of Rock 'n' Roll
13th: Barbershop Music Appreciation Day
18th: World Listening Day
27th: Bagpipe Appreciation Day
31st: Uncommon Instruments Awareness Day
In 1837, Clara Wieck (later Schumann) was the first person to play Beethoven’s sonatas for a concert audience.
When the waltz was introduced in Vienna in 1754, it was considered indecent. The word “waltz” actually means “revolving.”
Before he died in 1941, Polish prime minister and composer/pianist Ignacy Paderewski asked to be buried in the US until Poland became a free country. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery for 51 years. In June 1992, Paderewski’s body was returned to Poland - except for his heart, which, by his request, remains in the US inside a bronze monument at the Our Lady of Czestochowa shrine in Doylestown, PA.
I think that's it for this month's edition. Wishing everyone a safe and happy 4th and a terrific month! This month's photos are from around my yards. Enjoy!