Greetings From the (Currently) Sunny Oregon Coast!
I hope all is well in your corner of the world! It's been a busy month again, but quite productive - AND I went to my first concert in three years! And what a concert it was! David Nevue, Neil Patton and Louis Landon did a concert in Eugene last Sunday, and it was so great to see them all and to hear them play again! So, between some sunshine and some live music, things are looking up!
The original upright pianos were about 15% more expensive than the grands. They were about 7 1/2’ tall, very top-heavy, and were inclined to tip over with a real crash! Early uprights were often referred to as "giraffes.”
The word "orchestra" comes from the Greek word "orcheomai," which means "to dance."
The first damper pedal was a lever operated by the knee.
We have an interesting selection of reviews for you this month with several artists who are new to the site and several from other countries. I also reviewed three new songbooks. You can find them all here
Until about 1890, women were not allowed to study music theory. They were thought to be incapable of understanding theory, and were not allowed into classes.
The first foot-operated damper (sustain) pedal was built by John Broadwood of London in 1783.
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.
I did an interview with Nic Gerpe
this month, and I think it's one of the most interesting interviews I've done. Nic recently released an album called The Makrokosmos 50 Project
, which is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of George Crumb's Makrokosmos, Volume 1
. All of the details about the project are within the interview, but much of the album is actually played inside the piano. Once I reviewed the album, I found I had a lot of questions about the music, and Nic was gracious enough to answer them - and more! There is also a video of Nic's performance of the full album (24 pieces, total), which is fascinating to watch. Links are included in the interview
Franz Liszt performed the first solo piano recital in Rome in 1839. Before then, pianists played between the acts of plays or between the performances of orchestras or chamber groups. Liszt also started the tradition of playing the piano on a bench rather than on a hard-backed chair.
Torakusu Yamaha built his first piano in 1899 - the same year that Scott Joplin published "The Maple Leaf Rag."
Unlike Mozart, who almost never made corrections to his music once he wrote it down, Beethoven often worked on pieces for years, making many changes and corrections.
May Birthdays: Here is a partial list of some of the musical May birthdays:
1: Lisa Downing, David Lewis & Joseph Nimoh
3: Kathleen Ryan & Calvin Jones
6: Louis Landon
7: Grayhawk David Gibney & Jim Combs
9: Josh Winiberg
10: Luis Berra
11: Clifford Borg
12: Joe Kenney
16: Reis Taylor Dixon & Trysette Loosemoore
18: Gregg Karukas
19: David King
20: Michael Borowski
22: Michelle Qureshi
23: Kostia Efimov
24: Igor Lisul
25: Adam Andrews
28: Peter Kater
29: Ira Stein
31: Shambhu Vineberg & Jeff Oster
Happy Birthday to all of you!!!
As a young boy, the sound of a solo trumpet would send Mozart screaming from the room. He didn't like the sound of the flute, either.
When Beethoven was 8, his father arranged a concert to show off the boy’s talents. To make his playing even more impressive, Mr. Beethoven advertised that his son was only six.
In 1903, the Society of American Piano Manufacturers burned a 50' high pile of square pianos in Atlantic City. The reason they gave was that they wanted to stimulate the sales of the newer piano models. As a result, square pianos are now quite rare.
May Holidays and Celebrations: Need an excuse to get out the confetti and noisemakers? Here ya go!
International Drum Month
May 26-28: Old Time Player Piano Weekend and National Polka Weekend
5/2: National Concert Day & Play Your Ukulele Day
5/3: National Public Radio Day
5/4: Dave Brubeck Day
5/5: Tuba Day
5/6: Mariachi Day
5/13: World Belly Dance Day
5/14: National Chicken Dance Day & Stars and Stripes Forever Day
5/15: Relive Your Past by Listening to the First Music You Ever Bought No Matter What It Was No Excuses Day
5/20: National Band Director's Day
5/21: World Fiddle Day & Sing Out Day
5/22: National Buy a Musical Instrument Day
5/25: National Tap Dance Day
5/26: National Title Track Day & World Lindy Hop Day
5/27: International Jazz Day & Old Time Player Piano Day
Mozart's sister, Nannerl, became a piano teacher and often played her brother's music. She was four years older than Wolfgang, but outlived him by forty years.
When Napoleon III was married, Queen Victoria gave him a piano that was built in the shape of his hat. It is still in a museum in Tokyo.
The oldest piano still in existence was built in 1720 by B. Cristofori.
Wishing everyone a wonderful May, and all the moms a wonderful Mother's Day! I'll meet you back here in about a month! The springtime photos this month are actually from about this time last year. Hopefully I'll have lots of new photos for next month!
At the London trade exhibition on 1851, there was a bed with a piano built into it that would play itself when someone laid on it.
Yamaha started making articles other than pianos out of leftover piano and organ parts. In 1932, Yamaha made 4000 pianos; 20,000 organs, almost 3 million harmonicas; and 369,000 square meters of veneer; as well as mantelpieces and airplane propellers.
Tchaikovsky was working on The Nutcracker
when he came to New York to conduct the first concert at Carnegie Hall (May 5, 1891).
No fewer than 1098 patents for items related to the piano were granted during the period from 1825-51. Most of the patents came from England and France, but there were others from Austria, Bavaria, Belgium, and the United States. Only 264 such patents were granted before then.
King Leopold I of Austria had a harpsichord in every room of his palace so that he could try out any musical idea that might occur to him.
Along with his books of exercises for pianists and organists, Charles Louis Hanon composed more serious music for all levels of advancement. His piano exercises are what made him famous, however, and he won a silver medal for them in 1878 at the Exposition Universelle. Editions of the work appeared in the USA and Russia in 1900, and today the exercises are available throughout the world. There are also adaptations available for guitar, accordion, and xylophone!