Greetings and Happy Fall, Y'all!
I hope this finds you well and enjoying the change of seasons. I can't believe our local stores are featuring Christmas "stuff" already and many neighbors have had Halloween decorations in their yards for several weeks. Time goes by fast enough without rushing all of the holidays!
Anyway, things are good here on the Oregon Coast. My hip is continuing to heal well and we're working on the the muscle that was detached during the surgery, so it is getting stronger and I'm starting to walk more normally. I've finally been able to play the piano for longer periods and am able to play for about an hour without any back pain - hopefully that will continue to improve, too. Onward and upward!
Suzanne Ciani was the first female composer to write the complete score for a major motion picture - “The Incredible Shrinking Woman” in 1981.
The first true opera was Monteverdi's Orfeo (1607).
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) spent most of his life as a violin teacher at a school for orphaned girls. He wrote most of his music for the students at the orphanage, which had developed an orchestra that was famous all over Europe.
There are some great new albums and singles that were reviewed in September and there are many more on the way for October. I also reviewed the sheet music for David Lanz and Kristin Amarie's "Ave Maria" single and the songbook for Brad Jacobsen's upcoming Celtic Piano
album (releasing October 20th, but the sheet music and songbook are available now). You can find links to all of them here
When he was ten-years-old, composer Ralph Vaughn Williams wrote a puppet opera called "The Galoshes of Happiness."
The first African-American band to play in Carnegie Hall was Count Basie’s Band in 1939.
When Franz Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) died, there was a simple funeral since Austria was being invaded by Napoleon's troops. A couple of amateur medical students secretly stole Haydn's head and put the skull in a little black box with a white silk cushion. They wanted to read the bumps on his head. In 1820, Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy had the body exhumed. When he discovered that the body had no head, he tracked down the thieves, and demanded that it be returned. They had already donated the skull to a Viennese musical society, and gave him someone else's. It wasn't until 1954 that Haydn's head was buried along with the rest of his body.
I did a couple of really interesting interviews this past month. The first is with the incredible guitarist and composer Shambhu. This was the first interview I've done with him, although I've been reviewing his music for a long time. That interview is here
The second interview is with pianist/composer and longtime friend Louis Landon. We've done interviews before, but Louis has a lot of new things to share, so this was an update. His interview is here
I plan to do at least two interviews in October - Gary Schmidt and Brad Jacobsen - so be on the look-out for those!
By the way, all four of these wonderful artists have new albums coming out in October, so don't miss them!
Billy Rose claimed to have written the first commercial jingle in 1924. Its title was "Does the Spearmint Lose Its Flavor On the Bedpost Overnight?" The song made the pop charts in 1961 recorded by Lonnie Donnegan and re-named "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor On the Bedpost Overnight?"
Franz Schubert's friends called him "Schwammerl" or "Tubby." "Schwammerl" is actually German for "little mushroom."
The song "Over the Rainbow" was almost taken out of the movie "The Wizard of Oz,” and the part of Dorothy almost went to Shirley Temple. That's really hard to imagine!
October Birthdays: Here is a partial list of musical birthdays coming up in October:
10/3: Lindy Kerby
10/7: Peter Sterling
10/8: Laura Sullivan
10/9: Frank Huang & Darlene Koldenhoven
10/17: Robert Linton
10/19: Lesley Spencer
10/20: David Vito Gregoli
10/24: Doug Hammer & Michael Stribling
10/25: Matt Johnson
10/27: Antonio Simone
10/28: Charles Denler
10/29: Christel Veraart
10/30: Judson Hurd, Lucas Kirby & Marge Adler
Happy Birthday to all of you!
David Lanz and Paul Speer’s “Behind the Waterfall” (1985) is considered to be the first “new age” single.
Giuseppe Verdi is the only prominent classical composer who was also a successful farmer.
Have you ever wondered why Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his cap and called it Macaroni? In this case, "macaroni" doesn't refer to pasta, but to a mid-18th century English social club of young men who wanted to bring the British influences to the US. The line from the song was originally intended to discredit American Revolutionaries.
October Music Holidays and Observances: In case you thought Indigenous People's Day (aka Columbus Day) and Halloween were the only "special" days in October, here are some others:
All Month: Country Music Month
Week: October 1-7: National Carry a Tune Week
10/1: CD Player Day, International Music Day and World Ballet Day
10/4: International Toot Your Flute Day
10/6: Kids Music Day
10/10: National Hug a Drummer Day
10/14: Universal Music Day
10/17: International Cassette Store Day
10/23: National iPod Day
10/24: Record Store Day
10/25: Punk For a Day Day
Daisy and Violet Hilton may have made up the most unusual jazz band ever. They performed all over the East Coast in the 1920's and '30's, with Daisy playing the saxophone and Violet playing the piano. What made them so unusual? They were Siamese twins joined at the hip.
Francis Scott Key, who wrote the lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner," was a lawyer and became a district attorney in Washington, D.C.
John Cage won $6000 in 1958 for answering questions about mushrooms on an Italian television show.
I think that's all the news I have for you this month, so I'll close with a "trivia" item that Jonathan Sprout of Force For Good sent and a few early fall photos of flowers around the yard. Have a great month and don't forget to celebrate National Carry a Tune Week and Punk For a Day Day!
The Yamaha baby grand piano that Freddie Mercury wrote some of Queen’s greatest hits on was sold at an auction at Sotheby's in London for $2.2 million on September 6, 2023. Sotheby’s said it was the highest price ever paid for a composer’s piano. Mercury bought the piano (a Yamaha G2) in 1975 and had it imported to England from Japan. Mercury died in 1991 and left his home in London as well as his piano and most of his estate to his close friend, Mary Austin. Gee, my piano is at least 15 years newer, is bigger and has all three pedals! I wonder if it's worth even more! (Yes, I'm kidding about that last part!)
To the best of my knowledge, the "trivia" items are true, but I can't guarantee it.