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Pianotes #492 -
March 2024
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Happy March, Everyone!

We woke up to snow this morning! We keep hearing that it never snows on the coast, but I have photos to prove it (below)! Actually, snow on the coast is fairly common, but we don't get it every year. It's melting now, but what a beautiful sight! February was another really busy month, with several new reviews and two new interviews, but all is well! Enjoy the March issue of Pianotes!
J.S. Bach was born on March 20, 1685. He would have been 339 this month!

It is often suggested that Mozart lived and died in poverty, but that doesn't appear to be true. He enjoyed an upper-middle-class lifestyle by the standards of the period. He had a desirable apartment in the center of the city, dressed in style, hired a coach when needed, and dined in restaurants. He paid for his barber to visit his home daily to dress and powder his hair. Any financial difficulties were due to Mozart's spending habits rather than a lack of sufficient income.

Mozart wrote his opera, “Don Giovanni,” in one sitting.
New Reviews: I have quite an international mix of music reviews this month that includes new music from Cyprus, Spain and Poland as well as the US! Several of the artists are new to MainlyPiano.com while others include heavy-hitters like David Lanz, Nina Simone and Michael Whalen! I also reviewed several songbooks, the sheet music for three of the singles from David Lanz's new Valentine Hill album, and three books from the Hourly History series of books about musicians and composers. You can find links to all of them here!
The most popular song at the midpoint of the 19th century was Stephen Foster's "O Susannah." When it was published in 1848, no American popular song had ever sold more than 5000 copies, but "O Susannah" sold more than 100,000 copies shortly after its release.

Although Stephen Foster built his reputation on nostalgic songs about the Deep South, he had virtually no firsthand knowledge or experience in the region.

In the two years following the publication of "O Susannah," sixteen other companies released their own arrangements of the song and there was nothing Stephen Foster could do about it. He died in 1864 with 38 cents in his pocket.
New Interviews: I have two new interviews for you this month! The first is with David Lanz, one of my favorite artists since the late 1980s. David and I have done quite a few interviews over the years, so this one is an update and we did a lot of talking about his new solo piano album, Valentine Hill. The second interview is with Ralph Zurmühle, who also released new solo piano music very recently. What a joy it's been to catch up with these two incredible artists! In March, I am planning to interview Jim Wilson about his fascinating new book, Tuned In (I will be reviewing the book as well!) and Alejandro Clavijo, the founder of "Reviews New Age." Both of those should be a lot of fun, too!
Roman Emperor Nero enjoyed playing the bagpipes in public.

Beethoven's "Ode To Joy" has been embraced over the years by the leaders of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution, the Peruvian Shining Path terrorist Abimael Guzmanm and the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

Frederic Chopin was the most fashionable and expensive piano teacher in Paris in the 1830’s and ‘40’s.
House Concerts: I continue to get questions about resuming house concerts, and I'm afraid that's probably not going to happen anytime soon - if ever. They were so much fun and I loved having so many artists stay with us and having the chance to get to know them better, but Covid continues to be a major health issue here and I definitely don't want my mother to get sick. The other issue is that we lost most of our concert parking with several new homes being built around us, and I haven't figured out a way to make parking work. We have looked into possibly having concerts at local churches, but either we can't charge admission or there are too many politics involved. I'll definitely let everyone know if something changes, but for now, I'm afraid we can't do house concerts here.
From 1832 to 1849, Chopin spent an equal amount of time teaching and composing, teaching an average of five students a day from October until May. Chopin’s lessons were 45 minutes, and he often doubled them up to cover more material. He especially enjoyed teaching his most-gifted students on Sundays.

Mozart wrote his first opera when he was twelve.

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was performed to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall.
March Birthdays: Here are some musical birthdays coming up!

3: Mark Kroos
7: Behdad Bahrami & Isadar
9: Christopher Boscole & Tijs Ven
10: Matthew Shell
14: Jim Ottaway
15: Zachary Bruno
16: Brian Kelly & Eric Bikales
17: William Ogmundson
19: David Cullen
20: Michael Martinez, Patrick Lee Hebert & An Vedi
21: Heidi Breyer, Ken Pedersen, & Summer Swee-Singh
22: Michael Bohne
23: Bob Adern
24: Paul Spaeth & Justin Rayna
25: Paul Long
26: Chad Lawson & Mark Pinkus
28: Catherine Marie Charlton, Steven C (Anderson) & Hovig Nassanian
29: Kris Baines
30: Trine Opsahl
31: my brother, Loren Oakden-Parsons

A very Happy Birthday to all of you!
Some of Mozart’s major works were not printed until the middle and end of the 19th century - about 100 years after his death.

JS Bach’s youngest son, Johann Christian, played the first pianoforte solo in an English concert on June 2, 1768.

The highest achiever among the famous composers was Franz Joseph Haydn, who wrote 340 hours of music in 54 years. If you started listening to his collected works for eight hours a day, you’d be done in just over six weeks.
March Music Holidays & Celebrations: Here are some music-related events you can celebrate this month!

All month: National Music in Our Schools Month, Play the Recorder Month, Sing With Your Child Month

Weeks: March 18-24: International Teach Music Week
March 24-31: World Irish Dancing Week

3/1: National Black Women in Jazz and the Arts Day
3/3: National Anthem Day
3/4: National Marching Band Day & National Dance the Waltz Day
3/9: National Urban Ballroom Dancing Day
3/10: International Bagpipe Day
3/16: Play the Recorder Day
3/22: National Sing Out Day
3/27: National Acoustic Soul Day, Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day, World Theater Day
3/28: World Piano Day
3/22-24: Ultra Music Festival in Miami, FL
3/31: Dance Marathon Day

The lowest achiever among the famous composers was Maurice Ravel, who wrote only 19 hours of music in 42 years. That’s a career average of about 30 seconds of musical output a week.

18th century composer Joseph Haydn was hired as a servant of the Esterhazy family. According to a contract from 1761, Haydn was required to dress in uniform, wasn't allowed to eat or drink with his employers, needed to avoid familiarity or casual interchanges with the family and had to appear before Prince Esterhazy twice a day for orders. The prince also decided which music Haydn wrote and owned the rights to his compositions. The contract also prohibited Haydn from composing music for anyone else without the prince's explicit permission. Even so, this was considered one of the most desirable positions in European music at the time.

At one of Andre Watts’ concert performances, the pedals came off as he was playing. He tried to hold the pedals up with his feet as he continued to play, but he finally had to give up and went offstage to find the emergency piano technician.
Wishing everyone who celebrates a Happy St. Patrick's Day, Happy Easter, Happy First Day of Spring, and a wonderful month of March! Here are a few photos before and after the snow this morning! See you in April - no foolin'!


Pianote March 2024, image 6
The view from my office window yesterday. Not too shabby!

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The same view this morning!

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Dwarf Iris before the snow

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Our deck

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Pianote March 2024, image 5
Daffodil before the snow

To the best of my knowledge, the "trivia" items are true, but I can't guarantee it.