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August 2-8, 2010

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Monday, August 2
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Photo
American composer Philip Glass
SYNOPSIS:
Gluck and Glass in the Underworld ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787):
Dance of the Blessed Spirits, fr Orphée
Academy of Ancient Music;
Christopher Hogwood, cond.
L'oiseau Lyre 410 553
&
Philip Glass (b.1937):
Act 2 Interlude, fr Orphée
Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra;
Dennis Russell Davies, cond.
Nonesuch 79496-2

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Gluck
On Glass

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1891—English composer Sir Arthur Bliss, in London;
1905—German composer Karl Amadeus Hartmann, in Munich;
1936—British composer Anthony Payne, in London;

Deaths:
1827—English-born early American composer James Hewitt, age 57, in Boston;
1945—Italian opera composer Pietro Mascagni, age 81, in Rome;
1945—Austrian composer Emil Nikolaus von Reznicek, age 85, in Berlin;
1978—Mexican composer and conductor Carlos Chavez, age 79, in Mexico City;

Premieres:
1774 — Gluck: opera, "Orphee" (2nd version) in Paris at the Academie Royale; This is the French version of his Italian opera "Orfeo ed Euridice," which had premiered in Vienna in 1762;
1964 — Persichetti: Piano Concerto, at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire;
1990 — David Matthews: Romanza for cello and small orchestra (Mstislav Rostropovich, soloist); Patrick Gowers: Suite for solo violin and chamber orchestra (José-Luis Garcia soloist) and Patrick Doyle "The Thistle and the Rose" (soprano Maria McLaughlin soloist), at the ballroom of Buckingham Palace in London, by the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Raymond Leppard; All three works were specially written for a concert celebrating the 90th birthday of HM Queen Elisabeth (aka the Queen Mother);
1993 — John Harbison: "Three City Blocks" for symphonic band, in Fort Smith, Ark., by the U.S. Air Force Band, Lt. Col. Alan Bonner conducting;

Other:
1921—Italian tenor Enrico Caruso, age 48, dies in Naples;
1923—First festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music in Salzburg, Austria, offering chamber music by Schönberg, Berg and Bartók; Even though the Berg String Quartet, Op. 3 had premiered it Vienna on April 24, 1911, it was the 1923 Salzburg performance by the Havemann Quartet that established Berg's worldwide reputation in musical circles.


Tuesday, August 3
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Photo
The Lone Ranger
SYNOPSIS:
Rossini asks "Who was that masked man?" ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868):
William Tell Overture
Philharmonia Orchestra;
Carlo Maria Giulini, cond.
EMI 69042
&
Dimitri Shostakovich (1906-1975):
Symphony No. 15 in A, Op. 141
London Philharmonic;
Mariss Jansons, cond.
EMI 56591

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Rossini
On other famous radio themes

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1884—Russian-born American composer Louis Gruenberg, near Brest-Litovsk (Julian date: July 22);
1896—Russian inventor Lev Sergeivitch Termen (anglicized to Leon Theremin) in St. Petersburg (Gregorian date: August 15)

Deaths:
1784—Italian composer and teacher Giovanni Battista Martini, age 78, in Bologna; His students included Gluck, Mozart, Grétry, and Jommelli;

Premieres:
1829 — Rossini: opera, "Guillaume Tell" (William Tell), at the Paris Opéra;
1941 — Robert Russell Bennett: Symphony in D ("For the Dodgers"), in New York;
1961 — John Cage: "Atlas Eclipticalis," at the "International Week of Today's Music," in Montréal;
1967 — Lalo Schifrin: cantata, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" (adapted from the composer's filmscore) by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, with Lawrence Foster conducting;

Other:
1668—German composer Dietrich Buxtehude marries the daughter of Franz Tunder, retiring organist at St. Mary's Church in Lübeck, as a condition to succeed Tunder in his position at St. Mary's; It is thought that both Handel and J.S. Bach were both interested in the position - but not in Tunder's daughter;
1778—Milan’s famous Teatro alla Scala (La Scala) opens with a performance of “L’Europa riconosciuta” by Italian opera composer Antonio Salieri, a work written specially for the occasion; The theater took its name from the site previously occupied by the church of Santa Maria della Scala (named after Bernabo Visconti’s wife, Beatrice della Scala); This same opera, conducted by Riccardo Muti, was performed on Dec. 7, 2004 at the Gala reopening of La Scala after three years of major renovation;
1779—Mozart finishes in Salzburg his "Posthorn" Serenade;
1795—The Paris Conservatory of Music is founded by the National Revolutionary Convention.


Wednesday, August 4
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Photo
"Chairman of the Board" William Schuman
SYNOPSIS:
William Schuman at 100 ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
William Schuman (1910 - 1992):
Symphony No. 3
New York Philharmonic;
Leonard Bernstein, cond.
DG 419 780

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On William Schuman

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1875—Italian opera composer Italo Montemezzi, in Vigasio (near Verona);
1901—Jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong, in New Orleans; Uncertain of the exact day (or year), Armstrong and his manager came up with the idea of saying he was born on the 4th of July in the year 1900;
1910—American composer William Schuman, in New York; He won the first Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1943 for his Walt Whitman cantata, "A Free Song";
1912—American composer David Raksin, in Philadelphia, Pa.; He wrote more than 100 film scores, including the 1944 film noire classic "Laura";

Deaths:
1930—German opera composer and conductor Siegfried Wagner, age 61, in Bayreuth; He was the son of the 19th century German composer Richard Wagner, and little Siegfried's birth was celebrated musically in the elder Wagner's "Siegfried Idyll";

Premieres:
1940 — Milhaud: "Le Cortège funèbre" (Funeral March), on a CBS Radio broadcast conducted by the composer;
1972 — Wuorinen: Violin Concerto, for amplified violin and orchestra, at the Tanglewood Festival in Mass., by violinist Paul Zukofsky and the Boston Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas conducting;
1976 — Menotti: Symphony No. 1 ("The Halcyon"), at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy conducting;
1998 — Danielpour: Bassoon Quintet, by bassoonist Stephen Walt and the Muir String Quartet, in Williamstown, Mass.;
2001 — John Tavener: "Song of the Cosmos," at a Proms Concert in London, by soprano Patricia Rozario, baritone Father Meliton, The Bach Choir and the BBC Philharmonic, Hill conducting;

Other:
1705—In Arnstadt, J.S. Bach and a bassoonist named Johann Heinrich Geyersbach cross paths late a night and an argument ensues; Geyerbach threatens Bach with a stick and Bach draws his sword; Both are hauled up before the city magistrate and reprimanded for their behavior (See also: August 9 and 14, 1703)
1782—Mozart marries Constanze Weber at St. Stephen's in Vienna, with the grudging consent of Mozart's father, Leopold.
1967—The scheduled local premiere at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires of Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera's opera "Bomarzo" is cancelled by the military government due to the opera's unacceptable level of sex and violence depicted on-stage; The work had received its world premiere performance on May 19th in Washington, DC.


Thursday, August 5
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Photo
A view from Bryce Canyon
SYNOPSIS:
Of Mountains and Messiaen ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992):
Bryce Canyon and the Red-Orange Rocks,
fr From the Canyons to the Stars
London Sinfonietta;
Esa-Pekka Salonen, cond
CBS/Sony 44762

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Messiaen

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1623—Italian opera composer Marc Antonio Cesti, in Arezzo;
1694—Italian composer and organist Leonardo Leo, in San Vito degli Schiavi(near Brindisi); He was one of the founders of the Neapolitan School of composition;
1811—French composer Ambroise Thomas, in Metz;
1926—French composer of American parentage Betsy Jolas, in Paris;

Deaths:
1891—English-born French composer, pianist and music publisher Charles Henry Litolff, age 73, in Bois-Colombes (near Paris);
1916—English composer George Butterworth, age 31, in France, as a British soldier during the battle of Pozières;

Premieres:
1956 — Ned Rorem: Symphony No. 2, at La Jolla, Calif.;
1972 — David Del Tredici: "Vintage Alice" for soprano and chamber ensemble (to a text by Lewis Carroll), in Saratoga, California;
2000 — Richard Danielpour: Violin Concerto ("A Fool's Paradise"), at the Saratoga Center for the Performing Arts, in Saratoga, N.Y., by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Charles Dutoit, with soloist Chantal Juillet;

Other:
1717—J.S. Bach appointed Kapellmeister to Prince Leopold at Coethen, but is at first prevented by his current employer, Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Weimar, from taking up the post (Bach was even imprisoned for a time by Duke Wilhelm Ernst);
1978—The citizens of Patowan, Utah, decided to name a local mountain Mr. Messiaen, in honor of the French composer, Olivier Messiaen, who spent a month in Utah in 1973 an composed a symphonic work, "Des canyons aux etoiles" (From the canyons to the stars), which glorified the natural beauty of the region.


Friday, August 6
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Photo
English composer Benjamin Britten
SYNOPSIS:
An opera debut for Britten and Bernstein ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976):
Sunday Morning and Storm,
fr Peter Grimes
New York Philharmonic;
Leonard Bernstein, cond
Sony Classical 47541

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Britten
On Bernstein

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Deaths:
1904—Austrian music critic and university professor Eduard Hanslick, champion of Brahms and enemy of Wagner, dies in Vienna, aged 78
1970—German-born American composer Ingolf Dahl, age 68, in Frutigen, Switzerland;

Premieres:
1946 — American premiere of Britten: opera "Peter Grimes," at Berkshire Music Center (Tangelwood), with Leonard Bernstein conducting;
1947 — Villa-Lobos: "Bachianas Brasileiras" No. 8, in Rome, conducted by the composer;
1947 — Von Einem: opera "Dantons Tod" (The Death of Danton) at the Salzburg, Festival in Austria,with Ferenc Fricsay conducting;
1966 — Henze: "Die Bassariden" (after Euripides' play "The Bacchae") at the Salzburg Festival in Austria;
1967 — Piston: Clarinet Concerto, during the Fifth Congregation of the Arts at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire;
1988 — Ned Rorem: “Bright Music” for flute, two violins, cello and piano, at Presbyterian Church, Bridgehampton (New York), by the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Associates;
2000 — Joan Tower: "Big Sky" for piano trio, in LaJolla, Calif., at a SummerFest concert featuring Chee-Yun (violin), David Finckel (cello) and Wu Han (piano);

Other:
1826—At his parent's mansion outside Berlin, the 17-year-old German composer Felix Mendelssohn completes his overture to Shakespeare's comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream" after reading the play the previous month; The first private performance (in a two-piano version) was given at the family mansion by Felix and his sister Fanny on November 19, 1826; The first public performance (in its orchestral version) was given in Stettlin on February 20, 1827, conducted by Carl Loewe; Mendelssohn returned to the play nearly two decades later after he had become court composer to the King of Prussia, creating a whole score of incidental music besides the overture, and himself conducted the concert premiere of the expanded incidental music in Berlin on November 14, 1842 in Berlin; The complete incidental music integrated into a staging of Shakespeare's play was performed at the Neue Palais at Potsdam on October 14, 1843.


Saturday, August 7
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Photo
Composer Felix Mendelssohn
SYNOPSIS:
Mendelssohn gets wet and wild ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Felix Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847):
The Hebrides (Fingal's Cave) Overture
BBC Symphony;
Sir Colin Davis, cond
Philips 426 978

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Mendelssohn

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1818—English-born French composer, pianist and music publisher Charles Henry Litolff, in London;
1868—British composer Sir Granville Bantock, in London;
1896—Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, in Havana; He composed a number of popular Latin pop melodies, including his famous "Malagueña";
1921—Czech-born, American composer and conductor Karel Husa, in Prague; He became an American citizen in 1959; In 1969 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his String Quartet No. 3;
1925—Spanish-born American composer Julián Orbón, in Aviles;

Deaths:
1893—Italian opera composer Alfred Caatalani, age 39, in Milan;
1913—Czech composer and cellist David Popper, age 69, in Baden (near Vienna);
1970—German-born American composer Ingolf Dahl, age 58, in Bernem Switzerland;

Premieres:
1912 — Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1, in Moscow, with the composer (age 21) as soloist (Julian date: July 26);
1977 — Hanson: Symphony No. 7 ("A Sea Symphony") at the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan;
1981 — Cerha: opera "Baal," at the Salzburg Festival in Austria;
1981 — John Harbison: Piano Quintet, at the Sante Fe Chamber Music Festival in New Mexico, with Edward Auer (piano), Ani Kavafian (violin), Walter Trampler (viola), Timothy Eddy (cello);
1991 — David Del Tredici: "An Alice Symphony" (first complete performance), during the Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, Mass.;
2001 — Augusta Read Thomas: "Murmurs in the Mist of Memory," at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, by the International Sejong Soloists;

Other:
1829—Mendelssohn visits Fingal's Cave in the Hebrides Islands west of Scotland coast and starts composing the 'Hebrides' Overture.


Sunday, August 8
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Photo
Cecile Chaminade
SYNOPSIS:
Chaminade in America ...

MUSIC PLAYED ON TODAY'S PROGRAM:
Cecile Chaminade (1857-1944):
L'Ondine, Op. 101
& Scherzo in C, fr Op. 35
Peter Jacobs, p
Hyperion 66584

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
On Chaminade

ALSO ON THIS DATE:
Births:
1857—French composer Cécile Chaminade, in Paris;
1905—French composer André Jolivet, in Paris;
1938 —Canadian composer Jacques Hétu, in Trois Rivières, Quebec;

Deaths:
1950—Russian composer Nikolai Miaskovsky, age 69, in Moscow;
1967—Czech-born composer Jaromir Weinberger, age 71, commits suicide at his home in St. Peterburg, Florida (where he settled in 1939); Weinberger had composed one very popular work, his 1927 opera "Schwanda, the Bagpiper," but was reportedly despondent that he was unable to produce any other equally successful works;

Premieres:
1882 — Tchaikovsky: "1812 Overture," in Moscow (Gregorian date: Aug. 20);
1942 — Poulenc: ballet "Les Animaux modèles" (The Model Animals), at the Paris Opéra;
1943 — Piston: “Prelude and Allegro” for organ and strings, on a CBS radio broadcast by organist E. Power Biggs with Arthur Fiedler conducting;
1976 — David Del Tredici: first version of “An Alice Symphony” (after Lewis Carroll) in San Francisco; See also Aug. 7, 1991;
1984 — Berio: opera "Un re in ascolto" (A King Listens), at the Salzburg Festival in Austria;