08-13: Massenet Werther Plasson - King Curtis Blues At Montreux - Cage / Tudor Indeterminacy - Dissection Maha Kali

Ordered chronologically. Trouble identifying them? Click here for a somewhat tagged image.
1808 – Henri Hardouin (French composer, organist & choirmaster, Reims Cathedral)
1841 – Bernhard Romberg (German cellist & composer)
1886 – Adolph von Doss (German Jesuit priest & composer)
1908 – Ira D. Sankey (American gospel singer & hymn composer)
1912 – Jules Massenet (French composer)
1916 – Fritz Steinbach (German conductor & composer, Brahms specialist)
1924 – Julián Aguirre (Argentine composer)
1928 – Fernand de La Tombelle (French composer, organist, actor & photographer)
1933 – Paul Hillemacher (French composer & pianist)
1946 – Valery Zhelobinsky (Russian composer & pianist)
1947 – Tobias Norlind (Swedish musicologist, ethnologist & music museum curator)
1953 – Dimitri Arakishvili (Georgian composer & ethnomusicologist)
1954 – Hermann von Waltershausen (German musicologist, composer & conductor)
1970 – Viktor Trambitsky (Belarusian composer)
1971 – King Curtis (American R&B, soul jazz & rock saxophonist)
1982 – Joe Tex American soul & funk singer & songwriter)
1996 – David Tudor (American pianist & experimental composer)
1998 – Nino Ferrer (Italian-born French singer, actor & jazz musician)
2000 – Nazia Hassan (Pakistani pop singer)
2003 – Ed Townsend (American attorney, songwriter & producer)
2006 – Jon Nödtveidt (Swedish black metal singer & guitarist, Dissection)
2011 – Topi Sorsakoski (Finnish popular singer)

Well, yesterday's "launch" sorta wiped me out. I'm gonna try to keep it shorter and sweeter from now on... but don't worry, I'll still be turning you on to interminable symphonies chock-full of sour dissonances.

Google gave me a bit of a surprise when I did an image search on "Henri Hardouin" because it was sure what I meant to type was "Henri Bardouin." So, I got images of a brand of Pastis, the anise-flavored liqueur the French drink on hot summer days. Funny, I was only just learning about this aperitif a few weeks ago from my French friend Steve on Facebook. Pastis is the traditional drink of Provence, in southeastern France, but M. Hardouin played the organ in the north of France, at Reims Cathedral, the traditional site where the kings of France were crowned. The region Reims is in - Champagne-Ardenne - has a traditional libation of its own, doesn't it? I'm thinking that's probably why they held the coronations there.

Ira D. Sankey was a singer, an early figure in Southern gospel music, and a writer of many hymns. He was associated with the Methodist evangelist minister Dwight L. Moody, and the two traveled throughout much of the United States, preaching and singing the gospel. On the evening of October 8th, 1871, they were holding a revival in Chicago when - well, I suppose what happened is that Mrs. O'Leary's cow was so overcome by the spirit, she kicked over a lantern right there in the hay-barn. Sankey and Moody barely escaped the ensuing conflagration with their lives, and watched most of Chicago burn to the ground from a rowboat in Lake Michigan.

Fernand de La Tombelle was one of those sickening people you just wanna slap - a Renaissance man living many decades after the concepts of "specialization" and "division of labor" had become pretty much standard for most of us mere mortals. Not only gifted as an organist and composer, he also did some work in the theater, wrote poetry, worked in the plastic arts, was an amateur astronomer, and, as you can see, also did some photography. That's kind of an interesting picture, isn't it? A photographer is photographing La Tombelle photographing something else. Maybe that something else is another photographer photographing the original photographer who's photographing La Tombelle. Nah... that'd be stupid.

Paul Joseph Guillaume Hillemacher was a composer who wrote more than a dozen operas in collaboration with his brother, Lucien Joseph Edouard Hillemacher. Lucien Joseph Edouard Hillemacher was not a librettist, though - he was also a composer. They wrote the music of their operas together, to librettos by others. The Hillemacher brothers composed these works under the name "P.L. Hillemacher."

I couldn't find an image of Viktor Trambitsky, so I just used one of a Russian edition of the play The Storm (1859) by Aleksandr Ostrovsky. The Storm has been an extremely popular play in most of Eastern Europe, and the subject of many musical and film adaptations. Tchaikovsky wrote a concert overture based on it. And Viktor Trambitsky wrote an opera based on it, which was produced in 1941. It's a bit of a coincidence, since we just remembered Leoš Janáček yesterday. He wrote his own opera based on The Storm in 1921: It was called Katya Kabanova. And now for yesterday's featured poopers:

The great melodist Jules Massenet was one of the best-loved composers of French opera in his day. He composed more than 30, the most famous of which are Manon (1884), Le Cid (1885), Werther (1892), and Thaïs (1894), whose "Méditation" between the scenes of Act II is one of the most famous orchestral interludes in all of opera. Massenet also composed sacred works, incidental music for the stage, ballet music, orchestral music, and about 200 songs... (Read more below)

King Curtis was one of the great tenor saxophonists in R&B, who was equally at home in East Coast blues, soul jazz, Southern soul, and early rock 'n' roll. He recorded with artists as disparate as Aretha Franklin, Buddy Holly, Roosevelt Sykes, Eddie Harris, The Rascals, Freddie King, Lou Rawls, Shirley Scott, Junior Walker, Roberta Flack, Lightnin' Hopkins, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, and John Lennon. Sadly, Curtis was knifed to death just outside his New York apartment in 1971, at the age of 37. His last recorded performance had been at the Montreux Jazz Festival two months earlier, with Champion Jack Dupree... (Read more below)

And how about this... John Cage on August 12th, and now the very next day, David Tudor, the brilliant pianist with whom he collaborated so often, and for whom he wrote so many of his works. Come to think, if it hadn't been for that leap day in 1996, their deaths would have fallen four years apart to the very day! That's the way things work in YiDM world, my friends. Two composers of operas based on the same play poop a day apart... Cage and Tudor poop a day apart... hehe... "Tudor poop." I'm not the least bit superstitious about such things, though. Such coincidences - and that's just exactly what they are - seem to have great meaning only because their relative rarity makes them unusual, and that unusualness makes them stand out in our minds. If you watch the local news a lot, you may start feeling like the town you live in is more dangerous than it really is. That's because the local news isn't going to report on all the bad things that didn't happen today... (Read more below)

On August 16, 2006, Jon Nödtveidt, frontman for the Swedish black metal band Dissection, was found dead in his apartment in the suburbs of Stockholm. The cause of death was an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Early news reports indicated that his body was found inside a circle of lit candles, along with an open copy of the Satanic Bible. These reports were dismissed by Dissection guitarist Set Teitan, who stated, "it's not any atheist, humanist and ego-worshiping 'Satanic Bible' by Anton LaVey that Jon had in front of him, but a Satanic Grimoire. He despised LaVey and 'The Church of Satan'." This is a very common mistake. Most people assume, understandably, that Anton LaVey and his Church of Satan are devil-worshipers. Actually, they just use the Satanic imagery for the shock-value. Most of them don't even believe in Satan, or in God. The philosophy in their Satanic Bible is... well, think of it as sort of a cross between Aleister Crowley and Ayn Rand. What Set Teitan wanted to clarify is that the book his bandmate had was a real Satanic Grimoire, not the book of a bunch of phony joke-Satanists. That's because his bandmate was a real, honest-to-goodness, devil-worshiping, God-hating, going-to-hell-and-loving-it, Satan-loving Satanist. Well, thanks for clearing that up, Set. We'd hate for people to get the wrong impression about Jon Nödtveidt... (Read more below)


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