08-16: Loyset Compère Orlando Consort - Bach Goldberg Variations Landowska - Elvis Presley Vegas 1974 - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Party - Max Roach +4 Newport 1958

Aside from Mr. Presley, ordered chronologically clockwise from top left. Tagged image is here.

1518 – Loyset Compère (Franco-Flemish composer)
1748 – Pier Giuseppe Sandoni (Italian composer, harpsichordist & organist)
1786 – Henri-Jacques de Croes (Belgian composer & violinist)
1799 – Vincenzo Manfredini (Italian composer, harpsichordist & music theorist)
1831 – Eduard Brendler (German-born Swedish composer)
1870 – Edmund Passy (Swedish pianist, composer & organist)
1910 – Charles Lenepveu (French composer & teacher, winner Grand Prize, 1866 Prix de Rome)
1929 – Frank Van der Stucken (American composer & conductor, founder of Cincinnati Symphony)
1938 – Robert Johnson (American blues singer, songwriter & guitarist)
1944 – Roman Padlewski (Polish composer, pianist, musicologist & music critic)
1945 – Nico Richter (Dutch composer, perished at Dachau)
1959 – Wanda Landowska (Polish-born French harpsichordist)
1965 – Vasily Petrovich Shirinsky (Russian composer)
1972 – John Barnes Chance (American composer & percussionist)
1977 – Elvis Presley (American rock, country & gospel singer, actor & guitarist)
1984 – György Kósa (Hungarian composer)
1988 – Milton Adolphus (American pianist & composer)
1992 – Mark Heard (American folk-rock singer-songwriter, guitarist/mandolinist & producer)
1995 – Bobby Debarge (American R&B singer & songwriter, Switch)
1997 – Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Pakistani Sufi Qawwali singer)
2005 – Vassar Clements (American jazz & bluegrass violinist)
2005 – Vicky Moscholiou (Greek pop & entechno singer)
2007 – Max Roach (American jazz drummer & composer)
2008 – Ronnie Drew (Irish folk singer & guitarist, The Dubliners)
2008 – Dorival Caymmi (Brazilian singer, songwriter, actor & poet)

Yes, I know, I KNOW. I'm a whole day late now. Been busy a lot with insurance companies and doctors the past few days. Damned pill-pushers. And speaking of pills, Elvis. Another thing that hasn't helped me get this post done faster is that The King picked a day that's the death anniversary of several other musical luminaries on which to poop. HAHA, get it... "poop"? You know, 'cause of how they found him? Heehee... heh... hurr........ hyoooo....

Too soon?

But the good thing about people like Elvis Presley and Robert Johnson being on the list, is that they're so famous, I don't have to spend a lot of time telling you things about them. Actually, since I'm running so late, I'm not going to tell you anything about them. In fact, I've already told you too much about them by telling you I'm not telling you anything about them! But there are a few other interesting figures I'd like to tell you something about. See you on the other side of the crossroads...

I'm tempted to say that Loyset Compère was without compare, but at least he was certainly one the greatest Franco-Flemish masters of his generation, which also included Jacob Obrecht, Heinrich Isaac, Pierre de la Rue, and, according to general consensus the greatest of the bunch, Josquin des Prez. Compère was a composer of both sacred and secular vocal music - motets, masses, Magnificats, chansons, and a couple of frottole (a predecessor to the Renaissance madrigal) that we know of. He tended to favor working in the smaller forms, the motet and chanson. Many of Compère's works were printed by Petrucci in Venice - he was one of the earliest composers whose works benefited in popularity due to the new printing technology... (Read more below)

I'm tempted to say that Wanda Landowska was single-handedly responsible for the revival of the harpsichord in the 20th century, but then you'd remember keyboard players use both hands and realize I was just setting up another corny joke. However, she did play a very important role in this development, from the 1910s onward, when she became very interested in the study of Baroque keyboard music, especially that of Bach, F. Couperin, and Rameau. In 1931, she became the first person ever to record Bach's Goldberg Variations on the harpsichord. Contemporary composers, notably Manuel de Falla and Francis Poulenc, wrote new works for her. Landowska had her fans and her detractors, but no one could deny that she was a pioneering and daring figure.
Landowska's 1927 Pleyel Grand Modèle de Concert (Musikinstrumentenmuseum, Berlin)
The instrument she came to prefer was a Grand Modèle de Concert (1927) by the Pleyel company, a large double-manual instrument with a massive metal frame that would never have been used in an actual 18th-century instrument. Landowska wasn't necessarily always historically accurate by modern standards, but she had a pretty wild style to her playing, which is a lot of fun to listen to today... (Read more below)

Singer Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was known in Pakistan as Shahenshah-e-Qawwali, "The King of Kings of Qawwali." Qawwali is a type of devotional music of the Sufis, that mystical sect of Islam in which music, poetry, and dance play such an important role. Nusrat was an imposing figure with a six-octave vocal range who could perform for hours with little need of rest. He sang mainly in Urdu and Punjabi, but occasionally also in Persian, Brajbhasha and Hindi. During his career, he helped bring Sufi Qawwali music - a six-century tradition within the famous Khan family of musicians - to an international audience. Late in his career Nusrat was heard on a number of movie soundtracks, including with Peter Gabriel in The Last Temptation of Christ (1985), and with Eddie Vedder in Dead Man Walking (1995). Since his passing, a number of dub and dance remixes of his singing have appeared - now there's a true sign that you've become a legend... (Read more below)

Max Roach was already a legendary jazz drummer by the time he was in his 30s. After finishing studies at the Manhattan School of Music in 1953, he became co-leader of the Max Roach/Clifford Brown Quintet, which played an integral role in setting the standard for the hard bop style which was to dominate jazz for the next decade. His amazing performance on Bud Powell's "Un Poco Loco" in 1951, with its obstinate off-kilter ride cymbal, would put him in the history books all by itself. As would his appearance on Jazz at Massey Hall (1953), sometimes called "the greatest jazz concert ever," on which he played alongside the aforementioned Powell, Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, and Charlie Parker - who played the gig on a plastic Grafton sax, because his usual alto was at the pawn shop. Then, there were all those great Sonny Rollins albums he played on. Yes, this is one of the true legends of modern jazz. No ifs, and, or buts about it. And speaking of butts, Elvis. Thangyaverymudge... (Read more below)


1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately the link to "Compère" does not work....:-(.
    Can you please take a look at this? thank you!