09-05: Antonio Mairena : Actuaciones Historicas - Mahler 5 & 8 Solti - Wolfgang Fortner : Triplum etc. Wergo 1967

1629 – Domenico Allegri (Italian composer & singer, younger brother of Gregorio)
1734 – Nicolas Bernier (French musician & composer)
1803 – François Devienne (French composer, flutist & teacher)
1890 – Ludwig Deppe (German composer, conductor, pianist & teacher)
1910 – Franz Xaver Haberl (German priest, church musician & musicologist, friend of Liszt)
1910 – Julian Edwards (American composer & popular songwriter)
1921 – Joseph Mann (Polish-born Austrian operatic tenor)
1962 – Alessandro Granda (Peruvian operatic tenor)
1964 – Giórgios Kokoliós (Greek operatic tenor)
1965 – Stephan De Jonghe (Belgian musicologist)
1969 – Mitchell Ayres (American conductor, arranger & composer, Perry Como, The Hollywood Palace)
1969 – Henk Bijvanck (Dutch composer)
1973 – Petre Ştefănescu Goangă (Romanian baritone)
1975 – Georg Ots (Estonian baritone of opera, art song, folk song & film)
1980 – Don Banks (Australian composer of concert, jazz, & commercial music)
1983 – Antonio Mairena (Spanish flamenco singer)
1987 – Wolfgang Fortner (German composer, conductor & teacher)
1993 – René Klijn (Dutch pop singer & photo model)
1994 – Billy Usselton (American jazz tenor saxophonist, clarinetist & oboist)
1995 – Pigmeat Jarrett (American blues singer & pianist)
1997 – Sir Georg Solti (Hungarian-born British conductor)
2003 – Gisele MacKenzie (Canadian-born American pop singer, violinist, actress & TV personality)
2007 – Saint Thomas [Thomas Hansen] (Norwegian alt-country singer, songwriter & guitarist)
2011 – Salvatore Licitra (Italian operatic tenor)

Sometimes you go with what you can. For Domenico Allegri's much more famous brother Gregorio (he of the sublime, if not entirely his own, Miserere), there is a good etching of his likeness. For Domenico, we have a receipt from his employer.

The most recent addition to our list of names is that of Salvatore Licitra, an excellent tenor whose star only began rising about 12 years ago. Things really picked up for his career in 2002, when he debuted at the Met unexpectedly, substituting for Pavarotti as Cavaradossi in Tosca after the ailing legend cancelled at the last minute. He passed away this September 5th after a motor-scooter accident in Sicily that left him lingering in a coma for several days. Our condolences to his family, friends, and many colleagues, who mourn the tragic loss of a singer who has been dubbed "the New Pavarotti," and a tenor "worthy of the great Italian tradition."

Our next most recent passage was that in 2007 of Norwegian alt-country artist Saint Thomas, who died as a result of an unfortunate deadly combination of prescription drugs, at the age of 31. He was another artist who'd only recently begun to achieve international attention, touring with Lambchop in Europe and Of Montreal in the U.S. during the mid-00s.

On a brighter note, our long-awaited major Mahler conductor has finally shown up, in the form of Sir Georg Solti, whose tenure at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra rivalled those of the legendary Frederick Stock and Fritz Reiner years. An energetic conductor of both concert music and opera, his Wagner Ring cycle (with the Vienna Philharmonic) and Mahler symphony cycles are treasured by many, if not to everyone's taste. But pretty much everyone agrees that his Mahler 8th from 1971, with its superb roster of vocal soloists, is one of the very best available... (Read more below)

Modernist German composer Wolfgang Fortner was an expressionistic and 12-tone composer who is noted for his virtuosic and emotive style, and the great influence he had on the younger generation of composers through his teaching at the North-West German Music Academy in Detmold, and in particular at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg. Among his composition students were Hans Ulrich Engelmann, Volkmar Fritsche, Hans Werner Henze, Milko Kelemen, Rudolf Kelterborn, Arghyris Kounadis, Ton de Kruyf, Nam June Paik, Graciela Paraskevaídis, Wolfgang Rihm, Dieter Schönbach, Peter Westergaard, Hans Zender, and Bernd Alois Zimmermann... (Read more below)

A lot of other great opera singers to memorialize, if I only had the time. And I wish I could find out more about Pigmeat Jarrett. Those blues singers sure know how to come up with a great name, don't they? I was pleased to be able to find out a little bit about flamenco singer Antonio Mairena. He is credited with spearheading the revival of traditional flamenco music that took place in Spain in the 50s and thereafter. He focused almost exclusively on the very serious flamenco song types (palos) of Andalusian Gypsy origin (also known as Cante Jondo) - such as the Tonás and Martinetes (very old forms that are sung without accompaniment), the Soleá (with guitar accompaniment and in the Phrygian mode, with 12 beats to a bar that incorporate 3-against-4 polyrhythms), and the Seguidillas (accompanied, usually in a major key, and in a triple meter). Some considered him to be too much of a purist, who was stifling flamenco as a contemporary form of expression. But his performances were undeniably powerful, and demonstrated a great vocal skill... (Read more below)

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