09-19: Johnny Răducanu Confesiuni 1979 - Gram Parsons Grievous Angel 1974 - X-Ecutioners : Japan X-clusive 1997 - Mozart Piano Concerto 21 K. 467 Casadesus Munch 1948

1756 – Josef Antonín Sehling (Czech composer, choirmaster & violinist)
1830 – Stanislas Champein (French composer)
1836 – Carl Friedrich Ebers (German composer)
1918 – Liza Lehmann (British composer, singer & pianist of German & Scottish ancestry)

1936 – Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande (Indian singer, musicologist & music theorist)
1949 – Nikos Skalkottas (Greek composer & violinist, pupil of Schoenberg)
1954 – Tibor Harsányi (Hungarian composer, pupil of Kodály, active in Holland & France)
1966 – Jenő Vécsey (Hungarian composer, library director, musicologist & teacher)
1968 – Red Foley (American country & R&B singer, songwriter, guitarist & banjoist, "Mr. Country Music")
1972 – Robert Casadesus (French pianist & composer)
1973 – Gram Parsons (American country & rock singer, songwriter, guitarist & keyboardist)
1982 – Samuel L. M. Barlow II (American composer, pianist & art critic)
1990 – Werner Janssen (American conductor & composer)
1995 – Louis "Mr. Bo" Collins (American blues guitarist & singer)
1997 – Rich Mullins (American contemporary Christian singer, songwriter & multi-instrumentalist)
2003 – Slim Dusty (Australian singer-songwriter, guitarist & producer)
2004 – Skeeter Davis (American country singer & songwriter)
2004 – Ellis Marsalis, Sr. (American businessman, musician & civil rights activist, grandfather of Wynton & Branford)
2006 – Chuck Rio [Danny Flores] (American rock singer, saxophonist & songwriter, The Champs, "Tequila")
2009 – Arthur Ferrante (American pop & easy listening pianist, Ferrante & Teicher)
2009 – Roc Raida (American DJ, turntablist & producer, The X-Ecutioners)
2011 – Johnny Răducanu (Romanian jazz pianist & bassist of Romani ancestry)

~ RIP Johnny Răducanu ~
(1 Dec. 1931 – 19 Sep. 2011)
Ne Rugăm Pentru Tine Familia, Prietenii, Si Colegii
*  *  *  *  *
Quite a varied lineup we have here. I'm always glad to see a woman composer like Liza Lehmann on the list. I put the link to her bio on the Naxos site up there mainly because of its writer's curious fixation with the breakfast habits of famous composers: Liszt, a friend of Ms. Lehmann's family, demanding eggs & bacon whenever he visited them; Brahms, consuming a tin of sardines in the morning and then drinking the oil in a single gulp, as recounted in Lehmann's memoirs. Pretty odd stuff.

Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande is credited with developing, in the early 20th century, the thāt system of classifying ragas in Hindustani (North Indian) classical music. Bhatkhande's system was based on the Melakarta system of Carnatic (South Indian) music that had been developed in the 16th & 17th centuries by Raamamaatya and Venkatamakhin. Bhatkhande's contribution thus represents an important and far-reaching consolidation of the music theories of the two distinct yet integrally related branches of Indian classical music.

Nikos Skalkottas, a pupil of Schoenberg and an ancillary member of the Second Viennese School, put a spin on 12-tone composition that is unique in drawing upon the resources of Greek traditional music. It's unfortunate that Skalkottas didn't live to see the blossoming of interest in his music. He died of what is thought to have been a ruptured hernia when he was just in his mid-40s.

Pianists Robert Casadesus, Ellis Marsalis, Sr., and Johnny Răducanu were all members of large families for whom music was "the family business." Casadesus was the most famous member of his family's dynasty, and was noted for his polished and elegant style, and his fine recordings, in particular those of Mozart's sonatas and concertos, the complete piano works of Ravel, and the entire cycle of Beethoven's violin sonatas, with his friend and compatriot Zino Francescatti doing the fiddle honors.

Ellis Marsalis, Sr. was the patriarch of that very famous family of jazz musicians, which now encompasses three generations, and will likely encompass a fourth before too long.

Răducanu, for his part, belonged to a musical lineage that stretches back all the way to the 17th century. Of course, having been Romani (the correct term for what used to be called "Gypsy"), music as the family avocation is hardly remarkable. What is remarkable about Răducanu is that he started out as a double bassist, and later switched to piano as his primary instrument. But he continued to play the bass sporadically throughout his career, sometimes playing both on the same album.

Some particular notables from the world of country music, in the form of Red Foley, Slim Dusty, Skeeter Davis, and Gram Parsons. 

Parsons was one of the primary figures in the early development of what he called "Cosmic American Music," but which everyone else calls "country rock." Parsons made a name for himself in the late 60s with stints in the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers before embarking on a solo career, in which he worked closely with Emmylou Harris as a duet singing partner, and toured with his band, the Fallen Angels.

Unfortunately, Parsons had managed to record only two albums for Reprise before his fondness for drug experimentation got the best of him, during one of his frequent excursions to the Joshua Tree National Monument. Parsons would often drop acid or psilocybin and hike through the desert looking for UFOs (which is a bit puzzling - if he did see a UFO, how would he know it wasn't a hallucination?), but on Sep. 19th, 1973, his drugs of choice were morphine and alcohol, and his dosage of choice was apparently too high of one or both. After his body was discovered, Bob Parsons, Gram's adoptive father, arranged for it to be flown to Louisiana; apparently Bob stood to inherit Gram's share of his wealthy grandfather's estate if it could be demonstrated that he was a resident of Louisiana. Parsons' body was at LAX, in a casket and ready to be shipped, when his road manager, Phil Kaufman, stole the body and drove it back out to the Joshua Tree monument in a borrowed hearse, in an effort to abide by Gram's stated wishes that in the event of his death he be cremated at Joshua Tree, and his ashes spread over Cap Rock there. By the time the police caught up with Kaufman, he had doused Parson, still in his coffin, with five gallons of gasoline and set it on fire, leaving 35 pounds of his charred remains. A makeshift memorial now marks the spot where Parsons' body was cremated.

And you've got Chuck Rio, who wrote, played the raunchy-sounding sax on, and uttered the words word on the big, not-quite-an-instrumental hit (#1 on both the pop and R&B charts for a while in the spring of 1958) "Tequila," the only hit his band The Champs would ever have, but it sure was a dandy!

And Grandmaster Roc Raida, who was part of the very first all-DJ/turntablism group in hip-hop history, the X-Ecutioners. Yes, dear readers, it's a virtual smörgåsbord for the ears on this edition of YiDM! Oops... NO, not for the ears! For the eyes and the mind only. For as you know, this blog contains nothing for the ears. It's all just "reading"... *wink* *wink* ... so, keep on reading... all you well-read literary geniuses...  ;>

And no, don't worry... Ferrante & Teicher are not included in your supplemental reading.


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