09-22: Mahler 5 Abravanel 1974 - Schleiermacher Music at the Bauhaus 1999 - Brahms Stern Rose Ormandy 1964 - Eddie Fisher Sings Irving Berlin 1954

1905 – Célestine Galli-Marié (French operatic mezzo-soprano, creator of title role in Carmen)
1927 – Giannotto Bastianelli (Italian musicologist & author)
1935 – Karl Schröder II (German cellist, composer & conductor)
1959 – Josef Matthias Hauer (Austrian composer & music theorist)
1975 – Franz Salmhofer (Austrian composer, clarinetist, conductor & poet)
1981 – Harry Warren [Salvatore Antonio Guaragna] (American composer & lyricist of stage & screen)
1987 – Louis Kentner (Hungarian-born British pianist & composer)
1989 – Irving Berlin [Israel Isidore Baline] (Russian-born American composer & lyricist of stage & screen)
1993 – Maurice Abravanel (Greek-born Swiss-American conductor & pianist of Sephardic ancestry)
1994 – Teddy Buckner (American jazz trumpeter)
1994 – Leonard Feather (British-born American jazz music critic, pianist, composer & producer)
1994 – Mattie Moss Clark (American gospel choir director & mother of The Clark Sisters)
1995 – Dolly Collins (English folk keyboardist, arranger & composer, sister of Shirley)
2001 – Isaac Stern [Исаак Стерн] (Ukrainian-born American violinist)
2010 – Eddie Fisher (American pop singer & actor)

Ugh. These lists are going to have to be pared down brutally if I ever hope to get caught up. But do you like the color scheme I used today? I went with off-blah.

Yesterday we had two great electric bassists, one who outshone the other. Today it's the same deal, except with Tin Pan Alley songwriters: the great Harry Warren (42nd Street, etc.), being overshadowed by Irving Berlin, who was probably the greatest of them all.

We also have the creator of the title role in Bizet's Carmen, Célestine Galli-Marié, who was a high mezzo-soprano. For many years, such a mezzo was referred to as a "Galli-Marié."

There's also Josef Matthias Hauer, who came up with a system of composing with 12 tones just a year or two before Arnold Schoenberg did, although Hauer's methods were quite different. Central to the Hauer approach was the classification of any 12-tone succession into one of 44 tropes, or pairs of complementary unordered hexachords. You don't get it? That's okay, you don't have to understand everything. If you did, you'd be God, and just think how boring that would be. Seriously, doesn't God get bored, knowing there's nothing for Him to discover, nothing that will ever be mysterious to Him? Don't ponder that question. You'd be better off to stick with learning more about Hauer's tropes.

If you've got more than half a dozen jazz albums in your collection, at least one of them probably has liner notes written by Leonard Feather. Also along jazz lines, there's trumpeter Teddy Buckner, an old-time Dixielander, who not only sounded but also looked very much like Louis Armstrong.

Eddie Fisher passed away just last year. Most of you out there would probably know him better as Princess Leia's dad than for his singing.

Mattie Moss Clark was a pioneering figure in the world of gospel choir singing. The standard disposition of three-part harmony for such choirs was of her devising.

And from the world of classical performance, there's Maurice Abravanel, music director of the Utah Symphony between the late 40s & late 70s. He was another Mahlerian, and so we get another chance to remember Gustav Mahler during this, his death centenary. We'll have several more chances before the year is up, so don't worry that we've only addressed Mahler's 5th & 8th symphonies and Das Lied von der Erde so far.

And Issac Stern, one of the great violinists of the past century. My old violin teacher from high school was not fond of his sound. Her comment on him was "Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!" Yeah, he did crunch a bit with the bow. It was an assertive sound - not for everybody, I guess. I attended a master class Stern gave in the early 90s. He asked those assembled to raise their hands if they played the violin. Then he did the same for the cello. And the piano. And that was it. As a violist, I felt a bit left out. On the other hand, I was spared the embarrassment of anybody knowing I played the viola...


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