11-23: Tallis Lamentations of Jeremiah / Hilliard Ensemble 1987 - Roy Acuff King of Country Music 1953-1958 - Judee Sill Live in London 1972-1973 - Don Byron Do the Boomerang The Music of Junior Walker 2006

1585 – Thomas Tallis (English composer)
1750 – Giuseppe Sammartini (Italian composer & oboist, older brother of Giovanni Battista)
1787 – Anton Schweitzer (German composer)
1853 – Francisco Andrevi y Castellar (Spanish priest, composer & organist)
1853 – Friedrich Schneider (German composer & conductor)
1916 – Eduard Francevič Nápravník [Эдуард Францевич Направник] (Czech conductor & composer, active in Russia)
1931 – Evert Cornelis (Dutch conductor & organist)
1932 – Percy Pitt (English organist, conductor, choirmaster & composer)
1937 – Louis Victor Saar (Dutch composer, pianist & teacher)
1940 – Catharina van Rennes (Dutch composer)
1948 – Uzeyir Hajibeyov [Üzeyir Hacıbəyov] (Azerbaijani composer, conductor, publicist, playwright, teacher & translator)
1952 – Albert van Raalte (Dutch conductor)
1974 – Páll Isólfsson (Icelandic composer)
1979 – Judee Sill (American folk & pop singer, songwriter, guitarist & pianist)
1992 – Roy Acuff (American country & gospel singer, songwriter, fiddler & promoter, "King of Country Music")
1993 – Tatiana Nikolayeva [Татьяна Николаева] (Russian pianist, composer & teacher)
1994 – Tommy Boyce (American songwriter, Boyce & Hart, wrote for The Monkees)
1995 – Junior Walker (American R&B, soul & disco singer & saxophonist)
1996 – Art Porter, Jr. (American jazz saxophonist & composer)
2001 – O.C. Smith (American R&B & jazz singer & pastor)
2006 – Anita O'Day (American jazz singer)
2010 – James Tyler (American lutenist, banjoist, guitarist, composer, musicologist & author)

There is in fact no authentic portrait extant of the great 16th-century English master Thomas Tallis. The one I've used here was made about 150 years after Tallis's death. Whether it was based on a now-lost portrait contemporary to Tallis is unknown. Today, Tallis is known as much for the sublime Vaughan Williams fantasia based on one of his melodies as he is for his own superb and distinctive sacred choral music.

And the composer who pianist Tatiana Nikolayeva was addressing above would be Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich. Nikolayeva was most famed for her interpretations of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, and Shostakovich's 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87 were inspired not only by the 48 preludes and fugues of Bach's mammoth Well-Tempered Clavier, but also by Nikolayeva's playing of them.

The story goes that in 1950, Shostakovich was allowed by the Soviet government to travel to Leipzig to sit as a judge for the first-ever International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition, part of a festival held to mark the bicentennial of Bach's death, in that city in which Bach spent the last 27 years of his life, and composed many of his greatest works.

Although the rules of the competition did not require it, Tatiana Nikolayeva came to it prepared to play any one of Bach's 48 preludes and fugues from the WTC upon request. As it happened, Nikolayeva won the gold medal in the competition. Shostakovich began composing his Op. 87 several weeks later, after his return to the Soviet Union, and finished the work in February of the following year. He dedicated it to Nikolayeva, and she gave its premiere in Leningrad exactly 59 years ago to the day, on December 23rd, 1952.

See, sometimes it pays to be a month behind!


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