12-04: Zappa : Mount St Mary's 1963 | Montreux 1971 - Britten : Billy Budd Gunn / Bostridge 2008 | 4 Sea Interludes & Passacaglia / Bernstein 1973 - Tommy Bolin / Billy Cobham Spectrum Sessions 1973 - Hubert Sumlin I Know You 1998

Not shown above: Petronio Franceschini, Daniel Read, Maria Koubatová & Karl Walter

1676 – Johann Georg Ebeling (German composer, cantor & teacher)
1732 – John Gay (English poet & dramatist, The Beggar's Opera)
1680 – Petronio Franceschini (Italian composer & cellist)
1836 – Daniel Read (American composer)
1867 – Constance Nantier-Didier (French mezzo-soprano)
1884 – Alice Mary Smith (English composer)
1897 – Caradog [Griffith Rhys Jones] (Welsh conductor, South Wales Choral Union)
1902 – Fyodor Stravinsky [Фёдор Стравинский] (Russian operatic bass & actor, father of Igor)
1913 – Maria Koubatová (Czech soprano)
1915 – Gustav Hollaender (German violinist, conductor & composer)
1929 – Karl Walter (German organist, teacher, musicologist & authority on organ & bell construction)
1935 – Johan Halvorsen (Norwegian composer, conductor & violinist)
1938 – Dina Appeldoorn (Dutch composer & pianist)
1953 – Daniel Gregory Mason American composer & music critic)
1959 – Hubert Marischka (Austrian tenor, actor, film director & screenwriter)
1964 – Vera Schwarz (Croatian soprano)
1965 – Franz Völker (German dramatic tenor)
1969 – Alceo Toni (Italian composer & author)
1976 – Tommy Bolin (American rock guitarist, Zephyr, Energy, James Gang, Deep Purple, Billy Cobham, Moxy)
1976 – Benjamin Britten (English composer, conductor & pianist)
1980 – Zdeněk Otava (Czech operatic baritone)
1985 – Marcel Boereboom (Belgian musicologist)
1993 – Frank Zappa (American composer & rock songwriter, guitarist & singer)
2004 – Teo Peter (Romanian rock bass guitarist, Compact)
2004 – Elena Souliotis [Έλενα Σουλιώτη] (Greek operatic soprano)
2005 – Gloria Lasso (Spanish pop singer, active in France)
2007 – Pimp C (American rapper, singer & producer)
2009 – Liam Clancy (Irish folk singer, guitarist & concertinist)
2011 – Hubert Sumlin (American blues guitarist, Howlin' Wolf)

Here's one of those big days I was talking about... although tomorrow promises to be even bigger.

I don't need to tell you anything about Frank Zappa, do I? To me, he's the figure who represents, more than anyone else, the state of Western music in the late 20th century. He's the man who embraced rock 'n' roll and the avant garde with equal gusto, who took on those powers who called for censorship on behalf of the age-old reactionary quest for "decency"... and he could play a hell of a guitar solo too!

And then there's Benjamin Britten, the composer who with his Peter Grimes and subsequent works single-handedly revitalized the state of English opera, which had declined ever since the death of Henry Purcell two and a half centuries earlier. And it's appropriate that he should have passed on the anniversary of the passing of John Gay, not just because he was (the relationship between Britten and Peter Pears, in fact, being famously among the most successful artistic/romantic collaborations in modern history), but because Britten made his own excellent adaptation of The Beggar's Opera in 1948, fleshing out all the many harmonic and instrumental details that were missing from the original Gay-Pepusch political satire that's been handed down to us.

So much that I could say as well about Tommy Bolin, about Stravinsky's father Fyodor, about Liam Clancy and Teo Peter and Hubert Sumlin... but we've got to keep moving around here...



  1. nice work! and it must be a LOT of work!

  2. Thanks for your acknowledgement. Yes, it is time-consuming. That's why I'm 5 weeks behind now! I don't know if I'd call it work, though. If I had to dig all their graves, THAT would be work! But I'm not sure how well that would work as a blog... :>