01-13a: Donny Hathaway : Everything Is Everything 1970 - Tchaikovsky 4 / Szell 1962 - Andre Kostelanetz : Lure of Paradise 1959 - Ferdinand Ries Septet & Octet / Linos-Ensemble 2005 - Henri Tomasi : Wind Quintet / Rampal et al 1952

Not shown: Leonhard Trautsch, François-Joseph Krafft & Valentín de Zubiaurre y Unionbarrenechea

1762 – Leonhard Trautsch (German composer)
1795 – François-Joseph Krafft (Belgian organist, conductor & composer)
1828 – Alexandre-Auguste Robineau (French abbot & composer)
1838 – Ferdinand Ries (German composer & pianist, friend & pupil of Beethoven)
1864 – Stephen Foster (American popular songwriter, "The Father of American Music")
1892 – Charles Albert White (American composer & co-founder of music publishing firm White, Smith & Company)
1893 – Melitta Otto-Alvsleben (German operatic soprano)
1894 – Nadezhda von Meck [Надежда фон Мекк] (Russian businesswoman & patroness of Tchaikovsky)
1901 – Carlo Angeloni (Italian composer, organist & teacher whose pupils included Puccini)
1914 – Valentín de Zubiaurre y Unionbarrenechea (Spanish composer)
1917 – Albert Niemann (German operatic tenor)
1954 – Roland Diggle (English organist & composer, active in the U.S.)
1971 – Robert Still (English composer, teacher, conductor & amateur tennis player)
1971 – Henri Tomasi (French composer, conductor & pianist of Corsican descent)
1974 – Raoul Jobin (Canadian operatic tenor)
1979 – Donny Hathaway (American soul singer, songwriter & keyboardist)
1979 – Marjorie Lawrence (Australian operatic soprano)
1980 – André Kostelanetz [Андрей Костеланец] (Russian-born American pop & easy listening conductor & arranger)

Tchaikovsky dedicated his Symphony No. 4 in F minor to his wealthy patroness, Nadezhda Filaretnova von Meck. Von Meck also financially supported other composers, including the young Claude Debussy. But the relationship between her and Tchaikovsky is one of the most intriguing stories in music history, one worth reading about. So do! 

Just before Tchaikovsky died, he was actually cursing Nadezhda von Meck's name. Tchaikovsky's death is usually thought of as a suicide, but there are a few lingering doubts. When he drank that unboiled water at the height of a cholera epidemic, was it mere carelessness, or did he wish to make it appear like carelessness so that he could kill himself honorably? Or is the truth even stranger, that what appeared to be carelessness was his possession by some sort of death wish that compelled him to engage in such risky behavior unconsciously? We'll never know.

Even more mystery surrounds the suicide death of Donny Hathaway. At his final recording session, he appeared to have had a psychotic break, saying that white people were out to kill him and steal his musical ideas via a machine they'd connected to his brain. Hathaway was later found to have fallen from the window of his 15th-floor hotel room. Since there were no signs of struggle in the room, and the glass of the window had been removed neatly, investigators ruled his death a suicide. So, was he paranoid, or were they really out to get him? I mean, if whitey can read your mind through a machine, how much trouble is it for him to remove signs of struggle?

Boy, did I pick the wrong week to get let out of the looney bin.



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