On this date, September 24, in 1977 Styx released “Come Sail Away”. I am positive I was not listening to it that autumn as I was a college freshman music major. I was spending hours in a practice room improving my less than impressive scales and piano technique. I also was working on sight singing, ear training, and attempting to gain an elementary grasp of the violin for string pedagogy class (one of the more stressful endeavors I have ever undertaken). But sometime somewhere I would find the tune to “Come Sail Away” to be one of those that sticks in the brain. Hope you don’t wake up in the wee hours of the morning with it looping around in your head.
[If you have trouble viewing the above click on "Tube" in the lower right corner which will open a new window with the video.]
The soprano Kathleen Battle was born on August 13, 1948. She studied at the University of Cincinnati College–Conservatory of Music She has won 5 Grammy Awards for recordings made between 1986 to 1993. I decided to post the YouTube video below but only because it is a
“popular” operatic selection but also because I like Ms Battle’s diva dress.
On this date, July 30, in 1792 Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle’s song “Chant de guerre pour l’Armée du Rhine” (English: “War Song for the Army of the Rhine”) was first sung in Paris. The French National Convention adopted it as the Republic’s anthem in 1795. The name of the song became “La Marseillaise“ because it was first sung on the streets by volunteers from Marseille.
Hector Berlioz arranged “La Marseillaise” for soprano, chorus and orchestra around 1830. Click here to listen to an audio file of his arrangement.
On July 23, 1977 – Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice” was released. Given how hot late July can be the idea of being as “cold as ice” does not strike me as all that bad. I doubt I paid any attention to the song coming out in 1977. It was the summer after I finished H.S. and prior to starting college.
Listening to it now the synthesizer/keyboard sounds of that period were down right ugly. No wonder I enjoyed church organ lessons and playing with different combinations of stops. If I was a 17-year-old now instead of then I am sure a nice digital piano and computer composition programs like Finale would have outweighed those organ lessons.
For anyone who is wondering why all the ancient pop music rather than “classical” on Music Mondays it is because the sights that are popping up lately for ‘this day in music history’ are for pop, rock, and oldies. I will probably get back to a few posting posts on more serious genres at some point before 2012 draws to a close — we are on the downside of the year now.
(Technical issues appear to be keeping me from including comments along with the video on this topic.)
Sir Paul McCartney performed last week in front of Buckingham Palace as part of the Diamond Jubilee giant pop concert for the Queen. The connection between Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Beatles dates back to 1964 when the band burst on to the world music scene. That year the Queen ordered the Beatles to her birthday party, and they attended. In 1965 the Beatles received MBE (Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) awards from the Queen. Their names were put forward for the honor by the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
Yesterday I set my DVR to record the BBC America coverage of the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant. I watched the program just before calling it a day last night. The final music barge carried members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal College of Music Chamber Choir, directed by Thomas Blunt,. It stopped next to the royal barge for a short performance including Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory. I have included a BBC clip of yesterday’s performance, which may or not be active when you view this post: (BBC – Musical Finale of Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant . I am not finding any video that I find to be an adequate replacement if the link above fails, although you can go to YouTube for versions from “The Last Night of the Proms” concerts. And the LPO does have a recording on sale at http://www.lpo.org.uk/jubilee/
A little history– Edward Elgar wrote two Pomp and Circumstance Marches in 1901. “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D Major” was so admired by Queen Victoria’s son, Edward VII, that he commissioned Elgar to compose a work for his coronation. The song “Land of Hope and Glory” was the result of Elgar reworking that 1st march and adding words written by Arthur C. Benson to the trio section of the march. It was part of the commissioned ‘Coronation Ode” that earned Elgar a knighthood, and the title Sir, in 1904.
The exact origin of the bulge call Taps is open to dispute but I wish I could believe the story that a Union General wrote it on the back of an envelope during the bloody July of 1862 while he himself was wounded. The General, Daniel Adams Butterfield, called in Bugler Oliver Wilcox Norton to play his notation. The General, according to Norton, altered the rhythm slightly but left the melodic shape as he had originally penciled it. Then the General ordered that this new bugle call be played at the end of the day, replacing the customary ‘Lights Out’ (a call borrowed from the French.) The story goes on to recount that Norton was visited by other buglers who had heard ‘Taps’ and that it passed from brigade to brigade being gradually taken up through out the Army of the Potomac. This version is included on a website regarding Military Funeral Honors. That site goes on to say of Taps:
In 1874 It was officially recognized by the U.S. Army. It became standard at military funeral ceremonies in 1891.
That last bit, I believe, can be accepted as fact. The other is probably romanticized. Wiki says that ‘Taps’ is
…a variation of an earlier bugle call known as the “Scott’s Tattoo” which was used in the U.S. from 1835 until 1860.
Whatever the true details may be this year, 2012, is being marked as the 150 anniversary of ‘Taps’. You can learn more by clicking the 150 above. Click the link below to listen to a beautiful and classic rendition:
U.S. Army Band Bugle Calls: Taps
On May 21, 1981 Bob Marley was laid to rest, with full state honors, in St. Ann’s, Jamaica. Marley remains one of the most widely known performers of reggae music. Marley recognized his mixed ancestry but is associated with the Rastafarian movement and strong political stances.
“Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley & The Wailers appeared on their 1977 album Exodus. It was released as a single in as a single in 1980, and is one of Marley’s most popular songs.
Yesterday I attended an all Handel concert about 40 miles away from where I live, in the small city where I attended college. My husband joked that there would be no lyrics this time referring to Thunder and Lightning as there were in the Bach St. Matthew Passion. WRONG The program included the Chandos Anthem # 10 – The Lord is my Light, and the 6th section included these lyrics:
For who is God but the Lord; or who hath any strength except the Lord? The earth trembled and quak’d: the very foundations also of the hills shook and removed. He cast forth lightnings, and gave his thunder, and destroyed them.
Both Johannes Brahms (1833 – 3 April 1897) & Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky (1840 – November 6, 1893) were born on May 7th. Of the two Brahms is favorite. My introduction to Brahms was no doubt “the lullaby” sung in English:
Lullaby and good night,
With roses bedight,
With lilies o’er spread
Is baby’s wee bed.
Lay thee down now and rest,
May thy slumber be blessed.
…or a similar translation. Later I would discover his 4 Symphonies. In college I loved the ‘small’ piano pieces which were not so easy for my less than ample reach to perform. Then I would hear chamber works by Brahms that may indeed “take the cake” if we are sticking with the birthday theme.
The Brahms’s Lullaby or Cradle Song is more properly titled Wiegenlied: Guten Abend, gute Nacht (“Good evening, good night”), Op. 49, No. 4, and was published in 1868.