Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
TODAY IS
April 19
Can You Guess?
Dudley Moore, actor who performed in such movies as Arthur and 10, was born April 19, 1935.  Not only was he an actor, but a gifted musician who performed many classical concerts.  Can You Guess what instrument Dudley Moore played?

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What Else
Happened
Today?
1787 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed the String Quintet in C, K. 515 in Vienna.

1836 - Augustus D. Juilliard, US industrialist and music patron, was born. Founded the Juilliard School NYC.

1868 - Max von Schillings, German composer and conductor, was born in Duren. (Some sources cite April 18.)

1945 - Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, based on Molnar’s "Liliom," opened at the Majestic Theatre in New York City.

1947 - Yan-Pascal Tortelier, French violinist and conductor, was born.

1964 - Premiere of Igor Stravinsky's Fanfare for a New Theater at the Inauguration of the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, NYC.

2001 - Premiere of Poul Ruders' Paganini Variations for guitar and orchestra, with soloist David Starobin and the Odense Symphony in Denmark.

2001 - Premiere of Michael Daugherty's UFO for solo percussion and winds. Evelyn Glennie and the North Texas Wind Symphony, Eugene Corporon conducting in Denton, TX.
Alban Berg
1885-1935
Alban Maria Johannes Berg's Violin Concerto premiered April 19, 1936. 

Berg was born February 9, 1885, in Vienna. He was the 3rd of 4 children of Johanna and Conrad Berg. They lived comfortably until the father died in 1900.
Berg was more interested in books than music as a child, and did not begin to compose until age 15, when he started to teach himself music. He had little formal music instruction until he began a 6-year period of study with Arnold Schoenberg in October, 1904 to 1911.  He studied music theory, counterpoint, and harmony.  By 1906 he concentrated on his music studies full-time, and by 1907 he began composition lessons.
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Among his compositions under Schoenberg were drafts of five piano sonatas and various songs, including his Seven Early Songs, three of which were Berg's first publicly performed work in a concert.

The sonata sketches eventually culminated in Berg's Piano Sonata Op.1 (1907-8).  This "graduating composition," is one of the most formidible Op. 1's ever written by a composer.  Schoenberg remained a major influence on Berg throughout his life.  Berg and Schoenberg remained close friends. Some believe that Berg saw Schoenberg as a surrogate father, considering Berg's young age during his father's death.

Schoenberg believed that the basis of a piece should be a a single, basic idea, from which the entire composition would develop.  This theory became known as developing variation. Berg passed this idea down to one of his students, Theodor Adorno, who stated: "The main principle he conveyed was that of variation: everything was supposed to develop out of something else and yet be intrinsically different."

In 1913, Berg's Five songs on picture postcard texts by Peter Altenberg were premiered in Vienna. The piece caused a riot, and the performance had to be halted: a complete performance of the work was not given until 1952.

From 1915 to 1918, he served in the Austrian Army.  While on leave in 1917, he began work on his first opera, Wozzeck. Following World War I, he settled again in Vienna where he gave private music lessons. He also helped Schoenberg run the Society for Private Musical Performances—which sponsored new work by promising composers.

The 1924 performance of 3 excerpts from Wozzeck brought his first public success. Wozzeck.  He completed Wozzeck in 1922, but it was not performed in its entireity until 1925.

Berg is probably best known for his Violin Concerto, which, like much of his work, combines atonality with tonal passages, and uses Schoenberg's twelve tone technique in a way as to admit Wagnerian harmonies. He also wrote a Chamber Concerto for violin, piano and 13 wind instruments.

Berg died on Christmas Eve, 1935, in Vienna, from blood poisoning caused by an insect bite.
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Dudley Moore
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Did You Guess?
Dudley Moore played the piano.