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
December 16
1870 - Alfred Francis Hill, Australian violinist, composer and conductor, was born.

1877 - Premiere of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 3 (2nd version).  Bruckner conducted.

1893 - Premiere of DvorŠk's Symphony No. 9 ("From the New World"), at Carnegie Hall, by the New York Philharmonic.

1921 - French composer and pianist Camille Saint-SaŽns, age 86, in Algiers

1921 - Premiere of Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 3, by the Chicago Symphony conducted by Frederick Stock. Prokofiev was soloist.  In the above link are sound bytes of Prokofiev playing under Coppola.  But THIS ALBUM also contains his violin concerto played by Bell.

1938 - Premiere of Aaron Copland's An Outdoor Overture.

1946 - Premiere of Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 3, in Moscow, by the Beethoven Quartet.
Can You Guess?
During the premiere of Beethoven's violin concerto, the work was split into two portions.  The first was played prior to the intermission.  After the intermission the work was concluded.  This was  common at the time.  As a pre-intermission encore the soloist, Franz Clement, entertained the crowd by performing a musical stunt of sorts.  Can You Guess what Clement did to entertain the crowd and bring them back for more?
What Else
Happened
Today?
Today is the traditional birth date of Ludwig van Beethoven, December 16, 1770 in Bonn, Germany.  We don't really know when he was born.  Even he gave different dates during his life.

Beethoven grew up in Bonn, and had a very unhappy life as a child. His father was an alcoholic who made him practice unceasingly . . . and would beat him when he made a mistake.  He would often go to the home of his friend Stephan von Breuning to escape his father.
Ludwig
van Beethoven
1770-1827
Besides studying under his father, Beethoven also studied under organist C.G. Neefe.  When he was 11 Beethoven started filling in for Neefe when necessary, and when he was 12 he had his first music published.  By that time Beethoven was earning a living for his family.

In 1787 Beethoven went to Vienna, but quickly returned on hearing that his mother was dying. He returned to Vienna five years later. He studied with some of the best-known composers of the day.  Among them were Haydn, Schenk, Albrechtsberger and Salieri.

Beethoven became, it was said, the greatest pianist of his time.  His playing was characterized by" fire, brilliance and fantasy as well as depth of feeling."  It is only natural that some of his most famous works were for his own instrument.  Among these works were his sonatas the Pathetique (1799), the Moonlight 'Sonata quasi una fantasia' (1801).
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Did You Guess?
Clement played a violin fantasy while holding his violin upside down.
Of special note to visitors to this web site is Beethoven's Violin Concerto.  This work is in the repertoire of almost every major violinist.   The work  premiered December 3, 1806.  Beethoven had accepted the commision on short notice, and finished the work only hours before its premiere.  The audience accepted the piece enthusiastically, but critics were not complimentary.  They called the concerto "tiring" and "commonplace."  Beethoven dedicated the work to Stephan von Breuning, his childhood friend.  Today the work is seen as one of Beethoven's most gracious works, and is loved by people everywhere. 

A tragedy of Beethoven's life is that even while he was in his twenties, Beethoven began to go deaf.  As the deafness progressed he began to lose his skill at the keyboard.  But his composing skill continued undiminished even after he was completely deaf.

Beethoven died in Vienna, Austria on March 26, 1827.
Beethoven wrote a total of nine symphonies.  Although all are well known, probably his most famous were his fifth symphony (with its famous four-note introduction) and his ninth symphony, which ends with a glorious choral movement based on Schiller's Ode to Joy.
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