|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
|Can You Guess? We read of John Williams's composing movie scores. There is a series of films not listed whose scores you may enjoy and Williams produced. Listening to the music we are almost magically transported to England, the site of the films.
Can You Guess films Williams wrote the score for?
Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
|1709 - Death of Italian composer Giuseppe Torelli, at age 50, in Bologna.
1907 - Premiere of Arnold Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony No. 1 with the Rosé Quartet and members of the Vienna Philharmonic.
1910 - The Boy Scouts of America were incorporated. Music Merit Badge Requirements Here.
1932 - Birth of American composer, conductor and pianist John Towner Williams in New York City. Conducted Boston Pops. Composed serious works and many film scores; Star Wars, E.T., Indiana Jones and others.
1943 - Birth of American composer John Heilman Schooley in Nelson, PA.
1963 - Premiere of Benjamin Lees's (Lysniasky) Violin Concerto, in Boston.
1969 - Proud Mary, by Creedence Clearwater Revival, was released.
2001 - Premiere of Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra's Concerto for Orchestra. Philadelphia Orchestra, with Wolfgang Sawallisch conducting.
|February 8, 1904, marked the premiere of Sibelius's Violin Concerto
Jean Sibelius was born to a middle-class family in a small town north of Helsinki. The family spoke Swedish (Jean learned Finnish later in school) but was definitely Finnish in outlook. His father died when Jean was two and almost all influences on him after that were female. Even before he had any music instruction Sibelius was writing songs. His first composition came at age 10. At 14 he began violin studies, and would later study the piano.
|A Good Recording of the Sibelius
|In 1885 Sibelius entered Helsinki University to study law, while taking courses at the conservatory. In 1886 he abandoned the law courses. He studied composition in Berlin 1889-90, then went to conservatory in Vienna to study composition 1890-91.
From 1892 to 1897 Sibelius taught violin and music theory at the Helsinki Music Institute. In 1897 the Finnish state granted Sibelius a lifetime pension so that he could devote full time to composition.
Sibelius was 38 years old when he completed his violin concerto in the summer of 1903. It was written for and dedicated to Willy Burmester, the leader of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and one of the most highly regarded violinists of his day.
The premiere of the violin concerto February 8, 1904 was not performed by Burmester, but by Victor Novacek, who could not cope with the extremely difficult solo part. The accompanying orchestra did not perform well either.
As a result of this fiasco, Sibelius withdrew the work so that he could revise it. The 1905 premiere of the revised work, which is what is passed down to us today, was conducted by Richard Strauss. The soloist was Karel Halir. Even this revision was only received lukewarmly. The piece was played rarely until the Jascha Heifetz recording of the concerto in the mid-1930's at which time it was received very well, indeed. It is now considered one of the standards to be played by any violinist intent upon a solo career.
Sibelius's concerto is not only a piece to be played by a true virtuoso, it also needs to be played by someone who can be extremely physically active. It is a piece that frequently results in the soloist needing to remove broken bow hairs during and after the piece. Don't miss Oistrakh's video below!
Sibelius became less and less active as a composer as time went on. He did not approve of the turn that modern music was taking, and would not participate in it. He died September 20, 1957. Among Sibelius's most famous works are the Karelia Suite, Finlandia, the Lemminkäinen tone poems, the Violin Concerto and several of his seven symphonies.
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|Did You Guess?
John Williams wrote the scores for the Harry Potter series. Did you see the color clues?
|David Oistrak and the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, directed by Gennady Rozhdestvensky in this 1966 video of the First Movement of the Sibelius Violin Concerto.
Part 2 of the Video can be seen HERE.