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
October 22
  Can You Guess?
We read of Beethoven dedicating his 5th Symphony to Prince Rasumovsky below. The British Broadcasting Co. used the first 4 notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony frequently in reports during World War II. Can You Guess why they chose these 4 notes?

Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
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Franz Liszt' Music
Franz (sometimes called Ferenc) Liszt was born October 22, 1811, in Raiding, Hungary.  He was a brilliantly innovative composer and a virtuoso pianist who is largely responsible for bringing works of the master composers to the average person before the invention of recording devices through his piano transcriptions.
Liszt's talent was recognized at a very early age.  By the age of 3 he was already reading multiple staves of music at once.  He was evidently so involved in music that he never learned to speak his native language, Hungarian.  Later in life he expressed deep sadness at this.  At age 11 he went to Vienna to study!  While in Vienna Liszt met Schubert and Beethoven. He took piano lessons from Czerny and composition lessons from Salieri. Two years later his family left Vienna for Paris. In Paris Liszt became widely acclaimed as a brilliant pianist.  At the age of 19, Liszt attended a concert by Paganini, and was so impressed with his prowess on the violin that he vowed to become Paganini's equal on the piano.  Liszt withdrew from the concert stage for several years to practice, which he did from eight to twelve hours a day.  He emerged from this period as the premier pianist of his time.

It is said that Chopin wished that he could play his own etudes as well as Liszt did, and Brahms, "Whoever has not heard Liszt cannot speak of piano playing."
1725 Death of Italian composer Alessandro Scarlatti, at 65, in Naples.

1739 - Handel finishes his Concerto Grosso in G, Op. 6, no. 10.

1752 - Andre Rasumovsky, Russian Ambassador & musician, was born. Beethoven dedicated his Op 59 quartets, 5th and 6th symphonies to him.

1761 - Birth of German composer Johann Christian Gottlob Eidenbenz.

1764 - Jean-Marie LeClair, French baroque composer and violinist, died.

1765 - Daniel Steibelt,  German composer, was born.

1832 - Leopold Damrosch, American conductor/violinist & founder of the NY Oratorio Society and  NY Symphony Society, was born.

1859 - Death of composer Louis (Ludwig) Spohr in Kassel, at 75.

1881 - First concert by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Sir George Henschel conducting.

1883 - Grand Opening of the original Metropolitan Opera House in NYC.

1917 - Leopold Stokowski conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra in its first recording session.

1967 - Debut of Krystoff Penderecki's Capriccio for violin and orchestra. Wanda Wilkomriska soloist.

1973 - Pablo Casals, Spanish cellist and conductor, died at 96.

1979 - Nadia Boulanger, legendary compositon teacher, died at 92.

1987 - Debut of John Adam's opera Nixon in China.
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Franz Liszt
1822-1886
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To display his own virtuosity, Liszt composed his Transcendental Etudes and piano transcriptions of Paganini's violin pieces. 'My piano,' he wrote, 'is my very self. . . .Ten fingers have the power to reproduce the harmonies which are created by hundreds of performers.' In transcribing orchestral works for piano, Liszt made it affordable for common people to hear the music of the master composers.
But Liszt also wanted to be known as a serious composer. At age thirty-six, he left his virtuoso piano career, which had forced him to travel throughout Europe, virtuoso to become court conductor in Weimar.  While there he composed many orchestral pieces and conducted works by such contemporaries as Berlioz, Schumann, and Wagner. His orchestral works were precursors of those by Debussey and Wagner.  Liszt invented the "tone poem," or "symphonic poem."  This is an orchestral composition written in one movement, which is based on a literary or pictorial idea.

Liszt contributed greatly to the development of future composers and performers.  He taught hundreds of gifted pianists without charge and provided musical and financial support for Richard Wagner. He also wrote music criticism and books on Chopin and on Gypsy music. 
Did You Guess?
England's Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, had started making a "V" for "victory" with his fingers in photographs.  The Morse Code uses dots and dashes to transmit letters.  Morse Code for "v" is dot dot dot dash. The first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony sound like the Morse Code for V. Click here to go to the Amazon site where you can hear a sample.  Use the Windows Media Link in selection 5 (Symphony No.5 In C Minor, Op.67: I. Allegro con brio)] -- they missed the first 4 notes in Real Player.
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Strikingly handsome in his youth, with long, flowing hair, it is said that women swooned at his recitals . . . and when he was at a social engagement it is said that he could play almost anything at first sight with depth and expression while still continuing to chat with the women who surrounded the piano.

Among his works are Liebestraume No. 3 ("Dreams of Love") in Ab Major, Mephisto Waltz No. 1, the Dante Symphony, the Faust Symphony, twelve symphonic poems, two piano concertos and nineteen Hungarian Rhapsodies.

Franz Liszt died  in Bayreuth, July 31, 1886.