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 31
Can You Guess?
In the poem, The Owl and the Pussy Cat went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat.  At the end of the poem they danced together.  Can You Guess what provided the light for their honeymoon dance?  Extra Credit:  Who was the minister at their wedding?

Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
What Else
Happened
Today?
1724 - Premiere of G. F. Handel's opera Tamerlano.

1744 - Death of Italian composer Leonardo Leo.

1768 - Death of Italian composer Francesco Maria Veracini in Firenze.

1865 - Premiere of Johannes Brahms' Theme and Variations in d from slow movement of Brahms' String Sextet No. 1.

1887 - Premiere of Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol.

1890 - Carl Hugo Grimm, US composer, was born.

1894 - Aaron Avshalomov, US composer, was born.

1906 - Louise Talma, US composer, was born.

1924 - Premiere of Paul Hindemith's Kammermusik No. 2, Op. 36, no. 1.

1945 - Janice G. Augustus, US composer, was born.

1947 - Howard Skempton,  British composer, was born.

1955 - Premiere of Alan Hovhaness's Symphony No. 2 Mysterious Mountain. Houston Symphony, Leopold Stokowski conducting.

1964 - The Supremes started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with Baby Love.

1966 - Premiere of Igor Stravinsky's The Owl and the Pussycat, (Click to hear sound samples at Amazon.com) his last work.  It was dedicated to his wife Vera Stravinsky.

1985
- First performance of Ned Rorem's String Symphony, (click to hear sound samples at Amazon.com) the Atlanta Symphony, Robert Shaw conducting.

1989
- Conrad Beck, Swiss composer, died.
Crumb then attended the University of Illinois where he studied composition with Eugene Weigel and earned a Master's Degree. Then he continued his education at the University of Michigan.  There he studied with Ross Lee Finney, whom he considers to be his principal compostion teacher.  He completed his Doctorate in 1959.

Crumb has been devoted to musical education.  He taught theory and analysis at Hollins College, Virginia before being appointed as instructor and assistant professor of piano and composition at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Crumb was composer-in-residence at the Buffalo Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, SUNY Buffalo (1964-1965). In 1965 Crumb began a long association with the University of Pennsylvania, where he began as assistant professor and became a full professor.  He was named Annenberg Professor of the Humanities in 1983. Crumb retired from teaching in May, 1997.

Though Crumb began composing as a teenager, he discourages performances of most of his early work.  In the 1960s and 70s Crumb produced many highly successful compositions that earned him awards and recording contracts along with many international performances.  Many of these were vocal works based on the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca, including Ancient Voices of Children (1970); Madrigals, Books 1-4 (1965,69); Night of the Four Moons (1969); and Songs, Drones and Refrains of Death (1968).  Crumb produced several works for electrified instruments including Black Angels (1970), for electric string quartet which was a reaction to the Vietnam War.

Crumb's works are not only interesting to the ear, but they are so originally scored than several have been displayed in museums. 

Crumb's recent works include: Quest (1994) for guitar and chamber ensemble; Mundus Canis (1998) for guitar and percussion; Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik (2001) for amplified piano; ...Unto the Hills (2002) for folk singer, amplified piano and percussion quartet; and Otherwordly Resonances (2002) for two amplified pianos.
Makrokosmos
George Crumb
1929 -   
Ancient Voices of Children
George Crumbs Ancient Voices of Children premiered October 31, 1970 Washington, D.C.

Crumb was born October 24, 1929 in Charleston, West Virginia. His father was a clarinetist, his mother a cellist.  George, who played the piano, played in a trio with his parents.  He began to compose music when he was still a teenager.  He studied at the Mason College of Music in Charleston and received the B.Mus. degree in 1950.
The picture to the left is an example of Crumb's work.  Click on the picture to get a better look at the score the way Crumb produced it.  Other Crumb scores can be seen by clicking here.
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Did You Guess
After The Owl and the Pussy Cat (click here to read the poem) were married by the Turkey who lives on the hill they "danced by the light of the moon."

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