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
April 5
What Else
1803 - Premiere of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 and Symphony No. 2.

1869 - Albert Roussel, French composer, was born.

1874 - Premiere of Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss Jr. in Vienna.

1908 - Birth of Czech conductor George Schick in Prague. Conducted the Chicago Symphony.

1908 - Birth of Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan, of the Berlin Philharmonic.

1914 - Premiere of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in Paris.

1932 - Mary Costa, US soprano and actress, was born.  She was the singing voice of Princess Aurora in Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

1941 - David LaFlamme, electric violinist,  was born.  His biggest hit was It's a Beautiful Day.

1946 - Premiere of Samuel Barber's Cello Concerto.

1949 - Premiere of Roy Harris's symphonic scherzo Kentucky Spring. Composer conducting Louisville Orchestra.

1967 - Mischa Elman, Russian violinist, died.

1975 - Thank God I'm A Country Boy, by John Denver, was released.
By the time he was fifteen he was a member of the ducal orchestra, and when he was eighteen the Duke of Brunswick considered him ready for further development.  To this end he was sent on a year-long concert tour as a student of  famous violin virtuoso Franz Anton Eck.  During this time he visited many cities including St. Petersburg.  Not only did he work on his violin technique, It during this time that Spohr wrote his first mature compositions several violin duets and his Violin Concerto, Op 1.
Louis (Ludwig) Spohr
Louis Spohr was born in the North German city of Braunschweig (Brunswick) on April 5, 1784

In  1789 Spohr began to study the violin.  His progress was remarkable, and at six years old he was able to take part in chamber music performances.

Can You Guess? Louis Spohr is credited by scholars with starting something modern conductors consider essential.  Can You Guess what Spohr stopped, and what Spohr started?  

Look at the bottom of the page for the answer.
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You don't find many recordings by Mischa Elman.  This one has sound samples. Listen to this man's tone!
Spohr: Complete Violin Concertos
Cover Art May Vary
Did You Guess?
Spohr started the practice of
conducting with a baton, and ended the practice of a conductor stomping his foot to keep time.

Did You See the Color Clues?
After his return home, he was granted a leave to make a concert tour of North Germany.  This was a turning point in his life.  A concert in Leipzig in December 1804 brought forth rave reviews from critics, most notably Friedrich Rochlitz, for his playing and for his compositions . . . especially his Second Violin Concerto D minor, Op 2. 

Spohr became concertmaster to the court of Gotha in 1805, and remained there until 1812.  He led the orchestra at Vienna's Theater an der Wien from 1813 to 1815.  This was when he had the good fortune to meet Ludwig van Beethoven, and the two became friends.  1817 found him as opera director at Frankfurt, where he stayed for two years.  In 1822 Spohr became Hofkapellmeister at Kassel, and he held that position for 35 years. 

Spohr was a great musician, but he was never content to limit himself to music.  It is true that in addition to playing violin and conducting, he taught.  He trained some two hundred violinists, conductors and composers.  He was a gifted painter.  He loved the outdoors, hiking and swimming whenever he could.  He played chess, billiards, dominoes and whist.  He was keenly interested in politics.  He also toured factories, mines and other industrial installations, all in the pursuit of knowledge.

Louis Spohr died October 22, 1859.
But from the beginning, Spohr decided that he would not simply compose for his own instrument, and he took it upon himself to study orchestral composition, and opera as well.  He also became well-versed in chamber music.
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