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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
February 16
Can You Guess? Before the development of metal strings for a violin, strings were made of "catgut.
Can You Guess
what "catgut" is?

Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer
What Else
1779 - William Boyce, English organist and composer, died.

1855 - Premiere of Liszt's First Piano Concerto, Liszt at piano.

1884 - Premiere of P. I. Tchaikovsky's Orchestral Suite No. 2, in Moscow.

1920 - Patti Andrews, member of the Andrews Sisters, was born.

1929  - Premiere of Aaron Copland's Vitebsky Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello,

1956 - Premiere of Leon Kirchner's Toccata for Strings, Winds and Percussion.

1960 - Teen Angel, by Mark Dinning, was released.

1968 - Healey Willan, English composer, died.

1985 - Material Girl, by Madonna, was released.
Pierre Rode
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Violinist Rode
Jacques Pierre Joseph Rode was in Bordeaux France February 16, 1774.

Pierre showed his talent early.  By the time he was 12 years old he was already giving successful violin recitals in Bordeaux.

At the age of 13 Pierre travelled to Paris to study, and soon became a pupil of Giovanni Battista Viotti.  It is said that Pierre soon became his favorite student, and that Viotti did not charge him for lessons.  In 1790 he made his Paris debut playing Viotti's Violin Concerto no. 13.
In 1794 Rode began to tour Europe as a violin soloist.  In 1799 he returned to Paris, where he was a Professor of Violin at the Conservatory.  On a trip to Spain late that year he performed in Madrid.  While there he met and became friends with composer and cellist Luigi Rodolfo Boccherini.  In 1800 He became the personal violinist of Napoleon Bonaparte. 

Rode partnered with with violinists Pierre Baillot and Rodolphe Kreutzer on the official Violin Method of the Conservatoire of Paris, published in 1802.

In 1803 German composer, violinist and conductor Louis Spohr heard Rode play in Brunswick and was captivated by his playing.

From 1804 to 1808 Rode was solo violinist to the Tsar in St. Petersburg and enjoyed extraordinary popularity.

He resumed his European travels in 1811 and reached Vienna in 1812.  While he was in Vienna he gave the first performance of Beethoven's Violin Sonata no. 10, op. 96.  Beethoven  where he gave the first performance of Beethoven's Violin Sonata op.96 (n. 10), with the Archduke Rudolph at the piano. The work was specifically written to exploit Rode's style.  The first reviews were somewhat critical of Rode's performance, but the piece is regarded  as a masterwork.  It is dedicated to Rode.

While Rode lived in Berlin (1814-1819) Rode concentrated on composing music.  He wrote 13 violin concertos, and his famous 24 Caprices.  These were important because they helped form the style of the romantic violin music of the time.

Pierre Rode died Château de Bourbon near Damazon (France) November 25, 1830.

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Did You Guess?
"Catgut" or "gut" strings are still used, especially on historical violins.  They are not made of "cat guts," but are traditionally made of the intestines of sheep.  
Cat Gut Strings for Violins Shirt