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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 26
Can You Guess? We read about Leonard Bernstein's musical Wonderful Town.  He wrote another musical about New York City.  Can You Guess what Leonard Bernstein's other musical about gangs in New York City is called?  Maybe you can rent it and watch it tonight.   Tonight????

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What Else
1822 - Birth of German hornist Franz Strauss, father of composer Richard Strauss.

- Chopin made his debut in Paris, playing his F-minor Piano Concerto.

- English composer Frank Bridge was born, in Brighton.

- First performance of Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 6. Vienna Philharmonic, Gustav Mahler conducting.

- First performance of Georges Bizet's Symphony No. 1. Felix Weingartner conducting in Basel, Switzerland. The symphony was performed posthumously. Written by Bizet at age 17 in 1855, the manuscript was found in Conservatory archives, in Paris, 1933.

- First performance of Leonard Bernstein's musical Wonderful Town at the Winter Garden Theater in NYC

Did You Guess?
Tonight, tonight
It all began tonight
I saw you and the world went away.

Ooops!  I didn't realize you were here. 

Bernstein's musical about gangs in New York City was West Side Story.  Click the words above and you can hear a midi version of the song Tonight from the musical.
Giuseppe Tartini
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Devil's Trill
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Giuseppe Tartini died February 26, 1770, in Padua, Italy.

Tartini was born April 8, 1692, in Pirano, Istria (a part of the republic of Venice).  Tartini's parents wanted him to become a Franciscan priest, and as a part of this education he received 
basic musical training.
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Giuseppe Tartini
Click The Picture to See Music by Tartini
In 1710, shortly before he was twenty Tartini secretly married Elisabetta Premazore, who was the ward (perhaps the daughter or niece) of Cardinal Giorgio Cornaro, the Bishop of Padua. The Cardinal immediately ordered Tartini's arrest, and the young man's parents quickly disowned him. Disguised as a monk, the Tartini hastily fled, taking anonymous refuge in a monastery in Assisi.

While at the monastery, Tartini undertook intensive study of the violin and resolved to become a professional violinist.  It is said that his skills improved very rapidly there, to the extent that people visited the monastery just to hear him play.

He soon gained such a favorable a reputation as a violinist that both his family and Cardinal Cornaro forgave him. He returned to Padua in 1721 to rejoin his wife and to take the position of "primo Violino, e Capo di concerto" in St. Anthony's Church. He remained in this position for the rest of his life, except for a two-year stay in Prague, when he directed the orchestra of the chancellor of Bohemia.
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In addition to his 175 sonatas and 125 concertos, he wrote and published several influential treatises on violin and bowing technique and on theoretical and acoustical aspects of music.

Tartini's most famous piece, the Sonata in G Minor, is known as "The Devil's Trill."  According to Joseph Jerome de Lalande:
"One night in 1713, [Tartini] dreamed that he had made a contract with the Devil, who happened to be in his service. Whatever Tartini wanted was granted to him, and all his wishes were anticipated by his new servant, who gave him a violin to see if he could play anything harmonious. But what was Tartini's surprise when he heard [himself play] a sonata so original and lovely and performed with such perfection and meaning that he could never have imagined anything like it! He experienced such amazement, admiration, and delight that he was breathless. His strong emotion woke him, and he immediately seized his violin in the hope that he would be able to remember at least part of what he heard, but in vain. The piece that Tartini composed then is indeed the best of all that he has ever done, and he calls it The Devil's Sonata. But the former one that amazed him was so much better than his own that he would have broken his violin and given up music forever if only he could have had it." In the sonata's final movement slow segments, entitled "The Dream of the Master," alternate with faster portions containing the celebrated "Devil's Trill."  The trill itself features double-stopped trills. It is performed regularly as a show piece.

Giuseppe Tartini died February 26, 1770.
In 1728 Tartini founded a school of violin playing and composition in Padua. It became known as the "School of Nations" since it attracted students from many countries. Pietro Nardini was his most famous pupil. Tartini's playing was notable for its poetic and technical perfection.  His early works were known for their technical demands, but as he aged his compositions became more melodic and lyrical.
Tartini Statue  in Piran, Slovenia
Tartini Statue