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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 9
Can You Guess? February 9, 1964, a music group appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, the first of 3 performances on the show.  The girls in the audience screamed so loud it was almost impossible to hear the 4 young men play.  Their music really bugged parents.
Can You Guess what music group Ed Sullivan featured on that show?

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What Else
1812 - Premiere of Beethoven's Overture and incidental music to play The Ruins of Athens.

1893 - Premiere of Verdi's Falstaff, in Milan. It was the last of his 26 operas, composed at age 80.

1909 - Harald Genzmer, German composer, was born.

1950 - Jay Reise, US composer, was born.

1981 - Bill Haley died on this day in Harlingen, TX.  Haley, with his Comets, recorded  Rock Around the Clock

1963 - (James) Travis Tritt , country singer, was born.

1964 - Birth of American composer Mary Lou Newmark.
Alban Berg
Alban Maria Johannes Berg was born February 9, 1885, in Vienna. He was the 3rd of 4 children of Johanna and Conrad Berg. They lived comfortably until the father died in 1900.

Berg was more interested in books than music as a child, and did not begin to compose until age 15, when he started to teach himself music. He had little formal music instruction until he began a 6-year period of study with Arnold Schoenberg in October, 1904 to 1911.  He studied music theory, counterpoint, and harmony.  By 1906 he concentrated on his music studies full-time, and by 1907 he began composition lessons.
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Among his compositions under Schoenberg were drafts of five piano sonatas and various songs, including his Seven Early Songs, three of which were Berg's first publicly performed work in a concert.

The sonata sketches eventually culminated in Berg's Piano Sonata Op.1 (1907-8).  This "graduating composition," is one of the most formidible Op. 1's ever written by a composer.  Schoenberg remained a major influence on Berg throughout his life.  Berg and Schoenberg remained close friends. Some believe that Berg saw Schoenberg as a surrogate father, considering Berg's young age during his father's death.

Schoenberg believed that the basis of a piece should be a a single, basic idea, from which the entire composition would develop.  This theory became known as developing variation. Berg passed this idea down to one of his students, Theodor Adorno, who stated: "The main principle he conveyed was that of variation: everything was supposed to develop out of something else and yet be intrinsically different."

In 1913, Berg's Five songs on picture postcard texts by Peter Altenberg were premiered in Vienna. The piece caused a riot, and the performance had to be halted: a complete performance of the work was not given until 1952.

From 1915 to 1918, he served in the Austrian Army.  While on leave in 1917, he began work on his first opera, Wozzeck. Following World War I, he settled again in Vienna where he gave private music lessons. He also helped Schoenberg run the Society for Private Musical Performances—which sponsored new work by promising composers.

The 1924 performance of 3 excerpts from Wozzeck brought his first public success. Wozzeck.  He completed Wozzeck in 1922, but it was not performed in its entireity until 1925.

Berg is probably best known for his Violin Concerto, which, like much of his work, combines atonality with tonal passages, and uses Schoenberg's twelve tone technique in a way as to admit Wagnerian harmonies. He also wrote a Chamber Concerto for violin, piano and 13 wind instruments.

Berg died on Christmas Eve, 1935, in Vienna, from blood poisoning caused by an insect bite.
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Did You Guess?
Several days after their arrival in the U.S., the Beatles made the first of 3 record-breaking appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. The television audience viewing the "Fab Four" was estimated at 73,700,000. They sang She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand.
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John Williams: Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets (Violin/Piano) - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
John Williams: Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets (Violin/Piano)
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Selections from Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
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