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
May 19
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Charles Ives was born October 20, 1874 at the family home in Danbury, CT.

His father, George, was a famous bandmaster.  He taught Charles the basics of harmony, counterpoint and fugue.  George was a true innovator and experimented with music. He once divided his band into 4 and had them march into a park from 4 directions playing different pieces in different meters and keys. Dissonance set the basis for Ives's musical innovation.
1746 - Birth of German composer Johann Friedrich Peter.

1886 - Premiere of Camille Saint-Saen's Symphony No. 3, the Organ Symphony for organ, two pianos and orchestra

- First radio broadcast of a full opera, Martha, in Denver, Colorado.

- Death of German-American composer and Moravian minister Charles Martin Loeffler.

- Peter Townsend, vocalist for Who, is born.

- Dusty Hill of ZZ Top is born.

-The Drifters record Save the Last Dance for Me.

2002 - Premiere of William Bolcom's Seventh Symphony, A Symphonic Concerto, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, James Levine conducting.
Charles Ives
At age 14 Charles composed Slow March, for the funeral of his cat. At Yale he studied with Horatio Parker, a composer and professor of composition. but worked in the insurance industry for 20 years.   The agency he established became one of the most successful in New York City.  Weekends were spent composing music.
Charles Ives conducted by Bernstein
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In 1969 Peter Townsend (mentioned below) and The Who recorded a rock opera called Tommy in which a boy who cannot hear, cannot talk and cannot see can do something better than anyone else.  Can You Guess what Tommy can do so well?
He ain't got no distractions
Can't hear those buzzers and bells
Don't see lights a flashin'
Plays by sense of smell
Always gets a replay
Never tilts at all
That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball

Did you see the color clues?
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His music was not well received in the US until after his death, although there was interest in Europe.  Mahler found a score of Ives's Third Symphony, and intended to perform it, but died before doing so.

Ives became quite wealthy before retiring from the insurance business.  retired from the insurance business a wealthy man.  He died May 19, 1954.

After his death, the US music community came to accept and understand Ives's music, and now considers Ives a master musician and innovator.  His works include symphonies, tone poems and nearly 200 songs. Ives was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1947 for his Third Symphony and was designated the State Composer of the State of Connecticut  in 1991.
Ives liked placing bits of others' music into his own works.  Conventional music fragments combined with his own innovations produced a style all his own.