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 23
Did You Guess?
According to the inventor himself, the name has a long o sound.  So "Moog" rhymes with "vogue." That is the way it would be pronounced in German!
Can You Guess?
Many people have trouble saying Robert Moog's name!
Can Guess the right way to pronounce "Moog?"

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What Else
First performance of Brahms's String Quartet # 3 in the home of Clara Schumann.  It would not be played in public until October 30.

Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg, May 7, 1833.  His father played  double bass. Brahms began studying the piano when he was 7, and started theory and compositon lessons under Eduard Marxsen at age 13. Marxsen was a fan of Johann Sebastian Bach, so Brahms was well-trained in the classics.
1814 - First performance of Beethoven's opera Fidelio in its modern form.

1883 - Premiere of Tchaikovsky's Festival Coronation March,  in Moscow.

1934 - Inventor of the Moog Synthesizer and electronic music composer Robert Moog was born.

- Les Brown went #1 with Sentimental Journey.

- Everly Brothers record Cathy's Clown.

- Beach Boys released I Get Around, which became their 4th #1.

1971 - Premiere of Roger Sessions's cantata When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd (after Walt Whitman), in Berkley, Calif.

- Sister Sledge's We Are Family went platinum.

1993 - Premiere of Daniel Pinkham's Nocturnes for flute and guitar, at the First and Second Church in Boston, by flutist Fenwick Smith and guitarist John Curtis
From an early age Brahms helped support his family by playing in dance halls.  He also began arranging music for  his father's light orchestra while absorbing the popular alla zingarese (gypsy) style associated with Hungarian folk music.

In 1853, on a tour with the Hungarian violinist Reményi, 15-year old Brahms met violinist Joseph Joachim and Franz Liszt.  Brahms and Joachim became lifelong friends.  Joachim encouraged Brahms to meet Robert Schumann. Brahms and the Schumanns (Robert and his wife Clara) became great friends and artistic colleagues.

Brahms moved to Hamburg in 1859 to direct a women's chorus. Though he was well known as a pianist, Brahms's distaste for much of the popular music of the day (notably that of Franz Liszt and the like) caused him to have trouble being accepted as a composer.

Slowly he gained the public's approval with his two orchestral serenades, the Handel Variations for piano and the early piano quartets. He became director of the Vienna Singakadamie in 1863.  Besides giving concerts of his own music, he made tours throughout northern and central Europe and began teaching the piano. He settled permanently in Vienna in 1868.

Although Brahms composed many types of music, of special interest to violin students is his violin concerto.
Johannes Brahms
World Cup -- Soccer / Fiddle Shirt
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Concerto in D, Op. 77 - sheet music at
Concerto in D, Op. 77 Violin and Piano. By Johannes Brahms. Arranged by Y Menuhin. (Violin). String Solo. Published by G. Schirmer, Inc.
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Or download the sheet music directly to your computer by clicking here!
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Brahms wanted to write a concerto for his friend Joachim, but he felt unfamiliar with the violin, and it took 30 years for him to so.  When he finally did he sent Joachim a copy of the score with a request for him to comment on what was "difficult, uncomfortable, impossible, etc.,'' but Joachim replied that "most of the material is playable---some of it, in fact, quite originally violinistic.'' Joachim's major concern was the stamina required to play it "in an overheated concert hall!''

Brahms continued to have doubts, and discarded the middle two of the original four movements, replacing them with what he called "a feeble Adagio.'' When Joachim received the piece he wasted no time playing the work.  January 1, 1879 saw the first performance.  It was not well received by critics.  One called it a "Concerto against the Violin," and questioned the ability of any violinist to perform it.  Time has allowed the piece to be seen as a true virtuoso piece, and it is now part of the standard repertoire.

Brahms continued to work into the 1890s.  He maintained his friendship with Clara Schumann.  Her death in 1896 was very hard on him.  Less than a year later, on March 26, 1897, Johannes Brahms died from cancer, age 63, and was buried in Vienna.
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