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
November 23
What Else
1834 - Debut of Hector Berlioz's Harold In Italy, in Paris.

1862 - Alberto Williams, Argentinian composer, teacher and publisher was born.

1903 - American debut of Enrico Caruso at the Metropolitan Opera, NYC in Rigoletto. The performance was so successful that he remained with the Metropolitan for the rest of his career.

1928 - Jerry Bock,  Broadway composer (Fiddler on the Roof), was born.

- Thomas Zehetmair, Austrian violinist and conductor, was born.

1974 - The Rolling Stones album It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, went to No.1 on the UK chart and became the groups 21st consecutive gold album.

1979 - Pink Floyd's The Wall was eleased, it sold 6 million copies in 2 weeks

1992 - Roy Acuff, country singer (Wabash Cannonball), died.

2001 - Juan Hinojosa, drummer and founding member of the Tejano band Los Fabulosos Cuatro, died.

- First solo performance by a counter-tenor (David Daniels) at the main auditorium of  Carnegie Hall in NYC.
In 1898 he was accepted by the Vienna Conservatory, but attended the Budapest Academy (1899-1903), where he studied the piano with Istvan Thoman and composition with Janos Koessler.  There he met and was influenced by both Wagner and Richard Strauss.

In 1904 His symphonic poem, Kossuth, was performed in Budapest and Manchester, and Bartók began a piano career, writing a Piano Quintet, a rhapsody and a scherzo. He also made his first Hungarian folksong transcription. A collection of arrangements of folksongs, in which he collaborated with Kodály,was published in 1906. The next year he accepted the position of his teacher, Thoman's, successor at the Budapest Academy.  This allowed him to continue his folksong collecting. Although his Violin Concerto (1908) is still quite traditional, many of his piano works began to show influences of this folk tradition.  Bartók's String Quartet No.1 (1908) brought this to the fore 
Bela Bartók
Bela Bartók's fairy tale ballet The Woodcut Prince debuted in Budapest November 23, 1931.

Bela Bartók Sînnicolau Mare, March 25, 1881.  He started music lessons with his mother, after his father died when he was 7.  He studied the piano with Laszlo Erkel and Anton Hyrtl, and was composing composed sonatas and quartets by age 17.
Fiddler of the Opera
Violinists Rule Mug
Keepsake Box
Some of the Classic Themes from Opera reinterpreted for Violin and Piano.  I LOVE this CD.
Violinists Rule!
It Must Be True! 
The Mug Says So!
Can You Guess?
We read of David Daniels's performance as a countertenor below.  Can You Guess just what is a countertenor? (No, it's not a good tip left for the fountain girl at the luncheonette.)

Look at the bottom of the page for the answer.
Bartok Quartets--Emerson Quartet
Did You Guess?
A Countertenor is an adult male singer who uses the falsetto part of his voice more than usual to sing a higher range than the typical adult male voice.
Bartók was deeply influenced by the modern styles of Stravinsky and Schönberg, and his violin sonatas of the early 1920's show this new style.  The technical complexity of the pieces in their harmonies and rhythms are very much in the modern style.  They were very well accepted, and Bartók was in demand throughout Europe.  He began to view instruments in a new light.  The piano became a percussion instrument, so that its sound almost resembled that of a xylophone.  The rhythms and harmonies of his next two string quartets continued Bartok's modernity.  He broke tradition with quartet no. 4, in that it consisted of 5 movements rather than 4.

By 1940, Bartók had been widowed and remarried.  His march toward a modern style.  He moved to New York with the onset of war in Europe.  His health was failing, and his music turned almost sullen with his String Quartet no. 6.  In New York Bartók received grants to continue his work on the folksong collections he had begun years earlier.  In spite of Bartók's discomfort with New York, though he returned to a joyous sound with his Concerto for Orchestra, which was published in 1943, and had great success with his final Violin Sonata, in 1944.

Realizing his health was failing, Bartók undertook the task of writing a piano concerto to provide his widow with an income.  It was not quite complete when Bartók died,  September 26, 1945.  He also left a Viola Concerto in its earliest stages of development.
After a lukewarm reception of his Bluebeard's Castle, Bartok devoted himself to collecting, arranging and studying  folksongs until World War I, when he returned to composing.  String Quartet No.2 (1917) and his ballet The Wooden Prince, were well received by the public.