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
October 5
1707 - Georgy Daniel Speer, German composer, died.

1743 - Giuseppe Gazzaniga was born.  Italian composer of 47 operas.

1799 - Wilhelm Cramer, German violinist, died. He led the Handel Festival in London.

1848 - First concert by the Germania Musical Society, in NYC. Carl Zerrahn organized the group dedicated to "Good Music for a Free People."

1867 - Sir George Grove and Arthur Sullivan arrived in Vienna to seek lost works of Schubert.

1898 - Premiere of Elgar's cantata Caractacus .

1927 - John Downey, US composer / pianist, was born.

1930 - First radio broadcast of  The New York Philharmonic Orchestra from Carnegie Hall.

1962 - The Beatles' first single Love Me Do, backed with P.S. I Love You, was released in the UK. It got its first radio play that evening on Radio Luxembourg.

1972 - Premiere of Dominick Argento´s A Ring of Time. Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra  S. Skrowaczewski conducting.

1973 - Premiere of Havergal Brian´s Symphony No. 28. New Philharmonia Orchestra.

1974 - Olivia Newton-John started a 2-week run at No. 1 on the US singles chart with I Honestly Love You.

1988 - Premiere of Daniel Pinkham´s Sonata da Camera for flute, with alternating alto flute, and viola. Fenwick Smith, flute and Burton Fine, viola.

1990 - Opening of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

1991 - Two albums by Guns n' Roses debut at the top of the Billboard LP chart. Use Your Illusion II at #1, & Use Your Illusion I was #2.

2001 - Premiere of Stephen Paulus's composition A Place for Hope for chorus & chamber orchestra.
Can You Guess?
We read about Olivia Newton John below. Most people get mi
xed up when you ask them to name the movie she was in (from 1980) that does not feature John Travolta.  Can You Guess the name of Olivia Newton-John's other movie.

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What Else
Silvestre Revueltas died October 5, 1940.

Revueltas was born on December 31, 1899. As a small boy, Silvestre, the eldest of twelve children, beat out rhythms on his first galvanized metal bathtub ("one of those round washtubs that I preferred drumming on to bathing in", as he said) and imitating village bands on his cane flute.
Silvestre Revueltas
Silvestre's father was fully aware of his son's artistic bent.  Early-on he bought his son a violin and sent him to study music and his brother Fermín, to study painting in Austin, Texas and later in Chicago.

Silvestre's teacher, Brother Louis Gazagne, wrote, "I'm afraid I haven't been much of a success as Silvestre's piano teacher...he had a mind of his own. Instead of practicing the assignments, he devoted himself to making combinations of notes and discovering sounds... His independent mind was annoyed by restriction or opposition of any kind."

Silvestre conducted a deep study of great modern composers like Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Gershwin, and Varčse. At the same time he was studying composition and working on his own pieces.  Once, upon showing his work to a teacher, he was informed that the harmonies that he had "discovered," were already to be found in the works of Debussy, and his rhythmic innovations were quite similar to those found in Stravinsky's canon.  Silvestre was stunned.

"I dream of music," he wrote, "that is color, sculpture, and movement... When I became familiar with Debussy's music, I realized that my mental music was identical. Debussy's impact on me was like that of a dawn whose palette takes on a tactile quality transformed by my eye's into my ear as plastic in movement... That was my feeling until 1924. The discovery that my new world had already been shaped by somebody else, gave rise to a tremendous internal struggle that manifested itself as inaction, in as much as I resolved never to compose again unless I was able to create my own language."

Another composer, Carlos Chávez (1899-1978) said of Silvestre, "He was a great violinist. I particularly recall his interpretation in that period of Händel and Beethoven sonatas." Eduardo Hernández Moncada (1899-1995) wrote: "The robust sonority, full and at the same time caressing, that he drew from his violin was impressive. It was a vibration that emanated not only from the instrument but which seemed to emerge from his very being... And how he conducted! He appeared to be at the boiling point...instantaneously communicating the ardor of his emotion to the orchestra."

Conducting!  Chavez had been so impressed with Revueltas that he invited him to become the assistant conductor of the Mexican National Orchestra in 1929, a post he held until 1935.  While in the Mexican capitol Revueltas also taught violin and composition at the National Conservatory of Music and conducted the Conservatory Orchestra.

In 1937, Revueltas went to Spain to conduct several of his orchestral.  Just as he spent his youth in the Mexican Revolution, he would continue his revolutionary ways by supporting the Republican cause during the Spanish Civil War.

Just as his music was individualistic and revolutionary, his live was undisciplined, and boisterous.  He saw himself as, "A man whose worst flaw is, and will be, that he dreams of another life which is nonexistent."

The final ten years of his life were extremely productive.  He produced almost 40 works - including 6 for full orchestra and 8 film scores.

On October 5, 1940, Silvestre Revueltas died of pneumonia aggravated by alcoholism in Mexico City. 

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