January 6, Birthday of Evelyn La Rue Pittman (1910-1992)

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  You can read about that in my post from July 19.  If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post.  On with today’s composer.

Eveyln La Rue Pittman was born in Oklahoma and went to Langston University where she studied violin, trombone, and harmony. In Oklahoma City, she founded a professional choir and had her own radio show. She obtained certificates to teach in any Oklahoma school and then went to New York where she studied composition at Julliard. Her professor there recommended her to Nadia Boulanger, with whom she studied in Paris. She is most known for her arrangement of African American spirituals, but she also wrote three operas, the last, in 1970, called Freedom Child which celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Alas, I can find recordings of only one of her works, a spiritual entitled “Anyhow.”

Anyhow
Another Version of Anyhow

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December 27, Birthday of Hope Temple

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  You can read about that in my post from July 19.  If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post.  On with today’s composer.

There is a very short entry for Hope Temple, nee Alice Davis, in Wikipedia.  She studied piano in London starting at age 13, but then due to a riding accident that injured her hand, she turned to composing.  I can only find one piece by her on Youtube.  It’s an Irish song called “My Lady’s Bower,” which was sung by Molly Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses.  The other is an excerpt, not very well performed, from her husband’s (Andre Messager), opera Mirette, which she cowrote with him.  She wrote two operettas, which I cannot find.

From Wikipedia:  Hope Temple, born as Alice Maude (called “Dotie”) Davis (27 December 1859 – 10 May 1938) was an Irish songwriter and composer. She was also known as “Mrs. André Messager“.

My Lady’s Bower
For the Wind of Night Comes Wandering

December 25, Birthday of Annie Lennox (b. 1954)

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  You can read about that in my post from July 19.  If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post.  On with today’s composer.

Annie Lennox may not be listed as a composer in Wikipedia, but she studied flute, piano and harpsichord at the London Royal Conservatory of Music. Her work as an Eurythmic still leaves me a bit speechless, as does her solo album Medusa (of covers, I know).

Love Song for a Vampire
Julia

Would I Lie to You

Conditioned Soul

December 24, Birthday of Libby Larsen (b. 1950)

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  You can read about that in my post from July 19.  If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post.  On with today’s composer.

 

Love Song for A Vampire
Holy Roller for Saxophone and Piano

Like Blind Men Tapping in the Dark

Song Concerto

December 19, birthday of Aziza Mustafa Zadeh (b. 1969)

Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers.  You can read about that in my post from July 19.  If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post.  On with today’s composer.

Aziza Mustafa Zadeh is an Azerbaijani musician being a singer, composer, and improviser. She fuses a traditional Azerbaijani improvisational singing form, mugham, with classical, jazz and avant-garde styles as well. Click here for a brief UNESCO description of Mugham. Both her parents were musicians, and her dad Vagif is noted as the first person to realize the similarity of Mugham and jazz quality. So he was kind of the Chick Corea of Azerbaijan. He died in 1979 and Aziza’s mother gave up her own career in order to foster her daughter’s.

 

Mozarts Jazz Ballade

Holiday Blessings

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Violin Concerto Number 5 in A, K. 219 “Turkish”

Earlier, I wrote about Mozart’s Violin Concerto Number 3 in G. Mozart wrote Number 5 in A in December of 1775, three months after the third, when he was a mere 14 years old! It’s hard to imagine someone so young could turn out a work so mature and full of depth.

Peter Gay wrote a short biography of Mozart a while back. I heard him speaking about it on a local call in show at the time. He told some interesting stories about Mozart and his father. One caller asked whether Gay thought that any child, given an education like Mozart’s father had given him would achieve the level of genius that little Wolfie attained. Gay said he couldn’t speak to that, but he could speak to the upbringing that Leopold Mozart had given his son, which does not seem so enlightened. Leopold raised and instructed his son for the purpose that many people still do all over the world–to be a source of income. What’s more, had Mozart lived in modern times, he probably would have sued his father for mental abuse, as other stars have done.

Gay told of how Mozart’s father, then choir master at the court in Salzburg, made his wife take Wolfgang on a concert tour to Paris, when his duties at the court prohibited him from doing so. They stopped in Muenster, where Mozart fell in love with a young girl. His father wrote him terrible, angry letters saying that his job was to go to Paris to make money. When they got to the City of Lights, his mother contracted a fever and died. Leopold wrote to blame her death on his son’s wanton behavior.

So in a way, Mozart managed to become great despite his father’s upbringing. The perfect pitch, the near-photographic musical memory, the ability to convey deep feelings were probably traits that he had been born with, just as some are taller, faster, or better at math than others. Had he not received a musical education, perhaps he might have become a musician anyway, able to play by ear. But the exposure to music gave him the tools to let his genius come out. It still strikes me odd that people think one’s ability is solely the result of either nature or nurture.

The Violin Concerto Number 5 starts with a fast “allegro” tempo, in which the orchestra states the theme and then lopes along with an upbeat mood. Odd, however, is how Mozart introduces the solo violin–with a slow adagio that introduces a completely new theme instead of recapping the one the orchestra used. After this mysterious interlude, the violin then launches into a vigorous restatement of the orchestral theme.

The second movement is a long, slow and beautiful adagio. The last movement has garnered a lot of attention over the centuries. It starts with a lovely minuet that carries you away with its beauty, before coming to a quiet closing. Then comes a stately march, before he returns to the minuet theme. For the rest of the piece Mozart goes back and forth between these tempos and a Turkish-sounding “rondo,” which is where the subtitle comes from. Eventually he returns to the beautiful strains of the minuet and draws to a close in a triumphant vein before the last few measures when he slows it back down to the beautiful, controlled theme from the opening. Not bad for a teenager.

<a target=”_blank” href=”http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&field-keywords=mozart%20violin%20concerto%20in%205%20mp3&linkCode=ur2&rd=1&redirect=true&tag=themusalm-20&url=search-alias%3Ddigital-music”>Buy CD or Download MP3s of Violin Concerto Number 5</a><img src=”https://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=themusalm-20&l=ur2&o=1&#8243; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Violin Concerto Number 5 in A, K. 219 “Turkish”

Earlier, I wrote about Mozart’s Violin Concerto Number 3 in G. Mozart wrote Number 5 in A in December of 1775, three months after the third, when he was a mere 14 years old! It’s hard to imagine someone so young could turn out a work so mature and full of depth.

Peter Gay wrote a short biography of Mozart a while back. I heard him speaking about it on a local call in show at the time. He told some interesting stories about Mozart and his father. One caller asked whether Gay thought that any child, given an education like Mozart’s father had given him would achieve the level of genius that little Wolfie attained. Gay said he couldn’t speak to that, but he could speak to the upbringing that Leopold Mozart had given his son, which does not seem so enlightened. Leopold raised and instructed his son for the purpose that many people still do all over the world–to be a source of income. What’s more, had Mozart lived in modern times, he probably would have sued his father for mental abuse, as other stars have done.

Gay told of how Mozart’s father, then choir master at the court in Salzburg, made his wife take Wolfgang on a concert tour to Paris, when his duties at the court prohibited him from doing so. They stopped in Muenster, where Mozart fell in love with a young girl. His father wrote him terrible, angry letters saying that his job was to go to Paris to make money. When they got to the City of Lights, his mother contracted a fever and died. Leopold wrote to blame her death on his son’s wanton behavior.

So in a way, Mozart managed to become great despite his father’s upbringing. The perfect pitch, the near-photographic musical memory, the ability to convey deep feelings were probably traits that he had been born with, just as some are taller, faster, or better at math than others. Had he not received a musical education, perhaps he might have become a musician anyway, able to play by ear. But the exposure to music gave him the tools to let his genius come out. It still strikes me odd that people think one’s ability is solely the result of either nature or nurture.

The Violin Concerto Number 5 starts with a fast “allegro” tempo, in which the orchestra states the theme and then lopes along with an upbeat mood. Odd, however, is how Mozart introduces the solo violin–with a slow adagio that introduces a completely new theme instead of recapping the one the orchestra used. After this mysterious interlude, the violin then launches into a vigorous restatement of the orchestral theme.

The second movement is a long, slow and beautiful adagio. The last movement has garnered a lot of attention over the centuries. It starts with a lovely minuet that carries you away with its beauty, before coming to a quiet closing. Then comes a stately march, before he returns to the minuet theme. For the rest of the piece Mozart goes back and forth between these tempos and a Turkish-sounding “rondo,” which is where the subtitle comes from. Eventually he returns to the beautiful strains of the minuet and draws to a close in a triumphant vein before the last few measures when he slows it back down to the beautiful, controlled theme from the opening. Not bad for a teenager.

<a target=”_blank” href=”http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&field-keywords=mozart%20violin%20concerto%20in%205%20mp3&linkCode=ur2&rd=1&redirect=true&tag=themusalm-20&url=search-alias%3Ddigital-music”>Buy CD or Download MP3s of Violin Concerto Number 5</a><img src=”https://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=themusalm-20&l=ur2&o=1&#8243; width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

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