Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Happy Birthday Aaron

Today is Aaron Copland's birthday. He would have been 112.
Here is a video of his arrangement of Happy Birthday conducted by Seiji Ozawa for Bernstein's 70th birthday in 1970.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Death of Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky's death mask
Tchaikovsky died on this day, 6 November, in 1893 aged 53 in St.Petersberg.
Officially he died of cholera but for many his death was suspicious and there are various intriguing theories about the true cause.
Cholera was common at the time and everyone knew that you must not drink unboiled water. Certainly for an educated man in high society it is very unlikely that he would have drunk it accidentally.
He was a very important highly regarded person in Russia. He was also gay, which at that time was illegal and could ruin your reputation.
The main theories link his death to his homosexuality:
- suicide due to personal problems including his infatuation with his nephew which could never be revealed.
- contraction of cholera through unhygienic sexual practices
- suicide by "court of honour". Eight of his close circle convened with him and convinced him that the only way for him to avoid a massive scandal was for him to kill himself.
- suicide or murder ordered by Tsar Alexander III, in order to avoid scandal.
You can find plenty of articles and opinions on the internet which make interesting reading. Here are a few:
- Wikipedia
- Daily Telegraph

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Deaths of Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn

Available from Amazon
Today is the anniversary of the death of Felix Mendelssohn at the age of 38 on 4 November 1847.
His sister Fanny had died less than six months earlier at the age of 41.
Fanny had suffered a sudden stroke or a brain haemorrhage. They were very close and her death had a devastating effect on Felix affecting his work and his health.
Felix died from  a series of strokes.
His grandfather Moses and both his parents had also died from strokes so there was obviously a genetic cause involved.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

November's Composer Anniversaries

Great Classical Composer

3/11/1801 Bellini born
4/11/1847 Mendelssohn died
4/11/1924 Fauré died
6/11/1854 Sousa born
6/11/1893 Tchaikovsky died
8/11/1890 César Franck died
12/11/833 Borodin born
13/11/1868 Rossini died
14/11/1805 Fanny Mendelssohn born
14/11/1900 Copland born
15/11/1787 Gluck died
18/11/1786 Weber born
19/11/1828 Schubert died
20/11/1894 A.Rubinstein died
21/11/1695 Purcell died
22/11/1900 A.Sullivan died
22/11/1913 Britten born
23/11/1585 Thomas Tallis died
24/11/1868 Scott Joplin born
28/11/1829 A.Rubinstein born
29/11/1643 Monteverdi died
29/11/1797 Donizetti born
29/11/1924 Puccini died

I have done a webpage with composer anniversaries for the whole year at: