Composers Datebook

Composers Datebook™ is a daily two-minute program designed to inform, engage, and entertain listeners with timely information about composers of the past and present. Each program notes significant or intriguing musical events involving composers of the past and present, with appropriate and accessible music related to each.

Eine durchschnittliche Folge dieses Podcasts dauert 1m. Bisher sind 1783 Folge(n) erschienen. Dieser Podcast erscheint täglich.

Gesamtlänge aller Episoden: 2 days 11 hours 8 minutes

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Thomas Greene Wiggins


Synopsis

On this date in 1908 Thomas  Greene Wiggins died in Hoboken, New Jersey at the age of 59.  Known as Blind Tom Wiggins he was one of the most celebrated – and cruelly exploited – black concert performers of the 19th century. 

Born a slave in Georgia in 1849, Tom and his parents were offered for sale in an ad reading: “Price: $1,500 without Tom, $1,200 with him...


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Music for the birds by Dvořák


Synopsis

There’s a long list of composers ranging from Vivaldi to Messiaen who have incorporated bird song into their musical works.  Today we make note of one of them.

On this date in 1893 the great Czech composer Antonin Dvořák was vacationing with his family in Spillville, Iowa, spending the hot summer months with a small Czech community who had settled along the banks of the Turkey River...


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Hovhaness and the world's biggest vocal soloist


Synopsis

On this date in 1970, the New York Philharmonic, led by Andre Kostelanetz, introduced the world’s largest vocal soloists in the premiere performance of “And God Created Great Whales,” by American composer Alan Hovhaness.

The New York Times review found the music accompanying the recorded songs of whales “fairly inconsequential,” but pleasant enough.  “Faced with such an irresistible soloist,’ the review continued, “Mr...


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Marsalis and Swing


Synopsis

Wynton Marsalis says it all began with a dare in the 1990s from the late German conductor Kurt Masur, then the music director of the New York Philharmonic.  “He came to a concert of mine,” said Marsalis, “when I was like 28 or 29, and said he wanted me to write for the New York Philharmonic. I started laughing like, man, I have never even written for a big band...


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Franklin's Falls Flyer


Synopsis

The name Charles A. Lindbergh will forever be associated with two dramatic events: the first, Lindbergh’s historic nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic in the airplane named “The Spirit of St. Louis”; the second, the kidnapping and murder of Lindbergh’s infant son.

On today’s date in the year 2002, marking the centennial of Lindbergh’s birth and the 75th anniversary of Lindbergh’s Atlantic crossing, the Opera Theatre of St...


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Elliott Carter's “Two Controversies and a Conversation”


Synopsis

The American composer Elliott Carter lived to be 103, completing more than 40 works between ages 90 and 100, and some 20 more AFTER he turned 100 in the year 2008.

On today’s date in 2012, a new chamber work by Carter with an odd title was premiered at a concert in the New York Philharmonic’s CONTACT! Series...


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Vaughan Williams comes to America


Synopsis

It was on today’s date in 1922 that the 49-year-old English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams conducted the American premiere of his Third, or “Pastoral” Symphony at the Litchfield County music festival in Norfolk, Connecticut.

It was his first trip to the U.S. and he reacted to American landscapes and customs with both wonderment and amusement...


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Shaw on Mozart and Loewe on Shaw


Synopsis

On today’s date in 1885,  George Bernard Shaw had these thoughts after a performance of Mozart’s opera, “Don Giovanni”:

“A century after Shakespeare’s death it was fashionable to ridicule the pretensions of the author of ‘Hamlet’ to intellectual seriousness and to apologize for his childishness. At present, a century after Mozart’s death, we have among us those who hold [similar views] of the composer of ‘Don Giovanni...


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A Wagnerian souvenir


Synopsis

In the 19th century, a young Boston-born American composer and pianist named William Mason made a point of tracking down and visiting the most famous European composers of his day, including a politically controversial German named Richard Wagner, who was then living in exile in Zurich...


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Brahms rediscovered


Synopsis

In the summer of 1853 Johannes Brahms had just turned twenty and was touring as the piano accompanist of the Hungarian violinist Ede Reményi.  On today’s date, they arrived in Gottingen, where they were hosted by Arnold Wehner, the Music Director of that city’s University.

Wehner kept a guest book for visitors, and over time accumulated signatures from the most famous composers of his day, like Mendelssohn and Rossini...


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