Monday, August 1, 2011




Jerry Garcia, American guitarist, composer and vocalist in The Grateful Dead, nicknamed Captain Trips - died on this day in 1995, aged 53, of a heart attack while in rehab…

Photo of Jerry on a cold day in Copenhagen, 1971

Jerry Garcia-Whiskey in the Jar


Dmitri Shostakovich, Russian composer and Harry Potter look-a-like - died this day in 1975, aged 68, of lung cancer…

Dmitri Shostakovich - Waltz 2 Russian Waltz


Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5,Bernstein


Alexander Glazunov, Russian classical composer - Aug. 10, 1865 - 1936…

Photo: Alfred Fedetsky, 1899

Alexander Glazunov - Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82 - Moderato - Andante sostenuto - Allegro 2/2


We’re (still) dedicated followers of Léon Theremin (Aug. 15, 1896 - 1993) here at OF…

In case you don’t quite know what a theremin is, here is a picture of it and its inventor Leon Theremin. As for sound you may at first think Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”, Midsomer Murders, or B-film alien space ships and horror flick sound effects.

In fact, though, the theremin is a well-reputed electronic instrument used in classical music, and sporting a number of contemporary virtuoso players, just like any other instrument…

For a killer post on the links between pop and counter-culture and modern classical music, check this from On An Overgrown Path…

Leon Theremin and Clara

The Rhythmicon…

A transposable keyboard instrument capable of playing notes in periodic rhythms proportional to the overtone series of a chosen fundamental pitch. The world’s first electronic rhythm machine, with a photoreceptor-based sound production system proposed by American composer Henry Cowell (Mar. 11, 1897 - 1965), it could produce up to sixteen different rhythmic patterns simultaneously, complete with optional syncopation. Cowell wrote several original compositions for the instrument, including an orchestrated concerto, and Leon Theremin built two more models. Soon, however, the Rhythmicon would be virtually forgotten, remaining so until the 1960s, when progressive pop music producer Joe Meek experimented with its rhythmic concept… (Wiki)


Romanian composer, conductor and violin virtuoso George Enescu: Aug. 19, 1881 - 1955…

Enescu was a classic case of the central European artist and intellectual, roaming freely between Vienna, Bucharest and Paris to seek inspiration, patronage and to practice his art…

Photo - Bucharest, 1943

Romanian Rhapsody George Enescu


On August 19, 1990 the great conductor Leonard Bernstein bowed out, conducting as his final piece Beethoven’s 7th symphony. During the performance Lenny had a bad coughing spell, nearly disrupting the concert. Bernstein died of pneumonia less than 2 months later, his heavy smoking habit having caused him to battle emphysema for several years prior to his death at age 72…

Photo: Lenny composing, 1955 - possibly writing Symphonic Suite from “On the Waterfront”, based on his film score from the previous year…

Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A Major Movement 2 by Leonard Bernstein


Maxim Vengerov, who used to be the world’s best classical violinist before he injured his bowing hand in 2007, is 37 today.

Vengerov is now into conducting in a big way, as he tries to get back from the injury - and he has quite recently begun playing a few violin pieces at the end of his concerts…

Photo: Tibor Rausch

Most Beautiful Violin Sounds (Maxim Vengerov)


Old-school mezzo, Dame Janet Baker - b. Aug. 21, 1933…

'Ich bin der Welt...' * Mahler * JANET BAKER * 1967

Legendary British mezzo-soprano Dame Janet Baker (b. 1933) sings 'Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen' ('I am lost to the world') from Gustav Mahler's 'Fünf Rückertlieder, no. 4 (with text by poet Friedrich Rückert). SEE BELOW FOR LYRICS.

Sir John Barbirolli
Hallé Orchestra
Recorded in 1967


'Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen'
(Fünf Rückertlieder, no. 4)

Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen,
Mit der ich sonst viele Zeit verdorben,
Sie hat so lange nichts von mir vernommen,
Sie mag wohl glauben, ich sei gestorben!

Es ist mir auch gar nichts daran gelegen,
Ob sie mich für gestorben hält,
Ich kann auch gar nichts sagen dagegen,
Denn wirklich bin ich gestorben der Welt.

Ich bin gestorben dem Weltgetümmel,
Und ruh' in einem stillen Gebiet!
Ich leb' allein in meinem Himmel,
In meinem Lieben, in meinem Lied!



I am lost to the world
with which I used to waste so much time,
It has heard nothing from me for so long
that it may very well believe that I am dead!

It is of no consequence to me
Whether it thinks me dead;
I cannot deny it,
for I really am dead to the world.

I am dead to the world's tumult,
And I rest in a quiet realm!
I live alone in my heaven,
In my love and in my song!

French Impressionist composer, Claude Debussy - Aug. 22, 1862 - 1918…

Watercolour of Debussy by Paul Robier (Musee de la Musique, Paris, France)

Claude Debussy - Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun


Celebrating the great American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein: Aug. 15, 1918 - 1990…

Leonard Bernstein: To What You Said (text by Walt Whitman) - from his cantata Songfest


I like Uncle Tupelo and Wilco - so happy birthday Jeff Tweedy (44 today)…

Jeff Tweedy by Chris Strong

Uncle Tupelo "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down"


Lester ‘Prez’ Young - Aug. 27, 1909 - 1959 - American jazz saxophonist and hepcat generator of a lot of new language…

Known for his cool, sophisticated tone, as well as for his collaboration with Billie Holiday…

Photo: Herman Leonard

… and for his pork pie hat…

Photo of Prez without Prez: Herman Leonard

Lester Young - Love me or leave me


Alice Coltrane - August 27, 1937 – 2007 - jazz and world musician…

Photo of Alice and John Coltrane searching for that chord, 1965

Alice Coltrane - Hare Krishna


Charlie Parker, alto sax player of the century: Aug. 29, 1920 - 1955…

Jack Kerouac: Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker looked like Buddha
Charlie Parker, who recently died
Laughing at a juggler on the TV
After weeks of strain and sickness,
Was called the Perfect Musician.
And his expression on his face
Was as calm, beautiful, and profound
As the image of the Buddha
Represented in the East, the lidded eyes
The expression that says “All Is Well”
This was what Charlie Parker
Said when he played, All is Well.
You had the feeling of early-in-the-morning
Like a hermit’s joy, or
Like the perfect cry of some wild gang
At a jam session,
“Wail, Wop”
Charlie burst his lungs to reach the speed
Of what the speedsters wanted
And what they wanted
Was his eternal Slowdown.

Charlie Parker - Summertime


Dinah Washington, The Queen: Aug. 29, 1924 - 1963…

Dinah Washington sings "Only A Moment Ago"


Itzhak Perlman, extraordinary violinist - 66!
Wiki:Itzhak Perlman (Hebrew: יצחק פרלמן‎; born August 31, 1945) is an Israeli-American violinist, conductor, and instructor of master classes. He is generally regarded as one of the pre-eminent violinists of the 20th century.

Bach 's Chaconne for Solo Violin / Itzhak Perlman (Part 1/2)


Van Morrison, OBE (born George Ivan Morrison; 31 August 1945) is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter and musician.

Van Morrison - Into The Mystic (Original Version)


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