Happy Music

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaity to life and to everything.”–Plato

Plato, of course, was so right. Hope you enjoy reading about and hearing two different forms of what I call ‘happy music’, the first in honor of our Irish friends for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day. Each year, my husband and I try to schedule trips to my hometown of Syracuse, NY to visit with my childhood friends and see either a Syracuse University football or basketball game. A few weeks ago we travelled to Syracuse for a weekend which was especially exciting. My longest friend, I refuse to say ‘oldest’ (since I was in the 2nd grade!), her husband and we love to catch up and meet at their (and now our!) favorite Irish Pub, Kitty Hoynes, which we did. My husband was so looking forward to it because his very favorite Celtic band was scheduled to play the same night we were having dinner there with our friends. The band is called Searson and is made up of outstanding musicians: Celtic fiddler, Colleen Searson, her sister, Erin,  on piano and vocals, plus a drummer and guitar player. All I could think of as we enjoyed the music was how happy it made us all in the pub; maybe the good beer had something to do with it too? Searson played with such wonderful energy, one song after another, with few and quick breaks. Each one composed by themselves. You may wonder why I include this experience in a classical music blog. Well, because Searson’s fiddle player was classically trained. You HAVE to check them out on their website. I know you will smile and start tapping your feet or clapping your hands to this very happy music. It’s unavoidable, even without the beer in hand! One more wonderful Celtic group that I just HAVE to share is Natalie MacMaster and her husband Donnell Leahy. We recently heard them live at SUNY Stony Brook here on Long Island, for the second time. Their incredibly talented young children played fiddle along with them, danced and sang. It was a night to remember. Take a look at Natalie’s website and then be on the look out for them as they tour the world. Maybe they’ll be near you. It’s a wonderful concert.

The Library has a number of Celtic recordings which you might enjoy after wetting your appetite with Searson and MacMaster. Since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, try getting out of your strictly classical music, comfort zone, as I did and listen to some very Happy Music: Celtic Grace (by Aureole), Songs from the Heart or Believe (both by Celtic Woman), Voyage (by Celtic Thunder), Haunting Slow Airs from Ireland (by Kieran Fahy), The Celtic Album (Boston Pops Orchestra), to name a few.

You may not understand how a group called The Holocaust Survivors Band is included in this post of ‘happy music’. When you click on the link, you’ll see why. Klezmer music is one of my favorites because it brings home thoughts of my family’s heritage. This  Klezmer Band is amazing. PLEASE take a moment to read the article on them and listen to the brief videos. I know it’ll bring a smile to your day and quite possibly more tapping feet! As the article says “music is catharsis”, and this is one of the best examples of it. Until The Holocaust Survivors Band comes out with a CD, try checking these out at our Library: Klezmer Fiddle (DVD), My Mother’s Brisket & Other Love Songs (CD), Songs of Our Fathers CD), or read about Klezmer in The Book of Klezmer: the History, the Music, the Folklore by Yale Strom or Klezmer!: Jewish Music From Old World to Our World by Henry Sapoznik.

Our Did You Know? for today is about Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), one of the most prolific composers of the German Baroque. His birthday is March 14, so I felt it apropos to share some interesting information about him. There didn’t seem to be any instrument Telemann couldn’t play: by the age of 12 he had taught himself three instruments. By 1712, he advertised himself as being able to play the violin, organ, harpsichord, recorder, chalumeau (early clarinet), cello, and calchedon (lute), as well as being an accomplished baritone singer. In 1714, he married the 16-year-old daughter of the city clerk in Frankfurt. They had eight sons and one daughter. Just listen to some of his works on the following CDs which you may check out at the Library and I guarantee you’ll be enchanted:  Wind Concertos, Die Ouvert uren Tafelmusik, and Concerto in A minor for recorder, viola, strings, and continuo. There are plenty more at the Library!

Enjoy and remember  “Stay tuned to the Quarter Notes Blog and in tune with all the music in your life!”

E. Susman, March 14, 2015

A Valentine for You!

“Music is the universal language of mankind.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone about their area of expertise? It’s very interesting: be it architect, teacher, engineer, computer tech, physician, dentist, printer, seamstress, the list is endless. Each one has their own language that they use naturally.  As they try to make the information understandable to the layman they’re talking to, it can’t always be done. Every subject in the world has it’s own vocabulary. Music is no different. A number of times, my husband has asked me questions after a performance. I begin to explain using terms that come naturally to any musician, then I realize from his blank stare that I need to back up and explain in more “layman’s” terms, especially when he’ll say “I have no idea what you’re talking about!”

So this post is a little Valentine’s gift to you of musical terms which you may not have heard of or if so, might not remember what they mean. Most of the following are taken from The Naxos Website: The World’s Leading Classical Music Group:

aubade: a morning song. A well known example of the Siegfried Idyll by Richard Wagner

cassation: of disputed origin and used principally in the 18th century in Southern Germany to describe a piece of music akin to a divertimento or serenade

giocoso: Italian for jocular, cheerful; sometimes found as part of a tempo instruction as in allegro giocoso, fast and cheerful

heldentenor: a tenor with a quality of voice suited to the heroic roles of 19th century French Grand Opera and of the music-dramas of Wagner, as in the part of Tannhauser, Wagner’s opera of that name

jota: a traditional Spanish dance, as in the Russian composer,  Glinka’s,  orchestral piece, Jota aragonesa

loure: a French dance of the 17th and 18th centuries, the name derived from a bagpipe used in Normandy. The dance is usually in 6/4 time and has been described as a slow gigue, as in Bach’s E major Partita for unaccompanied violin and in the fifth of his French Suites

If you enjoy learning less well known musical terms like these, please let me know by commenting on the blog and we’ll continue with more in my next post.

With all the cold snowy days we have had recently, you might like to add some exciting concert dates to look forward to on your spring calendar. The Library is hosting an exciting flute recital on March 22, 2015, Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. You will hear winners of the annual Long Island Flute Club Competition perform. Come and be amazed at the young talent that’s out there! On Friday, May 8, 2015, at 8 p.m., at the Northport High School, the Northport Symphony Orchestra will perform Mozart’s Symphony No. 40  (this recording is by George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra) as well as other classical favorites. Angela Wee, a high school senior, will be the featured soloist on violin. Both concerts are free of course.

Be on the look out for a new book that the Library has on order: The History of Music in Fifty Instruments, by Philip Wilkinson. This guide includes very interesting information for the full range of orchestral instruments, including the synthesizer, the instrument-makers, the composers who wrote for the instruments and the virtuoso musicians who played them. My only complaint with it is that a person who plays the flute (as in Moi!), is referred to as a “Flautist”. People who know me, know I,  as well as better known flutists, such as James Galway, much prefer “Flutist” be used. It is in fact, more generally acceptable by most. After all, we play the FLUTE not the FLAUTE!!

Many well known composers were born in February: Fritz Kreisler, 2/2/1875; Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, 2/3/1809; Alban Berg, 2/9/1885; Michael Praetorius, 2/15/1571, Arcangelo Corelli, 2/17/1653, Luigi Boccherini, 2/19/1742; Andres Segovia, 2/21/1893; George Frideric Handel, 2/23/1685; and Anton Reicha, 2/26/1770, to name just a few.

So our Do You Know? is about birthday boy Felix Mendelssohn (-Bartholdy) (1809-1847), born into the Jewish faith.  The parenthesis around Bartholdy are intentional: in 1816, Mendelssohn and his siblings were secretly baptized as Protestants and his parents converted to Christianity in 1822, adding “Bartholdy” to the family name. This, most likely, was due to renewed anti-Semitism in Germany at the time, as German nationalism was spreading. Mendelssohn’s grandfather was the famous philosopher, Moses Mendelssohn. A child prodigy, Mendelssohn performed as a pianist, organist, and conductor, giving his first public performance at the age of 9. Robert Schumann called Mendelssohn “The Mozart of the Nineteenth Century”. For those of us who love his symphonies, I found it interesting to learn that his five symphonies are numbered by their order of publication, not composition. The real order is: Symphony in C Minor, 1824 (No. 1), “Reformation” Symphony, 1830 (No. 5), “Italian” Symphony, 1833 (No. 4), “Lobgesang” (Hymn of Praise), 1840 (No. 2) and “Scottish”, 1842 (No. 3). His music melds influences from both the 18th and 19th centuries. Enjoy his Complete String Quartets, performed in this recording by the Emerson String Quartet or his well known Octet op. 20 for Strings performed by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Actually, the Octet may be found on both recordings I just listed. Why not treat yourself to checking them both out and compare the performances of both of these very acclaimed groups? One more suggestion especially during these winter months: snuggle up with a musical fiction book: Mendelssohn Is On the Roof by Jiri Weill (translated from the Czech by Marie Winn). It’s considered a ‘Holocaust novel’.

Hope you have a warm, happy and above all, musical, Valentine’s Day!

“Stay tuned to the Quarter Notes Blog and in tune with all the music in your life!”

E. Susman, February 2015

Telling Stories

The Quarter Notes Blog has been on a brief mandatory hiatus due to medical issues. But we’re finally back in the swing and hope you haven’t missed reading new posts about classical music too much. This post will bring you many different stories, not an end of year round-up, but various stories about music to start your 2015 off right. Why, you say, ‘right’? Well for a number of reasons: libraries, where I’ve worked for over 35 years, are full of stories, so I feel it’s my duty to promote reading of stories. Then, my other life is music.  There are so many interesting stories about composers’ lives, the power of music, how music can save lives, how amateur musicians are discovered, how music contributes to lives of the old and young throughout the ages, and on and on. So in my blog of today, I’d like to wet your appetite for being on the lookout for stories you’d like to learn more about, read about and share with your family and friends.

First, my own little story:

It seems fitting to come back to The Quarter Notes following the anniversary of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s birthday (baptized December 17, 1770 in Vienna – died March 26, 1827). I was listening to my classical music station, WSHU, coming to work recently and found myself singing along to the Cello Sonata, No. 3 in A Major Opus 69 by Beethoven that I had heard for the first time as a music student in college. I couldn’t help myself and so thoroughly enjoyed hearing it, I found myself driving slower to be able to hear the end before I had to park and rush into work. It was a recording of Alfred Brendel on piano with his son Adrian Brendel on cello and it was gorgeous. This too brought back memories of my Dad accompanying me on the piano while I performed on the flute at various recitals throughout my youth. Recently,  in preparation for a huge dedication concert of the new auditorium on January 10, 2015, at Northport High School (at 2 pm free and open to the public to attend, you won’t be disappointed!) renaming it for our beloved Northport Community Band Director, Robert W. Krueger who passed away in 2013, I had another moving classical music moment. The Northport Symphony Orchestra, of which I am a charter member, was rehearsing with the Northport High School chamber orchestra for this January concert. I took my place in between the two students playing flute. I shared the first flute part with a lovely junior in the high school, who when I asked, told me she wanted to major in music in college. She played very well with a clear and pretty sound, secure in the rhythms and with musicality. I could have hugged her. Here was a teenager enjoying the Mozart Overture to Don Giovanni as much as I was. She wants to major in music performance and I told her no matter what she may end up doing in life, she will always have that incredible talent, musical education and love of music that can never be taken away. She agreed and said something to the effect that: “Music is just so wonderful and is a way of life.”  Yes! Now if we could only get everyone exposed to classical music, perhaps we would have a much more peaceful, loving world…..

Again, I must share a special personal musical event: the Long Island Flute Club has been playing December holiday concerts for years at Old Westbury Gardens here on Long Island. Last month, we played our program to the largest, standing room only crowd ever. Think of a concert of piccolos, C flutes, alto flutes and bass flutes (19 total!!) playing holiday music in an old mansion. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you’d appreciate the angelic sound of it all and go away humming.

Music keeps everyone “Alive & Kickin”, coming to NYC to perform:

Everyone who knows me, always looks out for articles, books, recordings, etc. I might be interested in that relate to music. A friend recently pointed out a wonderful story that was broadcast on 60 Minutes on January 4, 2015. You must view the entire story and prepare to be moved by the talent and even more so by the performers’ stories. After you watch it all, there must be no doubt in your mind the power of music and stories.

Have you read the story about Chopin’s heart???? Who knew? Read and be amazed.

Lastly, another story, close to my heart because it tells the story of a Holocaust survivor whose life was spared: he and his father were musicians. Check out his story in the news report: “Holocaust Survivor’s Gift”.  For the full text of the story, come to the Library and see the January 5, 2015 edition of Newsday, our Long Island paper, page A13.

It is good to be back doing The Quarter Notes. Hope 2015 will be a year of beautiful music, stories, family and peace for all of you. Remember to:

“Stay tuned to the Quarter Notes Blog and in tune with all the music in your life!”

E. Susman

January 2015



Happy Musical Halloween

“HALLOWEEN: a magical and mysterious holiday all full of surprises in which, amongst treats and tricks, fear and horror turn into joy and play.” –Jean Paul Malfatti

Last October, 2013, the Quarter Notes Blog shared some typical classics often associated with Halloween. Since Halloween is only a few weeks away, I’d like to suggest a few more well-known pieces to share with your children and grandchildren as well as reminding you of the ones you must be familiar with from my last Halloween post. All of them have either a spooky, macabre, mysterious or scary feel to them, often ‘full of surprises’ which young people enjoy. They are standards in classical music and played often, something that would help familiarize one’s ear to ‘popular’ classical works. As always, I’ve made them links so you can find them easily in your library or order them from other local libraries:

Bernard Herrmann’s Suite from Psycho (yes, the 1960 film!), Gyorgy Ligeti’s Requiem (used in the Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey“) as well as the favorites Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre, Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique – Dreams of a Witches’ Sabbath and March to the Scaffold, Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (Adagio – Stanley Kubrick used it in the soundtrack to his horror film The Shining), Liszt’s Totentanz (“Dance of the Dead”),  Rachmaninov’s The Isle of the Dead,  J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in d minor, Dukas’ Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Orff’s Carmina Burana. View this excerpt of a huge production of Carmina Burana with Andre Rieu; maybe it’ll wet your appetite to check out the full length DVD we have at the Library.

Our Did You Know? for today is about Franz Liszt, (born 9 days before Halloween!), October 22, 1811 – July 31,  1886. Although Liszt was born in Hungary, and considered himself an ardent Hungarian nationalist, he grew up speaking German and was unable to speak much Hungarian. His eventual preferred language was French. Liszt was a superstar during his day, revolutionizing the art of piano playing, and was also known for inventing the art of interpretive conducting.  Liszt’s talents were noticed by the age of 6 by his musician father; he was giving public concerts by 9 years old. One of his children, Cosima, became the wife of composer Richard Wagner. Liszt transcribed Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique for piano 11 years before the full orchestral score was published.

Hope to see you at the Long Island Flute Club Professional Flute Choir Concert on October 26, 2014, at the Patchogue Medford Library at 2:30 pm.

Stay tuned to the Quarter Notes Blog and in tune with all the music in your life!

E. Susman, October, 2014

An Anniversary!

           “God Bless America……land that I love.”  —from the song, God Bless America, written by Irving Berlin, 1918. Originally God Bless America almost became our national anthem, over the Star Spangled Banner. It is our unofficial secondary national anthem.

This month marks the 200th anniversary of the writing of our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. What better place to honor it, than in a music blog? For those of you unaware of U.S. history during the time of the Star Spangled Banner,  here is a little bit of background. The U.S. declared war on Britain (War of 1812) in June 1812 after a series of trade disagreements. British troops invaded Washington, D.C. in August 1814, burning the White House, Capitol Building and the Library of Congress. Their next target was Baltimore, Maryland. The British bombarded Fort McHenry, MD., but were unable to destroy the fort and gave up. Francis Scott Key (1779-1843), a lawyer in Maryland and Washington, D.C., who later was appointed U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, was so relieved to see the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry on September 14, 1814, he wrote a few lines in tribute to what he had seen. The poem was set to the music of a popular English drinking tune called “To Anacreon in Heaven” by composer John Stafford Smith. President Woodrow Wilson announced in 1916 that it should be played at all official events. It was adopted as the national anthem on March 3, 1931.

Your Library has much more for you to read and listen to concerning our national anthem:

Oscar Sonneck, the first Chief of the Division of Music of the Library of Congress, wrote the book Report on the Star-Spangled Banner, Hail Columbia, America & Yankee Doodle in 1909. Your Library’s copy is a reprint of this very interesting, yet brief, book and might just answer all your questions about our national anthem. If this wets your appetite, you might also like to read: The Flag, the Poet and the Song: the Story of the Star-Spangled Banner by Irvin Molotsky, Through the Perilous Fight: Six Weeks That Saved the Nation by Steve Vogel, The Star-Spangled Banner by Oscar Sonneck, or A Patriot’s Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love, compiled by Caroline Kennedy. National Anthems of the World is a collection of songs in their original language as well as with a transliterated phonetic version. Historical notes are also included. Along with the book, you might enjoy listening to these CDS:, World Anthems, performed by the English Chamber Orchestra and Enduring Freedom: America’s Greatest Hits performed by various well known orchestras and U.S. military groups. For those instrumentalists among us, we have the sheet music for you to practice: National Anthems from Around the World: the Official National Anthems, Flags, and Anthem Histories from 56 Countries and a documentary DVD by the History Channel which will help make our country’s history even clearer: The War of 1812.

I recently read a very disturbing article from The Telegraph, a UK publication, published in November 2013, quoting the Queen’s official composer, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, at the time, concerning children, their education and the lack of classical music in it. It’s not just in our educational system where learning classical music instruction is sparse. I share this with you, my fellow classical music lovers, since the school year has just started. Students will (hopefully) continue to play in their school music groups, or, will be just starting to learn an instrument. I’ve highlighted local music groups in The Quarter Notes Blog in the past where concerts are often free. Please take advantage of these and expose your children and grandchildren to these events. Ask them to play their instrument for you, play classical music in your home when they are there or in the car. We must keep it alive. The quality of our culture depends on it.

Our Do You Know? of today’s post is about “The Dean of American Composers” according to the San Francisco Classical Voice, Aaron Copland (1900-1990). I chose Copland since we’ve been learning about our national anthem and the War of 1812 in this post. Copland was born in Brooklyn, NY and died in North Tarrytown, NY. He wrote a number of works which are staples of the orchestra repertoire including: Fanfare for the Common Man, A Lincoln Portrait and his Symphony No. 3. He included American folk music in his well known ballets: Billy the Kid, Rodeo and Appalachian Spring. Although he kept his private life to himself, he never hid his homosexuality, and lived on and off with the photographer Victor Kraft in the 1930s.

Stay tuned to the Quarter Notes Blog and in tune with all the music in your life!

E. Susman, September, 2014




We’re Back!

“Mozart is not the greatest, he is the only musician in the world.”—Gioachino Rossini  (1792-1868)

Hope you all had a wonderful summer. The title of this post, “We’re Back!” refers to a number of things I’d like to highlight. With fall, comes a new season of concerts throughout our area:  thank goodness the Metropolitan Opera is back with it’s opening night performance on September 22, 2014 of The Marriage of Figaro.  After following the news of possibly having to shut down this icon of opera due to costs and labor issues, I was so relieved to learn they will be back. I’ve attended their performances of live HD re-broadcasts at the SUNY Stony Brook’s Staller Center for the Arts and loved every minute of it.  If going into New York City is not your cup of tea, you can get very reasonably priced tickets to performances at the Staller Center or at local movie theatres. This year’s Metropolitan Opera Season includes performances of Verdi’s Aida, Un Ballo in Maschera, La Traviata, Don Carlo,  Puccini’s La Boheme, Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute. Don’t forget that your Library has quite a few of these recordings, either to watch as a  DVD or to listen to as a CD. We also have numerous libretti to follow along while you listen to the opera.

Thanks to a friend and fellow classical music lover, I’ve learned of the passing on September 8, 2014, of opera soprano,  Magda Olivero at the age of 104. Having made her Met debut at the age of 65, she also sang at La Scala in Milan, in Paris, London and at Carnegie Hall. Click on her link and read the New York Times Obituary of her fascinating life.

The Metropolitan Opera is back but so are a number of your favorite local community groups, with free classical concerts. The price is right and parking is of course always free:

the Northport Symphony Orchestra begins its eighth season, performing free local concerts. The repertoire will include Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, Mozart’s Don Giovanni Overture and more.

the Long Island Flute Club’s Professional Flute Choir is already working hard on preparing its fall flute choir concert for Sunday, October 26, 2014, 2 p.m., at the Patchogue Medford Library.  An honors student flute choir will also be performing pieces and then join together with the professional flute choir. Bass flutes, alto flutes, piccolos and regular flutes will entertain you.

You may remember last fall, the Quarter Notes paid tribute to Robert W. Krueger, who passed away in September, 2013. Robert Krueger was the founder and musical director of Long Island’s Northport Community Band, which just finished its first very successful summer season under the direction of their new musical director, Donald Sherman. I have had the honor of playing flute/piccolo under Bob for 27 years and now, under Don, look forward to continuing the tradition with this wonderful group of musicians. I’m reminding you of this because the Board of Education of the Northport-East Northport UFSD Schools just voted unanimously to rededicate their newly renovated  Northport High School auditorium in Bob Krueger’s name. It will now be called The Robert W. Krueger Center for the Performing Arts. I am including the link below to the text of the resolution passed by the Board of Education , which gives you a very good idea why the honor has rightfully been bestowed on Bob Krueger:

Krueger Performing Arts Ctr. Board Resolution 9.8.14

Since the Metropolitan Opera season is opening with a Mozart opera soon, our  Did You Know for this post is on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), one of the most popular classical composers of all time. Mozart composed more than 625 works. According to the publication the San Francisco Classical Voice: The ‘Haffner’ Symphony, No. 35, was completed in about two weeks. The ‘Linz’ Symphony, No., 36, was finished in less than five days.  Mozart and his wife, Constanze Weber, whom he married on August 4, 1782, had six children; four died in infancy.

Stay tuned to the Quarter Notes Blog and in tune with all the music in your life!

E. Susman, September, 2014


More Traveling Music from Your Easy Chair!

“The physical impact of taiko music, along with the sheer visual poetry of a choreographed ensemble presenting its music in perfect synchrony, is so powerful and inviting that taiko is beginning to catch on as Japan’s most influential and lasting gift to world music.”

–Gil Asakawa, writer, editor, artist, online content and community-building public speaker

With the summer nearing its end, I’d like to give you one more installment of “traveling music”. On a recent edition of the CBS Sunday Morning show, we watched a very interesting story about  Taiko drummers in Japan. I had never heard of them, but when I watched them perform, I was so impressed, I immediately wanted to book a trip to  Sado Island where they perform. Their training is intense, making their performances amazing. Watch the video clip and appreciate their talents; notice the flute in their ensemble too! Taiko has a long history: instruments similar to ceramic drums have been found from as far back as about 2500 B.C. in Japan. There are about 5,000 taiko groups in Japan currently, with about 100,000 drummers at least. Traditional taiko is far more popular now than at any time in its history. One of the first uses of taiko was as a battlefield instrument  to intimidate and scatter the enemy and to issue commands and coordinate movements. Taiko has also been used in cultural and religious settings, since the taiko drums have long been associated with the gods. The reknowned taiko group, Kodo, travels the world giving performances, as well as on Sado Island, where they have sponsored an international  music festival since 1988,Earth Celebration“, attended by many from around the world. Check out the CDs from your library listed below: they include Japanese melodies and percussion pieces:

Best of Kodo (percussion ensemble);  Japanese Album (traditional Japanese melodies including flute, violin, cello and traditional Japanese instruments, with Jean-Pierre Rampal, Isaac Stern and Yo-Yo Ma); Sakura: Japanese Melodies for Flute and Harp (with Jean-Pierre Rampal); Caribbean Steeldrums: 20 Famous Tropical Melodies (featuring steeldrums and percussion); The Perilous Chapel (percussion ensembles with guitar)

Our Did You Know for today is about Bela Bartok (1881-1945), one of the most celebrated early 20th-century composers who collected and extensively studied East European folk music. He incorporated many Hungarian folk songs into his compositions. I’m especially featuring him in this blog post because of his well known composition Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (1936) which follows our theme for today of percussion and drums. Because of his work with folk melodies, Bartok is often considered the founding father of ethnomusicology, or the anthropological study of music. As a native of Hungary, he was a full-time ethnomusicology professor at the Budapest Academy. Apparently Bartok didn’t enjoy teaching, but must have been quite good at it: among his students were several famous pianists, including Georg Solti.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer and may it be filled with lots of music. Stay tuned to the Quarter Notes Blog and in tune with all the music in your life!

E. Susman, August 19, 2014