Richard Wagner~ Born May 22, 1813

Early in his career, Wagner learned both the elements and the practical, political realities of his craft by writing a handful of operas which were unenthusiastically, even angrily, received. Beginning with Rienzi (1838-40) and The Flying Dutchman (1841), however, he enjoyed a string of successes that propelled him to immortality and changed the face of music. His monumental Ring cycle of four operas — Das Rheingold (1853-54), Die Walküre (1854-56), Siegfried (1856-71) and Götterdämmerung (1869-74) — remains the most ambitious and influential contribution by any composer to the opera literature.
http://www.allmusic.com/artist/richard-wagner-mn0000958980/biography

The Brilliant, Troubled Legacy of Richard Wagner

A great music lover, Renoir was one of the first admirers of Wagner in France. At the beginning of 1882, when the painter was travelling in the south of Italy, he had the opportunity to visit Palermo where Wagner was staying. After two fruitless attempts, Renoir was finally introduced to the “maestro” who, the day before, had put the final notes to Parsifal.
The course of this meeting is well known thanks to a letter from Renoir to one of his friends, dated 15 January 1882:
http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/works-in-focus/search/commentaire/commentaire_id/richard-wagner-11042.html?no_cache=1

Erik Satie~ Born May 17, 1866

Erik Satie, original name in full Eric Alfred Leslie Satie (born May 17, 1866, Honfleur, Calvados, France—died July 1, 1925, Paris), French composer whose spare, unconventional, often witty style exerted a major influence on 20th-century music, particularly in France.

During his last 10 years Satie’s best friends were painters, many of whom he had met while a café pianist. Satie was nonetheless deeply admired by composers of the rank of Darius Milhaud, Maurice Ravel, and, in particular, Claude Debussy—of whom he was an intimate friend for close to 30 years.

His ballet Parade (1917; choreographed by Léonide Massine, scenario by Jean Cocteau, stage design and costumes by Pablo Picasso) was scored for typewriters, sirens, airplane propellers, ticker tape, and a lottery wheel and anticipated the use of jazz materials by Igor Stravinsky and others. The word Surrealism was used for the first time in Guillaume Apollinaire’s program notes for Parade.
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Erik-Satie

Erik Satie (1866-1925)          Suzanne Valadon          La Belle Époque
videos: https://youtu.be/aZmBiiYLMRE  https://youtu.be/GreaN1ljqGY
Happy Birthday To Erik Satie, Father Of Dada

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Nora Clench~ May 6, 1867-May 17, 1938

World renowned violinist Nora Clench was a child prodigy, born Esther Leonora Clench in what is now Ontario, Canada. Nora made her debut as a violinist at the age of 8. When she was fifteen she entered the Leipzig Conservatory in Germany, and after graduating in 1889 she became first violinist and leader of an orchestra in Buffalo, New York. She later toured Europe and eventually moved to London. In 1900 Clench temporarily gave up playing the violin in order to go to Paris to paint. When she returned to music she founded the all-female “Nora Clench Quartet”, which played a prominent role in the music of fin de siecle London.  Clench again retired from the violin in 1908, at the age of 41, when she married the Australian landscape painter Arthur Streeton. The Nora Clench Quartet continued without her. In 1923, the Streeton family moved to Australia. In 1937 Streeton was given a knighthood for his services to fine art, and Clench became Lady Streeton.  Nora Clench died in Australia in 1938; her husband died in September 1943 after a long illness. The couple’s property with its house, studio and cottage, in 5 acres of garden, remains in the ownership of the Streeton family today.

Biography~ http://www.yso.org.uk/biographies/clench.html
Biography & Photos~
http://www.riversidestmarys.biz/2015/05/14/story-of-nora-clench/
Program of her farewell appearance~ https://archive.org/details/cihm_36309


Nude Study (1903) attributed to Nora Clench

Premiered April 8: “La Gioconda”

Composer Amilcare Ponchielli was born in Italy in 1834. He started composing operas while still a student at the Milan Conservatory. After graduating in 1854, he held various positions over the years, including professor of composition at the Conservatory; his pupils included Giacomo Puccini and Pietro Mascagni. His most famous opera is “La Gioconda”, written in 1876. It is mainly remembered for its ballet, Dance of the Hours.

Dance of the Hours stands out as the only operatic ballet from this genre to have established a life of its own both inside the concert hall and in pop culture…Perhaps the most iconic use of this music is in Disney’s 1940 film “Fantasia”, where it underscores the questionable talents of a dance company comprised of hippos, ostriches, and alligators. Later it surfaced again as a number two hit on the pop charts in 1963, this time with words by parodist Alan Sherman. It may be difficult now to listen to this music without remembering the opening words of an alarmist child’s letter to his parents from summer camp: “Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda…”.
http://www.laphil.com/philpedia/music/dance-of-hours-from-la-gioconda-amilcare-ponchielli

Ponchielli’s biography~ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/amilcare-ponchielli-mn0000496351/biography

Synopsis of “La Gioconda“~ https://www.thoughtco.com/la-sonnambula-synopsis-724264

March 31~

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
art: Elias Gottlob Haussmann
Leipzig Bach Museum
bio: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Lib/Bach-Johann-Sebastian.htm
video: https://youtu.be/BOZEj8wyj-I

 

 

 

 

 

 

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
art:  John Hoppner
Royal Collection Trust

bio: http://www.famouscomposers.net/joseph-haydn
video: https://youtu.be/E6JVYrhbxWs

 

 

Modest Mussorgsky: Born March 21, 1839

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (March 21 [O.S. March 9] 1839 – March 28 [O.S. March 16] 1881) was born into a wealthy rural, landowning family. He began by picking out on the piano the tunes he heard from the serfs on his family’s estate. At the age of six, he began to study piano with his mother. His parents initially set him out on the career of military officer. He became a cadet and finally commissioned in an elite imperial regiment. Two years later, in 1858, he resigned his commission. During this time, he met a musically-inclined army doctor: Alexander Borodin. The two became friends. In 1861, with Russia’s emancipation of the serfs, his family lost significant income, and he was forced to earn a living. In 1863, he began a spotty career in the civil service…In 1856, he met the composer Dargomïzhsky, who in turn introduced him to Cesar Cui, Mily Balakirev, and a critic named Victor Stasov. Gradually, Borodin and Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakoff joined to form a loose group known as the “Moguchaya Kuchka” (“the mighty handful” or “the mighty bunch”).
http://www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/mussorgsky.php

See also: https://schristywolfe.com/2015/05/05/viktor-hartmann-born-may-5-1834/