JesseKnight

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  1. New York in Music

    Hi, there. Sorry I didn’t respond right away. I’ve been in the throes of completing a story the last few weeks. I hadn’t really thought about it, but yes, I guess I do, in a way, like making up lists. I especially enjoy building shows around a common musical theme or topic. We used to have a radio show on the classical station in Portland, OR. Every week they would ask listeners to send in requests built around a single topic. It might be something like autumn or water or birds and animals or a country. I always enjoyed coming up with three or four obscure suggestions. Who knows? Perhaps someday I’ll have my own radio show! These suggestions were all from my personal library. It didn’t take all that long to come up with the list. I’m pretty familiar with my collection. Also, I gave a speech on light music a few months ago, and while researching the musical examples I would use, I came up with this list for the section where I focused on the light music composers’ love of urban living.
  2. New York in Music

    There really is a fair amount of music written about New York City. Charles Kalman (the son of Emmerich) has written “Times Square Fantasy,” “Hudson Concerto,” and “Skyline Concerto.” Ferde Grofe wrote a piece called “Broadway at Night,” another piece called “Metropolis,” and third titled “New York!” which is from the suite Hudson River. Mantovani composed a piece called “Manhattan Lullaby.” David Rose wrote a fun little piece called “Manhattan Square Dance.” Roger Roger wrote a suite called “Gershwinesque”. But Roger’s publisher had “no doubt that the music is intended to portray the vibrant atmosphere of New York and its environs.” He suggested calling the pieces “Broadway,” “New York Nights,” and “Manhattan Rendezvous.” One of Robert Farnon’s pieces is called “Manhattan Playboy.” Louis Alter composed a piece called “Manhattan Serenade” and a second titled “Manhattan Masquerade.” Frank De Vol wrote “Street in Manhattan.” Gordon Jenkins is famous for, among other things, “Manhattan Tower.” And probably mention should be made of George Gershwin’s Second Rhapsody, which has been called at different times “Manhattan Rhapsody,” and “New York Rhapsody.” And I could probably come up with another half dozen works if I wanted to sit down and ponder the topic longer. Jesse F. Knight
  3. GOOD music for ballroom

    You may want to look in the field of light music for music that is somewhat classical but also very danceable. For example I recently gave a speech on light music and one of the examples I used was "The Golden Tango" by Victor Silvester. The light music field abounds with waltzes. You might try a CD put out by Guild Light Music called "Marching and Waltzing" from a BBC show that featured nothing but . . . well . . . marches and waltzes. The CD has about 10 or 11 waltzes, most of which are eminently danceable. If you'd like to get in touch with me to discuss this issue further with more specific examples, that would be fine with me. Jesse F. Knight
  4. Not sure how many of you noticed it, but there is a new CD out called Rachmaninoff's Fifth Piano Concerto. (Yes, you saw it right! lol.) What it is a reworking of the e minor Symphony. Still, fun to listen to. Jesse F. Knight
  5. A few years ago I wrote an article on Mabel Seeley. Mabel Seeley, as no doubt many of you are aware, was a favorite writer of Rand. In fact, Rand liked _The Crying Sisters_ so much that she delayed her own writing to work on a screenplay of the novel for Hal Wallis. (See page 220 of the Letters.) In the process of writing the article I collected all of Seeley’s books. I have all nine of her novels, eight of them are First Editions with excellent dust jackets. In addition, I have a book and a magazine with Seeley short stories. I know of no one who has a finer collection of Mabel Seeley work. It is a beautiful set. At any rate, I am looking for a nice home for the entire collection. Let me know if you’d be interested in acquiring the collection. I’ll even throw in a copy of the magazine with the Seeley article, autographed by me, to close the deal! Jesse F. Knight
  6. Light Music Presentation

    Hi, all, I gave a presentation on light music a couple of days ago, and it was very well received by the audience. The thought occurred to me that perhaps members of this forum might like to hear my presentation. The presentation consists of about 25 minutes of speech and 40 minutes of music. If you're in the general vicinity of Portland, Oregon, and can get a few people together perhaps I can give the presentation to your group. Light music is melodic, uplifting, life affiirming, joyful, and downright fun. Feel free to contact me if you'd be interested in hearing it. Jesse F. Knight jfknight@earthlink.net
  7. Favorite Music?

    After doing some searching around I discovered that most of Nyiregyhazi's compositions--manuscripts and microfilm--ended up in the Takasaki Art Center College in Gunma, Japan. From what I understand there is a Japanese Nyiregyhazi Society. However, because of lack of resources (money, mainly, I suppose), they have not done any cataloguing of the collection, let alone made it available to the public. By the way, Kevin Bazzana tells me that he has a manuscript on Nyiregyhazi about three quarters of the way finished. Publication is set for 2006 in Canada. No title yet for the book. He tells me he has got hundreds of pages of Nyiregyhazi compositions, enough to be able to speak of them in the book. Jesse F. Knight
  8. Favorite Music?

    I agree with you that the March of the Three Kings is truly a work of great stature, grandeur and power, and the first piece I put on when I want to introduce someone to Nyiregyhazi. As for Nyiregyhazi's own compositions, wouldn't it be wonderful to hear some of them? I have heard so many different stories and rumers regarding them. Some say there are 12,000 pages of manuscripts out there; another that it is 15,000 pages. Whatever is correct, there must be plenty just waiting to be performed. I know that there are a few manuscirpts on the internet, so that is where I would start if I were you. (There is a Nyiregyhazi site that would be a good place to begin.) There are also some works at the Library of Congress. If I remember rightly, there is a "Heroic" Piano Sonata there. I don't quite recall, but it seems to me he had a bunch of manuscripts in some bank in L.A. or someplace like that. Your query has piqued my interest. Let me query a few colleagues and see what I can come up with. Unfortunately, I'm leaving town for a week or so, so research will have to wait. Best, Jesse F. Knight
  9. Favorite Music?

    THE BIG PIANISTS This thread has gone far and wide, looking at different kinds of music. It could easily be broken into three or four separate threads. In any case, I’ll talk about another area: what I call The Big Pianists. In the 19th century the virtuoso pianist was looked upon as a giant, a hero. They were larger than life. Liszt and Anton Rubinstein and Godowsky were just three of a legion of supremely gifted performer/composers. The equivalent today would be our rock stars, where fans (especially women) would faint at concerts. Difficulties were joyfully embraced—indeed, sought, so that such difficulties could be brushed aside with a pianist’s smile. This tradition carried well into the 20th century. Of course, everyone knows Rachmaninoff, Hoffman, etc., but I am talking about pianists in the latter part of the century, whose technique and spirit were gigantic. These men embraced the old 19th century values. These, to me, are THE BIG PIANISTS. I’ll recommend five. First, I would recommend Jorge Bolet. His CD _Bolet at Carnegie Hall ‘Live’_ is absolutely brilliant. His recording of the devilishly difficult Sgambati Concerto shouldn’t be overlooked either. Second, how about Raymond Lewenthal, a specialist in obscure Romantic music. _The Romantic Piano_ set is superlative. It contains the Henselt Concerto, the Rubinstein Fourth, as well as some Liszt and Scharwenka. Another giant of the keyboard is Earl Wild. He did a disk of transcriptions (a hallmark of the pianists of the 19th century) of Rachmaninov Songs that leaves one stunned and gasping for breath Then there is the genius John Ogdon. He performed a disk of the Alkan _Concerto for Solo Piano_ that is breathtaking. I’m also found movng his performance of Paderewski’s grandiose and sweeping _Concerto in A_. And finally, how can one forget Ervin Nyiregyhazi, who led such a bizarre and unusual life? Some would say he was bigger than life. His justly famous _Nyiregyhazi Plays Liszt_ disk, played when he was an old man, is astonishing. It is as if he stepped right out of the 19th century. Listening to his transcription of Liszt’s ton poem _Hamlet_ is an experience not to be equaled.. All of these pianists, whichever disk you pick up, will transport the listener to a bright and bold, joyful, or heroic world, which alas we see and hear too little nowadays. Jesse F. Knight
  10. Textbooks for Composition

    Mr. Siek, My grandson, at the age of 14, is exhibiting considerable talent in the area of composition. I looked around for a tutor for him, but alas he lives in a small town, and there is no one there competent to teach composition or music theory. He does have a piano teacher (she teaches him minor amounts of theory, she tells me). He also has a teacher of voice and is in several choirs and wins many scholarships for voice. He and I studied _The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music Theory_ by long distance (2000 miles). What I am wondering is, would you care to recommend any texts that might help him--or any of us-- learn more about composition and music theory? Or do you have any other suggestions for me that I could use to develop his talent in this area? Or perhaps I shouldn't do anything at all and just wait till he gets to college, that his current teachers are enough. If he is truly gifted, I hate to wait that long. Perhaps he would just be better off studying the compositions of great composers--Dover, for instance, has a considerable selection. Any thoughts on the subject? Thanks. Jesse F. Knight
  11. Favorite Music?

    Lesser Known Classical Composers Although I won't pretend that we're in some sort of Romantic revival, the scene for melodic classic music is not quite a bleak as some may think. For instance, in Sweden Romantic music continued well into the 20th century. There is the very fine Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. I would highly recommend his 2nd Symphony. He also wrote a lush Violin Concerto and a Violin Romance. Kuirt Atterberg is another Swedish symphonist. His Symphony 8 is filled with melodies as is his 6th symphony. Hugo Alfven shouldn't be overlooked either. Any of his first four symphonies are a deight to listen to. I'm especially fond of Symphony No. 3, which Alfven called "a hymn to Happiness". He also wrote a rollicking Misdummer Vigil (sometimes called Middsummer Rhapsody). And then there is Gustaf Bengtsson. On CD is a wonderful Violin Concerto and Cello Concerto. In England, Percy Whitlock wrote a spendid Organ Sonata, which was heavily influenced by Rachmaninoff's 2nd Symphony, and there are several quotes from Rachmaninoff in the piece. It is available on a CD of Romantic works for Organ called 1937. York Bowen has written some powerful music for piano. His 5th and 6th Piano Sonatas are on CD, and he wrote a set of 24 preludes that can stand beside those of Chopin and Rachmaninoff. Dorothy Howell has written some brilliant music. There is a CD out of her violin and piano music. In Russia I would suggest Kalinnokov. He died young, but left behind two fine symphonies, which Rachmaninoff helped see into print.
  12. Favorite Music?

    You know, I've been looking for "Rockship X-M" for years and unfortunately have yet to come across the LP. With your mention, I will look harder! Grofe's very short Piano Concerto is very much in the Rachmaninoff mode with grand soaring melodies. If you like Rachmaninoff or the Cornish Rhapsody, you'll love the Grofe concerto.
  13. Favorite Music?

    Movie Music When the critics and many musicians (though by no means all) turned their backs on Romanticism, Romanticism went into exile in Hollywood. There composers produced some of the finest music of the 20th century. First would have to be listed Erich Wolfgang Korngold. His scores for _Captain Blood_, _The Sea Hawk_ and _Robin Hood_ have all the sweep and grandeur of our greatest classical music. He believed that melody was at the core of all music, and you would be hard pressed to find a soundtrack of his that doesn't have gorgeous melodies. Richard Addinsell, a British composer, is most famous for his Warsaw Concerto--a piece that sounds more like Rachmaninoff than Rachmaninoff. For you Marilyn Monroe fans, Addinsell wrote the music for _The Prince and the Show Girl_. (By the way, I incorrectly said yesterday that Coates wrote the music for the Wren March. Not true, it was Adinsell, and the title of charming march is WRNS March.) Addinselll wrote a number of first-rate scores for such films as _Gaslight_ and _Blythe Spirit_. I won't mention _The Last of the Mochicans_, since that's already been done. But the composers are Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman. Dimitri Tiomkin is perhaps best known for such scores as _Rio Bravo_, _Red River_, and _High Noon_. But he also wrote splendid music for such films as _Dial M for Murder_, _Cyrano de Bergerac_, and _The Guns of Navarone_. A little known masterpiece of his is the late _Peter Tchaikovsky_. There's a nice compilation CD out of Victor Young's _Scaramouche_, Korngold's _Captain Blood_, Miklos Rozsa's _The King's Thief_, and Max Steiner's _The Three Musketeers. Steiner of course wrote the music for _Gone With the Wind_, _Casablanca_ and _A Summer Place_. And how can I not mention the ubiiquitous John Williams? I regard his _Superman_ score among his best work.
  14. Favorite Music?

    More on Light Music Another fine light composer is Haydn Wood. His "Sketch of a Dandy" is charming (something we don't have enough of nowadays), as is his "Serenade to Youth". Like the other composers he too celebrated urban life. There is his "Suite: Paris" and his "London Cameos". And how can you not love a Concert Waltz called "Joyousness"? For sheer good fun, Don Gillis, an American, can hardly be beaten. His "Symphony 5 1/2" will bring a smile to your lips. He too writes about great American Cities. "Symphony 'X' ('The Big D') is about Dallas . . . maybe. He's written about Amerillo and Ft. Worth, the latter is titled "Portrait of a Frontier Town". He writes a great deal about the American West. For instance, "The Pioneers", his 4th symphony, is first-rate. His 7th Symphony he subtitled "Saga of a Prairie School". He's written two excellent Piano Concerti. Gillis didn't believe that classical music was just for stuffed-shirts, so there is a real joy in his work. Gillis's music has a down-to-earth, toe-tapping quality. And finally, here is one more light composer you'll enjoy: Montague Phillips. His "Revelry Overture", "Moorland Idyll", "Surrey Suite" and "Symphony in c minor" can all be found on one CD and will bring much pleasure. Okay, I'll add one more. He is a composer living and writing today. His name is Joseph Bertolozzi and I would especially recommend his "Suite Poughkeepsie" (yet another nod at urban life). Jesse F. Knight
  15. Favorite Music?

    What kind of music do I listen to? Actually there are three. I listen to what is mistakenly called light music. The second kind of music I listen to a lot is film music. The third is completely classical--but I tend to listen to lesser-known composers. Over the next day or so I'll devote a posting to each one. But let's start with light music. This is the sort of music that Pops Orchestras play--for instance, the Boston Pops, not the Boston Symphony. There's a wealth of incredibly beautiful music there. It would be what Rand called "tiddly-wink" music. (By the way, I've never liked that term. While I understand what she was getting at, it gives a sense of being trivial, which the operettas she loved and the light music I love definitely are not.) I'm going to write an article someday (I've got about a hundred articles I'm going to write someday) about how the light composers are really the only truly modern composers we have. They do not hesitate to embrace the modern, urban world. For instance, Eric Coates (considered the father of modern light music) wrote two or three London Suites. Although Coates is known primarily for his marches, I find his nocturnes memorable. There is "London Every Day" with its Westminster meditation. And in "London Again" there is bustling Mayfair. Another of his nocturnes is titled "St. Paul", which is a part of another suite. Coates's first big hit was "Sleepy Lagoon" which was made into a pop record. His "Three Elizabeths Suite" is also stirring, again with a beautiful nocturne, Elizabeth of Glamis. His Wren March is a sheer delight. Ferde Grofe, who has fallen into obscurity lately, was another first rate light composer. Of course, he is most famous for orchestrating "Rhapsody in Blue". But his Mississippi Suite (which pre-dates the Grand Canyon Suite) is a brilliant evocation. The Hudson River Suite is well worth listening to, also, especially for the tone poem of the hero Henry Hudson. Grofe too embraced modern life, as witness is splendid "Aviation Suite". For those of you who like your classical music mixed with jazz, Grofe wrote both "Metropolis" and "Broadway at Night". To be Continued