Doctors Now Prescribing Music Therapy for Heart Ailments, Brain Dysfunction, Depression, and More

Music has proven time and again to be an important component of human culture. From its ceremonial origin to modern medical usage for personal motivation, concentration, and shifting mood, music is a powerful balm for the human soul. Though traditional “music therapy” encompasses a specific set of practices, the broader use of music as a therapeutic tool can be seen nowadays as doctors are found recommending music for a wide variety of conditions.

Music Helps Control Blood Pressure and Heart-Related Disorders

 


According to The Cardiovascular Society of Great Britain, listening to certain music with a repetitive rhythm for least ten seconds can lead to a decrease in blood pressure and a reduced heart rate. Certain classical compositions, if matched with human body’s rhythm, can be therapeutically used to keep the heart under control. The Oxford University study states, “listening to music with a repeated 10-second rhythm coincided with a fall in blood pressure, reducing the heart rate” and thus can be used for overcoming hypertension.

Listening and Playing Music Helps Treat Stress and Depression



When it comes to the human brain, music is one of the best medicines. A study at McGill University in Canada revealed that listening to agreeable music encourages the production of beneficial brain chemicals, specifically the “feel good” hormone known as dopamine. Dopamine happens to be an integral part of brain’s pleasure-enhancing system. As a result, music leads to great feeling of joy and bliss.

It’s not only listening to music that has a positive effect on stress and depression. The Namm Foundation has compiled a comprehensive list of benefits of playing music, which includes reducing stress on both the emotional level and the molecular level. Additionally, studies have shown that adults who play music produce higher levels of Human Growth Hormone (HgH), which according to Web MD, is a necessary hormone for regulating body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and possibly heart function.
For more on how music can be composed to benefit the brain, read about States of Consciousness and Brainwave Entrainment.

Music Therapy Helps Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

 


 
Music therapy has worked wonders on patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. With Alzheimer’s, people lose their capacity to have interactions and carry on with interactive communications. According to studies done in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, “When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function, and coordinate motor movements.”

Studying Music Boosts Academic Achievement in High Schoolers

 


 
Early exposure to music increases the plasticity of brain helping to motivate the human brain’s capacity in such a way that it responds readily to learning, changing and growing. “UCLA professor James S. Catterall analyzed the academic achievement of 6,500 low-income students. He found that, by the time these students were in the 10th grade, 41.4% of those who had taken arts courses scored in the top half on standardized tests, contrasted with only 25% of those who had minimal arts experience. The arts students also were better readers and watched less television.” This goes to show that in the formative stages of life, kids who study music do much better in school.

Playing Guitar (and Other Instruments) Aids in Treating PTSD 

 


 
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shared a study in which veterans experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) experienced relief by learning to play guitar. The organization responsible for providing guitars, Guitars For Vets “enhances the lives of ailing and injured military Veterans by providing them free guitars and music instruction.” Playing music for recovery from PTSD resembles traditional music therapy, in which patients are encouraged to make music as part of their healing process. Guitar is not the only instrument that can help PTSD. In fact, Operation We Are Here has an extensive list of Therapeutic Music Opportunities For Military Veterans.
 

Studying Music Boosts Brain Development in Young Children

 


 
A research-based study undertaken at the University of Liverpool in the field of neuroscience has light to shed on the beneficial effects of early exposure to music. According to the findings, even half an hour of musical training is sufficient to increase the flow of blood in the brain’s left hemisphere, resulting in higher levels of early childhood development.

The Portland Chamber Orchestra shares, “Playing a musical instrument involves multiple components of the central (brain and spinal cord) and peripheral (nerves outside the brain and spinal cord) nervous systems.  As a musician plays an instrument, motor systems in the brain control both gross and fine movements needed to produce sound.  The sound is processed by auditory circuitry, which in turn can adjust signaling by the motor control centers.  In addition, sensory information from the fingers, hands and arms is sent to the brain for processing.  If the musician is reading music, visual information is sent to the brain for processing and interpreting commands for the motor centers.  And of course, the brain processes emotional responses to the music as well!”
 

Music Education Helps Children Improve Reading Skills

 


 
Journal Psychology of Music reports that “Children exposed to a multi-year program of music tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers.” In the initial stages of learning and development, music arouses auditory, emotional, cognitive and visual responses in a child. Music also aids a child’s kinesthetic development. According to the research-supported evidence, a song facilitates language learning far more effectively than speech.

Listening To Music Helps Improve Sleep

 


 
According to The Center for Cardiovascular Disease in China, listening to music before and during sleep greatly aids people who suffer from chronic sleep disorders. This “music-assisted relaxation” can be used to treat both acute and chronic sleep disorders which include everything from stress and anxiety to insomnia.

Playing Didgeridoo Helps Treat Sleep Apnea

 



 

A study published in the British Medical Journal shows that people suffering from sleep apnea can find relief by practicing the Australian wind-instrument known as the didgeridoo. Patients who played the didgeridoo for an average of 30-minutes per day, 6 days per week, saw significant increases in their quality of sleep and decreases in daytime tiredness after a minimum period of 3-months of practice. Dr. Jordan Stern of BlueSleep says, “The treatment of sleep apnea is quite challenging because there is not a single treatment that works well for every patient. The didgeridoo has been used to treat sleep apnea and it has been shown to be effective in part because of strengthening of the pharyngeal muscles, which means the muscles of the throat, as well as the muscles of the tongue.”

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5 Tales From the Complicated Life of Beethoven



Passionate, moody, troubled, social — Beethoven's personality is hard to pin down. Here are a few wild stories from his life that provide a glimpse into a life misunderstood.

As Salieri's Vocal Student

Antonio Salieri has a bad rap in many a mind, thanks to insidious rumors about his distaste for Mozart which were bolstered by his characterization in the play (and later, film) Amadeus. But he was a talented composer in his own right, and can take some credit for being a teacher to Beethoven himself. When Ludwig went to Vienna, he sought instruction from the Italian composer. From Salieri, Beethoven learned the art of vocal music; the student would set Italian texts to music, and his teacher would correct them. One interesting anecdote from Beethoven’s own pupil, Carl Czerny: Once, Salieri had some negative feedback for one of Beethoven’s songs, but admitted he just couldn’t get it out of his head. Beethoven’s reply? “Then, Herr Salieri, it cannot have been so utterly bad!”




Symphony No. 2 — Fun in a Dark Place

For much of his life, Beethoven struggled with severe cramping and gastrointestinal issues as well. While we aren’t sure exactly what was the cause of these issues, there’s a chance his symptoms were due to irritable bowel syndrome. And the composer-killer syphilis may have been involved as well. On top of that, around the time he finished his second symphony, Beethoven was beginning to notice he was losing his hearing. It was a rough time — he wrote of his “miserable” and “unhappy” situation — and began to withdraw from social functions. With all of this in mind, it’s pretty interesting to hear how energetic and lively his second symphony is, especially it’s finale. Chicago Symphony Orchestra annotator Phillip Huscher declares it has a “nose-thumbing sense of humor,” and contemporary critic Hector Berlioz wrote that it was “smiling throughout.”

 



"Eroica," or, When Your Hero Isn't a Hero

In 1804, Beethoven completed his masterful third symphony. It's big and bold, and from those striking opening chords the audience knows it's in for something big. So it was only appropriate that this magnificent symphony be dedicated to someone of equal importance. And who better than to dedicate your best work than to your idol? For Beethoven, there was no question that his own hero, Napoleon Bonaparte, should be the dedicatee. At least, until he realized his own personal hero was a maniacal dictator bent on world domination. When he learned Napoleon had declared himself emperor, Beethoven lamented, “[Napoleon] is nothing but an ordinary being! Now he will trample the rights of man under foot and pander to his own ambition.” Beethoven scratched out Napoleon’s name from the dedication page, tore it up, and retitled it “Sinfonia Eroica,” for the true heroes of the world.




Fighting With Art

Once Beethoven got over his disillusionment with Napoleon, he used his art to actively resist his Imperial Majesty. Toward the end of 1813, Beethoven completed his orchestral piece Wellington's Victory, Op. 91 that celebrated Napoleon’s defeat at the hands of the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Vittorio. It’s a battaglia, a musical form in which the sounds of the orchestra mimic the opposing sides of a battle. Listen closely and you can hear the sounds of war, as well as patriotic tunes representative of both sides. For the English, “Rule Britannia” and “God Save the King”; for the French, “Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre” (which you may know as “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”). However, the piece wasn’t loved by everyone and Beethoven responded to one critic with fighting words: “What I shit is better than anything you have ever thought.”




Lovestruck

The “Elise” in “Für Elise” is still a mystery, but a popular idea is that it’s a nickname of Therese Malfatti, one of Beethoven’s piano students. Even though he was much older than her, Beethoven fell wildly in love with her. He suddenly began to care about his appearance and putting his best foot forward, which was slightly off brand for a guy who was wholly committed to just doing his thing. Anyway, the story goes, he wrote this piece just for her. But when Malfatti invited Beethoven over for a dinner party so he could meet the parents he dropped the glass ball into a million pieces. Maybe he was nervous, but apparently Beethoven drank way too much punch and, when asked to play this “Für Elise,” found himself unable to perform. It was a bad look, and Malfatti’s parents forbade him from ever seeing their daughter again.

Beloved as “Für Elise” is today, it may have been intended to remain a private work — it was found among Malfatti's affects when she died in 1851 and wasn’t even published until 1867.



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Warren Woodruff Attending CHOA Tower of Talent



So happy to be reunited with my darling Angelica and to be a part of such a wonderful fundraiser for CHOA. Great job everyone!


Yannie Tan and Laura Zhang

Muses: Clara and Robert Schumann ... and Brahms



She was an eight-year-old Wunderkind; he was an aspiring composer in his teens who saw her at a concert and so admired her playing that he sought piano lessons from her father. When Clara turned 18, Robert Schumann asked Herr Wieck for his daughter’s hand in marriage, but he was vehemently opposed to the union: so began years of agonizing separation and tender correspondence, with many sheets of manuscript exchanged, including some of Schumann’s most affecting Lieder and piano miniatures. He wrote to his yearned-for beloved, “You appear in the Novelletten in every possible circumstance, in every irresistible form... They could only be written by one who knows such eyes as yours and has touched such lips as yours.”



The lovers eventually took Clara’s domineering father to court after he threatened to disinherit her and confiscate her concert earnings. They won love’s battle and were at last married in 1840, the day before her 21st birthday. In celebration of their joyous union, Robert presented his bride with the song cycle Myrthen as a wedding gift – a bouquet or “myrtle of flowers”. He also gave her a marriage diary, in which the couple wrote regular entries for four years (often about their sex life). They settled into a routine: while Robert spent most of his time composing, Clara managed to give concerts and compose a thing or two herself in between running the household and wrangling eight children. 



Brahms

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One of the most frustrated love triangles in Romantic music was formed when Clara began to champion the music of the young composer Johannes Brahms – like her, a piano phenomenon. He quickly became a great friend of the Schumann family. When Robert’s mental health deteriorated, leading to his institutionalization and untimely death in 1856, Brahms moved in with his older mentor Clara to help look after her children while she coped with the loss of her husband.

Brahms, who was mentored by composer Robert Schumann,  launched himself into an extended period of work on his First Symphony shortly after declaring his love for Schumann’s wife Clara. A letter survives in which he declared, “I can do nothing but think of you … What have you done to me? Can’t you remove the spell you have cast over me?

So, did they or didn’t they? Schumann’s biographers frown at the suggestion. But this is the story that Brahm’s letters tell; they start formally “Honored Lady”, a bit later; “Cherished Friend”; finally “Most Adored Being- Every day I greet and kiss you 1000 times” or “Please go on loving me as I go on loving you always and forever”. Living under one roof in Dusseldorf for several months and hiking together along the Rhine valley. Platonic? If you wish. In later life Brahms, secretive and aware of posterity, threw into the Rhine a bundle of Clara’s letters. Platonic correspondence? If you wish. And Clara writes her children, protesting her innocence “I can truly say, my children, that I have never loved a friend as I loved him…( his role during the crisis…) Believe all that I, your mother, told you and do not heed those petty and envious souls who grudge him my love and friendship, trying to bring up for question our relationship, which they neither understand nor ever could.”  Brahms never married and as Clara was lying, crippled with stroke, waiting for the end, he was finishing his 4 Serious Songs “O death how welcome is thy call”. He almost missed the funeral and as he watched Clara being lowered into the grave, where 40 years earlier he had watched Robert being placed, he lost his composure and was sobbing behind the bushes. A few months later he died as a result of a chill he caught while trying to arrive for Clara’s funeral in time.

Piano Quartets in E flat minor, Opus 47 (Robert Schumann) G minor, Opus 25 (Johannes Brahms) were both premiered with the participation of Clara Schumann, guiding muse and one of the most distinguished pianists of the day.




Source: Limelight Magazine.com


CHOA's 4th Annual Tower of Talent

On October 15th, 2017

The Children's Healthcare of Atlanta 

will hosts it's fourth annual 
TOWER OF TALENT!!!

Don't miss this breath taking
display of young talent!
Click below to purchase your tickets


All My Children — The Family Legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach

 

Johann Sebastian Bach worked hard. He worked hard to be a magnificent composer, he worked hard to be a good teacher and he worked hard to be a good father. Bach was married twice — first to Maria Barbara Bach and, upon her death, to Anna Magdalena Wilcke — and sired 20 children. 10 survived into adulthood — six sons and four daughters. While we're left to wonder what kind of talents their sisters may have harbored, four of those sons went on to become notable composers in their own right.


Wilhelm Friedemann Bach

He was the oldest of the J.S. sons, and had the toughest life. This is partially, at least according to Grove, due to the death of his mother when he was 10 years old and his father’s remarriage less than two years later. However, he did display some legitimately good keyboard skills and a composer. Like many of his brothers he attended the Thomasschule, and after graduation he proved to be a standout student at the University of Leipzig. In 1733, he handily won the organist’s position at St. Sophia’s Church in Dresden, where he also began to associate with the figures of the court. And Dresden’s court partied hard, so hard that it must have been quite the culture shock for someone who grew up under the religious restraints that Leipzig provided. Dresden was also a Catholic city, yet another thing a Lutheran Bach had to get used to. But Wilhelm Friedemann was able to adjust — perhaps too well. By the time he got to Halle (he's also known as the “Halle Bach”) — the liberal organist was at odds with the conservative city. His professional relationships in Halle grew ever contentious, and in 1764 he walked out of the job. Though that may have been his prerogative, it was more than a bit irresponsible considering he had a family at home.

Unfortunately, Wilhelm was a terrible keeper of his father’s work; most of the music he received from Johann Sebastian’s estate is now lost. He sold a lot of it, and passed some off as his own. There’s also a good chance that it was he who lost the St. Mark Passion. Thanks, Will.




Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Mozart once said, “Bach is the father, we are the children.” And while Johann Sebastian did have a lot of kids, it wasn’t Jo he was referring to. Mozart was talking about Carl Philipp Emanuel. That makes perfect sense, given C.P.E.’s role during the transition to what we know as the “Classical era” and the sheer volume of music he composed. Carl kept it busy.

Flute Concert with Frederick the Great in Sanssouci Flute Concert with Frederick the Great in Sanssouci. That's C.P.E. Bach seated at the keyboard.
(Adolph Menzel / Wikipedia Commons)

He was a precocious child; J.S. was his primary music teacher and he was a talented sight reader of his father’s music by 11. He attended the University of Leipzig to study law, and like any money-conscious college student he lived at home with his parents and assisted in his father’s musical projects. Like any student out there grinding, he eventually transferred and made money by giving music lessons and directing public concerts. And through all of this, he began to emerge as a composer, balancing a full academic workload with his full creative capabilities. Grove speculates that C.P.E. was such a great student because he wanted to have the path to a “respectable” job if need be — professional musicians of his day weren’t always recognized for their creative contributions and were at the beck and call of their patrons (J.S. knew this all too well). Luckily for us, Carl went with music. But all the obsessive note-taking and meticulous record keeping habits he learned in school served him well — he was the most responsible steward of his father’s music. C.P.E. also counted among his friends Frederick the Great of Prussia. He was a mean flute player, and Carl and the King had many a jam session; C.P.E. even claimed that he accompanied Frederick’s first flute solo.



 

Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach

Of all of J.S. Bach’s children to make their names as notable composers, J.C.F. and his younger brother Johann Christian got kind of unlucky. Not because of their talent, but because their older siblings got so much more time with their dad. And if you’re a Bach, “time with dad” means “time learning music.” J.C.F. went off to (again) the University of Leipzig, but had to drop out shortly after enrolling, in 1750. J.S. was sick (he died later that year), and the third Bach son needed to find a paying job. He wound up in Bückeberg, and did quite well for himself. While the court there was neither the grandest nor the most famous, it was incredibly cultured, making it a fine place to foster the life of the mind. J.C.F. cranked out vocal work, including some in collaboration with Johann Gottfried Herder.

Here’s something warm: in the late 1770’s J.C.F. and Wilhelm Friedemann went on a road trip to England to see their younger brother Johann Christian in England, stopping along the way to see Carl.





Johann Christian Bach

The youngest Bach boy was only a teenager when his father died. J.C. received a sizable inheritance (including three harpsichords) and eventually moved in with his older brother and music teacher Carl Philipp Emanuel. But in 1754, he moved to Italy where he *gasp* converted to Catholicism and became an organist at Milan Cathedral. It was there that he fell in love with opera; he moved again, this time to London, to compose for the Kings theater. He was popular, and in 1764 he was visited by a prodigious 8-year-old boy named Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. While J.C. was never formally his teacher, they were friendly, and Bach remained a great influence. According to Grove, 1768 saw J.C. give what might have been the first public performance on the piano.

Unfortunately, J.C.’s popularity declined over the years. His debtors were beginning to come around, and the shrinking demand for his new music did not pair well with the revelation that J.C.’s own housekeeper forged receipts and left with much of his money. His debts were never fully repaid. And while much of the public ignored his death, Mozart was sure to give him much deserved praise.





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Johns Creek’s Angelica Hale in ‘AGT’ finals: ‘she’s almost freakishly talented’



AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — “Live Results 5” Episode 1222 — Pictured: Angelica Hale — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

This was posted on Sunday, September 17, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Angelica Hale of Johns Creek is a pixie sweet 10-year-old girl who is super excited about her new baby sister Abigail, who is all of three weeks old.

She is also in the running this week to win $1 million on the most popular summer TV show, “America’s Got Talent” on NBC, thanks to a soaring voice that is almost unworldly coming from such a tiny package.

“She’s almost freakishly talented,” said her piano teacher Warren Woodruff of Buckhead, who describes himself as a musicologist and fantasy author. “The joy she has that you see on the television, I see it every week. It’s so real. It’s not staged.”

Angelica did not get her vocal gifts from her parents James and Eva.

“We definitely did not have to push her,” James said. “This is her passion. If she didn’t enjoy doing this, then she wouldn’t be where she is today.”

He said at age two, she became obsessed with the Lady Antebellum song “Need You Now,” though he had to modify some of the lyrics about drinking to suit her.

Two years later, she almost died. At age four, Angelica got double pneumonia and her kidneys shut down. She had to be on dialysis for 18 months before her mom was matched and donated her kidney to save her daughter.

Woodruff said that near-death experience has shaped her appreciation for life in general. “She can really teach the adult generation a thing or two,” he said. “To her, life is precious. She grasps things people take for granted. I have never met anyone like her before. She’s warm, adorable and funny as heck.”

James, her father, frequently reminds her not to let the fame and attention get to her head, that he tries to keep her grounded. “She wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth,” he said. “She’s had to earn everything she’s got today.”

Indeed, she has performed all over the country, singing the National Anthem at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, the U.S. Open before Roger Federer in New York City and the third Atlanta Braves game this year at SunTrust Park.

Woodruff said Angelica sees musical powers as transferable. “She can use the power that she knows music has to bring inspiration to other people,” he said. “She really has a mission with her music, not just something she does to show off.”

Indeed, her song pick last week to get her in the finals was indicative of that: David Guetta‘s “Without You.” (She said she listened more to the “Glee” version.)

“The song has such a great message,” Angelica said in an interview Friday from Los Angeles. “I couldn’t do this without America. It was dedicated to everyone who voted for me. It had such amazing notes. I loved it!”

Woodruff considered her last performance her best to date. “She knew how to keep the cohesiveness of the entire piece from first note to last note,” he said. “She turned it into a narrative. She doesn’t just do the big diva stuff. Every note means something to her.”



So far, Angelica has sung four times on “America’s Got Talent,” receiving raves almost across the board. During her first audition taped earlier this year, the audience immediately reacted positively with the first few notes of her heartfelt Audra Day’s “Rise Up” and before the chorus, the crowd had risen to its feet en masse.

Angelica was in tears by the end as judge Howie Mandel said, “OMG!” Fellow judge Simon Cowell said: “You’re tiny. Your voice is huge. We may be looking at a star in the future.”



During round two, her self-assured take on Alicia Keys‘ “Girl on Fire” inspired guest judge Chris Hardwick to give her the “Golden Buzzer,” guaranteeing her a spot in the live rounds.

In the quarterfinal round, she crooned Zedd’s “Clarity” with real clarity and cruised into the top 22. Now she’s in the final 10 and she said she’s ready for the spotlight on Tuesday.

“It’s amazing just to be here,” she said. “No matter what, win or lose, I’m still a winner.”

If Angelica pockets the top prize money, she plans to donate some to Children’s Miracle Network, which raises funds for children’s hospitals and related medical research.  (They helped save her life six years ago.) And she’d love to see Paris.

“I want to make songs and create albums and that’d be super awesome!” she added.

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5 Cartoons That Had Some Serious Fun With Classical Music



Remember those Warner Bros. and MGM classics featuring characters like Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and Tom and Jerry. And what’s the one thing that threads a lot of these toons together? The music. Specifically, music you might hear on any given evening at a major concert hall in the country.

So what’s up with the preponderance of classical music in these animated film shorts? That’s just the question Houston Public Media’s Dacia Clay and director of the National Orchestral Institute and Festival Richard Scerbo investigated in an episode of HPM’s Classical Classroom. In short, here are three factors that made these pieces ripe for these cartoons:

During the 1930s and 1940s, a lot of the practices from the days of silent film organ scoring found their way into cartoon scene.

Using this music was economical. For some studios, like Disney, these recordings were royalty free. For others, like Warner Bros., the studio actually had the artists or arrangers on the roster, so they could also profit off of the use of their recordings.

Having “serious” music in a violently silly context made the joke that much better.

Be sure to listen to the full episode. But before that, check out these examples to remind yourself how much music enhanced those cartoons.

“Music Land” (1935)

Can a cartoon be “enhanced” by music if that’s really what its all about? This Silly Symphonies short from Disney is about a young forbidden love between a violin* from the Land of Classical and a saxophone from the Isle of Jazz. Their interactions drive the two nations to war, but then they step back and chill out after they learn to respect all kinds of music. Classical pieces of note include Beethoven’s Eroica and “Flight of the Valkyries” from the second opera in Wagner's’ Der Ring des Nibelungen.



“Rabbit of Seville” (1950)

In which Bugs Bunny escapes the obsessed Elmer Fudd by escaping into a production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia at (presumably) the Hollywood Bowl. Obligatory antics ensue, and this cartoon goes all in on a creatively animated scalp massage.




Rabbit Of Seville from Wet The Face on Vimeo.


“Rhapsody In Rivets” (1941)

Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 is used as the soundtrack for the construction of a skyscraper. In a display of peak romantic old-timey aesthetic, a foreman “directs” the construction workers, as the Rhapsody provides many a musical cue. As Scerbo pointed out, Rivets is a prime example of studio composers creatively rearranging these tunes to match the action on screen. This short was directed by Friz Freleng, who also used the Liszt piece in a follow-up cartoon, Rhapsody Rabbit.


Merrie Melodies - Rhapsody In Rivets by Necopodalex
 

Merrie Melodies - Rhapsody In Rivets by Necopodalex
 “A Corny Concerto” (1943)

Fantasia is “serious.” “A Corny Concerto” is not. It’s a parody of the Disney favorite, featuring music by Tchaikovsky (Piano Concerto No. 1) and Strauss (Tales from the Vienna Woods and The Blue Danube). And a few Bugs Bunny hunting escapes, too.

 



“Pink, Plunk, Plink” (1966)

This one is a bit outside of the classical-cartoon heyday, but still hits the sweet spot of finding a humor in subverting a well-known piece while poking fun at the perceived stiffness of classical politics. The work in question? Beethoven’s Fifth. The Pink Panther strolls onto the stage and, after multiple attempts, replaces the conductor to lead the ensemble in the performance of Henry Mancini’s iconic theme.





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Debussy Play Debussy: A Vintage Recording from 1913

The selection is "La soirée dans Grenade" ("Grenada in the evening"), from Debussy's 1903 trio of compositions titled Estampes, or "Prints." Debussy was inspired by the Symbolist poets and Impressionist painters who strove to go beyond the surface of a subject to evoke the feeling it gave off.


A century ago, the great French composer Claude Debussy sat down at a contraption called a Welte-Mignon reproducing piano and recorded a series of performances for posterity.  The machine was designed to encode the nuances of a pianist's playing, including pedaling and dynamics, onto piano rolls for later reproduction, like the one above.

Debussy recorded 14 pieces onto six rolls in Paris on or before November 1, 1913. According to Debussy enthusiast Steve Bryson's Web site, the composer was delighted with the reproduction quality, saying in a letter to Edwin Welte: "It is impossible to attain a greater perfection of reproduction than that of the Welte apparatus. I am happy to assure you in these lines of my astonishment and admiration of what I heard. I am, Dear Sir, Yours Faithfully, Claude Debussy."

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Rhapsody In Blue: Gershwin At His Greatest



On June 23rd, 1959, Leonard Bernstein and the Columbia Symphony took their places at the St. George Hotel in Brooklyn, N.Y. and made a landmark recording of Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue.'

Rhapsody In Blue, the first "serious" composition by George Gershwin (1898-1937), is likely to remain his most popular work in any form, more for its prodigious melodic richness rather than for any deeper expressiveness or structural brilliance. 

 In the hands of another composer, Rhapsody In Blue could easily have turned into a disjointed exercise in symphonically dressed up jazz rhythms, melodic figures and quasi-improvisatory instrumental licks. Instead, Gershwin's uncanny sense of timing, and a gift for memorable melody unparalleled in the 20th century, turned the Rhapsody into an embodiment of the Jazz Age's upbeat lyricism and dance-driven vitality. The roaring Twenties had a soul, and this was it. 

The piece was composed in considerable haste, for a concert on February 12th, 1924, organized by jazz bandleader Paul Whiteman. It took place at New York's Aeolian Hall, billed as an "Experiment In Modern Music." The piece was scored for jazz band by Whiteman's arranger, the multitalented Ferde Grofé, and Gershwin himself played the piano solo — though at the time of the premiere he had not yet written it out. Grofé also scored the work's orchestral version.

Listen to the entire Rhaspsody in Blue

The Composer and his Muse: Franz Schubert and Therese Grob


Therese Grob was the first love of the composer Franz Schubert.




Nothing stokes the fire of adolescence and the enormous physical and psychological changes that occur during the teenage years quite like the teenage girl and/or boy next door. Franz Schubert spent his formative years in Lichtental, the ninth district in Vienna, and the girl next door was Therese Grob. She was 18 and Schubert only a year older. Her parents owned a small silk factory not far from the Schubert household, and young Franz was a frequent visitor to the house. Therese was described by one of the first Schubert biographers as “by no means a beauty, but well-built, rather plump and with a fresh, childlike round face and a lovely soprano voice.” There can be no doubt that Schubert was infatuated with Therese, and the composer’s friend Anselm Hüttenbrenner recalled a conversation in which Schubert had said, “I loved someone very dearly and she loved me too. For three years she hoped I would marry her; but I could not find a position which would have provided for us both.”

Therese  had a beautiful soprano voice. Schubert’s first complete Mass setting was composed entirely with Therese in mind, and she sang the soprano solo at the premiere of the Mass in F, D. 105 at the Lichtental parish church, while Schubert conducted the performance.





In addition, Schubert compiled 17 songs at various times during 1816, which subsequently became known as the “Therese Grob Album.” The term “album” is somewhat misleading, as the collection does not describe the chronological order of composition. Therese later told Schubert’s first biographer, that “Süsse, heilige Natur,” (An die Natur), which appears as the third song in the collection, was the first song she ever saw.





Three of the songs were expressly written for Therese, as no other manuscript copies exist. The remaining 14 are copies that Schubert made for Therese; however, he also made copies for his other friends.

Therese later suggested that she had no idea that Schubert was in love with her, and she married the master baker Johann Bergmann at the Lichtental church in 1820. Schubert also composed music for Therese’s brother Heinrich, two years his junior. Heinrich was a talented pianist and violinist, and the violin sonatas op. 137, published posthumously, were almost certainly composed for Heinrich Grob.








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Dr. Warren Woodruff & Angelica Hale featured on ATl & Co.'s Proud Parent Show!

Dr. Warren Woodruff with a performance from singing America's Got Talent sensation 9-year-old Angelica Hale on Proud Parent with Christine Pullara Newton!

Angelica sang "The Hills are Alive" from the Sound of Music to the piano accompaniment by Dr. Warren Woodruff.




Performance produced and directed by Lynn Stallings Of the Atlanta Workshop Players and Dr. Warren Woodruff, inspired by Dr. Fuddle and The Gold Baton.


Maria Callas, The Divine Voice Of Classical Music

Maria Callas: vocal chameleon, gossip-column staple and influential opera icon.
Weston/Getty Images

No opera star has shone brighter in the public consciousness of the last half-century than soprano Maria Callas. Born in New York in 1923 to a couple of struggling immigrants who had just arrived from Greece a few months before her birth, Callas — who throughout her life bore an undeniable feeling for music, a pronounced taste for luxury, and an iron will — climbed to the pinnacle of international fame.

Much of that notoriety had nothing to do with her artistic life. Her long affair with the world's then-wealthiest man, Aristotle Onassis — and his eventual marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy instead of to her — guaranteed that she was a gossip-column staple. Her epic battles with other singers and opera impresarios made for prime publicity fodder, too, and included a feud with the Metropolitan Opera's then-general manager, Rudolf Bing, that left her barred from the Met, and an episode in which she was served a lawsuit backstage in Chicago that became the catalyst for an iconic photo of a furious Callas.



But all of that was surface noise. Long after the newspaper headlines have faded away, her art remains. None of the high-society chatter, nor her high fashion sense, nor the contours of her deeply unhappy personal life, nor her mercurial personality was what made Callas La Divina, "The Divine One." Onstage, she possessed one of the greatest voices of all time. She was an indelible presence whose artistry made her the icon and envy of performers across many genres. (From its inception, "Turning the Tables" — a readdressing of the pop music canon — was not meant to include classical musicians. But such an accounting is long overdue in its own right, particularly considering the extent to which female classical artists are still so routinely denigrated, slighted, dismissed or rendered invisible.)

Vocally, Callas was a chameleon. At the beginning of her career, her richly textured voice was deemed right for weighty, dark-hued Wagner, but she could also dispatch fizzy, frilly roulades in Rossini's Barber of Seville, and take her listeners to the stratosphere in Verdi's Aida.


Although she never sang the role on stage, her recordings as the coy, sexually irrepressible lead in Bizet's Carmen set a standard — as she also did in another, far different signature role when she played the tormented high priestess and mother of two in Bellini's Norma.




Her dedication to the bel canto operas of composers like Bellini and Donizetti also paved a career path way for singers, including the likes of Beverly Sills and Marilyn Horne, to excel in that formerly neglected repertoire. A nickname like "The Divine One" might imply that Callas possessed a voice that was ethereal and sweet, perhaps more like that of a choirboy than of a grown woman, and certainly a technically perfect one. That was not Callas at all. What made Maria Callas La Divina is how she fought, every step of the way.


"Mine is a big destiny," she once told an interviewer. Her divinity was like that of a classical Greek goddess: rife with insecurities, trauma, jealousy and outsized aspirations. And like the deities of myth, she didn't always win her battles. Callas' performances were a high-wire act: Either she thrilled audiences or exasperated them, with little middle ground. She was no stranger to hearing boos, or to having vegetables thrown at her. And she stood on even less sure technical terrain as her voice declined fast and early — while she was still in her forties — before her untimely death at age 53.

But the ultimate goal of Callas' performances was not obtaining plush vocal perfection or a simpering prettiness: it was glory. That singular voice was a penetrating, ferocious weapon that she wielded to extract maximum emotional truth from the roles she played, no matter what the cost. She shaped words and lines with great care, lending dramatic form and heft to even the silliest operatic frippery. She expected her audience to listen with as much intelligence and focus as she put out. Callas was a compelling, magnetic, fiery, impassioned presence — and she gave her characters immortality.

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PLAY ALONG and VOTE for Our Favorite Angelica Hale on America's Got Talent Beginning August 15th!!

The live shows are here for America’s Got Talent 2017, which means that audience and viewer participation is key in keeping your favorite acts in the competition. If you want our favorite Angelica Hale to stay on the show, then you need to vote on line!

OR...

NBC has officially launched its new AGT App, which is available via Google Play and the Apple Store. With the app, you can vote along with the show and even customize your buzzer sounds with voices from the judges. Viewers who use the app can actually see real-time results totaled from the at-home voting activity.

Season 12 premiered to the highest viewership in six years and continues to be the No. 1 show of the summer. Many of this season's acts have already surpassed 100 million views on their audition videos and the numbers continue to grow.

Our favorite, Angelica Hale, is a young singer from Atlanta. At just two years old, Hale started singing along to songs on the radio, and began taking professional vocal lessons at the age of five. When she was four years old, Hale developed a severe bacterial pneumonia that nearly took her life, causing her to go septic and have multiple organ failures, including kidney failure and permanent scarring in her right lung. She remained in kidney failure for more than a year, but in 2013 received a life-saving kidney transplant from her mother. Today Hale performs at events and fundraisers all around the country in support of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, which is the hospital that saved her life.








Possessed or Blessed

Niccolo Paganini, who is considered the greatest violin virtuoso of all time, was probably one of the most erratic figures of all time. Through his numerous performances all over Europe, he enthralled and inspired every audience, including musicians of his era.

Niccolò Paganini (1819), by Ingres


 Listen to Joshua Bell and Sharon Isbin perform Paganini's Cantabile at the White House Evening of Classical Music on 4 November 2009.


Hector Berlioz
Franz Schubert was mystified by him, Rossini was appalled by him, and Meyerbeer followed him from one concert to another not being able to get enough of his playing. Berlioz has described Paganini as "one of those artists of whom it must be said: 'They are because they are and not because others were before them'." In Paris, Liszt came under Paganini's spell and was so stimulated by his fabulous technical virtuosity, determined to accomplish similar miracles with the piano, and pushed his technique to the highest limits.

Paganini was considered a genius, a god, a devil worshiper, anything but that of reality. There was a rumor, for instance, that when Niccolo was only six, his mother made a pact with the Devil and is said to have traded his soul for a career as the greatest violinist in the world.

Paganini was a legend. In fact, he was so amazing no audience could succumb to any type of disturbance during the trance he created through his musical renditions. After borrowing a Guarnerius violin for a single concert, the lender begged him to keep it for fear of coming under Paganini's supernatural powers. He also won a Stradivarius violin in a similar manner by playing a technical piece by sight which was insisted that nobody could perform even after preparation.


 
1831 bulletin advertising a performance of Paganini
Besides his superb technical ability, his cadaverous appearance led to myths of all sorts. He was tall and thin, had a long nose, a pale and long-drawn face with hollow cheeks, thin lips that seemed to curl into a sardonic smile, and piercing eyes like flaming coals. The rumor was spread that he was the son of the Devil. It was difficult to think much otherwise as Paganini dressed in black, played weaving and flailing, with skinny fingers cavorting over the strings, and contorted shoulders giving him the appearance of a giant flapping bat. Paganini's every movement and every tone emanating from his violin seemed to support the 300-year-old myth that the violin was the "Devil's consort" and that the violinist himself was the Devil. Some people, when in his presence, would actually make the sign of the cross to rid themselves of what they believed were his evil powers. He was once forced to publish letters from his mother to prove he had human parents.

Whenever and wherever he played, he aroused tenor and awe in his audiences. There was the rumor that a satanic figure, a double of Paganini, always appeared in the audience in sombre black with the same long black locks, burning eyes, and sardonic smile. Or else the figure appeared on the stage at Paganini's side dressed in a red cloak and pantaloons, with horns, hooves, and a tail to guide Paganini's bow arm through a performance. It was believed that this figure raised a thunderstorm, during a concert and conducted lightening to the free end of the bow, and at another performance he actually took possession of Paganini's body. In spite of his appearance and the suspicions, however, he was worshiped wherever he went.

All parts of Europe were delighted with his music and women were spellbound at the sound of his hypnotic melodies. There was another rumor that he was the greatest womanizer of all time and that he killed a woman, imprisoned her soul in his violin, and used parts of her intestines as an eternal source of gut for his strings. The unearthly screams of women were sometimes heard coming from his violin as he played on stage.

Paganini was born of a poor family in 1782 at Genoa and showed a natural talent at a very early age. His father wanted his son to be a genius and did everything in his power to make that come true. He stood by him consistently when he practiced disciplining him severely with a rod that was seldom spared. His father was quite successful in his persistence for at the age of eight, he played a Pie yel Concerto in a Genoa church. He so enthralled the audience, that his playing became in great demand for local social gatherings. His teachers at that time were Giovanni Servetto and Giacomo Costa. When he turned nine, he made an official debut in a Genoa concert auditorium playing his own composition, La Carmagnole which is a theme and variations. By age thirteen, he was known throughout the town as the "wonderchild."

He continued with his studies in Leghorn with Ferdinando Paer and in Parma with Alessandro Rolla, which began his first extended concert tour. He succeeded rapidly in the cities of Lombardy playing many of his own electrifying compositions.

At the age of seventeen, he was on his own. He no longer needed financial assistance from his father and broke away assured of his talent. Freed for the first time of his father's strictness, he gave in to his two passions - women and gambling -- to which he was thenceforth to be addicted.

At the turn of the century, he disappeared from the public eye. It is generally believed that he fell in love with a Guscan noble lady and lived with her at her chateau. At this time, he abandoned the violin temporarily because of his mistress' wishes and concentrated his virtuoso and creative gifts on the guitar. He also composed several pieces and chamber works for the guitar. But, after three years, he returned to his native city to study, play, and compose at full intensity.

The most amazing stories were heard about his performances. The most famous is of the concert in Leghorn. When a string of his violin snapped in an intricate passage, the audience began expressing derision. But when Paganini continued to play the piece on three strings instead of four, the derision turned to wonder and awe. From then on Paganini would not hesitate to use this devise on purpose to further entrance his audience. Often he would use worn strings so that he could complete his performance on three or even two strings when they snapped. Later he got the idea to write entire pieces for a single string, such as the Fantasia on the G String.

By 1813, Paganini became the greatest violinist of his day and the most worshiped. He spent the next decade and a half performing numerous concerts throughout Italy. His health, however, was turning bad which limited his touring voyages to his own country. When he finally left his country to perform in other parts of Europe, the concert halls were filled immediately and crowds rushed to see for themselves the creature that was so talked about. In 1828, he was in Vienna where he hypnotized his audience. Everyone was talking about him. Snacks and billiard shots were named after him.

After Vienna, he traveled extensively throughout Germany and in 1831, he arrived in Paris, his ultimate goal. In Paris, there was a study made of him because his unusual appearance created an abnormal "presence" about him. Up until then there was no challenge as to the idea that he was possessed by the devil or was some sort of god himself. Through this study, however, it was found that his physical characteristics were linked to his mental abilities; the same qualities which characterize a genius.

In his tour to England and Scotland, Paganini made the largest sum of money that any performing artist had earned up to that time in a single trip.

He returned to Italy and purchased an estate near Parma where he made several concert appearances despite his suffering from poor health. He lost some of his fortune in a gambling house named after him, thus making him restless and weary. He started coughing and eventually lost his voice completely in 1838. He went to Nice for a rest cure - but neither rested nor was cured. He spent his last hours improvising feverishly on his violin, defying his rapidly waning strength. Finally, he died on May 27, 1840.



Paganini on his death bed

For five years the Church, disturbed as to his orthodoxy, refused his body interment in consecrated ground, and so it was laid to rest in a village graveyard on his own estate. The people in nearby towns use to say that every night they heard the sounds of a ghostly violin emanating from that coffin. The legend of Paganini's life lasted until the very end.

   
Reposted From Guitarra Magazine



The Composer and his Muse: Gabriel Faure, Emma Bardac, Adela Maddison and Marguerite Hasselmans


Gabriel Urbain Fauré was a French Romantic composer, organist, pianist and teacher. He was one of the foremost French composers of his generation, and his musical style influenced many 20th-century composers. Among his best-known works are his Pavane, Requiem, nocturnes for piano and the songs "Après un rêve" and "Clair de lune", ("Moonlight") Op. 46 No 2, a song composed in 1887 to words by Paul Verlaine. The lyric is from Verlaine's early collection Fêtes galantes (1869). It inspired not only Fauré but Claude Debussy, who set it in 1881 and wrote a well known piano piece inspired by it in 1891.



Though he lived well into the 20th century, he was born when Chopin was still alive and only eighteen years after Beethoven's death. Most of the Romantic era's composers were his contemporaries, he came to know many of them and outlived most of them.




A master of his craft and innovative in his work, his now classic Requiem was performed at the memorial service for singer Bing Crosby at New York's St. Bartholomew's Church (where the young Leopold Stokowski had been the organist). His music, now a staple of his country's literature, ultimately and perhaps even inevitably made him famous and respected by the musical world - and he was quite deaf toward the end of his life. Beethoven, whose deafness manifested itself relatively early, had lamented why he himself should be ". . . lacking in the sense in which I should be more perfect than others." It takes little effort to imagine the same thought in the mind of composer Gabriel Fauré.

In 1883 Fauré married Marie Fremiet, the daughter of a leading sculptor, Emmanuel Fremiet. The marriage was affectionate, but Marie became resentful of Fauré's frequent absences, his dislike of domestic life – "horreur du domicile" – and his love affairs, while she remained at home.

Emma Bardac
According to Grove's Dictionary of Music & Musicians, ". . . Although he always retained a great affection for his wife, her withdrawn, bitter and difficult character, coupled with Fauré's keen sensuality and desire to please, explain his infidelities." Fauré ultimately had significant liaisons with other (considerably younger) women, each of whom played an important role in his life. Among them were Winnaretta Singer (of Singer Sewing Machines), who commissioned works from him and offered practical assistance, and Emma Bardac, who inspired a song cycle.

Gabriel Fauré's liaison with Emma Bardac in Duchen's words, "began for the first time, in his late forties", he experienced a fulfilling, passionate relationship which extended over several years. His principal biographers all agree that this affair inspired burst of creativity and a new originality in his music, exemplified in the song cycle La bonne chanson. Fauré wrote the Dolly Suite for piano duet between 1894 and 1897 and dedicated it to Bardac's daughter Hélène, known as "Dolly". Some people suspected that Fauré was Dolly's father, but biographers including Nectoux and Duchen think it unlikely. Fauré's affair with Emma Bardac is thought to have begun after Dolly was born, though there is no conclusive evidence either way. Emma later divorced her husband in order to marry another composer - Claude Debussy, his second wife.





Adela Maddison in The Sketch, 1910
Adela Maddison, the beautiful brunette Irish wife of an English attorney who directed a small publishing entity, played the piano and even composed. Her relationship with Fauré initially involved the publication and promotion of Fauré's music in England, to which end she translated some of his songs into English.

From around 1894, Maddison and her husband played a major part in encouraging and facilitating Fauré's entry onto the London musical scene. She became Fauré's pupil, and he thought her a gifted composer. She composed a number of mélodies, setting the works of poets such as Sully Prudhomme, Coppée, Verlaine and Samain in 1900 Fauré told the latter that her treatment of his poem Hiver was masterly.

During 1898 – c. 1905, she lived in Paris without her husband; Fauré's biographer Robert Orledge believes there was a romantic liaison with Fauré, who dedicated his Nocturne No. 7, Op. 74, to her in 1898; this piece was expressive of his feelings towards her, according to Orledge.





Eventually she developed a passion for the admiration and advocacy of his music, and perhaps inevitably, for him as well: leaving her husband and two children in England, she moved to Paris to be near Fauré.

Gabriel Fauré and Marguerite Hasselmans
In August 1900 Fauré met the stunning Marguerite Hasselmans, 31 years his junior. He was 55, the same age as her father. She operatively became Fauré's mistress for the remaining 24 years of his life. She read Russian, conversed philosophically, was bold enough to smoke in public and wear makeup, and was a musician. Their union was a kind of second marriage: they were seldom apart. She taught piano at their Paris residence and took part in public performances of his work. Her presence at the inception of Fauré's music during this period gave her a special and perhaps even unique insight into these works and a first-hand perception of how they should be performed.

Fauré met Marguerite Long in 1903, a student pianist to whom he was introduced by her teacher. He was impressed enough with her skill and interpretation of his piano music to have her study with him. She ultimately promoted Fauré's work significantly by frequently playing it in public, but this became a mixed blessing for the composer. Marguerite Long associated herself with Fauré and his reputation with a zealous ambition that eventually irritated him and wore his patience thin. She proclaimed herself as being "the sole heiress to the Fauré tradition," which prompted him to describe her to an intimate as, "a shameless woman who uses my name to get on." It's still very much to her credit that she continued championing Fauré's music as long as she lived.

Gabriel Fauré suffered from poor health in his later years, brought on in part by heavy smoking. Despite this, he remained available to young composers, including members of Les Six, most of whom were devoted to him. Nectoux writes, "In old age he attained a kind of serenity, without losing any of his remarkable spiritual vitality, but rather removed from the sensualism and the passion of the works he wrote between 1875 and 1895."

In his last months, Gabriel Fauré struggled to complete a string quartet. Twenty years earlier he had been the dedicatee of Ravel's String Quartet. Ravel and others urged Fauré to compose one of his own. He refused for many years, on the grounds that it was too difficult. When he finally decided to write it, he did so in trepidation, telling his wife, "I've started a Quartet for strings, without piano. This is a genre which L.v. Beethoven in particular made famous, and causes all those who are not L.v. Beethoven to be terrified of it." He worked on the piece for a year, finishing it on September 11, 1924, less than two months before he died, working long hours towards the end to complete it. The quartet was premiered after his death; he declined an offer to have it performed privately for him in his last days, as his hearing had deteriorated to the point where musical sounds were horribly distorted in his ear.




Gabriel Fauré died in Paris from pneumonia on November 4, 1924 at the age of 79. He was given a state funeral at the Église de la Madeleine and is buried in the Passy Cemetery in Paris.



Sources:
bach-cantatas.com
www.mfiles.co.uk/composers
 https://en.wikipedia.org