Tōru Takemitsu (武満 徹, Takemitsu Tōru, October 8, 1930 – February 20, 1996; pronounced [takeꜜmitsɯ̥ toːɾɯ]) was a Japanese composer and writer on aesthetics and music theory. Largely self-taught, Takemitsu was admired for the subtle manipulation of instrumental and orchestral timbre. He is known for combining elements of oriental and occidental philosophy and for fusing sound with silence and tradition with innovation.
He composed several hundred independent works of music, scored more than ninety films and published twenty books. He was also a founding member of the Jikken Kōbō (Experimental Workshop) in Japan, a group of avant-garde artists who distanced themselves from academia and whose collaborative work is often regarded among the most influential of the 20th century. (Full article...)
Bloc Party wanted to create an album that further distanced the band from the traditional rock set-up by incorporating more electronic elements and unconventional musical arrangements. As the record's title suggests, its tracks are about personal relationships and are loosely based on one of frontmanKele Okereke's break-ups in 2007. Three songs were released as singles: "Mercury", "Talons", and "One Month Off"; the first two tracks entered the UK Top 40. Intimacy was generally well received by critics. Reviewers often focused on its rush-release and central theme, and considered them either bold steps or poor choices. (Full article...)
Bach had taken up regular cantata composition a year before when he was promoted to concertmaster at the Weimar court, writing one cantata per month to be performed in the Schlosskirche, the court chapel in the ducal Schloss. O heilges Geist- und Wasserbad was his first cantata for Trinity Sunday, the feast day marking the end of the first half of the liturgical year. The libretto by the court poet Salomo Franck is based on the day's prescribed gospel reading about the meeting of Jesus and Nicodemus. It is close in content to the gospel and connects the concept of the Trinity to baptism. (Full article...)
Christ lag in Todes Banden (also spelled Todesbanden; "Christ lay in death's bonds" or "Christ lay in the snares of death"), BWV4, is a cantata for Easter by German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, one of his earliest church cantatas. It is agreed to be an early work partly for stylistic reasons and partly because there is evidence that it was probably written for a performance in 1707. Bach went on to complete many other works in the same genre, contributing complete cantata cycles for all occasions of the liturgical year. John Eliot Gardiner described it as Bach's "first-known attempt at painting narrative in music". Christ lag in Todes Banden is a chorale cantata, a style in which both text and music are based on a hymn. In this instance, the source was Martin Luther's hymn of the same name, the main hymn for Easter in the Lutheran church. The composition is based on the seven stanzas of the hymn and its tune, which was derived from Medieval models. Bach used the unchanged words of a stanza of the chorale in each of the seven vocal movements, in the format of chorale variations per omnes versus (for all stanzas), and he used its tune as a cantus firmus. After an opening sinfonia, the variations are arranged symmetrically: chorus–duet–solo–chorus–solo–duet–chorus, with the focus on the central fourth stanza about the battle between Life and Death. All movements are in E minor, and Bach achieves variety and intensifies the meaning of the text through many musical forms and techniques. (Full article...)
When it was first released, "Touch Me I'm Sick" was a hit on college radio. Its heavily distorted and fuzzy guitars, snarling vocals, blunt bass line and energetic drumming contributed to a dirty sound that influenced many local musicians, and helped develop the nascent Seattle grunge scene. According to AllMusic, "the song's raw, primal energy made it an instant anthem which still stands as one of [grunge's] all-time classics". A staple of Mudhoney's live shows, it remains the band's most recognizable song. (Full article...)
1989 is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, released on October 27, 2014, through Big Machine Records. Following the release of her genre-spanning fourth studio album Red (2012), noted for pop hooks and electronic production, the media questioned the validity of Swift's status as a country artist. Inspired by 1980s synth-pop to create a record that shifted her sound and image from country to mainstream pop, Swift enlisted Max Martin as co-executive producer, and titled her fifth album after her birth year as a symbolic rebirth of her artistry.
The album's synth-pop sound is characterized by heavy synthesizers, programmed drums, and processed backing vocals. Swift wrote the songs inspired by her personal relationships, which had been a trademark of her songwriting. The songs on 1989 express lighthearted perspectives towards failed romance, departing from her previous antagonistic attitude. Swift and Big Machine promoted the album extensively through product endorsements, television, radio appearances and social media. They pulled 1989 from free streaming services such as Spotify, prompting an industry discourse on the impact of streaming on music sales. (Full article...)
"Eyes of the Insane" is a 2006 song by the American thrash metal band Slayer, taken from their 2006 album Christ Illusion. The lyrics explore an American soldier's mental anguish following his return home from the second Gulf War, and are based on an article entitled "Casualty of War" in Texas Monthly magazine. "Eyes of the Insane" was written by vocalist Tom Araya during pre-production for the album. The song was generally well received by critics, and also peaked #15 on the Danish singles charts.
Between 1769 and 1773, the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his father Leopold Mozart made three Italian journeys. The first, an extended tour of 15 months, was financed by performances for the nobility and by public concerts, and took in the most important Italian cities. The second and third journeys were to Milan, for Wolfgang to complete operas that had been commissioned there on the first visit. From the perspective of Wolfgang's musical development the journeys were a considerable success, and his talents were recognised by honours which included a papal knighthood and memberships in leading philharmonic societies.
Leopold Mozart had been employed since 1747 as a musician in the Archbishop of Salzburg's court, becoming deputy Kapellmeister in 1763, but he had also devoted much time to Wolfgang's and sister Nannerl's musical education. He took them on a European tour between 1763 and 1766, and spent some of 1767 and most of 1768 with them in the imperial capital, Vienna. The children's performances had captivated audiences, and the pair had made a considerable impression on European society. By 1769, Nannerl had reached adulthood, but Leopold was anxious to continue 13-year-old Wolfgang's education in Italy, a crucially important destination for any rising composer of the 18th century. (Full article...)
Radiohead began work on In Rainbows in early 2005. In 2006, after initial recording sessions with new producer Spike Stent proved fruitless, the band toured Europe and North America, performing the new material. After re-enlisting longtime producer Nigel Godrich, Radiohead recorded in the country houses Halswell House and Tottenham House, Godrich's London studio, and Radiohead's Oxfordshire studio. In Rainbows is more personal than previous Radiohead albums, with singer Thom Yorke describing it as "seduction songs". Radiohead incorporated a variety of styles and instruments, using electronic instruments, strings, piano, and the ondes Martenot. (Full article...)
Born in London, she was showcased by her father at the Eagle Tavern in Hoxton. In 1884, she made her professional début as Bella Delmere; she changed her stage name to Marie Lloyd the following year. In 1885, she had success with her song "The Boy I Love Is Up in the Gallery", and she frequently topped the bill at prestigious theatres in London's West End. In 1891, she was recruited by the impresarioAugustus Harris to appear in that year's spectacular Theatre Royal, Drury Lane Christmas pantomimeHumpty Dumpty. She starred in a further two productions at the theatre, Little Bo Peep (1892) and Robinson Crusoe (1893). By the mid-1890s, Lloyd was in frequent dispute with Britain's theatre censors due to the risqué content of her songs. (Full article...)
Dookie received critical acclaim upon its release, and won the band a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album in 1995. It was also a worldwide success, reaching number two in the United States and the top five in several other countries; it is credited with bringing punk rock to mainstream popularity, and propelling Green Day to worldwide fame. It was later certified diamond by the RIAA, and has sold close to 20 million copies worldwide, making it the band's best-selling album and one of the best-selling albums worldwide. In 2003, Rolling Stone placed Dookie at number 193 on their list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time", maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list. In 2020, Rolling Stone re-ranked the album at number 375 on another revised list. (Full article...)
Hayley Williams (born December 27, 1988) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and businesswoman. She serves as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter and occasional keyboardist of the rock band Paramore. Born in Meridian, Mississippi, Williams moved to Franklin, Tennessee, at the age of fifteen after her parents divorced. In 2004, she formed Paramore alongside Josh Farro, Zac Farro, and Jeremy Davis. The band currently consists of Williams, Farro and Taylor York. They have released five studio albums: All We Know Is Falling (2005), Riot! (2007), Brand New Eyes (2009), Paramore (2013) and After Laughter (2017).
American singer Elvis Presley meeting then-president Richard Nixon on December 21, 1970. During the meeting, the singer expressed his patriotism and his contempt for hippies, the growing drug culture, and the counterculture in general. Presley then asked Nixon for a Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge, to signify official sanction of his patriotic efforts. Nixon gave Presley the badge and expressed a belief that Presley could send a positive message to young people and that it was therefore important he retain his credibility.
Louis Armstrong, nicknamed "Satchmo" or "Pops", was an American jazztrumpeter and singer. Armstrong was a foundational influence on jazz, shifting the music's focus from collective improvisation to solo performers. With his distinctive gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser and as a scat singer.
Bessie Smith (April 15, 1894 – September 26, 1937) was an American blues singer widely renowned during the Jazz Age. She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and was a major influence on fellow blues singers, as well as jazz vocalists.
Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, her parents died when Smith was young, and she and her sister survived by performing on the streets of Chattanooga, Tennessee. She began touring and performed in a group that included Ma Rainey, and then went out on her own. Her successful recording career began in the 1920s, until an automobile accident ended her life at age 43.
Mary Lou Williams (May 8, 1910 – May 28, 1981) was an American jazz pianist, arranger, and composer. She wrote hundreds of compositions and arrangements and recorded more than one hundred records. Williams wrote and arranged for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, and she was friend, mentor and teacher to numerous other jazz musicians. The second of eleven children, she was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and grew up in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A young musical prodigy, she taught herself to play the piano at the age of three. This photograph of Williams at the piano was taken by William P. Gottlieb around 1946.
Ariadne auf Naxos ('Ariadne on Naxos'), Op. 60, is an opera by Richard Strauss with a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Combining slapstick comedy and consummately beautiful music, the opera's theme is the competition between high and low art for the public's attention. The opera was originally conceived as a 30-minute divertissement to be performed at the end of Hofmannsthal's adaptation of Molière's play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme. Besides the opera, Strauss provided incidental music to be performed during the play. In the end, the opera was ninety minutes long, and the performance of the play and opera together totalled over six hours. It was first performed at the Staatsoper Stuttgart on 25 October 1912, directed by Max Reinhardt. The combination of the play and opera proved to be unsatisfactory to the audience: those who had come to hear the opera resented having to wait until the play finished. The work was revised in 1916, with the play being replaced by a prologue, and first performed at the Vienna State Opera on 4 October of that year.
This picture is the cover of a vocal score of the revised edition of Ariadne auf Naxos, published in 1916.
Fervaal is an opera with a prologue and three acts by the French composer Vincent d'Indy. Fervaal is the son of a Celtic king and is destined to be the last advocate of the old gods. His mission is to save his homeland from invasion and pillage, but in doing so he must renounce love. This illustration, by the Swiss painter Carlos Schwabe, relates to the 10 May 1898 premiere of the opera at the Théâtre de l'Opéra-Comique in Paris. Here, Fervaal is depicted ascending a mountain while carrying the body of his beloved Guilhen at the end of the opera, as the pagan gods and their worshippers fade out of existence with the dawn of Christianity.