The French composer and organist César Auguste Jean Guillaume Hubert Franck was born on December 10, 1822 in Liège, then part of the Kingdom of the United Netherlands. He died in Paris on November 8, 1890. December 2022 will be his 200th birthday.
After the family moved to Paris, César Franck received music lessons there and was admitted to the Paris Conservatory in 1837. In 1846 he got a job as organist at the church of Notre-Dame-de-Lorette and from 1851 to 1858 at Saint-Jean-Saint-François. In 1857 he first became “maître de chapelle” and in 1858 finally titular organist at Ste-Clotilde. In 1872 he was appointed professor of organ at the Paris Conservatory, where his students included Vincent d’Indy, Henri Duparc and Guillaume Lekeu.
César Franck was a co-founder of the Société Nationale de Musique in 1871 and was later elected its president. In 1885 he became a Knight of the Legion of Honour.
As a composer, César Franck initially wrote piano music with little success. It was only when he took up his position at the church of Ste-Clotilde that he began to write music for the organ. Above all, he had the “simple organists” in mind, who had to arrange the service Sunday after Sunday. For them he composed numerous shorter pieces, which were published in two anthologies entitled “L’Organiste”. He only wrote his best-known works today in the last years of his life.
The video shows the cathedral organist Matthias Maierhofer on the choir organ of the Freiburg Minster, performing César Franck’s “Prélude, Fugue et Variation op. 18”.
Every year, worldwide more than 200 stamps related to music are issued. The list of new issues published in the members-only-section of our website is updated several times per month.
30.10.: China / Italy / Jersey / Kazakhstan / Mongolia / North Macedonia / Paraguay / Romania / Uzbekistan
5.11.: Central African Republic / Gibraltar / Italy / North Macedonia / Oman / Russia / Togo
14.11.: Andorra / Bahamas / Canada / Central African Republic / Estonia / France / Guinea-Bissau / Slovenia
20.11.: Bulgaria / Central African Republic / Chad / Djibouti / Greece / Latvia / Nethetlands / Nevis / Poland / Russia / South Korea
27.11.: Azerbaijan / Chad / Colombia / Italy / Kosovo / Netherlands / Ukraine
The Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti was born on November 29, 1797 in Bergamo, in what was then the Cisalpine Republic. When he died in his native town on April 8, 1848, it was part of the Austrian Empire. November 2022 will mark the 225th anniversary of his birth.
San Marino 12.2.1999
Gaetano Donizetti was one of the most successful opera composers of the 19th century and, along with Gioacchino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, is one of the most important masters of the so-called Bel canto opera. In addition to his around 70 operas, ten of which are still performed regularly today, he also composed sacred music, instrumental music and numerous works for voice and piano.
Since its premiere on September 26, 1835 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, the opera “Lucia di Lammermoor” depicted on the stamp has had an unbroken tradition of performances and is part of the standard repertoire of opera houses worldwide. Salvadore Cammarano wrote the libretto for the work, known as “dramma lirico”, in two parts and three acts, based on the novel “The Bride of Lammermoor” by Walter Scott. The opera is about two lovers from feuding noble families who are only united in death. The opera is considered one of the highlights of the Bel canto era and a milestone in Italian romantic opera, with Lucia’s “mad scene” (Il dolce suono) as the highlight.
The video shows the Australian soprano Dame Joan Sutherland performing ‘Eccola!’ (The Mad Scene) from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in the Australian Opera’s 1986 production at the Sydney Opera House.
American rock ‘n’ roll and country musician Jerry Lee Lewis died on October 28, 2022 at the age of 87 in DeSoto County, Mississippi.
Jerry Lee Lewis was born on September 29, 1935 in Ferriday, Louisiana. At the age of 21 he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he got a job as a pianist in a bar. In 1956 he auditioned for Sun Records, which had signed rockabilly musicians such as Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison.
In December of the same year he was invited for a session for Carl Perkins, which later went down in music history as the “Million Dollar Quartet” (Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley).
His first hit “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” (1957) was followed by “Great Balls of Fire” and “Breathless”. His stage performances also became more and more legendary: he played the piano with hands and feet, pushed away the stool and danced around the piano or even set it on fire.
In 1963 Lewis moved to the record company Smash Records and dedicated himself more and more to country music. In the early 1970s he landed some hits in this genre as well, such as “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Chantilly Lace”.
Between 1958 and 2014, Jerry Lee Lewis released 41 albums. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2022. In 2005 he received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his life’s work.
The video features Jerry Lee Lewis performing the hit “Great Balls Of Fire!” from 1957.
The Brazilian pianist and composer Francisca Edwiges Neves Gonzages (stage name: “Chiquinha”) was born on October 17, 1847 in Rio de Janeiro. She died on February 18, 1935. October 2022 will mark the 175th anniversary of her birth.
A daughter of a marshal and a mulatto girl, Gonzaga received a good school education and took piano lessons at an early age. At the age of 11, she composed her first piece for a Christmas party. At the age of 16 she married an official of the Imperial Navy against her will, but left him in 1870 because he forbade her to perform any musical activity outside the family. After a second marriage also failed, the 29-year-old decided to live as a single mother and to work as an independent musician. She earned her income by working in a music store, also offering piano lessons to customers. In addition, she composed polkas, waltzes and tangos, which she performed at balls and meetings of choro musicians. There she met the flautist Joaquim Antônio da Silva Callado and soon became the first woman to play in his group “O Choro do Callado”. Chiquinha Gonzaga is regarded as the first pianist of the choro. Obliged to adapt the piano sound to popular taste, she became one of the first major composers of choro music. Her first commercial success was the polka “Atraente” in 1877. Over the years she wrote about two thousand works for various formations in such varied styles as waltz, polka, fado, quadrille, mazurka, Brazilian tango, habanera, choro, marca, dobrado, lundu, maxixe and modinha. In 1885 her first operetta “A Corte na Roça” premiered in Rio de Janeiro. The greatest success of her 77 stage works came in 1911 with the operetta “Forrobodó”, which after the premiere was performed another 1,500 times en suite – a record never since equalled in Brazil. The last work by the then 87-year-old Chiquinha Gonzaga was her first opera “Maria” in 1934.
What is less known is that Chiquinha Gonzaga composed the first carnival hit in the world with the song “Abre Alas” in 1899, thus laying the foundation for the annual carnival anthems of the samba schools at Rio Carnival. The text of the song “Abre Alas, que eu quero passar” (Clear the way, I want to pass through here) can almost be viewed as Gonzaga’s life motto, for despite her successes, she constantly had to defend herself as a publicly active woman against the criticism and hostility of a society dominated by men.
The video shows the Brazilian formation “Choronas”, founded in 1994, with the polka “Atraente” by Chiquinha Gonzaga at a concert in the Teatro Anchieta do Sesc Consolação in São Paulo (November 28, 2011).
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The Hungarian conductor Georg Solti (real name György Stern) was born on October 21, 1912 in Budapest. He died 25 years ago, on September 5, 1997 in Antibes (France).
Solti studied at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest with Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, among others. In 1930 he became répétiteur at the Budapest Opera and from 1935 assistant to Bruno Walter and Arturo Toscanini in Salzburg. He made his debut as an opera conductor in 1938 in a performance of The Marriage of Figaro in Budapest.
During World War II he was assistant to Toscanini in Lucerne. In 1946 he became General Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, held the same position at the Frankfurt Opera from 1952-1961 and increasingly had guest appearances with major orchestras and opera houses worldwide. From 1961 he was ten years at the Royal Opera House in London.
A second major artistic period began for Georg Solti when he became chief conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1969-1991). He was also musical director of the Orchester de Paris (1971-1975) and artistic director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (1979-1983). In 1983 he conducted at the Bayreuth Festival, several times at the Salzburg Festival and, after Karajan’s death, took over as his successor at the Easter Festival for two years.
Georg Solti signed a contract with the Decca record company as early as 1947 and over the years he has recorded all the popular operas by Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss and Giuseppe Verdi for the label. The first complete studio recording of Wagner’s “Ring des Nibelungen” with the Vienna Philharmonic (1958-1965) is still considered a great moment in the history of recordings. Georg Solti has received 105 Grammy nominations and, with 31 awards, is the artist to have received the most awards with the coveted trophy.
In addition to numerous other honours, he was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1968 and Knight Commander in 1971 during his tenure in London.
The video shows Georg Solti and the London Symphony Orchestra perfoming the Coriolan Overture, Op. 62 by Ludwig van Beethoven, recorded in 1987 at the Barbican Center in London.