Erwin Schulhoff’s Flammen returns to the stage 90 years after its debut

Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff’s only opera, Flammen is returning to the stage in the original Czech for the first time since its premiere in 1932. The opera is a part of the National Theatre of Prague’s Musica non Grata series—translation: unwelcomed music—“revives the artistic legacy of male and female composers important to the musical lifeContinue reading “Erwin Schulhoff’s Flammen returns to the stage 90 years after its debut”

Discover Günter Raphael’s ballet, Jabonah

Günter Raphael’s (1903-1960) life was surrounded by war and upheaval. Born into a musical family in Germany, he entered the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin in 1922. In 1926 he became professor of composition and theory at State Conservatory and at the Kirchenmusikalisches Institut, Leipzig in 1926. But this was short lived. When Nazis assumedContinue reading “Discover Günter Raphael’s ballet, Jabonah”

A complete recording of Saint-Saëns’ Henry VIII now available

Odyssey Opera, a company based in Boston, MA, just released the very first complete recording of Saint-Saëns’ Henry VIII. You can find the 4 disc CD here. Henry VIII is a grand opera premiering at the Palais Garnier in 1883. The opera was incredibly popular at the time, with performances at the Royal Opera HouseContinue reading “A complete recording of Saint-Saëns’ Henry VIII now available”

A Saxophone oratorio? Listen to Wladimir Vogel’s 1930 oratorio, Wagadus Untergang durch die Eitelkeit

When I started making the list of operas and ballets in the database, I did not include oratorios for one simple reason, the saxophone wasn’t used in oratorios. There’s an exception here and there (Massenet has an oratorio in this database) but for the most part, the oratorio excludes the saxophone. Imagine my surprise whenContinue reading “A Saxophone oratorio? Listen to Wladimir Vogel’s 1930 oratorio, Wagadus Untergang durch die Eitelkeit”

Watch the premiere of Time of Our Singing, featuring Saxophonist Mark Turner

Belgian composer and jazz pianist Kris Defoort premiered a new opera last month, The Time of Our Singing. This opera is based on Richard Powers’ 2003 novel of the same name which tells the story of a mixed raced family growing up during racial segregation in America. This production is staged by the Belgian operaContinue reading “Watch the premiere of Time of Our Singing, featuring Saxophonist Mark Turner”

The publisher Edward B Marks Music Company is now in the database, home to Darius Milhaud and William Bolcom

As I keep searching, new works by notable composers get added to the database. The publisher Edward B Marks is home to American composer William Bolcom and includes Bolcom’s collaborations with Darius Milhaud. Milhaud’s output for this publisher is unique, as it includes new arrangements of existing operas and plays. The first work in thisContinue reading “The publisher Edward B Marks Music Company is now in the database, home to Darius Milhaud and William Bolcom”

How opera is instrumental to the “Évolution” of vibrato

For saxophonists, playing with vibrato is second nature in classical performance. But up until the 1920s, most saxophonists played with an even tone. Vibrato on the saxophone was limited to jazz saxophonists and vaudeville stars. In 1928, Marcel Mule was in rehearsal for Edouard L’Enfant’s ballet, Évolution and he had a breakthrough. What if heContinue reading “How opera is instrumental to the “Évolution” of vibrato”

The Jazz Problem: the shifting image of the saxophone in the 1920s

A couple of years ago, I picked up an old copy of The Etude from July of 1924. The editorial in that issue promised the next issue would be dedicated to jazz. I was one month too early. Luckily, the August 1924 issue is archived online. This issue is a great resource for jazz andContinue reading “The Jazz Problem: the shifting image of the saxophone in the 1920s”

Musica Brasilis is now added to the database

Brazilian music publisher, Musica Bralisis is now listed in the database. Musica Brasilis documents the long rich history of Brazilian music beginning in the 1500s. The website includes downloadable scores, videos, and soundclips documenting over 100 years of Brazilian recorded music. Searching for operas, I was listening to choros, tangos, bossa novas, and sambas listedContinue reading “Musica Brasilis is now added to the database”

Duke Ellington’s lost opera, Queenie Pie is now in the database

In the 1930s, Duke Ellington started working on an opera about Madame C.J. Walker, the first African American woman millionaire. These sketches became the basis for the opera, Queenie Pie. Queenie, one of New York’s finest beauticians, is challenged by a rival, Cafe O’Lay a lighter skinned Creole. Cafe O’Lay sells skin-whitening concoctions to residentsContinue reading “Duke Ellington’s lost opera, Queenie Pie is now in the database”