Memphis Slim (1915-1988)
Memphis Slim was an American blues pianist, singer, and composer. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee as John Len Chatman but used Memphis Slim as his stage name.
Memphis Slim led several bands that included saxophones, a bass, drums, and a piano.
Memphis Slim made over 500 recordings. He made recordings for Bluebird, Hy-Tone, Miracle, Premium, Mercury, United, Vee-Jay, and folkways.
I picked this recording because it shows off Memphis Slim’s style of piano playing and his expressive voice. Enjoy!
Dmitry Bortniansky (1751-1825)
Dmitry Bortniansky was a Ukrainian-Russian composer. He studied music in Italy. His first operas were performed in Italy. Bortniansky worked as the Kappellmeister (Chapel master) at the court of St. Petersburg.
Bortniansky wrote operas, cantatas, instrumental works, Russian sacred music, and Russian secular music.
Here are two arias from Dmitry Bortniansky’s 3 act opera Alcide. Each aria lasts about 4 minutes. The remaining minutes on each recording are silent.
Dmitri Bortniansky (1751-1825)
Dmitri Bortniansky was a Ukrainian-Russian composer. He studied music in Italy. He worked as the Kapellmeister (Chapel master) at the court of St. Petersburg.
Bortniansky wrote operas, cantatas, instrumental music, Russian sacred music, and Russian secular music. His Russian sacred music is known for its Italian style lyricism and counterpoint.
Here is a recording of Bortniansky’s Cherubic Hymn which is often sung in the Ukrainian orthodox church. I do not know who is performing the hymn in this particular recording. It is quite a beautiful hymn. Have a listen.
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)
Soviet Russian composer, piano virtuoso, and an important figure in 20th Century music.
The Three pieces for two violins and piano, op 97 by Shostakovich come from his ‘Gadfly’ suite. This music is beautiful and light-hearted (a complete contrast to much of his music which is dark and very dissonant).
Shostakovich was known for writing some very dark dissonant music. His dark dissonant music reflects his feelings towards Joseph Stalin and the Soviet regime.
Here is a a recording of the three pieces for two violins and piano, op 97 from the ‘Gadfly’ suite by Shostakovich. It is performed by Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman (two famous Israeli-American violinists), and Samuel Sanders (an American Pianist and professor at the Juilliard School of Music in New York). Enjoy!
“Raisins and Almonds”
Raisins and Almonds is a Jewish lullaby by Abraham Goldfaden. It is well known among European Jews (Ashkenazim). Many singers and instrumentalists have recorded it.
Misha Elman (1891-1967)
A Russian Jewish violinist. He is one of the great violinists of the 20th century. Elman studied violin with the great Leopold Auer who taught many of the great violinists of the 20th century. Misha Elman’s playing was celebrated for its rich, sensuous, expressive tone.
Joseph Seiger was Misha Elman’s piano accompanist for the last 15 years of Elman’s life. He also played with other great violinists, including Henryk Szeryng and Ruggiero Ricci.