Bossa nova was invented and popularized in the 1950s and 1960s. It is a fusion of the samba and jazz. Composers such as Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfa invented the form and helped to popularize it.
Baden Powell de Aquino (1937-2000)
Baden Powell de Aquino was a Brazilian guitarist and composer. He was one of the most prominent an popular Brazilian guitarists of his time. Baden Powell de Aquino played a variety of different styles of music including bossa nova, samba, Brazilian jazz, Latin jazz, and popular Brazilian music.
Stephane Grappelli (1908-1997)
Stephane Grappelli was a French-Italian jazz violinist who co-founded the Quintet of the Hot Club of France with Django Reinhardt in 1934. Today he is most famous for his collaboration with Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France. Stephane recorded and performed with many well known musicians besides Django Reinhardt including Yehudi Menuhin, Stuff Smith, Jean-Luc Ponty, Andrew Llloyd Weber (cellist), Martin Taylor, Joe Pass, and Oscar Peterson.
Even though Stephane Grappelli is well known today as a jazz violinist, he was also an accomplished jazz pianist. During the years of world war 2, Grappelli and Reinhardt split up and played with different groups. During this time Grappelli played a lot of jazz piano. After world war 2 Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France got back together briefly during the late 1940s and then disbanded.
Here are two recordings of Stephane Grappelli and Baden Powell de Aquino playing a couple of bossa novas from a 1975 recording entitled la grande reunion. They are entitled Meditacao and Eu Vim Fa bahia. I hope that you enjoy this music.
F.J. Haydn (1732-1809)
Franz Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer. He worked for about thirty years for the Esterhazy family (a family of nobility). Haydn composed about 50 piano sonatas, sacred vocal music, oratorios, dramatic music, about 80 string quartets, and 104 symphonies. He is known as the father of the string quartet and the symphony. Today Haydn is known by the general public for a few of his symphonies, his two oratorios, The Creation and The Seasons, some of his piano music, and a few of his string quartets.
Malcolm Bilson (1935-)
Malcolm Bilson is an American pianist and musicologist. He specializes in 18th and 19th century music. Malcolm Bilson is a professor of music at Cornell University. He has made many recordings on fortepianos (the ancestor of the modern piano) and given insightful lectures
on the use of period instruments versus modern instruments and the importance of performance practice.
Here is Malcolm Bilson performing Haydn’s Fantasia in C at the Esterhazy castle in Fertod, Hungary on a fortepiano. This performance is from a DVD entitled “Knowing the Score.”
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Franz Schubert was an Austrian composer. He composed piano sonatas, waltzes,various other dances, symphonies, string trios, piano trios, quartets, quintets, and more than 600 German Art Songs (or lieder). Today Schubert is known for his ‘Trout’ Quintet, his chamber music, and his more than 600 songs.
In 1826 Schubert was at Mr. Kupelweiser’s wedding. He played a waltz but never wrote it down. The waltz was passed down by ear for several generations. In the 20th century Richard Strauss (a friend of a distant relative of Kupelweiser) was asked to transcribe the waltz. He wrote down the melody and harmonized it adding a few of his own harmonic touches to the music.
Here is the ‘Kupelweiser’ waltz played by a pianist from a youtube recording. I don’t know the name of the pianist who is playing the waltz.
W.A. Mozart (1756-1791)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a child prodigy and composer. He played the piano, violin, viola, and organ. He began performing and composing at a very young age.
Mozart composed works for solo piano, violin and piano, organ, piano trio, string quartet, string quintet, concertos for piano, violin, songs, and many operas, and a requiem among other works. He had a gift for writing beautiful melodies. Mozart is especially well known for the many operas that he wrote and for his requiem which was left unfinished because of his death at the age of 35.
Here are four songs performed by soprano Julianne Baird and keyboardist Colin Tilney on the fortepiano. I hope you enjoy this music.
“I’ve Found A New Baby”
I’ve Found A New Baby is a popular jazz standard. It was written by Jack Palmer and Spencer Williams. Clarence Williams and his Blue Five were the first to record the tune in 1926. Since then it has been recorded by many musicians.
Joe Venuti (1903-1978)
Joe Venuti is considered by many people to be the father of jazz violin. He is well known today for his recordings with jazz guitarist Eddie Lang. Venuti also worked with Benny Goodman, the Dorsey brothers, Paul Whiteman’s orchestra, and the Boswell Sisters and Bix Beiderbecke as well as other jazz musicians.
Eddie Lang (1902-1933)
Eddie Lang is the father of the jazz guitar. He worked primarily with violinist Joe Venuti (from 1921-1933). Eddie Lang was a member of the Paul Whiteman orchestra. He also worked with Louis Armstrong, blues guitarist Lonnie Johnson, and later in his career he was Bing Crosby’s accompanist.
Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang were a major influence on Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France.
Here is a recording of I’ve Found A New Baby by Joe Venuti (violin), Eddie Lang (guitar), Jimmy Dorsey (clarinet, baritone sax), Frank Signorelli (piano), and Joe Tarto (bass). It was recorded on November 12, 1930.
“My One and Only Love” is a popular ballad. It was written by Guy Wood and Robert Mellin. Johnny Coltrane and his quartet recorded the ballad in 1963. The musicians are Johny Coltrane (saxophone), vocalist Johnny Hartman, and pianist McCoy Tyner. There is a drummer as well but I don’t know his name.
Johnny Coltrane (1926-1967)
Johnny Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Early in his career Coltrane played in the be-bop and hard bop styles. He pioneered the use of modes in jazz and later in his career explored free jazz. Later on in his career his solos were very abstract and sometimes he seemed to try and fit in as many notes as is humanly possible at a fast tempo. Here is a recording of Johnny Coltrane and his quartet performing “My One and Only Love.” Coltrane’s solo doesn’t stray much from the melody and he isn’t trying to set any speed records. His playing has a beautiful tone. Enjoy!
Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)
Frederic Chopin was a Polish composer and piano virtuoso. Chopin wrote almost all of his compositions for solo piano. He wrote concertos for piano, etudes, preludes, nocturnes, waltzes, impromptus and mazurkas, polonaises, and much more. Most of his music is simple in texture with an accompanied melody. His music is often very expressive and full of ornamental flourishes. There is always a slight melancholic emotion in Chopin’s music.
Jorge Bolet (1914-1990)
Jorge Bolet was a Cuban pianist that was born in America. Bolet has been described by many pianists as a great pianist. It took him a long time to get recognition as a pianist. It wasn’t until a recital at Carnegie Hall in 1974 that Bolet got major recognition. Bolet is especially known for his expressive interpretations of Franz Liszt’s piano music, but he recorded music by many other composers. Here is a recording of Chopin’s Nocturne op.15, no.2 played by Jorge Bolet. The playing is very expressive and full of emotion. He gets colors out of the piano that many pianists (including great pianists) don’t always get in their interpretations (for example Vladimir Horowitz). Jorge Bolet often performed on Baldwin pianos instead of Steinways.
Scott Joplin (c.1867/68 – 1917)
Scott Joplin was a black American pianist and composer. He is known today for the many piano rags that he composed. Pianists have recorded and performed his music during his lifetime and after his death continuing to the present day. Many people know about Scott Joplin’s music because of a few of his rags that have become famous. These pieces include the Maple Leaf Rag, The Entertainer, and Easy Winners.
In 1975 violinist Itzhak Perlman and jazz pianist and conductor Andre Previn decided to record a few of the well known rags by Scott Joplin that Perlman arranged for violin and piano. Here are a couple of selections from that recording entitled “Easy Winners.”