Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang were pioneers in violin/guitar jazz in the 1920s and 1930s. They went to school together and played violin together in an orchestra. Eddie Lang later switched from violin to guitar and Joe Venuti stayed with the violin. They teamed up and formed a duo and made their first recording together in 1926. They quickly became popular and were in great demand. They were part of various jazz ensembles including Jean Goldkette’s Orchestra, and Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra. They played with many of the major jazz musicians of their day incuding: Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, the Dorsey Brothers, and Bix Beiderbecke.
Here are two recordings featuring Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang. The First recording is a piece called “Freeze and Melt.” It is played by Ed Lang and his orchestra: Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang · Bix Beiderbecke, Red McKenzie, Frankie Trumbauer, Louis Armstrong, and Tommy Dorsey. The second recording is a piece called “Pink Elephants” and it is played by Joe Venuti and his Orchestra and features Joe VEnuti and Eddie Lang. I hope that you enjoy these tunes.
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Jean Sibelius was a Finnish composer and violinist. He is said to be the greatest Finnish composer. Sibelius is credited with helping Finland develop its own national identity. He is best known for his seven symphonies. Other well known works include: Finlandia, Valse triste, his Violin Concerto, and Swan of Tuonela.
Sibelius loved the violin but didn’t like the piano. He composed several collections of piano pieces for money. The pieces vary in quality. His piano music is beginning to get some recognition from amateur pianists as well as professional pianists.
Sibelius was known to drink excessively, eat excessively, smoke cigars, and party hard. Despite living a wild lifestyle, Sibelius lived to the ripe old age of 92.
Havard Gimse – pianist (1966 – )
Havard Gimse is a Norwegian classical pianist who has an affinity for the Scandinavian piano repertoire, in particular Norwegian music. He has performed on many of the world’s great concert stages including: Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Here are a couple of piano pieces by Sibelius played by Havard Gimse: his Romance op.24, no.9 in D Flat Major, and his Impromptu op.5, no.5 in b minor. Enjoy!
The Wanamaker Pipe Organ is located in Macy’s Department Store in Philadelphia. It is one of the largest instruments in the world with 6 manuals (keyboards) and 28,750 pipes. Here is a short video about the history of this massive instrument. Enjoy!