By Daniel Hathaway
At Noon, organist Jonathan W. Moyer (pictured) plays a free recital on both organs at the Church of the Covenant. On the menu: music by Vincent Lübeck, Petr Eben & Max Reger.
Check our Concert Listings for more details and future performances.
On September 19, 1972, French pianist Robert Casadesus died in Paris. Known especially for his interpretations of Mozart’s concertos, he recorded a number of them with George Szell and The Cleveland Orchestra (sometimes credited as “The Columbia Symphony” for contractual reasons). Listen here to nos. 21 and 24 in recordings remastered in 2018. Beginning in 1975 and for its first ten seasons, the Cleveland International Piano Competition was known as the Casadesus Competition.
On this date in 1829, German music publisher Gustav Schirmer was born in Saxony. After moving to New York, in 1866 he founded the music publishing house that bears his name. (Another Schirmer, Gustav’s nephew Ernest C., founded E.C. Schirmer Music Company in Boston in 1921).
In addition to publishing the influential journal, The Music Quarterly, G. Schirmer printed and distributed the works of such composers as Charles Tomlinson Griffes, Percy Grainger, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Morton Gould, Gian Carlo Menotti, and Virgil Thomson, and later — after acquiring other companies — Elliott Carter, Henry Cowell, Roy Harris, Charles Ives, Walter Piston, and William Schuman.
The company also provided music students and choral singers with such ubiquitous collections and editions as 24 Italian Arias and Songs of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, 371 Bach Chorales and 69 Chorale Melodies with Figured Bass (edited by Baldwin Wallace Conservatory founder Alfred Riemenschneider), and Handel’s Messiah (edited by T. Tertius Noble, who was hired away from England’s York Minster to be organist of the new St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue in New York).
And September 19 brings what would have been the 92nd birthday of pianist and composer Muhal Richard Abrams, who was born in Chicago in 1930, and died in 2017.
A Jazz Master as named by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2010, his compositions and improvisations are often classified as, well, unclassifiable. At the keyboard he was known to suddenly reference historical jazz styles, woven into his own brand of modernism. And as a composer, his ouevre reveals both his background in the blues and his interest in chamber music and orchestra. He’s also famous for helping to found the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (A.A.C.M.), and was its first president.
His discography is vast — he released an album nearly every year between 1977 and 1997. Here’s one suggestion: his final album, Made in Chicago, which you can hear on Spotify. Abrams is joined by drummer Jack DeJohnette, saxophonists Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill, and bassist Larry Gray. It was recorded live at the Chicago Jazz Festival in 2013, and marked a reunion for several A.A.C.M. colleagues.
Writing for PostGenre, critic Rob Shepherd named Made in Chicago among his ten favorite albums from the 2010s, and said that it “is already a lasting tribute to not just the AACM and its enduring legacy but the city of Chicago itself which has fostered such music.”