Giovanni Sollima and Violoncelles, Vibrez!

Giovanni Sollima

Giovanni Sollima

Giovanni Sollima (born October 24, 1962) is an Italian composer and cellist. He was born on October 24, 1962, at Palermo, Sicily, Italy, into a family of musicians and studied cello with Giovanni Perriera and composition with his father, Eliodoro Sollima, at the Conservatorio di Palermo, where he graduated with highest honors. He later studied with Antonio Janigro and Milko Kelemen at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart and at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg.  From an early age he worked with musicians such as Claudio Abbado, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Jörg Demus, Martha Argerich, Riccardo Muti, Yuri Bashmet, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Ruggero Raimondi, Bruno Canino, DJ Scanner, Victoria Mullova, Patti Smith, Philip Glass and Yo-Yo Ma.  His first compositions date back to his teenage years in the 1970s, and his website lists solo, chamber, and orchestral works composed by the cellist beginning in the early ’90s.

Sollima is a true virtuoso of the cello, playing for him is not an end in itself, but a means of communicating with the world.  As a composer, Sollima’s influences are wide ranging, taking in jazz and rock, coveing all eras “from the Jurassic of the Cello” as he calls the baroque period to the “Metal,” as well as various ethnic traditions from the Mediterranean area, with a melodic vein typically Italian.  Sollima’s music is influenced by minimalism, building upon the foundations of Philip Glass and Steve Reich, with his compositions often featuring modal melodies and repetitive structures. Because his works are characterized by a more diverse and eclectic approach to material than the early American minimalist composers, the American critic Kyle Gann has called Sollima a postminimalist composer.  One of his first credits on record was as composer of “Violincelles, Vibrez!” (1993) for two cellos and string ensemble.

As a composer out of the ordinary, Sollima, who writes mainly for the cello and contributes significantly to the creation of new repertoire for his instrument, has collaborated with the American poet and musician Patti Smith, appearing on her records and performing with her in concert. He also collaborates with the Silk Road Project.  His audience is diverse, from classical music lovers to young “metalheads”  He works as a soloist with orchestra and various ensembles, including the Giovanni Sollima Band, which he founded in New York in 1997.  He also collaborated with other artists such as, for dance, Karole Armitage, and Carolyn Carlson, for the theater with Bob Wilson, Alessandro Baricco, and Peter Stein and cinema with Marco Tullio Giordana, Peter Greenaway, Lasse Gjertsen (DayDream, 2007), and John Turturro.

Sollima’s classical output as both composer and performer continued on the Agora label with two releases in 2000, Spasimo and Viaggio in Italia (A Journey in Italy).  The former included the 33-minute title composition, written in 1995 for solo cello and an amplified ensemble of cello, viola, violin, synthesizer, and percussion to celebrate the restoration of Palermo’s Church of Santa Maria dello Spasimo.  The latter featured the titular extended suite, composed in the year of the album’s release and performed by the cellist with the Lark Quartet and with texts by Michelangelo Buonarroti, Giordano Bruno, and Francesco Borromini. “Casanova’s Sonata,” part of the Viaggio in Italia suite and appearing on the album, was also scored by Sollima for two flutes, two oboes, bass guitar, sampler, and string orchestra and incorporated in choreographer Karole Armitage’s ballet Casanova, staged at the Athens Festival that year. The cellist also premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2000, performing Viaggio in Italia with the Lark Quartet.

In 2012 Sollima issued a recording in a more traditional classical vein, Neapolitan Cello Concertos on the Glossa label; the album featured the cellist accompanied by Naples’ I Turchini ensemble, which specializes in Neapolitan music of the 17th and 18th century, conducted by ensemble founder Antonio Florio.  Neapolitan Cello Concertos features compositions by Leonardo Leo, Nicola Fiorenza, and Giuseppe de Majo   In late 2012 the upcoming release of another Sollima CD was announced: Caravaggio, originally composed in 2003 for solo cello and live electronics, along with a new piece (“Fecit Neap. 17”) written by Sollima in a congruous style..Together with cellist and composer Enrico Melozzi he promoted the project 100 VIOLONCELLI created at the Teatro Valle Occupied in Rome.  Musicians from all age, formation, got together for 3 days and 3 nights of cello music, from baroque through rock music to contemporary music written “during the concerts.” The project was repeated in 2013 and in 2014 in Milan at the Teatro delle Arti.

In 2013 he also was the Maetro Concertatore of the project “La Notte della Taranta” a festival of traditional popular music from the Salento region of Apulia that climaxed with a big concert with an audience of more 130,000 persons.  The prestigious Chicago Symphony Orchestra commissioned a new double cello concerto for himself and Yoyo Ma, the premiere taking place at Symphony Hall in Chicago in February 2014. Sollima, teaches at the Accademy of Santa Cecilia in Rome and at the Fondazione Romanini of Brescia. He plays a cello by Francesco Ruggieri cello (1679, Cremona).

My collection includes he following work by Giovanni Sollima:

Violoncelles, Vibrez! Ballad for two cellos and strings.

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources

June, 2016, New Testament Story

June, 2016

New Testament Stories My Daddy Told Me

THE VOYAGE TO ROME (Acts 27:1-20)

By Wayne S. Walker

When it was finally time for Paul to be sent to Italy for his appeal to Caesar to be heard, he and some other prisoners were given to the charge of Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment, and put aboard a ship of Adramyttium.  Paul’s friend Aristarchus from Thessalonica in Macedonia was with him.  They sailed along the coast of Asia to Sidon where Julius permitted Paul to go ashore and see some friends.  From Sidon, they sailed between Cyprus and the mainland, off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphyllia, because the winds were contrary, and came to Myra in Lycia where they changed to an Alexandrian ship headed for Italy.

They sailed from Myra slowly for many days and arrived with great difficulty off a place called Cnidus because the wind was still not permitting them to proceed, so they sailed near the island of Crete off Salmone and came to a harbor named Fair Havens near the city of Lasea where they spent a good bit of time.  Because of the time of year, sailing was now dangerous, and Paul advised them to stay there lest there be disaster with loss of cargo, ship, and even lives.  However, the centurion was persuaded more by the helmsman and the ship’s owner than by Paul.

Because they felt that the harbor at Fair Havens was not suitable to winter in, the majority decided to sail to Phoenix, a harbor on the west side of Crete and winter there.  So when a gentle south wind arose, they thought it was safe to set out.  But not long after, a tempestuous southeast wind called Euroclydon arose and caught the ship in its broad waves.   Running near an island called Clauda or Cauda, they secured the skiff with difficulty and undergirt the ship with cables, but fearing the Syrtis Sands, they struck sail and let the ship be driven by the wind.  The following day, they lightened the ship, and the day after that threw the tackle overboard, but when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days they gave up hope of being saved.


  1. What was the name of the centurion in charge of Paul?
  2. What did the centurion permit Paul to do at Sidon?
  3. What change was made at Myra in Lycia?
  4. To what large Mediterranean island did they come?
  5. What did Paul advise them to do at Fair Havens?
  6. To whom did the centurion listen rather than Paul?
  7. Where did the majority decide to go?
  8. What kind of wind arose and led them to think that it was safe to sail?
  9. What happened shortly after they left Fair Havens?

Snake Corners Schoolhouse, New Petersburg, Ohio


Snake Corners Schoolhouse, New Petersburg, Ohio,

Near Paint Creek State Park

14265 U.S. Route 50

Bainbridge, Ohio   45612

Located amid the breathtaking scenery of the Paint Creek Valley, Paint Creek State Park features a large lake with fine fishing, boating and swimming opportunities. A modern campground and meandering trails invite outdoor enthusiasts to explore and enjoy the rolling hills and streams of this scenic area.  The Paint Creek region lies at the very edge of the Appalachian Plateau.  Construction of the dam on Paint Creek started in 1967, and the site was dedicated as a state park in 1972.  On the west side of the lake is Paint Creek Pioneer Farm. The pioneer farm includes a log house, collection of log buildings, livestock, gardens and fields that represent a typical farm of the early 1800s. Unfortunately, the place is abandoned and in a horrible state of repair.  Nearby is the very abandoned Snake Corners School, Paint Twp. District No. 7, which sits on Deer Park Road on a small hill just southeast of New Petersburg, obscured by trees and brush.


Francois Devienne and his Concerto No. 7


François Devienne (January 31, 1759–September 5, 1803) was a French composer and professor of flute at the Paris Conservatory.  Devienne was born on January 31, 1759, in Joinville (Haute-Marne), France, as the youngest of fourteen children of a saddlemaker.  His first music education came from family and locals.  He seems, at the early age of ten, to have been a member of the Regiment Royale des Cravates, a military band and therefore a usual school for brass or woodwind players at the time. After receiving his early musical training as a choirboy in his hometown, he settled in Paris in 1779 and took up his first position as last-stand bassoonist with the Opera de Paris. At the same time, he studied the flute with Félix Rault and played in various Parisian ensembles as soloist and orchestra player.

In 1780 Devienne joined the household of Cardinal de Rohan as a chamber musician and was a member of the orchestra of the Loge Olympique.. The first record of a Parisian performance of Devienne’s music is in 1780, when someone else premiered one of his bassoon concertos. In 1782 Devienne himself played one of his flute concertos when he gave the first of at least 18 solo performances through 1785 at the Concert Spirituel.   After a period with the Swiss Guard band at Versailles, in 1788 he joined the orchestra of the Theatre de Monsieur as second, later first bassoonist, a poorly paid position he would hold until 1801.  He was active in Paris as a flautist, bassoonist and composer. He wrote successful operas in the 1790s, including Les visitandines (1792) which brought him much success.

Devienne was also a member of the Military Band of the French Guard where he was given the rank of sergeant with the duty of teaching the children of his colleagues in the military band in its Free School of Music. After the Revolutionary period, when the Free School became the National Institute of Music, later chartered as the Paris Conservatory in 1795, Devienne was appointed an administrator and flute professor; among his students was François René Gebauer. He wrote Méthode de Flûte Théorique et Pratique (1793) with its extremely interesting articles on technique and style of the time, which was reprinted several times and did much to improve the level of French wind music in the late 18th century. Like many other musicians, he joined the Freemasons and Concerts de la Loge Olympique orchestra.

Devienne’s output comprises c. 300 instrumental works that are mostly written for wind instruments. There are a dozen flute concertos, eight books of sonatas for flute, 84 duets, sinfonias for woodwinds, quartets and trios for different ensembles, 12 operas, 5 bassoon concertos, 6 bassoon sonatas and 6 oboe sonatas (Opp. 70 and 71).  Devienne’s compositions for flute, revived by Jean-Pierre Rampal in the 1960s, are now better known to flautists, but still not to the public at large. As well as extensive educational work, including the Méthode, his collected work also includes eight books of sonatas for flute or bassoon, a variety of chamber music and no less than seventeen concertos. He became known in his day as the “Mozart of the Flute.”

A celebrated bassoonist and flutist in late seventeenth century France, Devienne is best  remembered now for the several concertos he wrote for his own performance.  His fortunes declined suddenly in the new century, though, and he died, probably of overwork, in Charenton-Saint-Maurice near Paris on September 5, 1803, four months after being committed to the Charenton insane asylum.

The following work by Francois Devienne is contained in my collection:

Concerto for Flute and Orchestra No. 7 in e minor (1787).

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources

June, 2016, Monthly Meditation

June, 2016

Monthly Meditation


By Wayne S. Walker

     “Praise the LORD!  Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights!” (Psalm 148:1).  Do you know what the word “hallelujah” (or its somewhat Latinized form “alleluia”) means?  According to the New King James footnote on Psalm 148:1, it means “praise the Lord” or “praise Jehovah.”  In the famous song based upon this psalm, with music by William J. Kirkpatrick, the unnamed author begins with the transliteration of the Hebrew term and then follows it immediately with the English translation: “Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah!”  The last six Psalms are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they all begin, “Praise the Lord!”

Many other hymns and gospel songs use this term or a variation of it.  Philip P. Bliss wrote, “Hallelujah! What a Savior!”  John E. Thomas wrote, “Hallelujah! We Shall Rise.”  In another hymn, “Praise the Lord, Ye Heavens Adore Him,” also based on Psalm 148, attributed to John Kempthorne, the chorus reads, “Hallelujah! Amen! Hallelujah! Amen! Amen, Amen.”  One of my favorite hymns, though not in many of our books, was written by William C. Dix and entitled, “Alleluia, Sing to Jesus.”  And then there is that ubiquitous praise song often just called “Alleluia.”

There is certainly nothing wrong with praising the Lord using the word “Hallelujah” either in song or prayer or common speech.  However, we must be very careful that we do not allow “Hallelujah” to become just another interjection of surprise.  Since “Hallelujah” literally means “praise the Lord,” is there any difference in shouting out “Hallelujah” when startled than in saying, “O my God” or “Good Lord”?  It seems to me that using “Hallelujah” as an everyday exclamation comes rather close to taking the Lord’s name in vain.  Those who truly wish to praise the Lord will want to avoid that.

Old One Room School House, Andover, CT

Old One Room School House, Andover, CT


Andover is a rural town in Tolland County, CT. The population was 3,303 at the 2010 census.  Before the 17th century, the area around Andover served as the hunting and fishing grounds of native peoples such as the Nipmuck and Pequot.  European settlement of the area began in the early 1700’s.  By 1747 there were enough homesteads in the area to support an ecclesiastical society.  The ecclesiastical society borders were the ones used 101 year later for the town.  Andover was incorporated as the 146th town in Connecticut on May 18, 1848, from Hebron and Coventry.  This chapel in Andover is half hiding behind a much larger church, and it seems that it was also a schoolhouse for a while, when it wasn’t being the library, Grange hall, or town meetinghouse.

Johann Pachelbel and the Canon in DM for strings and continuo


Johann Pachelbel (baptized September 1, 1653 – buried March 9, 1706) was a German composer, organist, and teacher who brought the south German organ tradition to its peak, composing a large body of sacred and secular music, and his contributions to the development of the chorale prelude and fugue have earned him a place among the most important composers of the middle Baroque era.  Pachelbel was born in 1653 in Nuremberg into a middle-class family, son of Johann (Hans) Pachelbel (born 1613 in Wunsiedel, Germany), a wine dealer, and his second wife Anna (Anne) Maria Mair. The exact date of Johann’s birth is unknown, but since he was baptized on September 1, he may have been born in late August.

During his early youth, Pachelbel received musical training from Heinrich Schwemmer, a musician and music teacher who later became the cantor of St. Sebaldus Church (Sebalduskirche). Some sources indicate that Pachelbel also studied with Georg Caspar Wecker, organist of the same church and an important composer of the Nuremberg school, but this is now considered unlikely. In any case, both Wecker and Schwemmer were trained by Johann Erasmus Kindermann, one of the founders of the Nuremberg musical tradition, who had been at one time a pupil of Johann Staden.  The young Pachelbel demonstrated exceptional musical and academic abilities. He received his primary education in St. Lorenz Hauptschule and the Auditorio Aegediano in Nuremberg, then on 29 June 1669 he became a student at the University of Altdorf, where he was also appointed organist of St. Lorenz church the same year.

Pachelbel did not come from a wealthy family and earned meager sums serving as organist at the Lorenzkirche. He thus could not garner enough money to keep up with the tuition costs at the university and financial difficulties forced Pachelbel to leave the university after less than a year. In order to complete his studies he became a scholarship student, in 1670, at the Gymnasium Poeticum at Regensburg. The school authorities were so impressed by Pachelbel’s academic qualifications that he was admitted above the school’s normal quota.  Pachelbel was also permitted to study music privately outside the Gymnasium. His teacher was Kaspar (Caspar) Prentz, once a student of Johann Kaspar Kerll. Since the latter was greatly influenced by Italian composers such as Giacomo Carissimi, it is likely through Prentz that Pachelbel started developing an interest in contemporary Italian music, and Catholic church music in general.

Prentz left for Eichstätt in 1672. This period of Pachelbel’s life is the least documented one, so it is unknown whether he stayed in Regensburg until 1673 or left the same year his teacher did; at any rate, by 1673 Pachelbel was living in Vienna, where he became a deputy organist at the famous Saint Stephen Cathedral (Stephansdom). At the time, Vienna was the center of the vast Habsburg empire and had much cultural importance; its tastes in music were predominantly Italian. Several renowned cosmopolitan composers worked there, many of them contributing to the exchange of musical traditions in Europe. In particular, Johann Jakob Froberger served as court organist in Vienna until 1657 and was succeeded by Alessandro Poglietti.  Georg Muffat lived in the city for some time, and, most importantly, Johann Kaspar Kerll moved to Vienna in 1673.  While there, he may have known or even taught Pachelbel, whose music shows traces of Kerll’s style. Pachelbel spent five years in Vienna, absorbing the music of Catholic composers from southern Germany and Italy. In some respects, Pachelbel is similar to Haydn, who too served as a professional musician of the Stephansdom in his youth and as such was exposed to music of the leading composers of the time.

In 1677, Pachelbel moved to Eisenach, where he found employment as court organist under Kapellmeister Daniel Eberlin (also a native of Nuremberg), in the employ of Johann Georg I, Duke of Saxe-Eisenach. He met members of the Bach family in Eisenach (which was the home city of J. S. Bach’s father, Johann Ambrosius Bach), and became a close friend of Johann Ambrosius and tutor to his children.  However, Pachelbel spent only one year in Eisenach. In 1678, Bernhard II, Duke of Saxe-Jena, Johann Georg’s brother, died and during the period of mourning court musicians were greatly curtailed. Pachelbel was left unemployed. He requested a testimonial from Eberlin, who wrote one for him, describing Pachelbel as a “perfect and rare virtuoso.”  With this document, Pachelbel left Eisenach on May 18, 1678.

In June 1678, Pachelbel was employed as organist of the Predigerkirche in Erfurt, succeeding Johann Effler (c. 1640–1711).  Effler later preceded Johann Sebastian Bach in Weimar. The Bach family was very well known in Erfurt (where virtually all organists would later be called “Bachs”), so Pachelbel’s friendship with them continued here. Pachelbel became godfather to Johann Ambrosius’ daughter, Johanna Juditha, taught Johann Christoph Bach (1671–1721), Johann Sebastian’s eldest brother, and lived in Johann Christian Bach’s (1640–1682) house.  Pachelbel remained in Erfurt for 12 years and established his reputation as one of the leading German organ composers of the time during his stay. The chorale prelude became one of his most characteristic products of the Erfurt period, since Pachelbel’s contract specifically required him to compose the preludes for church services.  His duties also included organ maintenance and, more importantly, composing a large-scale work every year to demonstrate his progress as composer and organist, as every work of that kind had to be better than the one composed the year before.

Johann Christian Bach (1640–1682), Pachelbel’s landlord in Erfurt, died in 1682. In June 1684, Pachelbel purchased the house (called Zur silbernen Tasche, now Junkersand 1) from Johann Christian’s widow.  In 1686, he was offered a position as organist of the St. Trinitatis church (Trinitatiskirche) in Sondershausen. Pachelbel initially accepted the invitation but, as a surviving autograph letter indicates, had to reject the offer after a long series of negotiations: it appears that he was required to consult with Erfurt’s elders and church authorities before considering any job offers.  It seems that the situation had been resolved quietly and without harm to Pachelbel’s reputation; he was offered a raise and stayed in the city for four more years.  Pachelbel married twice during his stay in Erfurt. Barbara Gabler, daughter of the Stadt-Major of Erfurt, became his first wife, on October 25, 1681. The marriage took place in the house of the bride’s father. Unfortunately, both Barbara and their only son died in October 1683 during a plague. Pachelbel’s first published work, a set of chorale variations called Musicalische Sterbens-Gedancken (“Musical Thoughts on Death”, Erfurt, 1683), was probably influenced by this event.

Ten months later, Pachelbel married Judith Drommer (Trummert), daughter of a coppersmith, on August 24, 1684. They had five sons and two daughters. Two of the sons, Wilhelm Hieronymus Pachelbel and Charles Theodore Pachelbel, also became organ composers; the latter moved to the American colonies in 1734. Another son, Johann Michael, became an instrument maker in Nuremberg and traveled as far as London and Jamaica. One of the daughters, Amalia Pachelbel, achieved recognition as a painter and engraver.  Although Pachelbel was an outstandingly successful organist, composer, and teacher at Erfurt, he asked permission to leave, apparently seeking a better appointment, and was formally released on August 15, 1690, bearing a testimonial praising his diligence and fidelity.

Pachelbel was employed in less than a fortnight: from September 1, 1690, he was a musician-organist in the Württemberg court at Stuttgart under the patronage of Duchess Magdalena Sibylla. That job was better, but, unfortunately, he lived there only two years before fleeing the French attacks of the War of the Grand Alliance. His next job was in Gotha as the town organist, a post he occupied for two years, starting on November 8, 1692; there he published his first, and only, liturgical music collection: Acht Chorale zum Praeambulieren in 1693 (Erster Theil etlicher Choräle).  When former pupil Johann Christoph Bach married in October 1694, the Bach family celebrated the marriage on October 23, 1694 in Ohrdruf, and invited him and other composers to provide the music; he probably attended – if so, it was the only time J.S. Bach, then nine years old, met Johann Pachelbel.

In his three years in Gotha, Pachelbel was twice offered positions, in Stuttgart and at Oxford University; he declined both. Meanwhile, in Nuremberg, when the St. Sebaldus Church organist Georg Caspar Wecker (and his possible former teacher) died on 20 April 1695, the city authorities were so anxious to appoint Pachelbel (then a famous Nuremberger) to the position that they officially invited him to assume it without holding the usual job examination or inviting applications from prominent organists from lesser churches. He accepted, was released from Gotha in 1695, and arrived in Nuremberg in summer, with the city council paying his per diem expenses.  Pachelbel lived the rest of his life in Nuremberg, during which he published his most famous vocal scores, the chamber music collection Musicalische Ergötzung, and, most importantly, the Hexachordum Apollinis (Nuremberg, 1699), a set of six keyboard arias with variations. Though most influenced by Italian and southern German composers, he knew the northern German school, because he dedicated the Hexachordum Apollinis to Dieterich Buxtehude. Also composed in the final years were Italian-influenced concertato Vespers and a set of more than ninety Magnificat fugues.

Johann Pachelbel died at the age of 52, in early March 1706, and was buried on March 9.  Mattheson cites either March 3 or March 7, 1706 as the death date.  It is unlikely that the corpse was allowed to linger unburied as long as six days. Contemporary custom was to bury the dead on the third or fourth post-mortem day; so, either March 6 or 7, 1706 is a likelier death date He is buried in the St. Rochus Cemetery.  Pachelbel’s music enjoyed enormous popularity during his lifetime; he had many pupils and his music became a model for the composers of south and central Germany.  Pachelbel was known for his works for organ, and was considered one of the great organ masters of the generation before J.S. Bach. Today, he is best known for the popular Canon in D major, for three violins and continuo, but is unfairly viewed as a one-work composer.

Other important works by Pachelbel include the Chaconne in F minor, the Toccata in E minor for organ, and the Hexachordum Apollinis.  He was an important figure from the Baroque period who is now seen as central in the development of both keyboard music and Protestant church music.   Some have summarized his primary contribution as the uniting of Catholic Gregorian chant elements with the Northern German organ style, a style that reflected the influence of the Protestant chorale. A Lutheran, he spent several years in Vienna where he was exposed to music by Frohberger and Frescobaldi, which influenced his work with the chorale-prelude. His music in this genre would in turn influence the compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach, among others. It should be noted that many of Pachelbel’s works are difficult to date, thus rendering judgments about his stylistic evolution questionable in many cases. Pachelbel was also a gifted organist and harpsichordist.

My collection includes the following works by Johann Pachelbel:

Canon in DM for strings and continuo.

Suite (Partita) No. 6 in BbM for Strings and Continuo (1691).

Suite in GM for Strings and Continuo.

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources

Robert Planquette and Les Cloches de Corneville Overture


Jean Robert Planquette (July 31, 1848–January 28, 1903) was a French composer of songs, other light music, and operettas, several of which were extraordinarily successful in Britain, including Les cloches de Corneville (1878), the length of whose initial London run broke all records for any piece of musical theatre up to that time, and Rip Van Winkle (1882), which earned international fame.  Planquette was born on July 31, 1848, in Paris, France, the son of a singer, and educated at the Paris Conservatoire. He did not finish his studies, lacking the funds to do so, and made a modest living by working as a pianist, composer, and singer at café concerts (cafés offering light music); he was a tenor. A few romances that he composed brought less fame than did his patriotic song, “Sambre et Meuse,” first sung in 1867 by Lucien Fugère, who went on to be one of the foremost French opera singers of his day. Arranged as the march Le Régiment de Sambre et Meuse (1871), ir has achieved fame in an arrangement for brass band.  It is the tune used by the Ohio State University Marching Band when performing their famed Script Ohio formation.  The original orchestral version has been recorded by the Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fiedler

In 1876, the director of the Théâtre des Folies-Dramatiques gave Planquette a commission to compose his first operetta, Les cloches de Corneville (“The Bells of Corneville”; Eng. trans., The Chimes of Normandy),  even though he had no experience writing for the stage. It opened in Paris in 1877, running for an extremely successful 480 performances, then enjoyed an astonishing London run, beginning in 1878, of a record-breaking 708 performances, and remains a staple of the light opera repertory. Planquette’s music has been praised for its pathos and romantic feeling. Le Chevalier Gaston was produced in 1879 with little success. In 1880 came Les Voltigeurs du 32ieme which had a long run in London in 1887 as The Old Guard, and La Cantiniére, which was translated into English as Nectarine, though never produced.

In 1882 Rip Van Winkle was produced in London and subsequently given in Paris as Rip, in both cases with great success. The libretto is an adaptation by H. B. Farnie of Washington Irving’s famous tale. In 1884 the phenomenon of an opera by a French composer being produced in London previously to being heard in Paris was repeated in Nell Gwynne, which was modestly successful, but failed when produced in Paris as La Princesse Colombine. It was followed by La Crémaillere (Paris, 1885), Surcouf (Paris, 1887; London, as Paul Jones, 1889), Captain Thérése (London, 1887), La Cocarde tricolore (Paris, 1892), Le Talisman (Paris, 1892), Panurge (Paris, 1895) and Mam’zelle Quat’sous (Paris, 1897).  “The Song of the Cabin Boy,” a barcarolle from Planquette’s Les cloches de Corneville was played on the violin by W.K.L. Dickson in the first experiment in history in synchronizing sound and motion pictures (1894). Planquette died in Paris on Jan. 28, 1903.

Overall, Planquette was a minor talent whose sole gift was as a melodist; the refreshing tunes of “Les Cloches” effectively mask its technical and dramatic shortcomings. His music contains a touch of pathos and romantic feeling, which, had he cultivated it, would have placed him far above his contemporaries who wrote opéra bouffe; but he had a tendency to repeat the formula on which his reputation was built. The bells on his tomb in Pere Lachaise are a reference to his biggest hit.  A street in Paris is named for him.

The following work by Robert Planquette is contained in my collection:

Les Cloches de Corneville: Overture.

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources

Gunild Keetman and Orff-Schülwerk


Gunild Keetman (June 5, 1904–December 14, 1990) was a German educator, musician, performer, and composer who was the primary originator of the approach to teaching music known as Orff Schulwerk.  Keetman was born at Elberfeld, Germany, on June 5, 1904, to parents who seriously cultivated music and made sure it was an integral part of their daughter’s life.  Her parents also expected her to get a full education, which included study at the university level. Despite the turbulent times of World War I and the unfortunate restraints placed upon women, she went to the University of Bonn in 1923. She then transferred to the University of Berlin the following year. After struggling for a few years, she finally made what would become a pivotal decision in her life: she enrolled in the Güntherschule in Munich in 1926.  Carl Orff and Dorothee Günther had opened this school in 1924 in Munich.  It was here that Keetman finally found where she belonged and what she wanted to do with her life. She became fully invested in the school and would spend the next 18 years of her life learning, and then eventually teaching at the school.

As a teacher at the Guntherschule, Keetman had primary responsibility for the instrumental work. In 1930 she took leadership of the school’s dance orchestra; her compositions and performances with the Gunther Dance Group were acclaimed in tours across Europe. By 1932 Keetman and Orff had begun their collaboration on the first of an extensive series of books summarizing the kind of music making developed at the Guntherschule, Elemental Music Practice: Pieces for Small Percussion. Keetman produced six more collections of pieces between 1932 and 1934. These were the original Orff-Schulwerk publications.   In 1936 she composed the music and directed the Guntherschule music/dance performance at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games held in Munich. She continued her work at the Guntherschule until 1944, when the German government took control of the school.

In 1945, when Keetman was 41, the Güntherschule was destroyed in an Allied air raid.  It was a result of this event, however, that Keetman turned her writing focus to a significantly younger audience.   She began a struggle for educational reform, as she took the ideas and methods of the Güntherschule and applied them to music and movement education for younger children.   Administrators were not keen on educational reform during this time, so Keetman had the idea of broadcasting her methods by the radio, and later, television. After successfully broadcasting over radio, television, and records, the approach was becoming a success.   From 1949 tp 1956 Keetman taught children at the Mozarteum Academy in Salzburg, Austria. In 1950, Keetman and Orff wrote the five Music for Children volumes, enabling the approach to reach an international audience.   It was also during this decade that Keetman turned her focus to training teachers at the Orff Schülwerk headquarters in Salzburg. She would continue to teach others to teach in this way until her death.

Keetman’s works are written for the characteristic “Orff instruments.” This includes the glockenspiel, xylophone, metallophone, recorder, and body percussion. The Music for Children volumes are designed to layer all of these instruments, one step at a time, eventually creating a polyphonic ensemble piece to be performed.   These compositions usually consist of basic beat or note patterns, allowing the children flexibility to choose pitches and compositional patterns.  Keetman strongly believe that play is essential to learning, and therefore gave students the opportunity to create anew within the wide boundary of her compositions. She also wrote works for the recorder, as this is another key instrument in the Orff-Schülwerk approach. It was one of her most beloved instruments to play personally, and she did so throughout her years at the Güntherschule. She later applied what she learned there to compose works for Orff-Schülwerk.  Examples from the radio broadcasts were notated and published in the five-volume collection (1950-54) titled Orff-Schulwerk: Musik fur Kinder (Music for Children), with additions in Paralipomena (1966).

These materials serve as models for creating improvisatory elemental music with children in the classroom.  Keetman’s work with teacher training began in 1961 at the establishment of the Orff Institute, which she co-directed until 1966 with Orff and Wilhelm Keller.  Thereafter Keetman, Orff, and others from the Institute traveled extensively – e.g., various European countries, Canada, Japan, Senegal – introducing Orff Schulwerk to potential music teachers through workshops and short courses.  From 1963 to 1975 Keetman co-directed with Orff 10 recordings of music from the Schulwerk volumes, titled Musica Poetica. From 1980 to 1986 she collaborated with Danish teacher and composer Minna Ronnefeld on eight books of musical compositions to be used by Schulwerk teachers.  Keetman died on December 14, 1990, at Breitbrunn, Germany.   Six more books from the collaboration with Ronnefeld were published posthumously.

My collection includes the following works by Gunild Keetman:

Five Kanons and Three Pieces for Flute

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources

Parental Rights

Note: This comes from 2011, but things have only gotten WORSE in public schools since then.

Whatever Schools Teach, Parents Have No Rights
by Michael Ramey
Director of Communications & Research,

Since California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 48 into law on July 14, the curriculum for California public schools must include “the role and contributions of…lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans” in California and American history. Already, those on the left are preparing to defend the law in courts, while those on the right are driving petitions to overturn the law by a ballot initiative.

Why go to all that trouble?

Because the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over California and a handful of other states, has already made clear that there can be no opt-outs of anything in the curriculum, even if parents might find it offensive or contrary to their own educational ideals for their children.

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