Michel Richard Delalande and the Fanfare for trumpet and organ


Michel Richard Delalande or de Lalande (December 15, 1657 –June 18, 1726) was a French Baroque composer and organist in the service of King Louis XIV, who was one of the most important composers of grands motets and also wrote orchestral suites known as Simphonies pour les Soupers du Roy and ballets which foreshadowed the cantatas of JS Bach and the Water Music and oratorios of Handel.  Delalande was born on December 15, 1657, in Paris, France.  He was a contemporary of Jean-Baptiste Lully and François Couperin. Delalande taught music to the daughters of Louis XIV of France, and was director of the French chapel royal from 1714 until his death

Delalande was arguably the greatest composer of French grands motets, a type of sacred work that was more pleasing to Louis XIV because of its pomp and grandeur, written for soloists, choir, and comparatively large orchestra. According to tradition, Louis XIV organized a contest between composers, giving them the same sacred text and time to compose the musical setting. He alone was the judge. Delalande was one of four winners assigned to compose sacred music for each quarter of the year (the other composers being Coupillet, Collasse and Minoret). Delalande’s was the most important quarter of the year because of the Christmas holiday. Later he had full responsibility for the church music for the complete year.

Delalande left many versions of his works. His earlier versions show adherence to French Baroque style, but the later revisions incorporate more Italian melismatic lines and greater attention to polyphonic counterpoint.  Also, at least four collections of his works exist, each displaying different looks at composer’s work as viewed by the people who assembled each collection. Scholarship of Delalande’s work was for many years hindered because of inconsistencies in the spelling of his last name: de Lalande, Lalande, la Lande, de la Lande, and others. The family wrote the name as ‘Delalande.’  Delalande was an expert organist and harpsichordist, and yet has left not a single note of keyboard music.  Following his death at Versailles, France, on June 18, 1726, since he left no mass of his own, the 1656 requiem of the Dukes of Lorraine by Charles d’Helfer was sung.

My collection includes the following work by Michel Richard Delalande:

Fanfare for trumpet and organ


John Debney and “Resurrection” from Passion of Christ


John Cardon Debney (born August 18, 1956) is an American film composer and conductor, who received an Academy Award nomination for his score for Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004). and also composed the score for Cutthroat Island (1995), which has been celebrated by music critics as a notable example of swashbuckling film music. John was born on August 18, 1956, the son of Disney Studios producer Louis Debney (Zorro, The Mickey Mouse Club), and raised in Glendale, California, nearby to Disney.  He began guitar lessons at age six and played in rock bands in college. Debney earned his B.A. degree in Music Composition from the California Institute of Arts in 1979. Two weeks after graduating from CalArts, he got a job at copying department at Disney. One day, Buddy Baker saw him and had him arrange music that would later be used for different pavilions and rides at EPCOT Center (at Walt Disney World in Florida).  After three years at Disney, he freelanced for television composer Mike Post.

Debney furthered his hands-on training by working with Hanna-Barbera composer Hoyt Curtin. After this, Debney went on to score television projects as diverse as Disneyland, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, SeaQuest DSV, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, The Cape, The Lazarus Man, Piggsburg Pigs!, The Further Adventures of SuperTed, Doctor Who, Cagney and Lacey, Tiny Toon Adventures, The Young Riders, The New Yogi Bear Show, Police Academy: The Animated Series, Fame, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, Dragon’s Lair, Freshman Dorm, Pop Quiz and Dink, the Little Dinosaur, for which he won an Emmy for Best Main Title. In the early 1990s, Debney began to score indie films and Disneyland attractions. In 1991, Debney composed the music for Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris and SpectroMagic at Magic Kingdom. In 1993, he scored his first studio feature, the Disney comedy Hocus Pocus starring Bette Midler.

Debney’s first big film break came in 1997 with an offer to work on Liar Liar with director Tom Shadyac. With the success of this blockbuster comedy under his belt, Debney has since gone on to have a career composing scores for many films including I Know What You Did Last Summer, Elf, Sin City, Chicken Little, Spy Kids, The Scorpion King, The Princess Diaries, and Predators. . Debney and Shadyac continued to collaborate, going on to do Bruce Almighty in 2003 and the spinoff Evan Almighty together.  Although Debney was widely known within the industry as a versatile and talented composer, the world wouldn’t discover him until he composed the landmark score for Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004).  Shortly after the movie release, Debney premiered “The Passion of the Christ Symphony” in Rome, Italy, a highly successful performance featuring an 83-person choir and a 96-piece orchestra, plus solo musicians and guest vocalists from both the film and the classical worlds, which received a 15-minute standing ovation from the audience.

In 2005, Debney formed a successful partnership with director Robert Rodriguez, creating scores for his movies Sin City and Machete.  Debney has also composed scores for the video games Lair and The Sims Medieval. In 2010, he composed the theme music for the Nickelodeon television series Supah Ninjas.  In the tradition of classical composers, John Debney enjoys conducting his own work and has conducted some of the world’s greatest orchestras.   Debney’s most commercially successful work to date is Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau, released in 2016. Among Debney’s other most recent works are scores for Draft Day, Stoneheart Asylum and History’s Emmy-nominated Hatfields & McCoys as well as the History’s most recent mini-series Houdini, and A&E mini-series Bonnie & Clyde.  Considered one of the most prolific and successful composers in Hollywood, Debney has won 3 Emmy’s and been nominated for 7, he is also an Academy Award nominee, and the youngest recipient of ASCAP’s prestigious Henry Mancini Lifetime Achievement Award.

The following work by John Debney is contained in my collection:

Passion of Christ (2004): Resurrection.

Katherine Kennicott Davis and “The Little Drummer Boy”


Katherine Kennicott Davis (June 25, 1892 – April 20, 1980) was an American  teacher, classical music composer, pianist, and author of the famous Christmas tune “The Little Drummer Boy.”  Davis was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, on June 25, 1892, the daughter of Maxwell Gaddis and Jessie Foote (Barton) Davis.  Her father was descended from John and Mariah Jane Boylan Murphey, one of the early pioneer settlers of Morgan County, Ohio and a foreman during the construction of the National Road—also known as the Cumberland National Road, as it pushed westward from Cumberland, Maryland through Ohio and on to Vandalia, Illinois.   She composed her first piece of music, “Shadow March,” at the age of 15. She graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1910, and studied music at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. In 1914 she won the college’s Billings Prize.

After graduation Davis  continued at Wellesley as an assistant in the Music Department, teaching music theory and piano. At the same time she studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.   Davis also studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. She taught music at the Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, and at the Shady Hill School for Girls in Philadelphia.  She became a member of ASCAP in 1941.  Also, she wrote “The Little Drummer Boy” (originally titled “The Carol of the Drum”), in 1941. Many of her over 600 compositions were written for the choirs at her school. She was actively involved in The Concord Series, multiple-volume set of music and books for educational purposes. Many of the musical volumes were compiled, arranged, and edited by Davis with Archibald T. Davison, and they were published by E.C. Schirmer in Boston.

Davis’s “The Little Drummer Boy” became famous when recorded by the Harry Simeone Chorale in 1958.  The recording sailed to the top of the Billboard charts, and Simeone insisted on a writer’s royalty for his arrangement of the song. Another famous hymn by Katherine Davis is the Thanksgiving hymn “Let All Things Now Living” which uses the melody of the traditional Welsh folk song The Ash Grove.  She was granted an honorary doctorate from Stetson University, in DeLand, Florida, and continued writing music until she became ill in the winter of 1979-1980. She died on April 20, 1980, at the age of 87, in Littleton, Massachusetts, leaving all of the royalties and proceeds from her compositions, which include operas, choruses, children’s operettas, cantatas, piano and organ pieces, and songs, to Wellesley College’s Music Department. These funds are used to support musical instrument instruction.

My collection includes the following work by Katherine Kennicott Davis:

The Little Drummer Boy (1941).

Carl Czerny and his First Piano Concerto in dm


Carl Czerny (February 21, 1791 – July 15, 1857) was an Austrian composer, teacher, and pianist of Czech origin whose vast musical production amounted to over a thousand works, including his books of studies for the piano that are still widely used in piano teaching.  Czerny was born on February 21, 1791, in Vienna, Austria (Leopoldstadt), and was baptized in St. Leopold parish.  His parents were of Czech origin; his mother was Moravian. His parents spoke the Czech language with him. Czerny came from a musical family: his grandfather was a violinist at Nymburk, near Prague, and his father, Wenzel, was an oboist, organist and pianist.  When Czerny was six months old, his father took a job as a piano teacher at a Polish manor and the family moved to Poland, where they lived until the third partition of Poland prompted the family to return to Vienna in 1795.

A child prodigy, Czerny began playing piano at age three and composing at age seven. His first piano teacher was his father, who taught him mainly Bach, Haydn and Mozart. He began performing piano recitals in his parents’ home. Czerny made his first public performance in 1800 playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor.  In 1801, Wenzel Krumpholz, a Czech composer and violinist, scheduled a presentation for Czerny at the home of Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven asked Czerny to play his Pathétique Sonata and Adelaide. Beethoven was impressed with the 10-year-old and accepted him as a pupil.  Czerny remained under Beethoven’s tutelage until 1804 and sporadically thereafter. He particularly admired Beethoven’s facility at improvisation, his expertise at fingering, the rapidity of his scales and trills, and his restrained demeanor while performing.

Czerny was selected by Beethoven for the premiere of the latter’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in 1806 and, at the age of 21, in February 1812, Czerny gave the Vienna premiere of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor.”   Czerny was able to play all the Beethoven works by heart without exception and, during the years 1804–1805, he used to play these works in this manner at Prince Lichnowsky’s palace once or twice a week, with the Prince calling out only the desired opus numbers.  Czerny maintained a relationship with Beethoven throughout his life, and also gave piano lessons to Beethoven’s nephew Carl.  At the age of fifteen, Czerny began a very successful teaching career. Basing his method on the teaching of Beethoven and Muzio Clementi, Czerny taught up to twelve lessons a day in the homes of Viennese nobility.  His ‘star’ pupils included Theodor Döhler, Stephen Heller, Sigismond Thalberg, Leopoldine Blahetka and Ninette de Belleville.  In 1819, the father of Franz Liszt brought his son to Czerny, and Liszt became Czerny’s most famous pupil. He trained the child with the works of Beethoven, Clementi, Ignaz Moscheles and Johann Sebastian Bach. The Liszt family lived in the same street in Vienna as Czerny, who was so impressed by the boy that he taught him free of charge.

Liszt was later to repay this confidence by introducing the music of Czerny at many of his Paris recitals.  Shortly before Liszt’s Vienna concert of April 13, 1823 (his final concert of that season), Czerny arranged, with some difficulty the introduction of Liszt to Beethoven who increasingly disliked child prodigies. Beethoven was sufficiently impressed with the young Liszt to give him a kiss on the forehead.  Czerny left Vienna only to make trips to Italy, France (in 1837, when he was assisted by Liszt) and England. After 1840, Czerny devoted himself exclusively to composition. He wrote a large number of piano solo exercises for the development of the pianistic technique (Gradus ad Parnassum), designed to cover from the first lessons for children up to the needs of the most advanced virtuoso.  In 1842 Czerny published an autobiographical sketch, “Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben” (“Memories from My Life”).

Liszt remained close to Czerny, and in 1852 his Études d’exécution transcendente were published with a dedication to Czerny Czerny died on July 15, 1857, in Vienna at the age of 66. He never married and had no near relatives. His large fortune he willed to charities (including an institution for the deaf), his housekeeper, and the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna, after making provision for the performance of a Requiem mass in his memory.   Czerny composed a very large number of pieces (more than a thousand pieces and up to Op. 861).  Czerny’s works include not only piano music (études, nocturnes, sonatas, opera theme arrangements and variations) but also masses and choral music, symphonies, concertos, songs, string quartets and other chamber music. The better known part of Czerny’s repertoire is the large number of didactic piano pieces he wrote, such as The School of Velocity and The Art of Finger Dexterity. He was one of the first composers to use étude (“study”) for a title. Czerny’s body of works also includes arrangements of many popular opera themes.

The following works by Carl Czerny are contained in my collection:

First Piano Concerto in dm (1812).

Introduction and Rondo Brillant in Bb M, op. 233 (c. 1833).

Introduction, Variations, and Rondo on Weber’s Hunting Chorus from the Opera “Euryanthe,” op. 60  (1824).

The Myth of the “Perfect” Homeschooling Family

Here are some great advice and insight by a homeschooling mom of two grown children and a family therapist — Michelle Barone’s “The Myth of the Perfect Homeschool Family.” This is an article to keep handy for those “dark moments” when your inner critic is driving you crazy!

The Myth of the “Perfect” Homeschooling Family
By Michelle Barone, M.A. MFT

You know they are out there: Families that homeschool perfectly. The children dutifully do their schoolwork, act in plays, mentor with famous paleontologists, volunteer at homeless shelters, read books for fun and wear shoes all the time. The mom manages to get three well-balanced and delicious meals a day on the table, keep an attractively cluttered house, drives her children to all their sports, classes and part-time jobs. She looks great, and even takes cello lessons in her spare time. The dad is patient and kind, makes lots of money, but tells everyone he thinks his wife is the hardest working member of the family. They even manage to have dates and sex together.

This is the perfect family. You, on the other hand, worry about the health department finding out about your kitchen floor, your kids watch way too much television, and your nine-year-old isn’t reading yet, but he is quite good at teasing his little sister. You homeschool your children because you want the best for them, and you know sending them to school would only create more problems. You have read all there is to read about learning and homeschooling, but you still question yourself, compare yourself with that “perfect” family.

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Bruno Coulais and Les Choristes


Bruno Coulais (born January 13, 1954) is a French composer, most widely known for his music on film soundtracks, who has also been declared the Danny Elfman of France due to his scores having a chorus singing lightly.   Coulais was born in Paris, France, on January 13, 1954; his father, Farth Coulais, is from Vendée, and his mother, Bernsy Coulais, was born in Paris. Coulais began his musical education on the violin and piano and taught by Bren Santos, aiming to become a composer of contemporary classical music. However, a series of acquaintances gradually re-oriented him towards film music. Coulais met François Reichenbach, who asked him in 1977 to score his documentary México mágico.  Coulais then composed the soundtrack for Jacques Davila “qui trop embrasse” in 1986.  Until the end of the 1990s, Coulais remained low-profile, composing mainly for television. His name can often be found from TV films by Gérard Marx and Laurent Heynemann. He also composed the soundtracks for Christine Pascal’s 1992 film Le petit prince a dit, and Agnès Merlet’s Le fils du requin in 1993.

In 1994, Coulais met the television producer Josée Dayan, who asked him to write a theme for the TV series La rivière esperance, aired on the France 2 network in autumn 1995. He worked with Dayan again with other major productions such as Le Comte de Monte-Cristo, Balzac, and Les nuiteux.  Coulais’s largest turning point of his career came in 1996, when he worked with directors Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou of the documentary Microcosmos. This single film, which gave a great significance to the music in it, was a great success and made Coulais one of the most wanted composers of French film music. In 1997, he won the César award for the best musical score in a film, as well as a Victoire de la Musique. His reputation was confirmed by the soundtracks to Himalaya (1999) and Les rivières pourpres (2000), and after that Bruno Coulais’s name was to be found on most new French blockbusters, such as Belphégor and Vidocq.

After producing the soundtrack to Winged Migration in 2001, Coulais announced that he wanted to significantly reduce his contributions to film music, and instead concentrate on other projects, such as the creation of an opera for children, and collaborations with Akhenaton, Akhenaton’s group IAM and the Corsican group A Filetta, with whom he had worked since he had made the soundtrack for Jacques Weber’s film Don Juan in 1998.  In 2002 his name was found on the ending credits of the animation L’enfant qui voulait être un ours, and in 2004 on Frédéric Schoendoerffer’s Agents secrets. The same year, he wrote the soundtrack to the film Les choristes by Christophe Barratier, which subsequently became an international hit. The music for this film received as great praise as the film itself, and it won Coulais his third César award. Since then, Coulais’s collaborations in cinema seem to be limited to works by directors with whom he already shares some history, in particular Jacques Perrin, Frédéric Schoendoerffer, and James Huth.

In 2009, Coulais won the 37th Annie Awards in the “Music in a Feature Production” category for Coraline.  In 2009 he also collaborated with Irish band Kíla to produce the soundtrack for the beautifully and uniquely animated feature film, The Secret of Kells, which tells the story of a parentless boy, Brendan, and his involvement with The Book of Kells. The music is equally light and dark and the textures and sounds equally European and Irish.  In 2013, he wrote the soundtrack for “Lady Ô”, the evening show of the Futuroscope, directed by Skertzò and starring Nolwenn Leroy as the storyteller.  Coulais’s musical style may vary significantly between different projects, but there are some constant factors visible: his taste for opera and for human voice (in particular that of children), for a search for original sonority, for world music and mixing different musical cultures, and finally, a certain tendency to give preference to the ambience created by lighting rather than the film’s narration.

The following work by Bruno Coulais is contained in my collection:

Les Choristes (2004): Les Choristes (Main Theme/Title Song).