Who was he?
Camille Saint-Saens was a French composer, conductor pianist and organist from the Romantic era of Classical music. He was famous as a concert pianist and a composer as well as working as a church organist and a teacher.
Camille Saint-Saens had perfect pitch from the age of 3 which means he could tell you what note was played to him just by listening to it and could play music on the piano after hearing it.
He was playing piano concerts by the age of 10 years old
He started composing his famous piece of music -The Carnival of the Animals for his pupils when he was working as a music teacher -but didn’t finish it until 20 years after he finished teaching!
He composed Carnival of the animals as a joke and was worried that it would ruin his reputation so he only allowed one piece ‘The Swan’ to be played during performances while he was alive. The rest of the collection were only performed after Saint-Saens had died. It remains very popular still today.
The Swan was made famous in 1905 when it was choreographed for a famous ballerina Anna Pavlova. She performed it over 4000 times.
Saint-Saens loved geology, botany, butterflies and maths.
His most famous pieces of work were his Organ Symphony and The Carnival of the Animals but he also the first famous composer to write music for a film in 1908.
Saint-Saens was the earliest born pianist to make a recording of his work.
An Italian composer best known for his operas. An opera is an art form that tells a story through music and singing. He composed his music during the late Classical and early Romantic period of music.
Links to his music
La Donna Mobile from Rigoletto performed by the Three Tenors
La Traviata – Brindisi performed by Pavarotti and friends.
Grand March from Aida
Hebrew Slaves Chorus from Nabucco
Overture from Nabucco (listen for the change in dynamics)
The Best of Verdi
What is an opera?
Lang Lang is a chinese concert pianist who has performed around the world both solo and with leading orchestras. He is highly skilled and plays the piano with great expression.
• Lang Lang means ‘Brilliance of the sky’
• His father was a musician playing a traditional Chinese instrument called an erhu.
• He was inspired to learn the piano at the age 2 when he heard ‘The Cat Concerto’ on an episode of Tom and Jerry.
• Lang Lang played in his first concert at the age of 5.
• He has won many awards for his music performances.
• He has played the piano in many performances in concert halls and on television as well as recorded music albums and soundtracks. He has also played for the Queen and US Presidents.
• Lang Lang is only 39. He is married and has a 1 year old baby.
• Lang Lang has set up the Lang Lang Music Foundation in New York to help young people pursue their dream of becoming a musician.
Links to his music
Lang Lang plays the Horse Race (with traditional Chinese instruments)
Turkish March - Mozart
Lang Lang playing a musical selection with his wife Gina
Lang Lang plays ‘Fur Elise’ by Beethoven
Piano concerto no. 1 - Rachmaninoff
La Campanella – Franz Liszt
1947 – 2016
Who was he?
English singer-songwriter and actor, well known for re-inventing his musical style from punk rock and pop to industrial and jungle. He had an amazing haunting voice.
He sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time, and performed visually extravagant concerts all over the world to huge audiences.
Some links to his music
Space Oddity Official video
Sing along to SPACE ODDITY
Let’s Dance official video
Sing along to STARMAN
Life on Mars live from Glastonbury 2000
Rebel Rebel from Liveaid 1985
David Bowie and Queen – Under Pressure – live performance
The Jean Genie
The Laughing Gnome – considered Bowie’s worst song
1810 – 1849
Frederic Chopin was a pianist and composer from Poland, writing and performing music during the Romantic era.
He wrote almost entirely for solo piano.
• Chopin was born in Poland to a French father and a Polish mother who were both musicians.
• He started playing that piano at the age of 8 and after only 1 year of lessons he gave his first concert
• He composed his first pieces of music in Poland but was then forced to move to France due to unrest in his country.
• His music was influenced by polish folk music and Johann Sebastian Bach
• His music had a ‘singing’ style to it, called Cantabile with beautiful haunting melodies.
• He was known for his expressive piano playing and was often completely exhausted and bed-ridden after he gave a concert.
• Chopin liked to play the piano in the dark – he always turned all lights off to play both at home and during performances.
• He was very shy and didn’t like performing to lots of people. He only gave 30 concerts in his lifetime. Five of these were in Britain
• His most famous pieces are his collection of Nocturnes (Night music)
Links to his music:
Wonderful visual showing all the fast moving patterns of notes up and down the keyboard
Nocturne Opus 9 No. 2 – how does this piece of music make the children feel?
Lang Lang plays ‘Raindrop’ prelude – see if the children can hear the rain drops
Excerpts from 10 pieces of music by Chopin – see if you can work out what the names of pieces mean and how they relate to the music
Chopin Four Scherzi with the musical score – see if you can follow the notes (no chance!!!) and pick out some other musical notation and words during the piece. Scherzo means ‘joke’ or ‘playful’. Do you think this is an appropriate name for this style of music? Why?
The Best of Chopin -background listening
Who is she?
Evelyn Glennie is a Scottish percussionist and recording artist. Although profoundly deaf, she performs worldwide as a soloist on a wide range of percussion instruments. She teaches people how to listen to music differently.
1873 - 1943
Who was he?
A composer, conductor and pianist from the late Romantic era of music. He was born in Russia who had a ‘jaw dropping’ ability to play the piano. His music was dramatic, exciting and powerful.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
1756 - 1791
Who was he?
A prolific and influential Austrian composer during the classical period of music. An extremely talented musical virtuoso, he composed pieces for piano solos, orchestras and soloists and operas amongst other things. He is now recognised as one of the greatest classical composers of all time.
• His full name was Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart
• He had an older sister called Maria Anna, nicknamed Nannerl, who was also a musician.
• He watched his sister playing the Harpsichord and started playing little tunes at the age of 3.
• Started composing music at the age of 5. He was a child prodigy.
• From the age of 7 he travelled around Europe and performed music with his family in a number of prestigious locations.
• He wrote his first opera at 11.
• He composed more than 600 pieces of music.
• The clarinet was his favourite instrument.
• His pieces of music were catalogued in the ‘Kochel’ and numbered according to the order in which he composed them. K1 – K626 (his unfinished Requiem).
• He was able to write down a whole piece of music after hearing it once.
• The last opera that he wrote was called The Magic Flute.
• Mozart died when he was only 35 years old
• On 27th January 2006, all the church bells in Salzburg were rung simultaneously at the exact hour of his birth, in honour of Mozart's 250th birthday.
• A Mozart monument stands in Salzburg, Mozart's birthplace, which is 3m in height. It has been there for over 150 years.
1945 – 1981
Who was he?
Robert Nesta Marley was a very famous songwriter, singer and musician from Jamaica. His style of music was called Reggae and he made this type of music very popular. He performed on his own and also with a band called Bob Marley and the Wailers.
- Bob was born in Jamaica
- Bob married Rita Anderson.
- He had 11 children
- His song ‘three little birds’ was very popular. It makes people feel happy
- His daughter Cedella Marley used his song One Love to write a children’s book.
- He was a world ambassador for reggae music earning him induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994
- He sold more than 20 million records.
- Aside from music, he was a big football fan.
- Bob was awarded a very special peace medal from the United Nations in 1978 for his brave work trying to bring peace and justice for people in his homeland of Jamaica.
- Bob Marley’s music has become the symbol of peace and unity.
1843 – 1907
Norwegian composer and pianist
Fascinating facts about Grieg
- Edvard Grieg was raised in a musical family
- He wrote lots of pieces of music for piano and violin;
He also composed music for poems and a play.
- Grieg was the most famous person from Bergen, a city in Norway and
there are now are several statues, a music school and a concert hall named after him.
- There is a large crater on the planet mercury named after Grieg
1942 - 2018
Who was she?
Aretha Franklin was an American singer, songwriter and pianist. She was called ‘The Queen of Soul’. She loved singing gospel music, which is Christian spiritual music sung in a choir often without musical accompaniment but using clapping and foot stomping as rhythmic accompaniment.
You Tube clips
I say a little prayer for you
Aretha Franklin and The Blues Brothers sing ‘Think’
A little respect
Aretha Franklin singing Nessun Dorma live 1998
Son of a preacher man
Bridge over Troubled Water
Documentary about Aretha and her gospel music roots.
Aretha Franklin’s greatest hits
1868 - 1917
Who was he?
African American composer and pianist who became famous for his Ragtime music.
You tube links:
Maple Leaf Rag – piano
Guitar orchestra playing Easy Winners
The Entertainer played by piano, violin and clarinet
The Solace – theme tune from Sting
The Entertainer showing musical score and piano
Maple leaf rag with score
Maple leaf rag with light visuals notes
The Best of Scot Joplin
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
1840 - 1893
Who is he?
A Russian composer and conductor from the Romantic period of music. He wrote over 170 compositions including several well-known ballets.
Links to his music
Piano concerto no. 1
Ballet – dance of the sugar plum fairy from The Nutcracker
The Waltz of the Snowflakes – ballet
Swan lake waltz
Russian dance from Nutcracker Suite
Russian dance (with Russian dancing on stage!)
1812 overture, played by an orchestra. Go to 13.30 mins for bells and brass fanfare, 14.40 for famous ending with cannons.
1812 overture – visually represented score
Violin concerto in D major
The best of Tchaikosvsky
Who is he?
John Rutter is an English conductor, composer and arranger of choral music. He is particularly well known for his beautiful Christmas music.
Links to his work:
Shepherd’s Pipe Carol – the first piece that Rutter had published. He wrote it when he was 18. Beautiful Christmas choral piece.
For the beauty of the earth – score animation showing all the musical notes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTvAnkNijIc
Cambridge Singers singing Amazing Grace
This is the Day –composed specially for and sung at the Royal Wedding
All things Bright and Beautiful sung by a school choir, conducted by John Rutter
Lovely choral piece called ‘Look at the World’ sung by a big choir and orchestra, conducted by John Rutter
The Lord is my Shepherd – Requiem
Live recording of I wish you Christmas
Live recording of Christmas Lullaby
There are so many lovely Christmas choral pieces on John Rutter’s Christmas album – all can be found on You Tube - just search for John Rutter Christmas.
Nat King Cole
1919 – 1965
Who is he?
An American Jazz pianist and singer, recording over 100 hit songs. His style of music was Jazz, swing and blues. He also acted in films, on television and appeared in shows on Broadway.
Who is he?
An Italian Opera singer who is considered one of the finest singers of the 20th century. Singing as a tenor he made numerous recordings of complete operas and performed to packed audiences all over the world. His clear voice brought enjoyment of opera music to lots of people. Opera music is a form of theatre that is almost entirely sung.
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr
1960-1970 performing together
Who were they?
An English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. They began by playing in bars and clubs in Liverpool but found international fame with their modern musical style. They mixed skiffle, beat and rock and roll and even included elements of classical music in some of their songs. The Beatles are the best-selling band in history, with estimated sales of over 800 million records worldwide. They changed pop music forever and had a huge influence on culture in the UK and America.
There were 4 members:
John Lennon - lead singer, guitarist, songwriter.
Paul McCartney – bass guitarist and singer, songwriter.
George Harrison – lead guitarist and singer
Ringo Starr - drummer
Love me do
Twist and Shout Hey Jude
I wanna hold your hand Yellow Submarine
Octopus Garden Here comes the sun
May - JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685 – 1750)
Who was he?
Bach was a German organist, singer and composer in the Baroque period. Baroque music was the style of Western music written and played between 1600 and 1750. Bach wrote hundreds of pieces of music for harpsichords (an early piano), organ, strings (violins and cellos) orchestras and voice. His style was considered very mathematical and rhythmically precise.
April - ELLA FITZGERALD (1917 – 1996)
WHO WAS SHE?
Ella Fitzgerald was an American Jazz Singer. She was called ‘The Queen of Jazz’. Her musical career spanned over 60 years.
Jazz music originated from the African American community in the early 1900s. It combines folk music with swing rhythms and improvisation. Without Jazz we wouldn’t have Rock and Roll or Pop music.
Quotes from Ella
‘The only thing better than singing, is more singing’.
‘Don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do, where there is love and inspiration I don’t think you can go wrong’.‘It isn’t where you came from, it is where you are going that counts’.
March - JOHN WILLIAMS
BORN 1932 -
WHO WAS HE?
American composer, conductor, and pianist.
WHAT DID HE DO?
Over six decades, he has composed some of the most popular, recognizable film scores in cinematic history, including those of the Star Wars series, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones series, the first two Home Alone films, Hook, the first two Jurassic Park films, Schindler's List, and the first three Harry Potter films.
LINKS TO HIS WORK:
Live performance - Superman
Live performance – Imperial march from Star wars
Live performance with John Williams conducting – Theme to Jurassic Park
Hedwig’s theme from Harry Potter
Recording of music from E.T by John Williams
Home alone theme