June 5, 1941-- Happy Birthday, Martha Argerich. Did you remember to send her a card, Jason?
And, it just passed this week: June 2, 1857-- Happy Birthday, Edward Elgar, (d. February 23, 1934). Although he was initially trained as a pianist, he is not known so much for keyboard works, except for some compositions for organ, as for his orchestral works. In her diary , his wife, Alice Elgar wrote, "The care of a genius is enough of a life work for any woman."
June 5, 1956-- Elvis Presley introduced "Hound Dog" on American television, causing a scandal that caused a wide crack in the wall of Fifties decorum.
June 5, 1971-- Today is also Marky Mark's birthday.
Someone wondered in a recent post if it really is helpful to know about the lives and background of musicians, and about music history. I would say, we certainly miss a lot if we don't know something about these things. Anyone can do the look-ups--- it's easy enough--- or read the books. It turns out that a lot of the biographers or conservators, of the letters and papers of the greats of music, put at least as much effort into suppressing the truth of their lives as they do to preserving it.
But, they usually can't burn it all (or shred it all), and there are some very interesting and useful things to be learned... if only that artists of our day are not the first to have to struggle for education and attention, or scrimp, or take a second job; or endure exploitation, criticism, family problems, health troubles, jealousy, or the pressures of living up to being a 'big name.' Their stories are as fresh as tomorrow.
And as far as I can tell, they usually do what they do because they can't help themselves--- it is their inborn nature. I don't know, maybe it's just me... but I find it helps to keep these things in mind. And knowing the artist and the times helps bring the music into focus for me.
So, happy birthday, Martha and Edward... and, ok, you too, Elvis and Mark.