Friday, March 21, 2014

March 24: World Tuberculosis Day

Luigi Boccherini
March 24, 2014 is World Tuberculosis Day, Tuberculosis is not the scourge it used to be, but it is still a worldwide health threat.  According to the United States' Center for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 10,000 cases of TB were diagnosed in 2012 in the United States, 100 of them in Indiana.

Tuberculosis has cut short the lives of many creative people, and profoundly influenced others. You may not even realize it when you read biographies because the word "consumption" is often used. Left untreated it kills up to half of its victims, but in the Twentieth Century treatment became more reliable and available.

These are some musicians who contracted TB:

    Frédéric Chopin
  • Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805),  Cellist and composer.
  • Frédéric Chopin (1810–1849),  Pianist and composer.
  • Charlie Christian (1916-1942), jazz guitarist. 
  • Johann Gottleib Goldberg (1727-1756), of "Goldberg" variations fame.
  • Yusuf Islam (a.k.a. Cat Stevens, b. 1948), singer-songwriter.  His bout with TB in 1969 was a pivotal experience in his life
  • Tom Jones (1940- ), pop singer.  He had TB as a child and spent two years recovering, listening to music.
  • Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
  • Vasily Kalinnikov (1866-1901), Russian symphony composer
  • Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710–1736), opera composer. He finished his Stabat Mater composition just two days before his death.
  • Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933), country singer.  His best known song is "TB Blues."
  • Johann Schein (1586-1630), German composer
  • Ringo Starr  (1940 - ), contracted tuberculosis at age eleven and spent two years in a santitorium, where he learned to play drums as a form of therapy.
  • Ringo Starr
    1940 -
  • Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), modernist composer.  He survived his TB but his wife and one daughter did not.
  • Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826), opera and symphonic composer

For more information about tuberculosis, check CardCat for books and government publications, and Medline for scholarly articles in English (log-in required from off-campus).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Women in Music: Composers of Classical Music

For centuries, the music profession was almost entirely a man's world. Women could perform or compose as amateurs (or as nuns!) but it was unseemly for a woman to work for a living in any profession, including music. For most of history only a few women left behind scores that show how a woman could equal a man in talent, and with equal opportunity thrive in music.

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) was given to a convent as a child by her family, became a nun, and eventually became the leader of a convent. She was known in her time as a healer, artist, theologian and musician. Due possibly to migraines, she had visions that led to insights and artwork. Her works are all in Latin, with theological themes, and sometimes also liturgical purposes (i.e., meant for performance during worship) because her entire life was spent within the confines of convent life. Her most famous work, Ordo Virtutum, is one of the first known plays with music. She was canonized after her death, and her feast day is September 17.

For more about Hildegard, check out these from Bracken Library

Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen DVD Video 11071, Educational Resources

Ordo Virtutum DVD Video 7667, Educational Resources

Hildegard von Bingen: The Woman of her Age BX 4700 .H5 M33 2001 2nd Floor, Bracken Library

Compact Discs:
A Feather on the Breath of God
Compact Disc 5711, Music Collection

The Origin of Fire: Music and Visions
Compact Disc 15515,  Music Collection