September 30 – Magic Flute

1791

Mozart‘s last opera The Magic Flute premieres in Vienna, Austria.

It sees 100 performances within a year. Today it’s the tenth most frequently performed opera in North America.

Mozart, alas, has two months to live. The Flute is the culmination of a lifetime of brilliant composing – and popularizing art music.
Overture (Levine)  Queen of the Night (Damrau)  Papageno (English) 

It was his bequest to mankind, his appeal to the ideals of humanity. His last work is not Tito or the Requiem; it is Die Zauberflote. Into the Overture, which is anything but a Singspiel overture, he compressed the struggle and victory of mankind, using the symbolic means of polyphony; struggle and triumph.
— Albert Einstein

September 29 – The Planets and Sharevari

1918

Premiere, invitation-only performance of The Planets – an orchestral suite by English composer Gustav Holst.

Holst liked to cast his friends’ horoscopes for fun. Each of the work’s seven movements, named for a planet, reflects the astrological character of that planet. Levine:Mars 

Like modern science, it doesn’t regard Pluto as a planet. (Well, ok, Pluto hadn’t been discovered yet).

The continuing popularity of the work inspires an excellent 1976 interpretation by Japanese electronic music pioneer Isao Tomita Mars  who has produced over 20 delightful albums beginning in 1974 with Snowflakes Are Dancing.  ( Website

Mars appears in an arrangement on the 1985 Emerson, Lake & Powell album, in a live version by King Crimson in 1969 , and on and on.

See also: The Planets discography, 1983 documentary

1975

WGPR channel 62 Detroit goes on the air, the first wholly African American-owned TV station in the US.

▷First techno record?▹ 1982 ‘The Scene’ video  The Scene  Sharevari 

September 28 – Day the Earth Stood Still

1951
Robert Wise‘s excellent sci-fi drama filmThe Day the Earth Stood Still starring Michael Rennie is released. Its reputation has steadily grown; Arthur C. Clarke ranked it the #7 sci-fi film ever.

Klaatu barada nichto

The filmscore was Bernard Herrmann‘s first after he moved to Hollywood. His highly regarded score for this film is instrumented very unusually(*) for the day, including electric violin, cello and bass, two theremins, test oscillators and vibraphone. Opening w/o dialogue 

He also used avant methods like tape reversal and overdubbing (pioneered in 1947 (*) by ol’ Les Paul on a cover of Richard Rodgers song Lover).

September 26 – Telharmonium, West Side Story, Pretty Woman, Abbey Road

1906


Row of tone dynamos

US lawyer by training, inventor by nature Thaddeus Cahill‘s 200-ton Telharmonium (*) electric music synthesizer begins public concerts at NYC’s Telharmonic Hall, across from the Met. (*)(*)(*)

By the winter of 1907 there are as many as four ‘recitals’ a day. There are no loudspeakers yet; the sound is transmitted through wires to telephone receivers fitted with metal horns. There are no amplifying vacuum tubes yet; the signals have to be created loud using dynamos. The 36-note-per-octave keyboard is hard to play.

Neither experimental radio transmissions by Lee de Forest nor Singing Arc lamps can save it. In the end, the machine is too big, too quirky and ahead of its time, and causes too much noise in the nascent telephone network. By 1914 it is over. There are no known remains. Short (9m) 

1957

Brilliant musical West Side Story opens on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre for 980+ performances.

The plot centers on the rivalry between two teen street gangs of ‘juvenile deliquents’, the Jets and the Sharks. A delightful score by conductor, composer Leonard Bernstein, debut lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and book by Arthur Laurents (based on Romeo and Juliet) guarantee a winner.

There are 1039 performances in London’s West End theatre. The 1961 film wins 10! Academy Awards out of 11.  ( Website A 2009 revival opens officially on March 19 at the Palace Theatre, New York.  ( Website

1964

Hard-working, long-suffering (but not blind, despite the rumors about the shades he wears everywhere) songwriter Roy Orbison finally gets a US#1 hit with Oh, Pretty Woman.

Apr. 12, 1973 in Melbourne, AU (51m)  B&W Night (64m) 
 ( Website

1969

 In the end, the love you take... 

The Beatles release the album they recorded last, Abbey Road.

A fitting windup after the ‘Get Back’ confusions, it spends 17 weeks at UK#1, 129 weeks in the Billboard 200.

2006
Accordianist, parodist Weird Al releases his 12th album Straight Outta Lynwood- the DVD includes 6 videos – and scores his first top 10.The track White & Nerdy becomes his first ever top-10 single. ▷Myspace▹

September 25 – The Moog’s first live public performance

1965


Moog prototype played at Town Hall

The first live public performance of a Moog synth takes place at NYC’s Town Hall. It’s part of a concert by Herbert Deutsch and his New York Improvisation Quartet. (*)


Bob Moog

Only the year before, engineer Bob Moog (rhymes with vogue), with the help of inventor and colleague Deutsch, puts together most features essential to modern synths.

What does Moog do that is truly new? Most of the needed knowledge about sound was around before Thaddeus Cahill created the 200-ton Telharmonium (to make commerical music) at the turn of the century. Most of the circuit principles, even the (vacuum tube and mechanical) Hammond Novachord synth had been around for decades.

Moog takes advantage of the new transistor, the work he’d done for electronic instrument inventor Raymond Scott, and his studies with Peter Mauzey. He builds and patents a genius filter (*), and great-sounding compact, modularized components – with a minimum of limiting oddities. He puts them together in an elegant, modular, frame. It is small, great-sounding, customizable, enough like an instrument, and affordable, to move out of the labs and colleges, into studios and onto stages.

It doesn’t hurt that pop music is just entering a peak of growth and experimentation.


Wendy Carlos

In 1968 musician Wendy Carlos uses a Moog to create the hit album Switched-On Bach, the first ‘classical’ album to spend weeks in the top 40. Brandenberg #6 Allegro 
Soon there’s a rush of hundreds of Moog-based albums in many genres.

 ( Scott site  ( Bob Moog site ▷Moog archives▹  ( Carlos site

See also: Electronic musical instrument, Minimoog

, customizable

September 24 – Walkers, Dazed, Pinkerton

1965

US pop group The Walker Brothers score a UK#1, US#16 with Bacharach & David tune Make It Easy on Yourself.

Six months later they ring the bell again with The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore (US#13). Tensions (‘touring in those days was very primitive’) dissolve the group in 1967.

On his own, reclusive singer, bassist Scott Walker records four UK#10 albums – becoming, as Brian Eno says, ‘a serious artist’.
Interview  Lights of Cincinnati 
Scott Walker: 30 Century Man

1993

Austin, TX indie filmmaker Richard Linklater gets into middle America deep with coming-of-age comedy Dazed and Confused.

Despite only doing $8M at the box office, its cast of future stars and period soundtrack makes it an instant classic. School’s Out 

Jodi: Hey, I got a favour to ask you guys. You know my little brother?
Benny O’Donnell: Yeah, Mitch Kramer
Jodi: Ya, Mitch Kramer. Well, take it easy on him this summer will ya?
Pink: Don’t worry sis, little brother’s safe with us.

Robert Plant wouldn’t let Linkletter use Led Zep’s version of the title song with the film. But you can. 

Eventually Entertainment Weekly ranks the film third on their list of 50 Best High School Movies. (*)

1996

US indie rockers Weezer (*) release their second studio album, the emo japanophiliac freaking masterpiece Pinkerton.

World, clue up. Buddy Holly, meet Elliott Smith. Its initial reception was mixed, often quite negative though it reached US#19. Greatly discouraging for writer Rivers Cuomo, who even panned it himself.

But in 2002, Rolling Stone readers voted it the 16th greatest album. Public’s fickle. In 2010, Weezer tours performing the whole album.

It’s reissued in Nov. 2010 debuting at #6 on the catalog albums chart and scores 100 at Metacritic.

Butterfly  Across The Sea   El Scorcho (Director’s Cut) 

September 23 – Farinas, Dusty, Fish, Chilton

1959

Brooklyn‘s Santo & Johnny, the Farina brothers, score a very rare US#1 instrumental hit (*) with their song ‘Sleep Walk’ featuring steel guitar.

1962


Hall (right)

Opening in NYC of Avery Fisher Hall.

Home of the world-class New York Philharmonic orchestra, the Hall is part of the brand-new Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Sadly, 7000 families were forced out of 17 blocks of ethnic tenements – using eminent domain – to make room for this palais des artes – and lots of limousines.

1962

The Brits first crack the US top-20 with Silver Threads and Golden Needles by … not the Beatles, not the Tornados … London’s The Springfields trio … Mary ‘Dusty‘ O’Brien, Dion ‘Tom Springfield‘ O’Brien and Tim Feild.

1967

 Summer of Love 

Electric Music for the Mind and Body, the first album by psych band Country Joe and the Fish, makes the top 40 charts.

Following their appearance at the Monterrey Pop Fest on June 17, the Vanguard recording is one of the first psychedelic albums out of San Francisco.

 ( Fish site  ( Country Joe site

1967

Sixteen-year-old lead singer Alex Chilton enjoys a US#1, UK#5 hit with The Letter.

It’s the first single released by blue-eyed soul band The Box Tops, who immediately follow up with album The Letter/Neon Rainbow. Single Cry Like A Baby climbs to US#2 in 1968.

The young band, fleeced by suits, breaks up in 1970.

Big Star:Thirteen  September Gurls