December 19 – Symphonium, Music Man, Clockwork Carlos


Symphonium, about 2 inches on a side

Inventor Charles Wheatstone is granted British patent # 5803 for a keyed wind instrument called a symphonium. (*)

Combining for the first time a keyboard (ivory touchpieces), metal reeds and the musician’s breathing (a sort of cross between a harmonica and concertina), it’s considered an ancestor of the melodica, which manufacturer Hohner popularized in the 1950s.


US composer Meredith Willson‘s musical The Music Man opens at Broaway’s Majestic Theatre.

It runs 1375 performances, winning the 1958 Tony Award for Best Musical. The cast album (released Jan. 20, 1958) spends 245 weeks on the Billboard charts and in 1959 wins the first Grammy Award for Best Original Cast Album. In 1998 the album wins the Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

Its song Till There Was You is the only musical number recorded by The Beatles. It’s released as a feature film on June 19, 1962; the film wins an oscar for Best adapted score.

In 1962 Willson follows up with The Unsinkable Molly Brown.


Release of Stanley Kubrick sci-fi film classic A Clockwork Orange about a ‘charismatic and psychopathic delinquent’ and ‘droog’ leader — who is ‘reformed’ — played by Malcolm McDowell.

The soundtrack consists of classical music and Moog synthesizer music composed by Walter Carlos. Carlos separately releases Walter Carlos’ Clockwork Orange, with music that Kubrick omitted – including a full-length version of Timesteps. ▷Carlos liner-notes ▹