Saturday, September 30, 2017

September 30, 1791: Mozart's The Magic Flute premiered

Last updated August 27, 2018.

Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), opera, K. 620

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (composer)

Composed: 1791

First Performed: September 30, 1791

Sales: --

Peak: --

Quotable: “Among the greatest human documents” and “one of the greatest operas of the entire repertoire” – All Music Guide

Genre: classical > opera


  1. Overture. Adagio - Allegro
  2. Zu Hilfe! zu Hilfe! sonst bin ich verloren! (Introduction)
  3. Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja
  4. Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön
  5. O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn... Zum Leiden bin ich auserkoren
  6. Hm! hm! hm! hm! hm! hm! hm! hm! hm! hm! hm! hm! hm!
  7. Du feines Täubchen, nur herein!
  8. Bei Mannern, welche Liebe fühlen
  9. Zum Ziele führt dich diese Bahm (Finale)
  10. March. Adagio
  11. O Isis und Osiris
  12. Bewahret euch vor Weibertücke: dies ist des Bundes erste Pflicht
  13. Wie? wie? wie? Ihr an diesem Schrekkenort?
  14. Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden
  15. Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen
  16. In diesen heil'gen Hallen
  17. Seid uns zum zweiten Mal willkommen
  18. Ach, ich fühl's, es ist verschwunden, ewig hin der Liebe Glück
  19. O Isis und Osiris, welche Wonne!
  20. Soll ich dich, Teurer, nicht mehr sehn? Ihr werdet froh euch wiedersehn!
  21. Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen wünscht Papageno sich
  22. Bald prangt, den Morgen zu verkünden (Finale)

Average Duration: 2:09:23


The Magic Flute is a two-act opera with both singing and spoken dialogue, or libretto, by Emanuel Schikaneder. Jakob August Libeskind’s story “Lulu or the Magic Flute” is considered a possible source for Schikaneder’s libretto. RS “Although overwhelmed by many adversities, Mozart found great joy in working” RS on the opera. It premiered at Schikaneder’s Theater auf der Wieden in the suburbs of Vienna on September 30, 1791. WK

The “story about good and evil” RS tells about a high priest named Sarastro who abducts Pamina, the daughter of the evil Queen of the Night. The queen sends Prince Tamino to rescue Pamina. Tamino not only falls in love with Pamina, but decides to join Sarastro, who he accepts “as the incarnation of truth and goodness.” RS “Tamino and Pamina undergo severe trials of initiation, which end in triumph, with the Queen and her cohorts vanquished.” WK “Tamino's counterpart is Papageno…whose earthiness counterbalances Tamino's idealism,” RS “fails the trials completely but is rewarded anyway with the hand of…Papagena,” WK “a female version of himself.” RS

has been called a Masonic opera: both librettist and composer were Masons, and the opera abounds with Masonic symbolism, culminating in the triumph over light over darkness. Although the Masonic flavor of The Magic Flute is undeniable, what makes it a great work of art is Mozart's unique ability to translate his humanistic ideals into music of extraordinary beauty and evocativeness. The fundamental theme of this opera is love, a theme to which Mozart fully dedicates his entire genius. To the listener, Mozart's ode to love brings eighteenth century opera in its full splendor. Not only is the music…enchanting and invigorating, but it also effectively coalesces with the story to create a powerful, convincing work of art.” RS

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Related DMDB Link(s):

September 1826: Beethoven completes his string quartets, his final work

Last updated 11/20/2020.

String Quartets (16)

Ludwig van Beethoven (composer)

Composed: 1798-1826

Completed: September 1826

Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classical > chamber

String Quartets:

      Opus 18: (1801)

    1. String Quartet No. 1 in F major
    2. String Quartet No. 2 in G major
    3. String Quartet No. 3 in D major
    4. String Quartet No. 4 in C minor
    5. String Quartet No. 5 in A major
    6. String Quartet No. 6 in B♭ major

      Opus 59: Rasumovsky: (1808)

    7. String Quartet No. 7 in F major, Op. 59, No. 1
    8. String Quartet No. 8 in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2
    9. String Quartet No. 9 in C major, Op. 59, No. 3

      The Late String Quartets: (1825-26)

    10. String Quartet No. 12 in E♭ major
    11. String Quartet No. 13 in B♭ major
    12. String Quartet No. 14 in C♯ minor
    13. String Quartet No. 15 in A minor
    14. String Quartet No. 16 in F major

    Average Duration: about 9 hours


4.625 out of 5.00 (average of 6 ratings)


About the Album:

Beethoven’s first six string quartets, known as Opus 18, were composed between 1798 and 1800 and published in 1801. They fulfilled “a commission for Prince Joseph Franz Maximilian Lobkowitz, who was the employer of Beethoven's friend, the violinist Karl Amenda. They are thought to demonstrate his total mastery of the classical string quartet as developed by Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.” WK1

The seventh through ninth quartets, written in 1806, were commissioned by Count Andreas Razumovsky, the Russian ambassador in Vienna. They are referred to as the “Middle Period,” “Middle Quartets,” or “Opus 59: Razumovsky.” They were published in 1808 in Vienna. WK2

The final six quartets, or the Late String Quartets, were “Beethoven’s last major completed compositions. Although dismissed by musicians and audiences of Beethoven’s day, they are now widely considered to be among the greatest musical compositions of all time…and they have inspired many later composers.” WK3

Quartets 12-15 were commissioned by Prince Nikolai Galitzine. He was in failing health while writing them, being bedridden in April 1825 for about a month. His recovery is credited with the “deeply felt slow movement of the Fifteenth Quartet, which Beethoven called ‘Holy song of thanks (‘Heiliger Dankgesang’) to the divinity, from one made well.’” WK3

The Budapest String Quartet recordings from 1940 to 1952 of the complete cycle have “acquired legendary status” AZ having been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry in 2003. The New York Times wrote that they set “the modern standard of performance in the Beethoven quartets.” AZ

Resources and Related Links:

Friday, September 29, 2017

Today in Music (1967): Aretha Franklin “Natural Woman” charted

You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman

Aretha Franklin

Writer(s): Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Jerry Wexler (see lyrics here)

Released: September 7, 1967

First Charted: September 29, 1967

Peak: 8 BB, 12 CB, 15 GR, 9 HR, 2 RB, 79 UK, 11 CN, 36 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 46.8 video, 202.60 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Aretha Franklin was born in 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee. She got her start singing gospel at her father’s church in Detroit, Michigan. She recorded gospel music as early as the 1950s for Chess Records and then in 1960 signed to Columbia Records “where she was cutting polite jazz.” TC Jerry Wexler, an executive from Atlantic Records, had followed her career since her gospel days and signed her to Atlantic in 1966 when her contract expired at Columbia.

It became “one of the stellar partnerships in pop music” TC marrying “the sacred and the profane” TC in music that led to Aretha becoming known as “The Queen of Soul.” She landed four consecutive top-five albums in the late ‘60s that produced some of her most beloved songs, including “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You,” “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” “Respect,” “Chain of Fools,” and “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman.”

The latter was a song featuring Wexler as a co-writer with Gerry Goffin and Carole King, “the greatest husband and wife writing partnership in pop.” TC Wexler had the idea for the song’s title and pitched the idea to Goffin after bumping into him at an oyster bar in Manhattan. SS In 1971, King released her own version of the song on Tapestry, which won the Grammy for Album of the Year and sold 30 million copies worldwide.

Author and critic Dave Marsh said the song “is probably the greatest record ever made about female sexuality.” DM It uses metaphors to describe her “near-delirious experience” DM of what one has to assume is her celebration of having great orgasms because of this man in her life.

It is “risky stuff…but that’s not all that’s going on here – this music is also about as beautifula and moving as you can imagine.” DM The recording featured Wilson Pickett’s band as the backup musicians and Aretha’s sisters Carolyn and Erma on backing vocals. Aretha’s voice is “intimate, reflective, and deeply felt.” SS She “allows the song to swell and evolve and she goes with it, rising to the occasion rather than pushing the arrangement.” TC Music historian Steve Sullivan called it “one of the Queen of Soul’s finest three minutes on record.” SS


Related Links:

First posted 1/31/2024.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Concert: Wilco

image from

Venue: Midland Theater in Kansas City, MO

Opening Act: Creamer

I didn’t know a lot about Wilco, other than a handful of songs and their alt-country roots. I was surprised that the performance was much more electric and genre-bending than I expected. It definitely will get me exploring their catalog more.

Set 1:

1. Ashes of American Flags
2. If I Ever Was a Child
3. Cry All Day
4. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
5. Art of Almost
6. Pickled Ginger
7. Side with the Seeds
8. Passenger Side
9. Someone to Lose
10. Via Chicago
11. Bull Black Nova
12. Reservations
13. Impossible Germany
14. Whole Love
15. California Stars
16. Christ for President
17. Heavy Metal Drummer
18. I’m the Man Who Loves You
19. Casino Queen
20. Hummingbird


21. Random Name Generator
22. Jesus Etc.
23. Locator
24. Spiders (Kidsmoke)

Encore 2:

25. Monday
26. Outtaside (Outta Mind)

Today in Music (1967): The Box Tops hit #1 with “The Letter”

The Letter

The Box Tops

Writer(s): Wayne Carson (see lyrics here)

First Charted: August 12, 1967

Peak: 14 US, 13 CB, 14 HR, 1 CL, 5 UK, 11 CN, 4 AU (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 5.0 radio, 39.8 video, 119.57 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Alex Chilton, the lead singer of the Box Tops, was only sixteen when “The Letter” went to #1. Wayne Carson, who wrote the song, didn’t like the original recording because he didn’t think the boys’ voices sounded high enough. FB He thought Chilton sounded too “husky.” SF Indeed, Chilton sounds like a seasoned, veteran rocker, singing in “a gruff blue-eyed soul style.” WK The producer, Dan Penn, was convinced it was a hit record the way it was. Carson left the country for six weeks on a USO tour and when he returned the song was #4 on the charts. It turned out Penn’s instincts were right. FB

Carson also co-wrote “Always on My Mind,” which was a hit for Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, and the Pet Shop Boys. Carson was inspired to write “The Letter” based on the line “give me a ticket for an aeroplane,” which was suggested by his father. As Carson said, “He was a songwriter of sorts. He would come up with ideas and pass them on to me, and say, ‘If you can do anything with this, then go ahead.’” FB Carson wrote a song about “a guy who gets a letter from his former love telling him that she wants him back, and the guy wants to fly out and see her immediately.” SF

Carson gave a demo tape including the song to Chips Moman, who owned the American Sound Studio in Memphis. Moman suggested a local group (the DeVilles, later renamed the Box Tops) fronted by Chilton to studio associate Dan Penn, who wanted to produce more songs. The group came to the studio to record “The Letter” with little to no rehearsal. They mostly followed Carson’s demo with Chilton singing the vocal live. WK

Penn added the sound of an airplane taking off – an effect he got from a special effects record at the library. Carson thought Penn had lost his mind, saying the jet sound didn’t make sense. SF According to Penn, Moman had a similar feeling, saying, “That’s a pretty good little rock & roll record, but you’ve got to take that airplane off it.” Penn replied, “If the record’s going out, it’s going out with the airplane on it,” to which Moman responded, “Okay, it’s your record.” WK

Not only did the Box Tops take the song to #1, but Joe Cocker had his first top-ten hit in the U.S. with his 1970 recording of it. The Arbors had a #20 hit with the song in 1969.


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for The Box Tops
  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 230.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 3/13/2021; last updated 9/14/2023.