Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ivor Novello Awards: Song Winners Ranked

Originally posted 5/31/2018.

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The 63rd Ivor Novello Awards (also known as the Ivors) were presented on May 31, 2018. As stated on their website, they “celebrate, honour and reward excellence in songwriting and composing. Created by BASCA in 1956, they are named in honour of Ivor Novello, Britain’s most successful and distinguished theatrical composer at the time, and represent the pinnacle of musical achievement and peer recognition in the music industry.”

The awards are given to performers, albums, and songs in a variety of categories. Below is a list of the top 100 songs (according to Dave’s Music Database) which have received Ivor Norvello awards from 1956 to 2018.

1. The Beatles “Hey Jude” (1968)
2. Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody” (1975)
3. Elton John “Candle in the Wind 1997 (Goodbye England’s Rose)” (1997)
4. The Beatles “Yesterday” (1965)
5. Derek & the Dominos “Layla” (1970)
6. Procol Harum “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (1967)
7. Adele “Rolling in the Deep” (2010)
8. Ed Sheeran “Shape of You” (2017)
9. The Beatles “She Loves You” (1963)
10. George Harrison “My Sweet Lord” (1970)

11. George Michael “Careless Whisper” (1984)
12. Spice Girls “Wannabe” (1996)
13. Cher “Believe” (1998)
14. Roberta Flack “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (1970)
15. Coldplay “Viva La Vida” (200v8)
16. The Beatles with Billy Preston “Get Back” (1969)
17. Kylie Minogue “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” (2001)
18. David Bowie “Space Oddity” (1969)
19. Harry Nisson “Without You” (1971)
20. The Beatles “Something” (1969)

21. The Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1964)
22. James Blunt “You’re Beautiful” (2004)
23. Franz Ferdinand “Take Me Out” (2004)
24. Eric Clapton “Tears in Heaven” (1992)
25. Amy Winehouse “Rehab” (2006)
26. George Michael “Faith” (1987)
27. Rick Astley “Never Gonna Give You Up” (1987)
28. Passenger “Let Her Go” (2012)
29. Britney Spears “Toxic” (2003)
30. Pet Shop Boys “West End Girls” (1985)

31. Avril Lavigne “Complicated” (2002)
32. David Bowie “Let’s Dance” (1983)
33. Robbie Williams “Angels” (1997)
34. Hozier “Take Me to Church” (2013)
35. Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight” (1981)
36. The Beatles “We Can Work It Out” (1965)
37. Phil Collins “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” (1984)
38. The Tornadoes “Telstar” (1962)
39. Radiohead “Paranoid Android” (1997)
40. U2 “Vertigo” (2004)

41. Bryan Adams “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” (1995)
42. Clean Bandit with Jess Glynne “Rather Be” (2014)
43. Brotherhood of Man “Save Your Kisses for Me” (1976)
44. Take That “Back for Good” (1995)
45. Supertramp “The Logical Song” (1979)
46. Dido “White Flag” (2003)
47. Right Said Fred “I’m Too Sexy” (1991)
48. The Beatles “Michelle” (1965)
49. The Beatles “Yellow Submarine” (1966)
50. Ed Sheeran “The A Team” (2001)

51. Duran Duran “The Reflex” (1983)
52. Duffy “Mercy” (2008)
53. Duran Duran “Ordinary World” (1992)
54. Phil Collins “Two Heart” (1988)
55. Philip Bailey with Phil Collins “Easy Lover” (1984)
56. Kylie Minogue “I Should Be So Lucky” (1988)
57. Radiohead “Karma Police” (1997)
58. Olivia Newton-John with Electric Light Orchestra “Xanadu” (1980)
59. Madonna “Who’s That Girl?” (1987)
60. Madonna “Beautiful Stranger” (1999)

61. U2 “Walk On” (2000)
62. Celine Dion “Think Twice” (1993)
63. Emeli Sandé “Next to Me” (2012)
64. Engelbert Humperdinck “The Last Waltz” (1967)
65. Edison Lighthouse “Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes” (1970)
66. George Michael “Fastlove” (1996)
67. Tom Jones “Delilah” (1968)
68. Lana Del Rey “Video Games’ (2011)
69. Beyoncé with Shakira “Beautiful Liar” (2007)
70. KT Tunstall “Suddenly I See” (2004)

71. The Beatles “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da” (1968)
72. Adam & the Ants “Stand and Deliver” (1981)
73. Scissor Sisters “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’” (2006)
74. Annie Lennox “Why” (1992)
75. All Saints “Pure Shores” (2000)
76. Lily Allen “The Fear” (2009)
77. Madonna “Sorry” (2005)
78. Craig David “7 Days” (2000)
79. Tinie Tempah “Pass Out” (2009)
80. Michael Andrews with Gary Jules “Mad World” (2002)

81. Peter Sarstedt “Where Do You Go to My Lovely?” (1969)
82. James Bay “Hold Back the River” (2014)
83. Bat for Lashes “Daniel” (2009)
84. Will Young “Anything Is Possible” (2002)
85. The Sundays “Here’s Where the Story Ends” (1990)
86. The Waterboys “The Whole of the Moon” (1985)
87. Gary Glitter “I Love You Love Me Love” (1973)
88. Ralph McTell “Streets of London” (1969)
89. The Beatles “She’s Leaving Home” (1967)
90. Travis “Why Does It Always Rain on Me?” (1999)

91. Queen “These Are the Days of Our Lives” (1991)
92. Cliff Richard “The Millennium Prayer” (1999)
93. Eurythmics “It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back)” (1985)
94. Matt Monro “My Kind of Girl” (1961)
95. Take That “Pray” (1993)
96. Sandie Shaw “Puppet on a String” (1967)
97. Shayne Ward “That’s My Goal” (2005)
98. Robbie Williams “Strong” (1998)
99. Hear’Say “Pure and Simple” (2001)
100. Olive “You’re Not Alone” (1996)


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

May 29, 1913: Stravinsky's Rite of Spring premiered

Last updated August 31, 2018.

Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring)

Igor Stravinsky (composer)

Composed: 1911-13

First Performance: May 29, 1913

Sales: --

Peak: --

Quotable: --

Genre: classical > ballet


    Part I – Adoration of the Earth

  1. No. 1a, "Introduction"
  2. No. 1b, "The Augurs of Spring" – "Dance of the Adolescents"
  3. No. 1c, "Ritual Abduction"
  4. No. 1d, "Spring Round Dances"
  5. No. 1e, "Games of the Rival Tribes"
  6. No. 1f, "Procession of the Wise Elder"
  7. No. 1g, "Adoration of the Earth" – "The Wise Elder"
  8. No. 1h, "Dance of the Earth"

    Part II – The Sacrifice

  9. No. 2a, "Introduction"
  10. No. 2b, "Mystic Circles of the Young Girls"
  11. No. 2c, "Glorification of the Chosen Victim"
  12. No. 2d, "Evocation of the Ancestors"
  13. No. 2e, "Ritual of the Ancestors"
  14. No. 2f, "Sacrificial Dance"

Average Duration: 33:50


Initially, The Rite of Spring was not well received by critics. “In understanding early reactions…, it is worth considering that while Stravinsky was at a relatively early stage in his career, a cadre of older, well-known, more traditionally aligned composers – Strauss, Saint-Saëns, Sibelius, Elgar, and yes, Rachmaninov – remained active and retained a good deal of currency with audiences. At the same time, the scenario adopted by the Rite collaborators – Stravinsky, folklorist and artist Roerich, choreographer Nijinsky, impresario Diaghilev – was far from the usual genteel, sentimental, and romantic themes that had theretofore dominated ballet. This collection of ‘Scenes from Pagan Russia’ (the work’s subtitle) concerns itself with an exploration of nature, both human and that of the earth itself, through the rituals of renewal – ultimately, human sacrifice – of an earlier, ‘primitive’ society.” MR

“The titles of the ballet’s two main sections, A Kiss of the Earth and The Exalted Sacrifice, as well as those of their internal divisions, make clear both the ritualistic, sacred, and inviolable progression of events reenacted via music and choreography, and the elements of that progression. Stravinsky skillfully sustains and continually heightens a sense of brutal inevitability over the span of the whole work while encapsulating more specific elements in individual scenes. The Introduction raises the curtain on the earth itself, the distinctive bassoon solo plaintively establishing a hushed, reverent mood. More complex colors – which Stravinsky achieves through extreme instrumental ranges (as in the above instance), special playing techniques, and endlessly changing combinations drawn from his greatly expanded orchestra – gradually emerge and expand, only to be cut off subito by a remnant of the original bassoon theme. The Augurs of Spring begins with one of the most famous chords in music history, a crunching bitonal sonority hammered relentlessly in a constant 2/4 meter metrically undermined by unpredictably shifting accents.” MR

“Comparable instances of such rhythmic and harmonic harshness abound throughout the work, these elements assuming, along with instrumental color, both individual and collective roles in a manner analogous to those of the characters. Like the musical elements Stravinsky uses in their portrayal, the girls, youths, and elders function together within the identity of their society, at the same time assuming and asserting individual roles in relation to one another. The action forges ahead in an increasingly frenzied trajectory, finding culmination – in a sort of primal equivalent of cold logic – in the charged, uncompromising sacrifical dance which ends both the ballet and the cycle of its ritual.” MR

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

May 22, 1874: Verdi's Requiem Mass performed for first time

Last updated August 30, 2018.

Requiem Mass, for soloists, chorus & orchestra (Manzoni Requiem)

Giuseppe Verdi (composer)

Composed: 1874

First Performed: May 22, 1874

Sales: --

Peak: --

Quotable: --

Genre: classical > choral


  1. Requiem
  2. Dies Irae
  3. Tuba mirum
  4. Liber scriptus
  5. Quid sum miser
  6. Rex tremendae
  7. Recordare
  8. Ingemisco
  9. Confutatis
  10. Lacrymosa
  11. Offertorio
  12. Sanctus
  13. Agnus Dei
  14. Lux aeterna
  15. Libera me

Average Duration: 83:10


“That Verdi's Messa da Requiem should be infused with the dramatic power of the his operas is no surprise. The text of the requiem is the most dramatic Verdi ever set, allowing him to explore his new ability to compose large sections of music on a ‘symphonic’ scale with powerful passages for chorus and orchestra” (Palmer).

“As much as Verdi lamented the death of Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868), he was more moved by the death of novelist Alessandro Manzoni in 1873. When Rossini died, Verdi felt that only Manzoni remained of Italy's great tradition. After Manzoni died, Verdi wrote to Contessa Maffei, ‘Now all is over! And with him ends...the greatest of our glories.’ When Verdi and Manzoni met in 1848, Verdi described the experience as one of being in the presence ‘of a saint.’ It was for Manzoni that Verdi composed his requiem.” JP

“From the very beginning, Verdi's Requiem was intended for the concert hall, not the church. This gave the composer some freedom when setting the text, although he remained much more faithful to the standard liturgy than did Berlioz in his setting. Verdi's Requiem was first performed on May 22, 1874, in Milan, on the first anniversary of Manzoni's death.” JP

“Verdi conveys the solemnity of the Requiem Mass through the opening cello line, a muted, descending phrase. The orchestra has the thematic material in the first part of the Introit, Requiem aeternam, as the chorus sings the text in snatches. To balance this, the central part of the movement, Te decet hymnus, is for unaccompanied chorus. After the return of the Requiem aeternam the Kyrie begins, introducing the soloists.” JP

“The Dies irae, opening the Sequence, is the most famous part of Verdi's Requiem. Brass and bass drum make their first appearance in this tumultuous outburst depicting the ‘day of wrath.’ Distant trumpets sound and are joined by the rest of the brass before the Tuba mirum. Quietly, the solo bass begins the Mors stupebit (Death is struck), accompanied by pizzicato basses and bass drum. After the solo mezzo-soprano delivers the ‘liber scriptus proferetur,’ the chorus bursts in with a reprise of the ‘Dies irae,’ an event dictated by musical considerations that has nothing to do with the requiem mass text. For the Lacrimosa, Verdi extended and rewrote a duet for Don Carlos and King Philip he had cut from Don Carlos before its premiere. Like Cherubini, Verdi unites the Sanctus and Benedictus.” JP

“Verdi composed the concluding Libera me, for soprano, chorus, and orchestra in 1868-1869 as his part of a collaborative requiem for Rossini, the remaining sections of which were to be set by other Italian composers. The project came to nothing, but Verdi kept his ‘Libera me’ and eagerly seized the opportunity to use it as part of a complete requiem. After the solo soprano begins the movement, the chorus again intercedes with the ‘Dies irae,’ which is followed by a beautiful reprise of the ‘Requiem aeternam’ and a closing, fugal setting of the ‘Libera me.’” JP

Review Source(s):


Monday, May 7, 2018

May 7, 1824: Beethoven premieried his 9th symphony

Last updated August 28, 2018.

Symphony No. 9 in D minor (“Choral”), Op. 125

Ludwig van Beethoven (composer)

Composed: 1818-1824

First Performed: May 7, 1824

Sales: --

Peak: --

Quotable: --

Genre: classical > symphony


  1. Allegro ma non troppo
  2. Molto vivace
  3. Adagio molto e cantabile
  4. Presto – Allegro assai
  5. Recitative – Allegro assai

Average Duration: 68:10


“On May 7, 1824, Ludwig van Beethoven experienced what must certainly have been the greatest public triumph of his career. The audience which gathered at the Hoftheater adjacent to the Vienna Kärtnertor heard not only the abridged local premiere of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis (the Kyrie, Credo, and Gloria were given) and Op. 124 Overture, but also the first performance of the composer’s ‘Choral’ Symphony. The event was a rousing success; indeed, one of the most moving accounts of Beethoven’s final years describes how the profoundly deaf composer, unable to hear the colossal response of his admirers, had to be turned around by one of the soloists so that he could see the hundreds of clapping hands!” AMG

“Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 started life as two separate works – a symphony with a choral finale, and a purely instrumental work in D minor. He labored on these sporadically for almost 10 years before finally deciding (in 1822) to combine the two ideas into one symphony, with Friedrich von Schiller’s Ode an die freude (Ode to Joy) – a text he had contemplated setting for a number of years – as the finale.” AMG

“The finished work is of visionary scope and proportions, and represents the apogee of technical difficulty in its day. There are passages, notably a horn solo in the slow movement, which would have been almost impossible to play on the transitional valveless brass instruments of Beethoven’s time. As Dennis Matthews writes: ‘As with other late-period works, there are places where the medium quivers under the weight of thought and emotion, where the deaf composer seemed to fight against, or reach beyond, instrumental and vocal limitations.’” AMG

“The Ninth also personifies the musical duality that was to become the nineteenth century – the conflict between the Classic and Romantic, the old and new. The radically different styles of Brahms and Liszt, for instance, both had their precedents in this work. On one hand, there was the search for a broader vocabulary (especially in terms of harmony and rhythm) within the eighteenth century framework; on the other, true Romanticism, embracing the imperfect, the unattainable, the personal and the extreme – qualities that violate the very nature of Classicism. When viewed individually, the first three movements still have their roots distinctly in the eighteenth century, while the fourth – rhapsodic, and imbued with poetic meaning – seems to explode from that mold, drawing the entire work into the realm of program music, a defining concept of musical Romanticism.” AMG

“Beethoven’s Ninth represents a fitting culmination to the composer’s symphonic ouvre – a body of work that is still unmatched in its scope and seminal ingenuity – and remains a pillar of the modern symphonic repertoire.” AMG

Review Source(s):


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