Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In Memory: Smith and Bartok

Today is Wednesday, 26 September 2007.

The Queen of the Blues, Bessie Smith, died on this date in 1937 in Clarksdale, Mississippi, as the result of injuries suffered in an auto accident.

For many years it was accepted that her injuries were not necessarily life-threatening, and that she died because a) the white-driven ambulance dawdled on the way to the crash scene, or b) the nearest hospital, whites only, refused her admittance, and the ambulance drove for miles to the nearest Black hospital.

(There is reason to believe this may be legend, not fact. For example, the white and Black hospitals in Clarksdale are only a mile apart.)

Herewith, "Careless Love Blues":

The great Hungarian composer Bela Bartok died in New York City of leukemia on this date in 1944. I particularly admire the six String Quartets and the Sonata (1926).

Herewith, from the Sonata:


Bessie Smith Bonus Track that I couldn't resist:


Anonymous Dorothy Gale said...

I, too, love the Bartok Sonata. One of my other favorites is the Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta. Rather eery; I often play it as background on Halloween night when the little goblins are abroad.

8:20 PM  

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