Sunday, May 14, 2017

Born Today May 14: Alphons Czibulka (Not So Silent Edition)


Austro-Hungarian musician, bandleader and song writer Alphons Czibulka was born on this day in Kirchdrauf/Szepeváralja, Hungary (it is now a town in the Slovak Republic).  He got started in music early in his life and actually attained fame in his part of the world by the age of 15.  He had toured the Southern Russias giving piano performances and full on concerts; his name spread quickly as a real musical talent.  Eventually he was made the musical director of French Opera in Odessa, later the same at the National Theater in Innsbruck.  He then enlisted in the military and from 1866 to 1870 he served as a military bandleader in the Austro-Hungarian infantry.  He then began to compose his own songs in the salon style.  One of his songs became one of the most popular pieces for intimate recitals in the 19th century.  This is when his name became known in the west.  1880 to 1887 again found him a military bandmaster.  By 1889, he was again a private citizen and was appointed music director of the Concert House Flora in Hamburg.  By 1891 he was once again conducting in the military; he would continue in this capacity until his death on the 27th of October in Vienna.  He is buried there in the Central Cemetery there.  As far as his songs being put into film goes, the first film to feature his song "Hearts and Flowers" came in 1928 with the short comedy The Movie Man, a sound film featuring the Vitaphone apparatus.  In all, 5 films were made in the late 1920's that featured his music; all of them featured sound of some sort.  Show People (1928) was a partial silent King Vidor film, Synthetic Sin (1929) was another partial silent directed by William Seiter.  The Hollywood Revue Of 1929 was a well known MGM extravaganza presented in full sound.  Finally, there was Fire Proof (1929) another full sound comedic short that was a vehicle for Lupino Lane.  In the 1930's, his songs became popular in to use in animated shorts, or, in other words, cartoons.  The first full length film in the 1930's to use on of his compositions was Peach-O-Reno (1931), a romantic comedy.  The first time one of his songs was used for television was in the Mister Magoo series in the early 1960's.  The most recent use of his music also came in a television series; in 2012 the ultra popular crime vehicle Boardwalk Empire used his song "Stephanie Gavotte" in the episode "Resolution".  

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