Welcome to ON THIS DAY! Each day, we'll look at a few moments from history and popular culture. We'll show you where you can rediscover classic movies and music, or read more about great moments in history. We'll point you to e-books, downloadable and streamable music and film, and e-audio; and of course, we haven't forgotten about physical books or DVDs.
|On this day in 1714, Christoph Willibald Gluck was born. Gluck was a composer, mostly of operas, who believed that opera had fallen into a rut of stock characters and unsurprising storylines. The singers, Gluck felt, had taken over to the extent where their florid ornamentation got in the way of both the story and the composer's intent. Gluck wanted to emphasize story, making the music the most important part of the production. His early productions were controversial, but he eventually had great success in Paris and Vienna. Among his finest works is Iphigénie en Tauride, which is available for streaming at Hoopla.|
|On this day in 1877, Hermann Hesse was born. Hess was a poet and novelist whose best-known novels -- Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and The Glass Bead Game -- are explorations of the search for spiritual self-awareness. Hesse was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946, but was still relatively unknown outside Germany when he died in 1962. His work became popular in the United States in the mid-1960s, when Hesse's themes of self-discovery resonated with the counterculture movement. Hesse's 1922 novel Siddhartha is the story of a young man's spiritual journey at the time of the Buddha; it's available as an e-book or e-audio at OverDrive, in print, or as an audiobook.|
|And on this day in 1923, C. M. Kornbluth was born. Kornbluth was among the finest science fiction writers of the 1940s and 1950s. He published his first story at the age of 15, and was a regular presence in the SF pulp magazines of the era, with such classic stories as "The Marching Morons," "The Little Black Bag," and "Two Dooms." Most of Kornbluth's novels were collaborative efforts, including the 1953 The Space Merchants, written with Frederik Pohl; it's a dark satire about a future America that's been taken over by corporations and advertisting agencies. The Space Merchants is available as an e-audio at OverDrive|