Georg Phillip Telemann and the piano teacher Carl Czerny are among the most productive composers of all time. Telemann wrote approximately 1,000 concertos while Czerny produced an equal number of piano etudes. However, this seems to be overshadowed by the output of another composer who would have been 100 years old this week (April 29). Duke Ellington, one of the heroes of the Big Band and Swing Era, brought more than 2,000 works to paper. Since many of his works were of a lighter nature, one would be inclined not to take this figure too seriously. In fact, there is a good number of songs that only last for a few minutes. On the other hand, Duke Ellington wrote works that are very complex, such as suites of several movements, remakes of classical compositions, and three Sacred Concerts he wrote towards the end of his life. In any case, experts agree that Duke Ellington defied the common separation of so-called serious and so-called entertainment music. Among those experts are two of his grand children who are artistically talented themselves. Mercedes Ellington, who is a dancer and choreographer in New York, accompanied her grandfather on some of his concert tours. Paul Ellington, who just turned 20, never met Duke, but he is now the leader of his band. Georg Hirsch talked with both of them.
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