# 33 Louis Alter, Composer / Pianist


Louis Alter was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts on June 18, 1902 at 7 o’clock in the morning. Alter played in vaudeville houses as the accompanist for headliners Irène Bordoni and Nora Bayes appearing with Bayes continuously until her death in 1928d. Since he had previously written some songs for Broadway shows, Alter concentrated on songwriting after Bayes’ death

His first hit was “Manhattan Serenade” (1929), originally an instrumental that later became the theme music of the Easy Aces radio program.

Alter is a see-saw temperament type with a Moon in Scorpio in the 5th suggesting an easy and romantic style to his compositions. His Moon is also opposite Venus suggesting that his best compositions were evocative of a time, place or even a certain person for he was a composer that always needs a muse.

download the louis alter chart.pdf

#905 Maestro Arturo Toscanini


We excerpted his bio from the times book review. Click on title to read it in its entirety.

It all began in Rio

On the night of June 30, 1886, Arturo Toscanini — recently turned 19 — arrived, barely on time, at the imperial opera house in Rio de Janeiro, was to perform “Aida.” Pandemonium. The unpopular lead conductor had resigned in a huff; the audience shouted his unpopular replacement off the podium. Toscanini, the principal cellist & assistant choral master, was thrust forward by his colleagues. 

“Everyone knew about my memory,” he would recall, “because the singers had all had lessons with me, and I had played the piano without ever looking at the music.”   For the remaining six weeks of the tour, Harvey Sachs tells us in his biography “Toscanini: Musician of Conscience,” the maestro led the orchestra in 26 performances of 12 operas, all from memory. No one offered him a raise, and it didn’t occur to him to ask for one.

Almost 68 years later, in April 1954, that he conducted his final concert, an all-Wagner program, at Carnegie Hall. He had established himself as the world’s most famous conductor — the world’s most famous musician; a “genius,” in fact, his name is alongside such names as Einstein, Picasso and, with a backward glance, Thomas Alva Edison. Back in the conservatory in Parma, his hometown, “Arturo’s fellow students teased him by calling him Gèni, the dialect word for ‘genius; ’” they were prescient.

Many Charts

Astrotheme says the time is 1 am, 21 Sagittarius, a “barn dance.” It has a stellium in the 3rd house that suggests the Maestro obsessed about what others thought. We do not recommend this one.

In the Jones 1000 name listing, Toscanini has 2 am as his birth time on March 25, 1867 in Parma, giving a Capricorn 04 Ascendant, “a party entering a large canoe”. In the chart section this becomes 2:08 for 06 Capricorn., a dark archway and ten logs at the bottom. Of the three, we think the 06 Capricorn chart is better but still not convincing.

We decided on 29 Capricorn with the keyword :Signature: a symbol of a woman reading tea leaves, representing Toscanini’s persistent desire to establish relationships with all of reality by bringing his particular genius to his music and the larger issues of life.

Grand Trine in Water using the So. Node or Asteroid Chiron, though we prefer Asteroid Fantasia**, the goddess of ethereal music. This makes him a locomotive with the Western quadrant open. Venus in the 12th in Aquarius gives him the proclivity of lots of secret love affairs; Asteroid Tantalus conjunct Venus makes sure there are always more than his lust can satisfy (the full Times book review has more on that.)

He has a preponderance of square aspects in his chart and is the example given in Essentials of Astrology by Marc Jones where he states that the “operatic and symphonic conductor Toscanini is uncompromising in his artistry and tendency to drive himself and musicians towards perfection” Jones says this s an “act-of-self” weighing his chart towards his dynamic individuality despite critics complaints and showing his “particular mark” of genius.

For Toscanini, that genius is the Mercury conjunct musical Neptune (both in the second of native gifts) square Uranus in the 5th

Musical training in Parma

Music happened to him by accident. His good-natured if rather feckless father, Claudio — whose heart lay in campaigning with Garibaldi’s army of the Risorgimento, and made a somewhat precarious living through tailoring — and his cold and distant mother, Paola, were “musical,” but nothing exceptional. It was an elementary-school teacher who spotted little Arturo’s strong response to music and advised his parents to send him to Parma’s music conservatory, where he could be a live-in student with all his expenses taken care of; they agreed if for nothing it was one less mouth to feed.

 In Milan he had worked with — and disciplined — the young Enrico Caruso and  Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin Toscanini forced audiences to accept darkened auditoriums, & instituted a bitterly opposed policy of no encores, and had the orchestra play in a pit rather than at stage level as he felt it obscured the opera.

Marriage to Carlotta

young Carlotta De Martini Toscanini

Arturo met Carlotta De Martini in 1895: he was 28 and she was 18, a pretty, vivacious girl whom he pursued with all his intensity and tenacity. They married in 1897, and he enjoyed telling people that their son Walter was born exactly nine months after the wedding: “in tempo, like a good conductor.”

Wanda Toscanini and her husband Vladimir Horowitz

Two girls and another boy would follow.  it was a successful marriage but not a happy one. Arturo and Carla would stay together until her death in 1951, both of them loyal to family but increasingly distanced from each other emotionally primarily because of incessant paramours.

Her disorderly household and general messiness maddened him   ( “For 41 years I’ve suffered from this disorder of hers!!!”), and his serial philandering wounded her and probably caused her to put up barricades (NN in Scorpio in the 7th house).

Plaudits

circa 1953: NBC Symphony conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867 – 1957) (centre), with his son Walter (left) and grandson Walfredo, as he embarks on a coast-to-coast tour. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Isaiah Berlin, historian

To Isaiah Berlin, he was “the most morally dignified and inspiring hero of our time.” His son Walter, who for many years took care of his father is quoted in the book by Sachthat although he knew his father’s personal failings intimately, the “human side” of his character was even “greater than his musicianship.” 

Enrico Caruso anticipated them all when in 1909 he said, “Experience has taught me that I don’t know if I know a role until I sing it with the Grande Omino [great little man]!” 

Caruso sings under the Maestro.

Footnotes:

  • Asteroid Fantasia is named for the 1940 musical animation Fantasia and conducted by Leopold Stokowski, who had a rivalrous relationship with Toscanini.
  • Mr Stokowski’s second wife was the heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, mother of Anderson Cooper.

the Many Charts of Toscanini follow

Crooning with Hoagy Carmichael


When we started this project, three years ago on August 29th, we began with mundane charts and the Invasion of Poland, September 1st, 1939. No one remembers when we changed over to mainly nativities, but by February 2017 we were back to the natals I had started as a solo project several years previous.

It must have been around March when Hoagy Carmichael, not part of the Jones 1000 surprisingly, was suggested but I no longer remember why. He was tough, so tough, that we finally gave up and shelved him. We decided that this musical genius could just about fit anything, & our software, Matrix’s WinStar Basic though better than anything on the web was still kludgey & imprecise and we lost hope. I think it was Hoagy that forced the upgrade to Kepler, a mixed bag to be honest and not one I am sure I would recommend, but it is far superior to WB.

Recently, a friend who reads the blog, asked “How bout Hoagy?” and I recanted our travail. He laughed, and I thought, surely by now with nearly 800 charts under our belt, we could tackle him; well that’s the hope, but rectification is a tricky thing and you never can tell.

A circus act

When Hoagy was born on November 22, 1899, in Bloomington Indiana, the the center of the nation’s population was on Henry Marr’s farm in Columbus roughly 40 miles due east. Because of its proximity, to the “center of the nation,” it was a popular tourist area, as everyone was coming from miles around to see what that the “center” looked like. Travelling acts toured came to Bloomington to entertain the masses, and one called the the Hoagland’s High Wire Act stayed at the Carmichael home for a bit — and gave the yet to be born baby his rather unique name. His middle name was far more prosaic: Howard, named for his electrician father — a new field thanks to the inventive Thomas Alva Edison.

We pegged Hoagy to being born sometime around 12 noon — the historic time for the coronation of kings, though odd set for someone born in the Heartland of America, but more apropos than anyone had then realized. His biographer, Richard Sudhalter met him on trip to Buenos Aires and was so entranced by Hoagy he wrote his biography, calling him the “most talented, inventive, sophisticated and jazz-oriented of all the great craftsmen” in the first half of the 20th century. To be honest, that’s probably an understatement as so much of he did affected so many other musicians afterwards. This illustrious time though, gives Hoagy the symbol of 23 Aquarius (HS) of “The Koran Upraised” with the keyword of “Justification.” Kent McClung in his Hyperion Symbols writes this is suggestive of someone who is accepted as a “king” based more on his nature than birth.

Hoagy’s midheaven is 09 Sagittarius or “crickets chirping in the tall grass on a sunny day” was actually performed in the Bogart-Bacall classic “To Have and Have not.” The ad blurbs joked about Bogey and Hoagy and Bacall, it was an obvious quip, and good copy.

the begin of the beguine

Like many songwriters before the 1960’s Hoagy began his songwriting career on Tin Pan Alley like Scott Joplin, Cole Porter (who and not Hoagy wrote the Begin of the Beguine but also a Hoosier), Irving Berlin & more recently Burt Bacharach, & Neil Diamond. He was the first though, to transition over as a singer of his own songs. Not to let the grass grow under his feat, Hoagy true to his Aquarius rising was the first to utilize new technologies as they came along like television, electronic microphones and sound recordings, * but there he was following his old man’s footsteps and hitching his star to the trend.

Hoagy though came to music because he was forced to withdraw from law school on January 3, 1923 , not because he did not like the law but because he could not pay the tuition. His mother had been a music teacher so he had learned to read and write music on the piano from her, and he was selling a song here and there on the Campus, so Hoagy had an inkling that this may pan out.

from Richard Sudhalter’s bio, Stardust Melody: the Life & Music of Hoagy Carmichael, OUP c. 2002

His hunch was right and he had many more hits and almost single-handedly fueled the Big Bands of the 30’s. The famous “Old Buttermilk Sky” that put the Kay Kyser band on the map, and one of the first tunes played by our trumpet impresario Bobby Guy, was written by Hoagie. Ray Charles’s famous “Georgia” was penned by Hoagie too. And of course, there was StarDust.

As his songs caught on, other Alley writers were able to successfully transition too and music,and musicals were the theme of the day. His music was so much a part of Americana that many of them are just called “Standards” — songs that every vocalist is expected to be sing for their first job when they have no music of their own — just ask that heart throb of the 30’s Frank Sinatra.

The Chart

Hoagy is a see-saw temperament type though prior to Pluto’s discovery he would be a wheelbarrow. He has an incredible stellium in the 10th house that ricochets back to the 4th because of his distrust of authority figures. The 4th house works as Hoagy’s base — sometimes song writing, other times singing and eventually turning to the ethereal media of film and television trying to take the pressure off himself and free himself of the constraints of management. His Part of Fortune at Libra 26 in Scorpio was the death of his youngest sister that put the fear of poverty into him and made him use his Muse (the Moon in Leo in the 5th) at every angle.

“Play me a Hoagy Carmichael song and I hear the banging of a screen door and the whine of an outboard motor on a lake—sounds of summer
in a small-town America that is long gone but still longed for.”

William Zinsser, author of “On Writing Well” in The American Scholar 1994

Footnotes:

  1. Tin Pan Alley took its name from a small side street in NYC at 28th Street between Fifth Avenue and Broadway in the early 20th century. It was a joke on the sound of pianos being pounded as their writers demonstrated their tunes to the musical publishers. The songwriters, all independents (they were not employed by the musical publishers by paid by royalty) created the commercial music of the day. Originally major sales were for home musicians and vaudeville, then player pianos and eventually songs for established vocalists, Broadway and bands to perform.
  2. Philadelphia’s famous Hoagie sandwich was not named for him.

The Trumpet & Bobby Guy


Bobby Guy was born in Lambertville, Hunterdon County, New Jersey on March 28, 1916 as William Robert Guy. There is not much known about him before he started playing trumpet with the the legendary Kay Kyser band in 1936 just as the metal horn shook off its military heritage and became a “modern” musical instrument (see Uranus in the 2nd house opposite Mars in the 8th) thanks to him and fellow impresario Louis Armstrong.

Modern day Lambertville from the Pennsy side.

Bobby joined the Kyser band on trumpet in the Spring of ’36. “A slightly imposing appearance betrayed a friendly personality. You could hear Bobby Guy’s laugh from across the room. He had a wonderful sense of humor.” Except for his stint in the service, Bobby stayed with the band until ’49. He freelanced after his KK band days, before joining NBC studios.

Georgia Carroll aka Mrs. Kay Kyser

  He met Rose Marie when she was performing at a New Jersey nightclub before the war where Guy was playing too. Rose Marie claimed that she three days after meeting Guy that she would marry him.

Mr. Guy is a 16 Sagittarius Rising “sea gulls watching a ship” an interesting symbol as Lambertville is on the Delaware River across from New Hope Pennsylvania, but while this works as a literal symbol for his birthplace, figuratively it suggests his gift for recognizing opportunities when they are at hand. He is a southern based bowl temperament type that is almost the inverse of his wife Rose Marie’s prism and a spinning top if we use the Part of Fortune/ Mid-heaven with the Fire Grand Trine (06 Libra — man’s goals abundantly crystallized).

The War steps in

After a hiatus to serve in World War II, he and Rose Marie married in Jersey on June 19, 1946 — the day coincidentally after Kay’s birthday. In the 50’s he got a spot for the NBC orchestra & the family moved to Van Nuys California and played under contract there until his death in 1964.

1930’s Lambertville

The Sun at the 4th house cusp is sextile Pluto at the 7th and then sextile Uranus music in the 2nd showing how much being a musician meant to him and how he latched onto the trumpet at the right time (see his ascendant for more on that). His eager Mental Chemistry would have helped there, spotting the trend perhaps in a news article or radio show and then perfecting his “sound”.

A sudden embolism

He died of a strange and sudden blood clot (Mars in the 8th conjunct the South Node in the 7th both in Leo and conjunct the dissolving effects of Neptune at 30 Cancer – a fatal degree) on May 28, 1964 a fortnight before his 18th wedding anniversary. Rose Marie never remarried and based on his Jupiter and Sun conjunct in the 4th House, we know that chances are his sudden death was hereditary and he filled up his home life with music and laughter. He left behind a daughter, Georgiana Marie also.

We leave you bits of the Big Band sound that made the 1930’s alive and happening despite the doom and gloom of the Great Depression.


From the New York Times obit on May 29 1964.

The Asteroid Lilith Discovery & Lili Boulanger


Marc Jones wrote very little on the nodes, so last month we took a turn with several other authors and highlighted their work on the nodes. Naturally, we found some better than others like Martin Schulman, Georges Muchery and Bernice Grebner, but in all honesty we did not survey Dr. Mohan Koparkar, Haydn Paul and the Hubers, so this month, June,we are going to continue our with the nodes, highlighting them.

Each month we will be discussing another popular asteroid or transneptunian planet. This month we start the parade with Asteroid Lilith which discovered on February 11, 1927 at 11 pm Parisian Time  by Benjamin Jekhowsky, himself a Russian emigre born of noble parentage, at the French Observatoire De Paris, the national astronomical observatory of France. The observatory was founded by Louis XIV at the instigation of J.-B. Colbert, and construction at the site in Paris began in 1667. It was enlarged in 1730, 1810, 1834, 1850, and 1951 and now houses the headquarters of the International Time Bureau, where the standardization of time occurs for the world’s observatories.

Gian Domenico Cassini, the Italian born French astronomer, was the first of four generations of his family to hold the post of director of the observatory. He was born  Jun 08, 1625 · Perinaldo, Kingdom of Genoa, Italy and died Sep 14, 1712 in Paris, France. The NASA Cassini space probe was named in his honour. The list of all 75,000+ asteroids with their numerical designation can be found here.

Asteroid Lilith is conjunct the Midheaven at its initial debut and is trine Saturn in Sagittarius and just barely, the Aquarian Sun. Apropos to its namesake, it almost has a second grand trine, this time in water, but is missing something in Scorpio. Searching, we found Asteroid Diana, the Virgin huntress, at 18.50 Scorpio. In Greek Myth she is Artemis, the daughter of Selene (the Moon) and Zeus (Jupiter). The Asteroid Lilith is at Leo 7, “the constellations in the sky, ” a symbol that her discovery and subsequent naming was in tune with the infinite. The ascendant at 30 Libra supports that as it is at an anaretic (critical) degree.

There are 3 Liliths used in astrology. The Asteroid Lilith which takes 4 years to orbit the Sun; Black Moon Lilith popularized by Demetra George & Dark Moon Lilith also known as the Waldemath Moon or Sepharial’s Moon. We will survey the others in succeeding months. Only the asteroid is a real astronomical body, the others are like the transneptunians, hypothetical.

According to Martha Lang Westcott, the asteroid Lilith signifies, “important decisions regarding competition and / or playing to win.”


Calling Asteroid 1181

Asteroid 1181 Lilith was named after Lili Boulanger a French classical composer not as many believe the Gnostic dark shadow of Eve, Lilith — that is Dark Moon Lilith. Lili was the first female winner of the Prix de Rome composition prize. Her older sister was the famous composition teacher Nadia Boulanger. She rose to fame quite early, when it was discovered when she was two years old, that she had perfect pitch. Her parents, both of whom were musicians, encouraged their daughter’s musical education.

Her mother was Russian Princess Raissa Myshetskaya (Mischetzky), who married her Paris Conservatoire teacher, Ernest Boulanger (1815–1900). Boulanger himself had won the Prix de Rome in 1835 and was was 77 years old when she was born. His father, Frédéric Boulanger, was a noted cellist as was her grandmother Juliette, for whom she was named (Marie Juliette Olga Boulanger). Her father, Ernest, died when she was 7; her mother succeeded her and lived until 1935. Her famous younger sister, Nadia, died in 1979 at 92.

This piece was composed the year she died in memoriam.

Alas Lili was just 24 when she died March 15, 1918 of tuberculosis but in her short life made a great impression in the music world that noted composers wrote music for her that artists still perform. For her chart we picked a morning time that is not fully rectified because of our lack of biographical data.

Lili Boulanger was a Locomotive. The empty houses are highlighted in peridot, the gemstone of her birth month August. In her chart, the yet to be discovered Lilith namesake asteroid is at 7.18 Virgo conjunct her Mercury in a fast mental chemistry position. Asteroid Siwa for sound is at 2.43 Virgo and Asteroid Pandora (unexpected surprises) is partile her Mercury as is Asteroid Photographica. That is prescient — we have lots of photographs of Mademoiselle Boulanger but no recordings.

This hypothetical birth time gives her an ascendant of 23 Virgo or SS “animal trainer” that shows her adroitness and patience in subduing her passions to perfect her craft. It is also conjunct her Saturn, highlighting in her short life the importance of her father and then grandfather.

Interestingly, like Aubrey Beardsley, also born on August 21 in London, she was devoted to things black & white (in her case the piano keys, his drawing) and both died of tuberculosis. None of the asteroids are shown, but asteroid Diana, the Roman equivalent of the Moon goddess and virgin huntress, is conjunct her Sun at 28 Leo, Asteroid Memoria, for memories and memorials, is partile her ascendant sometimes these things are just uncanny.

Country Singer, Emmylou Harris


Emmylou Harris was born on April 2 1947 in Birmingham, Alabama to a military traveling family. She has won 14 Grammys, the Polar Music Prize, and numerous other honors, including induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2018 she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ms. Harris a multi-talented singer songwriter was rectified to 23 Gemini, a Chinese laundry symbolizing her standard bearer role as a woman (Venus at the Midheaven conjunct Mercury to Mars) in very male dominated country-rock arena. Through unremitting hard labour and personal determination she has been successful in all aspects of the competitive music business while retaining her poise and romantic outlook.

Emmylou Harris rectified to 23 Gemini, a Chinese laundry

Her see-saw temperament type definitely helped her, making the change from country to rock ; singing to songwriting, performing and producing, Emmylou has the spirit that whatever in life comes her way she can make it work (Jupiter in the sixth). This is supported by her creative genius, Neptune, lying s on the fifth house cusp of creative outlets. Neptune that fanciful dreamer rules the rhythm and harmony of music because of the waves that rock the world.

Ms. Harris’s Arabian parts to both planets and TransNeptunians
Part of Genius & Conviction to Midheaven;

Emmylou’s North Node is in the first house conjunct her first house cusp. Donna van Toen tells Ms. Harris that she is not rational when it come to relationships but works too much with the heart and it usually ends up badly. She also recommends that she take up leadership roles and cultivate responsibility. Her south node, van Toen says, makes decision making problematic for Emmylou and that she should think in strategies and not feelings. Probably this is hard for Ms Harris to do with her preponderance in watery houses.

We leave you with a live concert from 2006.

Jazz Singer: Susannah McCorkle & fear of the unknown


Susannah McCorkle was born in Berkeley, Calif., on Jan. 4, 1946 — Astro.com mistakenly says January 1st — to an anthropologist who took teaching positions at colleges around the country and his wife.

She enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley in 1964 majoring in Italian literature and read in 5 languages when her professorial father, Tom committed suicide following a mental breakdown. He had been ill a long time, suffering from bipolar disorder (formerly maniac depression, as McCorkle herself was later diagnosed) and felt obligated to drop out of school and get a job to support her family. She was definitely overwhelmed — her mother Margery’s sister was also a schizophrenic and she had two younger sister & a mother who made many demands . The therapist said that she was not going to save anyone.

“You’re living in a burning building,” she later recalled him saying. “Get out.”

Susannah’s 1970’s therapist told her

And she did but alas she kept going back and so did not fully heed his warnings. At first, under the pseudonym Susan Savage she began writing career — winning prizes and contributing to the O Henry short-story anthology. Her non-fiction included profiles of Ethel Waters, Bessie Smith and Irving Berlin, published in the prestigious American Heritage magazine.

the holiday muse

As Italian-literature major, McCorkle picked up work dubbing films and translating books for the European market. She expected to become Europeanized, but instead like a lost lorn child discovered her American root via all the movies music, and jazz that were sweeping the continent. When she heard (Asteroid Siva 15.48 Libra is conjunct Neptune 8.37 Libra) American jazz singer Billie Holiday’s (1915 – 1959) “I’ve got the right to sing the blues,” her career choice changed.

”That one record completely revised my thinking and made me want to become a professional singer.”

susannah mccorkle on her jazz career

Changing her focus she left Italy & went to London. She joined a a jazz band led by the trumpeter John Chilton (1932 – 2016). That did not last as Chilton found his vocalist in Liverpoolian George Melly (1926-2006) and Susannah moved on. She met Keith Ingham, himself having dropped out of reading Ancient Chinese literature at Oxford to become a jazz pianist & the two became a romantic and musical duo.

Using her literature background, she focused on stories and phrasing much like Peggy Lee (b. 1920-2002) had, still success was elusive. Jazz singing was losing out to rock and roll and refusing to change her style was detrimental to success. She would not acknowledge that all the jazz impresarios were either dead or much older, and by the time she began her career they were established, like fellow San Franciscan, Tony Bennett (b. 1926).

Ingham (1942 – ) and McCorkle married and then divorced. He saw the writing on the wall and went to swing and dixieland music; she returned to New York and remained resolute. Gigs got fewer and fewer, another marriage and another divorce and with it the loss an extended family pushing her back to her unstable one (Niobe 12 (lost children) conjunct Isis 12 (the Egyptian mother symbol) in mothering Cancer vs. Vesta (sterility in service of the goddess) at 13 Capricorn).

Her younger sister, Katy, was diagnosed with schizophrenia (Mercury + South Node in the 3rd), and the fear of a possible genetic link closed in. Her depression (Mercury to Saturn inconjunct – negative thinking) grew. Eventually in the early morning house of May 19. 2001 she jumped out of a window and committed suicide. It was her first attempt and was quite successful.

Natal Chart.

The straight arrows are highlighting the inconjuncts in her chart that point to the underlying worries — Mercury inconjunct Mars + Saturn, her fears of her father’s illness that she felt was supported in her own life by her sister’s onset. The strong preponderances in the northern and the southern hemispheres were not offset by the weak Eastern, but actually encouraged as Jupiter was conjunct Neptune telling her tell will out.

Despite that, there is nothing in work or money but her fanciful Neptune heard the siren’s song and felt she too could be a singer, not realizing it was not profitable — but just another creative outlet (Asc + Neptune trine Moon).


Footnotes:

#108 Heavenly song: Celestina Boninsegna


The diva

Celestina Boninsegna was a born on 26 February 1877 in Reggio Emilia, Italy. She studied with composer Guglielmo Mattioli (1857-1924) for the opera and made her professional debut at 15 years of age.

Italy's r flag colours are red & green.
Reggio Emilia in red on the Italian map.

She is best known for her soulful interpretations of Verdi’s heroines, but she did have a wide repertoire including singing Rosaura in the world premiere of Pietro Mascagni’s Le Maschere (The Masks) — the librettist was Luigi Illica — on 17 January 1901 at La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy.

This was a rather circular homage for the diva — Mascagni’s Le Maschere was itself a respectful nod to Rossini under whom Mattioli, her voice maestro, studied

Diva Boninsegna made many recordings between 1904 and 1918, of which we highlight just one, that is beautiful in its clarity and resonant in depth, how well they captured her magnificent voice.

the astrological study

an early picture from OperaNostalgia.

Dr. Marc Edmund Jones correctly notes her Reggio Emilia birth of February 26th but without either a time or year. That is not surprising as opera singers likes Hollywood stars often obscured their age lest their fans think they were “too old.” Astro.com cites that its time 6:30 AM as questionable for Reggio nell-Emilia, Italy – the same town just its legal name so no change is warranted there. We have rectified the 6:30 AM to 6:33 AM giving her a Pisces 01 Ascendant — it works well in her chart particularly for the La Scala debut (see below).

The diva’s natal chart. She has one major opposition between Uranus in the sixth highlighting her individual career of voice and Mercury in the public sector of life. She has a fixed Grand Trine — though Neptune is wide of course — making her a Locomotive Temperament Type with Neptune driving her ambition.
The La Scala opening nite was a tremendous success for her. Look to the seventh house where the opera’s part of fortuna is conjunct her own. Click here to hear a piece, recorded years later, from it.
This last chart is sheer speculation, put up for astrological enjoyment. We do not know where she died, we imagine it was in Italy, so we picked Milan. Neither do we know what time or cause though we suspect it was of a heart attack (transiting Saturn opposite Mercury conjunct travelling Mars conjunct transiting Sun).

#114 Leonard Borwick, concert pianist


Leonard Borwick (26 February 1868 – 15 September 1925) was an English concert pianist especially associated with the music of Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms.

Early training and debuts

Borwick was born in Walthamstow, Essex — East London on the River Lea — of a Staffordshire family that relocated that for business. He studied piano under Henry R. Bird; violin and viola under Alfred Gibson and then specialised in piano with Clara Schumann at her Hoch Conservatory, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

While on leave from Clara Schumann’s school in the 1880s Borwick met the baritone Harry Plunket Greene while playing at Arthur Chappell’s house in London. Chappell was the owner the major piano manufacturer, Chappell & Co., at 50 New Bond Street in London and often had young pianists come to his home for recitals sometimes publishing their works if popular enough (Gilbert and Sullivan was one of their greatest hits).

Plunket Greene knew of Borwick through his older brother, as they had attended the Jewish boarding school Clifton College in Bristol together and introduced himself. A natural friendship grew up between the two s that later developed into a musical partnership.


Marc Jones incorrectly states that his name is “Borwich,” and not Borwick. All other details are correct and he gives the time of 7 am. We could not find enough information to rectify it further, so the chart stands with a Pisces 08 ascendant. He is bucket with a Saturn handle and with the North Node in his sixth house, loved his work. He has a strong preponderance on the eastern side of his chart showing how well he used his experiences in life for his advancement.

His music can be found on the BBC click here though it seem to me more Plunket Greene. Perhaps I did not listen enough. He died on September 15, 1925 in Lemans, France.

#53 Wilhelm Backhaus, pianist


Wilhelm Backhaus, (born March 26, 1884, Leipzig, Ger.—died July 5, 1969, Villach, Austria), German pianist was best known for his interpretation of the works of Ludwig van Beethoven.

Backhaus studied piano in Leipzig and in Frankfurt am Main. His rst concert appearance took place when he was eight years of age, and in 1905 he won the Rubinstein prize in Paris. He held teaching appointments at the Royal Manchester College of Music (1905), at Sondershausen (1907), and at the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia (1925).

After World War II, he settled in Lugano, Switzerland., but continued to tour and make recordings. His style was described as severe and articulate, with scrupulous regard for the score.


Marc Jones only has March 26, 1994 in Leipzig. We have rectified him to Cancer 01. His charts, natal, progressed and the transits at his demise, are below. There is a nice t-square that has point focus at his part of fortune Gemini 19 showing his very persistent nature to use and mature his natural talents. He is a bucket with a Saturn handle on the fifth house cusp of entertainment and creative arts.