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Oliver (Pina), Angel

(b Moyuela, Zaragoza, 2 Jan 1937). Spanish composer and organist. While training as a teacher in Madrid, he studied music at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música (Jesús Guridi organ prize, 1964; first prize in composition, 1965), where his teachers included Victorino Echevarría, Calés, Cristóbal Halffter and Guridi; he later studied in Rome (Spanish Rome Prize, 1965) with Petrassi and Porena, and at Darmstadt (stipend 1973, 1975) with Stockhausen, Ligeti and Aloys Kontarsky. From 1956 to 1966 he was organist at the church of the Ciudad Universitaria of Madrid, and from 1964 he directed the choir of the Colegio Alemán. He was appointed to a post at the Madrid Conservatory in 1965. His many honours include the Arpa de Plata prize (1974), the Cristóbal Halffter prize for organ composition (1980) and the Queen Sofía prize (1987). His long-term commitment to music education is reflected in his numerous writings.

Oliver's extensive catalogue betrays his particular fondness for chamber and vocal music; church music also occupies an important position in his oeuvre. His compositional style, which is based on serial techniques and a thorough grasp of musical theory, has been described as ‘moderate Modernism’ (Cabañas Alamán, 1991). He has avoided sensationalism and experimental pursuits in favour of carefully crafted statements in a calculated musical language, as exemplified by his attention to timbre in Nunc (1979–86) for divided string orchestra. Isolated from the dominant aesthetics of the Spanish avant garde, his music is not well known outside of Spain.


(selective list)

Vocal: Domine non sum dignus, TB, org, 1967; El siervo de Yavhé (Bible: Isaiah), Bar, SATB, orch, 1969; ¡Alegraos, cantad!, vv, org, 1973; ¡Alegrémonos!, vv, org, 1973; El Señor vive, vv, org, 1973; Madre del Redentor, vv, org, 1973; Miranos, señor, vv, org, 1973; Salus infirmorum (Misa inconclusa), 1–2vv, org, 1973; Salve Regina, SATB, org, 1982; Stabat mater (G. da Todi), A, T, SATB, orch, 1986–9; El pastorcico (San Juan de la Cruz), spkr, S, A, T, Bar, SATB, orch, org, 1989–90; Himno a San Juan de la Cruz, solo vv, SATB, org, 1990; 3 sonetos de amor (P. Neruda), SATB, kbd, chbr orch, 1991–2; Letanías de Madrid, spkr, SATB, orch, 1994–5; a cappella choral works; solo vocal works

Orch: Riflessi, 1968; Pequeña suite al estilo antiguo, fl, str orch, 1975; Proemio, 1978; Nunc, str orch, 1979–86; Oda, 1981; Va Conc., 1983; Esquejes sinfónicos, 1992; Música para tres iniciales, 1994

Chbr and solo inst: Str Trio, 1967–8; Interpolaciones, wind qnt, 1970; Epitafio para Gerardo Gombau, vn, pf, 1971, rev. 1979; Omicron 73, 10 insts, 1973; Dúos, fl, pf, 1974; Grupos de cámara, 9 insts, 1975; Pequeña suite al estilo antiguo, fl, pf, 1975; Psicograma III, pf qt, 1975; D'improvviso, va, pf, 1976; Versos a cuatro, vn, cl, pf, perc, 1976; Aoristo (Pretérito indefinido), 7 insts, 1977; Piel de toro, pf, perc, 1977; Laisses, pic, 4 cl, 1978; Planctus, hn, org, 1978; In memoriam Angel Arteaga, 8 insts, 1984; Canción y danza montañesas, vc, pf, 1986–7; Str Qt, 1986; 2 cantos portugueses, vc, pf, 1987; Invocación, ricercare y postludio, 2 tpt, org, 1989; Trío-fantasía, pf trio, 1990; Bagatelas, 2 vc, 1994; Omaggio, cl, vc, pf, 1994; Una página para Radio Clásica, pf trio, 1995; solo kbd works, works for other solo insts

Electronic music: Studium, tape, 1978

Principal publishers: Alpuerto, Editorial de Música Española Contemporánea, Mundimúsica, Real Musical, Revista Melodías


T. Marco: Historia de la música española, ed. P. López de Osaba, vi: Siglo XX (Madrid, 1983; Eng. trans. as Spanish Music in the Twentieth Century, 1993), 268–9

F.J. Cabañas Alamán: Angel Oliver (Madrid, 1991)


Oliver, King [Joe]

(b ?New Orleans, 11 May 1885; d Savannah, GA, 8/10 April 1938). American jazz cornettist and bandleader. He is said to have begun to study music as a trombonist, and from about 1907 he played in brass bands, dance bands and various small black American groups in New Orleans bars and cabarets. In 1918 he moved to Chicago (at which time he may have acquired his nickname), and in 1920 he began to lead his own band. After taking it to California in 1921, he returned to Chicago and started an engagement at Lincoln Gardens as King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band (June 1922). This group was joined a month later by the 22-year-old Louis Armstrong as second cornettist. Oliver began recording in April 1923. Many young white jazz musicians had the opportunity to hear him then, either on recordings or live at Lincoln Gardens.

In February 1925 Oliver’s reorganized band began a two-year engagement at the Plantation Cafe in Chicago, as the Dixie Syncopators. The group disbanded soon after a brief but successful engagement (from May 1927) at the Savoy Ballroom in New York, where Oliver remained. From 1930 to 1936 he toured widely, chiefly in the Midwest and upper South, with various ten- to 12-piece bands; he himself seldom performed during this period and he made no further recordings after April 1931. He spent the final months of his life retired from music in Savannah.

Like other early New Orleans cornettists, Oliver played in a clipped melodic style with relatively four-square rhythm (contrasting with the deliberate irregularity of the younger Armstrong and his imitators) and had a repertory of expressive deviations of rhythm and pitch, some verging on theatrical novelty effects and others derived from blues vocal style. He frequently used timbre modifiers of various sorts, and was especially renowned for his wa-wa effects, as in his famous three-chorus solo on Dipper Mouth Blues (1923, Gen.), which was learnt by rote by many trumpeters of the 1920s and 30s and which, as Sugar Foot Stomp, became a jazz standard. As a soloist he may best be heard in a number of blues accompaniments, notably with Sippie Wallace.

In contrast to his near-contemporaries Freddie Keppard and Bunk Johnson, Oliver integrated his playing superbly with his ensemble, and was an excellent leader; the Creole Jazz Band may have been successful largely because of the discipline he imposed on his musicians. Indeed, of the earlier New Orleans cornettists, only Oliver was extensively recorded in the 1920s with an outstanding ensemble, and the revival of New Orleans style, which began shortly after his death, owed much to the rediscovery of his early three dozen Creole Band recordings, which were internationally known by the 1940s. Among the best of these are Chimes Blues (1923, Gen.) and Snake Rag (1923, OK). After 1924 the quality of his recordings declined, partly because of recurrent tooth and gum ailments and partly because his style was at odds with that of his younger sidemen; but with a good band he was capable of coherent and energetic playing even as late as 1930. Almost all of his recorded performances have been reissued.


F. Ramsey: ‘King Oliver’, Jazzmen, ed. F. Ramsey and C.E. Smith (New York, 1939/R)

R. Blesh: Shining Trumpets: a History of Jazz (New York, 1946, enlarged 2/1958/R)

E. Souchon: ‘King Oliver: a Very Personal Memoir’, Jazz Review, iii/4 (1960), 6–11; repr. in Jazz Panorama, ed. M. Williams (New York, 1962/R), 21–30

M. Williams: King Oliver (London, 1960); repr. in Kings of Jazz, ed. S. Green (South Brunswick, NJ, 1978), 241–72

L. Gushee: ‘King Oliver’, Jazz Panorama, ed. M. Williams (New York and London, 1962/R)

G. Schuller: Early Jazz: its Roots and Musical Development (New York, 1968)

L.O. Koch: ‘Structural Aspects of King Oliver’s 1923 Okeh Recordings’, JJS, iii/2 (1976), 36–46

W. Balliett: ‘For the Comfort of the People’, Improvising: Sixteen Jazz Musicians and their Art (New York, 1977), 21–31

J.L. Collier: Louis Armstrong: an American Genius (New York, 1983; as Louis Armstrong: a Biography, London, 1984)

B. Bigard: With Louis and the Duke, ed. B. Martyn (London, 1985)

L. Wright and others: Walter C. Allen & Brian A.L. Rust’s ‘King’ Oliver (Chigwell, 1987) [completely rev. version of Allen and Rust: King Joe Oliver (Belleville, NJ, 1955)]


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