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Romantic Era


Germany, Austria and Italy renew their Triple Alliance; Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany fails to persuade Britain to join • Nyasaland (now Malawi) becomes a British protectorate • Britain and Italy agree spheres of influence in East Africa • Building of the Trans Siberian Railroad is begun • Physicist Johnstone Stoney (Ire) coins the word electron’ • Anthropologist Eugene Dubois (Neth) discovers bones of Pithecanthropus erectus (Java Man) • Paul Gauguin (Fr) paints Women on the Beach • Thomas Hardy (Eng): Tess of The D’Urbervilles • Rudyard Kipling (Eng): The Light that Failed • Oscar Wilde (Ire): The Picture of Dorian Gray

The People’s Party, founded in St Louis, Mo, urges financial reforms • Corruption in Panama Canal dealings causes scandal in France • In Egypt, Abbas Hilmi II (pro French, anti-British) succeeds Tewfik Pasha as khedive (ruler) • Russia suffers famine • The marriage age for girls in Italy is raised to 12 years • English physicist Oliver Heavsidet discovers the ionosphere • Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Fr) paints Girls at the PianoToulouse-Lautrec (Fr) paints At the Moulin Rouge • Paul Cezanne (Fr) paints The Card players • Oscar Wilde (Ire): play Lady Windermere’s Fan • Henrik Ibsen (Nor): play The Master Butler • Emile Zola (Fr): The Debacle

The Independent Labour Party is founded in Britain • Financial panic in USA follows British investors’ sales of US stock • Ivory Coast and Guinea become French colonies, and Dahomey becomes a French protectorate • Uganda becomes a British colony • In southern Africa, British troops suppress a rising by Matabele tribesmen • Anarchist outrages in France include a bomb explosion in the Chamber of Deputies • Laos becomes a French protectorate • Women are given the vote in New Zealand • Paul Gauguin (Fr) paints Tahitian Landscape • Edvard Munch (Nor) paints first version of The Scream • Oscar Wilde (Ire): A Woman of No Importance

French President Sadi Carnot is assassinated • Japan at war with China over Korea (until 1895) • Tsar Alexandr III of Russia dies; is succeeded by his son, Nikolai II • In France, army officer Alfred Dreyfus sentenced to life imprisonment for spying; evidence against him has been faked, and soon causes a public outcry • Italian forces invade Ethiopia 
•  Inventor Hiram Maxim (US) experiments with a heavier-than-air flying machine • Bacteriologist Shibasaburo Kitasoto (Jap) isolates the bubonic plague germ • An inheritance tax is introduced in Britain • Monet (Fr) paints Rouen Cathedral • Rudyard Kipling (Eng): The Jungle Book • George Bernard Shaw (Ire): play Arms and the Man

Armenians in Turkey form a revolutionary movement; Turks massacre many Armenians • Italian invaders are defeated by Ethiopians at Amba Alagi • Territories claimed by British South Africa Company named Rhodesia, after Cecil Rhodes • USA protests against brutal Spanish suppression of a Cuban uprising • Wilhelm Konrad Rontgen (Ger) detects X-rays • The Lumiere brothers (Fr) begin motion picture screenings • Sir Frederick Leighton (Eng) paints Flaming June • Vasily Surikov (Russ) paints The Conquest of Siberia by Yermak • H. G. Wells (Eng): The Time Machine • Oscar Wilde (Ire): The Importance of Being Ernest • Henryk Sienkiewicz (Pol): Quo Vadis


Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death.



Antonin Dvorak composes his concert overture triptych Nature, Life and Love. He later renames each overture to emphasise its individual identity:

In Nature's Realm, Carnival and Othello (Opp. 91-93).

Antonín Dvořák: Nature, Life and Love, Overtures Opp. 91, 92 & 93
Hrůša, PKF – Prague Philharmonia

In Nature’s Realm, Op. 91 (Allegro ma non troppo)
14:54 Carnival, Overture Op. 92 (Allegro)
24:38 Othello Overture, Op. 93 (Lento)

Hugo Wolf completes his Spanisches Liederbuch (Spanish Song Book), begun two years previously. The two-volume set comprises 44 translated settings of Spanish poetry from the 16th and 17th centuries. The following year Wolf will complete the first volume of his Italienisches Liederbuch (Italian Song Book).

Hugo Wolf  -  "Spanisches Liederbuch"
Anne Sofie von Otter--Mezzo-soprano
Geoffrey Parsons--Piano
00:00:00 "Nun bin ich dein"
00:05:00 "Die ihr schwebet um diese Palmen"
00:08:15 "Ach, des Knaben Augen sind mir so schön und klar"
00:10:00 "Mühvoll komm' ich und beladen"

Hugo Wolf - "Italienisches Liederbuch"
Christian Gerhaher-Baritone
Gerold Huber-Piano

10 January
Austrian composer Carl Zeller secures his greatest success with the operetta Der Vogelhandler (The Bird Seller), first performed at the Theater an der Wien (Vienna).


(operetta-audio), 1998

16 January
Stage composer Leo Delibes dies in Paris, aged 54.


Sergei Rachmaninov, aged 18, completes his First Piano Concerto, begun while studying at the Moscow Conservatory. He will revise it in 1917.

Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 1 in F-sharp minor, Op. 1 (1891, rev. 1917)

Performed by Simon Trpceski, pianist, with Vasily Petrenko conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded in 2010.

00:00 - No. 1: Vivace 
12:20 - No. 2: Andante 
18:55 - No. 3: Allegro vivace 

2 August
Composer Arthur Bliss is born in Barnes, London.

9 October
Antonin Dvorak's Requiem (1890) premieres and delights the public at the Birmingham Music Festival. While in England the composer is awarded an honorary doctorate from Cambridge University.

Antonín Dvořák - Requiem.
Recorded in Chartres Cathedral on 6 September 2002.
Antonello Allemandi conducts the Colonne Orchestra and Choir. With Cécile Perrin (soprano), Sylvie Brunet (mezzo-soprano), Jean-Pierre Furlan (tenor) and René Schirrer (bass).

10 October
Frederick Delius achieves his first public performance with the Ibsen-inspired symphonic poem Paa Viddeme (On the Heights), introduced in Christiania.

Frederick Delius - Paa Vidderne, symphonic poem 

Bergen Philharmonic orchestra 
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor

Frederick Delius - Irmelin  
Opera in three acts

Delius  - Irmelin 

Irmelin, a Princess - Eileen Hannan (soprano)
The King, her Father - Michael Rippon (baritone)
Nils, a Prince, Swineherd to Rolf - John Mitchinson (tenor)
Rolf, a robber - Brian Rayner Cook - (baritone)
Old Knight (First) - Eric Shilling - (baritone)
Young Knight (Second) - Michael Goldthorpe (tenor)
Warlike Knight (Third) - Philip O'Reilly (bass)
The Maid - Ann Howard (mezzo-soprano)
The Voice in the Air - Sally Bradshaw (soprano)
The Woman - Patricia Taylor - (mezzo-soprano

BBC Concert Orchestra BBC Singers Norman del Mar, conductor, 1984

11 April
Antonin Dvorak's Dumky Piano Trio (Op. 90) is heard for the first time, in Prague.

Antonin Dvorak - Piano Trio No. 4 in e minor, Op. 90 (Dumky)
 - Margaret Soper Gutierrez, violin
 - Charles Tucker, cello
 - Alexandra Nguyen, piano

23 April
Composer Sergey Prokofiev is born in Sontsovka, Ukraine.


31 October  
L'amico Fritz  is an opera in three acts by Pietro Mascagni, premiered in 1891 from a libretto by P. Suardon (Nicola Daspuro) (with additions by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti), based on the French novel L'ami Fritz by Émile Erckmann and Pierre-Alexandre Chatrian.

Pietro Mascagni - Amico Fritz 

Registrazione dal vivo  Teatro di Livorno 2002
Ed. Casa Musicale Sonzogno - Milano

Orchestra e Coro CittàLirica
Direttore Roberto Tolomelli
Regia Simona Marchini
Direttore del Coro Marco Bargagna

Fritz Kobus - tenore José Bros
Suzel - soprano Dimitra Theodossiou 
Beppe - messosoprano - Sandra-Pacheco Quintero
David - baritono - Alessandro Paliaga
Federico - tenore  - Emanuele Giannino
Hanezò - basso - Antonio Taschini
Caterina - soprano Corinna Justian Schmidt

Arthur Bliss

Arthur Bliss

Sir Arthur Bliss, original name in full Arthur Edward Drummond Bliss, (born August 2, 1891, London—died March 27, 1975, London), one of the leading English composers of the first half of the 20th century, noted both for his early, experimental works and for his later, more subjective compositions.


Bliss studied under Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst. Up to the early 1920s, his music was frequently experimental, e.g., Rhapsody (1919), for solo voices and chamber ensemble, in which the voice plays an instrumental role, singing vocalises (meaningless syllables), and A Colour Symphony (1922, revised 1932), whose four movements are intended to suggest the colours purple, red, blue, and green. Later, although he never abandoned experimentation, he began composing in classical forms, e.g., the quintets for oboe and strings and for clarinet and strings, the Piano Concerto, and the Conversations for chamber orchestra. He composed the scores for three films, including Things to Come (1935; after H.G. Wells).

Other works include the television opera Tobias and the Angel (1960) and his choral symphony Morning Heroes (1930). His ballets are Checkmate (1937; choreographed by Ninette de Valois), Miracle in the Gorbals (1944; choreographed by Robert Helpmann), and Adam Zero (1946; Helpmann). His last composition, a choral work called Shield of Faith, was performed initially a few weeks after his death, at the 500th anniversary celebration at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. Bliss was knighted in 1950 and in 1953 became Master of the Queen’s Musick.


Arthur Bliss - A Colour Symphony (1921/1932).

I. Purple. Andante Maestoso
II. Red. Allegro vivace [06:18]
III. Blue. Gently flowing [13:20]
IV. Green. Moderato [23:29]

English Northern Philharmonia diretta da David Lloyd-Jones.

Arthur Bliss - Checkmate
Ballet in one Scene with a Prologue (1937).
Royal Scottish National Orchestra diretta da David Lloyd-Jones.

Arthur Bliss -  Metamorphic Variations, basato sul ciclo di dipinti "Tantris" di George Dannatt (1973).

I. Elements
II. Ballet [03:30]
III. Assertion [05:04]
IV. Speculation [07:20]
V. Interjections [09:09]
VI. Scherzo I [13:08]
VII. Contemplation [15:59]
VIII. Polonaise [18:24]
IX. Funeral Processions [22:10]
X. Cool Interlude [26:16]
XI. Scherzo II [29:13]
XII. Duet [30:58]
XIII. Dedicated to G.D. and A.D. [33:18]
XIV. Affirmation [34:09]

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra - David Lloyd-Jones



Ernest Chausson completes his Poeme de l'amour et de la mer (Poem of love and the sea), scored for voice and orchestra.

Ernest Chausson - Poème de l'amour et de la mer, Op. 19 (1882-1890)

I. La Fleur des eaux 
Ia. Interlude (12:34)
II. La Mort de l'amour (15:41)

Montserrat Caballé, soprano
Symphonica of London conducted by Wyn Morris

21 May
Ruggero Leoncavallo
  triumphs with the raw emotions of Pagliacci (Clowns, or Strolling Players), staged at the Teatro Dal Verme, Milan, and conducted by Toscanini.

Sergei Rachmaninov, aged 19, composes his stately and sombre Prelude in C sharp minor for piano. It forms part of his Morceaux de Fantaisie, Op. 3, and becomes a repertory essential—so much so that the composer will tire of it.

Sergei Rachmaninoff - Morceaux de fantaisie, Op. 3
Santiago Rodriguez

I Élégie in E-flat minor
II Prélude in C-sharp minor
III Mélodie in E major (later revised)
IV Polichinelle
V Serenade

16 January
Jules Massenet’s opera Werther, based on Goethe's novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, opens in Vienna. It will ultimately vie with Manon as the composers best-loved creation, although initially it claims little success.

As Richard Strauss struggles to conduct a rehearsal of his tone poem Macbeth (1888) in Berlin, he receives crucial advice from Bulow: ‘You should have the score in your head, not your head in the score!’

4 September
French Composer Darius Milhaud is born.

24 September
Arthur Sullivan - Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall is an English light opera with music by Arthur Sullivan and a libretto by Sydney Grundy.

Haddon Hall by Sullivan & Grundy

1 November 
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Mlada

 is an opera-ballet in four acts, composed between 1889 and 1890 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, to a libretto by Viktor Krylov that was originally employed for an aborted project of the same name from 1872.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov - Mlada

10 March
French composer Arthur Honegger is born in Le Havre.

22 April
French composer Edouard Lalo dies in Paris, aged 69.


28 April
In Helsinki
Jean Sibelius establishes himself as a leading voice of Finnish music with Kullervo, a symphonic epic for soprano, baritone, male chorus and orchestra, inspired by r the poetry of the Kalevala. This year also marks the composition of his tone poem En saga.

Sibelius - Kullervo
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra - Jukka-Pekka Saraste

Mezzo-soprano: Lilli Paasikivi
Baritone: Jorma Hynninen

The Polytech Choir

18 December
Tchaikovsky presents the double-bill premieres of his one-act opera Iolanthe and the ballet The Nutcracker (based on a story by E. T. A. Hoffmann) at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg. The ballet, commissioned as a companion piece to the opera, encounters a muted response.

Iolanta, Op. 69,  is a lyric opera in one act by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The libretto was written by the composer's brother Modest Tchaikovsky, and is based on the Danish play Kong Renés Datter (King René's Daughter) by Henrik Hertz, a romanticised account of the life of Yolande de Bar.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Iolanta

Iolanta: Ekaterina Scherbachenko
Vaudémont: Pavel Cernoch
King René: Dmitry Ulianov
Ibn-Hakia: Willard White
Robert: Alexey Markov
Bertrand: Pavel Kudinov
Alméric: Vasily Efimov
Marta: Ekaterina Semenchuk
Brigitta: Irina Churilova
Laura: Letitia Singleton

Choir and Orchestra of the Teatro Real

Stage and Television Director: Peter Sellars
Musical Director: Teodor Currentzis

From the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, 2012
Valery Gergiev - conductor
Vasily Vainonen - choreography

Masha the Princess: Alina Somova
The Nutcracker Prince: Vladimir Shklyarov
Masha: Alexandra Korshunova

Stahlbaum: Vladimir Ponomaryov
His wife: Alexandra Gronskaya
Luisa: Alena Mashintseva
Franz: Pavel Miheyev
Drosselmeyer: Fyodor Lopukhov
The Grandmother: Lira Khuslamova
The Grandfather: Stanislav Burov
The Nanny: Valeria Karpina

The Nutcracker: Pavel Miheyev
Clown: Konstantin Ivkin
Doll: Yana Selina
Blackamoor: Alexei Popov
The Mouse King: Soslan Kulaev

Waltz of the Snowflakes (Act II): Valeria Martynyuk, Yana Selina and artists of the ballet
Elegant Ladies and Gentlemen: Viktoria Brilyova, Ksenia Dubrovina, Boris Zhurilov, Konstantin Zverev


Act I

Scene 1: The Stahlbaum Home

It is Christmas Eve. Family and friends have gathered in the parlor to decorate the beautiful Christmas tree in preparation for the party. Once the tree is finished, the children are sent for. They stand in awe of the tree sparkling with candles and decorations.

The party begins. A march is played. Presents are given out to the children. Suddenly, as the owl-topped grandmother clock strikes eight, a mysterious figure enters the room. It is Drosselmeyer, a local councilman, magician, and Clara's godfather. He is also a talented toymaker who has brought with him gifts for the children, including four lifelike dolls who dance to the delight of all. He then has them put away for safekeeping.

Clara and Fritz are sad to see the dolls being taken away, but Drosselmeyer has yet another toy for them: a wooden nutcracker carved in the shape of a little man, used for cracking nuts. The other children ignore it, but Clara immediately takes a liking to it. Fritz, however, breaks it, and Clara is heartbroken.

During the night, after everyone else has gone to bed, Clara returns to the parlor to check on her beloved nutcracker. As she reaches the little bed, the clock strikes midnight and she looks up to see Drosselmeyer perched atop it. Suddenly, mice begin to fill the room and the Christmas tree begins to grow to dizzying heights. The nutcracker also grows to life size. Clara finds herself in the midst of a battle between an army of gingerbread soldiers and the mice, led by their king. They begin to eat the soldiers.

The nutcracker appears to lead the soldiers, who are joined by tin ones and dolls who serve as doctors to carry away the wounded. As the Mouse King advances on the still-wounded nutcracker, Clara throws her slipper at him, distracting him long enough for the nutcracker to stab him.

Scene 2: A Pine Forest

The mice retreat and the nutcracker is transformed into a handsome Prince. He leads Clara through the moonlit night to a pine forest in which the snowflakes dance around them, beckoning them on to his kingdom as the first act ends.

Act II

Scene 1: The Land of Sweets

Clara and the Prince travel to the beautiful Land of Sweets, ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Prince's place until his return. He recounts for her how he had been saved from the Mouse King by Clara and transformed back into himself.

In honor of the young heroine, a celebration of sweets from around the world is produced: chocolate from Spain, coffee from Arabia, tea from China, and candy canes from Russia all dance for their amusement; Danish shepherdesses perform on their flutes; Mother Ginger has her children, the Polichinelles, emerge from under her enormous hoop skirt to dance; a string of beautiful flowers perform a waltz. To conclude the night, the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier perform a dance.

A final waltz is performed by all the sweets, after which the Sugar Plum Fairy ushers Clara and the Prince down from their throne. He bows to her, she kisses Clara goodbye, and leads them to a reindeer drawn sleigh. It takes off as they wave goodbye to all the subjects who wave back.

In the original libretto, the ballet's apotheosis "represents a large beehive with flying bees, closely guarding their riches".[35] Just like Swan Lake, there have been various alternative endings created in productions subsequent to the original.

Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker
 is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (op. 71). The libretto is adapted from E. T. A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King", by way of Alexandre Dumas' adapted story "The Nutcracker". It was given its premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg on Sunday, 18 December 1892, on a double-bill with Tchaikovsky's opera Iolanta.

Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker

Arthur Honegger

Arthur Honegger

Arthur Honegger, (born March 10, 1892, Le Havre, France—died Nov. 27, 1955, Paris), composer associated with the modern movement in French music in the first half of the 20th century.


Born of Swiss parents, Honegger spent most of his life in France. He studied at the Zürich Conservatory and after 1912 at the Paris Conservatory. After World War I he was associated with Les Six, a group of young composers that also included Georges Auric, Germaine Tailleferre, Francis Poulenc, Darius Milhaud, and Louis Durey. Honegger soon asserted his own strong personality in the “dramatic psalm” Le Roi David (1921; “The King David”). Two successful orchestral works followed: Pacific 231 (1924), an impression of a locomotive in action, and Rugby (1928), which reflected the composer’s love of speed and virile sports. Also from this period was the Pastorale d’été (1921; “Summer Pastoral”) for chamber orchestra. Much—but not all—of his music from the 1920s is rhythmic, dissonant, and austere and shows great freedom in the treatment of tonality. Polytonality sometimes occurs. With his dramatic oratorios Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher (“Joan of Arc at the Stake”) and La Danse des morts (“The Dance of the Dead”), both on texts by Paul Claudel, he turned toward the mysticism and religious meaning that underlie many of his later works.

Honegger was a prolific composer and made notable contributions to opera (Judith, 1926; Antigone, 1927; Amphion, 1931), ballet (Skating Rink, 1922; Sémiramis, 1934), choral music (oratorios, including Cantique des cantiques, 1938), and orchestral music (five symphonies, symphonic poems, symphonic movements). His chamber music includes three string quartets and sonatas for violin, viola, and cello. He also composed the music for several films, including La Roue (1922; “The Wheel”), Pygmalion (1938), and Cavalcade d’amour (1939). Honegger’s music is written in a bold and uninhibited musical idiom that combines the harmonic innovations of the French avant-garde with the large forms and massed sonorities of the German tradition. He published an autobiography, Je suis compositeur (I Am a Composer), in 1951.



Arthur Honegger - Sinfonia n.1 in do maggiore (H. 75) (1930) 
Filarmonica Céca diretta da Václav Neumann -
I. Allegro marcato II. Adagio [6:28] III. Presto [15:01]

Arthur Honegger - Judith, action musicale in tre parti per soli, coro e orchestra, su testo di René Morax (1925) -- 

Brigitte Balleys, mezzosoprano: Judith
Liliana Bizineche, mezzosoprano: la servante
Oers Kisfaludy, recitante
Naoko Okada, soprano
Michel Brodard, baritono

Coro e Orchestra della Fondazione Gulkenkian diretti da Michel Corboz

Arthur Honegger - La Danse des morts,
oratorio per soli, coro e orchestra, testo di Paul Claudel (H. 131) (1938) 
Christoph Bantzer, recitante; Katherina Müller, soprano: Kaja Plessing, contralto: Michael Connaire, tenore: Stefan Adam, basso 
Kantorei St. Nikolai Hamburg e Hamburger Camerata diretti da Matthias Hoffmann-Borggrefe

Arthur Honegger - Sinfonia n.4 "Deliciae Basilienses" (H. 191) (1946) 
Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française diretta da Georges Tzipine

Arthur Honegger - Antigone
Tragedia musicale in 3 Atti da Sofocle. Libretto di Jean Cocteau (1924/1927).

Antigone: Geneviève Serres
Ismène: Claudine Verneuil
Eurydice: Janine Collard
Tiresias: André Vessieres
Créon: Jean Giraudeau
Le Garde: Bernard Plantey
Hemon: Bernard Demigny
Le Messager: Michel Roux

Choeurs de la R.T.F. (Direttore René Alix)
Orchestre National de France diretta da Maurice Le Roux.

Darius Milhaud

Darius Milhaud

Darius Milhaud, (born Sept. 4, 1892, Aix-en-Provence, France—died June 22, 1974, Geneva, Switz.), a principal French composer of the 20th century known especially for his development of polytonality (simultaneous use of different keys).


Born of a Provençal Jewish family, Milhaud studied under Paul Dukas and Vincent d’Indy at the Paris Conservatory. He was grouped by the critic Henri Collet with the young composers whom Collet called Les Six. In 1940 he became professor at Mills College, Oakland, Calif. After 1947 he taught at the Paris Conservatory. In his later years he suffered from crippling arthritis, but he continued to compose and conduct.

Milhaud’s bold, individual style is especially exemplified in the ballets L’Homme et son désir (1918; Man and His Desire; scenario, Paul Claudel), Le Boeuf sur le toit (1919; The Nothing-Doing Bar; scenario, Jean Cocteau), and La Création du monde (1923; The Creation of the World; scenario, Blaise Cendrars). He composed the incidental music for Claudel’s Protée (1920) and for Claudel’s translations of the Aeschylean tragedies Agamemnon (1913), Choéphores (1915), and Les Euménides (1917–22). Whips and hammers are introduced into the orchestration of this trilogy, a work of great dramatic force, in which the chorus is required to groan, whistle, and shriek. His other operas include Christophe Colomb (1930; text by Claudel); Le Pauvre Matelot (1926; The Poor Sailor; text by Cocteau), David (1954), and Médée (1939).

From about 1913, Milhaud’s music is characterized by his use of bitonality and polychords. He was the first to analyze (though not the first to use) polytonality and to develop that technique consistently. An example of his use of polytonality is Saudades do Brasil (1921), a set of dance suites. His style became simplified in later years, but its harmonic basis remained mostly polytonal. The effect of his polytonality is that of simultaneous movement of different planes of sound. Although dissonant, his music retains a lyrical quality.

A prolific composer, Milhaud wrote more than 400 works, including radio and motion-picture scores, a setting of the Jewish Sabbath Morning Service (1947), symphonies (eight for large orchestra, five for small orchestra), choral works, and the two-piano suite Scaramouche (1936; later arranged for saxophone or clarinet and orchestra). His chamber music includes a suite for violin, clarinet, and piano (1936), and 18 string quartets (1912–50). Among his songs are settings of poems by Claudel, Christina Rossetti, and Stéphane Mallarmé. He wrote an autobiography, My Happy Life (1995, trans. by Donald Evans).


Darius Milhaud - La creation du monde (1923)
Orquesta Nacional de Francia , conducted by Leonard Bernstein

Darius Milhaud: Sonata per oboe, flauto, clarinetto e pianoforte, Op.47 (1918)
Ensemble Polytonaal

Darius Milhaud - Concerto pour marimba, vibraphone et orchestre, Op. 278
Peter Sadlo, Celibidache, Münchner Philharmoniker 

Darius Milhaud - Saudades do Brasil (1920)
Pianist: Antonio Barbosa

Darius Milhaud - Concerto per pianoforte e orchestra (n. 1) op. 27 (1933) 
Michael Korstick, pianoforte -
SWR Rundfunkorchester Kaiserlautern  -
diretta da Alun Francis 



Antonin Dvorak's American compositions this year include his Ninth Symphony and two of his greatest chamber pieces, the String Quartet No. 12 in F major and String Quintet in E flat major.

Dvořák - Symohony No. 9 in E minor op. 95 "From The New World"
Münchner Philharmoniker conducted by Sergiu Celibidache
Recorded 1991
1. Adagio - Allegro molto
2. Largo
3. Scherzo. Molto vivace
4. Allegro con fuoco

Dvořák - String Quartet No. 12 in F major, Op. 96, B. 179 "American" (1893)

00:00 - Allegro ma non troppo
09:08 - Lento
16:14 - Molto vivace
20:00 - Finale. Vivace ma non troppo

Performed by the Cleveland Quartet (1991)

Dvorak - String Quintet No 3 In E flat Major, Opus 97
Vlach Quartet - Ladislav Kyselak, viola
1. Allegro non tanto
2. Allegro vivo 9:38
3. Larghetto 15:56
4. Finale: Allegro giusto 26:48

Erik Satie composes his minimalist Vexations for piano, a short piece of music to be played 840 times. Avoiding tonal structures, the work deliberately creates forgettable material; played precisely it lasts 14 hours. The challenge is not met publicly until 1963.

Erik Satie - "Vexations" 1893 (Excerpt)
German pianist Michael van Krücker 

18 October
French composer Charles Gounod

dies in Saint-Cloud, aged 75.


28 October
Tchaikovsky conducts the first performance of his Sixth Symphony in St Petersburg. The slow final movement of the work, ending in a mood of despair, confounds many in the audience. Tchaikovsky’s brother, Modest, nicknames the symphony Pathetique.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, Pathétique 
Mariinsky Orchestra,  Conductor - Valery Gergiev 
07.11.2004, London,  Coliseum Theatre

6 November
I Medici is an opera in four acts composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo, with a libretto by the composer. Set in Renaissance Florence at the court of Lorenzo de' Medici, it was intended as the first part of a planned but unfinished trilogy called Crepusculum. The opera premiered on 6 November 1893 at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan.


Giuliano di Medici - Giuseppe Giacomini
Lorenzo di Medici - Renato Bruson
Pazzi - Francesca Ellero d'Artegna
Cattanei - Nicola Ghiuselev
Simonetta - Daniela Longhi
Fioretta - Gisella Pasino

Conductor - Marcello Viotti
Orchestra - Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt
Chorus - Budapest Radio Chorus, 1993

1 February
Giacomo Puccini scores resounding success at Turin’s Teatro Regio with Manon Lescaut despite several years of turmoil over the libretto, with contributions from no less than five authors. Unanimously praised, the opera soon establishes Puccini’s reputation outside of Italy.

9 February
Giuseppe Verdi’s final opera, Falstaff’ with libretto by Boito, opens at La Scala, Milan. Inspired by Shakespeare’s plays The Merry Wives of Windsor and King Henry IV, the comic opera delights a loyal and reverent public. The composer turns 80 this year.

24 May
Phryné is an 1893 opéra comique in 2 acts by Camille Saint-Saëns to a libretto by Lucien Augé de Lassus

Camille SAINT-SAËNS  - Phryné 

Phrynée - Denise DUVAL
Nicias - Michel HAMEL
Dicéphile - André VESSIERES
Lampito - Nadine SAUTEREAU
Agoragine - Georges ALES
Cynalopex - Jean MOLLIEN

chœurs de la RTF, orchestre Radio-lyrique
Jules GRESSIER, 1960

7 October
Utopia, Limited; or, The Flowers of Progress, is a Savoy opera, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. It was the second-to-last of Gilbert and Sullivan's fourteen collaborations, premiering on 7 October 1893.

Utopia Limited (Act 1) -  Gilbert & Sullivan

King Paramount--------------------Kenneth Sandford
Scaphio------------------------------John Reed
Phantis------------------------------John Ayldon
Tarara--------------------------------Jon Ellison
Calynx-------------------------------Michael Buchan
Lord Dramaleigh------------------James Conroy-Ward
Capt. Fitzbattleaxe-----------------Meston Reid
Capt. Corcoran----------------------John Broad
Mr. Goldbury------------------------Michael Rayner
Sir Bailey Barre---------------------Colin Wright
Mr. Blushington--------------------David Porter
Princess Zara-----------------------Pamela Field
Princess Nekaya--------------------Julia Goss
Princess Kalyba---------------------Judi Merri
Lady Sophy-------------------------Lyndsie Holland
Phylla-------------------------------Rosalind Griffiths

D'Oyly Carte Opera Chorus - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - Conductor: Royston Nash - 1975

Utopia Limited (Act 2) -  Gilbert & Sullivan

6 November
Peter Ilyth Tchaikovsky dies in St Petersburg, aged 53, having possibly contracted cholera by drinking un-boiled water. Rumours will surface about Tchaikovsky taking his own life to avoid a very public homosexual scandal.


13 November
Jean Sibelius introduces his patriotic Karelia Suite in Helsinki. Most of the audience talk through the performance.

Sibelius - Karelia Suite 
Philharmonia Orch. - Ashkenazy

12 December 
Madame Chrysanthème is an opera, described as a comédie lyrique, with music by André Messager to a libretto by Georges Hartmann and Alexandre André, after the semi-autobiographical novel Madame Chrysanthème (1887) by Pierre Loti. 

André Messager - Madame Chrysanthème

Janine Micheau (Madame Chrysanthème/soprano)
Denise Monteil (Rose/soprano)
Solange Michel (Madame Prune/contralto)
Agnes Disney (Madame Fraise/mezzosoprano)
Raphael Romagnoni (Pierre/tenore)
Lucien Lovano (Yves/baritono)
René Lenoty (Monsieur Kangourou/tenore)
Jean Mollien (Le Gabier)

Choeur et Orchestre Lyrique dell'ORTF Paris
Direttore: Jules Gressier - 
Parigi 1956

23 December
Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel, conducted by R. Strauss, opens at the Weimar Hoftheater. The composer’s skilful melding of simple melody with Wagnerian harmonic colour gives the fairytale opera immediate appeal to audiences across Europe.

29 December
Claude Debussy’s String Quartet in G minor is introduced by the Ysaye Quartet in Paris. Its impressionistic gestures and textures confuse most of the audience.

Claude Debussy - String Quartet in g minor
Budapest String Quartet (Joseph Roisman, Alexander Schneider: violin, Boris Kroyt: viola, Mischa Schneider: cello) - 1958



Gabriel Faure completes his song cycle La bonne chanson, inspired by his love for the singer Emma Bardac, who later becomes Debussy's second wife.

Faure - La bonne chanson (Op. 61)
I. Une sainte en son auréole 00:00
II. Puisque l'arbe grandit 02:08
III. La lune blanche luit dans les bois 04:03
IV. J'allais par des chemins perfides 06:26
V. J'ai presque peur, en vérité 08:19
VI. Avant que tu ne t'en ailles 10:39
VII. Donc, ce sera par un clair jour d'été 13:41
VIII. N'est-ce pas? 16:21
IX. L'hiver a cessé, la lumière est tiède 18:50

Anne Sofie von Otter -mezzosoprano
Bengt Forsberg -piano
Nils-Erik Sparf -violin
Ulf Forsberg -violin
Matti Hirvikangas -viola
Mats Lidstroem -cello
Tomas Gertonsson -double bass

Frederick Delius - The Magic Fountain

Lyric Drama in 3 Acts

Frederick Delius: THE MAGIC FOUNTAIN

Solano, a Spanish Nobleman: Stephen Allen Watawa
A young Indian girl: Anne Mason Wapanacki
An Indian Chief: Stafford Dean Talum Hadjo
A Seer: Jonathan Veira
A Spanish Sailor: David Morrison

Scottish Opera - Conductor: Richard Armstrong

16 March
Jules Massenet's Thais opens at the Paris Opera. The opera will never attain the popularity of Manon or Werther, although it includes one of the most famous pieces of the violin repertory, Meditation, which serves as an entr’acte between Acts 2 and 3.

10 May
In Weimar
Richard Strauss introduces his first opera, Guntram, which manages only short-lived success. On this same day he announces his engagement to Pauline de Ahna, the operas lead soprano.

Guntram - Richard Strauss
Dirigent - Gustav Kuhn
Guntram: Klaus König
Friedhold: Kurt Moll
Herzog Robert: Bernd Weikl
Freihild: Sabine Hass
Der alte Herzog: Jan-Hendrik Rootering
Alte Frau: Cornelia Wulkopf 
Alter Mann: Friedrich Lenz 
Bote : Bodo Brinkmann  
Der Narr des Herzogs: Claes H. Ahnsjö 

5 January
The Mine Foreman (Der Obersteiger) is an operetta composed by Carl Zeller with a libretto by Ludwig Held (de) and Moritz West (de). It premiered on 5 January 1894 at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna.

Carl Zeller "Der Obersteiger"

Film Der Obersteiger - 1952
Hans Holt: Max, Herzog in Bayern
Josefin Kipper: Prinzessin Ludovika „Luise“
Wolf Albach-Retty: Andreas Spaun
Waltraut Haas: Nelly Lampl
Grethe Weiser: Clara Blankenfeld
Gunther Philipp: Medardus von Krieglstein
Oskar Sima: Matthias Lampl
Annie Rosar: Stasi
Theodor Danegger: Hofkammeradjunkt Pötzl
Helene Lauterböck: Gräfin Amalie Sensheim
Rudolf Carl: Obersteiger aus Berchtesgaden
Joseph Egger: Obersteiger aus Hallstatt
Raoul Retzer: Blasius
Walter Janssen: König Ludwig I. von Bayern
Hilde Jaeger: Prinzessin Caroline

Gustav Mahler completes his Second Symphony, Resurrection. The inspiration for its huge finalchoral movement has come from Klopstock's Resurrection Ode, a setting of which moved Mahler profoundly at the funeral of Hans von Billow earlier this year.

Gustav Mahler -  Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection"
Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

Eteri Gvazava - soprano
Anna Larsson - mezzo-soprano
Orfeón Donostiarra
José Antonio Sainz Alfaro - chorus master
Lucerne Festival Orchestra
Claudio Abbado - conductor

1:18 I. Allegro maestoso (21:10)
22:26 II. Andante moderato (9:24)
32:18 III. [Scherzo] In ruhig fließender Bewegung (11:18)
43:48 IV. Urllicht. Sehr feierlich, aber schlicht (5:05)
48:42 V. Im Tempo des Scherzo. Wild herausfahrend - "Auferstehn" (37:25)

César Franck - HULDA
Hulda: Orietta Moscucci,
Schwanhilde : Liliana Poli,
La madre di Hulda: Anna Maria Rota,
La madre di Aslak : Lucia Danieli,
Edel: Alberta Valentini,
Eiolf: Giacinto Prandelli,
Gudleik: Antonio Boyer,
Aslak: Massimiliano Malaspina,
Gunnar: Mario Carlin,
Eyric: Bruno Cioni,
Yann: Nino Valsani,
Eynar: Arrigo Cattelani,
Malgerde: Elena Wolkowicz
Orchestra e Coro della Rai di Milano, 1960
Direttore Vittorio Gui

8 Marsh
Hulda is an opera by César Franck to a French libretto by Charles Grandmougin. It is set in 11th-century Norway, and is based on the play Lame Hulda (1858) by Norwegian writer Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. The complete opera contains a prologue, three acts and an epilogue. It was first performed in an incomplete version in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on 8 March 1894.

13 September
Composer Emmanuel Chabrier dies from the effects of syphilis, aged 53, in Paris. 


16 November
Tenor Enrico Caruso, aged 21, makes his operatic debut in Mario Morelli’s L’amico francesco in Naples.

Enrico Caruso (25 February 1873 – 2 August 1921) was an Italian operatic tenor. He sang to great acclaim at the major opera houses of Europe and the Americas, appearing in a wide variety of roles from the Italian and French repertoires that ranged from the lyric to the dramatic. Caruso also made approximately 260 commercially released recordings from 1902 to 1920. 

Enrico Caruso

14 March
Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 1 in G minor (1892) enjoys a successful royal premiere under the baton of the Norwegian composer-conductor Johan Svendsen at the Concert Palace in Copenhagen. 
The symphony is pioneering in its use of progressive tonality, inning in one key and ending in another.

Nielsen - Symphony No. 1 in G minor
Herbert Blomstedt - San Francisco Symphony

20 November
Russian composer, pianist and conductor Anton Rubinstein dies in Peterhof, outside St Petersburg, aged 64.


23 December
Claude Debussy’s Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun) is premiered at a Societe Nationale concert in Paris. Inspired by Stephane Mallarme’s poem, the evocative orchestral piece presents, in the composers own words, ‘a series of scenes against which the dreams and desires of the Faun stir in the afternoon heat’. It captivates the audience, who immediately demand an encore. The critics respond unfavourably.

Debussy - Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
Leonard Bernstein, Boston Symphony Orchestra



Edvard Greig composes his Haugtussa song cycle on poems by Arne Garborg.

Grieg - Haugtussa (Op. 67)
I. Det syng 00:00
II. Veslemøy 03:51
III. Blåbaer-li 06:20
IV.Møte 09:03
V. Elsk 12:56
VI. Killingdans 15:11
VII. Vond dag 16:52
VIII. Ved gjaetle-bekken 19:21

Anne Sofie von Otter- mezzosoprano
Bengt Forsberg -piano

25 March
Silvano is opera in two acts by Pietro Mascagni, 1895, from a libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti, based on a novel by Alphonse Karr. It received its first performance on 25 March 1895 at La Scala, Milan.

Pietro Mascagni - SILVANO 
SILVANO: Gianni Jaja,
RENZO: Giovanni Ciminelli,
MATILDE: Renata Mattioli,
ROSA: Lucia Danieli
Orchestra e coro della RAI di Milano
Direttore PIETRO ARGENTO, 1973

Zdenek Fibich completes his Op. 44 set of Moods, Impressions and Reminiscences for piano.

Fibich - Moods, Impressions and Reminiscences, Radoslav Kvapil, 1993

Richard Strauss completes Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Till Eulenspiegels Merry Pranks). The tone poem is not universally appreciated, with some unimpressed by the earthy subject matter of Tills adventures. Others are bemused by the music itself, including Debussy: 'An hour of music in an asylum ... You do not know whether to roar with laughter or with pain.'

Richard Strauss - Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (Op. 28)
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunk. Conductor is Lorin Maazel 

Antonin Dvorak completes his masterful Cello Concerto in B minor amid deepening dissatisfaction with his job at the National Conservatory in America. Homesick, with little time to compose and inconsistent wages, he returns with his wife to Bohemia during the spring.

Dvořák - Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191

1. Allegro 0:00
2. Adagio, ma non troppo 16:05
3. Finale: Allegro moderato - Andante - Allegro vivo 28:25

Gautier Capuçon, cello
Paavo Järvi, conductor - Orchestre de Paris

4 May
The opera Der Evangelimann by the Austrian composer Wilhelm Kienzl enjoys instant success in Berlin.

Wilhelm Kienzl  - Der Evangelimann

10 July
Composer Carl Orff is born in Munich.

Sergei Rachmaninov completes his Symphony No. 1 in D minor.

Rachmaninoff - Symphony No.1 in D minor, Op.13
Kurt Sanderling - Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra

16 November
Paul Hindemith is born in Hanau, near Frankfurt.


16 February 
Guglielmo Ratcliff is a tragic opera in four acts by Pietro Mascagni to an Italian libretto by Andrea Maffei, translated from the German play Wilhelm Ratcliff (1822) by Heinrich Heine.


Guglielmo Ratcliff : Angelo Villari
Maria : Mariangela Sicilia
Conte Douglas : David Stout
MacGregor : Gianluca Buratto
Lesley : Alexandros Tsilogiannis
Margherita : Annunziata Vestri
Tom : Quentin Hayes
Willie : Sarah Richmond
Robin : Henry Grant Kerswell
Dick : Stephen Anthony Brown
Bell : Rory Musgrave
John : Matthew Wright
Taddie : Raffaele D'Ascanio
Un Servo : Simon Chalford Gilkes

Chorus and Orchestra of Wexford Festival Opera
Conductor : Francesco Cilluffo

10 December
Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Christmas Eve, a so-called 'Carol come-to-life’ after a story by Gogol, debuts in St Petersburg.

Christmas Eve - Rimsky-Korsakov
Vakula - Dmitri Tarkhov
Oxana - Natalya Shpiller
Tsarita - Lyudmila Ivanovna Legostayeva
Solokha - Nina Kulagina
Devil - Pavel Pontryagin
Golova - Sergei Migay
Chub - Sergei Krasovsky
Panas - Vsevolod Tyutyunnik
Patzjuk - Alexsei Korolev
Sacristan - Sergei Streltrosv
First Woman - K. Pavlova-Assyar
Second Woman - Anna Dolina
Nikolai Golovanov - Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra 1948 

Carl Orff

Carl Orff

Carl Orff, (born July 10, 1895, Munich, Germany—died March 29, 1982, Munich), German composer known particularly for his operas and dramatic works and for his innovations in music education.


Orff studied at the Munich Academy of Music and with the German composer Heinrich Kaminski and later conducted in Munich, Mannheim, and Darmstadt. His Schulwerk, a manual describing his method of conducting, was first published in 1930. Orff edited some 17th-century operas and in 1937 produced his secular oratorio Carmina Burana. Intended to be staged with dance, it was based on a manuscript of medieval poems. This work led to others inspired by Greek theatre and by medieval mystery plays, notably Catulli carmina (1943; Songs of Catullus) and Trionfo di Afrodite (1953; The Triumph of Aphrodite), which form a trilogy with Carmina Burana. His other works include an Easter cantata, Comoedia de Christi Resurrectione (1956); a nativity play, Ludus de nato infante mirificus (1960); and a trilogy of “music dramas”—Antigonae (1949), Oedipus der Tyrann (1959), and Prometheus (1966). Orff’s system of music education for children, largely based on developing a sense of rhythm through group exercise and performance with percussion instruments, has been widely adopted. In 1924 in Munich he founded, with the German gymnast Dorothee Günther, the Günther School for gymnastics, dance, and music.


Carl Orff - Carmina Burana
Andreas Delfs, conductor

Robert Orth, baritone
Caitlyn Lynch, soprano
Michael Maniaci, male soprano

Temple University Combined Choirs
Temple University Symphony Orchestra


Carl Orff - Catulli Carmina
Sopran: Arleen Auger
Tenor: Wieslaw Ochman
Choir of German Opera Berlin
Conductor: Eugen Jochum

1. 00:04 - Prelude (Choir)
2. 13:06 - Act I
3. 21:03 - Act II/Act III
4. 27:54 - Exodus (Choir)


Toulouse-Lautrec - At the Moulin Rouge

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