top of page

Romantic Era


William McKinley is assassinated; is succeeded by Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt as 26th President of the USA • Panama becomes independent from Colombia • Queen Victoria of Britain dies; is succeeded by Edward VII • China agrees to pay reparations to European countries • Guglielmo Marconi (It) transmits messages acrossthe Atlantic by wireless telegraphy • The Trans-Siberiai railroad begins operating • Hans Baluschek (Ger) paint Kohlenfuhren • Pablo Picasso (Sp) paints Leaning Harlequin • Rudyard Kipling (Eng): Kim • Anton Chekhov (Russ): pla Three Sisters • G. B. Shaw (Ire): play Caesar and Cleopatra •  Sigmund Freud (Aus): The Psychology of Everyday Life

The Boer War ends with Treaty of Vereeniging; the Boers recognise British sovereignty • Germany, Italy and Austria renew their Triple Alliance • President Theodore Roosevelt is empowered to purchase French shares in the Panama Canal and so gain control of the Canal Zone for the USA • Russia agrees with China to evacuate Manchuria • Egypt’s Aswan Dam is completed • Gustav Klimt (Aus) paints Buchenhain • Camille Pissarro paints Le Pont-Neuf • Arthur Conan Doyle (Scot): The Hound of the Baskervilles • Rudyard Kipling (Eng): Just So Stories • Beatrix Potter (Eng) writes and illustrates Peter Rabbit • Henry James (US): Wings of the Dove

Serbia’s Alexander I and Queen Draga are assassinated • USA secures control of the Panama Canal Zone • Canada and the USA agree Alaska’s frontier • The Russian Social Democratic Party divides into Mensheviks and Bolsheviks • Pope Leo XIII dies; succeeded by Pope Pius X (until 1914) • Emmeline Pankhurst founds the Women’s Social and Political Union, beginning Britain’s suffragette movement • First flights by Orville and Wilber Wright (US); Wilber manages continuous flight for nearly one minute • Claude Monet (Fr) paints Waterloo Bridge • Joaquin Sorolla (Sp) paints Children on the Seashore • Jack London (US): Call of the Wild

Russia and Japan war over rival interests in China; Russian warships on the way to Japan fire on British trawlers in the North Sea • An Entente Cordiale between Britain and France settles their differences over Egypt; Britain recognises the Suez Canal Convention • Tibet’s independence is established by a treaty with Britain • France’s possessions in west Africa are reorganised as French West Africa, with Dakar as the capital • Herero tribesmen revolt against German rule in south-west Africa • Ilya Repin (Russ) paints State Council • James M. Barrie (Scot): play Peter Pan • Anton Chekov (Russ): The Cherry Orchard

Russo-Japanese War continues • Revolution in Russia: sailors mutiny on the warship Potemkin; a general strike is called; Tsar Nikolai II agrees to an elected parliament • Union of Sweden and Norway dissolved • Moroccan crisis: secret agreements by Britain, France and Spain to divide Morocco upset by visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II to Tangier, where 
he declares support for the Moroccans • Bengal partitioned

•    Albert Einstein (Ger) publishes his special theory of relativity, with mass-energy formula E = me2 • Bertrand Russell (Wal): essay ‘On Denoting'  • Paul Cezanne (Fr) paints The Bathers •   Gustav Klimt (Aus) paints The Three Ages of Woman • Baroness Orczy (Hung/UK): The Scarlet Pimpernel


Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (29 January 1860  – 15 July 1904) was a Russian playwright and short-story writer, who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history. His career as a playwright produced four classics, and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics.



Edvard Grieg completes his tenth and final collection of Lyric Pieces for piano (Op. 71).

Edvard Grieg - Lyriske stykker, op.71 
Halvor Martins: Piano
Recorded in Arendal, Norway 2018

1. Der var en gang - Once upon a Time  0:05
2. Sommeraften - Summer's Eve  4:05
3. Småtrold - Puck  6:21
4. Skovstilhed - Peace of the Woods  8:17
5. Halling - Norwegian Peasant Dance  14:22
6. Forbi - Gone  17:51
7. Efterklang - Remembrances  20:25

Sergei Rachmaninov composes his Cello Sonata, Op. 19.

Sergei Rachmaninov - Cello Sonata in G minor Op.19
Natalia Gutman (cello), Elisso Virsaladze (piano), 2006 

00:00 - I. Lento -- Allegro moderato (G minor) 
12:50 - II. Allegro scherzando (C minor) 
19:03 - III. Andante (E flat major) 
25:19 - IV. Allegro mosso (G major) 

Maurice Ravel composes his impressionistic piano piece Jeux d’eau (Water Games), inspired by Liszts Jeux d’eau a la Villa d’Este.

Maurice Ravel - Jeux d'eau

Sviatoslav Richter, piano

17 January
Pietro Mascagni's opera Le Maschere (The Masks) opens to high expectations in six Italian opera houses simultaneously. Five out of the six productions are dismal failures, with the Genoa performance booed off the stage before the finish.

Pietro Mascagni - LE MASCHERE - 1
Direttore - Petre Sbarcea
Orchestra dell'Opera Romena di Cluj Napoca
Bucarest - Teatro Nazionale - 18 aprile 1988

Rosaura: Elena Baggiore
Colombina: Anna Baldasserini
Florindo: Tamas Doroczi
Arlecchino: Viorel Baciu
Brighella: Vincenzo Manno
Capitan Spavento: Dan Serbac
Tartaglia: Ettore Cresci

Pietro Mascagni - LE MASCHERE - 3

Pietro Mascagni - LE MASCHERE - 4

Pietro Mascagni - LE MASCHERE - 6

Pietro Mascagni - LE MASCHERE - 9

27 January
Following a stroke, Giuseppe Verdi dies in Milan, aged 87. One month after burial his coffin is exhumed, together with that of his wife, and conveyed past tens of thousands of mourners lining the streets of Milan to the Casa di Riposo, a retirement home for musicians founded by Verdi. Toscarmini conducts a choir of 800 singing ‘Va, pensiero’ (from Nabucco) during the ceremony.


31 March
Antonin Dvorak's lyric fairytale Rusalka, completed the previous year, opens at the National Theatre in Prague. It becomes the composer s most popular opera.


Arnold Schoenberg completes the short score of his Gurrelieder cantata. The full score (1911) will incorporate a narrator, five solo voices, three male choirs, an eight-part mixed choir and a 140-piece orchestra. 

Arnold Schoenberg - Gurre Lieder
for soloists, Chorus and Orchestra
Text Jens Peter Jacobsen

Part 1
1. Orchestervorspiel (00 to 6:55)
2. Nun dämpft die Dämm'rung (Waldemar) (6:55 to 11:20)
3. O, wenn des mondes Strahlen leise gleiten (Tove) (11:20 to 14:20)
4. Ross! Mein Ross! (Waldemar) (14:20 to 18:17)
5. Sterne jubeln (Tove) (18:17 to 21:06)
6. So tanzen die Engel vor Gottes Thron nicht (Waldemar) (18:17 to 23:50)
7. Nun sag ich dir zum ersten Mal (Tove) (23:50 to 27:37)
8. Es ist Mitternachtszeit (Waldemar) (27:37 to 33:50)
9. Du sendest mir einen Liebesblick (Tove)  (33:50 to 39:55)
10. Du wunderliche Tove! (Waldemar) (39:55 to 47:16)
11. Orchesterzwischenspiel (47:16 to 49:56
12. Tauben von Gurre! Stimme der Waldtaube) (49:56 to 1:04:05)
(00 to 1:04:05)

Part 2
Herrgott, weisst du, was du tatest. (Waldemar) (1:04:05 to 1:09:36

Part 3
1. Erwacht, König Waldemars Mannen wert! (Waldemar) (1:09:36 to 1:12:09)
2. Deckel des Sarges klappert (Bauer) (1:12:09 to 1:15:28)
3. Gegrüsst, O, König (Waldemars Mannen) (1:15:28 to 1:19:22)
4. Mit Toves Stimme flüstert der Wald (Waldemar) (1:19:22 to 1:24:17)
5. Ein seltsamer Vogel ist so’n Aal (Klaus-Narr) (1:24:17 to 1:31:01)
6. Du strenger Richter droben (Waldemar) (1:31:01 to 1:34:04)
7. Der Hahn erhebt den Kopf zur Kraht (Waldemars Mannen) (1:34:04 to 1:39:56)

Des Sommerwindes wilde Jagd 
1. Prelude (1:39:56 to 1:42:50)
2. Herr Gänsefuss, Frau Gänsekraut (Sprecher) (1:42:50 to 
3. Seht die Sonne (gemischter Chor)! (1:48:02 to 1:53:14 End)

Thomas Moser (Waldemar)
Deborah Voigt (Tove)
Jennifer Larmore (Waldtaube)
Bernd Weikl (Bauer)
Kenneth Riegel (Klaus Narr)
Klaus Maria Brandauer (Sprecher)

Chor des Sachsischen Staatsoper Dresden
Chor des Mitteldeutschen Rundfunks Leipzig
Prager Männerchor
Staatskapelle Dresden
Giuseppe Sinopoli, conductor

20 June
Edward Elgar introduces his Cockaigne (In London TownOverture at the Queens Hall in London. This year also marks the premiere of his orchestrated Chanson de nuit and Chanson de matin, written for violin and piano in 1899.

Elgar: Cockaigne Overture (In London Town)
The London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir John Barbirolli

9 November
Sergei Rachmaninov  premieres his symphonic Piano Concerto No. 2 to great acclaim in Moscow. The work is dedicated to the psychologist Dr Nikolay Dahl, who revitalised Rachmaninov's creativity in the wake of the catastrophic First Symphony premiere'. Passionate, dreamy, effervescent, it becomes the most popular concerto of the 20th century.

Sergei Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18
Piano: Hélène Grimaud
Conductor: Claudio Abbado
Lucerne Festival Orchestra

20 November
Jules Massenet - Griselidis.

is an opera in three acts and a prologue by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Armand Silvestre and Eugène Morand. 

Griselidis - Massenet
Michelle Command - J.LViala - J.F Courtis
Conductor: Patick Fourmillier

21 November
Richard Strauss’s one-act opera Feuersnot (Fire Famine) is premiered in Dresden.

Richard Strauss - "Feuersnot" 
Aspeck: Willi Brokmeier
Diemut: Julia Varady
Elsbeth: Ruthild Engert-Ely
Hämerlein: Raimund Grumbach
Jörg Pöschel: Manfred Schenk
Kofel: Waldemar Wild
Kunrad: Bernd Weikl
Kunz Gilgenstock: Kieth Engen
Mädchen: Carmen Anhorn
Margret: Elisabeth Wachutka
Ortlof Sentlinger: Helmut Berger-Tuna
Schweiker: Hans-Dieter Bader
Tulbeck: Friedrich Lenz
Ursula: Marga Schiml
Walpurg: Andrea Trauboth
Wigelis: Kaja Borris 
Heinz Fricke; Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Münchner Rundfunkorchester, 1983

22 November
Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo 
is born in Sagunto, Valencia. He loses his sight at the age of three.

25 November
Gustav Mahler's Fourth Symphony (1900) is heard for the first time, in Munich. Based on his song ‘Das himmlische Leben’ (Heavenly Life), the work is a journey of innocence, culminating with a direct quotation of the song (sung by solo soprano) in the final movement.

Mahler - Symphony No 4 G major
Leonard Bernstein - Wiener Philharmoniker

Joaquin Rodrigo

Joaquin Rodrigo

Joaquín Rodrigo, (born Nov. 22, 1901, Sagunto, Spain—died July 6, 1999, Madrid), one of the leading Spanish composers of the 20th century.


Although blind from age three, Rodrigo began music studies at an early age and later became a pupil of Paul Dukas. While in France he made the acquaintance of composer Manuel de Falla, who became his mentor. In 1939 Rodrigo returned to Spain. After the first performance of his highly successful Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra (1940), in Barcelona, he was widely regarded as the leading post-Civil War Spanish composer. He later became a musical adviser for Spain’s national radio and, from 1947 to 1977, held the Manuel de Falla Chair of Music at the Complutense University of Madrid.

Although best known for his music for guitar, such as his Fantasía para un gentilhombre (1954; composed for guitarist Andrés Segovia and orchestra) and Concierto Andaluz (1967; written for the Romero family), he also wrote concerti for other instruments (such as Concierto heróico for piano and orchestra, 1942, and Sones en la Giralda for harp and orchestra, 1963), an opera (La azuzena de Quito, 1965), a ballet (Pavana real, 1955), solo guitar and piano pieces, and 60 songs.


Concierto de Aranjuez  - Joaquin Rodrigo
Recuerdos de la Alhambra ( Francisco Tarrega)
Pepe Romero

Joaquín Rodrigo - Fantasia para un gentilhombre
John Williams

Joaquín Rodrigo -  Por los campos de España
Guitarra: Jérémy Jouve



Carl Nielsen completes his Second Symphony, De fire temperamenter (The Four Temperaments). His collection of symphonic portraits has been inspired by a woodcut depicting the four medieval 'humours’: choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic and sanguine.

Nielsen : Symphony No. 2 "The Four Temperaments"
San Francisco Symphony - Herbert Blomstedt

9 June
Gustav Mahler triumphs with the first complete performance of his Third Symphony, in Krefeld. During the summer he completes his Fifth Symphony, whose beguiling fourth-movement Adagietto will become his most famous piece of music.

Gustav Mahler - Symphony No 5 in C-sharp minor 
Wiener Philharmoniker - Leonard Bernstein, 1972

18 February
Le jongleur de Notre-Dame is a three-act opera  by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Maurice Léna.


Jean : Roberto Alagna
Boniface : Stefano Antonucci, 
Le Prieur : Francesco Ellero d'Artegna
Un moine sculpteur : Evgueniy Alexiev
Un moine peintre : Richard Rittelmann
Un moine musicien : Marco Di Sapia
Un moine poète : Marc Larcher

Direction : Enrique Diemecke - Orchestre National de Montpellier, 2007

29 March
Composer William Turner Walton is

born in Oldham, Lancashire.

12 April 
Los amores de la Inés (The Loves of Inés) is a zarzuela in one act, two scenes, composed by Manuel de Falla in collaboration with Amadeu Vives.

Manuel de Falla   Los amores de la Inés 

30 April
Based on Maeterlinck's play, the symbolist opera Pelleas et Melisande by Claude Debussy  premieres under 
Andre Messager at the Opera-Comique, Paris. Maeterlinck, disgruntled that his mistress has not been granted the lead part, writes in the Figaro'I am compelled to wish that it fails resoundingly and instantly.’ Critical reaction is mixed, but the Parisian public demonstrate sufficient interest to launch the opera into the repertory.

Claude Debussy - Pelléas et Mélisande 
Opéra de Lyon Conductor: John Elliot Gardiner, 2016
Stage direction and design: Pierre Strosser
Mélisande: Colette-Alliot Lugaz
Pelléas: François Le roux
Golaud: José van Dam
Arkel: Roger Soyer
Geneviève: Jocelyne Taillon
Yniold Françoise Golfier
A Physician: René Schirrer

6 November
The debut of Francesco Cilea’s opera Adriana Lecouvreur rouses great excitement at Milan’s Teatro Lirico. Tenor Enrico Caruso sings the part of Maurizio, Count of Saxony.

Francesco Cilea’ -  Adriana Lecouvreur

28 November
Saul og David (Saul and David) is the first of the two operas by the Danish composer Carl Nielsen. The four-act libretto, by Einar Christiansen, tells the Biblical story of Saul's jealousy of the young David, taken from the Book of Samuel.

Carl Nielsen - Saul and David
with English subtitles (1986)
Saul: Leif Roar
David: Kjell Magnus Sandve
Mikal: Eva Johansson
Jonathan: Stig Fogh Andersen
Samuel: Jorgen Klint
Abner: Christian Christiansen
Fortune-teller in Endor: Minna Nyhus
Abisay: Elsebeth Lund
a guard: Anders Jakobsson
a girl: Antje Jansen

12 December
Kashchey the Deathless (Kashchey bessmertnïy), a.k.a. Kashchey the Immortal, is a one-act opera in three scenes (styled a "little autumnal fairy tale") by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The libretto was written by the composer, and is based on a Russian fairy tale about Koschei the Deathless, an evil, ugly old wizard, who menaced principally young women.

Rimsky-Korsakov - Kashchei the Immortal (Кащей Бессмертный) 

Kashchei: Pavel Pontryagin
Princess: Vera Gradova
Ivan Koralevich: Pavel Lisitsian
Kashcheievna: A. Kleshcheva
Storm-Bogatyr: K. Poliaev
Moscow Radio Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Samuil Samosud, 1948

William Turner Walton

William Turner Walton

Sir William Walton, in full Sir William Turner Walton, (born March 29, 1902, Oldham, Lancashire, Eng.—died March 8, 1983, Ischia, Italy), English composer especially known for his orchestral music. His early work made him one of England’s most important composers between the time of Vaughan Williams and that of Benjamin Britten.


Walton, the son of a choirmaster father and a vocalist mother, studied violin and piano desultorily as a boy and also sang, with somewhat better results, in his father’s choir. He taught himself composition, although he received advice from both Ernest Ansermet and Ferruccio Busoni. In 1912 he entered the University of Oxford, where he sang in the choir of Christ Church. He put in the requisite four years of study but failed by one examination (Responsonions) to win a bachelor of music degree. At Oxford he had met the Sitwell brothers, Osbert and Sacheverell, by whom he was virtually adopted, and he spent most of the next decade traveling with them or living with them at Chelsea. During this period he composed Façade (1923)—a set of pieces for chamber ensemble, to accompany the Sitwells’ sister Edith in a recitation of her poetry—as well as Sinfonia Concertante for piano and orchestra (1928; revised 1943) and Portsmouth Point (1926), which established his reputation as an orchestral composer.

Walton was influenced by some of his older contemporaries, notably Edward Elgar, Igor Stravinsky, and Paul Hindemith. Hindemith was soloist in the first performance of one of Walton’s finest works, his Viola Concerto (1929). Walton also composed a number of scores for motion pictures, including Major Barbara (1941), Henry V (1944), Hamlet (1947), and Richard III (1954). His vocal music includes the oratorio Belshazzar’s Feast (1931) and the operas Troilus and Cressida (1954) and The Bear (one act; 1967). The composer received a knighthood in 1951.



W. T. Walton - Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor

Orchestra: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Michael Seal

William Walton - Viola Concerto
Orchestra: Sofia Symphonic Orchestra
Conductor: Ljubka Biagioni
Viola: Simonide Braconi

William Walton - Façade

Arizona State University, 2011, conducted by Wayne Bailey
Reciter: David Schildkret
Cello: Ruth Wenger
Saxophone: Greg Mills
Trumpet: Antonio Villanueva
Flute/piccolo: Joshua Stockam
Clarinet: Or Sidi

William Walton - The Bear
"Extravaganza in one Act" su libretto di Paul Dehn basato sull'opera omonima di Anton Ceckhov (1967).

Popova: Della Jones
Smirnov: Alan Opie
Luka: John Shirley-Quirk

Northern Sinfonia diretta da Richard Hickox.



Claude Debussy composes his evocative Estampes (Engravings) for piano, comprising Pagodes (Pagodas), Soiree dans Grenade (Evening in Granada) and Jardin sous la pluie (Gardens in the rain).

Claude Debussy - Estampes
No. 1 Pagodes (Pagodas)
No. 2 La soirée dans Grenade (The Evening in Granada)
No. 3 Jardins sous la pluie (Gardens in the Rain)

Nelson Freire (Munich, 1982)

Sweden’s Hugo Alfven charms national folk tunes into his Swedish Rhapsody No. 1 (Midsummer Vigil) for orchestra.

Hugo Alfvén - Swedish Rhapsody No. 1, Op. 19: "Midsommarvaka"

Iceland Symphony Orchestra - Petri Sakari

Sergei Rachmaninov completes his ten Preludes, Op. 23, for solo piano. The set includes the popular No. 5 in G minor ('Alla Marcia’), whose opening percussive theme is blissfully contrasted with the Russian languor of the work’s central section.

Rachmaninov - Preludes Op. 23

0:00 No. 1 in F-sharp minor (Largo)
3:18 No. 2 in B-flat major (Maestoso)
7:01 No. 3 in D minor (Tempo di minuetto)
10:23 No. 4 in D major (Andante cantabile)
14:55 No. 5 in G minor (Alla marcia)
18:37 No. 6 in E-flat major (Andante)
22:11 No. 7 in C minor (Allegro)
24:52 No. 8 in A-flat major (Allegro vivace)
28:15 No. 9 in E-flat minor (Presto)
30:07 No. 10 in G-flat major (Largo)
Santiago Rodriguez, 2008

Maurice Ravel dabbles in orientalism in the song cycle Sheherazade for mezzo soprano and orchestra.

Maurice Ravel - Shéhérazade, Three Poems of Tristan Klingsor
 I Asie
 II La Flûte enchantée
III L´indifférent

New York Philharmonic - Avery Fisher Hall, 2003
Renée Fleming, soprano
Sir Andrew Davis, conductor

Erik Satie completes his Trois morceaux en forme de poire (Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear) for piano duet.

Claude Debussy - Estampes
No. 1 Pagodes (Pagodas)
No. 2 La soirée dans Grenade (The Evening in Granada)
No. 3 Jardins sous la pluie (Gardens in the Rain)

Nelson Freire (Munich, 1982)

22 February
Hugo Wolf dies syphilitically insane at an asylum in Vienna, aged 42. Melanie Kochert, his mistress, slips into depression, berating herself in the belief that she had failed him as a partner. Three years later she commits suicide by jumping from a fourth-floor window of her home in Vienna.


6 June
Armenian composer and conductor Aram Khachaturian is born in Tbilisi, Georgia.

17 June
Victor Herbert's operetta Babes in Toyland opens in Chicago. It begins a run of theatrical hits for the Dublin-born composer, making him one of the most famous names in American music.

Victor Herbert - Prologue - Part 1 - Babes in Toyland  
London Sinfonietta - Conductor John McGlinn

Victor Herbert - Prologue - Part 2 - Babes in Toyland  
London Sinfonietta - Conductor John McGlinn

Victor Herbert - Finale Act One - Babes in Toyland  
London Sinfonietta - Conductor John McGlinn

8 October
The sun rises and sets over the Aegean Sea in Carl Nielsen’s Helios Overture, first performed in Copenhagen.

Carl Nielsen - "Helios" Overture 
Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra
William Schrickel, conductor
Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, 2012

14 October
Edward Elgar's oratorio The Apostles premieres before an appreciative audience at Birmingham’s Town Hall.

Sir Edward Elgar - The Apostles Op. 49

The Blessed Virgin, The Angel Gabriel : Alison Hargan, soprano
Mary Magdalene : Alfreda Hodgson, contralto
St John : David Rendall, tenor
St Peter : Bryn Terfel, bass
Jesus : Stephen Roberts, bass
Judas : Robert Lloyd, bass

London Symphony Chorus
London Symphony Orchestra
Roderick Elms, organ

Conducted by Richard Hickox, 1990

15 November
Eugen D’Albert's opera Tiefland (The Lowlands) opens in Prague. Libretto: Rudolf Lothar, after Àngel Guimerà's play Terra baixa.

Eugen d'Albert - Tiefland (The Lowlands), op. 34 

8 March
George Enescu
 aged 21, secures his status as a leading voice in Romanian music with his two orchestral
Rhapsodies roumaines (1901), premiered in Bucharest.

ENESCU - Roumanian Rhapsody No. 1 -
London Symphony Orchestra - Antal Dorati.

Enescu - Romanian Rhapsody No. 2 in D major, Op. 11

Romanian National Radio Orchestra - Horia Andreescu 

19 December
Siberia is an opera in three acts by Umberto Giordano from a libretto by Luigi Illica. It premiered on 19 December 1903 at La Scala in Milan. 

Umberto Giordano - SIBERIA 
Stephana: Luisa Maragliano,
Vassili: Amedeo Zambon
Gleby: Walter Monachesi,
Nikona: Laura Londi
Spica, Calò, Pugliese, Viaro Rossini, Porzano, Clabassi, Mazzini
Direttore Danilo Bernardinelli - Rai Milano, 1974

Aram Khachaturian

Aram Khachaturian

Aram Khachaturian, in full Aram Ilich Khachaturian, (born May 24 [June 6, New Style], 1903, Tiflis, Georgia, Russian Empire [now Tbilisi, Georgia]—died May 1, 1978, Moscow), Soviet composer best known for his Piano Concerto (1936) and his ballet Gayane (1942), which includes the popular, rhythmically stirring Sabre Dance.


Khachaturian was trained at the Gnesin State Musical and Pedagogical Institute in Moscow and at the Moscow Conservatory and was a professor at both schools from 1951. As a young composer, he was influenced by contemporary Western music, particularly that of Maurice Ravel. In his Symphony No. 1 (1935) and later works, this influence was supplanted by a growing appreciation of folk traditions, not only those of his Armenian forebears but also those of Georgia, Russia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. His Symphony No. 2 (1943) was written for the 25th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. His other works include a symphonic suite, Masquerade (1944; from incidental music to a play by Mikhail Lermontov); the ballets Happiness (1939) and Spartak (1953; “Spartacus”); a Third Symphony; a violin concerto (1940); a cello concerto (1946); and numerous shorter works. He also composed the music for the Armenian national anthem, as well as film scores and incidental music.

In 1948, along with Dmitry Shostakovich and Sergey Prokofiev, Khachaturian was accused by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of bourgeois tendencies in his music. He admitted his guilt and was restored to prominence. After Stalin’s death in 1953, however, he publicly condemned the Central Committee’s accusation, which was formally rescinded in 1958. He was named People’s Artist of the Soviet Union in 1954 and was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1959.


Khachaturian - Piano Concerto in D-flat major, Op.38

Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
Orchestre de Paris - Kazuki Yamada, conductor

Gayane - Aram Khachaturian

Ballet in three acts - Libretto by Vilen Galstyan

State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater of Armenia

Conductor: Karen Durgaryan
The Mariinsky Orchestra

Gayane: Syuzanna Pirumyan
Armen: Sevak Avetisyan
Giko: Armen Gevorgyan
Nuneh: Zhakelina Sarkhoshyan
Karen: Garik Babelyan

Musical Director and Principal Conductor: Karen Durgaryan - Choreographer: Vilen Galstyan

Aram Khachaturian - Spartacus

Choreography: Yuri Grigorovich

Spartacus: Carlos Acosta
Crassus: Alexander Volchkov
Phrygia: Nina Kaptsova
Aegina: María Allash
Soloists and body of the Ballet of the Bolshoi Theater of Russia - Orchestra of Cologne, directed by Pavel Klinichev



Alexander Glazunov writes his Violin Concerto in A minor, dedicated to the Hungarian violinist Leopold Auer.

Alexander Glazunov - Violin Concerto in A minor, Op 82

Nathan Milstein, violin

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra 
William Steinberg, conductor, 

1 May
Leading Czech composer
Antonin Dvorak dies (possibly from a heart attack) in Prague, aged 62. Four days later his body is laid to rest at the Vysehrad cemetery.


Charles Ives completes his Third Symphony.

Charles Ives -  "Symphonie #3 The Camp Meeting"
Academy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields 
dir : Neville Marriner

21 January
Leos Janacek's domestic tragedy Jenufa is staged for the first time, in Brno. The 50-year-old composer will later revise the opera substantially. 

Gustav Mahler completes his Sixth Symphony (which he will revise several times) and begins his Seventh. This year also sees the completion of his orchestral song cycle Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Deaths of Children).

Mahler -  6th Symphony "Tragic" 
pf: Leonard Bernstein cond
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
1988, Vienna, Musikverein, Große Saal 

Gustav Mahler - Kindertotenlieder nach Gedichten von Friedrich Rückert
Poems by Friedrich Rückert
Christa Ludwig, Alt (Contralto)
BPO, Herbert von Karajan.

I. Nun will die Sonn' so hell aufgeh'n
II. Nun seh' ich wahl, warum so dunkle Flammen
III. Wenn dein Mutterlein
IV. Oft denk' ich, sie sind nur ausgegangen
V. In diesem Wetter, in diesem Braus

Jean Sibelius - Violin Concerto in D minor, op 47
Oslo Filharmoniske Orkester. 24.11.11
Joshua Bell 
Conductor: Vasily Petrenko

17 February
Giacomo Puccini
's Madama Butterfly opens and flops at La Scala, Milan. The raucous audience, shouting, whistling and laughing, mauls the production and Puccini is accused of plagiarism. He immediately withdraws the opera for revision, despite believing that rivals initiated the debacle. The new version, staged three months later in Brescia, is a resounding triumph.

8 February
Jean Sibelius conducts a disappointing premiere of his Violin Concerto in D minor in Helsinki.

21 March |
In New York
Richard Strauss introduces his Sinfonia domestica (completed 1903), depicting a 24-hour period of his family life.

Richard Strauss - Sinfonia Domestica Op. 53
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra - Lorin Maazel 

30 March
Frederick Delius’s opera Koanga, with a German libretto, premieres in Elberfeld.

Frederick Delius - “Koanga” 
The Lydians Singers (Trinidad and Tobago)
Koanga - Orlando Mc Intosh
Palmyra - Glenis Yearwood
The Lydians Orchestra
Lydian Steel Orchestra
Myrtle Cumberbatch
Sian Carlin
Jerome Dinchong
Agness Frederick
Musical Director - Pat Bishop

25 April
Jean Sibelius conducts his haunting Valse Triste in Helsinki.

Jean Sibelius - Valse triste, op. 44 nr. 1
DR Symfoni Orkestret - Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos

10 November
Ferruccio Busoni performs as soloist in the first performance of his monumental Piano Concerto, complete with choral finale, in Berlin.

Busoni - Piano Concerto in C Major, Op. 39

Movement 1: Beginning
Movement 2: 16:12
Movement 3: 25:18
Movement 4: 45:23
Movement 5: 58:21

Piano: John Ogdon.
Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Conductor: Daniell Revenaugh.
Men's Choir: John Alldis Choir.

13 December
Der Roland von Berlin is an opera in four acts by composer Ruggero Leoncavallo. The work uses a German-language libretto by Leoncavallo which is based on Willibald Alexis's 1840 historical novel of the same name. The opera premiered at the Berlin State Opera on 13 December 1904. Its premiere in Italy was given at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples the following month where it was sung in Italian with the title Rolando.

LEONCAVALLO - "Der Roland von Berlin" Berlino 24-05-1987


11 December
Giuseppe Martucci, aged 48, conducts the premiere of his Symphony No. 2, one of his greatest achievements, in Milan.

Giuseppe Martucci - Symphony No.2 in F-major, Op.81 

Mov.I: Allegro moderato 00:00
Mov.II: Scherzo: Allegro vivace 14:31
Mov.III: Adagio ma non troppo 21:07
Mov.IV: Finale: Allegro 33:45

Orchestra: Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductor: Francesco D'Avalos



2 January
Composer Michael Tippett is born in London.

26 January
Arnold Schoenberg’s tone poem Pelleas und Melisande (completed 1903) is performed for the first time, meeting with hostility in Vienna.

Arnold Schönberg - Pélleas und Melisande,
poema sinfonico op.5 (1903)
Sinfonie-Orchester des Südwestfunks Baden-Baden diretta da Bruno Maderna (1960)

I. Anfang
II. Heftig
III. Lebhaft
IV. Sehr rasch
V. Ein wening bewegter
VI. Langsam
VII. Ein wening bewegter
VIII. Sehr langsam
IX. Etwas bewegter
X. In gehender Bewegung
XI. Breit

14 February 
Jules Massenet - Cherubin.

is an opera (comédie chantée) in three acts by
Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Francis de Croisset and Henri Cain after de Croisset's play of the same name. It was first performed at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo on 14 February 1905

Jules Massenet - Cherubin

8 March
Edward Elgar conducts the first performance of his Introduction and Allegro for string quartet and double string orchestra, in London.

Elgar - Introduction and Allegro, Op. 47 

New Russian Quartet
Julia Igonina, violin
Elena Kharitonova, violin
Alexander Galkovsky, viola
Alexey Steblev, cello

Eduard Grach, conductor
Moscovia Chamber orchestra

Claude Debussy finishes his first book of Images for piano while staying at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne.

Claude Debussy - Images

Pascal Rogé

00:00 - No. 1 Reflets dans l'eau
05:02 - No. 2 Hommage à Rameau
11:57 - No. 3 Mouvement

15:16 - No. 4 Cloches à travers les feuilles
20:08 - No. 5 Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut
25:47 - No. 6 Poissons d'or

15 October
Claude Debussy's three-movement symphonic poem La Mer (The Sea) premieres in Paris. Powerfully colouristic, the seascape 'sketches' do not receive critical approval.

Claude Debussy - La Mer

00:10 - 08:57 I. De l'aube à midi sur la mer -- très lent (Morgengrauen bis Mittag auf dem Meer -- sehr langsam, h-Moll)
08:59 - 15:43 II. Jeux de vagues -- allegro (Spiel der Wellen -- Allegro, cis-Moll)
15:45 - 24:07 III. Dialogue du vent et de la mer -- animé et tumultueux (Dialog zwischen Wind und Meer, lebhaft und stürmisch, cis-Moll)

Philharmonia Orchestra
Dirigent: Herbert von Karajan, 1953

9 December
Richard Strauss's controversial Salome takes Dresden by storm, with the audience demanding 38 curtain calls on the opening night. The erotic one-act production establishes Strauss as a leading composer of opera.


28 June
Edward Elgar receives an honourary doctorate at Yale University. In obeisance to the composer, his Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 is performed at the end of the ceremony. It subsequently becomes an American graduation standard.

Elgar - Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 in D major, 'Land of Hope and Glory' (Prom 75)
BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sakari Oramo.

30 December
Franz Lehar's Die Lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow) premieres sensationally at the Theater an der Wien (Vienna). It becomes one of the most successful operettas of the 20th century.

Michael Tippett

Michael Tippett

(b. London, January 2, 1905; d. London, January 8, 1998)


English composer. His father was a liberal lawyer and his mother a suffragette; he was educated in English “public” (i.e., private) schools and came to music relatively late, taking piano lessons as a teenager and singing in the local church choir. The experience of hearing an orchestra concert conducted by Malcolm Sargent led him to decide to become a composer, and he enrolled at the Royal College of Music in 1923. He left the RCM in 1928 to live and work in Surrey, where he taught French at a preparatory school and conducted the local concert and opera society. In 1930 he returned to the RCM for further study with R. O. Morris, concentrating on counterpoint; this training would lay the groundwork for his first mature com-postions—the String Quartet No. 1 (1935; rev. 1944) and Piano Sonata No. 1 (1936-37; rev. 1942, 1954)—and would continue to bear fruit throughout his career. During the 1930s, he became involved in radical politics, joining the Communist Party (as a Trotskyist) in 1935 and organizing the South London Orchestra of Unemployed Musicians. He became a committed Jungian, underwent analysis, and saw his aesthetic ideas begin to come into focus following several informal encounters with T. S. Eliot. All of this searching led to the oratorio A Child of Our Time (1939-41), a passionate protest against Fascism and the work that put Tippett’s name on the map.

In nearly all his early music Tippett showed a willingness to build on tradition by using structural, harmonic, and textural elements of earlier styles to achieve his expressive ends. The Concerto for Double String Orchestra (1938-39), a particularly fine example of this process, follows the formal model of the Baroque concerto grosso and is also clearly indebted to the kind of fugal procedures explored by Beethoven in his late works.

Tippett became musical director of Morley College, London, in 1940, remaining until 1951. While at Morley he encouraged the performance of much early music and composed several choral pieces as well as his Symphony No. 1 (1944-45). In 1943 he was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for refusing, as a pacifist, to comply with the British government conditions of exemption from active war service. (His relationship with the government would improve over time, leading to a knighthood in 1966.) After leaving Morley, Tippett devoted himself entirely to composition and to work on radio, enjoying a slow-growing fame. He reached a major milestone with the completion, in 1952, of his radiant first opera, The Midsummer Marriage; the work’s 1955 premiere at the Royal Opera House, with the young Joan Sutherland as Jenifer, cemented his position as one of England’s leading composers. Over the next 20 years he composed three more operas: King Priam (1958-61), The Knot Garden (1966-69), and The Ice Break (1973-76). Tippett remained active through his 80s, painstakingly fulfilling a steady stream of large commissions, including several from the United States. For the Chicago Symphony Orchestra he composed his Symphony No. 4 (1976-77) and Byzantium, a setting of the Yeats poem, for soprano and orchestra (1989-90); for the Boston Symphony Orchestra his oratorio The Mask of Time (1980-82); and for the Houston Grand Opera his final opera, New Year (1986-88). The premiere of Byzantium in 1991 ignited a small scandal when, to Sir Georg Solti’s immense displeasure, Jessye Norman refused to learn the soprano part and had to be replaced by Faye Robinson. Among the composer’s last works were a Fifth String Quartet (1990-91) and The Rose Lake, described as “a song without words for orchestra,” the premiere of which was given by the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis in Tippett’s 90th birthday year.
In much of his music, and for much of his life, Tippett felt the need for words. But he was not always successful in setting them musically. His text for A Child of Our Time is cumbersome, and the one for The Mask of Time, largely of his making, verges on the inscrutable; even his musical deconstruction of Yeats’s “Byzantium” is not to the poem’s advantage. The need for words was part of a larger problem for Tippett, having to do with the Manichean worldview he absorbed from Jung, in which light and dark, good and evil have equal claims. In attempting to make his art express this duality, he often loaded it with heavier moralistic freight than it could bear and forced upon it a complexity that was aimless and off-putting. In the best of his works, from early and late in his career, he was saved from this modernist obsession with density, complication, and dismay—and from his own intellectual pretentiousness—by his honest feeling for beauty and his respect for the past.



Tippet - A Child of Our Time
John Pritchard conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, 1958 
 Elsie Morison. 

Michael Tippett - Symphony No. 3 (1972)
BBC Philharmonic conducted  Richard Hickox

Tippett - The Midsummer Marriage (1/2)

Paul Groves tenor (Mark)
Erin Wall soprano, Proms debut artist (Jenifer)
David Wilson-Johnson baritone (King Fisher)
Ailish Tynan soprano (Bella)
Allan Clayton tenor (Jack)
Catherine Wyn-Rogers mezzo-soprano (Sosostris)
David Soar bass (He-Ancient)
Madeleine Shaw mezzo-soprano, (She-Ancient)
BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Symphony Orchestra - Sir Andrew Davis conductor

Tippett - The Midsummer Marriage (2/2)

Michael Tippett - The Knot Garden,
opera in tre atti su libretto dell'Autore (1970)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden diretta da Colin Davis 

Faber: Raimund Herincx
Thea: Yvonne Minton
Flora: Jill Gomez
Denise: Josephine Barstow
Mel: Thomas Carey
Dov: Robert Tear
Mangus: Thomas Hemsley

Atto I: Confrontation
Atto II: Labyrinth
Atto III: Charade

Michael Tippett - The Ice Break,
opera in tre atti su libretto proprio (1975/1976) -- London Sinfonietta Chorus (Maestro del coro: Terry Edwards) e London Sinfonietta diretti da David Atherton  -- 

Lev, un insegnante dissidente, liberato dopo vent'anni di prigionia: David Wilson-Johnson
Nadia, sua moglie, emigrata in Occidente con il figlio bambino: Heather Harper
Yuri, loro figlio: Sanford Sylvan
Gayle, la fidanzata di Yuri: Carolann Page
Hannah, una infermiera di colore: Cynthia Clarey
Olympion, un atleta di colore, boyfriend di Hannah: Thomas Randle
Luke, un giovane dottore dell'ospedale di Hannah: Bonaventura Bottone
Lieutenant, un tenente di polizia: Donald Maxwell
Astron, un messaggero psichedelico: Christopher Robson e Sarah Walker 



Paul Cezanne - The Bathers

bottom of page