Modern Period
 

1921-1922-1923-1924-1925

1921
The Immigration Act limits entry into the USA • US, c France, Japan and Britain sign Pacific Treaty • The League c of Nations settles a dispute between Poland and Germany • 
Rebellion in Ireland ends with a treaty dividing the country: 26 southern counties become Irish Free State with dominion status; six northern counties remain part of the UK • Greece declares war on Turkey • Germany suffers a financial crisis as the Mark falls in value • Film: The Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino • Pablo Picasso (Sp) paints two versions of Three Musicians • Surrealist Max Ernst (Ger) paints The Elephant Celebes • D. H. Lawrence (Eng): Women in Love

1922
Egypt wins independence from British rule • Irish Free State proclaimed; Northern Ireland votes against inclusion • Fascist chief Benito Mussolini takes over Italian government 
• Independence leader Mohandas Gandhi is imprisoned by British authorities in India • Greece defeated in war with Turkey • Joseph Stalin becomes Secretary General of the Communist Party in Russia • Pharoah Tutankhamun’s tomb discovered at    Luxor, Egypt • Pope Benedict XV dies; succeeded by Pius XI • Canadians Frederick Banting and Charles Best develop    insulin treatment for diabetes • The British Broadcasting  Company Ltd is established • James Joyce (Ire): Ulysses • T. S. Eliot (US/Eng): poem The Waste Land

1923
US President Warren G. Harding dies; is succeeded c by Vice-President Calvin Coolidge (Rep) as 30th President • c Russia becomes the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics • ii Gustav Stresemann becomes Chancellor of Germany • Nazi t leader Adolf Hitler fails in an attempted coup d’etat in Munich; c in prison he begins Mein Kampf (My Struggle) • Independent Transjordan (later Jordan) is proclaimed • Miguel Primo de Rivera becomes dictator in Spain • George II of Greece is deposed • Mustafa Kemal Ataturk becomes president of the new Turkish Republic • In Japan, around 140,000 people die in Kanto earthquake • Theo van Doesburg (Neth) paints Composition XXI

1924
Britain’s first Labour government, under J. Ramsey Macdonald, lasts only nine months; following an election victory, the Conservatives under Stanley Baldwin take over • The Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) in China admits Communists • Giacomo Matteotti, socialist opponent of Benito Mussolini, is murdered • Albania becomes a republic • The USA bans Japanese immigrants • First Winter Olympics (in Chamonix, France) • English Physicist Arthur Eddington interprets Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity in The Mathematical Theory of Relativity • E. M. Forster (Eng): A Passage to India • A. A. Milne (Eng) introduces Winnie-the-Pooh in When We were Very Young

1925
President Sun Yat-sen of China dies • Paul von Hinden-burg becomes German President on the death of Friedrich Ebert • The Locarno Treaties provide a system of guarantees for European frontiers • French occupation troops evacuate the Rhineland; British occupation troops leave Koln • The League of Nations settles a dispute between Greece and Bulgaria • Arabs revolt against the French in Syria; Damascus is bombarded • Reza Khan Pahlevi seizes Persian throne • Film: Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold RushPaul Klee (Switz) paints Fish Magic • Jacob Epstein (US/UK) sculpts Rima for W. H. Hudson memorial • F. Scott Fitzgerald (US): The Great Gatsby • Franz Kafka (Czech): The Trial

Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin KBE (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977) was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film. Chaplin became a worldwide icon through his screen persona "the Tramp" and is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry. His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977, and encompassed both adulation and controversy.

 

1921

Darius Milhaud combines Brazilian rhythms and 

polytonality in his vibrant piano suite Saudades do Brasil. The work has been inspired by the country ( where he served as French attache for wartime propaganda, 1917-18. Milhaud also creates an orchestral version of the suite.  

Darius Milhaud - Saudades do Brasil 
Pianist: Antonio Barbosa

00:01 Movement I - Sorocaba
01:32 Movement II - Botafogo
03:21 Movement III - Leme
05:30 Movement IV - Copacabana
07:53 Movement V - Ipanema
09:33 Movement VI - Gavea
10:56 Movement VII - Corcovado
12:55 Movement VIII - Tijuca
14:59 Movement IX - Sumare
16:36 Movement X - Paineras
17:46 Movement XI - Laranjeiras
19:01 Movement XII - Paysandu

Arnold Schoenberg  works on his Serenade (Op. 24, begun the previous year) the fourth movement of which contains his first serial 12-note music. He tells his pupil, Josef Rufer, 'I have made a discovery which will ensure the supremacy of German music for the next 100 years’.

Arnold Schoenberg - Serenade
per baritono e 7 strumenti , testo di Francesco Petrarca Sonetto 217, op.24 - John Carol Case, baritono - Melos Ensemble of London diretto da Bruno Maderna 

I. Marsch
II. Menuett
III. Variationen
IV. Sonett
V. Tanzszene
VI. Lied (ohne worte)
VII. Finale

10 June
Sergey Koussevitzsky conducts the first performance of
Igor Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments, in London. Dedicated to the memory of Debussy, the piece leaves the critic Ernest Newman unimpressed: 'I had no idea Stravinsky disliked Debussy so much as this.’   

STRAVINSKY - Symphonies of Wind Instruments
Portland Youth Philharmonic #HearPYP
David Hattner, Musical Director
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland Oregon, 2013

11 June
Arthur Honegger's incidental music to Rene Morax’s drama Le roi David (King David) is first heard in Mezieres, Switzerland. The success of the production launches Honegger's international career. A concert version, for enlarged forces, is completed the following year.

Arthur Honegger - Le Roi David

Codarts (Rotterdam conservatory) ensemble and choir
Conductor: Wiecher Mandemaker
Narrator: David Visser

Soloists: Elise van Es, Brigitte van Hagen, Marjolein Kolkert, Tessa Maalcke, Karolina Janu, Johanna Kruse, Sara Leemans, Victorina Eeckeloo, Adrian Fernandes, Leon van Liere.

27 September
Composer Engelbert Humperdinck dies in Xeustrelitz, aged 67.

In the US Edgard Varese co-founds the International Composers’ Guild to promote progressive contemporary music. This year sees the completion of his orchestral piece Ameriques (Americas).

Edgard Varèse - Amériques 
Orchestre du Conservatoire de Paris
Ensemble intercontemporain
Matthias Pintscher, direction 

2 May
Il piccolo Marat is a dramma lirico or opera in three acts by the Italian composer Pietro Mascagni from a libretto by Giovacchino Forzano.

Pietro Mascagni - IL PICCOLO MARAT
Presidente del Comitato: Nicola Rossi Lemeni, Mariella: Virginia Zeani,
Il piccolo Marat: Umberto Borso,
La mamma: Clara Betner
Il soldato: Rinaldo Rola,
Il carpentiere: Afro Poli,
La tigre: Mario Frosini,
La spia: Renato Spagli,
Il ladro: Augusto Frati
Il capitano dei Marats: Ernesto Vezzosi,
Il portatore di ordini: Cesare Masini Sperti
Orchestra e coro del Teatro La Gran Guardia di Livorno, 1961 - Direttore  Oliviero de Fabritiis

21 October
English composer Malcolm Arnold is 
born in Northampton.

23 November
Leos Janacek’s opera Kat’a Kabanova opens in Brno. The music has been inspired by Janacek's muse, the (married) 25-year-old Kamila Stosslova. His love for her is unrequited.

Leoš Janáček - Katia Kabanova
Glyndebourne, 1988
Conductor: Sir Andrew Davis 
Director: Nikolaus Lehnhoff
London Philharmonic Orchestra 
Designer: Tobias Hoheisel
Nancy Gustafson (Katya), Felicity Palmer (Kabanicha), Barry McCauley (Boris).

16 December
Camille Saint-Saens dies in Algiers, aged 86. His body is transported to Paris for a state funeral at La Madeleine.

17 May
In Franee for the summer,
Sergei Prokofiev conducts the premiere of his Diaghilev-commissioned ballet Chout (also known as The Tale of the Buffoon), in Paris.

Sergei Prokofiev - Chout, Op 21

Symphony Orchestra - Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, 1985

16 December
Sergei Prokofiev, back in the US, premieres his resourceful Third Piano Concerto, in Chicago.

Sergei Prokofiev - Piano Concerto No. 3
Cleveland Orchestra - Conductor: George Szell 
Soloist: Gary Graffman - 1966 

4 June
Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen (Murderer, Hope of Women) is an opera in one act by Paul Hindemith, written in 1919 on a German libretto by Oskar Kokoschka which he based on his play of 1907. The opera was the first in a triptych of expressionist one-act operas, the others being Das Nusch-Nuschi, and Sancta Susanna. They were the first operas written by Hindemith. The first two were premiered together in Stuttgart on 4 June 1921.

Paul Hindemith - Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen
RIAS-Kammerchor diretto da Uwe Gronostay -- Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin diretta da Gerd Albrecht -

L'Uomo: Franz Grundheber, baritono
La Donna: Gabriele Schnaut, soprano
1° Guerriero: Wilfried Gahmlich, tenore
2° Guerriero: Victor von Halem, basso
3° Guerriero: Bengt-Ola Magnusson, tenore
1a Ragazza: Lucy Peacock, soprano
2a Ragazza: Gabriele Schrekenbach, contralto
3a Ragazza: Beatrice Haldas, soprano

 

appendix
Murderer, the Hope of Women is a short Expressionist play written by the painter Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980). It focuses more on the actions and appearances of its characters than on their dialogue. Its performance was received with much criticism, as it was a break from classical drama and part of the modernist avant-garde movement in German culture.

Kokoschka’s Murder Hope of Women: Film production, directed and co-edited, in collaboration with Academy of Applied Arts, Vienna. Presented at Kokoschka Center, Pöchlarn, Austria, 28 April 2016 

23 December
Die Bajadere is an operetta in 3 acts composed by Hungarian composer Emmerich Kalman. The libretto was written by Julius Brammer and Alfred Grünwald. The work premiered in Vienna at the Carltheater on 23 December 1921.

30 December
Sergei Prokofiev conducts the first performance of his satirical fairy tale opera The Love for Three Oranges, in Chicago. He has written the libretto himself, based on a scenario by the 18th-century playwright Carlo Gozzi. Prokofiev returns to Europe next year, unhappy with his reception in the USA. 

 

Malcolm Arnold

Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold, CBE (21 October 1921 – 23 September 2006) was an English composer. His output of works features music in many genres, including a cycle of nine symphonies, numerous concertos, concert works, chamber music, choral music and music for brass band and wind band. He wrote extensively for the theatre, with five ballets specially commissioned by the Royal Ballet, as well as two operas and a musical. He also produced scores for more than a hundred films, among these The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), for which he won an Oscar.













Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold, British musician, composer, and conductor, was an accomplished composer of symphonies (9), ballets (7), operas (2), and concerti (more than 20), but he was better known to the general public for more than 130 film scores, notably Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), for which he won an Academy Award. Arnold studied music at the Royal College of Music and was principal trumpet (1941–44, 1945–48) with the London Philharmonic Orchestra until he won the Mendelssohn Prize, which allowed him to study in Italy. Thereafter he concentrated on composing and conducting, though he later struggled with mental illness and dementia. Arnold’s other notable film scores included The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958), for which he received the Ivor Novello Award, Tunes of Glory (1960), Whistle Down the Wind (1961), and the Indian-influenced Nine Hours to Rama (1963). He was made CBE in 1970 and was knighted in 1993.

Malcolm Arnold - Symphony no 1 (1949)

National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, conducted by Andrew Penny.

Malcolm Arnold : Symphony No. 5 Op. 74 (1961)
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Malcolm Arnold.

Malcolm Arnold : Solitaire,
ballet in one Act (1950-51/1956)
Grazioso (Op. 33 No.3)  - Andantino (Op. 27 No.1) - Vivace (Op. 27 No.2) -  Mesto (Op. 27 No.3) -  Allegro risoluto (Op. 27 No. 4) - Sarabande - Polka - Con brio (Op. 33 No.2) - Allegro non troppo (Op. 33 No.1) -  Giubiloso, lento e maestoso (Op. 33 No. 4) - Grazioso (Op. 33 No.3).
Performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Malcolm Arnold.

 

1922

Paul Hindemith completes his Kammermusik (Chamber Music) No. 1 for small orchestra, and the Suite 1922, for piano.

Paul Hindemith - Kammermusik No. 1

I. Sehr schnell und wild
II. Mäßig schnelle Halbe. Sehr streng im Rhythmus (1:03)
III. Quartett. Sehr langsam und mit Ausdruck (4:29)
IV. Finale 1921. Lebhaft (8:44)

Members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Riccardo Chailly

Paul Hindemith - Suite "1922" op. 26,
Esther Walker, piano

24 January
Carl Nielsen conducts his masterful Fifth Symphony (completed just nine days earlier) in Copenhagen. He acknowledges (to Ludvig Dolleris) that the great confrontations within the symphony are representative of the 'division of dark and light, the battle between evil and good’.

Nielsen - Symphony No. 5
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Neeme Järvi, 1993

26 January
Ralph Vaughan Williams
’s contemplative Third (Pastoral) Symphony is introduced under Adrian Boult in London.

Vaughan Williams: Symphony No 3 'Pastoral'
Vernon Handley conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with Alison Barlow, soprano 

23 April
Edgard Varese
's surrealist Offrandes (Offerings) for soprano and small orchestra is premiered and appreciated at the Greenwich Milage Theater in New York.

Edgard Varèse - Offrandes,
for soprano & chamber orchestra 

Pierre Boulez, Anna Steiger

13 May
The Societe National de Musique introduces Gabriel Faure’s song cycle L’horizon chimerique in Paris.

Fauré - L'horizon chimérique, op. 118
Text by Jean de La Ville de Mirmont 

Charles Panzéra
1.  La mer est infinie et mes rêves sont fous  0:00 
2.  Je me suis embarqué sur un vasseau qui danse  1:18 
3.  Diane, Séléné lune de beau métal  3:36 
4.  Vaisseux, nous vous aurons aimés en pure perte  5:06 

28 May
Der Zwerg (The Dwarf), Op. 17, is an opera in one act by Austrian composer Alexander von Zemlinsky to a libretto by Georg Klaren, freely adapted from the short story "The Birthday of the Infanta" by Oscar Wilde.

Alexander von Zemlinsky: Der Zwerg / A törpe

Donna Clara - Eszter Wierdl
Der Zwerg / The Dwarf / A törpe
Ghita - Anna Herczenik

Conductor / vezényel: János Kovács

Hungarian State Opera House / Magyar Állami Operaház, 2003

5 February
Ottorino Respighi
’s Gregorian Concerto for Violin and Orchestra is performed for the first time, in Rome.

Ottorino Respighi: Concerto Gregoriano per violino e orchestra

I. Andante tranquillo
II. Andante espressivo [09:14]
III. Finale: Alleluja, Allegro energico [19:47]

Andrea Cappelletti, violino
Philharmonia Orchestra diretta da Matthias Bamert.

17 March
Ernst Krenek
, aged 21, has his Symphony No. 1 introduced with great success in Berlin. 

Ernst Krenek - Sinfonia n.3 op. 16
Radio-Philharmonie Hannover des NDR diretta da Takao Ukigaya

26 March
Paul Hindemith
’s one-act opera Sancta Susanna, after August Stramm’s play (1913), premieres in Frankfurt.The volatile mixture of nuns and sexual temptation causes a scandal.

Sancta Susanna - Paul Hindemith
Pisa Teatro Verdi - Novembre 2016

Sancta Susanna - Paul Hindemith

29 May
Architect-composer Iannis Xenakis is born of Greek parentage in Braila, Romania.

2 June
Igor Stravinsky
’s neo-classical one-act opera Mavra opens at the Paris Opera but fails dismally.

 

7 September
Arthur Bliss conducts the first performance of his Colour Symphony, which is well appreciated at the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester. The work explores the heraldic connotations of purple, red, blue and green.

 

Arthur Bliss - A Colour Symphony

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.

13 April  
La bella dormente nel bosco is an opera in three acts by Ottorino Respighi to a libretto by Gian Bistolfi based on Charles Perrault's fairy tale Sleeping Beauty.

The first version of this opera, with the title La bella addormentata nel bosco, premiered in the Teatro Odescalchi in Rome on 13 April 1922.

La bella dormente nel bosco - Ottorino Respighi
La Principessa  Sofia Nekrasova
La fata Azzurra  Elisaveta Sveshnikova
La vecchiettaAnastasia Meshchanova
Il principe  Hylia Selivanov
L'amasciatore e il Re Giovanni Romeo
L'usignolo  Sara Rossini
Il cuculo Carlotta Vichi
Orchestra e coro del Teatro Rubinstein  di San Pietroburgo - Direttore Marco Pace - 2012

1 November
Karol Szymanowski’s avian Violin Concerto No. 1 (1916) is premiered in Warsaw. The impressionistic work takes inspiration from the poem May Night by Tadeusz Micinski.

K. Szymanowski: Symphony no. 3 "Song of the Night" 
Performed by Antoni Wit and Ryszard Minkiewicz
,

 

Iannis Xenakis
 

Iannis Xenakis, (born May 29, 1922, Brăila, Romania—died February 4, 2001, Paris, France), Romanian-born French composer, architect, and mathematician who originated musique stochastique, music composed with the aid of electronic computers and based upon mathematical probability systems.










 

Xenakis was born to a wealthy family of Greek ancestry, and he moved to Greece in 1932. He fought in the Greek resistance movement during World War II, losing an eye. After graduation in 1947 from the Athens institute of technology, Xenakis was exiled from Greece owing to his political activities. He moved to Paris, where he was for 12 years associated with the architect Le Corbusier. During this time he designed the Philips Pavilion for the Brussels International Exhibition of 1958. During his 30s he turned seriously to musical composition, receiving training with Darius Milhaud and studying composition under Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatory from 1950 to 1962. Following Messiaen’s suggestion, he began to use mathematical models in composing his musical pieces. His formal approach was rare among European composers, who had largely embraced serialism. In 1954 he began his experiments in stochastic music with the composition Métastasis. Xenakis’s article “La Crise de la musique sérielle” (1955; “The Crisis of Serial Music”) elucidated his rigorously logical techniques, wherein the performers—mostly on standard instruments—are directed by a specially devised notation to produce sounds specified by a computer programmed by the composer.

His work Achorripsis (1958) for 21 instruments, led Xenakis to formulate his minimal rules of composition. These rules were expanded in the program for ST/10-1,080262 (1956–62); the symbols of the title indicate that this is a stochastic work, his first for 10 instruments, computed on February 8, 1962. Several other compositions, including ST/4-1,080262 for string quartet, Atrées (Hommage à Blaise Pascal) for 10 instruments, and Morisma-Amorisma for 4 instruments, were based on the same program. For this series of works, he used an IBM 7090 computer to control note sequence, instrumentation, pitch, duration, and dynamics. The performers have no freedom to improvise, but the resulting sound is fluid, homogeneous, and natural.

Xenakis’s long and fruitful association with the Paris Instrumental Ensemble for Contemporary Music led to frequent performances and recordings of his works for chamber ensemble. He established the School of Mathematical and Automatic Music in 1966. Other works by Xenakis include Polla ta dhina for children’s chorus and orchestra (1962), Akrata (1964–65) for 16 wind instruments, and Cendrées (1974) for chorus and orchestra. He also composed works solely for electronic reproduction, such as Polytope of Cluny (1972), sound and light space with 7-channel electronic tape, and Mycenae A (1978), stereo tape realized with a UPIC computer, as well as works with both human and electronic components, such as Pour les Paix (1982), for mixed chorus, electronic tape, and narrators. O-mega (1997) for percussion and ensemble was his final composition. His published books include Formalized Music: Thought and Mathematics in Composition (1971; partially published in French as Musicques formelles, 1963) and a transcript of his 1976 thesis defense, Arts-Sciences, Alloys (1985; originally published in French, 1979).

Iannis Xenakis - Orchestral Works V°
1 Metastaséis 
2 Pithoprakta 
3 ST48 
4 Achorripsis 
5 Syrmos 
6 Hiketidés 
Orchestra – Orchestre Philharmonique Du Luxembourg
Conductor – Arturo Tamayo
Recorded May 2006, Philharmonie, Luxembourg 

Metastasis (1954) for 60 musicians (Anastenaria, Part 3) 
Pithoprakta (1956) for 49 musicians 
ST/48 (1956) for 48 musicians 
Achorripsis (1957) for 21 musicians 
Syrmos (1959) for string ensemble of 18 or 36 players 
Hiketides: Les suppliantes d'Eschyle (1964) suite for brass instrument & string orchestra

Iannis Xenakis ‎– Electro-Acoustic Music
Bohor I   1962 
 Concret P-H II    1958 
 Diamorphoses II  1957 
 Orient-Occident III 1959-1960 
US issue of the fifth LP in the Erato box set STU 70526/27/28/29/30 mastered by Robert Ludwig with Xenakis.

Iannis Xenakis - "Terretektorh"
für Orchester -  Biennale für Moderne Musik

hr-Sinfonieorchester 
Dirigent: Matthias Pintscher
Live aus der Böllenfalltorhalle, Darmstadt - 26.11.2011

Iannis Xenakis - "Jonchaies" for 109 musicians (1977)
Nouvelle Orchestre Philarmonique -
Gilbert Amy, conductor

 

1923

Paul Hindemith composes Kleine Kammermusik (Little Chamber Music) for wind quintet and completes the song cycle Das Marienleben.   

Paul Hindemith Kleine Kammermusik for Wind Quintet, Op. 24/2
Ransom Wilson, flute; Erin Hannigan, oboe; Kenneth Grant, clarinet; Benjamin Kamins, bassoon, Michelle Baker, horn.

"Das Marienleben" - Hindemith
Erna Berger sings "Das Marienleben", Song-Cycle
after Rainer Maria Rilke (2. Version 1948)
Geburt Mariä
Die Darstellung Mariä im Tempel
Mariä Verkündigung
Mariä Heimsuchung
Argwohn Josephs
Verkündigung über den Hirten
Geburt Christi
Rast auf der Flucht in Ägypten
Von der Hochzeit zu Kana
Vor der Passion
Pietà
Stillung Mariä mit dem Auferstandenen
Vom Tode Mariä:
               Derselbe grosse Engel
               Wer hat bedacht
               Doch vor dem Apostel Thomas
Gerhard Puchelt, piano
Live, Berlin, 09.12.1953

 

Arnold Schoenberg completes three works containing

his first experiments in serialism: the Five Piano 

Pieces, Op. 23, the Serenade, Op. 24, and the entirely serialist Suite for Piano, Op. 25.  

Arnold Schoenberg - Five Piano Pieces, Op. 23 
Glenn Gould

Arnold Schoenberg - Serenade
per baritono e 7 strumenti , testo di Francesco Petrarca Sonetto 217, op.24 
John Carol Case, baritono -- Melos Ensemble of London diretto da Bruno Maderna 

I. Marsch   II. Menuett   III. Variationen   IV. Sonett
V. Tanzszene   VI. Lied (ohne worte)   VII. Finale

Schoenberg - Suite for Piano, op. 25
Michael Mizrahi, 2016

12 May
Gabriel Faure’s Piano Trio (Op. 120) is first performed on his 78th birthday at the Societe Nationale de Musique in Paris. 

Gabriel Fauré - Trio avec piano en Ré mineur Op. 120
Pierre Colombet, violon
Marc Coppey, violoncelle
Akiko Yamamoto, piano

Concert du 28 août 2012

28 May
Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti is born in Transylvania.

12 June
Facade (1922), by the 21-year-old William Walton on texts by Edith Sitwell, receives its public premiere in London. Scored for speaker and slx instruments, the piece engages Sitwell herself reciting poetry behind a painted curtain featuring a huge mouth in the form of a megaphone. Most of the audience hate it.

William Walton - Façade

Arizona State University, Feb. 6th 2011: conducted by Wayne Bailey
Reciter: David Schildkret
Cello: Ruth Wenger
Saxophone: Greg Mills
Trumpet: Antonio Villanueva
Flute/piccolo: Joshua Stockam
Clarinet: Or Sidi

13 June
Igor Stravinsky’s unremitting Les Noces, a symbolic portrayal of a rustic Russian wedding, opens under the Ballets Russes in Paris.Completed in 1917 as a dance cantata, the (revised) work is scored for four solo voices and chorus, and a vast array of non-pitched and pitched percussion, including four pianos.

Stravinsky: Ballet Les Noces
La tresse
Chez le marié
Le départ de la mariée
Le repas de noces

Alexander von Zemlinsky completes his impassioned Lyrische Symphonie for soprano, baritone and orchestra. Reminiscent of Mahler's The Song of the Earth, the work is based on seven poems by Rabindranath Tagore.

Zemlinsky: Lyrische Symphonie in sieben Gesängen für Sopran, Bariton und Orchester nach Rabindranath Tagore op. 18
Kirill Petrenko, conductor · Maria Bengtsson, soprano · Bo Skovhus, baritone · Staatskapelle Berlin · Recorded at the Berlin Philharmonie, 30 December 2011.

25 October
Drawing on African folk mythology, 
Darius Milhaud's jazz-infused ballet La Creation du Monde is first staged at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees, Paris.

Darius Milhaud La Création du Monde [The Creation of the World] op. 81a
Prague Symphony Orchestra Václav Neumann, conductor

19 February
Temperate moods permeate  
Jean Sibelius's Sixth Symphony, introduced under the composers direction in Helsinki.    

Jean Sibelius - Symphony No. 6, Op. 104

The Danish National Symphony Orchestra.
Leif Segerstam, conductor.

11 November
Employing quarter tones in a tonal framework,
Ernest Bloch’s Piano Quintet No. 1. variously tender and wild, is first performed by Harold Bauer and the Lenox Quartet at the inaugural concert of the League of Composers in New York.

Ernest Bloch-Piano Quintet
Wladyslaw Szpilman and The Warsaw Piano Quintet

4 March The gesturing ‘organised sound’ of Edgard Varese’s Hyperprism, created with percussion battery and winds, is first heard in New York. Critics respond scathingly.

Edgard Varèse - Hyperprism
OU Percussion Ensemble - Ricardo Coelho de Souza, conductor

 

Gyorgy Ligeti
 

György Ligeti, in full György Sándor Ligeti, (born May 28, 1923, Diciosânmartin [now Tîrnăveni], Transylvania, Romania—died June 12, 2006, Vienna, Austria), a leading composer of the branch of avant-garde music concerned principally with shifting masses of sound and tone colours.









 



Ligeti, the great-nephew of violinist Leopold Auer, studied and taught music in Hungary until the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, when he fled to Vienna; he later became an Austrian citizen. He subsequently met avant-garde composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and became associated with centres of new music in Cologne and Darmstadt, Germany, and in Stockholm and Vienna, where he composed electronic music (e.g., Artikulation, 1958) as well as music for instrumentalists and vocalists. In the early 1960s he caused a sensation with his Future of Music—A Collective Composition (1961) and his Poème symphonique (1962). The former consists of the composer regarding the audience from the stage and the audience’s reactions to this; the latter is written for 100 metronomes operated by 10 performers.

Most of Ligeti’s music after the late 1950s involved radically new approaches to music composition. Specific musical intervals, rhythms, and harmonies are often not distinguishable but act together in a multiplicity of sound events to create music that communicates both serenity and dynamic anguished motion. Examples of these effects occur in Atmosphères (1961) for orchestra; Requiem (1963–65) for soprano, mezzo-soprano, two choruses, and orchestra; and Lux Aeterna (1966) for chorus. These three works were later featured in Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which brought Ligeti a wider audience; his music appeared in later movies, including several others by Kubrick. In Aventures (1962) and Nouvelles Aventures (1962–65), Ligeti attempts to obliterate the differences between vocal and instrumental sounds. In these works the singers hardly do any “singing” in the traditional sense.

In Ligeti’s Cello Concerto (1966), the usual concerto contrast between soloist and orchestra is minimized in music of mainly very long lines and slowly changing, very nontraditional textures. Other works include Clocks and Clouds (1972–73) for female chorus and orchestra, San Francisco Polyphony (1973–74) for orchestra, Piano Concerto (1985–88), and Hamburg Concerto (1999) for horn. Ligeti also wrote 18 piano études (1985–2001) and the opera Le Grande Macabre (1978, revised 1997). Ligeti was the recipient of many honours, including the Grand Austrian State Prize for music (1990), the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for music (1991), and the Theodor W. Adorno Prize from the city of Frankfurt for outstanding achievement in music (2003).

György Ligeti : Requiem

György Ligeti - Études for Piano 

Performer: Fredrik Ullén

György Ligeti - Piano Concerto

Conductor: Nicholas Collon
Performers: Shai Wosner with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra

Clocks and Clouds - Gyorgy Ligeti
"Clocks and Clouds" for 12-part women's chorus and orchestra.

LE GRAND MACABRE - LIGETI
FIRST ACT: Prelude for first scene - First Scene - Interlude 1 - Second Scene
SECOND ACT: Prelude for third scene - Third Scene - Interlude 2 - Fourth Scene

 

1924

Ernest Bloch composes From Jewish Life, three plaintive movements for cello and piano.

Ernest Bloch - "Jewish Life"
1. Prayer
2. Supplication
3. Jewish Song
Violoncello: Wassily Gerassimez
Klavier: Nicolai Gerassimez

6 January
Francis Poulenc
's new ballet Les biches (The Does), commissioned by Diaghilev, delights the public and critics alike in Monte Carlo.

Francis Poulenc - Les Biches

1. Ouverture
2. Rondeau
3. Chanson dansée
4. Adagietto
5. Jeu
6. Rag-mazurka
7. Andantino
8. Petite chanson dansée
9. Final

Ambrosian Singers
Philharmonia Orchestra - Georges Prêtre

George Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue
Conductor: Barry Wordsworth Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Piano: Christopher O'Riley

12 February
George Gershwin electrifies New Yorks Aeolian Hall with his one-movement jazz concerto Rhapsody in Blue.

28 February 
Gräfin Mariza (Countess Maritza) is an operetta in three acts composed by Hungarian composer Emmerich Kálmán, with a libretto by Julius Brammer and Alfred Grünwald. It premiered in Vienna on 28 February 1924 at the Theater an der Wien.

24 March
Jean Sibelius
conducts the first performance of his singlemovement Seventh Symphony, in Stockholm.

Jean Sibelius - Symphony No. 7 in C major, op. 105 

The Hallé Orchestra - Sir Mark Elder, conductor

26 April
Violinist Jelly d’Aranyi 
introduces Maueice Ravel’s Tzigane (Gypsy) in London.

Maurice Ravel - Tzigane

Aaron Rosand, violin
Southwest German Radio Orchestra
Rolf Reinhardt

1mMay
Arrigo Boito - Nerone

Nerone - Boito 
Split 1989 - Dirigent: Nikša Bareza
Krunoslav Cigoj (Neron)
Franjo Petrušanec (Šimun Vrač)
David Mcshane (Fanuel)
Vaneta Janeva-Iveljić (Asterija)
Zlatomira Nikolova (Rubrija)
Corneliu Solovastru (Tigelin)
Sveto Komnenović (Gabryas)
Milan Kravar (Dositej)
Sanja Barbir (Persida)

6 June
Composer Alexander von Zemlinsky conducts the premiere of Arnold ​Schoenberg’s 1909 monodrama Erwartung (Expectation) in Prague.

Arnold Schoenberg - Erwartung,
monodrama in 1 act, Op. 17

1. Hier hinein? Man sieht den Weg nicht...
2. Ist das noch der Weg? Hier ist es eben
3. Da kommt ein Licht?
4. Er ist auch nicht da
5. Das Mondlicht...nein, dort...
6. Was soll ich tun...
7. Aber so seltsam ist dein Auge...
8. Du siehst wieder dort hin?...
9. Oh! nicht einmal die Gnade...
10. Liebster, Liebster, der Morgen kommt...

Alessandra Marc, soprano 
Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli

27 July
Composer and pianist Ferruccio Busoni dies in Berlin, aged 58.

14 October
Arnold ​Schoenberg’s short music drama Die gluckliche Hand (The Lucky Hand, 1913) receives its first performance in Vienna.

Arnold Schoenberg -: Die Gluckliche Hand 
Robert Craft: Conductor.
The Simon Joly Chorus. Philarmonia Orchestra.
Koch International Classics. 2001

4 November 
'I did what I could. Now let God be my judge.' Gabriel Faure dies in Paris, aged 79.

4 November
Richard Strauss
capitalises on his recent marital difficulties in Intermezzo (completed 1923), first staged in Dresden. The two-act opera presents a sequence of short scenes from his volatile family life.

Strauss - Intermezzo 
Joseph Keilberth Bayerisches Staatsorchester, 1963
Christine - Hanny Steffek
Der kleine Franzl - Erwin Gruber
Hofkapellmeister Robert Storch - Hermann Prey
Anna - Gertrud Freedman
Baron Lummer - Ferry Gruber
Der Notar - Karl Schmitt-Walter
Seine Frau - Caecile Reich
Kapellmeister Stroh - Friedrich Lenz
Kommerzienrat - Karl Christian Kohn
Justizrat - Hans Hermann Nissen
Fanny, die Köchin - Paula Meyer
Therese - Hildegard Seefried
Kammersänger - Max Proebstl
Resi - Brigitte Fassbaender

6 November
Leos Janacek
’s popular opera The Cunning Little Vixen, based on a cartoon strip from a local paper, opens at the National Theatre in Brno. 

Leoš Janáček - The Cunning Little Vixen
Boy - Sylvan Friedman                                         
Girl/Young Vixen/Hen - Rachel Creamer
Gamekeeper - Thomas Laskowski
Cricket/Hen/Forest Creature - Anisa Abella
Grasshopper/Hen/Forest Creature - Julia Orosz
Young Frog/Hen/Forest Creature - Erin Aldrich
Mosquito/Forest Creature - Rowles Adams
Gamekeeper’s Wife - Rachel Watson
Lapák/Forest Creature - Meredith Ernstberger
Vixen - Roxana Anderson
Pepik/Forest Creature - Leah Schweighofer
Frantik/Forest Creature - Gianna Bielenda
The Cock/Forest Creature - Andersen White
Chocholka/Forest Creature - Rachel Lloyd-Taylor
Hen/Owl - Anna Koogler
Hen/Woodpecker - Genevieve Clements
Badger/Parson - Phillip Fisherman
Schoolmaster - Grant Hodgkins
Pašek - Nicolas Turner
The Fox - Judy Chirino
Harašta - Jeffrey Cregeur
Mrs. Pásková - Jessica Wilcox
Dancers: Darrigan DeMattos, Marielena Quintanar

8 May
Arthur Honegger’s steam-engine inspired tone poem Pacific 231 (1923) is launched sensationally under Koussevitzky in Paris. The composer reveals, 'I have always loved locomotives passionately ... as others love women or horses.’

Arthur Honegger - Pacific 231 (Mouvement Symphonique No. 1)

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Serge Baudo, conductor

22 May
Igor Stravinsky takes the solo part in the first performance of his neo-classical Concerto for Piano and Wind Orchestra, in Paris. The conductor, Koussevitzky, has to remind him how to begin the second movement.

Igor Stravinsky - Concerto for piano and wind instruments
Piano: Alexander Toradze 
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Valery Gergiev

29 November
Following an operation for throat cancer, Giacomo Puccini dies in Brussels, aged 65. A funeral service is held four days later at Milan Cathedral, with much of the city at a standstill. His opera Turandot remains unfinished.

14 December
Ottorino Respighi's Pines of Rome enthrals the public at its premiere in Rome. Featuring a phonograph of a singing nightingale, it is the first orchestral work to incorporate recorded sound.

Respighi - Pines Of Rome
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra - Louis Lane conductor

 

1925

Henry Cowell creates The Banshee, an unworldly soundscape produced by the plucking and scraping of strings inside a grand piano.

Henry Cowell  - The Banshee
Joan Cerveró, piano
Víctor Trescolí, piano strings

11 January
Aaron Copland's Symphony for Organ and Orchestra is premiered in New York. This year marks the composers Music for the Theatre chamber suite.

A. Copland: - Symphony for Organ and Orchestra 
Dallas Symphony Orchestra conducted by/Orquesta Sinfónica de Dallas dirigida por: Andrew Litton. Organ/órgano: Wayne Marshall

Copland: Music for the Theatre 
Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra

1 March
Stokowski conducts Edgard Varese's Integrales for wind and percussion, in New York.

Few can fathom the work, least of all the critic Ernest Newman: 'It sounded a good deal like a combination of early morning in the Mott Haven freight yards, feeding time at the zoo, and a Sixth Avenue trolley rounding a curve, with an intoxicated woodpecker thrown in for good measure.'

Edgar Varese - Integrales
Intégrales, for 11 wind and 4 percussion instruments 
Pierre Boulez, cond 

21 March
Maurice Ravel
enjoys high praise in Monte Carlo for his one-act fairytale opera L'Enfant et les sortileges (The Child and the Spells).

Ravel - L'enfant et les sortilèges
Par l'opéra de Lyon (1999)

6 June
Sergei Prokofiev
’s ‘iron and steel’ Second Symphony debuts but disappoints in Paris.

Sergey Prokofiev - Symphony n°2 in D minor Opus 40

I. Allegro ben articolato (00:00)
II. Theme and Variations
- Theme (11:46)
- Variation 1 (13:28)
- Variation 2 (15:24)
- Variation 3 (18:04)
- Variation 4 (20:03)
- Variation 5 (23:56)
- Variation 6 (26:36)
- Theme (31:09)

Royal Scottish Orchestra, dir. Neeme Järvi

1 July
For years a heavy drinker,
Erik Satie dies from cirrhosis of the liver aged 59, in Paris.

13 September
Arnold Schoenberg turns 51.  Among his birthday presents is a Kammerkonzert (Chamber Concerto) by his pupil Alban Berg, scored for piano, violin and 13 wind instruments. Berg's semi-serialist work acknowledges bv way of musical anagram the triune membership (including Anton Webern of the Second Viennese School.

Alban Berg ‎– Kammerkonzert
Kammerkonzert Für Klavier Und Violine Mit 13 Bläsern

 1. Satz: Tema Scherzoso Con Variazioni 
 2. Satz: Adagio 
 3. Satz: Rondo Ritmico Con Introduzione (Kadenz)

Violin – Oleg Kagaan
Piano – Svjatoslav Richter
Wind – Ensemble Des Moskauer Konservatoriums
Conductor – Jurij Nikolajewskij, 1979

24 October
Composer Luciano Berio is born in Oneglia, Italy.

3 December
George Gershwin's jazzy Piano Concerto in F is performed by the composer under Walter Damrosch in New York. Written in a more classical vein than his sensational Rhapsody in Blue (1924), the concerto receives mixed reviews, with some accusing the composer of poor technique. The work's fecund melodies and kinteie energy wins over the public, regardless.

George Gershwin - Piano Concerto in F major 
Piano: Wang Yuja
Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas

26 March
Composer and conductor Pierre Boulez is born in Montbrison, France.

 

21 May
Ferruccio Busoni
's opera Doktor Faust, completed by Philipp Jarnach, is posthumously premiered in Dresden.

Busoni Ferruccio - Doktor Faust
Doktor Faust – Thomas Hampson
Wagner, sein Famulus / Zeremonienmeister– Günther Groissböck
Mephistopheles – Gregory Kunde
Der Herzog von Parma / Des Mädchens Bruder / Soldat – Reinaldo Macias
Die Herzogin von Parma – Sandra Trattnigg
Ein Leutnant – Martin Zysset
Chorus and Orchestra of the Zurich Opera House
(chorus master: Jürg Hämmerli)
Philippe Jordan, conductor Klaus Michael Grüber, stage director
Eduardo Arroyo, stage design
Eva Dessecker, costumes
Jürgen Hoffmann, lighting Recorded live from the Zurich Opera House, 2006

1 June
Ernest Bloch blends 20th-century harmony with Baroque idioms in his Concerto Grosso No. 1 for piano and string orchestra, introduced in Cleveland.

Ernest Bloch - Concerto Grosso No. 1 
Irit Rob, piano and the Israel Chamber Orchestra conducted by Yoav Talmi

11 December 
Carl  Nielsen
divides the public with 
his Sixth Symphony (Sinfonia Semplice), first performed in Copenhagen. It is his final work in the genre.

Nielsen - Symphony No. 6 "Sinfonia semplice", FS 116
Herbert Blomstedt & San Francisco Symphony Orchestra
.

14 December
Following 137 rehearsals. Alban 
Berg's deeply psychological Wozzeck (1922) premieres under Erich Kleiber in Berlin. The atonal tragic opera, based on Georg Buchner s play, provokes extreme reactions both in praise and in protest. Productions in Prague and Leningrad follow, consolidating Bergs international reputation.

 

Pierre Boulez
 

Pierre Boulez, (born March 26, 1925, Montbrison, France—died January 5, 2016, Baden-Baden, Germany), most significant French composer of his generation, as well as a noted conductor and music theorist who championed the work of 20th-century composers.










 



Boulez, the son of a steel manufacturer, majored in mathematics at the Collège de Saint-Étienne, where he also took music lessons; he later studied mathematics, engineering, and music in Lyon. In 1944–45 he was taught by the composer and organist Olivier Messiaen at the Paris Conservatory. Subsequently (1945–46), he was trained in 12-tone technique by René Leibowitz, who had been a student of Arnold Schoenberg, the father of 12-tone music. In 1953 Boulez founded a series of avant-garde concerts, the Concerts of Petit-Marigny, which were later renamed Domaine Musical.

By the 1960s Boulez had gained an international reputation not only as a composer but also as a conductor, particularly of the 20th-century repertoire. He began his first conducting post in 1958 with the Southwest Radio Symphony Orchestra in Baden-Baden, West Germany. He was principal guest conductor and then musical adviser of the Cleveland Orchestra (1969–72) and principal conductor of both the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London (1971–75) and the New York Philharmonic (1971–77). In the 1960s and ’70s he also conducted works of Richard Wagner at Bayreuth, West Germany. Boulez conducted with major orchestras in the United States and Europe, including the Chicago Symphony, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras. He became known especially for performances of Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Anton Webern, Maurice Ravel, and Igor Stravinsky. According to the American composer John Adams, “The precision of his performances and his recordings had a huge effect on following generations of conductors and performers.”

In the mid-1970s, with the support of the French government, Boulez created and directed the experimental Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music (IRCAM), which was housed in the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The instrumental group he established there in 1976, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, became one of the world’s most important contemporary music ensembles; Boulez toured with the group as its conductor until 1992 and continued as president thereafter.

Boulez’s complex, serialist music is marked by a sensitivity to the nuances of instrumental texture and colour, a concern also apparent in his conducting. His earlier compositions combine the influence of the 12-tone composers with that of Messiaen and, through him, of certain East Asian musical elements. Boulez was also influenced by the work of the poets Stéphane Mallarmé and René Char. In his Sonatine for flute and piano (1946), the 12-tone imitations and canons progress so quickly as to leave an impression merely of movement and texture. In Structures, Book I for two pianos (1952), the actual 12-tone series is simply taken from a work of Messiaen’s; but Boulez elaborates it to a remarkable degree in strict permutations of pitch, duration, and dynamics. Le Marteau sans maître for voice and six instruments (1953–55; The Hammer Without a Master) has florid decorative textures that flow into one another, with voice and instruments rising and falling with apparent spontaneity.

Boulez’s innovativeness was demonstrated in Pli selon pli (1957–62; Fold According to Fold), in which performers must orient themselves by maintaining a constant awareness of the structure of the work. In his Piano Sonata No. 3 (first performed 1957), as in Pli selon pli, he introduced elements of aleatory music.

Boulez’s other works include Le Visage nuptial for two voices, women’s chorus, and orchestra (1951–52, based on the chamber version of 1947; “The Bridal Countenance”); Poésie pour pouvoir for two orchestras (first performed 1958; “Poetry for Power”); Répons for chamber orchestra, six solo instruments, and computer (first performed 1981); and “…explosante-fixe…” (1972–93, several versions), for which Boulez used live electronics for all but the earliest version. He continued to compose into the 21st century, at times taking a leave from conducting to focus on his own music. He said, “I write in different levels at once—one level is simple, which gives you confidence, others are complex, which invite you to explore.”

Autobiographical works by Boulez include Relevés d’apprenti (1966; Stocktakings from an Apprenticeship), and Par volonté et par hasard (1975; Conversations with Célestin Deliège). More-theoretical writings include Penser la musique aujourd’hui (1964; Boulez on Music Today) and Points de repère (1981; Orientations). His approach to conducting is the focus of Boulez on Conducting: Conversations with Cécile Gilly (2003). Some of his letters, translated and edited by Robert Samuels, are collected in Pierre Boulez and John Cage Correspondence (1993; originally published in French, 1990).

Boulez’s many international honours included the Praemium Imperiale (1989), the Wolf Prize (2000), and the Kyoto Prize (2009). Recordings of performances that Boulez conducted won more than 20 Grammy Awards, and in 2015 he received a special Grammy for lifetime achievement. He also received high honours from the governments of Great Britain (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) and Germany (Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany).

Pierre Boulez - Piano Sonata No. 1 (1946)

I. Lent -- Beaucoup plus allant
II. Assez large -- Rapide (4:33)

Idil Biret, piano

Pierre Boulez - Structures, for two pianos

Premier livre (1952)
00:00 I.
03:36 II.
12:19 III.

Deuxième livre (1961)
14:41 I.
23:28 II.

Alfons Kontarsky, piano
Aloys Kontarsky, piano

Pierre Boulez - Répons 
pour six solistes, ensemble de chambre, sons électroniques et électronique temps réel
Ensemble intercontemporain
Matthias Pintscher, direction   
Réalisation informatique musicale Ircam Elektronische Verarbeitung der Musik Ircam Andrew Gerzso, Gilbert Nouno
Enregistré à la Philharmonie de Paris – 11 juin 2015

Pierre Boulez  … explosante-fixe … 

Sophie Cherrier, Marion Ralincourt, flûtes
Emmanuelle Ophèle, flûte MIDI
Ensemble intercontemporain
Matthias Pintscher, direction
Carlo Laurenzi, Andrew Gerzso,  réalisation informatique musicale Ircam 
Enregistré en direct le  2015 à la Philharmonie de Pari

Pierre Boulez: Le soleil des eaux
Elizabeth Atherton (soprano), BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez (conductor) - Barbican Hall, London, 2005

Pierre Boulez -  Pli selon pli (Don)
Portrait de Mallarmé pour soprano et orchestre
Marisol Montalvo, soprano 
Orchestre du Conservatoire de Paris
Ensemble intercontemporain
Matthias Pintscher, direction 

Enregistré en direct le 3 février 2015  à la Philharmonie de Paris, Grande Salle - Philharmonie 1

Pierre Boulez: Dérive 1 - (1984) Dérive 2 (2006)
Dérive  (1) Pour six  Instrume
Trés  lent
Immuable

Ensemble  Intercontemporain
Dir : Pierre  Boulez

Sophie Cherrier,Flute - Alain Billard,Clarinette - Hae-Sun Kang,Violon - Eric-Maria Coutier,Violoncelle - Michel Cerruti,Vibraphone - Dimitri Vassikalis,Pianoforte 
Dérive  (2) Pour onze Instruments
Trés  Rapide

Ensemble  Intercontemporain
Dir : Pierre  Boulez

 

Luciano Berio
 

Luciano Berio, (born October 24, 1925, Oneglia, Italy—died May 27, 2003, Rome), Italian musician, whose success as theorist, conductor, composer, and teacher placed him among the leading representatives of the musical avant-garde. His style is notable for combining lyric and expressive musical qualities with the most advanced techniques of electronic and aleatory music.











 



Berio studied composing and conducting at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, and in 1952 he received a Koussevitzky Foundation scholarship at Tanglewood, Massachusetts, where he studied under the influential composer Luigi Dallapiccola. With another leading Italian composer, Bruno Maderna, he founded (1954) the Studio di Fonologia Musicale at Milan Radio. Under Berio’s direction until 1959, it became one of the leading electronic music studios in Europe. There he attacked the problem of reconciling electronic music with musique concrète (i.e., composition using as raw material recorded sounds such as storms or street noises rather than laboratory-created sounds). Berio and Maderna also founded the journal Incontri Musicali (1956–60; “Musical Encounters”), a review of avant-garde music.

In all his work Berio’s logical and clear constructions are considered highly imaginative and poetic, drawing elements of style from such composers as Igor Stravinsky and Anton Webern. Serenata I (1957), his last major serial piece, was dedicated to Pierre Boulez. Différences (1958–59, revised 1967) contrasts live and prerecorded instruments. His Sequenza series (1958–2002) includes solo pieces for flute, harp, female voice (Sequenza III [1966] was written for performance by his former wife, soprano Cathy Berberian), piano, and violin that incorporate aleatory elements. Other compositions include Laborintus II (1965) and Sinfonia (1968), which incorporate a wide range of literary and musical references. Sinfonia also gathers a large performance force using an orchestra, organ, harpsichord, piano, chorus, and reciters. Berio’s Coro (1976) is written for 40 voices and 40 instruments. Among his later pieces are the orchestral work Formazioni (1987) and the operas Outis (1996) and Cronaca del luogo (1999). In addition to composing, Berio also taught at a number of institutions, including the Juilliard School in New York City (1965–71) and Harvard University (1993–94) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1996 he received the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for music. And in 2000 he became president and artistic director of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, posts he held until his death.
 

Laura Catrani canta Sequenza III di Luciano Berio

Luciano Berio: Sequenza III by Sarah Maria Sun

Luciano Berio - Sinfonia 
Recorded live at Suntory Hall, Tokyo, 31 May 1995
Chicago Symphony Orchestra