Modern Period
 

1926-1927-1928-1929-1930

1926
Hejaz becomes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia • Germany is admitted to the League of Nations • The Riff rebels, led by Abd-el-Krim, are defeated in Morocco by the French • Lebanon becomes a republic • The Russian revolutionary leader Lev Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Politburo • General Strike (first and last) across Britain lasts ten days • The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is formed with a royal charter • John Logie Baird (Scot) demonstrates television in London • British economist John Keynes: The End of Laisez-Faire • T. E. Lawrence (‘of Arabia’): autobiographical The Seven Pillars of Wisdom • Ernest Hemingway (US) The Sun Also Rises

1927
Allied military control ends in Germany and Hungary • Josef Stalin secures political control in the Soviet Union; Lev Trotsky is expelled from the Russian Communist Party • Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-Shek purges communists from the Kuomintang • The German economy collapses and the Mark becomes worthless • German scientists Fritz London and Walter Heitler introduce concept of quantum chemistry • Charles Lindbergh (US) makes first solo transatlantic flight • Universum Film AG (Ger) release Fritz Lang’s pioneering science-fiction film Metropolis • L. S. Lowry (Eng) paints Peel Park, Salford • Virginia Woolf (Eng): To the Lighthouse

1928
Albania becomes a kingdom, with King Zog as monarch • The Fascist Grand Council extends its political power in Italy • Newly-elected president Alvato Obregon of Mexico is assassinated • The Soviet Union launches its first five-year Economic Plan • The Economy of Brazil collapses • Islam ceases to be the state religion of Turkey • Alexander Fleming (Scot) discovers penicillin • Voting rights for women over 21 in Britain • First Mickey Mouse cartoons are released, including Steamboat Willie—first cartoon with synchronised sound • John Logie Baird (Scot) demonstrates early colour television • Rene Magritte (Belg) paints The Empty Mask • Evelyn Waugh (Eng): Decline and Fall

1929
Herbert Hoover becomes 31st President of the USA • A world economic crises begins with the collapse of the US Stock Exchange • Fascists monopolise Italian parliament • An experimental public TV service begins in Britain; regular TV broadcasts begin in Germany • Italian government recognises Vatican City as an independent state • Popeye the Sailor makes his comic strip debut • Paul Klee (Switz) paints Monument in Fertile CountrySalvador Dali (Sp) paints Enigma and gives his first solo exhibition, in Paris • Ernest Hemingway (US): A Farewell to Arms • D. H. Lawrence (Eng): Lady Chatterley’s Lover • Erich Remarque (Ger): All Quiet on the Western Front

1930
In the USA, the Great Depression worsens and unemployment grows • Indian ‘Salt March’: Mohandas Gandhi leads a civil disobedience campaign seeking independence from British rule; he and thousands of protestors are arrested and jailed • Haille Selassie (statesman Ras Tafari) becomes Emperor of Ethiopia • The Allied occupation of Germany (since World War I) ends • The National Socialists (Nazis) win one third of the seats in the German Reichstag • The Empire State Building is built in New York (USA) • Clyde Tombaugh (US) discovers the planet Pluto • Uruguay wins the first World Cup football final • Grant Wood (US) paints American Gothic • Noel Coward (Eng): play Private Lives

Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American novelist, short story writer, and journalist. His economical and understated style—which he termed the iceberg theory—had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his adventurous lifestyle and his public image brought him admiration from later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short-story collections, and two non-fiction works. 

 

1926

Bela Bartok in a flurry of piano compositions, writes Out of Doors (suite), Nine Little Pieces, the Piano Sonata and the Piano Concerto, and the first works of his compilation Mikrokosmos.

Bartok - Nine Little Pieces, Sz. 82
Chris Breemer, piano

Béla Bartók - Piano Sonata Sz.80 
Dušan Holý - piano

Béla Bartók - Piano Concerto No. 1
Radio Symphonie Orchester Berlin  - Ferenc Fricsay 
Soloist: Géza Anda, 1960 

Béla Bartók - Microcosmos, Part I, II & III

Microcosmos - part I

Volume I, II & III
Parts 1 - 16

Claude Helffer, piano
Håkon Austbø, second piano

Recorded in december 1972 - january 1973

Béla Bartók - Microcosmos - part IV, V & VI
Nrs. 1 - 12

Claude Helffer, piano
Håkon Austbø, second piano

Béla Bartók: Out of Doors [“Szabadban”], Sz. 81, BB 89 Piano: Zoltán Kocsis

5 November
Manuel de Falla
conducts the first performance of his neo-classical Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin and Cello—one of his last and finest pieces—in Barcelona. At the keyboard is the renowned harpsichordist Wanda Landowska, who has suggested and commissioned the work.

Manuel de Falla: Concerto per clavicembalo, flauto, oboe, clarineto, violino e violoncello
Allegro • 3:10 Lento - Tempo giusto - Molto energico • 9:10 Vivace
Joaquín Achúcarro, Mata, London Symphony Orchestra

9 November
Dresden Staatsoper debuts Paul Hindemith’s opera Cardillac.

"CARDILLAC" - Paul Hindemith
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau--Cardillac
Elisabeth Söderstrom--The Lady 
Leonore Kirschstein--Cardillac's Daughter
Joseph Keilbeth--Conductor
Köln Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester, 1968

11 November
Heitor Villa-Lobos melds popular Brazilian song, rainforest evocations and contemporary classical harmonies in his Choros No. 10, colourfully scored for chorus and orchestra, premiered in Rio de Janerio.

Heitor Villa-Lobos
Chôros No. 10, W209 ("Rasga o Coração"):
0:21 – Animé
2:51 – Lent
6:18 – Très peu animé et bien rhytmé
Zóltan Kocsis, conductor - 
Hungarian National Philharmonic

12 January
Composer Morton Feldman is born in New York.

26 April
Giacomo Puccini
’s unfinished opera Turandot is introduced posthumously under Toscanini at La Scala, Milan. Completed by Franco Alfano, the audience only hears the music of Puccini: after the death of the slave girl Liu in Act 3, Toscanini lays down his baton and proclaims, 'Here, at this point, Puccini broke off his work’.

12 May
Dmitri Shostakovich, aged 19, witnesses his Symphony No.1 premiered and wildly applauded in Leningrad. The success catapults him onto the international stage as renowned conductors—Toscanini and Stokowski among them—take up his music.

Shostakovich - Symphony No. 1 in F minor Op.10
Conductor : Leonard Bernstein
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, June 1988
1 First movement: Allegretto - Allegro non troppo   0:00
2 The second movement: Allegro - Meno mosso   8:58
3 Third Movement: Lento   13:50
4 Fourth movement: Lento - Allegro molto   24:10

June
Anton Webern’s pithy and pointillistic Five Pieces for Orchestra (Op. 10, 1913) is introduced at Zurich’s ISCM (International Society for Contemporary Music) Festival.

Anton Webern - Five Pieces for Orchestra
Claudio Abbado

19 June
Karol SzymanowskiKing Roger 

King Roger (Król Roger, Op. 46)
is an opera in three acts by Karol Szymanowski to a Polish libretto by the composer himself and Jarosław Iwaszkiewic.

Karol Szymanowski - Król Roger Op. 46
Roger II, King of Sicily - WOJCIECH DRABOWICZ 
Roxana, Roger's wife - Olga Pasiecznik
Edrisi, The arabian sage - Krzysztof Szmyt
Shepherd - Piotr Beczała
Archbishop - Romuald Tesarowicz
Deaconess - Stefania Toczyska
Tenor solo - Ryszard Wróblewski
Voice 1 - Justyna Kabała
Voice 2 - Maciej Dunin
"Alla Polacca" Youth Choir, Choir Director: Sabina Włodarska
Chorus and Orchestra of the Polish National Opera
Chorus Master: Bogdan Gola
Conducted by JACEK KASPSZYK

1 July
German composer Hans Werner Henze is born in Giitersloh, Westphalia.

28 November
Bela Bartok’s pantomime The Miraculous Mandarin (piano score 1919), a tale of a prostitute and her depraved coterie, opens in Cologne. The production survives only one performance due to grievances led by the city’s mayor over the ballet’s sordid subject matter.

Béla Bartók : The Miraculous Mandarin
Music For Strings, Percussion And Celesta

The Miraculous Mandarin Sz 73 - Pantomime In One Act 
Beginning
First Seduction Game: The Shabby Old Rake
Second Seduction Game
Third Seduction Game
The Mandarin Enters And Remains Unmoving In The Doorway...
The Girl Sinks Down To Embrace Him…
The Tramps Leap Out, Seize The Mandarin And Tear Him Away From The Girl…
Suddenly The Mandarin's Head Appears Between The Pillows And He Looks Longingly At The Girl
The Terrific Tramps Discuss How They Are To Get Rid Of The Mandarin At Last
The Body Of The Mandarin Begins To Glow With A Greenish-Blue Light
The Girl Resists No Longer - They Embrace

Music For Strings, Percussion And Celesta Sz 106 
I Andante Tranquillo
II Allegro
III Adagio
IV Allegro Molto
 Conductor – Pierre Boulez
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Chorus – Chicago Symphony Chorus
recorded in Chicago, Orchestra Hall, 12 / 1994

26 June
Leos Janacek's vibrant Sinfonietta (1925) is premiered in Prague. The brass-heavy orchestration derives from the work’s original conception as a collection of military-band fanfares, which themselves maintain a powerful presence throughout. Each of the five movements depicts an aspect of Janacek s adopted city, Brno.

Leos Janacek - Sinfonietta
WDR Sinfonieorchester (2007)
Jukka-Pekka Saraste

16 December
Leos Janacek
's opera The Makropulos Case (1925) opens successfully in Brno. Compositions this year have included the sacred masterpiece Glagolitic Mass.

 

The Makropulos Affair (or The Makropoulos Case, The Makropulos Secret, or, literally, The Makropulos Thing; Czech Věc Makropulos) is a Czech opera in 3 acts, with music and libretto by Leoš Janáček. Janáček based his opera on the play Věc Makropulos by Karel Čapek. Composed between 1923 and 1925, The Makropulos Affair was his penultimate opera and, like much of his later work, was inspired by his infatuation with Kamila Stösslová, a married woman much younger than himself.

The opera received its world premiere at the National Theatre in Brno on 18 December 1926, conducted by František Neumann.

Leos Janacek - The Makropulos Case 
Emilia Marty: Anja Silja (soprano)
Albert Gregor: Kim Begley (tenor)
Baron Prus: Victor Braun (barítono)
Dr. Kolenatý: Andrew Shore (barítono)
Vítek: Anthony Roden (tenor)
Kristina: Manuela Kriscak (soprano)
Janek: Christopher Ventris (tenor)
Hauk-Šendorf: Robert Tear (tenor)
Chambermaid: Susan Gorton (mezzo-soprano)
Stage Hand: Henry Waddington
Cleaner: Menai Davies
Celeste: Jonathan Hinden  
The London Philharmonic Orchestra & Glyndebourne Festival Opera
Regência: Andrew Davis

16 October
Zoltán Kodaly’s opera Hary Janos opens with great success in Budapest.

Zoltán Kodály - Háry János 

Sándor Sólyom-Nagy, baritone
Klára Takács. Mezzo-soprano
Mária Sudlik, soprano
Balázs Póka, baritone
Katalin Mészoly, mezzo-soprano
JószefmGregor, bass
Sándo Palcsó. Temor

Hungarian State Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Children’s Chorus of Hungarian Radio and Television
János Ferencsik, conductor

26 December
Jean Sibelius summons the Finnish god of the forests in the symphonic poem Tapiola, his last major work, introduced in New York.

Jean Sibelius - Tapiola, op.112

Philharmonia Orchestra
Herbert von Karajan
Studio recording, London, VII.1953

 

Morton Feldman

Morton Feldman (January 12, 1926 – September 3, 1987) was an American composer.








 


Feldman was born in Woodside, Queens into a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants.  Feldman's first composition teachers were Wallingford Riegger, one of the first American followers of Arnold Schoenberg, and Stefan Wolpe, a German-born Jewish composer who studied under Franz Schreker and Anton Webern. 
With John Cage's encouragement, Feldman began to write pieces that had no relation to compositional systems of the past, such as traditional harmony or the serial technique. He experimented with nonstandard systems of musical notation, often using grids in his scores, and specifying how many notes should be played at a certain time but not which ones. 

Through Cage, Feldman met many other prominent figures in the New York arts scene, among them Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston and Frank O'Hara. He found inspiration in the paintings of the abstract expressionists, and in the 1970s wrote a number of pieces around 20 minutes in length, including Rothko Chapel (1971, written for the building of the same name, which houses paintings by Mark Rothko) and For Frank O'Hara (1973). In 1977, he wrote the opera Neither with original text by Samuel Beckett.

Later, he began to produce very long works, often in one continuous movement, rarely shorter than half an hour in length and often much longer. These include Violin and String Quartet (1985, around 2 hours), For Philip Guston (1984, around four hours) and, most extreme, the String Quartet II (1983, over six hours long without a break). These pieces typically maintain a very slow developmental pace and are mostly very quiet. Feldman said that quiet sounds had begun to be the only ones that interested him. In a 1982 lecture, he asked, "Do we have anything in music for example that really wipes everything out? That just cleans everything away?"

Feldman married the Canadian composer Barbara Monk shortly before his death. He died of pancreatic cancer in 1987 at his home in Buffalo, New York, after fighting for his life for three months.
 

Morton Feldman - For Philip Guston, 1984.

S.E.M. Ensemble (Petr Kotik, flute(s). Joseph Kubera, piano/celesta. Chris Nappi, percussion) Released 2000

Morton Feldman - Violin and String Quartet, for violin & string quartet (1985)

Peter Rundel, violin - Pellegrini-Quartett

Morton Feldman - Neither
Opera in 1 act for soprano & orchestra (1977)

Sarah Leonard, soprano

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra - Zoltan Pesko

Morton Feldman: Three Voices, per tre soprano (1982). Dedicato a Joan la Barbara.

 

Hans Werner Henze
 

Hans Werner Henze, (born July 1, 1926, Gütersloh, Germany—died October 27, 2012, Dresden), German composer whose operas, ballets, symphonies, and other works are marked by an individual and advanced style wrought within traditional forms.







 



Henze was a pupil of the noted German composer Wolfgang Fortner and of René Leibowitz, the leading French composer of 12-tone music. One of Henze’s early works, the Violin Concerto No. 1 (1947), demonstrated his mastery of 12-tone technique, which dominated his writing until 1956. Henze considered his early works, up to his Symphony No. 2 (1949), to be simple, or even primitive, as they depended greatly upon the effectiveness of his melodies.

The opera König Hirsch (1956; The Stag King) marked the beginning of a second period, in which Henze shed serialism (ordered series of notes, rhythms, etc.), revealing a freely inventive and eclectic style. This work showed Henze at maturity, though he was already well established in 1952, when he won the Schumann Prize for his Piano Concerto No. 1 (1950) and finished his second opera, Boulevard Solitude. In 1950–53 Henze was ballet adviser at the Wiesbaden State Theatre, Germany; there he received the impetus for much of his later ballet music, including Ondine (1956), a classical work incorporating jazz elements. Henze’s operas have been widely performed; Elegy for Young Lovers and Das Wundertheater (The Wonder Theatre) were produced in New York City between 1965 and 1970. In his symphonies as well as his stage works, Henze revealed himself as eclectic in his choice of styles—several may be combined in a single work—and romantic in temperament. His Symphony No. 6 for two chamber orchestras (1969) drew on both serialism and elements of traditional tonality utilizing microtonal intervals (smaller than a semitone), amplified instruments, and a large percussion section; it is representative of his works of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Henze took up residence in Italy in 1953. After embracing socialism in the mid-1960s, he expressed his new political affiliation in Das Floss der “Medusa” (“The Raft of the ‘Medusa’ ”), a requiem for Che Guevara, and in the opera We Come to the River (1976; in collaboration with Edward Bond). Henze’s book Essays (1964) revealed him as a highly articulate spokesperson for modern music, and Music and Politics: Collected Writings 1953–81 (1982) examined his later belief that music should be politicized.

Henze’s later works include the operas Pollicino (1980) and The English Cat (1983), the orchestral works Symphony No. 7 (1983–84) and Fandango (1985). He taught composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London and in 1989 helped establish the Munich Biennale music festival. In 2000 Henze received the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for music, and he remained an active presence in the international contemporary music scene into the 21st century.
 

Henze: Venus und Adonis (1993-1995)

Venus and Adonis. Opera in one act for singers and dancers. Libretto by Hans-Ulrich Treichel (1993-1995)

Nadine Secunde (Primadonna), Chris Merritt (Clemente) & Ekkehard Wlaschiha (Heldendarsteller: heroic actor) - Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper & Bayerisches Staatsorchester (Bavarian State Opera Chorus & Bavarian State Orchestra), Markus Stenz

recording of the first performance (Munich, Bayerische Staatsoper, January 11, 1997)

Hans Werner Henze - Symphony No. 2

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin
Marek Janowski, conductor

Hans Werner Henze - Symphony No. 4
Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by the composer (1966)

Henze - Symphony No. 5 for Large Orchestra (1962)

Hans Werner Henze: Symphony No.10 (1997/2000)

I. Ein Sturm
II. Ein Hymnus [10:47]
III. Ein Tanz [19:02]
IV. Ein Traum [26:41]

Orchestre National de Montpellier diretta da Friedemann Layer.

 

1927

Darius Milhaud – 3 Opéras-minutes
L'enlèvement d'Europe, Op. 94; 1 act, 8 scenes; libretto by Henri Hoppenot
L'abandon d'Ariane, Op. 98; 1 act, 5 scenes; libretto by Henri Hoppenot
La délivrance de Thésée, Op. 99; 1 act, 6 scenes; libretto by Henri Hoppenot

Darius Milhaud: Trois Opéras-Minute (1927/1928).

I. L'Enlèvement d'Europe, op. 94 (1927)
II. L'Abandon d'Ariane, op. 98 (1928) [08:21]
III. La Délivrance de Thésée, op. 99 (1928) [20:00]

Jacqueline Brumaire, soprano
Claudine Collard, soprano
Geneviève Touraine, soprano
Christiane Jacquin, soprano
Solange Michel, mezzo-soprano
Marguerite Paquet, contralto
Raymond Amade, tenore
Bernard Plantey, tenore
Gérard Friedmann, tenore
Camille Maurane, baritono
Bernard Demigny, baritono
Jacques Mars, basso
Pierre Germain, basso
Jacques Villisech, basso

Orchestre radio-lyrique de la RTF diretta da Gustave Cloëz. - Paris, RTF, 1960.

Ottorino Respighi composes Trittico Botticelliano (Three Botticelli Pictures) for chamber orchestra.

Ottorino Respighi - Trittico botticelliano / Three Botticelli Pictures
I. La primavera  [5.35]
II. L'adorazione dei Magi  [8.37]
III. La nascita di Venere  [5.29]

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

8 January
The Kolisch String Quartet gives the first performance of Alban ​Berg’s serialist Lyric Suite, in Vienna. The work derives important musical material from the notes A, B flat, B, F, the notated initials of Alban ​Berg and his (married) lover, Hanna Fuchs-Robettin.

 

 

Alban Berg - Lyric Suite for string quartet

Juilliard String Quartet
Robert Mann, violin
Earl Carlyss, violin
Samuel Rhodes, viola
Claus Adam, cello

1970

28 Januar
Aaron Copland
introduces his Piano Concerto in Boston.

Aaron Copland - Piano Concerto
Earl Wild, piano

10 February
Ernst Krenek
’s opera Jonny spielt auf (Jonny Strikes Up, 1925) premieres in Leipzig. Infused with jazz and contemporary dance styles, it creates a sensation in Germany and abroad. Productions in more than 100 towns and cities follow by the end of the decade.

 

Ernst Krenek - Jonny spielt auf
Lucia Popp-Yvonne, the chambermaid
Evelyn Lear-Anita, an opera singer
Thomas Stewart-Daniello--a violinst
William Blankenship-Max, a composer
Gerd Feldhof-Jonny, a black Jazz band violinist
Heinrich Hollresier-conductor
Vienna State Orchestra, 1964

21 February
Franz Lehár - Der Zarewitsch

Der Zarewitsch (The Tsarevich) is an operetta in three acts by Franz Lehár. The German libretto by Heinz Reichert (de) and Bela Jenbach (de) is based on the play of the same name by Polish author Gabriela Zapolska. The work received its first performance at the Deutsches Künstlertheater in Berlin on 21 February 1927.

Franz Lehár "Der Zarewitsch"
Querschnitt 1965
Reinhold Bartel
Herta Talmar
Willy Hofmann
Rita Bartos
Chor & Grosses Operettenorchester
Dirigent: Franz Marszalek

30 May
In Paris
Maurice Ravel introduces his Sonata for Violin and Piano with the composer-violinist George Enescu. who has memorised the piece after just one rehearsal session. The influence of popular music is apparent in the work’s second movement, subtitled Blues.

Ravel - Sonata for Violin & Piano No. 2 in G Major 
I. Allegretto
II. Blues: Moderato (8:35)
III. Perpetuum mobile: Allegro (14:14)
Giora Schmidt, violin; Jean-Philippe Collard, piano

Montreal Chamber Music Festival, 2013

30 May
Igor Stravinsky’s opera-oratorio Oedipus Rex, with text by Jean Cocteau after Sophocles, is presented at the Theatre Sarah Bernhardt in Paris. The first staged production is mounted the following year in Vienna.

Oedipus Rex - Stravinsky
Ozawa, Norman, Langridge 1992

Stravinsky - Oedipus Rex
Giancarlo Sbragia (Narrator)
Lajos Kozma (Oedipus)
Tatiana Troyanos (Jocasta)
Franz Crass (Creonte/Messenger)
Luigi Roni (Teresias)
Franco Jacopucci (Shepherd)
Orchestra Sinfonica e coro di Roma della RAI 
Gianni Lazzari, chorusmaster
Claudio Abbado, conductor, Roma 08.II.1969

1 July
Bela Bartok punches and glides through his formidable First Piano Concerto (1926), premiered under Furtwangler in Frankfurt. The reception is generally unfavourable.

Bartók - Piano Concerto No. 1
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen
Yuja Wang

17 July
Paul Hindemith
Hin und zurück

 

Hin und zurück (Back and forth) is an operatic 'sketch' (Op. 45a) in one scene by Paul Hindemith, with a German libretto by Marcellus Schiffer. Hindemith wrote the piece for a collection of miniature operas presented on 17 July 1927 at the Baden-Baden Music Festival in the Theater Baden-Baden.

Paul Hindemith  - "Hin und Zurück"
Mitschnitt des Dozentenkonzerts der Musikschule Bad Vilbel am 15.3. 2014 im Saal der Alten Mühle in Bad Vilbel.
Mitwirkende: Lehrkräfte der Musikschule, Leitung: Andreas Weiss

19 September
Arnold Schoenberg's String Quartet No. 3 is first performed in Vienna.

Arnold Schönberg - String Quartet No. 3
Kohon Quartet, 1967

7 October 
Erich KorngoldDas Wunder der Heliane. 

Das Wunder der Heliane (German for The Miracle of Heliane), Op. 20 is an opera in three acts by Erich Wolfgang Korngold with a libretto by Hans Müller-Einigen, after Hans Kaltneker (de). It was first performed at the Hamburg State Opera on 7 October 1927.

Erich Korngold: Das Wunder Der Heliane 1/2
Heliana: Sally du Randt
Ruler Derrick: Lawrence
Strenger: Norbert Schmittberg
Messenger woman: Jana Wallingerová
Porter: Jan Šťáva
Capital judge: Zoltán Korda
Young man: Ivan Choupenitch
Six judges: Petr Levíček, Petr Císař, David Nykl, Tomáš Krejčiřík, Pavel Kamas, Jiří Klecker
Conductor: Peter Feranec

Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Das Wunder Der Heliane 2/2

18 March
Sergei Rachmaninov’s Fourth Piano Concerto (1926) meets with disapproval at its premiere in Philadelphia. The composer withdraws the work for revision.

Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No.4 op.40 in G minor 
00:00  1.Allegro Vivace
10:30  2.Largo
18:05  3.Allegro Vivace
Vladimir Ashkenazy
Concertgebouw Orchestra
Bernard Haitink
Amsterdam, December 1984

5 November
Dmitri Shostakovich’s Second Symphony—a one-movement oratorio-symphony subtitled To October—premieres in St Petersburg.

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 2, Op. 14 "October"
Azusa Pacific University Symphony Orchestra and Oratorio Choir
Christopher Russell, conductor
John Sutton, chorus master

November 15, 2012 at Pomona (CA) First Baptist Church
0:00 Opening
5:52 Rehearsal 13 - quarter = 152
7:58 Rehearsal 59 - (Kan Wang, violin; Darkson Magrinelli, clarinet; Lucia Zung, bassoon)
14:15 Rehearsal 69 - (entrance of the choir)

8 April
Edgard Varese
’s colouristic Arcana is first performed under Stokowski with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Now regarded as one of Varese’s more accessible pieces, the symphonic poem receives a pummelling by critics. This year the French composer becomes an American citizen.

 

Edgard Varèse - Arcana
New York Philharmonic
Conductor: Pierre Boulez

18 November
Ottorino RespighiLa campana sommersa.

La campana sommersa (The Sunken Bell) is an opera in four acts by Italian composer Ottorino Respighi. Its libretto is by Claudio Guastalla, based on the play Die versunkene Glocke by German author Gerhart Hauptmann. The opera's premiere was on November 18, 1927, in Hamburg, Germany.

Ottorino Respighi - LA CAMPANA SOMMERSA 
Rautendelein : Slavka Taskova Paoletti,
Magda : Gabriella Tucci
La strega : Nicoletta Ciliento,
Enrico : Carlo Millauro,
Il fauno : Nicola Tagger,
L'ondino : Lorenzo Saccomanni,
Il curato : Agostino Ferrin,
Tre elfi : Giovanna Di Rocco, Licia Falcone, Katia Kolceva Angeloni,
Il barbiere : Fernando Jacopucci,
Il maestro : Alberto Carusi,
Due bimbi : Stefano Balzola e Maurizio Balzola
Orchestra Sinfonica e coro di Roma della RAI
Direttore Bruno Bartoletti. 1976

 

1928

Ottorino Respighi composes the tone poem Feste romane (Roman Festivals) and draws on themes by Baroque composers (including Pasquini and Rameau) in Gli uccelli (The Birds) for small orchestra. These works attest to Respighi’s rank as one of the world’s greatest orchestrators.

Ottorino Respighi - Feste romane
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Seiji Osawa

5 January
William Walton
's Sinfonia concertante is introduced under Ansermet in London.

William Walton - Sinfonia concertante,
per pianoforte e orchestra -
Phyllis Sellick, pianoforte - 
City of Birmingham Orchestra diretta da William Walton 

16 January
Anton Webern's first fully serialist composition, the String Trio, is first performed in Vienna. 

Webern - String trio op.20
Webern-Trio Frankfurt
Akemi Mercer- Niewöhner, violin
Dirk Mercer-Niewöhner, viola
Ulrich Horn, violoncello

27 April
Igor Stravinsky’s ballet Apollon musagete (Apollo Father of the Muses), scored for strings only, is first danced in Washington. Diaghilev organises a European premiere for June, in Paris.

Igor Stravinsky - Apollon Musagète
First tableau
Prologue: Naissance d'Apollon / The Birth of Apollo  00:00
Second tableau
Variation d'Apollon (Apollon et les Muses) / Variation of Apollo 04:55
Pas d'action (Apollon et les trois Muses) / Pas d'action (Apollo and the Three Muses)  08:16
Variation de Calliope (l'Alexandrin) / Variation of Calliope (the Alexandrine)  13:44
Variation de Polymnie / Variation of Polyhymnia  15:18
Variation de Terpsichore / Variation of Terpsichore  16:35
Variation d'Apollon / Second Variation of Apollo  18:47
Pas de Deux (Apollon et Terpsichore) / Pas de deux 21:35
Coda (Apollon et les Muses) / Coda 26:14
Apotheose / Apotheosis 29:39

Orchestra Stradivari - Daniele Gatti, conductor

APOLLON MUSAGETE
Opéra de Paris 
MYRIAM OULD BRAHAM
MATHILDE FROUSTEY
CHARLINE GIEZENDANNER 
MATHIEU GANIO
Choreographie: G. BALANCHINE
Tokyo 2012

6 June
Die agyptische Helena (The Egyptian Helen), the final completed collaboration between Richard Strauss and Hofmannsthal opens in Dresden.

"Die Ägyptische Helena"; Richard Strauss
Dame Gwyneth Jones--Soprano--Helena
Jess Thomas--Tenor--Menelaus
Edita Gruberova---Soprano--Hermione
Aithra--Mimi Coertese
Altair--Peter Glossop
Da-ud--Peter Schreier
Joseph Krips--Conductor
Orchester der Staatsoper Wien, 1970

12 August
Composer
Leos Janacek dies from pneumonia in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, aged 74. He had recently completed the opera From the House of the Dead (1930).

22 August
Visionary German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen is born in Burg Modrath, near Cologne.

31 August
Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht present their milestone of musical theatre, The Threepenny Opera, in Berlin. Set in London’s Soho during the Victorian age, the edgy updated version of John Gay’s The Beggars’ Opera (first performed 200 years previously) enthrals the city and soon the rest of Europe.

Kurt Weill - Die Dreigroschenoper 
René Kollo, Mario Adorf, Helga Dernesch, Ute Lemper, Milva,  Wolfgang Reichmann, Susanne Tremper, Rolf Boysen & RIAS Sinfonietta Berlin  conducted by John Mauceri

Weill: Die Dreigroschenoper - The Threepenny Opera - full 1931 movie - english subtitles

29 September
André Messager - Coups de roulis

Coups de roulis is an opérette in three acts with music by André Messager and a French libretto by Albert Willemetz, based on the 1925 novel by Maurice Larrouy.

André Messager - Coups De Roulis

Béatrice: Lina DACHARY
Sola Myrrhis: Claudine COLLART
Puy-Pradal: Gaston REY
Kermao: Aimé DONIAT
Gerville: Dominique TIRMONT
Pinson: Jacques PRUVOST
Saint-Mesmin: Pierre SAUGEY
Bellory: Michel FAUCHEY
Muriac: René LENOTY
Haubourdin: Charles DAGUERESSAR
Blangy: Marcel GENIO
Supervielle: Jean HOFFMANN

Chœur et orchestre de la RTF, dir: Marcel Cariven, 1963 

22 November
Ida Rubinstein dances Maurice Ravel’s unremitting Bolero for the first time at the Paris Opera. Toscanini launches it as a concert hall standard the following year, in New York, but Ravel soon tires of his best-known work, deriding it as 'a piece for orchestra without music’.

 

Ida Rubinstein, the inspiration behind Boléro.
Portrait by Valentin Serov.

Maurice Ravel - Bolero
G
ustavo Dudamel - Wiener Philharmoniker, 2010

2 December
Arnold Schoenberg
's Variations for Orchestra, the composer’s first serial essay for large forces, premieres.

Arnold Schoenberg - Variations Op. 31
Chicago Symphony conducted by Daniel Barenboim 
6 October 2005, Orchestra Hall, Chicago.

13 December
Damrosch conducts the first performance of George Gershwin’s tone poem An American in Paris, in New York. Reviews range from 'buoyant’ and 'engaging’ down to 'nauseous claptrap’.

GERSHWIN - An American in Paris
Temple University Sinfonia
Andreas Delfs, music director, 2016

 

Karlheinz Stockhausen
 

Karlheinz Stockhausen, (born Aug. 22, 1928, Mödrath, near Cologne, Ger.—died Dec. 5, 2007, Kürten), German composer, an important creator and theoretician of electronic and serial music who strongly influenced avant-garde composers from the 1950s through the ’80s.







 




Stockhausen studied at the State Academy for Music in Cologne and the University of Cologne from 1947 to 1951. In 1952 he went to Paris, where he studied with the composers Olivier Messiaen and, for a time, Darius Milhaud. Returning to Cologne in 1953, Stockhausen joined its celebrated electronic music studio West German Broadcasting (Westdeutscher Rundfunk), where he served as artistic director from 1963 to 1977. His Studie I (1953; “Study”) was the first musical piece composed from sine-wave sounds, while Studie II (1954) was the first work of electronic music to be notated and published. From 1954 to 1956, at the University of Bonn, Stockhausen studied phonetics, acoustics, and information theory, all of which influenced his musical composition. Having lectured at summer courses on new music in Darmstadt since 1953, he began teaching composition there in 1957 and established a similar series of workshops at Cologne in 1963. Stockhausen lectured and gave concerts of his music throughout Europe and North America. From 1971 to 1977 he was professor of composition at the State Academy for Music in Cologne.

Stockhausen’s explorations of fundamental psychological and acoustical aspects of music were highly independent. Serialism (music based on a series of tones in an ordered arrangement without regard for traditional tonality) was a guiding principle for him. But whereas composers such as Anton Webern and Arnold Schoenberg had confined the serial principle to pitch, Stockhausen, beginning with his composition Kreuzspiel (1951), set about extending serialism to other musical elements, inspired largely by the work of Messiaen. Thus, instrumentation, pitch register and intensity, melodic form, and time duration are deployed in musical pieces that assume an almost geometric level of organization. Stockhausen also began using tape recorders and other machines in the 1950s to analyze and investigate sounds through the electronic manipulation of their fundamental elements, sine waves. From this point he set out to create a new, radically serial approach to the basic elements of music and their organization. He used both electronic and traditional instrumental means and buttressed his approach with rigorous theoretical speculations and radical innovations in musical notation.

In general, Stockhausen’s works are composed of a series of small, individually characterized units, either “points” (individual notes), “groups” of notes, or “moments” (discrete musical sections), each of which can be enjoyed by the listener without forming part of a larger dramatic line or scheme of musical development. This sort of indeterminate, “open form” technique was pioneered by composer John Cage in the early 1950s and was subsequently adopted by Stockhausen. A typical example of Stockhausen’s “open form” is Momente (1962–69), a piece for soprano, 4 choruses, and 13 players. In some such works, such as Klavierstück XI (1956; Piano Piece XI), Stockhausen gives performers a choice of several possible sequences in which to play a given collection of individual moments, since they are equally interesting regardless of their order of occurrence. Chance decisions thus play an important role in many of the compositions.

Certain elements are played off against one another, simultaneously and successively. In Kontra-Punkte (Counter-Points; 1952–53; for 10 instruments), pairs of instruments and extremes of note values confront one another in a series of dramatic encounters; in Gruppen (Groups; 1955–57; for three orchestras), fanfares and passages of varying speed are flung from one orchestra to another, giving the impression of movement in space; while in Zeitmasze (Measures; 1955–56; for five woodwinds) various rates of acceleration and deceleration oppose one another.

In Stockhausen’s electronic music these juxtapositions are taken still further. In the early work Gesang der Jünglinge (1955–56; Song of the Youths), a recording of a boy’s voice is mixed with highly sophisticated electronic sounds. Kontakte (1958–60) is an encounter between electronic sounds and instrumental music, with an emphasis on their similarities of timbre. In Mikrophonie I (1964), performers produce an enormous variety of sounds on a large gong with the aid of highly amplified microphones and electronic filters.

Stockhausen’s Stimmung (1968; “Tuning”), composed for six vocalists with microphones, contains text consisting of names, words, days of the week in German and English, and excerpts from German and Japanese poetry. Hymnen (1969; “Hymns”) was written for electronic sounds and is a recomposition of several national anthems into a single universal anthem. Stockhausen began to reincorporate more conventional melodic forms in such works as Mantra (1970). Virtually all of his compositions from 1977 through 2003 formed part of the grandiose seven-part operatic cycle LICHT (“Light”), a work steeped in spirituality and mysticism that he intended to be his masterpiece. In 2005 the first parts of another ambitious series, KLANG (“Sound”)—in segments that correspond to the 24 hours in a day—were premiered.

Stockhausen’s views on music were presented in a 10-volume collection, Texte, published in German, as well as in a number of other publications, including Mya Tannenbaum’s Conversations with Stockhausen (translated from Italian, 1987), Jonathan Cott’s Stockhausen: Conversations with the Composer (1974), and a compilation of his lectures and interviews, Stockhausen on Music, assembled by Robin Maconie (1989).

 

 

Karlheinz Stockhausen: Mantra (Work No.32),
per due pianoforti e live electronic (1970) --- Xenia Pestova e Pascal Meyer, pianoforti --- Jan Panis, electronics 

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Elektronische Musik 1952-1960
Étude (1952) 
Studie I (1953) 
Studie II (1954) 
Gesang Der Jünglinge (1955-1956) 
Kontakte (1959-1960) 

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Stimmung

Stimmung (00:03)
Forsetzung (35:46)

Baritone Vocals – Georg Steinhoff
Bass Vocals – Hans-Alderich Billig
Composed By, Directed By, Liner Notes – Karlheinz Stockhausen
Design – Holger Matthies Ensemble – Collegium Vocale Köln Liner Notes [Translated By] – Richard Toop
Mezzo-soprano Vocals – Helga Albrecht
Soprano Vocals – Dagmar Apel, Gaby Rodens
Tenor Vocals, Directed By – Wolfgang Fromme
Words By [Magic Names Collated By] – Nancy Wyle

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Donnerstag Aus Licht 1/4
Oper In Drei Akten
Bass Vocals [Luzifer] – Matthias Hölle  
Basset Horn – Suzanne Stephens  
Chorus [Tape] – WDR Rundfunkchor Köln  
Conductor – Karlheinz Stockhausen  
Conductor [Chorus] – Herbert Schernus   
Soprano Vocals [Eva] – Annette Meriweather  
Technician – Günther Engels , Volker Müller , Wolf-Dieter Karwatky  
Trombone – Mark Tezak,  Trumpet – Markus Stockhausen 

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Donnerstag Aus Licht 2/4

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Donnerstag Aus Licht 3/4

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Donnerstag Aus Licht 4/4

STERNKLANG (1969-71) - Karlheinz Stockhausen - Part One

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Oktophonie
Año de creación: 1990-91

 

1929

11 January 
Karol Szymanowski's
Stabat Mater is premiered in Warsaw, conducted by Grzegorz Fitelberg. 

Stabat Mater -- Karol Szymanowski 
Sylvia Greenberg (sopran), Jadwiga Rappé (alt), Adam Kruszewski (baryton). Chór Filharmonii Narodowej, Wielka Orkiestra Symfoniczna Polskiego Radia,
dyr. Antoni Wit. 1997

12 January 
Umberto Giordano – Il Re.

Il re (The king) is a novella or opera in one act and three scenes by composer Umberto Giordano to an Italian libretto by Giovacchino Forzano. The opera premiered at La Scala in Milan on 12 January 1929.

Umberto Giordano – Il Re.

Bela Bartok - String quartet Nr. 4 C-major Sz 91

Quatuor Ebène :
Pierre Colombet, violin I
Gabriel Le magadure, violin II
Mathieu Herzog, viola
Raphaël Merlin,cello

Festival Wissembourg - August 26th 2013

22 February
BBC Radio broadcast the premiere of
Bela Bartok's String Quartet No. 4.

21 March
Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Sir John in Love is staged for the first time at the Royal College of Music in London. Based on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, the opera introduces the composer’s Fantasia on Greensleeves.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Sir John in Love 
Alan Opie (Hugh Evans)
Owen Brannigan (Falstaff)
Robert Thomas (Bardolph)
Eric Stannard (Pistol)
Leslie Fyson (Shallow)
BBC Concert Orchestra diretta da Brian Priestman.

29 April
Sergei Prokofiev’s Dostoyevskian opera The Gambler opens at the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels.

Sergei Prokofiev: The Gambler -
Opera in four acts and six scenes
From the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, December 2012
Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre
Valery Gergiev - musical director and conductor

Sergei Aleksashkin - a Retired General in civilian clothes
Tatiana Pavlovskaya - Pauline, the General’s step-daughter
Vladimir Galuzin - Alexei, tutor of the General’s children
Larisa Dyadkova - Babulenka
Nikolai Gassiev - Marquis
Alexander Gergalov - Mr Astley, a rich Englishman
Nadezhda Serdyuk - Mlle Blanche, a demi-mondain
Andrei Popov - Prince Nilsky
Oleg Sychev - Baron Wurmerhelm
Andrei Spekhov - Potapych

3 May
Francis Poulenc’s Concert Champetre (1928) for harpsichord and orchestra is performed for the first time, in Paris. This year also marks the 30-year-old's 'choreographic concerto’ Aubade, a blend of chamber ballet and piano concerto.

Poulenc - Concert Champêtre
Concert champêtre en ré majeur (in D) pour clavecin et orchestre (for harpischord & orchestra)

00:00 I: Allegro molto
10:57 II: Andante (Mouvement de Sicilienne)
17:22 III: Finale (Presto)

Harpischord: Aimée van de Wiele
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire
Pierre Dervaux

17 May
Sergei Prokofiev’s Third Symphony makes its explosive entrance in Paris. The dramatic work draws a great deal of its material from the opera The Fiery Angel (Premiere    25 November 1955, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris).

Prokofiev Symphony No. 3 in c minor, Op. 44, "The Fiery Angel"
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Walter Weller, conductor

Sergei Prokofiev's opera, The Fiery Angel (Russian: Огненный ангел, tr. Ognenny angel), Op. 37, could be considered one of the composer’s largest challenges. Writing, production, and location were all factors in the piece’s progress. The journey to completion was not truly over until after Prokofiev’s time, when the piece was first presented in a full performance at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 25 November 1954, and was first premiered at the Venice Festival in 1955.

8 June 
Paul HindemithNeues vom Tage (June 8, 1929, Kroll Opera House, Berlin)

 

Neues vom Tage (News of the Day) is a comic opera (Lustige Oper) in three parts by Paul Hindemith, with a German libretto by Marcellus Schiffer.

The opera is a satire of modern life, celebrity and marriage, involving parodies of both Puccini's music and Berlin cabaret. 

Paul Hindemith: Neues vom Tage - Atto I
Laura: Elisabeth Werres, soprano
Eduard: Claudio Nicolai, baritono
Der schöne Herr Hermann: Ronald Pries, tenore
Herr M.: Horst Hiestermann, tenore
Frau M.: Martina Borst, mezzosoprano
Hoteldirektor: Oscar Garcia de Gracia, baritono
Standesbeamter: Arved Sandner, basso
1° Manager, Oberkellner: Celso Antunes, tenore
2° Manager: Wolf Geuer, tenore
3° Manager: Thomas Donecker, baritono
4° Manager: Christoph Scheeben, baritono
5° Manager, Fremdenführer: Dieter Gillessen, basso
6° Manager: Heribert Feckler, basso
Zimmermädchen: Sabine Bitter, soprano
PRO MUSIC Chor (Köln) e Kölner Rundfunkorchester diretti da Jan Latham-König

Paul Hindemith: Neues vom Tage - Atto II

3 October
Paul Hindemith gives the first performance of William Walton’s Viola Concerto to great acclaim in London. The German composer and violist was not Walton s first choice: the distinguished English violist Lionel Tertis had already turned the work down, considering it incomprehensible.

William Walton: Viola Concerto
Matthew Lipman, Viola
Edward Gardner, Conductor - Juilliard Orchestra
, 2012

10 October
Franz Lehar’s operetta Das Land des Lachelns (The Land of Smiles) opens and triumphs at the Metropoltheater in Berlin.

Das Land des Lächelns - Lehár
Studio recording, 1961
WDR Symphony Orchestra, 
cond. Franz Marszalek
Prinz Sou-Chong - Fritz Wunderlich
Lisa - Antonia Fahberg

6 December
Igor Stravinsky performs as soloist in his Capriccio for piano and small orchestra, introduced in Paris.

Igor Stravinsky - Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra
Piano: Carlos Roque Alsina
Philharmonique de France - Conductor: Ernest Bour

 

1930

Paris-based Sergei Prokofiev composes his Fourth Symphony, commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

Sergei Prokofiev - SYMPHONY NO. 4 in C major, Op. 112 (Second Version)
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
DMITRI KITAENKO, cond.,  1986

Heitor Villa-Lobos blends Baroque and Brazilian styles in his Bachianas brasileiras No. 1, scored for eight (or more) cellos.

Heitor Villa-Lobos - Bachianas Brasileiras, No. 1 
Andrew Mogrelia

18 January
Dmitri Shostakovich's opera The Nose, based on the storv by Gogol, is first staged in Leningrad. Critics slate the work. This same month sees the premiere of the composers one-movement Symphony No. 3 (May Day), also in Leningrad.

 

Dmitri Shostakovich - The Nose

Dmitri Shostakovich - The Nose
Co-production Metropolitan Opera (New York) , Lyon National opera and Festival d'Aux en Provence.
Major Kovalev-Vladimir Samsonov
Nose, Yarishkin-Alexander Kravetz
Police Inspector-Andrei Popov
Ivan Yakovlevich-Vladimir Ognovenko
Praskovia Ossipovna-Claudia Waitу
Newspaper editor-Yury Kissin
Doctor-Gennady Bezzubenkov
Ivan-Vassiliy Efimov
Podtochina-Margarita Nekrasova
Dotter of Podtochina-Termine Yeghizarian
Conductor-Kazushi Ono
Directs and designs William Kentridge

21 January

The Symphony No. 3 in E flat major (Opus 20; subtitled First of May) by Dmitri Shostakovich was first performed by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra and Academy Capella Choir under Aleksandr Gauk on 21 January 1930 (the anniversary of Lenin's death).
The finale sets a text by Semyon Isaakovich Kirsanov praising May Day and the revolution. Interpretation is difficult: in a letter to Boleslav Yavorsky, Shostakovich said that the work "expresses the spirit of peaceful reconstruction"; on the other hand, most of the material preceding the finale is dark and sometimes sardonic in tone.

Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 3, Op. 20 "The First of May"

Azusa Pacific University Symphony Orchestra and Oratorio Choir
Christopher Russell, conductor
John Sutton, choir conductor

Recorded November 7, 2014 at the Haugh Performing Arts Center, Glendora, CA

0:07 - Beginning
8:56 - Rehearsal 37
15:30 - Rehearsal 49 - Lento
17:56 - Rehearsal 52 - Allegro
29:18 - Rehearsal 98 - Moderato (entrance of the choir)

1 February
Arnold Schoenberg 
explores love and art in his serialist comic opera Von Heute auf Morgen (From One Day to the Next, 1929), premiered in Frankfurt.

Du Jour au Lendemain (Von Heute auf Morgen)
opéra d'Arnold Schoenberg

Arrangement : Jean-Claude et France Pennetier
Direction musicale : Thomas Amilien
Mise en scène, vidéo : Romain Daudet-Jahan
Production, dramaturgie : Grégoire Letouvet
Scénographie : Laure Satgé
Lumières : Antoine Planchais
Musiques additionnelles : Corentin Giniaux

Avec : Valéria Altaver, Richard Rittelmann, Christophe Crapez, Elisabeth Moussous, Noé Bérard.

Prod : Compagnie des Rugissants / Communauté d'Agglomération de Plaine Centrale du Val de Marne. Créteil, mai 2012

12 April
The posthumous premiere of Leoš Janáček 's prison opera From the House of the Dead (1928) takes place in Brno.

Leoš Janáček - From The House Of The Dead

Ivo Žídek, Primary Artist, Tenor
Václav Zitek Primary Artist, Tenor
Jiří Zahradníček Primary Artist, Tenor
Dalibor Jedlička Bass 
Jaroslava Janská Soprano
Vienna State Opera Chorus 
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Sir Charles Mackerras, Conductor

5 May
Darius Milhaud's first large-scale opera, Christophe Colomb, premieres with great success in Berlin. With libretto by Paul Claudel, the production combines four principal characters, narrator and chorus, a large pit orchestra and off-stage ensemble. Pantomime, ballet and film projection are incorporated to reflect events on different levels of consciousness.

"Christophe Colomb" - part I - by Darius Milhaud
Here is a rare radio broadcast from November 9, 1952. Dimitri Mitropoulos conducts the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York in this English performance (part I) of Darius Milhaud's opera.

Christopher Columbus:  Mack Harrell
Narrator:  John Brownlee
Queen Isabella:  Dorothy Dow
along with Norman Scott, Adolph Anderson, and David Lloyd.

4 June
Alban Berg
’s concert aria Der Wein (Wine), scored for soprano and orchestra, is first performed in Konigsberg.

Berg - Der Wein
Dorothea Roeschmann

From the Salzburg opening concert, 2011. Vienna Philharmonic, Pierre Boulez.

8 October
Composer Toru Takemitsu is born in Tokyo.

14 October 
Girl Crazy
is a 1930 musical with music by
George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and book by Guy Bolton and John McGowan. Ethel Merman made her stage debut in this musical production and it also turned Ginger Rogers into an overnight star.

Gershwin - Girl Crazy
LUDWIG en Barbara Hannigan

28 November
Zoltán Kodaly’s Dances of Marosszek for orchestra is first given in Dresden.

Zoltán Kodály - Marosszék Dances

Philharmonia Hungarica Orchestra - Antal Dorati

9 March
In Leipzig Kurt Weill and Brecht present shocking capitalist satire with the opera Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, an expanded version of their ‘songspief Mahagonny of 1927.

Kurt Weill - Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt
Jimmy Mahoney (singt - Heinz Sauerbaum)
Jenny (singt - Lotte Lenya)
Witwe Leokadja Begbick - Vedova Leocadja Begbick - Mrs. Leokadja Begbick
Dreieinigkeitsmoses - Mosè della Trinità - Trinity Moses
Bill (Sparbüchsenbill - Bill Salvadaio - Pennybank Bill
Jake Schmidt
Jakob
Jack O'Brien
Joe (Alaskawolfjoe - Joe Lupo dell'Alaska - Alaska-Wolf-Joe)
Fatty (der Prokurist - Il Procuratore - The Bookkeeper)
Sprecher - Narratore - Speaker

13 December
Igor Stravinsky’s reverential Symphony of Psalms, composed 'to the glory of God’, receives its first performance under Ansermet in Brussels. Initially conceived to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the work receives its delayed American premiere six days later.

Igor Stravinsky - Symphony of Psalms
Orchestra: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Sir Georg Solti

The Symphony of Psalms, written in 1930

00:00 - 1st movement
03:24 - 2nd movement
10:07 - 3rd movement

 

Toru Takemitsu

Toru Takemitsu, Japanese composer (born Oct. 8, 1930, Tokyo, Japan—died Feb. 20, 1996, Tokyo), achieved worldwide renown for works that combined the tradition of Western classical music and the sounds of traditional Eastern instruments, especially the biwa (a short-necked lute) and the shakuhachi (a bamboo flute), in addition to serial music and musique concrète.











His compositions also used percussion in unusual ways, electronic alteration of orchestral sounds, and even silence to return to music the sensuality he thought it had lost. In addition to concert works, he composed more than 90 film scores, including Woman in the Dunes (1964) and Ran (1985). Takemitsu was, for the most part, self-taught, though he did study intermittently with the composer Yasuji Kiyose. He first performed in public in 1950 and the following year helped found a new group, the Experimental Workshop. Takemitsu’s first composition to attract international attention was Requiem for Strings (1957), which became one of his most popular works. Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Copland promoted his music, and it began to be performed abroad. Major orchestras also began to commission and perform his compositions, among them what was possibly his best-known work, November Steps (1967). Takemitsu’s later music reflected the influence of Claude Debussy, George Gershwin, and Olivier Messiaen and incorporated elements of tonal harmony along with those of serial music. He also claimed that the Japanese formal garden inspired the structure of his music, as illustrated by such works as A Flock Descends into the Pentagonal Garden (1978) and Tree Line (1988). Takemitsu was active in festivals of modern music and was director of the Space Theatre at Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan. Among his awards were the Gravemeyer Award (1994) and the Glenn Gould Prize (1996). Takemitsu’s last work was a piece for the flute, and he was working on his first opera at the time of his death.

Tōru Takemitsu - Rain Tree, for three percussion players (1981).

Bob Becker, Russell Hartenberger e Ryan Scott, percussioni.

Tōru Takemitsu - Toward the sea, for alto flute and guitar (1981).

I. The Night - II. Moby Dick - III. Cape Cod

Robert Aitken, flauto - Norbert Kraft, chitarra.

Toru Takemitsu - Nostalghia - In Memory of Andrei Tarkovskij (1987)
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Hiroyuki Iwaki, conductor

Tōru Takemitsu - And then I knew t'was wind, for flute, viola and harp (1992).

Robert Aitken, flauto
Steven Dann, viola
Erica Goodman, arpa.

Salvador Dali - Enigma 

 

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