Modern Period
 

1936-1937-1938-1939-1940

1936
King George of Britain dies; is succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII, Edward soon abdicates and is succeeded by his brother, George VI • Italy annexes Ethiopia • In Spain, the left-wing Popular Front wins elections; a right-wing army revolt led by Emilio Mola and Francisco Franco starts a bloody civil war • Dictators Adolf Hitler (Ger) and Benito Mussolini (It)
proclaim a Berlin-Rome ‘Axis’ (alliance) • A regular public television service begins in Britain • Track and field athlete Jesse Owens (US) wins four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics • Georgia O’Keeffe (US) paints Summer Days • Margaret Mitchell (US): Gone With the Wind • Dylan Thomas (Wal): Twenty-Five Poems

1937
In the Spanish Civil War, Germany and Italy give open military support to forces led by General Franco; the City of Guernica is bombed; Almeria is shelled; the Spanish Republic government withdraws to Barcelona • France and Britain adopt a policy of appeasement towards Axis powers (Germany and Italy) • Japanese invade China, beginning an
 eight-year war • The film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Walt Disney) is released • Salvador Dali (Sp) paints SleepPablo Picasso (Sp) paints Guernica • Ernest Plemingway (US): To Have and Have Not • John Steinbeck (US): Of Mice and Men • George Orwell (Eng): The Road to Wigan Pier

1938
German Fuhrer (leader) Adolf Hitler assumes command of Germany’s armed forces • Germany invades Austria • Demands for autonomy by Germans in Sudentenland causes a crisis in Czechoslovakia • Munich Pact: Germany, Britain, France and Italy agree, without consulting the Czechs, to a German occupation of the Sudetenland; Czech PresidentEdouard Benes resigns • Czechs cede Teschen to Poland and southern Slovakia to Hungary • Kristallnacht: Nazi anti-Jewish pogrom • Georg Biro (Hung) introduces the ballpoint pen • Superman comic strip introduced in the USA • Salvador Dali (Sp) paints Espaha • Graham Greene (Eng): Brighton Rock

1939
The Spanish Civil War ends with victory for Francisco Franco • Spain leaves the League of Nations • German troops complete their occupation of Czechoslovakia • The USSR and Germany sign a non-aggression pact • German troops invade Poland; Britain and France declare war on Germany • Soviet forces invade Poland which is divided between Germany and the USSR • Russian armies invade Finland • Physicists Otto Fiahn (Ger) and Fritz Strassmann (Ger) achieve nuclear fission • Film: Gone With the Wind • Frida Kahlo (Mex) paints The Two Fridas • DC Comics (US) introduce Batman • John Steinbeck (US): The Grapes of Wrath • James Joyce (Ire): Finnegans Wake

1940
World War II continues: Germany invades Norway and Denmark • N. Chamberlain resigns as British Prime Minister; succeeded by Winston Churchill • German armies over-run Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and invade France • British forces evacuated form Dunkirk • Italy enters the war on Germany’s side • French conclude an armistice with Germany; the southern part of France, ruled from Vichy, remains independent; Germans occupy the rest • The Battle of Britain’: major British air-victory thwarts German plans for invasion • Italy invades Greece • The Russo-Finnish War ends with Soviet victory • Film: Disney’s PinocchioFantasia • E. Hemingway (US): For Whom the Bell Tolls

Walter Elias Disney (December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American entrepreneur, animator, voice actor, and film producer. He was a pioneer of the American animation industry who introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. Disney holds the record for most Academy Awards earned by an individual film producer, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations. He was presented with two Golden Globe Special Achievement Awards and an Emmy Award, among other honors. Several of his films are included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Disney set up the Disney Brothers Studio with his brother Roy. His first major success was the character Mickey Mouse, which he developed in 1928 with Ub Iwerks.The results can be seen in features such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941), and Bambi (1942), which all furthered the development of animated film. New animated and live-action films followed after World War II, including the critically successful Cinderella (1950) and Mary Poppins (1964), which received five Academy Awards.

 

1936

Sergei Prokofiev completes his ballet Romeo and Juliet and extracts from it the first of three orchestral suites. This year he returns with his family to live in the Soviet Union.

Sergei Prokofiev - Romeo and Juliet, Op 64

Symphonic Orchestra of State Academic Bolshoi Theatre
Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, 
1959

Prokofiev -  Romeo & Juliet
M. Loudières (Juliet), M. Legris (Romeo). 
Choreogr. Rudolf Nureyev
Orchestre de l`opera de Paris, dir. Vello Pähn

10 March ​
George EnescuŒdipe, op. 23, completed by 1931, based on the mythological tale of Oedipus, and set to a French libretto by Edmond Fleg.

Oedipe - Tragédie Lyrique En 4 Actes Et 6 Tableaux Op.23 
Lawrence Foster - Laurence Albert - Brigitte Fassbaender, 1990

21 March
Russian composer Alexander Glazunov dies in Paris, aged 70.

21 January
On the day following the death of King George V of England, Paul Hindemith composes Trauermusik (Funeral music) for viola and string orchestra, completed in just over five hours. BBC radio broadcasts the poignant eight-minute work the next day, with Hindemith performing the solo viola part.

Hindemith: Trauermusik, per viola e orchestra d'archi
Paul Hindemith, viola 
The RCA Victor Orchestra diretta da Bruno Reibold 

28 January
Almost certainly on Stalins orders, Pravda newspaper publishes a hostile attack on Shostakovich’s 
opera Lady Macbeth (1932), accusing the composer of writing degenerate, ‘formalist’ music, contrary to the true spirit of the Russian people. The paper warns that unless the composer changes his ways, ‘things ... may end very badly’. Shostakovich withdraws his Fourth Symphony before its premiere, fearing disastrous consequences. It remains unperformed for 25 years.

Shostakovich : Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op.43
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra Conducted by Kirill Kondrashin

I. Allegro poco moderato 00:00
II. Moderato con moto 23:20
III. Largo. Allegro 34:03

18 April
Composer Ottorino Respighi  dies, aged 56.

2 May
Sergei Prokofiev’s didactic symphonic fairytale Peter and the Wolf, written for orchestra and narrator, is introduced at a children’s concert in Moscow. Prokofiev finds its reception disappointing.

Sergei Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra's music director Bramwell Tovey 

3 October
Minimalist composer Stephen (Steve) Reich is born in New York.

16 February
Edgard Varese's Densite 21.5 for solo platinum flute is first performed at the Carnegie Hall, New York. The title derives from the density of platinum: 21.5 grammes per cubic centimetre.

Varèse - Density 21.5
Laura Pou, flute

6 November
Sergei Rachmaninov
’s Symphony No. 3, completed almost 30 years after No. 2, receives its first performance under Stokowski with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Rachmaninoff: Symphony No.3 in A minor, Op.44

Saint Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra
Neeme Järvi, conductor
, 2005

13 December
Samuel Barber’s muscular Symphony No. 1 is premiered in Rome. The 26-year-old composer is currently fulfilling his residency as winner of the American Prix de Rome.

Barber - Symphony No. 1
David Zinman

 

Steve Reich
 

Steve Reich, byname of Stephen Michael Reich, (born October 3, 1936, New York, New York, U.S.), American composer who was one of the leading exponents of minimalism, a style based on repetitions and combinations of simple motifs and harmonies.









 

Reich was the son of an attorney and a singer-lyricist. He majored in philosophy at Cornell University (1953–57) and then studied composition at the Juilliard School (formerly the Juilliard School of Music) before receiving a master’s degree from Mills College (1963), where his teachers included composers Darius Milhaud and Luciano Berio. Reich also played keyboard instruments and percussion. By 1966, when he formed his own ensemble, he was already creating minimalist compositions.

Like the works of fellow minimalist Philip Glass, Reich’s compositions rejected the characteristic complexity of mid-20th-century classical harmony and tonality in order to make large-scale works from minimal materials—a single chord, a brief musical motif, a spoken exclamation—which are repeated at length, with small variations introduced very slowly. Early experiments with tape loops, documented in It’s Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966), allowed Reich to observe interlocking rhythmic patterns that he would later reproduce compositionally; some of his works even combined both live and taped performers. Reich drew additional inspiration from American vernacular music, especially jazz, as well as ethnic and ancient musics; he studied African drumming in Ghana (1970), Balinese gamelan music in Seattle and Berkeley, California (1973–74), and Middle Eastern chanting in New York City and Jerusalem (1976–77).

Reich’s early works include Four Organs (1970), for four electric organs and maracas; Drumming (1971), for small tuned drums, marimbas, glockenspiels, two voices, whistling, and piccolo; and Clapping Music (1972), for two pairs of clapping hands. Gradually he began to score for larger ensembles, and in 1976 he completed Music for 18 Musicians, a piece structured around a cycle of 11 vibrantly pulsing chords that is perhaps his best-known composition. Tehillim (1981) marked Reich’s first setting of a text—the Psalms, sung in Hebrew—and he followed it with The Desert Music (1984), a setting of a William Carlos Williams poem scored for 106 musicians.

For Different Trains (1988), Reich integrated fragments of audio recordings pertaining to rail travel, including the reminiscences of Holocaust survivors, with a string quartet that mimicked both the rhythm of a train and the natural musicality of the voices on tape. The piece, as performed by the Kronos Quartet, won a Grammy Award for best contemporary composition in 1989. Reich later collaborated with his wife, video artist Beryl Korot, on two multimedia operas: The Cave (1993), which explores the shared religious heritage of Jews and Muslims, and Three Tales (2002), a reflection on 20th-century technology. His composition Double Sextet (2007), arranged either for 12 musicians or for 6 playing against a recording of themselves, won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Music. In commemoration of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, Reich composed WTC 9/11: For Three String Quartets and Pre-recorded Voices (2010), incorporating recordings of emergency personnel and New York residents that had been made on the day of the tragedy. For his contribution to the development of music as a whole, he received the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize in 2006.
 

Steve Reich -  "Music for 18 Musicians" 

PERFORMERS:

eighth blackbird
 Tim Munro, flutes (piano and marimba for this performance)
 Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets
 Matt Albert, violin
 Nicholas Photinos, cello
 Matthew Duvall, percussion
 Lisa Kaplan, piano

Third Coast Percussion
 Owen Clayton Condon, percussion
 Robert Dillon, percussion
 Peter Martin, percussion
 David Skidmore, percussion

Meehan/Perkins Duo
 Todd Meehan, percussion
 Doug Perkins, percussion

Guest Artists
 Sunshine Simmons, clarinets
 Adam Marks, piano
 Amy Briggs, piano
 Amy Conn, soprano
 Kirsten Hedegaard, soprano
 Susan Nelson, soprano
 Nina Heebinck, mezzo soprano

Steve Reich - Electric Counterpoint, 1987

STEVE REICH: VARIATIONS FOR WINDS, STRINGS, KEYBOARDS
Complete recording by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Edo De Waart in 1983 

Sextet - Steve Reich

Performed by Yale Percussion Group
Jonny Allen - Garrett Arney - Doug Perry -
Terry Sweeney - Georgi Videnov - Mari Yoshinaga

 

1937

21 January
Bela Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is premiered under Paul Sacher in Basel. Commissioned by Sacher and the Basel Chamber Ensemble, it will become one of the most often studied works of the 20th century.

Bela Bartok - Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
Texas Festival Chamber Orchestra
Linus Lerner, conductor

31 January
Composer Philip Glass is born in Baltimore.

24 February 
Ottorino Respighi - Lucrezia

Lucrezia
is an opera in one act and three tableaux by Ottorino Respighi to a libretto by Claudio Guastalla, after Livy and William Shakespeare's The Rape of Lucrece. Respighi died before finishing the work, which was therefore completed by the wife of the composer, Elsa Respighi, and by one of his pupils, Ennio Porrino. Lucrezia premiered on 24 February 1937 at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan

Ottorino Respighi - LUCREZIA 
Lucrezia: Anna de Cavalieri,
La Voce: Oralia Dominguez,
Collatino: Renzo Casellato,
Sesto Tarquino: Giulio Fioravanti 
Orchestra e Coro del Teatro la Fenice, Direttore Ettore Gracis - Venezia, 12 gennaio 1961

Arthur Honegger & Jacques Ibert - L'Aiglon,
drame lyrique en cinq actes d’après la pièce d’Edmond Rostand (1900), adaptée par Henri Cain.

00:00 - Acte I -  composée par Jacques Ibert
25:40 - Acte II - composée par Arthur Honegger
40:06 - Acte III - composée par Arthur Honegger et Jacques Ibert
1:05:59 - Acte IV - composée par Arthur Honegger
1:19:32 - Acte V - composée par Jacques Ibert.

Anne-Catherine Gillet - L’Aiglon
Marc Barrard - Flambeau
Étienne Dupuis - Metternich
Philippe Sly - Marmont
Pascal Charbonneau - L’attaché militaire
Isaiah Bell - Gentz
Tyler Duncan - Prokesch
Jean-Michel Richer - Sedlinsky
Hélène Guilmette - Thérèse de Lorget
Marie-Nicole Lemieux - Marie-Louise
Julie Boulianne - Fanny Elssler
Kimy McLaren - Comtesse Camerata

Choeur & Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal
Kent Nagano, 2015

11 March 
Arthur Honegger and Jacques Ibert – L'Aiglon

L'Aiglon is an opera (drame musical) in five acts composed by Arthur Honegger and Jacques Ibert. Honegger composed Acts II, III, and IV, with Ibert composing Acts I and V.

12 March
Composer and organist Charles-Marie Widor dies in Paris, aged 93.

29 March
Tuberculosis and heavy smoking send Polish composer Karol Szymanowski to the grave in Lausanne, aged 54.

 

1 April  
Gian Carlo MenottiAmelia Goes to the Ball.

Amelia al ballo (Amelia Goes to the Ball)
is a one-act opera buffa by Gian Carlo Menotti, who set his own Italian libretto. Composed during 1936 when Menotti was in his mid-twenties/

Amelia Goes to the Ball - Part one
Amelia Goes to the Ball - Gian Carlo Menotti, Nov. 2014 - San Diego State University School of Music Opera Theatre and SDSU School of Music Orchestra - Stage Directed, Designed, and Produced by M. Ayres

Amelia Goes to the Ball - Part two

Amelia Goes to the Ball - Part three

2 June
Alban Berg’s unfinished opera Lulu is posthumously premiered at the Municipal Theater in Zurich. The complete opera will not be performed until 1979 owing to an embargo implemented by Berg’s widow on the incomplete third act.

8 June
Based on a collection of 13th-century poems of unknown authorship,
Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (Songs of Buren) is introduced in Frankfurt. It is the first work in a trilogy of ‘scenic cantatas’ entitled Trionfi (Triumphs) and will make Orff internationally famous.

Carl Orff - Carmina Burana
Andreas Delfs, conductor

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

Temple University Combined Choirs
Temple University Symphony Orchestra, 2016

11 July
America loses its most famous composer: George Gershwin dies from a brain tumour in Hollywood, aged 38.

27 August
Benjamin Britten rises to international prominence with his Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, first performed at the Salzburg Festival. 

Benjamin Britten - Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge for String Orch. Op.10

1. Introduction and Theme
2. Adagio
3. March
4. Romance
5. Aria Italiana
6. Bourrée classique
7. Wiener Waltzer
8. Moto perpetuo
9. Funeral March
10. Chant
11. Fugue and Finale

Slovak Chamber Orchestra
Bohdan Warchal Conductor

27 August
Aaron ​Copland draws on native colours in El Salon Mexico for orchestra, introduced in Mexico City under the country’s leading composer, Carlos Chavez.

Copland: El Salón México
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Carlos Miguel Prieto, Dirigent

Alte Oper Frankfurt, 18. Januar 2013

12 September
Darius Milhaud premieres his orchestral Suite Provencale in Venice. 

Darius Milhaud: Suite Provençale, per orchestra op.152a
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire diretta da Serge Baudo --

I. Animé
II. Très modéré
III. Modéré
IV. Vif
V. Modéré
VI. Vif
VII. Lent
VIII. Vif

21 November
Dmitri Shostakovich
presents his Fifth Symphony in Leningrad. Its composition follows harsh criticisms made by the Soviet propaganda paper Pravda against his opera Lady Macbeth. The symphony triumphs, with one critic hailing it as ‘a work of extraordinary profundity, by a mature artist who has successfully overcome the childish disease of leftism’.

Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony No. 5
Mstislav Rostropovich conducts the Orquesta Sinfónica de Radiotelevisión Española.
Madrid. Teatro Real. 22.11.1985

28 December 
Composer
Maurice Ravel dies in Paris, France, aged 62.

 

Philip Glass
 

Philip Glass, (born January 31, 1937, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.), American composer of innovative instrumental, vocal, and operatic music.










 


Glass studied flute as a boy and enrolled at age 15 at the University of Chicago, where he studied mathematics and philosophy and graduated in 1956. His interest in atonal music drew him on to study composition at the Juilliard School of Music (M.S., 1962) in New York City and then to Paris to study under Nadia Boulanger. His acquaintance there with the Indian sitarist Ravi Shankar decisively affected Glass’s compositional style, and he temporarily jettisoned such traditional formal qualities as harmony, tempo, and melody in his music. Instead he began creating ensemble pieces in a monotonous and repetitive style; these works consisted of a series of syncopated rhythms ingeniously contracted or extended within a stable diatonic structure. Such minimalist music, played by a small ensemble using electronically amplified keyboard and wind instruments, earned Glass a small but enthusiastic following in New York City by the late 1960s.

Glass’s opera Einstein on the Beach (1976; revived 2012), composed in collaboration with American playwright and artist Robert Wilson, earned him broader acclaim; this work showed a renewed interest in classical Western harmonic elements, though his interest in startling rhythmic and melodic changes remained the work’s most dramatic feature. Glass’s opera Satyagraha (1980) was a more authentically “operatic” portrayal of incidents from the early life of Mohandas K. Gandhi. In this work, the dronelike repetition of symmetrical sequences of chords attained a haunting and hypnotic power well attuned to the religio-spiritual themes of the libretto, adapted from the Hindu scripture the Bhagavadgita. The opera The Voyage (1992) had mixed reviews, but the fact that it had been commissioned by the New York Metropolitan Opera (to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas) confirmed Glass’s growing acceptance by the classical music establishment.

Throughout his career, Glass collaborated with a broad array of international musicians representing diverse traditions. With Gambian kora player Foday Musa Suso he composed music for Jean Genet’s play The Screens; the work was scored for piano, kora, flute, cello, keyboards, and percussion. Glass composed Orion (2004) for sitar, pipa, didjeridu, kora, violin, and vocalists (alto and soprano); for the recording, Glass recruited the help of Suso, Shankar, and pipa player Wu Man, as well as other friends from the global music scene. He worked on numerous occasions with world music artists David Byrne and Paul Simon. A vital figure in the wider artistic milieu, Glass cultivated relationships with artists who worked in other mediums as well, notably painter Chuck Close, who created his portrait in numerous media and for whom he composed A Musical Portrait of Chuck Close (2005). Meanwhile, Glass continued to compose in the classical music vein, completing among other works his ninth symphony in 2010.
Film music was also a particular focus of Glass’s corpus. By the early 21st century he had produced scores for some four dozen films, notably the dramas The Hours (2002) and Notes on a Scandal (2006) and the Errol Morris documentaries A Brief History of Time (1991) and The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003).

Glass was awarded the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale in 2012. He was the subject of the 2007 documentary Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts. His 2015 memoir Words Without Music chronicles his colourful life in piquant detail.

Philip Glass - Metamorphosis
2006, piano Branka Parlic

Philip Glass - The Photographer

0:00 Act I: "A Gentleman's Honor" (Vocal)
3:17 Act II
19:41 "A Gentleman's Honor" (Instrumental)
23:04 Act III

"The Photographer" is a chamber opera by composer Philip Glass that is based on the homicide trial of photographer Eadweard Muybridge.

Philip Glass - Music from The Hours
Arranged for piano solo by Michael Riesman and Nico Muhly.

 0:00  The Poet Acts
 3:39  Morning Passages
 8:32  Something She Has to Do
11:00 I'm Going to Make a Cake
14:08 An Unwelcome Friend
17:51 Dead Things
22:23 Why Does Someone Have to Die?
25:58 Tearing Herself Away
30:13 Escape!
33:05 Choosing Life
36:05 The Hours

The Hours is the original soundtrack album, on the Elektra/Nonesuch label, of the 2002 film The Hours, starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore. 

The Juniper Tree - Philip Glass & Robert Moran
Libretto by Arthur Yorinks. 
This Brother Grimm fairy tale is the story of a wicked stepmother who murders her stepson and serves him up in a stew to his unsuspecting father.

Wife – Summer Hassan
Mama Bird – Maria Brea (Studio Artist) 
Husband – Ben Edquist
Son – Megan Mikailovna Samarin
Stepmother – Annie Rosen
Daughter – Madison Leonard

Conductor – Lidiya Yankovskaya

 

1938

Sergei Prokofiev scores Eisenstein’s film Alexander Nevsky. He will adapt and expand the music the following year to produce his acclaimed Alexander Nevsky Cantata (Op. 78).

Sergei Prokofiev - Alexander Nevsky ~ Cantata Op. 78 
Russia under the Mongolian yoke  00:00
Song about Alexander Nevsky 03:26
The Crusaders in Pskov  06:55
Arise, ye, Russian people  13: 33
The battle in the ice  15:45
The field of the dead  28:11
Alexander's entry in Pskov  34:00

Claudine Carlson, mezzo-soprano
Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
Leonard Slatkin, conductor

Dmitri Shostakovich composes his String Quartet No. 1.

Shostakovich - String Quartet No. 1 in C major, Op. 49 

1. Moderato
2. Moderato
3. Allegro molto
4. Allegro

Fitzwilliam Quartet

16 January
Bela Bartok and his (second) wife, Ditta, make their first concert appearance together, performing the piano parts of the composers Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, premiered in Basel.

Bela Bartok - Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion
Yukiko Takagi, Stephen Drury, piano;
Scott Deal, Stuart Gerber, percussion

12 Maj
Arthur Honegger's opera-oratorio Jeanne d'Arc au bucher (Joan of Arc at the Stake, 1935), to words of Paul Claudel, premieres to great acclaim in Basel. This same year the composer and poet create the dramatic oratorio La Danse des Morts (The Dance of the Dead).

Arthur Honegger - Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher
- Orchestra: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
- Choirs: Czech Philharmonic Chorus, Kuhn Children's Chorus - Conductor: Serge Baudo, 1966
Jeanne d'Arc - Nelly Borgeaud
Brother Dominic - Michel Favory
The ass, Reynold of Chartres, John of Luxemburg, a peasant, the priest - Rene Brun
William of Flavy, the usher - Francois Loup
A voice (in the prologue), Mother of Barrels - Annie Gaillard
Bedford, Herold III, Miller Musty, another peasant - Tony Jacquot
Perrot - Anne-Marie Rodde
Soprano (in the prologue), the Virgin - Christianne Chateau
Margaret (soprano) - Anne-Marrie Rodde
Catherine (contralto) - Huguette Brachet
Herold I, the clerk (tenor) - Pedro Proenza
Tenor solo, Porcus - Zdenek Jankovsky
Bass solo, Herold II - Francois Loup
Child's voice - Lenka Loubalova

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

I. Introduction – Dialogue 
II. Danse des morts [6:18]
III. Lamento [10:05]
IV. Sanglots [17:14]
V.  La résponse de Dieu [19:17]
VI. Espérance dans la Croix [21:30]
VII. Affirmation [28:34]

Arthur Honegger - Jeanne d'Arc au Bûcher Oratoriya Franciya (2006)

28 May
Paul Hindemith's opera Mathis der Maler (Mathis the Painter) opens in Zurich. Owing to a Nazi ban on all of Hindemith’s music, the opera will not be staged in Germany until after the war.

Paul Hindemith - Mathis der Maler

22 June 
Ernst Krenek Karl V (composed 1931–33), Neues Deutsches Theater in Prague, 22 June 1938

Ernst Krenek: Karl V op.73 - I
Karl V, lavoro scenico con musica in due parti, libretto dell'Autore, op. 73 - ORF-Chor e Radio-Symphonie Orchester Wien diretti da Gerd Albrecht 
Karl V: Theo Adam
Juana, seine Mutter: Hanna Schwarz
Eleonore, seine Schwester: Sena Jurinac
Ferdinand, sein Bruder: Thomas Moser
Isabella, seine Gattin: Kristine Ciesinski
Juan de Regla, sein Beichtvater: Frank Hoffmann
Francisco Borgia, Jesuit: Helmut Melchert
Franz I. von Frankreich: Peter Schreier
Frangipani: Horst Hiestermann
Luther: Siegfried Vogel
Ein Anhänger Luthers: Thomas Moser
Sultan Soliman: Alfred Sramek
Sein Horastrologe: Horst Hiestermann
1. Uhr und 2. Geist: Majorie Vance
2. Uhr und 1. Geist: Gabriele Sima
3. Uhr und 3. Geist: Rohangiz Yachmi
4. Uhr und 4. Geist: Ingrid Mayr
Henry Mathys Leibarzt des Kaisers, Papst Clemens VII e Moritz von Sachsen: Erich Auer
Alarcon, Alba e Ein Kardinal: Curth A. Tichy

Ernst Krenek: Karl V op.73 - II

18 August
Benjamin Britten, aged 24, debuts his Piano Concerto under Sir Henry Wood in London.

Britten - Piano Concerto
Benjamin Grosvenor, piano
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Andrew Litton, conductor

Barbican Hall, London
11 January 2013

5 October
In London Ralph Vaughan Williams’s 
Serenade to Music, scored for 16 voices and orchestra, celebrates Sir Henry Wood’s 50th anniversary as a conductor.

Serenade to Music - Ralph Vaughan Williams
Concordia Foundation 15th Anniversary Gala at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
22nd November 2010

Charities Philharmonia conducted by John Wilson

Singers (in order of appearance):Tanya Cooling soprano (Isobel Baillie), Christopher Turner tenor (Heddle Nash), James Geer tenor (Frank Titterton), Nicky Spence, tenor (Walter Widdop), Michael Bracegirdle tenor (Parry Jones), Norah King soprano (Stiles Allen), Laura Mitchell soprano (Elsie Suddaby), Dingle Yandell baritone (Robert Easton), James Cleverton baritone (Harold Williams), Njabulo Madlala baritone (Roy Henderson), Rodney Clarke baritone (Norman Allin), Anna Huntley mezzo-soprano (Muriel Brunskill), Alexandra Cassidy mezzo-soprano (Astra Desmond), Laura Kelly mezzo-soprano (Mary Jarred), Joanna Weeks soprano (Eva Turner), Lise Christensen mezzo-soprano (Margaret Balfour)

16 October
Aaron Copland incorporates cowboy songs in his short ballet Billy the Kid, first performed in a two-piano version in Chicago. An orchestral suite drawn from the ballet makes its concert hall appearance two years later.

Aaron Copland : Billy the Kid, Suite from the ballet 
The Open Prairie -
Street in a Frontier Town -
Card Game at Night (Prairie Night) -
Gun Battle -
Celebration Dance (after Billy's Capture) -
Billy's Death -
The Open Prairie Again.
Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Aaron Copland.

 

1939

Blind Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo writes the world’s most famous guitar concerto: Concierto de Aranjuez.

Concierto de Aranjuez - Joaquin Rodrigo
Pepe Romero playing at the GuitArt festival 2011 in Belgrade, Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo and Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tarrega, Camerata Serbica, conductor Marcello Rota

Heitor Villa Lobos composes New York Skyline for piano. The melody of the piece reflects the topography of New York rooftops, traced from a photograph.

Heitor Villa Lobos - 'New York skyline melody'
Nelson Freier (piano).

7 October
Darius Milhaud - first performance of his opera Medee (1938), in Antwerp.Composed in August 1938, Darius Milhaud’s opera Medea premiered on October 7, 1939 in Anvers, and was performed on May 8, 1940 at the Opera de Paris, conducted by Philippe Gaubert and staged by Charles Dullin. Despite the work’s enthusiastic reception by audiences, the invasion of France two days later would end performances. Written by Milhaud’s wife, Madeleine, the libretto draws on Euripides’ tragedy. For Milhaud, Greek myth represented a return to the source that allowed him to refine his musical language – indeed, Ancient Greece inspired some of his most beautiful pages, from Orestie (based on Claudelian translation of Aeschylus) to Protée and the opéra-minutes (such as L’Abandon d’Ariane). Perfectly balanced in form, this musical tragedy mingles tenderness and cruelty, with sweeping melodies whose power resides in their very simplicity. The choir plays an essential role, as does the orchestra with its subtle evocations. Creusa’s song “Dear Corinthians” (Tableau I, scene 1) and Medea’s invocation of the goddess Hecate (Tableau II, scene 6) reach towering heights of lyricism that do not release the spectator unscathed.

Darius Milhaud : Médée, Op.191.

Médée: Jane Rolland, soprano
Créon: Bernard Demigny, baritono
Créuse: Janine Micheau, soprano
Jason: Joseph Peyron, tenore
La nutrice: Hélène Bouvier, contralto

Choeur et Orchestre Lyrique de la Radiotélévision Française diretta da Roger Désormière.
Registrazione radiofonica, Parigi, 1949

April
Benjamin Britten and the tenor Peter Pears leave England for North America. While staying in Quebec, Canada, Britten will compose his Violin Concerto, Op. 15, and the song cycle Les Illuminations for high voice and string orchestra.

Benjamin Britten - Violin Concerto, Op 15

1 Moderato con moto - Agitato - Tempo primo -
2 Vivace - Animando - Largamente - Cadenza -
3 Passacaglia. Andante Lento

Janine Jansen, violin

Orchestre de Paris - Paavo Järvi, conductor, 2013

Benjamin Britten: Les Illuminations

Roxana Constantinescu Mezzo-soprano
Pekka Kuusisto Concertmaster
Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus 06/07/14 
Artistic director: Nicolas Altstaedt

22 April 
Gian-Carlo MenottiThe Old Maid and the Thief (radio opera). The Old Maid and the Thief is a radio opera in one act by Italian-American composer Gian Carlo Menotti. The work uses an English language libretto by the composer which tells a twisted tale of morals and evil womanly power. Menotti writes in the libretto "The devil couldn't do what a woman can- Make a thief out of an honest man."

Gian-Carlo Menotti – The Old Maid and the Thief 

21 November
Dmitri Shostakovich
’s Sixth Symphony is premiered in Leningrad. Whilst the finale is encored, the work does not meet audience expectations following the triumphant Fifth Symphony (1937).

Shostakovich - Symphony No. 6 in b minor, op. 54

Royal Concertebouw Orchestra
Kirill Kondrashin

Amsterdam, January 1980

23 November
Zoltán Kodaly’s Variations on a Hungarian Folksong (or Peacock Variations) is first performed in Amsterdam. The city’s Concertgebouw Orchestra has commissioned the work in celebration of its 50th anniversary.

Zoltán Kodály - Variations On A Hungarian Folksong ‘Fölszállott a páva’ [Fly, Peacock]
Theme: Moderato  00:00
Variations 1-10  03:15
Var. 1: Con brio
Var. 2
Var. 3: Più mosso
Var. 4: Poco calmato
Var. 5: Appassionato
Var. 6: Tempo (calmato)
Var. 7: Vivo
Var. 8: Più vivo
Var. 9
Var. 10: Molto vivo
Variations 11-16  08:22
Var. 11: Andante espressivo
Var. 12: Adagio
Var. 13: Tempo di Marcia funebre
Var. 14: Andante: poco rubato
Var. 15: Allegro giocoso
Var. 16: Maestoso
Finale: Vivace  19:20

London Philarmonic Orchestra
Georg Solti, conductor, 1954

21 June
Francis Poulenc’s Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani (1938) makes its striking entrance in Paris. The work has been commissioned by the prominent arts patron Princess Edmond de Polignac.

Francis Poulenc - Concerto for Organ, Timpani and Strings in G minor
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire 
- Conductor: Georges Prêtre
- Soloist: Maurice Duruflé (organ) 
- Year of recording: 1961 

00:00 - I. Andante 
03:24 - II. Allegro giocoso 
05:30 - III. Subito andante moderato 
12:17 - IV. Tempo allegro - Molto agitato 
15:06 - V. Très calme - Lent 
17:46 - VI. Tempo de l'Allegro initial 
19:36 - VII. Tempo introduction - Largo 

7 December
Jascha Heifetz introduces William Walton’s Violin Concerto in Cleveland.

William Walton - Violin Concerto

I.   Andante tranquillo (00:00)
II.  Presto capriccioso alla napolitana (12:05)
III. Vivace (19:29)

Midori, violin
Andris Nelsons, conductor
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

 

1940

Benjamin Britten, currently living in America, composes the Sinfonia da Requiem, commissioned for the 2,600th anniversary of the Japanese empire. Written following the death of his father, the three movements of the symphony adopt titles associated with the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead. The ‘Christian’ work is rejected as an insult to the Japanese Emperor.

Britten : Sinfonia da Requiem
Rudolf Kempe Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden
1: Lacrymosa (Andante ben misurato)
2: Dies Irae (Allegro con fuoco)
3: Requiem Aeternam (Andante molto tranquillo)

John Cage creates his first work for prepared piano, Bacchanale, to accompany a performance by the dancer Syvilla Fort. Written over three days, the percussive piece requires the wedging of objects such as screws, bolts, rubber and felt between the strings of the piano. Cage demonstrates his multi-timbral invention to the composer Lou Harrison who laments, ‘Oh dammit! I wish I’d thought of that!’

John Cage: Bacchanale, for prepared piano .

Margaret Lang Ten, pianoforte preparato.

9 February
Bohuslav Martinu's highly-charged Double Concerto for two string orchestras, piano and timpani (1938) premieres in Basel. ‘Composed under terrible circumstances,’ writes Martinu in reference to post-Munich Pact Czechoslavakia, ‘the emotions it voices are not those of despair but rather of revolt, courage and unshakable faith in the future’.

Bohuslav Martinů - Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano and Timpani
Orchestra Sinfonica Radio Praga
Conductor: Sir Charles Mackerras, 1982
Josef Ruzicka (piano), Jan Bouse (timpani)

00:00 - I. Poco Allegro
06:33 - II. Largo
15:05 - III. Allegro

9 March
Igor Stravinsky marries his second wife, Vera de Bossett, a year on from the death of his first wife, Catherine. Later this year he celebrates 50 years of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with his Symphony in C.

Igor Stravinsky - Symphony in C 
Berliner Philharmoniker
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan, 1969

00:00 - I. Moderato alla breve - Tempo agitato senza troppo accelerare - Tempo 1
11:00 - II. Larghetto concertante - Doppio movimento - Doppio valore
17:27 - III. Allegretto
22:26 - IV. Largo - Tempo giusto, alla breve

14 March
Paul Hindemith’s Violin Concerto (1939) premieres in Amsterdam. He begins teaching at Yale University next year.

Paul Hindemith - Violin Concerto
Isaac Stern: violin -
New York Philharmonic -
Leonard Bernstein: conductor - 1964
Mässig bewegte Halbe-Langsam-Lebhaft

21 April
Michael Tippett conducts the premiere of his finest work to date, the Concerto for Double String Orchestra (1939), in London.

Tippett - Concerto for Double String Orchestra

London Symphony Orchestra
Daniel Harding conductor 
London, Royal Albert Hall 2012

11 June
Paul Sacher and the Basel Chamber Orchestra introduce Bela Bartok’s Divertimento for string orchestra (1939). The composer and his wife immigrate to the USA later this year.

Béla Bartók - Divertimento

I - Allegro non troppo (0:00)
II - Molto adagio (08:30)
III - Allegro assai (18:08)

Arcos Orchestra, John-Edward Kelly, Conductor, 2012

23 June
Sergei Prokofiev – Semyon Kotko

Semyon Kotko, Op. 81, is an opera in five acts by Sergei Prokofiev to a libretto by Sergei Prokofiev and Valentin Katayev based on Katayev's 1937 novel I, Son of Working People (Russian: Я, сын трудового народа…). It was premiered on 23 June 1940 at the Stanislavsky Opera Theatre in Moscow.​

Prokofiev: Semyon Kotko
Radio Filharmonisch Orkest
Groot Omroepkoor - Vlaams Radio Koor

Vladimir Jurowski: Conductor

Oleg Dolgov: Semyon Kotko
Alexandra Durseneva: Semyons  mother
Alexandra Kadurina: Frosya
Vladimir Ognev: Remeniuk
Maxim Mikhailov: Tkatshenko
Irina Dolzhenko: Chivrya
Lyubov Petrova: Sofya
Andrey Breus: Tsaryov
Evelina Dobracheva : Lyubka
Boris Rudak: Mikola

November 2016,  Amsterdam

20 June
Olivier Messiaen
, composer and infantryman, is captured by the Germans. He is later imprisoned at Stalag VIII-A in Gorlitz, Silesia. 

6 December
Stokowski premieres
Arnold Schoenberg’s Violin Concerto in Philadelphia, with Louis Krasner as soloist. Completed in 1936, the work is fiendishly difficult to play, as Schoenberg gleefully acknowledges: ‘I am delighted to add another unplayable work to the repertoire.’

Schoenberg - Violin Concerto Op. 36
I-Poco allegro-Vivace
II-Andante grazioso
III- Finale: Allegro

Hilary Hahn, violin
Swedish Radio Symphony Ochestra
Esa-Pekka Salonen, dir.

 

Pablo Picasso - Guernica

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