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Modern Period


World War II continues: British troops drive Italian forces out of Egypt and into Libya • British forces liberate Ethiopia from the Italians • British navy sinks Germany’s Bismarck • Operation Barbarossa: German armies (with Axis coalition, including Romania, Hungary, Italy and Finland) invade the USSR; Siege of Leningrad; Russian armies mounta counter-offensive • Japan begins a campaign of conquest: Japanese planes bomb Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, inflicting heavy damage on the US fleet; USA declares war on Axis Powers • Japanese forces capture the Philippines and Hong Kong • Bertolt Brecht (Ger): play Mother Courage and Her Children first staged, in Zurich • Film: Citizen Kane (Orson Welles). Music by Bernard Herrmann

World War II continues; Japanese forces invade Dutch East Indies and Burma, and Singapore surrenders • US troops block Japanese drive in naval battles of the Coral Sea and Midway • German troops drive the British out of Libya and back into Egypt • Germans besiege Leningrad (modern St Petersburg) and are trapped in a Russian counter-offensive • El Alamein: Germans under Rommel are defeated by Allies in Egypt • Nazis begin major period of mass-murder (mainly Jews, but also gypsies, homosexuals, religious and political opponents, the disabled and POWs) by gas chamber •  US-led Manhattan Project begun to develop atomic bomb • Anne Frank (Ger), aged 13, begins her diary

World War II continues: America begins heavy air raids against Germany • Germans at Stalingrad surrender to the Russians, who then recapture considerable territory throughout the year • Valiant Jewish resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising crushed by Nazis • German/ltalian forces are defeated in North Africa and surrender • US and British troops invade Italian mainland; Italians depose Mussolini • Italy surrenders unconditionally and joins the war against Germany • In Yugoslavia, Communist resistance forces led by Josip Broz (‘Tito’) open an offensive against the Germans • A US fleet defeats a Japanese fleet in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea

World War II continues: US, British and allied forces land in Normandy; they liberate Antwerp, Brussels and Paris 
• French leader Charles de Gaulle sets up a provisional government in Paris • Allied forces land in southern France • Russians enter Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Hungary • An attempt by German officers to assassinate Hitler fails • Germans launch rocket-bomb (V-1 and V-2) attacks on Britain • Britain begins re-conquest of Burma • Dumbarton Oaks Conference (Washington D.C.): US, British and Russian delegates agree to set up the United Nations • Salvador Dali (Sp) paints Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee

World War II: Allies bomb Dresden • US, British and allied troops cross the Rhine River; Russian forces capture Warsaw, Cracow, Tilsit and Berlin • The Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference and code-named the Argonaut Conference, held from 4 to 11 February 1945, was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union for the purpose of discussing Germany and Europe's postwar reorganization. • Mussolini assassinated by Italian partisans • Adolf Hitler commits suicide in the ruins of Berlin • Germany surrenders unconditionally; 8 May is declared VE (Victory in Europe) day • US drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan • Japan surrenders; World War II ends • Harry S. Truman takes up as 33rd US President following death of Franklin D. Roosevelt • Clement Attlee replaces Winston Churchill as UK prime minister • The United Nations Organisation comes into formal existence • George Orwell (Eng): Animal Farm


Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin.
The Yalta Conference, also known as the Crimea Conference and code-named the Argonaut Conference, held from 4 to 11 February 1945, was the World War II meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union for the purpose of discussing Germany and Europe's postwar reorganization. The three states were represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin, respectively. The conference convened near Yalta in Crimea, Soviet Union, within the Livadia, Yusupov, and Vorontsov Palaces.

The aim of the conference was to shape a post-war peace that represented not just a collective security order but a plan to give self-determination to the liberated peoples of post-Nazi Europe.



Benjamin Britten, in America, composes the Scottish Ballad for two pianos and orchestra.He is also awarded the Library of Congress Medal for services to chamber music. Next year he returns to England.

Britten - Scottish Ballad, op.26
Silivanova - Puryzhinskiy Piano duo, 
International Youth Symphony Orchestra of the Taurida Capella, conductor - Mikhail Golikov.

Arthur Honegger, in Nazi-occupied Paris, composes his Symphony No. 2 for string orchestra.

Arthur Honegger - Symphony No. 2 for strings and trumpet
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Ondřej Vrabec - conductor, Rudolfinum, Prague, 2. 3. 2012.

3 January
Sergei Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances is introduced under Eugene Ormandy in Philadelphia.

Rachmaninov - Symphonic Dances op.45
00:00  1. Non allegro
11:20  2. Andante con moto (Tempo di valse)
20:51  3. Lento assai - Allegro vivace
Mariss Jansons
St.Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra

15 January
Olivier Messiaen and three fellow inmates premiere his Quartet for the End of Time in Hut 27B, Stalag VIII-A, Gorlitz. Scored for clarinet, violin, cello and piano, the eight-movement work is performed in freezing conditions before an audience of guards and several hundred prisoners. The composer is released a few weeks later.

Messiaen - Quartet for the End of Time
Round Top Music Festival, 2018 - Festival Concert Hall
Tomas Cotik, violin; Amitai Vardi, clarinet; Stephen Balderston, cello; Bernadene Blaha, piano

20 January
The Kolisch Quartet gives the first performance of Bela Bartok’s String Quartet No. 6 (1939), in New York.

Béla Bartok: String Quartet No.6

I. Mesto - Vivace
II. Mesto - Marcia
III. Mesto - Burletta
IV. Mesto - Molto tranquillo

Shanghai Quartet

Weigang Li, Violin 
Yi-Wen Jiang, Violin
Honggang Li, Viola
Nicholas Tzavaras, Cello

23 January 
Kurt Weill  - Lady in the Dark.

Lady in the Dark is a musical with music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and book and direction by Moss Hart. It was produced by Sam Harris. The protagonist, Liza Elliott, is the unhappy female editor of a fashion magazine, Allure, who is undergoing psychoanalysis. The musical ran on Broadway in January 23, 1941.

Kurt Weill - Lady in the Dark (1-5)
Adolph Green, Stephanie Augustine, Risë Stevens

Kurt Weill - Lady in the Dark (2-5)

Kurt Weill - Lady in the Dark (3-5)

Kurt Weill - Lady in the Dark (4-5)

Kurt Weill - Lady in the Dark (5-5)

28 January
Aaron Copland’s orchestral arrangement of Quiet City, originally conceived as incidental music to Irwin Shaw’s play (1939), is first heard in New York.

Quiet City - Aaron Copland
James Fountain, Trumpet
Amelia Coleman, Cor anglais
Eric Whitacre, Conductor
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Royal Albert Hall, London, 2015

7 February
Violinist Albert Spalding performs the public premiere of Samuel ​Barber’s Violin Concerto (1939) under Ormandy with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Samuel Barber - Violin Concerto, Op. 14

I.   Allegro (00:00)
II.  Andante (10:25)
III. Presto in moto perpetuo (19:11)

Gil Shaham, violin
David Robertson, conductor
BBC Symphony Orchestra

3 April
In Chicago Frederick Stock conducts
William ​Walton’s Scapino overture, composed for the 50th anniversary of the city’s Symphony Orchestra.

William Walton: Scapino, A Comedy Overture 
Philharmonia Orchestra diretta da William Walton (incisione 1951)

5 May
Benjamin BrittenPaul Bunyan

Paul Bunyan, Op 17, is an operetta in two acts and a prologue composed by Benjamin Britten to a libretto by W. H. Auden, designed for performance by semi-professional groups. It premiered at Columbia University on 5 May 1941, to largely negative reviews, and was withdrawn by the composer. Britten revised it somewhat in 1976 and subsequently it had numerous performances and two commercial recordings. The story is based on the folkloric American lumberjack, Paul Bunyan, with the music incorporating a variety of American styles, including folk songs, blues and hymns. The work is strongly sectional in nature, highly reminiscent of the 'Broadway musical' style of the period.

Benjamin Britten – Paul Bunyan


As the Nazis sweep across western Russia, Dmitri Shostakovich completes his patriotic Seventh Symphony for his besieged home city of Leningrad (formerly St Petersburg). The composer will later declare that the work ‘is not about Leningrad under siege—it’s about the Leningrad that Stalin destroyed and Hitler merely finished off.’ 

Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony No. 7 "Leningrad"
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
- Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
- Year of recording: 1988

00:00:00 - I. [War]. Allegretto
00:31:49 - II. [Memories]. Moderato (poco allegretto)
00:46:41 - III. [My Native Field]. Adagio
01:06:05 - IV. [Victory]. Allegro non troppo



Sergei Prokofiev completes his Piano Sonata No. 7 during the Red Army’s defence of Stalingrad. It becomes the most celebrated of his ‘War Sonatas’ (Nos. 6-8) and wins him a Stalin Prize (second class) the following year.

Sergei Prokofiev - Piano Sonata No. 6 Opus 82 (1940) 
for piano solo, the first of the Three War Sonatas

I. Allegro moderato 0:22
II. Allegretto 8:59
III. Tempo di valzer lentissimo 13:30
IV. Vivace 20:42

Yuja Wang, piano

Sergei Prokofiev - Piano Sonata No. 7 ("Stalingrad") in B♭ major, Op. 83, second of the Three War Sonatas.
Grigori Sokolov, 2002 (Live in Paris, France) 

00:00 - 1. Allegro inquieto 
09:23 - 2. Andante caloroso 
17:40 - 3. Precipitato 

Prokofiev - Piano Sonata No. 8 in B♭ major, Op. 8, written between 1939-1944.
Vladimir Ashkenazy, 1995

00:00 - I. Andante dolce
15:12 - II. Andante sognando
18:59 - III. Vivace

This sonata is the third of the Three War Sonatas. The work is in great contrast to its predecessor, Sonata No. 7 (Op. 83), despite the fact that both are in the key of B flat major. 

1 March
John Cage’s three-minute Imaginary Landscape No. 3 is first performed at the Arts Club of Chicago. Scored for six players, instruments include an assortment of frequency oscillators, tin cans, muted gong, variable-speed turntables (playing frequency recordings), a buzzer, an amplified marimbula and an amplified coil of wire. 

John Cage - Imaginary Landscape No. 3 
Zoltán Kocsis · John Cage · Amadinda Percussion Group · Katalin Károlyi

5 March
Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony, Leningrad, is premiered in Kuybishev, becoming a symbol of resistance to the German invasion. A secret microfilm of the score is smuggled out to the West, with performances following in London and America this same year.

29 May
Bing Crosby records Irving Berlin’s 
White Christmas for Decca records. Released 30 July this year, it becomes the best-selling song of all time.

Irving Berlin - "White Christmas"
Registrazione live dal concerto del 15 dicembre 2011 a Pisa, Basilica di San Paolo a Ripa d'Arno.

Coro dell'Università di Pisa
Orchestra dell'Università di Pisa
Organo: Chiara Mariani
Dirige: Stefano Barandoni

16 October
Aaron Copland’s ballet Rodeo (or The Courting at Burnt Ranch), commissioned and danced by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, is performed for the first time, in New York.

Aaron Copland - Rodeo 

00:00 1. Buckaroo Holiday
08:11 2. Corral Nocturne
15:35 3. Saturday Night Waltz
21:03 4. Hoe-Down

Conductor: Zubin Mehta
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, 2011

28 October
Richard Strauss
’s one-act Capriccio premieres in Munich. Set in a chateau outside Paris in 1775, the work presents an allegorical consideration of whether words or music are more important in opera; there is neither action nor characterisation. The composer’s so-called ‘conversation piece’ is his 15th and final opera.

13 November
Bohuslav Martinu
aged 51, has his Symphony No. 1 introduced by Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, to great acclaim.

Bohuslav Martinu - Symphony No. 1

hr-Sinfonieorchester – Frankfurt Radio Symphony ∙
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Dirigent 

Alte Oper Frankfurt, 10. Juni 2016 

9 April
50 elephants and 50 ballerinas dance the sensational premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s Circus Polka at Madison Square Garden, New York.

Igor Stravinsky - Circus Polka: For a Young Elephant, for solo piano

Performed by Victor Sangiorgio

16 April
Bruno Walter introduces
Samuel ​Barber’s discursive Second Essay for Orchestra with the New York Philharmonic.

Samuel Barber - Second Essay for Orchestra
Conductor Darryl One 
Massachusetts All-State Orchestra.

9 Decembe
Aram Khatchaturian's ballet Gayane is danced for the first time on 9 December 1942, staged by the Kirov Ballet while in Perm (Russia) during the Second World War evacuation, and was broadcast on the radio.. The Sabre Dance of the final act becomes a widely-performed concert piece.

Aram Khachaturian - Gayane, ballte in 3 acts
The Bolshoi Theatre 1980

Choreography by:     Boris Eifman 
Directed by:             Elena Macheret

Latvian Opera and Ballet Company 
Conductor:               Alexander Viljumanis 

Gayne:                    Larisa Tuisova 
Giko:                       Alexander Rumyantsev 
Armen:                    Gennady Gorbanev 
Matsak:                   Maris Korystin 

Scene Ayesha-Armen 00:03:35

Georgi's Scene 00:08:57

Scene of Embroidering  of a Rug 00:26:19
Karen's Trial 00:28:41
Uzundara (Dance of Nuneh and the maidens) 00:30:10
Highlander's Dance 00:32:41
Scene and Common Dance 00:35:05
Sabre Dance 00:37:43
Scene Ayesha-Gayaneh 00:40:56

Lezghinka (Dance of the boys) 00:58:38
Dance of the Friends 01:01:29



Anton Webern completes his Cantata No. 2 for soprano, bass, chorus and orchestra.

Anton Webern: 2. Kantate op. 31
Yeree Suh (Sopran),
Ivan Ludlow (Bariton),
SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra unter der Leitung von Pablo Heras-Casado. 2013

Francis Poulenc composes his cantata Figure humaine for unaccompanied choir. Written in occupied Paris to texts by Paul Eluard, the moving work closes with the poet’s Liberte—a poem leaflet-dropped by the RAF all over France.

Francis Poulenc - Figure humaine

Ensemble Aedes
Latvian Radio Choir (dir. Sigvards Klava)

21 January
Bela Bartok and his wife, Ditta, appear as piano soloists at the premiere of the composer’s Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion and Orchestra with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. The work is an arrangement and augmentation of the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion (1937).

Béla Bartók - Concerto for Two Pianos, Percussion, Orchestra
- Orchestra: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
- Conductor: David Zinman
- Soloists: Nelson Freire and Martha Argerich (pianos), Jan Labordus and Jan Pustjens (percussion), 1985

00:00 - I. Assai lento - Allegro molto
13:31 - II. Lento, ma non troppo
20:45 - III. Allegro non troppo

10 May
Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod (later the composer’s second wife) introduce Visions de l'Amen for two pianos, in occupied Paris.

Olivier Messiaen - Visions de l'Amen, for two pianos

00:00  Amen de la Création
04:35  Amen des étoiles, de la planète à l'anneau
10:00  Amen de l'agonie de Jésus
17:04  Amen du Désir
27:42  Amen des Anges, des Saints, du chant des oiseaux
35:54  Amen du Jugement
38:39  Amen de la Consommation

Yvonne Loriod & Olivier Messiaen, pianos

24 June
Ralph Vaughan Williams
offers respite from the horrors of war in his largely serene Fifth Symphony, premiered in London.

Vaughan Williams: 5. Sinfonie
hr-Sinfonieorchester – Frankfurt Radio Symphony
Sir Andrew Davis, Dirigent, 
2016 ∙

8 October
Koussevitzky introduces Igor Stravinsky’s Ode

for orchestra in Boston, composed in memory of the conductor’s late wife, Natalie.

Igor Stravinsky: Ode, canto elegiaco in tre parti per orchestra, in memoriam Natalia Koussevitzky, Moscow State Philharmonic diretta da Igor Stravinsky, 1962) 

I. Eulogy   -   II. Eclogue   -   III. Epitaph 

28 March
Sergei Rachmaninov, the last great Romantic virtuoso, dies from cancer in Los Angeles, aged 69.


31 March
Oklahoma! is the first musical written by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. The musical is based on Lynn Riggs' 1931 play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in farm country outside the town of Claremore, Oklahoma Territory, in 1906, it tells the story of farm girl Laurey Williams and her courtship by two rival suitors, cowboy Curly McLain and the sinister and frightening farmhand Jud Fry. A secondary romance concerns cowboy Will Parker and his flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie. The original Broadway production opened on March 31, 1943.

Holly Springs High School's 2012 Musical, Oklahoma! 

Gabriel Faure - Penelope


9 October L'incantesimo is a short opera in one act by Italian composer Italo Montemezzi. Its libretto was written by playwright Sem Benelli who had previously collaborated with the composer on his most famous opera, L'amore dei tre re. Premiere cast 9 October 1943.

Italo Montemezzi - L'Incantesimo 

Folco: Alexander Sved
Giselda: Vivian Della Chiesa
Rinaldo: Mario Berini
Salomone: Virgilio Lazzari 

NBC Symphony Orchestra & Choir
dir: Italo Montemezzi, prima registrazione assoluta,
New York 1943

28 October
Bohuslav Martinu’s Symphony No. 2—celebrating the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Czechoslovak Republic— premieres in Cleveland. Meanwhile in New York the composer’s Memorial to Lidice responds to the sickening Nazi genocide of Czechs at the small town of Lidice, outside Prague (June 1942).

Bohuslav Martinů - Simphonies
Symphony No. 1 at 0:00, 10:36, 18:45, 27:53. Symphony 2 at 37:32, 44:08, 51:28, 56:13. Symphony 3 at 1:03:40, 1:12:35, 1:21:25.
Symphony 4 at 1:32:25, 1:39:32, 1:48:35, 1:58:45. Symphony 5 at 2:08:47,  2:17:34,  2:26:33. Symphony 6 at 2:38:45, 2:48:00, 2:55:51.

4 November
Dmitri Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony is introduced in Moscow.

Shostakovich : Symphony No. 8 in C minor, Op. 65
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Kirill Kondrashin



Olivier Messiaen composes the monumental piano cycle Vingt regards sur L'Enfant-Jesus (Twenty Contemplations of the Child Jesus).

Olivier Messiaen - Vingt regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus

Yvonne Loriod, piano

00:00:00  I. Regard du Père
00:05:28  II. Regard de l'étoile
00:08:27  III. L'échange
00:12:05  IV. Regard de la Vierge
00:17:04  V. Regard du Fils sur le Fils
00:22:48  VI. Par Lui tout a été fait
00:33:21  VII. Regard de la Croix
00:37:23  VIII. Regard des hauteurs
00:39:53  IX. Regard du temps
00:43:01  X. Regard de l'Esprit de joie
00:51:48  XI. Première communion de la Vierge
00:59:18  XII. La parole toute puissante
01:02:21  XIII. Noël
01:06:33  XIV. Regard des Anges
01:11:29  XV. Le baiser de l'enfant-Jésus
01:21:54  XVI. Regard des prophètes, des bergers et des Mages
01:24:49  XVII. Regard du silence
01:30:05  XVIII. Regard de l'Onction terrible
01:37:01  XIX. Je dors, mais mon cœur veille
01:47:01  XX. Regard de l'Église d'amour

Sergei Prokofiev completes his ballet Cinderella and his War Sonata No. 8. New compositions this year include his popular Fifth Symphony and the score to Eisensteins film Ivan the Terrible (Part I).

Cinderella - Prokofiev 
Bolshoi ballet film of Prokofiev's Cinderella with Raisa Struchkova, Gennadi Lediakh, and Ekaterina Maximova as Spring.  
Lediakh entrance 0:31:06  
Solo 0:46:10
Pas de deux 0:50:31
Yuri Feier Conductor

Prokofiev - Symphony No 5 in B-flat major, Op 100

Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra - Valery Gergiev

New York, January 2015

Sergei Prokofiev “Ivan the Terrible” (Riccardo Muti)
Gérard Depardieu, Ivan the Terrible Yasen Peyankov, Narrator Michael Brown, The Holy Fool Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano Mikhail Petrenko, bass
Chicago Symphony Chorus Chicag

18 April
Leonard Bernstein
premieres his first ballet, Fancy Free, with huge success in New York. 

Bernstein: Fancy Free 
Ballet Theatre Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein

Recorded June 2, 1944, in New York City

(00:07) I. Enter Three Sailors
(03:00) II. Scene at the Bar
(04:38) III. Enter Two Girls
(06:02) IV. Pas de Deux
(09:09) V. Competition Scene
   VI. Three Dance Variations:
(12:12) 1. Galop
(13:40) 2. Waltz
(16:00) 3. Danzon
(18:39) VII. Finale

Bernstein: Fancy Free 
From 1986. NYC Ballet. Choreography by Jerome Robbins.

17 June
David Oistrakh performs Sergei Prokofiev’s 
Violin Sonata No. 2 in Moscow. 

Sergei Prokofiev - Violin sonata n°2 op.94

I. Moderato 0:00
II. Presto 7:41
III. Andante 12:25
IV. Allegro con brio 16:17

David Oistrakh
Vladimir Yampolsky
Studio recording, Brussels, 22.V.1955

30 October
Aaron Copland
's one-act ballet Appalachian Spring opens to great acclaim in Washington,D.C. Martha Graham choreographs and dances the tale of 19th-century American pioneers. 

Appalachian Spring - Aaron Copland
Performed live by Sydney Camerata Chamber Orchestra at Paddington Uniting Church, Sydney.
Conductor Luke Gilmour

Paul Hindemith - Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber 

I.  Allegro (0:00)
II. Scherzo (Turandot): Moderato – Lively (4:05)
III.Andantino (12:09)
IV.Marsch (17:05)

Wolfgang Sawallisch - Philadelphia Orchestra

20 January
Paul Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphoses of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber is welcomed in New York. The following month his fugal Ludus Tonalis for piano is first played at the University of Chicago.

14 November
Dmitri Shostakovich
's String Quartet No. 2 is first performed in Leningrad.

Shostakovich - String Quartet No.2 in A major, Op 68 

I. Overture (Moderato con moto) - 00:00
II. Recitative and Romance (Adagio) - 8:12
III. Waltz (Allegro) - 20:18
IV. Theme with Variations (Adagio) - 25:48

Original Borodin Quartet:

Rostislav Dubinsky - Yaroslav Alexandrov violins
Dmitry Shebalin viola
Valentin Berlinsky cello

28 January
Composer John Kenneth Tavener is born in London.

6 February
Eduard Steuermann gives the first performance of Arnold Schoenberg's Piano Concerto (Op. 42), under Stokowski in New York. 

Schoenberg - Piano Concerto, op 42
Nathan Carterette, piano;
Robert Olson, conductor and UMKC Conservatory Orchestra.

19 March
A Child of Our Time (1941), by Michael Tippett, premieres in London. The oratorio examines the consequences of a young man’s desire for justice through violent means—a scenario motivated by the shooting of a German diplomat by a young Jew in 1938, which precipitated Nazi pogroms. Promoting unity in the face of tyranny, the work attains a wide collective significance with its inclusion of African-American spirituals. Tippett's Child becomes recognised as one of the foremost choral works of the century.

Tippett - A Child Of Our Time

26 November
In New York the 28-year-old Yehudi Menuhin introduces Bela Bartok’s Sonata for Solo Violin, having commissioned the piecg himself.

Bartók: Sonata for Solo Violin Sz. 117
Viktoria Mullova 

28 December
Leonard Bernstein - On the Town

On the Town - Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green – Broadway production opened at the Adelphi Theatre (New York) on December 28, transferred to the 44th Street Theatre on June 4, 1945, and transferred to the Martin Beck Theatre on July 30, 1945, for a total run of 462 performances.

Leonard Bernstein: On The Town

John Kenneth Tavener

John Kenneth Tavener

Sir John Tavener, (born January 28, 1944, London, England—died November 12, 2013, Child Okeford, Dorset), British composer who was strongly influenced by sacred and spiritual texts. Although some critics dismissed his work as lightweight, Tavener drew praise for making classical music accessible to the masses.


Tavener composed music as early as age three and learned to play the piano and organ. He attended the Royal Academy of Music in London, where his instructors included the composers David Lumsdaine and Sir Lennox Berkeley. Tavener made his first significant mark with The Whale, an avant-garde cantata that received a popular debut at the London Sinfonietta in 1968. His music drew from Russian, Byzantine, and Greek influences and became more inwardly focused after he joined the Russian Orthodox church in 1977. At age 36 Tavener suffered a stroke, and in 1991 he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder affecting the connective tissues. Acknowledging that these events strengthened his commitment to his faith and to expressing it through music, Tavener likened composing to prayer and described himself as more of a conduit to the spiritual world than a composer. His spiritual mentor, an abbess at an Orthodox monastery in North Yorkshire, was also his librettist.

Significant Tavener works during the 1980s and ’90s included Orthodox Vigil Service, Akathist of Thanksgiving, The Protecting Veil, the large-scale choral piece Resurrection, and the opera Mary of Egypt. Tavener’s Song for Athene was played during the 1997 funeral of Diana, princess of Wales, and his choral composition A New Beginning was premiered as part of the celebration in London’s Millennium Dome to welcome the year 2000. Tavener was knighted in 2000.


for cello and orchestra
Section 1 - Annunciation - The Incarnation - Lament of the Mother of God at the Cross - Christ is risen! - The dormition of the Mother of God - The Protecting Veil - - Marin Kliegel cello -  Ulster Orchestra - Takuo Yuasa

John Tavener - Funeral Canticle (The Tree of Life)

"Mother and Child" - John Tavener

John Tavener: We shall see Him as He is 
BBC National Orchestra of Wales - Richard Hickox.
Soprano: Patricia Rozario.
Tenors: John Mark Ainsley, Andrew Murgatroyd. Choirs: BBC Welsh Chours, The Britten Singers, Chester Festival Chorus.

Diana Funeral: Tavener 'Song For Athene'.
The solemn conclusion of the funeral of Princess Diana at Westminster Abbey, 6 September 1997. Sir John Tavener's "Song For Athene" is sung by the Westminster Abbey Choir as Diana's coffin is borne up the nave toward the Great West Door.



Benjamin Britten composes The Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra: Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Henry Purcell for a BBC documentary film, commissioned by the Ministry of Education.

Benjamin Britten: Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Henry Purcell, Op. 34
Bedford, London Symphony Orchestra

Theme (Allegro maestoso e largamente) 
1:57 Var. A: Piccolo and Flute (Presto) 
2:28 Var. B: Oboes (Lento) 
3:27 Var. C: Clarinets (Moderato) 
4:05 Var. D: Bassoons (Allegro alla marcia) 
4:59 Var. E: Violins (Brillante: alla polacca) 
5:38 Var. F: Violas (Meno mosso) 
6:32 Var. G: Cellos 
7:44 Var. H: Double Basses (Comminciando tento ma poco accel. al Allegro) 
8:46 Var. I: Harp (Maestoso) 
9:34 Var. J: Horns (L’istesso tempo) 
10:22 Var. K: Trumpets (Vivace) 
10:54 Var. L: Trombones and Bass Tuba (Allegro pomposo) 
11:53 Var. M: Percussion (Moderato) 
13:48 Fugue (Allegro molto)

7 June
Benjamin Britten
revives British opera with Peter Grimes at Sadlers Wells Theatre, London. The tale of an ill-mannered but victimised fisherman triumphs instantly, with productions following in translation across Europe. Bernstein conducts the American premiere in Lenox, Massachusetts, the following year.

2 August
Composer Pietro Mascagni, unpopular with many in the musical community for supporting Mussolini, dies in Rome aged 81.


Olivier Messiaen composes his song cycle Harawi (A Song of Love and Death) for soprano and piano, inspired by the Tristan and Isolde legend.

Olivier Messiaen - Harawi, chant d'amour et de mort, for soprano and piano

Rachel Yakar, soprano
Yvonne Loriod, piano

00:00  La Ville qui dormait, toi
02:16  Bonjour toi, colombe verte
05:29  Montagnes
08:22  Doundou Tchil
12:25  L'amour de Piroutcha
17:03  Répétition planétaire
23:02  Adieu
31:24  Syllabes
37:45  L'escalier redit, gestes du soleil
43:11  Amour oiseau d'étoile
47:52  Katchikatchi les étoiles
49:44  Dans le noir

15 September
The 61-year-old Anton von Webern, while enjoying an after-meal cigar, is accidentally shot and killed by an American soldier in Mittersill, outside Salzburg.


26 September
Bela Bartok
, Hungary’s leading composer, dies in New York from leukaemia, aged 64.


22 March 
The Firebrand of Florence (Music: Kurt Weill, Lyrics: Ira Gershwin). Broadway production opened at the Alvin Theatre on March 22.

Kurt Weill, Ira Gershwin - The Firebrand of Florerce
Thomas Hampson baritone
1 - Song of the Hangmann
2 - Come to Florence
3 - My Lords and Ladies
4 - Life, love and laughter
5 - You're Far Too Near Me
6 - Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
7 - You have to do what you to do
8 - Love is my enemy

3 November
Dmitri Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony is first performed in Leningrad. Well received at first, it is denounced by Soviet authorities the following year for failing to 'reflect the true spirit of the people of the Soviet Union’.

Shostakovich - Symphony No 9 in E flat Major, op 70
1 Allegro
2 Moderato
3 Presto
4 Largo
5 Allegretto
USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra
Gennady Rozhdestvensky, conductor

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