Modern Period
 

1946-1947-1948-1949-1950

1946
The League of Nations is wound up • The United Nations establish permanent headquarters in New York; Trygve Lie (Nor) is elected secretary-general • Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia adopt Communist governments • King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy abdicates; is succeeded by his son, Umberto II, who leaves Italy after
a referendum favouring a republic • Republic of Hungary proclaimed • Jordan becomes independent • Juan Peron becomes president of Argentina • The Philippines becomes an independent republic • US Supreme Court declares racial segregation on interstate buses unconstitutional • Marc Chagall (Russ/Fr) paints Cow with Sunshade

1947
UN approves a partition of Palestine with an internationalised Jerusalem against strong Arab opposition • Independence of India creates separate dominions of India and Pakistan; riots follow • Burma becomes an independent republic • Ceylon (later Sri Lanka) gains independence as a dominion • General Agreement on Tariffs and Tradesis signed by 23 countries • US Marshall Plan for European recovery is established • The Dead Sea Scrolls are discovered at Qumran, Jordan • Jackson Pollock pours paint on to canvas in what becomes known as his ‘drip period’ • Marc Chagall The Falling Angel (1923 - 1947) • Tennessee Williams (US): A Streetcar Named Desire • Yasunari Kawabata (Jap): Snow Country

1948
Indian religious leader Mohandas K. Gandhi is assassinated • The ‘Cold War’ intensifies; Russians begin a blockade of West Berlin; Western Powers start a successful airlift in reply • British mandate in Palestine ends: Jews proclaim the State of Israel, which is immediately recognised by the USA; an Arab-lsraeli war begins • Republic of Korea is established with Seoul as its capital; Communist North Korea is established as a rival republic • South Africa adopts Apartheid as official policy • John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley (US) unveil the transistor • Jackson Pollock (US) paints Number One • Ezra Pound (US): The Pisan Cantos • Evelyn Waugh (Eng): The Loved One

1949
Communist forces under Mao Tse-tung seize power in China • Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the USA pledge mutual assistance in the North Atlantic Treaty • The Council of Europe is established in Strasbourg • West Germany becomes the German Federal Republic •
The USSR ends its blockade of Berlin • The East German Democratic Republic is created • India becomes a republic within the British Commonwealth • The USA withdraws its occupying forces from South Korea • Russians test their first atomic bomb • Fienry Moore (Eng) sculpts Family Group • George Orwell (Eng): 1984

1950
The USSR announces it has the atomic bomb • The McCarthy Committee begins a ‘witch-hunt’ of Communists in the USA • The German Federal Republic becomes a member of the Council of Europe • The Korean War (until 1953) begins when North Korean troops invade South Korea; UN sends troops to aid South Korea; Chinese forces come to the aid of the North Koreans • Albert Giacometti (Switz) sculpts Seven Figures and a Head • Jackson Pollock (US) paints Autumn Rhythm (No. 30) • Mark Rothko (Latvia/US) paints rectangular No. 10 • Belfast-born C. S. Lewis launches his Narnia Chronicles with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III (March 26, 1911– February 25, 1983) was an American playwright. Along with Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller, he is considered among the three foremost playwrights of 20th-century American drama.

 

1946

Igor Stravinsky introduces his Symphony in Three Movements in New York.

Igor Stravinsky - Symphony in Three Movements

BBC Symphony Orchestra
Igor Stravinsky

London, December 1958

Arthur Honegger responds to the horrors of war in his Symphony No. 3 (Symphonie liturgique). This year also marks his lighter Symphony No. 4.

Honegger: Sinfonia n.4 "Deliciae Basilienses" (H. 191) Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion
Française diretta da Georges Tzipine

I. Lento e misterioso
II. Larghetto
III. Allegro 

Honegger — Symphony No. 3 "Symphonie Liturgique" 

0:00 — I. Dies irae
7:31 — II. De profundis clamavi
19:21 — III. Dona nobis pacem

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Conductor: Mariss Jansons

25 January
Sacher conducts the first performance of Richard Strauss’s sombre Metamorphosen, scored for 23 solo strings, in Zurich. 

Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen for 23 strings
Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, 2016
Terje Tønnesen, artistic leader

8 February
Bela Bartok
’s Third Piano Concerto, completed by Tibor Serly. is posthumously premiered in Philadelphia.

Béla Bartók - Piano Concerto No. 3 in E major, Sz. 119, BB 127
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Ferenc Fricsay 
Soloist: Géza Anda - Year of recording: 1959 

00:00 - I. Allegretto 
07:22 - II. Adagio religioso 
17:38 - III. Allegro vivace

25 March
Igor Stravinsky’s Ebony Concerto (1945) 
for clarinet and jazz band is performed for the first time, in New York. The composer describes it as ‘a jazz concerto grosso with a blues slow movement’.

Stravinsky - Ebony Concerto for clarinet and jazz band
Conductor: Michel Havenith
Clarinet solo: Sigrid Heijdra.
Ebony Ensemble - 2012, Zoetermeer, Netherlands

5 April
Charles Ives has his entire Third Symphony (completed c.1911) premiered under the direction of Lou Harrison in New York. Subtitled The Camp Meeting, the piece wins Ives a Pulitzer Prize the following year, 'though the septuagenarian away, declaring, ‘prizes are grown up’.

Ives: Symphony No. 3 "The Camp Meeting"
The Orchestra Now, conducted by James Bagwell

Andante: Old Folks Gatherin’ 0:04
Allegro: Children's Day 7:39
Largo: Communion 14:11

14 May
Paul Hindemith
’s When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d, a ‘Requiem for those we love’, based on the poem by Walt Whitman, is introduced in New York. This year the composer takes American citizenship.

Hindemith: When liilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd: A Requiem...
1.Prelude
2. Quiet - When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd (baritone and chorus)
3. Arioso. In the swamp (mezzo-soprano)
4. March. Over the breast of spring
5. Fast. O western orb (baritone and chorus)
6. Arioso. Sing on, there in the swamp
7. Song. O how shall I warble
8. Introduction and Fugue. Lo! body and soul
9. Sing on! you gray-brown bird
10. Death Carol. Come, lovely and soothing Death (chorus)
11. To the tally of my soul
12. Finale. Passing the visions (mezzo-soprano, baritone, and chorus)

Louise Parker, contralto
Geroge London,bass-baritone

The Schola Cantorum of New York
New York Philharmonic
Conducted by Paul Hindemith, 1946

12 June
Part I of Sergei Prokofiev’s operatic epic War and Peace (1942), based on Tolstoy’s novel, is introduced in Leningrad. Part II, scheduled the following year, fails to progress beyond its dress rehearsal. Prokofiev will make continued revisions to his sixth and final opera over the next six years.

12 July
Benjamin Britten’s opera The Rape of Lucretia is premiered with only modest success at Glyndebourne under Ansermet. 

The Rape of Lucretia, an opera in two acts.  Music by Benjamin Britten, libretto by Ronald Duncan, after the play "Le vol de Lucrèce" by André Obey.  Performed on January 28, 2018, at the Alexander Kasser Theater, John J. Cali School of Music, Montclair State University, by The Montclair State University Opera, Jeffrey Gall, director, with the Chamber Players of the Montclair State University Symphony Orchestra, Brent Chancellor, conductor.  

2 August
Arnold Schoenberg suffers a near-fatal heart attack. Convalescing, he begins his thematically unstable String Trio, reflecting on his ordeal.

Arnold Schoenberg - String Trio, Opus 45

Faulkner Chamber Music Festival 2014

Geoffrey Robson, violin
Ryan Mooney, viola
Will Preece, cello

18 October
Aaron Copland’s admired Symphony No. 3 premieres in Boston. 

Aaron Copland - Symphony no. 3
Michael Tilson Thomas conducting the LSO in 1994

1. Molto moderato
2. Allegro molto 10:52
3. Andantino 19:28
4. Molto deliberato 29:13
5. Hoedown 43:05

14 November
Spanish composer Manuel de Falla dies in Alta Gracia, Argentina, aged 69.

8 May 
The opera The Medium, with music and words by  Gian Carlo Menotti
, opens with great success at Columbia University. It transfers to Broadway in 1947 with more than 200 performances that year.

Gian Carlo Menotti - The Medium   

16 December
Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 3 is first heard in Moscow.

Shostakovich - String Quartet No. 3 in F major Op. 73
Played by the Borodin Quartet.

 

1947

Pierre Boulez, aged 22, completes the first version of Le Visage Nuptial, a cantata for soprano, alto, two ondes martenot, piano and percussion.

Boulez : "Le Visage nuptial" 
The Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France conducted by Pascal Rophé performs "Le Visage nuptial" (The Nuptial Face) for soprano, mezzo-soprano, choir of women and orchestra by Pierre Boulez, with Laura Aikin and Hilary Summers. Live recording on February 25, 2014 at the Cité de la Musique (Paris).

4 April
Samuel Barber completes Knoxville Summer of 1915 for soprano and orchestra, inspired by the writing of James Agee.

Samuel Barber - Knoxville, Summer 1915
Dawn Upshaw, soprano
David Zinman
Orchestra of St. Luke's

9 January
Kurt Weill's ‘American opera’ Street Scene (premiered Philadelphia, 1946) begins a 148-performance run at the Adelphi Theatre in New York. Mixing opera and Broadway musical, the work eventually closes due to crippling production costs.

Kurt Weill' -  Street Scene 

7 May
Virgil Thomson’s suffrage opera The Mother of Us All is first staged at Columbia University, New York. The libretto is by Gertrude Stein, who died the previous year.

Mother of Us All -  Virgil Thomson
University of North Texas Opera Department
University of North Texas Recording Services
Stephen Dubberly, Conductor
Brittany Jones, Susan B.
March 2016

27 January
Sacher premieres Igor Stravinsky’s Concerto in D for string orchestra, celebrating 20 years of the Basel Chamber Orchestra.

Igor Stravinsky - Concerto in D, for string orchestra in D major ("Basel Concerto")

I. Vivace
II. Arioso (5:51)
III. Rondo (8:36)

Bournemouth Sinfonietta
Richard Studt

3 June
Francis Poulenc's surrealist opera Les Mamelles de Tiresias (The Breasts of Tiresias), based on the play by Guillaume Apollinaire, opens at the Opera-Comique in Paris. 

Poulenc: Les mamelles de Tirésias

15 February
Composer John Coolidge Adams is born in Worcester, Massachusetts.

15 February
Jascha Heifetz gives the first performance of Erich Wolfgang ​Korngold's Violin Concerto in D major, rapturously received in St Louis.

 

Wolfgang Korngold - Violin Concerto in D major, Op 35

1 Moderato nobile
2 Romanze
3 Allegro assai vivace

Hilary Hahn, violin

Deutsche Symphonie Orchester
Kent Nagano, conductor

18 February 
Gian Carlo Menotti The Telephone. Premiere February 18, 1947, Heckscher Theater, New York City

The Telephone - Gian Carlo Menotti
Rebecca Salter, soprano (Lucy)
Matthew Hoch, baritone (Ben)
Ben Harris, piano
directed by Deborah Popham
Callaway Theatre, Shorter University
Monday, January 9, 2012,

20 June
Benjamin Britten’s chamber opera Albert Herring premieres at Glyndebourne with a live BBC radio broadcast.

Britten -  Albert Herring
John Graham-Hall, Patricia Johnson, Alan Opie, Felicity Palmer, Jean Rigby

Summer
Darius Milhaud composes his Symphony No. 4: 1848 during an Atlantic crossing.

 

Darius Milhaud - Symphony No. 4, Op. 281
"Composée à l'occasion du Centenaire de la Révolution de 1848"

I. L'insurrection. Animé - 00:00
II. Aux Morts de la République. Lent - 05:04
III. Les Joies de la Liberté retrouvée. Modérément animé - 18:04
IV. Commémoration 1948. Final. Animé - 23:07

Basel Radio Symphony Orchestra - Alun Francis

11 October
Sergei Prokofiev's Sixth Symphony is premiered in Leningrad. Though containing many light moments and lyrical ideas, it is criticised the following year by Soviet authorities for being too highbrow.

Prokofiev - Symphony No. 6 in E-flat minor, Op. 111
Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Gennady Rozhdestvensky, 1965

 

John Coolidge Adams
 

John Adams, in full John Coolidge Adams, (born Feb. 15, 1947, Worcester, Mass., U.S.), American composer and conductor whose works were among the most performed of contemporary classical music.











 

Adams became proficient on the clarinet at an early age (sometimes freelancing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and performing with other groups) and by his teenage years was composing. His teachers at Harvard University (A.B., 1969; M.A., 1971) included Leon Kirchner and Roger Sessions. Adams was the first Harvard student to be allowed to submit a musical composition as a senior honours thesis. After graduation he moved to California, where from 1972 to 1982 he taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In 1978 he founded and directed the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra’s series “New and Unusual Music,” and he was composer in residence with the orchestra from 1982 to 1985. From 2003 through 2007 he held the composer’s chair at Carnegie Hall in New York City, where he founded the eclectic and diverse “In Your Ear” festival. Increasingly as his career developed, he conducted performances of music by himself and by others, working with organizations such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Concertgebouw Orchestra (Amsterdam), and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Although his early compositions were in an academic style, Adams soon began drawing on much broader sources, including pop, jazz, electronic music, and minimalism. His use of minimalist techniques—characterized by repetition and simplicity—came to be tempered by expressive, even neo-Romantic, elements. His works encompass a wide range of genres and include Shaker Loops (1978), chamber music for string septet; Harmonium (1980), a cantata for chorus and orchestra using the poetry of John Donne and Emily Dickinson; Grand Pianola Music (1981–82), a reworking of early 20th-century American popular music for instrumental ensemble, three sopranos, and two pianos; Harmonielehre (1984–85), for orchestra, an homage to Arnold Schoenberg, whose music was the antithesis of minimalism; and Wound-Dresser (1988), for baritone and orchestra, a work based on Walt Whitman’s poems about his experience as a nurse in the American Civil War. One of Adams’s especially popular orchestral works was the fanfare Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986). The recording of another popular orchestral work, El Dorado (1991), won a 1997 Grammy Award. Later large-scale works include the Violin Concerto (1993) and My Father Knew Charles Ives (2003), for orchestra, which alludes to Ives’s works and compositional methods.

Adams’s most ambitious works, however, were his operas. The first two were created in collaboration with the director Peter Sellars, the poet Alice Goodman, and the choreographer Mark Morris. Nixon in China (1987) took as its subject the visit of U.S. Pres. Richard M. Nixon to China in 1972. The Death of Klinghoffer (1991) was based on the hijacking by Palestinian terrorists of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985 and the killing of a disabled Jewish passenger. The composer’s third opera, Doctor Atomic (2005), was the story of the scientists in Los Alamos, N.M., U.S., who during World War II devised the first atomic bomb. Sellars compiled the libretto from a variety of sources, including the favourite poetry of the Los Alamos physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer as well as declassified government documents of the period.

In a departure from his 2005 statement that “if opera is actually going to be a part of our lives…it has to deal with contemporary topics,” Adams based his fourth opera, A Flowering Tree (2006), on South Indian folktales; again Sellars was his collaborator. The work was created in homage to Mozart, taking as its inspiration The Magic Flute (1791).

Adams’s operas have been regularly performed, and they have been recorded; Nixon in China won a 1988 Grammy Award. A number of critics have found them to be among the most significant of contemporary operas. Adams created orchestral and choral works from his opera scores, including The Nixon Tapes (1987), for voices and orchestra, and Doctor Atomic Symphony (2005). The Chairman Dances, subtitled “Foxtrot for Orchestra,” which was written for Nixon in China but dropped from the final score, became one of Adams’s most-often-played orchestral works.

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City commissioned a work from Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls, for orchestra, chorus, children’s choir, and prerecorded sound track, first performed Sept. 19, 2002. The text of the work derived from three sources: fragments from notices posted at the World Trade Center site by friends and relatives of the missing, interviews published in the New York Times, and randomly chosen names of victims. For this composition Adams was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in music; the recording won three 2004 Grammy Awards.

Adams received numerous other honours and awards as well. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1997. Also in 1997 he was named Composer of the Year by the venerable magazine Musical America. A festival in his honour at Lincoln Center in April and May of 2003 was the most extensive single-composer festival that had ever been held there.
 

John Adams : Chamber Symphony No.1, Op.9 (1992)

1. Mongrel Airs
2. Aria with Walking Bass
3. Roadrunner

London Sinfonietta
(Keyboard; Piano Celesta) 
Director, John C. Adams

John Adams - Naive and Sentimental Music
I. Naive and Sentimental Music
II. Mother of the Man
III. Chain to the Rhythm

David Tenenbaum (Guitar)
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Esa-Pekka Salonen (Conductor)

John Adams - Harmonium 
Conductor - Edward Gardner
Orchestra - BBC Symphony Orchestra
Choir - BBC Symphony Chorus and BBC Proms Youth Choir

John Adams - Common tones in simple time

John Adams - Grand Pianola Music | 1982
Part 1A (fast)
Part 1B (slow)
'On The Dominant Divide' (fast)

Adams - Violin Concerto (1993)
Violin: Chloe Hanslip
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Leonard Slatkin

John Adams - Shaker Loops 
0:16 Part I Shaking and Trembling
09:06 Part II Hymning Slews
15:18 Part III Loops & Verses
23:18 Part IV A Final Shaking
JACK Quartet
Austin Wulliman, violin
Christopher Otto, violin
Ari Streisfeld, violin
John Pickford, viola
Kevin McFarland, cello
Jay Campbell, cello
Volkan Orhon, double bass

 

1948

Inspired by Hindu philosophy John ​Cage completes his 70-minute Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano. The meticulous preparation of the instrument with materials such as screws, bolts, rubber and plastic, takes two to three hours.

John Cage - Sonatas and Interludes
Thomas Nicholson, prepared piano
University of Victoria, 15 February 2015

21 April
Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Symphony No. 6 is introduced with enormous success under Sir Adrian Boult in London.

R. Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 6 in E minor
London Philharmonic Orchestra
conducted by Bernard Haitink.

I. Allegro (0:00)
II. Moderato (7:37)
III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace (16:36)
IV. Epilogue: Moderato (22:52)

Richard Strauss composes the Four Last Songs for soprano and orchestra, his final work. This year a court in Munich clears him of all charges of Nazi collaboration.

Strauss - Four Last Songs 
Renée Fleming
0:00 - 3:40 Four Last Songs, 'Frühling' 
3:40 - 9:21 Four Last Songs, 'September'
9:21 - 15:26 Four Last Songs, 'Beim Schlafengehen' 
15:26 - 24:59 Four Last Songs, 'Im Abendrot' 

Strauss - Four Last Songs 

Jessye Norman 
1. Frühling 0:00
2. September 3:51
3. Beim Schlafengehen 9:16
4. Im Abendrot 15:30

Dmitri Shostakovich completes his First Violin Concerto. He withholds the work from performance fearing a backlash from the CCCP.

Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No.1 in A minor, Op.77

I. Nocturne (00:00)
II. Scherzo (12:27)
III. Passacaglia (18:25)
IV. Burlesque (32:47)

Hilary Hahn, violin

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Riccardo Chailly, conductor
, 2002
Grote Zaal, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

15 June
Kurt Weill
’s folk-opera Down in the Valley (1947) opens in Bloomington, Indiana. It becomes his second most popular stage-work, after The Threepenny Opera.

Kurt Weill - Down in the Valley (Part 1/3)
Text : Arnold Sundgaard

Jennie Parson : Ilana Davidson (Soprano)
Brack Weaver : Mark Acito (Tenor)
The Leader : Donald Collup (Bariton)
Thomas Bouché : James Mabry
Jennie's Father : Donald P. Lang

Orchester Campus Cantat 90 - Dir. Willi Gundlach

Kurt Weill - Down in the Valley (Part 2/3)

Kurt Weill - Down in the Valley (Part 3/3)

27 October
Ansermet directs the first performance of Igor Stravinsky’s Mass, in Milan.

Igor Stravinsky: Mass
Eastman Repertory Singers and Decet
David Chin, conductor
, 2015

10 February
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union issues a damning condemnation of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Khachaturian, Myaskovsky and others, for their 'formalist perversions and antidemocratic tendencies ... which are alien to the Soviet people and their artistic tastes’. The Committee outlaws any music it deems complex, modernist or pessimistic.







 

16 February
Having previously protested, 'formalism is the name given to music not understood on first hearing’, Prokofiev capitulates under pressure in a letter to the Union of Composers: 'No matter how painful it may be ... I welcome the resolution of the Central Committee, which establishes the conditions for the recovery of the entire organism of Soviet music ... The formalistic movement, which leads to the impoverishment and decline of music, is alien to the Soviet people.’








 

20 February
Lina Prokofieva, Prokofiev’s abandoned first wife, is arrested in Moscow on spurious charges of spying. She is incarcerated for the next eight years in a Siberian labour camp.

Stalin before the Zhdanov coffin.
Andrei Zhdanov (1896 – 31 August 1948) was a Soviet Communist Party leader and cultural ideologist, architect of artistic purges.

Originating in 1946 and lasting until the late 1950s, Zhdanov's ideological code, known as the Zhdanov Doctrine or Zhdanovism (zhdanovshchina), defined cultural production in the Soviet Union. Zhdanov intended to create a new philosophy of artistic creation valid for the entire world. His method reduced all of culture to a sort of chart, wherein a given symbol corresponded to a simple moral value.This doctrine suggested that the world was split into two opposing camps, namely the imperialistic, led by the United States; and the democratic, led by the Soviet Union. The origins of this policy can be seen before 1946 when critics proposed (wrongly according to Zhdanov) that Russian classics had been influenced by famous foreign writers, but the policy came into effect specifically to target "apolitical, 'bourgeois', individualistic works of the satirist Mikhail Zoshchenko and the poet Anna Akhmatova", respectively writing for the literary magazines Zvezda and Leningrad. 

Autumn 
Dmitri ShostakovichFrom Jewish Folk Poetry (song cycle).

From Jewish Folk Poetry, Op. 79, is a song cycle for soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor and piano. Texts taken from the collection Jewish folk songs, compiled by I. Dobrushin and A. Yuditsky, edited by Y. M. Sokolov (Goslitizdat, 1947).

The piece was composed in the autumn of 1948, after Shostakovich's denunciation in the Zhdanov decree of that year. The composer's situation and the official anti-Semitism of the time made a public premiere impossible until January 15, 1955, when it was performed by Shostakovich himself with Nina L'vovna Dorliak, Zara Dolukhanova and Alec Maslennikov. Before the premiere the work received a number of private performances.

The cycle is just one of many works by Shostakovich to incorporate elements of Jewish music; he said that he was attracted by "a jolly melody on sad intonations".

Shostakovich "From Jewish Folk Poetry"
Vocal Cycle Op. 79

Nina Dorliak, soprano
Zara Dolukhanova, mezzo-soprano
Aleksei  Maslennikov, tenor
Dmitri Shostakovich, piano

00:00 The Lament for the Dead Child 
02:48 The Thoughtful Mother and Aunt
04:39 Lullaby
07:57 Before a Long Parting
10:43 A Warning
11:50 The Abandoned Father
13:58 The Song of Misery
15:20 Winter
18:29 A Good Life
19:58 The Young Girl's Song
22:32 Happiness

3 December 
Sergei ProkofievThe Story of a Real Man (opera, completed this year)

Sergei Prokofiev- Povest' o nastoyaschem cheloveke (Story of a real man)

Alexei, the aviator - Vladimir Moroz
Olga, his fiancee - Barno Ismatullaeva
Granddad Mikhailo, Head of the settlement - Alexei Kostiuk
Petrovna, farmer - Elena Tretiakova
Varia - Natalia Zakharchenko
Grandma Vasilisa - Svetlana Rozhok

 

1949

Olivier Messiaen  experiments with pitch and rhythmic orders in his piano piece Canteyodjaya.

Olivier Messiaen - Cantéyodjayâ
Steffen Schleiermacher (Piano)

Arnold Schoenberg composes Phantasy for violin and piano, and the unaccompanied choral work Dreimal tausend Jahre (Three Times a Thousand Years).

Schoenberg - Fantasy for Violin & Piano Op. 47
Oliver Colbentson and Erich Appel 

Dreimal tausend Jahre, op. 50a - Arnold Schoenberg

Nick Strimple, conductor
Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale
Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, 2011

Bernstein: Symphony No. 2, "The Age of Anxiety"
Lukas Foss – Solo Piano
Leonard Bernstein: Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

8 April
Leonard Bernstein takes the solo part in his Symphony No. 2: The Age of Anxiety for piano and orchestra, performed under Koussevitzky in Boston. The work is inspired by W. H. Audens recent poem The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue.

14 July
Benjamin Britten’s choral Spring Symphony is introduced in Amsterdam.

Britten - "Spring Symphony"
From a 1963 performance at Philharmonic Hall in New York, here is Leonard Bernstein conducting the "Spring Symphony" by Benjamin Britten.  The soloists for this performance were Jennifer Vyvyan, Regina Sarfaty, and Richard Lewis, with the Boys' Choir from The Little Church Around the Corner and the Collegiate Chorale, along with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

10 August
Darius Milhaud’s String Quartet No. 14 and String Quartet No. 15 are first performed at Mills College, Oakland, California. Introduced one after the other, they are then played together simultaneously as an octet for strings.

Darius Milhaud - Octuor, per quartetto d'archi (Quartetti per archi n.14 e n.15 sovrapposti) "dédié à Paul Collaer" op. 291 (1948/1949)
Quatuor Parisii e Quatuor Manfred

8 September
German composer Richard Strauss dies in Garmisch, Bavaria, aged 85.

29 September 
Arthur BlissThe Olympians. 

The Olympians is an opera in three acts by Arthur Bliss to a libretto by J. B. Priestley, first performed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on 29 September 1949​.

Arthur Bliss - The Olympians, Atto I

I. Introduction
II. "Good morning Madame Bardeau" [03:36]
III. "There is a troupe here of strolling players" [07:49]
IV. "I am Hector de Florac" [11:44]
V. "Nonsense, nonsense, it is in the past" [18:49]
VI. "No, no, we don't want any more of that" [25:06]
VII. "My friends and comrades of the theatre" [36:59]
VIII. "If you have finished, we will return to sense" [41:01]
IX. "Be ready to perform it at my house" [44:41]

Madeleine: Ann Pashley
Hector de Florac: William MacAlpine
Mars: Raimund Herincx
Mme Bardeau: Shirley Minty
The Curé: Bernard Dickerson
Joseph Lavatte: Forbes Robinson
Diana: Rae Woodland
Bacchus: Edmund Bohan
Jupiter: Thomas Hemsley

Ambrosian Singers
Polyphonia Orchestra diretti da Brian Fairfax.

Esecuzione live, Londra, Royal Albert Hall, 1972.

Arthur Bliss - The Olympians

Atto II

I. Introduction, Part I
II. "Madeleine, I am here" [05:57]
III. "Ah ah" [12:32]
IV. Introduction, Part II [21:08]
V. "Every man, Jack of them!" [25:48]
VI. "Hector, Hector, I am here" [32:18]

Atto III

VII. Introduction [41:54]
VIII. "You are kind" [49:09]
IX. "So, merry me at once this very day!" [52:24]
X. "If Madeleine and the young poet love each other" [57:03]
XI. "This house is clean of every evil spirit" [1:02:19]

4 November
Arnold Schoenberg’s cantata A Survivor from Warsaw (1947) is first performed in Albuquerque. The work explores the resilience of Jewish faith amidst Nazi brutality. It is one of his most powerful and emotive serialist creations.

Schoenberg - A Survivor from Warsaw op.46
Franz Mazura: speaker, Men's voices of the City of Brimingham Symphony chorus, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Simon Rattle.

26 November
Dmitri Shostakovich
’s environmentally-friendly oratorio Song of the Forests triumphs in Leningrad. 

"Song of the Forests", Oratorio Op. 81 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Vitaly Kilichevsky, tenor
Ivan Petrov, bass
The USSR State Academic Russian Choir
The Boys Choir of the Moscow Choral College
Chorus Master: Alexander Sveshnikov
The USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Yevgeny Mravinsky, conductor, 1949

2 December
Olivier Messiaen’s monumental Turangalila-symphonie (1948), scored for ondes martenot, piano, extensive percussion and large orchestra, is premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Bernstein. Messiaen has devised the title from the Sanskrit words turanga and Ilia, giving the expansive ten-movement work connotations of "a song of love; a hymn to the superhuman joy that transcends everything.

Olivier Messiaen - Turangalila Symphony 

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Riccardo Chailly (conductor)
Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano),
Takashi Harada (ondes martenot)

 





 


 

1950

Aaron Copland completes the song cycle Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson for voice and piano.

Aaron Copland - "12 poems of Emily Dickinson"
I. Nature, the gentlest mother 00:00
II. There came a wind like a bugle 04:00
III. Why do they shut me out of heaven? 05:29
IV. The world feels dusty 07:35
V. Heart, we will forget him 09:30
VI. Dear March, come in! 11:41
VII. Sleep is supposed to be 13:53
VIII. When they come back 16:57
IX. I felt a funeral in my brain 18:48
X. I've heard an organ talk sometimes 20:51
XI. Going to heaven! 22:54
XII. The chariot 25:15

Barbara Bonney -soprano   -   André Previn -piano

6 January
Francis Poulenc performs his Piano Concerto under Charles Munch in Boston. This year marks the composition of his Stabat Mater, for soprano, chorus and orchestra.

Poulenc - Concerto pour piano
Duchable - Rotterdam Philharmonisch Orkest -
James Conlon

Francis Poulenc - Stabat mater
BBC Philarmonic Orchestra
Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge
Conductor: Christopher Robinson
Solist [Soprano]: Judith Howarth

00:00 - I. Stabat mater dolorosa
03:53 - II. Cujus animam gementem 
05:09 - III. O quam tristis 
07:59 - IV. Quae moerebat 
09:17 - V. Quis est homo 
10:49 - VI. Vidit suum 
14:21 - VII. Eja mater 
15:40 - VIII. Fac ut ardeat
18:14 - IX. Sancta mater 
21:25 - X. Fac ut portem 
24:55 - XI. Inflammatus et accensus 
26:56 - XII. Quando corpus 

12 May
Darius Milhaud’s opera Bolivar, completed in 1943, premieres at the Paris Opera.

Darius Milhaud - Bolivar
Opera in 3 Atti e 10 Quadri su Libretto di Madeleine Milhaud tratto da Jules Supervielle, Op.236 (1943).

I. Atto I°
II. Atto II° [1:08:15]
III. Atto III° [1:54:07]

Bolivar: Rene Bianco
Manuela: Liliane Berton
Precipitation: Denise Scharley
Bovès: Gérard Chapuis
L'Aveugle: Gérard Serkoyan
Le Moine: Jacques Mars
Le Delegue: Claude Cales
Le Visitador: Raphael Romagnoni
Le Marie: Georges Alves
Dominguez: Jean Michel
Ibarra: Jean Darres
Laboureurs: 
Camille Rouquetty, Michel Corel, José Van Dam
Maria Teresa: Irène Jaumillot
Missia: Elise Kahn
Bianca: Janine Boulogne

Orchestra e Coro dell'Opéra National de Paris diretti da Serge Baudo.

Registrazione live del 1962.

Cover image: Fernand Léger - Studio per le scene di "Bolivar" di Darius Milhaud (1949).

1 March
The Consul, by Gian Carlo Menotti, opens in Philadelphia. In a tragic tale of misery under tyranny, a wife attempts to flee a police state to join her exiled husband. Powerfully topical, the (tonal) opera transfers to Broadway later this month and subsequently wins the Pulitzer Prize for Music.

The Consul by Gian Carlo Menotti
The University of Alabama Opera Theatre. 
Directed by Paul Houghtaling. 
Huxford Symphony Orchestra.  

June-July
Arnold Schoenberg 
composes his De profundis (Psalm 130) for unaccompanied choir.

Psalm 130 (de Profundis), op. 50B by Arnold Schoenberg

Nick Strimple, conductor
Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale
Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, 2011

18 July
Pierre Boulezs Le soleil des eaux for three voices and chamber orchestra, based on words by French surrealist Rene Char, premieres in Paris. 

Pierre Boulez: Le soleil des eaux
Elizabeth Atherton (soprano),
BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez (conductor) 
Barbican Hall, London, 4th November 2005

3 April
German stage composer Kurt Weill dies of heart failure in New York, aged 50.

6 November
Benny Goodman introduces
Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto under Fritz Reiner in New York. Commissioned by Goodman, the tuneful two-movement work incorporates elements of popular music from North and South America.

Aaron Copland - Clarinet Concerto

Richard Stoltzman, clarinet
London Symphony Orchestra
Michael Tilson Thomas

Marc Chagall  -The Falling Angel (1923 - 1947)

 

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