Modern Period
 

1956-1957-1958-1959-1960

1956
Egypt seizes the Suez canal, Britain and France refer the question to the United Nations; the USSR vetoes a compromise solution • Israeli troops invade Egypt; Anglo-French forces invade Egypt to protect the canal • An international force is sent to Egypt to enforce ceasefire; British and French troops withdraw • Revolution breaks out in Hungary; Communist rule is restored and 150,000 refugees escape to the West • Japan is admitted to the UN • France grants independence to Tunisia and Morocco • Joern Utzon (Den) designs the Sydney Opera House • Elvis releases Heartbreak Hotel and Hound Dog • Winston Churchill (Eng): A History of the English Speaking Peoples

1957
Harold Macmillan becomes Britain’s Prime Minister • Egypt reopens the Suez Canal to shipping • Ghana becomes independent • Communist guerrilla warfare led by Fidel Castro breaks out in Cuba • The Treaty of Rome establishes the European Economic Community of Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands • The Space Age begins: Russians launch Sputnik 1, the world’s first earth-orbiting artificial satellite; Sputnik 2 carries a dog, Laika—she survives only two days • Arthur Boyd (Austral) paints Shearers playing fora bride • Jack Kerouac (US): On the Road • Boris Pasternak (USSR): Doctor Zhivago • Dr Seuss (US): The Cat in the Hat

1958
Continuing war in Algeria leads to crisis in France; Charles de Gaulle becomes Prime Minister • Egypt and Syria unite to form the United Arab Republic; Yemen later joins the UAR • In USSR, First Secretary Nikita Krushchev also becomes Premier of the Soviet Union • The USA launches Earth satellite Explorer 7; The USSR launches Sputnik 3 
• Pope Pius XII dies; succeeded by John XXIII • Stereophonic phonograph recording is developed in Britain • First motorway in Britain is opened, the Preston Bypass (M6) • Truman Capote (US): Breakfast at Tiffany’s • Harold Pinter (Eng): The Birthday Party • Ian Fleming (Eng): Dr No, the sixth James Bond novel

1959
In Cuba, Batista government ousted by Communists; Fidel Castro becomes premier • General Charles de Gaulle is proclaimed President of France’s 5th Republic • UK grants Cyprus independence • Anti-Belgian riots in the Belgian Congo • Russian spaceship Lunik II reaches the Moon; Lunik III photographs the far side of the Moon • 
Americans Robert Noyce and Jack Kilby both invent the ‘microchip’ • Film: Ben Hur (US); Some Like it Hot (with Marilyn Monroe; US) • Jasper Johns (US) paints False Start • William S. Burroughs (US): Naked Lunch • Laurie Lee (Eng): Cider With Rosie

1960
Seventeen African countries become independent • Sharpeville Massacre, South Africa: Anti-apartheid demonstrations lead to shooting of 69 Africans • Civil war in newly-independent Congo: Katanga province attempts to break away under Moise Tshombe • France tests nuclear bombs in the Sahara • Sirima Bandaranaike (Ceylon) becomes the
world’s first female Prime Minister • American scientists develop laser beams • Brasilia, largely the architectural brainchild of Oscar Niemeyer, is inaugurated as Brazil’s capital city • M. C. Escher (Neth) draws Ascending and Descending (optical illusion) • Harper Lee (US): To Kill a Mockingbird • Robert Bolt (Eng): play A Man for All Seasons

Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho (December 15, 1907 – December 5, 2012), known as Oscar Niemeyer , was a Brazilian architect considered to be one of the key figures in the development of modern architecture. Niemeyer was best known for his design of civic buildings for Brasília, a planned city that became Brazil's capital in 1960, as well as his collaboration with other architects on the headquarters of the United Nations in New York. His exploration of the aesthetic possibilities of reinforced concrete was highly influential in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

 

1956

Karlheinz Stockhausen composes his ‘open form’ Klavierstiick XI (Piano Piece XI), and Zeitmasse (Tempos) for five wind instruments, both incorporating aleatory (indeterminate) elements.

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Zeitmasse
Zeitmasse, for five woodwind instruments

London Sinfonietta

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Klavierstücke I-XI
Klavierstück I (1952/1953)
Klavierstück II (1952/1953)
Klavierstück III (1952/1953)
Klavierstück IV (1952/1953)
Klavierstück V (1954)
Klavierstück VI (1954/1955)
Klavierstück VII (1954)
Klavierstück VIII (1954)
Klavierstück IX (1954/1961)
Klavierstück X (1954/1961)
Klavierstück XI (1956)

Piano – Herbert Henck

2 March
Heitor Villa-Lobos  introduces his energetic Symphony No. 11 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
This year also completion of his Harmonica Concerto.

Heitor Villa-Lobos: Symphony No. 11
Karabtchevsky - Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo

Heitor Villa-Lobos - Concerto for Harmonica 
1.Allegro moderato 
2.Andante 8:02
3.Allegro 15:29

Robert Bonfiglio, harmonica
New York Chamber Symphony
Gerard Schwarz, conductor, 
1989.

10 March
Olivier Messiaen's Oiseaux exotiques (Exotic Birds) for piano, winds and percussion debuts at the Petit Theatre Marigny in Paris.

Messiaen - Oiseaux Exotiques
Daniel Kirk-Foster, Pianist;
Manhattan School of Music Contemporary Ensemble, Claire Heldrich, Conductor

2 May
Barbirolli conducts the first performance of 
Vaughan Williams’s Eighth Symphony in Manchester.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Symphony No 8
Sir Mark Elder conducts the Halle Orchestra

30 May
Cologne Radio broadcasts
Karlheinz Stockhausen Gesang der Junglinge (Song of the Youths), scored for recorded boy soprano and electronic sounds. Taking its text from the book of Daniel, the work is groundbreaking in its vocal processing techniques, creating an inscrutable fusion of recorded and electronic sound.

Karlheinz Stockhausen: Gesang der Jünglinge 

13 September
Igor Stravinsky's semi-serialist Canticum sacrum is introduced at St Marks Basilica, Venice. Time magazine publishes its review under the title ‘Murder in the Cathedral’.

Igor Strawinsky - 'Canticum Sacrum' (1/2)
Performed by the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Netherlands Broadcasting Choir and soloists Marcel Beekman, tenor,  and bariton David Wilson-Johnson, conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw on June 7, 2009.

Igor Strawinsky - 'Canticum Sacrum' (2/2)

13 November
Musical wit Malcolm Arnold assembles three vacuum cleaners, one floor polisher and four rifles to add to organ and orchestra for the premiere of A Grand Grand Overture, held at London’s Roval Festival Hall.

Malcolm Arnold: A Grand Grand Overture

NOVA philharmonic - conductor: Simon Perčič
Slovenian Philharmonic, Ljubljana, 23.12.2013

1 December
Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, opens on Broadway Later hugely popular, the operetta meets mixed reactions and folds after two months.

Leonard Bernstein: Candide

1.Overture 00:00
2.The Best Of All Possible Worlds 04:28
3.Oh, Happy We 07:09
4.It Must Be So 09:14
5.Paris Waltz Scene 11:28
6.Glitter And Be Gay 14:46
7.You Were Dead, You Know 21:35
8.My Love 24:0
9.I'm Easily Assimilated 27:08
10.Finale Act 1 (Quartet) 31:22
11.Quiet 34:42
12.Eldorado 39:02
13.Bon Voyage 42:47
14.What's The Use? 45:32
15.Venice Gavotte 50:01
16.Finale: Make Our Garden Grow 54:29

Hadley · Anderson · D. Jones
Ludwig · Gedda · Green
Ollmann · Treleaven
London Symphony Chorus - London Symphony Orchestra - Leonard Bernstein

26 December
Aram Khachaturian
’s melodious Romantic ballet Spartacus is first staged at the Kirov Theatre in Leningrad.

Aram Khachaturian - Spartacus

Choreography: Yuri Grigorovich

Spartacus: Carlos Acosta
Crassus: Alexander Volchkov
Phrygia: Nina Kaptsova
Aegina: María Allash
Soloists and body of the Ballet of the Bolshoi Theater of Russia
Orchestra of Cologne, directed by Pavel Klinichev

 

1957

Malcolm Arnold writes his popular Four Scottish Dances.

Malcolm Arnold: Four Scottish Dances, Op. 59.
WILMINGTON SYMPHONIC WINDS - Wilmington, NC - CONDUCTOR, Dr. John P. LaCognata
KENAN AUDITORIUM, UNCW - November 2nd, 2014

1 January
Covent Garden premieres Benjamin ​Britten's exotic Prince of the Pagodas, the first full-length ballet written by a major English composer.
The Prince of the Pagodas is a ballet created for The Royal Ballet in 1957, by choreographer John Cranko. The world premiere of Cranko's original production took place on 1 January 1957 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, conducted by the composer.

Plot synopsis: An Emperor must decide which of his two daughters should inherit the throne, and he chooses the evil older sister Belle Epine over the young and beautiful Belle Rose. Belle Rose is taken by magical flying frogs to Pagoda Land, and meets the Prince of Pagoda Land who is in the guise of a Salamander. Belle Rose and the Prince return to the land of her father and confront her evil sister, in the end driving her away.

Benjamin Britten - The Prince of the Pagodas op.57

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Benjamin Britten

25 January
William Walton’s melodious Cello Concerto is first performed in Boston. This year also sees the composition of his Partita for orchestra.

William Walton: Cello Concerto. 
Robert Cohen, Cello.
Andrew Litton, Conductor.
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. 2002.

26 January 
Francis Poulenc
Dialogues of the Carmelites (Dialogues des Carmelites). Dialogues des Carmélites (Dialogues of the Carmelites) is an opera in three acts, divided into twelve scenes with linking orchestral interludes, with music and libretto by Francis Poulenc, completed in 1956. Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites triumphs at La Scala, Milan. Set during the French revolution and subsequent Reign of Terror, the composer s greatest opera tells of the martyrdom of 16 Carmelite nuns. Productions in Paris, Cologne and San Francisco follow this same year.

Francis Poulenc – Dialogues of the Carmelites
H. Carl Hess, conductor
Duquesne University Opera Workshop

17 June
Igor Stravinsky begins tonally and ends serially in the ballet Agon (Contest), choreographed by George Balanchine and premiered in Los Angeles.

Igor Stravinsky: Agon
selections

first pas de trois
second pas de trois
pas de deux

choreographer: George Balanchine

New York City Ballet 1993

11 August
Paul Hindemith considers the life of Johannes Kepler in Die Harmonie der Welt (The Harmony of the World, 1950), first staged in Munich. Reaction to the opera is unenthusiastic.

Paul Hindemith:  Die Harmonie Der Welt
Ludwig Welter - Kaiser Rudolf II, Kaiser Ferdinand II, Sun
Carlos Alexander - Johannes Kepler, Erde
Karl Liebl - Wallenstein, Jupiter
Murray Dickie - Ulrich Grüsser, Christoph, Mars
Raymond Kayter - Daniel Hizler, Ein Pfarrer
Kunizaku Ohashi - Tansur, Saturn
Evelyn Lear - Susanna, Venus
Edith Polednik - Katharina, Moon
Wiener Singakademie
Hans Gillesberger, choirmaster
Wiener Symphoniker
Paul Hindemith, conductor

Recorded in Vienna, 17 november 1960

19 August
The musical West Side Story, a resetting of Romeo and Juliet with music by Leonard ​Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, opens in Washington, D.C. The production transfers to New York the following month where it begins a healthy 734-performance run.

A filmed version follows in 1961, bringing much wider success.

20 September
Finland loses a national hero: Jean Sibelius dies in Jarvenpaa, aged 91.

10 May
Dmitri Shostakovich
’s Second Piano Concerto makes its jocular entry in Moscow. The composer's son, Maxim (celebrating his 19th birthday), performs as soloist.

Dmitri Shostakovich : Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 102

1. Allegro 0:00
2. Andante 7:23
3. Allegro 14:13

Cristina Ortiz, piano

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Paavo Berglund, Conductor, 
1975

30 October
Dmitri Shostakovich appears to pay homage to the unsuccessful Russian Revolution of 1905 in his Symphony No. 11, premiered in Moscow.

Dmitri Shostakovich : Symphony No. 11 in G minor, Op. 103 "The Year 1905"
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra Conducted by Kirill Kondrashin

I. The Palace Square: Adagio 0:00
II. January 9th: Allegro. Adagio. Allegro. Adagio 12:30 
III. In Memoriam: Adagio 29:52
IV. Tocsin: Allegro non troppo - Allegro. Adagio. Moderato. Allegro 40:46

6 June
Moses und Aron (English: Moses and Aaron) is a three-act opera by Arnold Schoenberg (see 1932with the third act unfinished. The German libretto is by the composer after the Book of Exodus. Hungarian composer Zoltán Kocsis completed the last act, with Schoenberg's heirs' permission, in 2010, but as of 2014 Moses und Aron was almost always performed as Schoenberg left it in 1932, with only two of the planned three acts completed. Premiere 6 June 1957, Zurich Opera House.

29 November
Austrian composer
Erich Korngold dies in Hollywood, aged 60.

 

1958

Luciano Berio composes Sequenza (I) for solo flute, the first of many Sequenzas he writes for solo performers.

Luciano Berio - Sequenza
Sequenza I (1958/1992) za flavto 7’
Eliška Honkova - Mentor-red. prof. Matej Zupan

Sequenza III (1966) za ženski glas 8’
Besedilo - Markus Kutter - Mojca Bitenc
Mentorica-doc. Barbara Jernejčič Fürst

Sequenza VIIb (1969/1993) za sopran saksofon 8’
Tadej Piko - Mentor-red. prof. Matjaž Drevenšek

Sequenza XI (1988) za kitaro 15’
Primož Sukič

Sequenza IX (1980) za klarinet 14’ 
Uroš Razpotnik - Mentor-red. prof. Jože Kotar

Sequenza XIII Chanson (1995) za harmoniko 11’
Andraž Frece - Mentor-doc. Luka Juhart

Sequenza VII (1969) za oboo 8,5’
Eva Vrtačnik - Mentor-doc. Matej Šarc

Sequenza XIVb (2002/2004) za kontrabas 15’
Sara Souidi - Mentor-red. prof. Zoran Marković

Sequenza IXb (1980/1981) za alt saksofon 14’
Jan Gričar - Mentor-doc. Miha Rogina

Tekste so pod mentorstvom izr. prof. dr. Gregorja Pompeta prispevali študenti muzikologije:
Lev Fišer, Ina Puntar, Lucija Bizant in Vesna Blažanović.

2 April
The 85-year-old Ralph Vaughan Williams has his Ninth Symphony premiered under Sir Malcolm Sargent at Londons Royal Albert Hall.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Symphony No 9 in E minor
Vernon Handley with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

2 May
Edgard Varese
’s Poeme electronique for voices, electronic sounds, machine noises and percussion, is first conveyed on three-track tape in the Philips Pavilion through 425 loud speakers. 

Poème électronique -  Edgar Varèse.

Olivier Messiaen completes his Catalogue d’oiseaux (Catalogue of Birds) for piano, based on his transcriptions of birdsong.

Olivier Messiaen - Catalogue d'oiseaux
(1956--58), for piano

Yvonne Loriod, piano

00:00:00  Le Chocard des Alpes
00:10:26  Le Loriot
00:19:43  Le Merle bleu
00:33:15  Le Traquet Stapazin
00:49:06  La Chouette hulotte
00:57:17  L'Alouette lulu
01:06:14  La Rousserolle effarvatte
01:36:37  L'Aloutte calandrelle
01:42:13  La Bouscarle
01:54:30  Le Merle de roche
02:13:12  La Buse variable
02:22:48  Le Traquet rieur
02:31:22  Le Courlis cendré

15 May

John Cage’s Concert for Piano and Orchestra is first performed in New York. Employing electronic sounds and indeterminacy, the work may be performed ‘in whole or part, any duration ... as a solo, chamber ensemble, symphony, concerto for piano and orchestra, aria, etc.’.

John Cage - Concert for piano and orchestra.
Orchestre Philharmonique de la Radio Flamande, 2006
Piano Michel Béroff - Director Michel Tabachnik

28 August
Composer Ralph Vaughan Williams 
dies in London, aged 85.

 

15 January
Samuel Barber's first opera, Vanessa, with libretto by Menotti, opens to wide acclaim at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

Samuel Barber - Vanessa, op. 32

I. 00:07 Act 1
II. 54:27 Act 2
III. 01:15:45 Act 3

Claire Rutter, soprano (Vanessa)
Carolyn Sproule, mezzo soprano (Erika)
Roslind Plowright, mezzo soprano (The Old Baroness)
Michael Brandenburg, tenor (Anatol)
James Westman, baritone (The Old Doctor)
Pietro di Bianco, bass (Nicholas)
Wexford Festival Chorus & Orchestra, Timothy Myers,
5 November 2016, Wexford Festival, O'Reilly Theatre

24 March
Pierre Boulez, Bruno Maderna and Stockhausen conduct the first performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Gruppen (Groups, 1957) for three orchestras, in Cologne. A major serial work of the decade, it explores complex layers of tempi and spatial dimensions as the orchestras, surrounding the audience, perform at various times independently, together and antiphonally.

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Gruppen, pour trois orchestres 

Orchestre du Conservatoire de Paris
Ensemble intercontemporain
Matthias Pintscher, direction
Paul Fitzsimon, direction 
Bruno Mantovani, direction

26 March
Witold Lutostawski’s Musique funebre (Funeral Music), composed in memory of Bartok, is first performed in Katowice, Poland.

Witold Lutosławski: Musique funèbre 'In memoriam Bela Bartók', for strings
Wit, Narodowa Orkiestra Symfoniczna Polskiego Radia w Katowicach

Prologue 
4:11 Metamorphoses 
8:46 Apogeum 
9:26 Epilogue

23 Septesnber
Igor Stravinsky's Threni (Tears), based on the Lamentations of Jeremiah, is first performed at the International Festival of Contemporary Music in Venice. It is the composer’s first completely serial composition.

Stravinsky - Threni
Threni, id est Lamentationes Jeremiae Prophetae 
 Bethany Beardslee (s);
Beatrice Krebs (contralto);
William Lewis and James Wainner (tenors);
Mac Morgan (baritone); Robert Oliver (bass);
The Schola Cantorum (Hugh Ross, dir.);
Columbia Symphony Orchestra;
Igor Stravinsky, cond. 
NYC, Columbia 30th Street Studio, 1959

Movements:
Threni has three movements, corresponding to the three chapters of the Lamentations of Jeremiah from which the texts used in the work are taken. The following is a summary. A detailed musical analysis and the complete Latin text, side by side with the English of the King James version of the Bible, are available in the thesis by Andrew Kuster.

1. De Elegia Prima
After a short orchestral introduction, the movement begins with the words "Incipit lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae" (here begins the lamentation of the prophet Jeremiah). 

2. De Elegia Tertia
This movement uses text from chapter 3 of Lamentations, with a Hebrew letter preceding each block of three verses. It is much longer than the other two movements combined, and is divided into three sections:

Querimonia 
Sensus spei 
Solacium 
3. De Elegia Quinta
This is by far the shortest movement of the work. It begins with the words "Oratio Jeremiae Prophetae". 

 

25 October
Destiny (also known as Fate, Osud) is an opera in three acts by Leoš Janáček to a Czech libretto by the composer and Fedora Bartošová. Janáček began the work in 1903 and completed it in 1907. The inspiration for the opera came from a visit by Janáček in the summer of 1903, after the death of his daughter Olga, to the spa at Luhačovice. There, Janáček met Kamila Urválková, who had been the subject of an opera by Ludvík Čelanský, Kamila, where she felt that Čelanský had falsely depicted her personality. After learning that Janáček was a composer, Urválková persuaded Janáček to write another opera to counteract Čelanský's portrait of her. The first staging was in 1958 in Brno.

Leoš Janáček - "Destiny", sung in German
Fritz Wunderlich (the Singer of Lensky), 
Engelbert Czubok (Verva), 
Paula Bauer (Singer Kosinska), 
Hilde Könkels (choir member), 
Josef Traxel (Zhivný), 
Lore Wissmann (Mila), 
Karin Fischer (Mila's child), 
Paula Brivkalne (Mila's mother), 
Hans Günter Nöcker (Konécný), 
Stefan Schwer (Dr. Suda), 
Gustav Grefe (Lhotský), 
Württembergisches Staatsorchester Stuttgart, 
cond. Hans Schwieger

 

1959

Morton Feldman considers texture and colour in Atlantis, graphically scored for large chamber ensemble.

Morton Feldman - Atlantis

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra 
Lucas Vis 

6 February
Francis Poulenc’s one-act La voix humaine (The Human Voice), a tale of a relationship breakup, opens at the Opera-Comique, Paris. With libretto by Cocteau (based on his own play), the opera is scored for just one soprano and orchestra, with most of the drama played out in the form of a telephone call.

Francis Poulenc - "La Voix Humaine"
Barbara Haveman
Etudes musicales et piano : Federico Santi
Mise en Scène René Koering
Live 2010, Opéra Comédie, Montpellier

Francis Poulenc - "La Voix Humaine"
Renata Scotto
Gran Teatre de Liceu, Barcelona, 1996

17 May
Bohuslav Martinů  - Mirandolina.


Mirandolina (H. 346) is a comic opera in three acts by Bohuslav Martinů, with a libretto (in Italian) by the composer after Carlo Goldoni's 1751 comedy La locandiera (The Mistress of the Inn). Salieri had an opera (dramma giocoso) on the same subject premiered at the Vienna Kärtnertortheater in 1773.

The opera was written in 1953-4. It incorporates in places stretches of spoken dialogue between the characters, against an orchestral background. The opera was premiered on 17 May 1959 at the Prague National Theatre, Czechoslovakia (shortly before the composer's death), when it was conducted by Václav Kašlik.

Bohuslav Martinů: Mirandolina

Atto I°
Atto II° [36:26]
Atto III° [1:06:24]

Mirandolina, soprano: Daniela Bruera
Ortensia, soprano: Tereza Mátlová
Deianira, mezzo-soprano: Elena Traversi
Fabrizio, tenore: Massimiliano Tonsini
Il Conte d'Albafiorita, tenore: Simon Edwards
Il Cavaliere di Rippafratta, baritono: Enrico Marabelli
Il Marchese di Forlimpopoli, basso: Simone Alberghini
Servitore del Cavaliere, tenore: Simeon Esper

National Philharmonic Orchestra of Belarus diretta da Riccardo Frizza.

Samuel Barber - A Hand of bridge
Casa dei Mezzo Festival Tuesday 2 July 2013. Makrigialos, Crete, Greece.
David, a florid businessman, baritone  Hubert Wild
Geraldine, his middle-aged wife, soprano Isa Katharina Gericke
Bill, a lawyer, tenor Christian Damsgaard
Sally, his wife mezzo Hege Høisæter
Piano John Lidal (artistic director)

17 June 
Samuel BarberA Hand of Bridge.

A Hand of Bridge, opus 35, is an opera in one act composed by Samuel Barber with libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti, and is possibly the shortest opera that is regularly performed: it lasts about nine minutes. It premiered as a part of Menotti’s Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto on 17 June 1959 at the Teatro Caio Melisso

15 July
Swiss-born American composer Ernest Bloch dies in Portland, Oregon, aged 78.

28 August
Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu dies of cancer in Liestal, Switzerland, aged 68.

2 October 
Karlheinz Stockhausen
's Refrain, scored principally for piano, celesta and vibraphone, is first performed in Berlin. The work incorporates Variable form’ by the use of a circular transparency, bearing the notated ‘refrain’, which can be rotated to different positions over semicircular systems within the score.

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Refrain
Refrain for three players by Karlheinz Stockhausen Aleksander Wnuk - percussion Manuel Esperilla - celesta Kristoffer.

4 October
Dmitri Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 is introduced in Leningrad with Mstislav Rostropovich as soloist

Dmitri Shostakovich - Cello Concerto No.1 in E flat major, Op.107 

i. Allegretto
ii. Moderato
iii. Cadenza – Attacca
iv. Allegro con moto

Mstislav Rostropovich, cello

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Kirill Kondrashin

Recorded live at the Prague Spring International Music Festival at the Smetana Hall of the Municipal House, Prague, on May 29, 1960.

.17 November
Heitor Villa-Lobos, leading 20th-century Brazilian composer, dies in Rio de Janeiro, aged 72.

11 December 
Carl OrffOedipus der Tyrann.

Following the premiere of Oedipus der Tyrann on December 11, 1959, in the course of an Orff Festival given at Stuttgart's Württemberg State Theatre, Time's correspondent Paul Moor put the matter succinctly: "For a non-German-speaking audience, this opera has long boring stretches because the music is so subservient to the text. Nevertheless, Orff has created a theater work of gripping power." Orff ensured that Oedipus der Tyrann would forever be for a limited audience of connoisseurs by setting Hölderlin's free translation of Sophocles' King Oedipus in its entirety and forbidding its translation, thus treating Hölderlin's verse as Holy Writ, as Othmar Schoeck had, similarly, in setting Kleist's Penthesilea -- "Not a comma not in Kleist!"-- though he had no qualms about condensing Kleist's episodic drama. This reverence before a sacred text is affected by both performers and audiences on the rare occasions when Oedipus der Tyrann is staged. But, for Orff, the primary consideration was loss of control over a dauntingly punctilious setting of the German verse that would have been inevitably compromised in another language. 

Carl Orff – Oedipus der Tyrann 

 

1960

Luciano Berio explores the semantic properties of poems by E. E. Cummings in Circles for female voice, harp and two percussionists. The five-movement, partially serialist work is dedicated to his wife, the singer Cathy Berberian.

Luciano Berio - "Circles"
Performed by SBU's Contemporary Chamber Players, Eduardo Leandro, director.  
Wonjung Kim, voice.  
Rachel Brandwein, harp
Piero Guimaraes and Josh Perry, percussion.
Recital Hall, Staller Center for the Arts. Stony Brook University NY. 2012

11 June
Benjamin Britten’s magical opera A Midsummer Nights Dream is staged for the first time, at Aldeburgh. In adapting the libretto from Shakespeare’s play, the composer and Peter Pears have cut half of the text and added just one new line.

Britten - A Midsummer Night's Dream

New London Chidren's Choir: Ronald Corp; London Symphony Orchestra: Sir Colin Davis

Francis Poulenc completes his Gloria for soprano, chorus and orchestra, commissioned by the Koussevitsky Foundation.

Poulenc: Gloria 
1. Gloria in excelsis Deo
2. Laudamus te
3. Domine Deus, Rex caelestis
4. Domine Fili unigenite
5. Domine Deus, Agnus Dei
6. Qui sedes

Radio Filharmonisch Orkest & Groot Omroepkoor
o.l.v. Hans Graf   -  Claudia Patacca, sopraan

Opgenomen zondag 19 december 2010 in de Grote Zaal van het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

10 January
Igor Stravinsky
conducts the premiere of his serial Movements for piano and orchestra in New York.

Igor Stravinsky - Movements for piano and orchestra 
Michel Béroff, piano
Orchestre National de France, dir. Seiji Ozawa

19 June
Gyorgy Ligeti grabs critical attention with his sonic extravaganza Apparitions for orchestra, premiered with great success at the ISCM Festival in Cologne.

György Ligeti - Apparitions
Orchestra – Berliner Philharmoniker
Conductor – Jonathan Nott

25 March
Elliott Carter's discursive String Quartet No. 2 is introduced by the Juilliard Quartet in New York. It gains the composer his first Pulitzer Prize later this year.

Elliott Carter - String quartet No.2 
Juilliard String Quartet

Introduction
I. Allegro fantastico
Cadenza for viola
II. Presto scherzando
Cadenza for cello
III. Andante espressivo
Cadenza for violin I
IV. Allegro
Conclusion

Recorded under the supervision of the composer, 1991

2 September
William Walton's Symphony No. 2 is introduced at the Edinburgh Festival. The inclusion of intense chromaticism in the final movement is not enough to deflect accusations of anachronism. Towards the end of the century this tonal symphony gains wider critical recognition.

Walton - Symphony n°2 
Bryden Thomson conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

I. Allegro molto
II. Lento assai (9:24)
III. Passacaglia - Fugato - Coda: scherzando (20:03)

22 May
Hans Werner Henze’s opera Der Prinz Von Homburg, musically inspired by the Italian Romantic tradition, enjoys great success at its opening in Hamburg.

Hans Werner Henze: Der Prinz von Homburg, Opera in 3 Atti su libretto di Ingeborg Bachmann. 

Atto I°

Friedrich Wilhelm: Eberhard Büchner (tenore)
Brandenburg Prinzessin Natalie d'Orange: Marianne Haggänder (soprano)
Die Elektrizin von Brandenburg: Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano)
Feldmarshall Dörfling: Robert Bork (baritono)
Prinz Friedrich Artur von Homburg: François Le Roux (baritono)
Obrist Kottwitzn: Alexander Malta (basso)
Graf Hohenzollern: Martin Zysset (tenore) 

Choir and Orchestra of the Royal Flemish Opera diretti da Bernhard Kontarsky.

Registrazione live, Antverp, 18 Marzo 1995.

Hans Werner Henze: Der Prinz von Homburg
Atti II° e III°

28 October
Karlheinz Stockhausen surrounds the audience with his serial, 'moment form’ Carre (Square) for four choirs and four orchestras, premiered with four conductors in Hamburg.

Karlheinz Stockhausen ‎– Gruppen / Carré

Gruppen (00:03)
Conductor [Orchestra I] – Karlheinz Stockhausen
Conductor [Orchestra Il] – Bruno Maderna
Conductor [Orchestra Ill] – Michael Gielen
Orchestra – Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester

Carré (24:03)
Chorus – Chor Des Norddeutschen Rundfunks Hamburg
Conductor [Chorus And Orchestra I] – Mauricio Kagel
Conductor [Chorus And Orchestra Il] – Karlheinz Stockhausen
Conductor [Chorus And Orchestra Ill] – Andrzej Markowski
Conductor [Chorus And Orchestra Iv] – Michael Gielen
Orchestra – Sinfonie-Orchester Des Norddeutschen Rundfunks Hamburg

Gruppen for 3 orchestras (1955-57) recorded and produced by Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln, 1965. 
Carré for 4 orchestras and 4 choirs (1958/59) recorded and produced by Norddeutscher Rundfunk Hamburg, October 1960.

 

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