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Modern Period


China’s Chairman Mao Tse-tung dies • British Prime Minister Harold Wilson resigns; succeeded by Chancellor of the Exchequer James Callaghan • Civil war in Lebanon ends • Civil war in Angola ends with victory for the Communist M.P.L.A. • In South Africa, racial riots break out in Soweto and other black townships: 400 die • Vietnam is reunited under North Vietnamese control • Terrorism continues in Northern Ireland as attempts to establish a new government fail • Massive earthquake centred on Tangshan, China, claims around 240,000 lives • Anglo-French supersonic Concorde goes into service • British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins publishes The Selfish Gene •  Triptych by Francis Bacon

James Earl Carter takes office as 39th President of the USA • Spain holds its first free parliamentary elections for 41 years • 81-year-old Morarji Desai of the Janata coalition succeeds Mrs Indira Gandhi as Indian Prime Minister • In an unexpected peace move, President Sadat of Egypt visits Israel and addresses the Knesset • South Africa clamps down on opposition to its apartheid policies, detaining many black leaders and banning The World Newspaper • Nasa launches the Voyager spacecraft program • Film: Annie Hall (Woody Allen); Star Wars (George Lucas) • Dennis Potter (Eng): play Brimstone and Treacle • John Ashbery (US): poems Houseboat Day

Pieter Willem Botha becomes Prime Minister of South Africa • Vietnam invades Cambodia • Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyla elected pope (John Paul II): first non-Italian pope in over four centuries • First ‘test tube’ baby is born, in Britain • Space Invaders becomes the world’s first arcade game • Iris Murdoch (Ire/UK): The Sea, the Sea

Exiled Religious leader Ayotollah Komeini returns to Iran • Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first woman Prime Minister • Landmark Israel-Egypt peace treaty is signed in Washington, D.C. • Military dictator Idi Amin flees Uganda • Lord Mountbatten assassinated by IRA • Mother Teresa awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Robert Mugabe becomes Prime Minister of newly-independent Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) • Earthquake in Algeria kills 20,000 • Long-standing Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito dies • Lech Walesa becomes chairman of the Polish Solidarity Free Trade Union • Iraq invades Iran beginning the Iran-lraq War (until 1988) • General Kenan Evren
leads a military coup in Turkey • Reinhold Messner (It) makes first solo ascent of Mount Everest, achieved without supplementary oxygen • Ex-Beatle John Lennon assassinated • Helen Frankenthaler (US) paints Cameo • Salman Rushdie (Ind/UK): Midnight’s Children • Umberto Eco (It): The Name of the Rose • Carl Sagan: Cosmos (TV series/book)


Umberto Eco OMRI (5 January 1932 – 19 February 2016) was an Italian novelist, literary critic, philosopher, semiotician, and university professor. He is best known internationally for his 1980 novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose), a historical mystery combining semiotics in fiction with biblical analysis, medieval studies, and literary theory. He later wrote other novels, including Il pendolo di Foucault (Foucault's Pendulum) and L'isola del giorno prima (The Island of the Day Before). His novel Il cimitero di Praga (The Prague Cemetery), released in 2010, topped the bestseller charts in Italy.



24 February
Elliott Carter marks the United States bicentennial with A Mirror on which to Dwell for soprano and chamber orchestra, first performed in New York.

Carter : A Mirror On Which To Dwell, Concerto Pour Hautbois
Elliott Carter Concerto Pour Hautbois (1986-1987)
Oboe [Concertino] – Heinz Holliger  (00:01)
Percussion, Timpani [Concertino] – Michel Cerutti, Vincent Bauer
Viola [Concertino] – Garth Knox, Jean Sulem, Louis Fima, Nathalie Baudoin

Elliott Carter Esprit Rude / Esprit Doux (1985)
Clarinet – André Trouttet  (19:58)
Flute – Sophie Cherrier

A Mirror On Which To Dwell (1975)
Elliott Carter Anaphora  (24:50)
Elliott Carter Argument 
Elliott Carter Sandpiper
Elliott Carter Insomnia 
Elliott Carter View Of The Capitol From The Library Of Congress 
Elliott Carter O Breath

Elliott Carter Penthode (1984-1985)(43:34)

Conductor – Pierre Boulez
Ensemble – Ensemble InterContemporain
Chorus Master – Ward Swingle
Choir [8 Voices] – New Swingle Singers
Soprano Vocals – Phyllis Bryn-Julson
Recordings: 12/1987

4 May
Leonard Bernstein’s White House musical 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, a collaboration with the writer Alan Jay Lerner, flops on Broadway with just seven performances.

Leonard Bernstein  - 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue 

2 June
Morton Feldman
’s Oboe and Orchestra is introduced at the Holland Festival in Rotterdam.

Morton Feldman - Oboe & Orchestra (1/2)

Han de Vries, oboe

Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt
Lucas Vis

24 April
Steve Reich
and Musicians give the first performance of the composer’s Music for 18 Musicians at New York’s Town Hall. Reich gains long-awaited critical acceptance.

Music for 18 Musicians - Steve Reich
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Performance Produced by eighth blackbird
Filmed by Dan Nichols, Nichols Media, 2011

 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

25 July
Philip Glass and Robert Wilson present Einstein on the Beach at the Avignon Festival in France. Lasting close on five hours, the minimalist and plotless opera runs without intermission, although the audience are free to come and go as they choose. The American premiere takes place at the Metropolitan Opera in November this year. Whilst dividing audiences, Einstein brings Glass international fame.

Philip Glass - Einstein On The Beach
he present recording of 1979 is an accurate recreation of the original production in 1976.
Timelapse - Czech, Bouda na Mulde, 2011

4 December
Benjamin Britten, England’s leading composer, dies in Aldeburgh of heart failure, aged 63.



17 February
Boulez premieres Elliott Carter’s Symphony of Three Orchestras in New York.

Elliott Carter - A Symphony of Three Orchestras
New York Philarmonic - Conductor: Pierre Boulez

27 April
Dedicatee Isaac Stern gives the first performance of Krzysztof ​Penderecki’s dramatic Violin Concerto No. 1 in Basel. Penderecki has now abandoned concentrated textural composition, cultivating instead his individual brand of neo-Romanticism.

Penderecki: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 1

National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra,
conducted by Antoni Wit, Chee-Yun (Violin).

13 May 
Morton FeldmanNeither.

Neither is the only “opera” by Morton Feldman, dating from 1977. Its “libretto” is a 16-line poem by Samuel Beckett. Composer and librettist had met in Berlin two years earlier with plans for a collaboration for Rome Opera, but in their encounter Beckett had told Feldman that he himself did not like opera, and Feldman had echoed Beckett’s sentiment, so that the work emerged in Rome as a setting for soprano soloist only, accompanied by orchestra. It could theoretically be termed a “monodrama,” but given the creators’ disdain for opera, the label “anti-opera” fits better.

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

Sarah Leonard, soprano

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra - Zoltan Pesko


7 July
Michael Tippett’s opera The Ice Break opens at Covent Garden. This year also sees the premiere of the composer’s Symphony No. 4 in Chicago.

Michael Tippett: The Ice Break 
Opera in tre atti su libretto proprio -- London Sinfonietta Chorus (Maestro del coro: Terry Edwards) e London Sinfonietta diretti da David Atherton  -- 

Lev, un insegnante dissidente, liberato dopo vent'anni di prigionia: David Wilson-Johnson
Nadia, sua moglie, emigrata in Occidente con il figlio bambino: Heather Harper
Yuri, loro figlio: Sanford Sylvan
Gayle, la fidanzata di Yuri: Carolann Page
Hannah, una infermiera di colore: Cynthia Clarey
Olympion, un atleta di colore, boyfriend di Hannah: Thomas Randle
Luke, un giovane dottore dell'ospedale di Hannah: Bonaventura Bottone
Lieutenant, un tenente di polizia: Donald Maxwell
Astron, un messaggero psichedelico: Christopher Robson e Sarah Walker 

8 August
Karlheinz Stockhausen
’s inter-planetary semidrama Sirius is performed complete for the first time, in Aix-en-Provence. The composer will later write, 'It is an inner revelation that has come several times to me, that I have been educated on Sirius, that I come from Sirius.’

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Sirius
For trumpet, soprano, bass clarinet, bass & electronics 

I. Vorstellung (Presentation)
II. Cancer
III. Libra
IV. Capricorn
V. Aries
VI. Brücke nach Aries (Bridge after Aries)
VII. Verkündigung (Annunciation)

Boris Carmeli, bass
Annette Meriweather, soprano
Markus Stockhausen, trumpet
Suzanne Stephens, bass clarinet 
Karlheinz Stockhausen

21 December
The Orchestre National de France introduces Jonchaies by Iannis Xenakis, in Paris. This year also marks the composer’s Akanthos for soprano and octet.

Iannis Xenakis - "Jonchaies" for 109 musicians
Nouvelle Orchestre Philarmonique - Gilbert  Amy

Iannis Xenakis - "Akanthos"
Ensemble Reflexion Kunder - Gerald Eckert, 2013
Soprano Maria Bulgakova



Evita is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics and book by Tim Rice. It concentrates on the life of Argentine political leader Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón. The story follows Evita's early life, rise to power, charity work, and eventual death.

The musical began as a rock opera concept album released in 1976. Its success led to productions in London's West End in 1978, winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical, and on Broadway a year later, where it was the first British musical to receive the Tony Award for Best Musical.

Andrew Lloyd Webber - EVITA 
Kentridge High School Spring 2013

Eva - Caelen Creaser
Che - Josh Curtis
Peron - Daniel Lund
Magaldi - Braxton Kendall
Mistress - Marissa McGehee
Young Eva - Erin Dorney
Santa Evita Soloist - Kayla Kieto

Music Director/Vocal Director/Conductor - Catherine Robinson

Choreographer - Eia Waltzer

11 February
Iannis Xenakis introduces his ear-splitting textural tape work La Legende d’Fer complete with laser display in ‘Le Diatope’, a temporary building of his own design, erected for the opening of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

Iannis Xenakis - La Légende D'Eer
Electroacoustic composition for 8-channel tape. 
Production Electronic Studio Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln (WDR).

12 April
György Ligeti satirises 1960s hedonism in his opera Le Grand Macabre, introduced with great success at the Royal Opera in Stockholm. A prelude for 12 car horns introduces a sequence of events concerning sexual desire, politics, excessive drinking and death.

Anti-Anti-Opera into Two Acts and Four Scenes. Libretto by György Ligeti in collaboration with Michael Meschke, based on a work by Michel de Ghelderode, 1934 play, 'La balade Du Grand Macabre'. 

A co-production of Gran Teatre del Liceu, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Opera di Roma, and English National Opera rec. live from 'GranTeatre del Liceu', Barcelona, Spain, November 2011. 

=Piet the Pot: Chris Merritt (The drunken a sort of narrator)
=Amando: Inés Moraleda/ Amanda: Ana Puche (Lovers, Spermando and Clitoria in Ligeti’s original version)
=Nekrotzar: Werner Van Mechelen (Death, Le grand macabre)
=Astradamors: Frode Olsen (Husband of Mescalina)
=Mescalina: Ning Liang (Wife of Astradamors)
=Venus/ Gepopo: Barbara Hannigan (The goddess/ Chief of the secret police)
=Prince Go-Go: Brian Asawa; 
=White Minister: Francisco Vas; 
=Black Minister: Simon Butteriss; 
=Ruffiak: Gabriel Diap; 
=Schablack: Miquel Rosales; 
=Schabernack: Ramon Grau 

- Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu/Michael Boder ; 
- Chorus Master: José Luís Basso; 
- Stage Direction: Àlex Ollé (La Fura dels Baus) in collaboration with Valentina Carrasco; 

1 May
Composer Aram Khachaturian dies in Moscow, aged 74.


29 November 
Krzysztof Penderecki - Paradise Lost.

Paradise Lost is an opera in two acts with music by Krzysztof Penderecki and an English libretto by Christopher Fry. The opera is based on the epic poem of the same name by Milton. Penderecki himself characterized the work as a Sacra Rappresentazione (sacred representation) rather than an opera. He wrote the opera on commission for the 1976 US Bicentennial celebrations. The first performance was given on 29 November 1978, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The same production was given at La Scala, Milan on 31 January 1979.

Krzysztof Penderecki: Paradise lost
Atto I, parte 1 00:00
Atto I, parte 2 50:49
Atto II, parte 1 1:32:12
Atto II, parte 2 2:24:51

8 December
John Adams conducts his minimalist Shaker Loops for seven strings at Heilman Hall in San Francisco.

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

10 December
Elliott Carter's setting of John Ashbery's Syringa, scored for two voices and chamber orchestra, is first performed in New York.

Composer Note: 

When John Ashbery and I decided to collaborate on a musical work (for which we applied and received a composer-Librettist Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts) I studied various texts he wrote for this project and chose his poem Syringa. This attracted me because of its fascinating, distant, quiet treatment of a familiar, many-sided, affecting subject: Orpheus and the power of music. The idea of accompanying the singer of Ashbery's text with another singer whose part would express the subliminal background that might be evoked in the mind of a reader, very soon suggested itself. Indeed, lines near the poem's end: 'In whose tale are hidden syllables/ Of what happened so long before that' led to the idea that the second singer could have a text that reflects some of the sounds, ideas, and feelings of the Ashbery poem in 'hidden syllables'-the 'hidden syllables' of classical Greek, since the poem is about a classical myth. 
The well-known story of Orpheus as referred to in the Ashbery poem ends in a kind of apotheosis, so the entire work is set in the frame of the Orphic cult that grew up around the musician when, after his dismemberment, his head, still singing, floated across the Aegean Sea from Greece to Asia Minor, and its burial place became a shrine. 
In this score, the mezzo-soprano sings the Ashbery text while the bass sings fragments of Greek texts chosen by me, starting with the Orphic creation story, including a few lines attributed by Plato to the actual poet, Orpheus. Then, breaking down on the word "immortal," the bass sings a lament for Eurydice. After the intervention of Apollo in the Ashbery poem, the bass presents settings of various lyric fragments from the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. by Mimnermus, Archilochus, Sappho, and Ibycus reflecting aspects of the modern poem. Later, while the mezzo is singing: 'But how late to be regretting,' the bass presents Plato's version of the story: The gods, when Orpheus came to Hades to rescue Eurydice, allowed him to be followed only by her ghost, not by the real person, "because, being a musician, he would not have the courage to die for love." 
The remaining Greek draws on Heraclitus about constant change, on the Homeric hymn about music, on a diatribe against Apollo (from Cassandra's madness in the Agamemnon, that puns on the god's name which also means "destroying" in Greek), and ends with a reference to the Orphic cult words soma, sema- body, sign (of the soul). 
The score, dedicated to Sir William and Lady Glock, is for mezzo-soprano and bass accompanied by guitar, alto flute, English horn, bass clarinet, bass trombone, piano, violin, viola, 'cello, contrabass, and percussion. It was first performed by Jan de Gaetani (mezzo-soprano) and Thomas Paul (bass) with Speculum Musicae conducted by Harvey Sollberger, at a concert celebrating my seventieth birthday at Tully Hall in New York City on December 10, 1978. 

-- Elliot Carter 



Iannis Xenakis: Dikhthas, for violin and piano;
Palimpsest, for cor anglais, bass clarinet, bassoon, horn, percussion, piano, and string quintet.

Iannis Xenakis - Dikhthas

Claude Helffer, piano
Irvine Arditti, violin

Ianis Xenakis - Palimpsest pour ensemble instrumental

Michael Tippett – Triple Concerto for violin, viola, and cello.


Michael Tippett - Triple Concerto for Violin, Viola and Cello

[0:00] Medium fast -
[12:12] Interlude: Medium slow -
[14:18] Very slow - Calmer still -
[23:14] Interlude: Medium fast - Medium slow -
[23:59] Medium fast

Violinist: Daniel Hope
Violist: Philip Dukes
Cellist: Christian Poltéra
Conductor: Andrew Davis
BBC Symphony Orchestra

Morton Feldman - String Quartet No. 1.

Morton Feldman - String Quartet No. 1

Josje ter Haar, Janneke van Prooijen, violins
Ruben Sanderse, viola
Job ter Haar, cello

Harrison Birtwistle..... agm.......
for 16 voices and 3 instrumental ensembles
Ensemble Intercontemporain.
BBC SIngers.
Dir. Pierre Boulez.

Harrison Birtwistle – … agm …, for sixteen voices and three instrumental ensembles.

20 October
John Cage's Roaratorio: an Irish circus on Finnegans Wake, based on James Joyces final novel, is performed for the first time in Donaueschingen. The work incorporates recordings of both sounds and traditional music at locations around Ireland, referred to by Joyce.

John Cage: Roaratorio, an Irish Circus on Finnegans Wake, Hörspiel (radio play) for electronic tapes, speaker and Irish folk musicians.

John Cage: speaker
Joe Heaney, voice
Paddy Clackin, violin
Peadar Mercier, bodrhan
Mel Mercier, bodhran
Matt Malloy, flute
Seamus Ennis, Uillean-pipes.



3 January
Witold Lutostawski
’s Epitaph for oboe and piano is performed for the first time, at Londons Wigmore Hall.

Witold Lutoslawski - Epitaph for Oboe and Piano

Heinz Holliger, oboe 
Szabolcs Esztényi, piano

24 May
Toru Takemitsu
creates his self-described 'sea of tonality’ with Far Calls, Coming, far! for violin and orchestra, premiered in Tokyo.

Toru Takemitsu -  Far Calls Coming Far!
Mathieu van Bellen

18 June
Barenboim conducts the first performance of Pierre ​Boulez’s Notations I-IV for orchestra, in Paris.

Pierre Boulez - Notations I-IV (1980) et VII (1999) pour grand orchestre

 I. Fantasque et modéré (00:00)
 VII. Hiératique - Lent (02:43)
 IV. Rythmique (08:36)
 III. Très modéré (10:18)
 II. Très vif - Strident (14:16)

Ensemble Modern Orchestra : Pierre Boulez, 2007.

24 August
Paul Sacher directs the premiere of Witold Lutostawski’s Double Concerto for oboe, harp and chamber orchestra at the Lucerne Festival. Taking part are the oboist and composer Heinz Holliger and his wife, harpist Ursula Holliger.

Witold Lutoslawski - Double Concerto for Oboe, Harp and Orchestra

Oboe - Guy Porat
Harp - Gabriela Mossyrsch
Conductor - Andreas Stoehr
Orchestra - Konservatorium Wien Sinfonie Orchester

Recorded Live at The Arnold Schönberg Center, Wien
on 11.06.2015

I - Rapsodico
II - Dolente
III - Marciale e grotesco

2 September 
Peter Maxwell Davies
- The Lighthouse, Op. 86

The one-act chamber opera The Lighthouse, with music and libretto by Peter Maxwell Davies, opens in Edinburgh. Three keepers are taunted by ghosts from their past in a story based on the mysterious desertion of the Flannan Isles lighthouse (Outer Hebrides) in 1900.

Peter Maxwell Davies - The Lighthouse (Part 1)
James Oxley (tenor) - Sandy
Damian Thantrey (baritone) - Blazes
Jonathan Best (bass-baritone) - Arthur
Etienne Siebens - conductor

Peter Maxwell Davies - The Lighthouse (Part 2)

5 September 
Philip Glass

Philip Glass, having been asked by Netherlands Opera for a 'real opera’, turns to the early political life of Gandhi in Satyagraha. Staged in Rotterdam, the minimalist opera creates a universal relevance to Gandhi’s ideology of 'passive resistance’ by invoking the sympathetic figures of Tolstoy (with whom Gandhi corresponded), the writer and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, and Martin Luther King.

Philip Glass -- Satyagraha -- Act 1
1  On the Kuru Field of Justice  00:14
2  Tolstoy Farm (1910)  27:10
3  The Vow (1906)  40:50

Miss Schlesen -- Claudia Cummings, soprano
Mrs. Naidoo -- Iris Hashishkee, soprano
Kasturbai -- Beverly Morgan. contralto
Mahatma Ghandi -- Douglas Perry, tenor
Mr. Kallenbach -- Bruce Hall. bariton
Parsi Rustomji -- Richard Gill, bass
Mrs. Alexander -- Rhonda Lyss, contralto
Lord Krishna -- Tom Heanen, bass
Prince Arjana -- René Claassen, tenor
Choir of the Rotterdam Conservatorium
Utrecht Symphony Orchestra - Bruce Ferden
Rotterdamse Schouwburg - September 5, 1980

Philip Glass -- Satyagraha -- Act 2

1  Confrontation and Rescue (1896)  00:00
2  Indian Opinion (1906)  15:52
3  Protest (1908)  31:20

11 October

Alexander Zemlinsky -Der Traumgörge.


Der Traumgörge (Görge the Dreamer) is an opera in two acts and an epilogue by Austrian composer 
Alexander Zemlinsky. The libretto was written by Leo Feld.

Alexander von Zemlinsky “Der Traumgörge”
James Conlon


Triptych by Francis Bacon

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