TLW's Classical Music Historyscope
By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™
© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.
Original Pub. Date: Nov. 28, 2011. Last Update: July 1, 2017.
Most people think all there is to classical music is Austrian wunderkind Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91). Yes, if he had lived longer he coulda been a contender, but there's a lot more to the subject. Actually, the #1 composer of all time is probably brain man Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) (world's first rocker?), who turns classical music into a virtual mathematical wonderworld, white men can't jump and have no rhythm and have mediocre penises but they can sure max out on cerebral sports. If you go past 3rd grade, you are probably also told that the Big Three B's of Classical Music are Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), and Johannes Brahms (1833-97), let's call Bono the 4th B, who can argue with their teacher.
Classical Music AKA Western Art Music evolves from Western liturgical music from the 11th cent., and becomes codified around 1550 in the Common Practice Period, which ends around 1900, and is hung-up on avoiding Parallel (Consecutive) Fifths. The main periods of white-is-right Classical Music are Medieval (500-1400), Renaissance (1400-1600), Baroque (1600-1750), Classical (1740-1810), Romantic (1810-1910), 20th Cent. (1900-2000), Contemporary (1975-present), and 21st Cent. (2000-present).
The Ancient Greeks considered music a spiritual thang, as in sex in the temple is a sacrament. Their instruments included the panpipes (syrinx), the lyre, the stringed kithara (cithara) (origin of the word guitar), the double-reed aulos, the organ-like hydraulis, the brass trumpet (salpinx), even a conch shell. The hydraulis is invented in the 3rd cent. B.C.E. by Greek engineer Ctesibus of Alexandria, although bellows aren't invented until at least the 6th cent. C.E. After they conquered and enslaved once-proud Greece in 146 B.C.E., the Ancient Romans weren't much into music, and didn't even have harmony, relegating the music job to their Greek slaves so they could party and orgy between conquests of helpless peoples followed by big triumphs in Rome to parade their new loot and slaves. No surprise, their instruments included a kind of tuba, the arc-shaped cornu, the double-pipe aulos or tibiae, the askaules bagpipe, the flute and panpipe, the lyre, the lute, the cithara, the organ, and various percussion instruments. Of course, since the songs were mainly about pagan gods and sex, the Christians suppressed and destroyed it all when they came to power, so we have to guess what it is like, or view X-rated recreations.
In the 3rd cent. C.E. Plainchant originated in Europe, becoming the first revival of musical notation since the ancient Greek system was lost, with four lines to a staff, and note shapes called neumes.
Despite kowtowing to the intolerant supremacist organized Roman Catholic Church, the Latin-speaking Roman Empire finally fell in 476 C.E. after allegedly being in existence 12 centuries (since 758 B.C.E.), a victim of its own pagan prophecy that it would last guess how many centuries. In its place were a bunch of German-speaking Gothic kingdoms, run by illiterate warriors who are Christian but considered heretics by the papacy because they are Arians who didn't believe in the divinity of Christ. The Eastern Roman Empire, which was run by more heretic Christians as far as the papacy went, did nothing to prevent the Western side from falling, but tried mightily to take it over from the Goths, further bloodying Europe, which was already depopulated from war, famine, and plague. The struggle began to convert the Goths to Roman Catholicism and not lose the benefits of Roman civilization, particularly literacy in Latin. Too bad, the latter battle was lost, plunging Europe into the Dark Ages, with seas of illiterate superstitious Catholic morons living from day to day, peppered by monasteries that acted as little islands of literacy, but only were interested in preserving Christian writings and not taking a bath. Even worse, the horrible Antichrist Saracens (Muslims) came out of the sands of Arabia in the 630s and began trying to conquer the world for a mysterious dead prophet they called Muhammad (570-632) ("praiseworthy one"), with a new religion that they couldn't make head nor tails of, which didn't matter much as they would conquer your land first then worry about converting you later. Talk about bad for music, Muhammad allegedly prohibited musical instruments. Luckily they couldn't successfully conquer the heartland of Europe, Italy, France, and Germany, allowing them to regroup and stabilize the battle lines, helped by several Muslim schisms which slowed them down. The east side was anchored by the super fort city of Constantinople, built in 330 by Roman emperor Constantine I (272-337); it held back assault after assault until 1453, by which time it didn't matter as the Christian West was rocketing ahead of the Muslims militarily and about to discover the New World, which gave them vast riches and gobs of Muslim-free Lebensraum. Meanwhile despite centuries of missionary activity, Europe still had plenty of pagans in its outer boundaries, which they finally took care of by force after picking the idea of convert-or-die from the Muslims, and by scaring them with the prospect of the spooky year 1000 approaching, when Christ was supposed to return and judge the Earth, causing the remaining pagans, particularly the Norse to line up and take numbers to be baptized before the big day arrived; when it didn't, their children had been brought up Christian and would stay that way for life, haha on them.
The first thousand years of Christianity were all about converting as many pagans as possible while waiting patiently for Christ to return and judge the world. We don't have many (any) Greek-Roman pagan songs left because the Christians destroyed everything they did, thinking it was devil-inspired and would jeopardize their salvation. Too bad, Christ took his time. The year 1000 B.C. is the last year of the 10th cent. in the Gregorian Calendar as well as the last year of the first millennium, and is a leap year starting on Monday; the papal chancery began dating all documents using the Anno Domini (A.D.) system; the Terreur de l'an Mil (Millennium Fever) (MF) gave many in Christendom a big buzz, mainly in France, which used the Gregorian Calendar, and mainly among monks, since the clerks still used regnal years, although rumors spread to the gen. pop.; even they couldn't cover up that the world has a long future ahead of it before (if ever) "he comes baaack". The Early Middle Ages ended, and the High Middle Ages began, with major changes in W European life, incl. the rise of medieval communes, the resurgence of city life, the appearance of the burgher class, the revival of long-distance trade with the Mediterranean, the founding of the first universities, the rediscovery of Roman law, and the beginnings of vernacular lit.; meanwhile the Byzantine Empire enjoyed its Golden Age in Greece and Turkey, while the horrible Muslims kept their jihad going, leaving them in constant terror - Muslims love terror. The failure of Christ to return caused him to go from being portrayed as "Christ triumphant" to "the Christ of pain", becoming his main act by the 13th cent.
In the 10th cent. the part song in fourths, fifths, and octaves is developed, along with neumes in musical notation.
Speaking of liturgical music, in the 9th cent. Plainsong evolves into Organum (Plainchant with one or more added voices), which around 900 C.E. leads to Polyphony; in the 10th cent. the Gregorian Chant is first codified in France, although it go back several centuries, but not all the way back to Pope (590-604) Gregory I the Great (540-604), who gets the credit, maybe because he is the first monk to make pope. Maybe the MF letdown caused them to finally let down their hair and rock out in the church, but at least now Christendom had a soundtrack.
In 1025-6 Italian Benedictine monk Guido d'Arezzo (991-1050) writes Micrologus (Lat. "short explanation"), introducing the 4-line staff and solmisation (u, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti) to music, whose syllables taken from the initial syllables of the first six verses of the hymn "Ut Queant Laxis" to John the Baptist: "Ut queant laxis, Resonare fibris, Mira gestorum, Famuli tuorum, Solve polluti, Labii reatum". About 1050 Sys Willekomen Heirre Kerst (Sei Uns Willkommen, Herre Christ), the first German Christmas carol is composed.
About 1090 the aristocratic Troubadours begins composing and performing poetry in Provence (Occitania) in S France, spreading to Italy, Spain, and Greece. They work by traveling from court to court spreading poems and songs of courtly love and knightly virtues. About 1150 Austrian nobleman (from Linz?) Der Von Kurenberg (Kürenberg) becomes the first famous German Minnesinger (Ger. "loving recollection") lyric poet-singer; others in this cent. (usually minor aristocrats) incl. Dietmar von Aist (-1171), Friedrich von Hausen (1150-90), and Walther von der Vogelweide (1170-1230). About 1160 Chretien de Troyes (1144-90) becomes the first known N French Trouvere. In this half-cent. Trouvere. Also about 1150 Jongleurs (wandering minstrels) popularizes Fabliaux (Fablieaux), short (less than 400 lines) bawdy comic tales in octo-syllabic verse (ancestor of the modern short story), while romantic knight types preferred the sack in the hay, er, Breton Lay. About 1170 French composers Leoninus (1135-1201), Magister Perotinus et al. begin creating the Ars Antiqua (Ars Veterum) (Ars Veterus) style of polyphonous sacred music of the Notre Dame school (until 1310).
In 1230 Carmina Burana (Lat. "Songs of Beuern"), a German collection of Latin monastic songs for Beuern Monastery appear. It is set to music in 1937 by German composer Carl Orff (1895-1982), and O Fortuna becomes every film's standard Satanic music theme, you have to memorize the lyrics to get admitted to really swinging parties. Lyrics incl. "In Springtime", "In the Tavern", "The Court of Love", and "Fortune, Empress of the World": "O Fortuna/ velut luna/ statu variabilis/ semper crescis/ aut decrescis./ Vita detestabilis/ nunc obdurat/ et tunc curat/ ludo mentis aciem./ Egestatem/ potestatem/ dissolvit ut glaciem,/ sors immanis/ et inanis/ rota tu volubilis/ status malus,/ vana salus/ semper dissolubilis,/ Obumbrata/ et velata/ michi quoque niteris./ Nunc per ludum/ dorsum nudum/ fero tui sceleris./ Sors salutis/ et virtutis/ michi nunc contraria/ est affectus/ et defectus/ semper in angaria./ Hac in hora/ sine mora/ corde pulsum tangite/ quod per sortem/ sternit fortem/ mecum omnes plangite!"; "O Fortune, like the Moon you are changeable, ever waxing and waning. Hateful life first oppresses and then soothes as fancy takes it. Poverty and power, it melts them like ice. Fate, monstrous and empty, you whirling wheel, you are malevolent, well-being is vain and always fades to nothing, shadowed and veiled you plague me too. Now through the game I expose my bare back to your villainy. Fate is against me in health and virtue, driven on and weighted down, always enslaved. So at this hour without delay pluck the vibrating strings. Since Fate strikes down the string man, everyone weep with me."
About 1250 the Gregorian chant Dies Irae (Lat. "Day of Wrath") is written by Thomas of Celano (1200-55), a disciple of St. Francis of Assisi, and is sung in the Requiem Mass.
In 1262 French trouvere Adam de la Halle (AKA Adam the Hunchback) (1237-88) writes Le Jeu de la Jeuillee; the first French operetta.
About 1310 Ars Nova music begins to replace Ars Antiqua as the style of France (ends 1377), known for strongly contrapuntal style and greater independence of rhythm, and even worse, the mixing of the sacred and secular; French composer Philippe de Vitry (1291-1361) coins the term "Ars nova" in 1322.
Too bad, in 1347-50 the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) wiped out a third or half of all the people and animals in Europe, incl. the Catholic hierarchy, after which the survivors (those lucky enough to have natural immunity or wealthy enough to sit it out in isolated villas like in Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron) found a new Europe, where labor shortages soon caused wage freezes followed by labor movements, and a lot of poor downtrodden peasants suddenly arrived in the big city with sacks full of loot from the homes of dead rich people, expecting to be called sir and maam, leading to questioning of all authority, while the intelligentsia finally had their suspicions confirmed that the Church (which lamely tried to blame the plague on the Jews, having them burned in wells etc., until they realized the Jews were getting it too) is a giant fraud and had no more pipeline to God than my big toe, and began to engage in historyscoping to trace the Church back to its roots. Guess what, after chucking the Lives of the Catholic Saints as B.S., they soon discovered a giant (how many giants is that?) coverup of the ancient pagan (hence Devil-worshipping, as in excommunication happens) Roman and Greek worlds, along with their advanced mathematics and science, which the Church pooh-poohed as too worldly and not winning any points toward the salvation of one's soul, the world is a test anyway, fuggedaboutit and pass the cannoli.
Since there was nowhere else to get their hands on ancient manuscripts than the infidel Muslim Moors in Spain and other infidel Muslims in the Mediterranean (which is a Muslim lake for centuries), they flirted with infidelity and even agnosticism or atheism, becoming Freethinkers and Rationalists, at the risk of excommunication, confiscation and death, putting on a dangerous double act to survive. Big Science took its first infant steps, how did they know they'd open the Pandora's Box with the A-bomb and genetic engineering, so let's recap, what are you waiting for, call Saracen for the latest Euclid, Archimedes, Eratosthenes, Aristotle or Plato. This underground movement, which attracted the cream of the most courageous brain men and had to fight the retro Catholic hierarchy every step of the way, coming at them on all intellectual fronts, artistic, philosophical, and literary as well as scientific while braving burning at the stake, it is sick and sad at the same time, becomes known as the (ta-da) Renaissance, the first reality show on European TV.
About 1350 Italian composer Giovanni da (Jovannes de) Cascia (Johannes de Florentia) (Giovanni da Firenze) thrives, composing cool madrigals. In the 1350s blind Italian Florentine organist-singer-composer Francesco Landini (Landino) (1325-97) becomes the Mozart of his day, wish you are there. Meanwhile Guillaume de Machaut (Machault) (1300-77) becomes the #1 French musician of his day, combining trouvere forms, polyphonic techniques developed during the Goth period, and troubadour music, causing the musicians of the papal chapel in Avignon to return to Rome and make it into the center of Euro music; Geoffrey Chaucer is a fan.
In the 1360s the Clavichord (Cembalo) is developed, producing sounds by plucking a string when a key on the keyboard is depressed.
Speaking of Florence and Renaissance, in the late 14th cent. the Medici banking family begins its rise to grate wealth and powah, ruling the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until 1737 while financing the Renaissance along with the rival Visconti and Sforza families of Milan, the Este family of Ferrara, and the Gonzaga family of Mantua, thatsa why everybody wantsa to be Italiano.
In 1425 the Faux Bourdon (Fr. "false bass") music harmonization style is introduced by Franco-Flemish priest composer Guillaume Dufay (Du Fay) (1397-1474) as a way to allegorically express Christ's words "You that have followed me" in the Communion in his Missa Sancti Jacobi, becoming the cool Medieval church music we all hate to love, full of all those "oose" words. Dufay is the founder of the Burgundian School of Music.
In 1430 Dutch-Burgundian (Franco-Flemish) composer Gilles Binchois (de Binche) (de Bins) (1400-60) and Guillaume Du Fay found the first Dutch School of Music.
In the first half of the 15th cent. English composer-mathematician John Dunstable (Dunstaple) (1390-1453) of Dunstable, Bedfordshire becomes the leading English composer, the first to write instrumental accompaniments to church music, and to write elaborate music about a cantus firmus. Too bad, he is forgotten until the end of the 19th cent., when German church musicologist Franz Xaver Haberl discovered his work in Trento Cathedral in Italy.
In 1439 German Man of the Millennium Bill Gatesenberg, er, Johannes Gutenberg (1398-1468) invents movable type printing, revolutioning the world. Unlike Bill Gates, he isn't greedy, and gives his invention to the world. In 1446 music is first printed from engraved plates, which becomes the standard until 1860, when offset lithography is used.
In 1453 blind German organist (a traveling phenom, the Mozart of his day) Conrad Paumann (1410-73) pub. Fundamentum Organisandi (Fundamentals of Organ Playing), a collection of organ music and dances, becoming the earliest music for 2-hand keyboard to survive to modern times.
In 1502 French-Flemish composer (the #1 composer of his day) Josquin des Prez (Pres) (Josquinus Pratensis) (Josken van de Velde) (1450-1521), court composer of Louis XII, the first master of the High Renaissance polyphonic music style pub. The First Book of Masses (Missa La Sol Fa Re Mi), followed in 1512 by Second Book of Masses (Missa de Beata Virgine), followed in 1514 by Third Book of Masses (Missa sine Nomine).
In 1555 Italian violin maker Andrea Amati (1505-78) of Cremona begins making the first modern 4-string violins; in 1575 he begins making the studly cello Il Re (The King) for Charles IX of France. In 1556 French composer Philibert Jambe de Fer (fl. 1548-64) pub. Epitome Musical, des tons, Sons, et Accordz... Violes & Violons, containing the first mention of the violin and cello.
In 1564 (year of William Shakespeare's birth) Pope Pius IV appoints a committee of cardinals to rid Church music of polyphonic harmony, which had grown unnecessarily complex, but the lovers of the polyphonic style put up noted composer Giovanni Pierluiga da Palestrina (1525-94) to do their talking for them, and he submits three masses, incl. Missa Papae Marcelli (his masterpiece), which show how to do Medieval church modes right, and wins the pope over, causing him to be appointed composer to the papal chapel, and begins a glorious career as the king of Roman Catholic polyphonic music.
In 1572 in the Elizabethan England of Protestant Queen (1558-1603) Elizabeth I (1533-1603), Roman Catholic William Byrd (1540-1623) (organist of Lincoln Cathedral from 1563) and his former teacher Thomas Tallis (1505-85) become organists at the Chapel Royal; in 1575 they are granted a 21-year monopoly in music printing in England, and dedicate Cantiones Sacrae, a collection of motets to Queen Elizabeth I; when Tallis dies in 1585 Bill Gates, er, Byrd keeps the monopoly, holding back music in England for almost 50 years. Byrd is one of the first big composers for the Harpsichord, which is invented in the late Middle Ages, and later is supplanted by the piano.
On Oct. 16, 1590 Italian madrigal composer Carlo Guesualdo da Venosa (1566-1613) brutally murders his wife-cousin Donna Maria d'Avalos and her lover Fabrizio Carafa, duke of Andria after catching them in the act in the Palazzo san Severo in Naples, and leaves their mutilated bodies in front of the palace for public view; he later murders his 2nd son by Maria after suspecting he's Fabrizio's; being a nobleman he is immune to prosecution.
After 1602 European music changes from polyphonic choral to the new homophonic vocal style called Nuove Musiche of Italian composer Giulio Caccini (Romano) (1551-1618), co-founder of Baroque opera; the harp begins to be used in orchestras, and the recorder (flute-a-bec) becomes popular in England.
The list of Major Opera Composers begins with Italian Baroque composer Jacopo Peri (1561-1633), who in 1597 produces the first known opera Dafne in Florence, which causes a sensation, soon spreading throughout Europe; Listen. On Oct. 6, 1600 Peri and Giulio Caccini (Romano) (1551-1618) followed with Euridice, with libretto by Ottavio Rinuccini, based on Ovid's "Metamorphoses", Books X-XI, which becomes the earliest surviving opera.
In 1602 Franciscan friar Lodovico Grossi da Viadana (1564-1627) pub. Cento Concerti con il Basso Continuo in Venice, describing the hot new technique of Basso Continuo and its notational method of figured bass, which came to England as the Thoroughbass system, using figures to denote chords, and becomes universal in the Baroque period. In 1599 Italian composer Gabriele Fattorini becomes the first to use the basso continuo idiomatically.
In 1604 English-born John Dowland (1563-1626), royal lutenist for Christian IV of Denmark pub. Lachrymae, or Seaven Teares in Seaven Passionate Pavans in London, a collection of dance pieces for the lute, dedicated to Anne of Denmark; epigram: "Aut Furit, aut Lachrimat; quem non Fortuna beavit" (He whom Fortune has not blessed either rages or weeps").
In 1607 Italian #1 composer Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) writes the big hit Orfeo (Orpheus) (Mantua, Italy), the first modern opera, using the first modern orchestra (36 instruments) to establish the moods for scenes, with 14 independent orchestral pieces. Watch it. In 1608 he follows it with his 2nd opera (another hit) L'Arianna, first performed in Mantua, about Ariadne and Thesus; too bad, only the aria Lamento di Arianna survives.
In 1609 English organist-composer Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625) pub. the 3-vol. Fantasies of Three Parts, the first example of engraved music in England. In 1615 James I appoints him organist of the Chapel Royal, and he becomes the #1 composer of his day. One of his best pieces is The Silver Swan.
In 1609 English composer Thomas Ravenscroft (1582-1635) writes Pammelia: Musicks Miscellanie (rounds and catches), and Deuteromelia; or The Second Part of Musicks Melodie, which contains Three Blind Mice.
In 1617 German composer Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630), known for importing Italian Baroque music to Germany writes Banchetto Musicale (Musical Banquet), the first dance suite, containing 20 variations; Listen.
In 1619 Francis Tregian dies, leaving The FitzWilliam Virginal Book, the largest ms. collection of English keyboard music from the 16th-17th cents. to survive to modern times; it ends up in the possession of Robert FitzWilliam, 7th Viscount FitzWilliam (1745-1816), who donates it to Cambridge U.
On Feb. 3, 1625 Italian composer Francesca Caccini (1587-1642) debuts her opera La Liberazione di Ruggiero at Villa di Poggio Imperiale, Florence with libretto by Ferdinando Saracinelli, becoming the first opera by a woman composer, and first performance of an Italian opera outside Italy (Poland, 1625) (Warsaw, 1628); written for the future Wladyslaw IV.
On Jan. 5, 1649 Italian composer Francesco Cavalli (1602-76) debuts his opera Giasone (Jason) at Teatro San Cassiano, Venice, about Jason and the Golden Fleece; it becomes the "single most popular opera of the 17th century." On Jan. 12, 1654 he debuts his opera Xerse in Venice, with a libretto by Nicolo Minato, about Xerxes I ca. 480 B.C.E., based on Herodotus Book 7; it features Ombra Mai Fu (Never Has There Been A Shade).
About 1650 the double-reed conical-bored Oboe (Hautbois, Hoboy) (Fr. "haut" + "bois" = high + woodwind) is developed from the Shawm; it is used to tune orchestras to the A note.
In the 1650s European music begins to develop modulation (modern harmony). Also in this decade the overture (musical introduction) begins emerging as a musical form in Italy and France, led by the ballet overtures of Italian-born French composer (gay?) Jean-Baptiste Lully (Giambattista Lulli) (Giovanni Battista Lulli) (1632-87), who in 1653 is made dir. of "les petits-violins du roi" (the little violins of the king), and go on to found French opera's Tragedie Lyrique (Tragedie en Musique), based usually on classical mythology with a noble atmosphere, combining song, dance, and spectacle, which is hot for a cent. In 1663 Lully's Le Ballet des Arts debuts. In 1671 the Paris Opera (Palais Garnier) opens with The Pomone by Robert Cambert (1627-77), and in 1672 Lully becomes dir. (until 1687). On Apr. 27, 1673 his opera (first tragedie en musique) Cadmus et Hermoine debuts at the Paris Opera, with libretto by Philippe Quinault, followed by Alceste (LWV 50) (1674), Isis (1677), and Bellerophon (1679), which decries the decay of morals in Vienna, he otta know. On Apr. 18, 1682 his opera Persee (Persée) (Perseus) opens at the Theatre du Palais-Royal in Paris, featuring Mortels, Vivez en Paix, and Quel l'Enfer, la Terre et les Cieux. On Jan. 18, 1684 his opera Amadis de Gaule, with libretto by Philippe Quinault (1635-88) debuts at the Palais Royale in Paris, followed on Feb. 15, 1686 by Armide et Renaud. Too bad, Lully dies in 1687 from blood poisoning after he struck his foot with his cane while conducting a Te Deum for the king.
The year 1666 year contains all the Roman numerals (MDCLXVI) once, which helped fuel the Millennium Fever (MF) over the Big Year 1666 that stirred mass paranoia in Christendom, the smart money being that all those evil scientists and secular pagans (and the antichrist pope and his papist followers, according to Protestants) are going to be consumed in fire just as the unbelievers are consumed in water in the days of Noah; later, when the disappointment sets in, hope springs eternal in the human breast, so anybody born in this year is suspected of being the Devil or the Antichrist, and Armageddon is at least going to happen in his lifetime, so don't give up the faith?; meanwhile never fear, the Scientists are here, as the Annus Mirabilis of English Cambridge man Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) begins when the plague causes him to be sent home from Cambridge to his home in Woolsthrope, where the world's most famous apple falls from the tree and he discovers the theory of gravitation, differential calculus, etc., revolutionizing Science (ends 1666). Also in 1666 Cremona-born Italian musical instrument maker Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) labels his first violin.
In the early 17th cent. Opera Buffa (comic opera) arises in Naples, and spreads north. In 1679 Italian composer (founder of the Neapolitan school of opera) Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) composes his first opera Gli Equivoci Nell'Amore, which is performed in Rome, followed the same year by L'Errore Innocente. In 1684 he becomes musical dir. of Naples, and produces his opera Pompeo. His son, Italian composer-harpsichordist Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) is the founder of modern keyboard technique, incl. arpeggios, crossing of hands, and rapid repetition of a single note.
In 1680 Italian Baroque composer Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) invents the Concerto Grosso, using three solo instruments (one violoncello and two violins) acting as a group, with string orchestra accompaniment, which becomes the main Baroque orchestral form; it later is evolved into the modern concerto by the 1-800-BAR-NONE King Mozart.
In 1685 German Baroque composers Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and George Frideric Handel (Georg Friedrich Händel) (1685-1759) are born within 1 mo. of each other (Feb. 23 vs. Mar. 21), going on to raise German music to supremacy for 150 years; they never meet.
In 1689 after John Blow resigns as organist of Westminster Abbey (since 1669) in favor of him in 1679, and he becomes court composer to Charles II in 1683, English Baroque composer Henry Purcell (1659-95) debuts his masterpiece, his first opera Dido and Aeneas in London, with libretto by Nahum Tate, the first important English opera, which features When I Am Laid in Earth (Dido's Lament) - figures it would be something about dildoes and anuses? In June 1691 he debuts his semi-opera King Arthur, or the British Worthy (Queen's Theatre, Dorset Garden, London); libretto by John Dryden; King Arthur attempts to recover his blind fiancee Cornish princess Emmeline after she is abducted by his archenemy Saxon king Oswald of Kent.
In 1690 Johann Christian Denner (1655-1707) of Nuremberg, Germany allegedly invents the clarinet based on the recorder-like (with clarinet mouthpiece) chalumeau reed folk instrument.
About 1690 French organist-harpsichordist-composer Francois Couperin (1668-1733) pub. Pieces d'Orgue Consistantes en Deux Messes (Pieces for Organ Consisting of Two Masses), his only pub. collection of organ music surviving to modern times.
In 1699 Reims-born organist-composer Nicolas de Grigny (1672-1703) pub. his only work Premier Livre d'Orgue (Paris) (2nd ed. 1711), becoming the pinnacle of French Baroque organ music along with Francois Couperin and making fans of J.S. Bach and Johann Gttfried Walther.
About 1700 the pianoforte (piano) is invented by Italian harpsichord maker Bartolommeo Cristofori (1655-1731) of Padua, who in 1709 made four "gravicembali col piano e forte" (harpsichord with soft and loud) for Tuscan grand prince Ferdinando de' Medici; family friend Sebastian LeBlanc suggests black and white keys.
The first decade of the 18th cent. (1700s) is the Bach Toccata and Fugue Decade, starting in 1703-7 with his Toccata and Fugue in D minor for organ, and his first cantata Denn Du Wirst Meine Seele in 1704 (which marked his plan to compose music according to Pythagorean principles). In 1721 he composes his Six Concerti (The Brandenburg Concertos), BWV 1046-51 for Christian Ludwig, margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt (1677-1734). In 1723 he composes The Well-Tempered Clavier, Vol. 1 (Das Wohltemperierte Klavier), preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys "for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study"; vol. 2 is pub. in 1742, becoming one of the top musical works of Western music. In 1725 he composes Notenbuch for Anna Magdalena Bach, which incl. Bist Du Bei Mir. In 1727 he composes the sacred oratorio St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244, with libretto by Picander, based on the Gospel of Matthew chs. 26-27, which is first performed on Mar. 15 (Good Friday), 1729 in St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. In 1731 he composes his Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068 AKA "Air". In 1732-5 he composes the Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht, BWV 211 (Be still, stop chattering) AKA the Coffee Cantata, telling an amusing tale of addiction to coffee, debuting it at the coffee house in Leipzig; "If I couldn't, three times a day, be allowed to drink my little cup of coffee, in my anguish I will turn into a shriveled-up roast goat"; He follows in 1733 with Mass in B Minor (short vers. - full vers. in 1738), his sacred magnum opus. In 1741 he pub. the Goldberg Variations, BWV988, 30 variations for harpshichord for Goldberg to play for insomniac Count Kaiserling of Saxony.
On Mar. 9, 1706 obscure German Baroque composer-organist Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) dies, leaving Pachelbel's Canon in D (written around 1680), which isn't rediscovered until 1919. In 2005 South Korean bedroom guitarist Lim Jeong-hyun (1984-) releases his version of Canon Rock on YouTube, which becomes a viral hit.
In 1709 the prestigious Theater am Karntnertor (Kärntnertortheater) in Vienna opens as the imperial royal court theater.
In 1710 Handy Handel returns from Italy after visiting Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici, and is appointed kappelmeister to the elector prince George of Hanover (later George I of Britain). He then made a visit to London, where in 14 days he completed his first opera Rinaldo (HWV 7), which debuts at the Queen's Theatre in London on Feb. 24, with a libretto by Giacomo Rossi, based on Torquato Tasso's "Jerusalem Delivered", set during the First Crusade (1096-9). His first opera produced in London, it starred castrati Nicolo Grimaldi and Valentino Urbani; too bad, impresario Aaron Hill overextends himself to finance the grand production, causing it to be shut down after 9 performances, but that doesn't stop Handel from settling in London permanently in 1712, with Queen Anne giving him £200 a year, after which rich Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington (1694-1753), and James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos (1673-1744) become patrons, both becoming known as "Apollo of the Arts". On July 17, 1717 (7-17-1717) Handel (now in the service of the Duke of Carnarvon) debuted his Water Music as the serenade to George I at a royal river picnic on the Thames River, where the king's barge is accompanied by "so great a Number of Boats, that the whole River in a manner is cover'd"; the barge next to the royal one carried 50 musicians playing Handel's composition 3x as they all traveled 5 mi. upriver from Westminster to Chelsea; the Allegro was later used by William F. Buckley Jr. for "Firing Line". In 1718 he debuts his masque Acis and Galatea (HWV 49), with libretto by John Gay (1685-1732), based on John Dryden's 1717 trans. of Ovid's "Story of Acis, Polyphemus and Galatea", becoming his most performed work during his lifetime. In 1719 Handel is appointed dir. of the Royal Academy of Music in London, and begins rocking it with his operas, starting on Apr. 27, 1720 with Radamisto (HWV 12) (King's Theatre, London), with libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym, based on Matteo Noris' "Zenobia" and Domenico Lalli's "L'Amor Tirranico, o Zenobia", followed in 1720 by Harpsichord Suite No. 5; which features The Harmonious Blacksmith, and on Dec. 9, 1721 with the opera Floridante (King's Theatre, London) (Dec. 9), with libretto by Paolo Antonio Rolli, based on Francesco Silvani's "La Costanza in Trionfo", followed on Jan. 12, 1723 by Ottone, Re di Germania (King's Theatre, London), with libretto by Nicola Haym based on a libretto by Pallavicini, starring Francesca Cuzzoni as Teofane, and Farinelli as Adelberto (only time he performs in a Handel opera). On May 14, 1723 he debuts Flavio, Re di Langobardi, with libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym, based on Matteo Noris' "Il Flavio Cuniberto". On Feb. 20, 1724 he follows with the opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Julius Caesar in Egypt), with libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym, starring Senesino as Caesar, and Francesca Cuzzoni as Cleopatra; it features Al Lampo dell'Armi, L'Empio, Sleale Indegno, and L'Angue Offeso Mai Riposa. On Oct. 31, 1724 he debuts the opera Tamerlano (Tamerlane), with libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym based on Agostin Piovene's "Tamerlano", starring Francesco Borosini as Sultan Bajazet, Andrea Pacini as Tamerlane, and Francesca Cuzzoni as Bajazet's daughter Asteria; Bajazet is one of the first major tenor roles in opera. On Feb. 13, 1725 he debuts Rodelinda, Regina de' Longobardi, with libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym based on a libretto by Antonio Salvi, based on Pierre Corneille's "Pertharite, Roi des Lombards". On Mar. 12, 1726 he debuts opera Scipione, with libretto by Antonio Salvi and Paolo Antonio Rolli, based on Roman gen. Scipio Africanus; it features March of the Grenadier Guards. On May 5, 1726 he debuts the opera Alessandro, with libretto by Paolo Antonio Rolli based on "La Superbia d'Alessandro" by Ortensio Mauro, about Alexander the Great's journey to India, where he meets King Poro; it starred Faustina Bordoni as Rossane, and Francesca Cuzzoni as Lisaura. On Jan. 22, 1727 German-born composer Georg Friedrich Handel, now George Frideric Handel, who moved into a new house at 25 Brook St. in London in 1723 becomes a British subject, staying there for life while composing his biggest hits, after which it becomes the Handel House Museum. Handel wastes no time sucking up to the German-born English monarchy, composing Zadok the Priest (HWV 258), the coronation anthem for George II in 1727, based on 1 Kings 1:38-40 ("And all the people rejoic'd, and said: 'God save The King, long live The King, may The King live for ever!, Amen, Hallelujah!'"), which has been sung at every British coronation service since, during the anointing of course. On Jan. 31, 1727 he debuts the opera Admeto, Re di Tessaglia (Admetus, King of Thessaly), with libretto by Nicola Haym based on Euripides' "Alcestis", starring Faustina Bordoni as Alcestis, and Francesca Cuzzoni as Antigona, followed on Nov. 11, 1727 by the opera Riccardo Primo (Richard I), with libretto by Paolo Antonio Rolli, based on Francesco Briani's "Isacio Tiranno", also written to celebrate the coronation of George II. On Feb. 17, 1728 he debuts the opera Siroe, Re di Persia, with libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym, based on Pietro Metastasio's "Siroe", followed on Apr. 3, 1728 by the opera Tolomeo, Re di Egitto (HWV 25), with libretto by Haym, based on Carlo Sigismondo Capece's "Tolometo et Alessandro", his 13th and last opera for the Royal Academy of Music; it starred Senesino as Tolomeo, Francesca Cuzzoni as his wife Seleuce, Giuseppe Maria Boschi as King Araspe of Cyprus, and Faustina Bordoni as his sister Elisa. On Dec. 2, 1729 back at King's Theatre he debuts the opera Lotario (Lothair), with libretto adapted from Antonio Salvi's "Adelaide", but it flops after 10 performances. Also in 1729 French composer Jean-Joseph Mouret (1682-1738) composes his 1-hit wonder Two Suites de Symphonies, which features Fanfare-Rondeau, which is later used as the theme of the PBS TV program "Masterpiece Theatre".
In 1711 the tuning fork is invented by English trumpeter John Shore (1662-1752).
In 1716 French Baroque organist-harpischordist-composer Francois Couperin (1668-1733) pub.6 L'Art de Toucher le Clavecin (The Art of Harpsichord Playing), containing suggestions for keyboard technique when playing his 4 vols. of harpsichord music (230 pieces) pub. in 1713, 1717, 1722, and 1730, which influence Johannes Brahms et al.; "The poet musicianp par excellence", who believed in "the ability of Music [with a capital M] to express itself in prose and poetry", and that "if we enter into the poetry of music we discover that it carries grace that is more beautiful than beauty itself." (Jordi Savali)
On 1722 French Baroque composer Francois Couperin (1668-1733) pub. Les Concerts Royaux, performed for the court of Louis XIV in 1714-15; listen. On Sept. 11, 1733 he dies in Paris, leaving L'Art de Toucher le Clavecin (The Art of Harpsichord Playing) (1716), and 4 vols. of harpsichord music (1713-30), becoming a hit with J.S. Bach, Richard Strauss, and Maurice Ravel, who in 1914-17 composes Le Tombeau de Couperin (Couperin's Memorial).
In 1722 French Baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) (who looked strikingly similar to Voltaire) pub. Traite de l'Harmonie (Treatise on Harmony), mathematizing music and describing the modern 12-tone musical scale with major and minor keys, making him famous as a musical theorist, "the Isaac Newton of Music"; he is a total Rain Man, doing nothing but music 24/7/365 while letting his tall thin body go to pot, which scared the hell out of his musical competitors. On Oct. 1, 1733 he debuts his first opera Hippolyte et Aricie at the Academie Royale de Musique, Paris, with libretto by Abbe Simon-Joseph Pellegrin based on Racine's "Phedre", causing a sensation with its revolutionary use of harmony, causing it to be attacked by supporters of Jean-Baptiste Lully, who loses, making him into his successor until his music go of style by the end of the cent. He also becomes the leading French harpsichord composer along with Francois Couperin. On Aug. 23, 1735 he debuts his opera-ballet Les Indes Galantes at Academie Royale de Musique et Danse in Paris, which features Les Sauvages (The Savages of America), based on a 1725 visit to 15-y.-o. Louis XV of some native American chiefs, along with Les Incas du Perou (The Incas of Peru), Le Turc Genereux, Ouverture, and Chaconne. On Oct. 24, 1737 he debuts his opera Castor et Pollux at the Academie Royale de Musique, Paris, which is a flop until he rewrites it in 1754, becoming one of his best works. On May 21, 1739 he debuts his opera Les Fetes d'Hebe (Les Fêtes d'Hébé), ou Les Talents Lyriques (The Festivities of Hebe, or The Lyric Talents) at the Paris Opera, with libretto by Antoine Gautier de Montdorge (1707-68); incl. Ouverture, Volons sur les Bords de la Seine, Gavottes, Accourez, Riante Jeunesse, Air gai pour Zephyr et les Graces. On Nov. 19, 1739 he debuts his opera Dardanus at the Academie de Musique in Paris, with libretto by Charles-Antoine Leclerc de la Bruere; after the sea monster scene is criticized, it is revised in 1744 and 1760; incl. Ouverture, Tambourins. On Mar. 15, 1747 he debuts his opera Les Fetes de l'Hymen et de l'Amour at Versailles, composes for the dauphin's marriage to Maria Josepha of Saxony; it is the first of several librettos by Freemason Louis de Cahusac (1706-59). On Feb. 29, 1748 he debuts his opera Zais (Zaïs) (opera) at the Paris Opera, with libretto by Cahusac; it features Zais Overture, which depicts the emergence of the four elements from chaos. On Apr. 22, 1749 he debuts his opera Nais (Naïs) at the Paris Opera, with libretto by Cahusac, composes for the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. On Dec. 5, 1749 he debuts his opera Zoroastre (Zoroaster) at the Paris Opera, with libretto by Cahusac, which is a flop until it is rev. and debuts on Jan. 19, 1756, becoming a hit; the first French opera to dispense with Greek-Roman mythology and go for Persian; "A thinly disguised portrayal of Freemasonry" (Graham Sadler); incl. Regne Amour. On Oct. 12, 1754 he debuts his opera La Naissance d'Osiris, ou La Fete Pamilie (The Birth of Osiris, or The Festival of Pamylia) at Fontainebleau to celebrate the birth of Louis XVI, with libretto by guess who; Listen. On Oct. 23, 1754 he debuts his opera Anacreon (Anacréon) at Fontainebleau) (Oct. 23), with libretto by Cahusac; incl. Contredanse. Too bad, he gets the bad end of the 1752-4 Querelle/Guerre des Bouffons (Quarrel/War of the Comic Actors or Comedians) over the relative merits of serious French (esp. Rameau's) and comic Italian opera. He dies on Sept. 12, 1764 of a fever in Paris, and although he lived like a miser with one pair of clothes and one worn-out harpsichord, in his rooms is found a bag containing 1,691 gold louis. He leaves the unfinished opera Les Boreades (Boréades) (The Descendants of Boreas), with libretto by Cahusac. "I try to conceal art with art."
In 1723 Italian priest Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678-1741), known as the Red Priest for his red hair composes The Four Seasons (Le Quattro Stagioni), a set of four violin concerts that becomes his most popular work; Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall.
In 1725 Austrian composer Johann Joseph Fux (1660-1741) pub. Gradus ad Parnassum (Ascent to Mount Parnassus), dedicated to HRE Charles VI, which becomes a standard textbook on counterpoint, used by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Rock music rocks, and classical music fux?
On Jan. 29, 1728 English dramatist John Gay (1685-1732) and German-born composer Johann Christoph Pepusch (1667-1752) debut their comic ballad opera The Beggar's Opera at Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre in London, which becomes a big hit, running for a record 62 consecutive perf., allowing the new Royal Opera House in Covent Garden to be built in 1732, which in 1735 becomes the main home of Handel; in 1920 it ran for 1,463 perf. at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith; a satire of Italian opera, it features Macheath and Polly Peachum in London's criminal underworld; also a satire of Sir Robert Walpole, pioneering the device of using lower class criminals to satirize upper class society; incl. Fill Every Glass, Over the Hills and Far Away.
On Feb. 24, 1730 Handel debuts his opera Partenope, based on a 1699 libretto by Silvio Stamiglia, his first comic opera since "Agrippina" (1709). On Feb. 2, 1731 he debuts Poro, King of India (HWV 28), with libretto adapted from Metastasio's "Alessandro nell'Indie", about Alexander the Great's clash with King Porus of India in 326 B.C.E., starring Senesino as Poro, Anna Maria Strada as his lover Cleofide, and Annibale Pio Fabri Balino as Alexander. On Jan. 15, 1732 he debuts the opera Ezio (HWV 29), with libretto by Pietro Metastasio, based on Jean Racine's "Britannicus", starring Senesino as Roman gen. Ezio, and Anna Maria Strada as his babe Fulvia; too bad, it is a flop, folding after five performances, becoming his greatest operatic failure. On Jan. 27, 1733 he debuts the opera Orlando (HWV 31), with libretto adapted from Carlo Sigismondo Capece's "L'Orlando", adapted from Ludovico Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso", starring Senesino as Senesino; it flops after 10 performances. After some more flops, on Jan. 8, 1735 he debuts his opera Ariodante, HWV 33, with libretto adapted by Antonio Salvi from Ludovico Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso"; set in Scotland, it starred Giovanni Carestini as Ariodante; a hit finally, it gets 11 performances, allowing his venue Covent Garden to successfully compete against the Prince of Wales' rival Opera of the Nobility. On Apr. 16, 1735 he debuts his opera Alcina, based on the poem "Orlando Furioso", set in Charlemagne's day, about heroic knight Ruggiero (Giovanni Carestini), who loves Bradamante (Maria Caterina Negri), and flees with her on a hippogriff (flying horse) to an island, only to meet up with sister sorceresses Alcina (Anna Maria Strada del Po) and Morgana (Cecilia Young), who seduce every knight they can get, then turn them into stones, animals or plants after they tire of them; it features dancer Marie Salle, and the songs Tornami a Vagheggiar, Ah, Mio Cor, and Verdi Prati; another big hit, after a last performance in 1738 it cost too much for the lavish sets, and is not performed again until 1928 in Leipzig. On May 12, 1736 he debuts his opera Atalanta, with libretto based on Belisario Valeriani's "La Caccia in Etolia", composes for the marriage of George II's eldest son Prince Frederick of Wales; the debut closed with a big fireworks display; it features Care Selve, Ombre Beate. In Apr. 1737 Handel suffered a stroke, paralyzing his right arm and messing up his eyesight, causing him to head for Aix-la-Chapelle to take hot baths; luckily, he recovered, Hallelujah. On Apr. 15, 1738 after more flops he debuts the opera Serse (HWV 40) (Xerxes) at London's Haymarket Theatre, based on the Francesco Cavalli opera about Xerxes I, set in Persia in 480 B.C.E., starring Caffarelli as Serse; too bad, it flops after 5 performances, but is revived in the 1980s and becomes one of his biggest hits because of its mimicry of Mozart; the opening aria Ombra Mai Fu (Never Has There Been A Shade) is a love song sung by Serse to a tree; it also features Handel's Largo. It's a long story, but on Jan. 10, 1741 he debuts his last opera Deidamia (HWV 42) at Lincoln's Inn Fields in London, with libretto by Paolo Antonio Rolli, which flops after 3 performances, proving that the prudish Bible-thumping English don't go for sexy Italian opera anymore, causing Handel, who loses a fortune already to give up opera for Bible-themed oratorios, so Hallelujah, on Apr. 13, 1742 he debuts his Bible-theme oratorio The Messiah in New Muck Hall, Dublin, which he composes in 24 days to save his flagging career, performed by 26 boys and 5 men, and this time he found he finds an audience of eager Bible-thumpers, Hallelujah, God save the king; the 1743 London debut is attended by George II, who stands up during the Hallelujah Chorus, leading some to surmise that he wasn't so moved by the music as tired and needing to stretch his legs; the first 7th-inning stretch?
In 1731 Italian composer Lodovico Giustini (1685-1743) composes Sonate da Cimbalo di Piano e Forte, the first compositions for the modern piano.
On Mar. 31, 1732 (same year as George Washington) Austrian composer ("Father of the Symphony") ("Father of the String Quartet") (Freemason) Franz Joseph "Papa" Haydn (1732-1809) is born in Rohrau 25 mi. ESE of Vienna. He goes on to take the quartet from a double duet to a full 4-part harmony. He is called "Papa" even though he has no kids; his wife uses his music sheets to line pastry pans. He enters the Vienna court chapel as a choirboy in 1740, composes Symphony No. 1 in D major in 1759, and in 1761 is appointed kappelmeister to Prince Paul Esterhazy. On Sept. 16, 1770 his opera buffa La Pescatrici (The Fisherwomen) debuts in Eszterhaza. 24 years older than his friend Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, he outlives him by almost 20 years, leaving 106 symphonies, 20 operas, 377 arrangements of Scottish and Welsh airs, and a ton of other classical music in his 77 years, incl. 200 works for the baryton; his skull is stolen from his grave, and not restored until 1954.
On Aug. 28, 1733 Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-36) debuts his opera buffa La Serva Padrona (The Servant Mistress) in Naples, which becomes the oldest opera in the standard repertoire; it features La Serpina Penserete, and Aspettare e Non Venire. In 1736 his Stabat Mater (Mass in F), debuts, about the important matter of Jesus' conversation with Mother Mary on the cross, becoming the biggest musical hit of the 18th cent. Too bad, he dies at age 26 of TB.
On Nov. 4, 1737 Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Italy, founded by Charles VII of Naples opens, becoming the world's largest opera house (3.3K cap.), and going on to become the oldest opera house in Europe to survive to modern times.
Back to the Scarlatti Inheritance. In 1738 Italian Baroque composer Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) pub. 30 Exercises for harpsichord, which is a big hit throughout Europe. He follows it in 1739 with his Cat Fugue in G minor for guess what; Listen.
On July 28, 1750 German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (b. 1685) dies, ending the Baroque Age of Music (begun 1600); meanwhile Neoclassicism becomes popular in Europe in the 1750s as a reaction against dickless Bachroque, er, broke Baroque and Rococo - call me old fashioned? Also in 1750 Leipzig music publisher Johann Gottlob Immanuel Breitkopf (1719-94) introduces movable type for printing music.
In 1760 American inventor Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) invents the musical instrument known as the Glass Armonica (not harmonica), consisting of 37 glass bowls of different sizes attached to a spindle, a flywheel and a foot pedal, and played with wet fingers, calling its sounds "incomparably sweet beyond those of any other"; for awhile it becomes the rage, with Marie Antoinette taking lessons on it, and Mozart and Beethoven writing pieces for it; too bad the lead in the glass causes saturnism (chronic lead poisoning), and the players get more and more sluggish and morose with every performance; "Of all my inventions, the glass armonica has given me the greatest personal satisfaction" (Franklin).
In 1760 4-y.-o. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) begins cranking out world-class musical works, beginning with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (the first song you probably sang?) (they should have made his gym class more fun?). On Jan. 7, 1761 little Wolfy gives his first public concert at age six for Bavarian elector Maximilian III Joseph; he and his older sister Maria Anna "Nannerl" Mozart (1751-1829) are paraded across Europe as child prodigies by their violinist father Leopold Mozart; Count Karl Johann Christian von Zinzendorf (1739-1813), HRE Joseph II's finance minister (nephew of Moravian Count Nicolas Ludwig von Zinzendorf) attends their performance and records how wowed he is in his diary, and goes on to attend Wolfy's performances up to the day of his funeral, always recording the weather. In 1763 Wolfie pub. Sonatas for the Harpsichord and Violin, KV 6-9 in Paris while on a Grand Tour of Europe, where he gives concert for Louis XV; it features Sonata in C major, KV6. In 1764 Wolfie completed his Symphony No. 1.
In 1765 "Well, there it is" Joseph II (1741-90), eldest son of Francis I and Maria Theresa becomes Holy Roman Emperor (HRE), becoming known as the Benevolent Despot and the Music King. In the 1770s the Vienna Waltz becomes fashionable after he begins opening balls to the gen. public instead of nobles only. Too bad, in July 1765 Leopold Mozart brought his two wunderkids to London, and made the boo-boo of cheapening them by having them perform in the Cornhill tavern, ruining their value as exclusive toys of the aristocracy with Empress Maria Theresa, who uttered the soundbyte "These people go about the world like beggars", and turning Mozart into a lifelong outcast who could never get a good aristocratic appointment, forcing him to keep coming back to the petty bourgeois for biz. In 1768 he composes his first opera Bastien and Bastienne: La Finta Semplice, K50-51; after the Austrian court refuses to host it, Franz Anton Mesmer has it debut in his estate's garden in Vienna, causing Mozart to immortalize him in "Cosi Fan Tutte". In 1769 Mozart is appointed concertmeister to the archbishop of Salzburg, and the pope made him a chevalier of the Order of the Golden Spur at La Scala in Italy. Also in 1769 13-y.-o. Mozart writes down Allegri's famous 1630s Miserere after hearing it sung twice during Holy Week in Rome's Sistine Chapel, breaking a 300-year taboo; it is soon pub. in England, and nobody is excommunicated. In 1770 Mitridate, Re di Ponto (Mithridates, King of Pontus), his first serious opera, composed at age 14 is produced in Milan. In 1771 Mozart and his dad return to Salzburg, and the new prince-archbishop of Salzburg (until 1803) Hieronymus, Count von Colloredo (1732-1812) refuses to patronize him, leaving him with his largely honorary appointment as concertmeiser, er, concertmeister, which lets him compose music but not save money. On Jan. 17, 1773 the Church of San Antonio in Milan debuts his motet Exsultate Jubilate (K.165), his first masterpiece. On Jan. 27, 1776 (his 20th birthday) he composes Fifth ("Turkish") Violin Concerto, K.219, followed the same month by Serenade No. 6 in D major for Two Small Orchestras, K.239 ("Serenata Notturna"), and on July 22 by Serenade No. 7 in D major ("Haffner"), K.250, composed for the wedding of Marie Elizabeth Haffner, daughter of Salzburg mayor Sigmund Haffner (d. 1772), and Franz Xavier Spath.
In 1768 Italian Neapolitan composer Giuseppe Gazzaniga (1743-1818) debuts his first opera Il Barone di Trocchia at Teatro di San Carlo, going on to become one of the last opera buffa composers in Italy.
On Nov. 9, 1771 Belgian composer Andre Ernest Modeste Gretry (André Ernest Modeste Grétry) (1741-1813) debuts his comic opera Zemire et Azor in Fontainebleau, with libretto by Jean Francois Marmontel, becoming his #2 masterpiece, used by Mozart as a model for "The Magic Flute"; incl. La Fauvette (Quand la Fauvette, avec ses Petits), in which a coloratura soprano imitates birdsong. On Oct. 21, 1784 he debuts his #1 masterpiece Richard Coeur de Lion (opera comique) in Paris, with libretto by Michel-Jean Sedaine; Richard I of England is rescued from captivity by his troubadour Blondel de Nesle.
In 1771 Haydn's String Quartets, No. 17-22 (Op. 17) debuts, followed in 1772 by Sun Quartets, No. 23-28, Op. 20. In 1777 Strasbourg-born Sebastien Erard (1752-1831) of Paris invents the modern pianoforte, and Haydn switches to it. In 1777 Haydn composes Symphony No. 63 in C major ("La Roxelane").
In Nov. 1773 after debuting his first opera Artaserse on Dec. 26, 1741 in Milan and scoring a success, then reforming opera in Vienna to rid it of too much Italian influence in favor of French, German classical-Rococo opera composer Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck (1714-87), music teacher of Marie Antoinette and Antonio Salieri moves to Paris, and demonstrated his new Italian-French fusion with eight operas. On May 18, 1779 he debuts French opera #5 Iphigenie en Tauride at the Paris Opera, with libretto by Nicolas Francois Guillard based on Euripides' play "Iphigenia in Tauris"; it is a big hit and his masterpiece; Listen.
In 1777 the German court moves to Munich, and the Court and Nat. Theater, Germany's first nat. theater is founded in Mannheim; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart quits his job in Salzburg and leaves for Mannheim with his mother, looking for a permanent appointment in vain, and falling for Mannheim German soprano Aloysia Weber (1760-1839), causing his daddy Leopold to order him and his mother to Paris, after which she debuts in Munich then has a successful opera career in Vienna, marrying Joseph Lange in 1780, who produces a portrait of Mozart; meanwhile when he encounters her in 1778 in Munich on his way back to Salzburg, she snubs him, and he sits down at the piano and sings "The one who doesn't want me can lick my ass" (Leck mir das Mensch im Arsch, das mich nicht will). In 1777 he composes Divertimento, K.287, and in the summer Oboe Concerto, composes for itinerant Italian player Giuseppe Ferlendis; he later arranged it as Concerto No. 2 for Flute for Dutch flautist Ferdinand de Jean. In Jan. 1779 Mozart returns to Salzburg, Austria as a 23-y.-o. has-been after spending 18 mo. searching for a job in Mannheim and Paris and turning down the job of court organist at Versailles and seeing his mother get sick and die in Paris, which his daddy blames him for; his babe Aloysia Weber jilts him, and the aristocrats snubd him, but daddy gets him the job of court organist in Salzburg under the thumb of the hated prince-archbishop Hieronymus Colloredo. But never fear, there are more fish in the sea, and in 1779 after composing Coronation Mass for HRE Joseph II in C major, K.317 for Easter Sun. after arriving in Salzburg (used in 1791 for you know), he composes Serenade No. 9 in D, K.320 ("Posthorn") after falling in love with Constanze Weber (1762-1842).
On Aug. 3, 1778 Maria Theresa's La Scala opera house, built in Milan on the site of the royal theater which had burned down in 1771 opens; the first opera by Venetian composer Antonio Salieri (1750-1825) is performed there.
In 1780 Haydn composes the "Toy" Symphony (Cassation in G major) (really composes by Leopold Mozart in 1759?); Listen. In 1781 Haydn composes The Russian Quartets, Nos. 29-34, Op. 33, which features How Do You Do?, The Joke, The Bird. In 1784 the French musical society Les Concerts de la Loge Olympique requested Haydn to compose six symphonies, which becomes so popular that three more were requested. In 1785 he composes Quartet No. 35 in D minor, Op. 42. In 1786 he composes The "Bear" Symphony in C major, Op. 82, followed in 1787 by The Prussian Quartets, Nos. 36-41, Op. 50, and The Seven Last Words of Christ, Op. 51, and in 1791 by The Surprise Symphony "This will make the ladies jump" (a sudden loud symbol crash). In 1792 22-y.-o. Ludwig van Beethoven (b. 1770) becomes Haydn's pupil in Vienna as the latter finished his 100th symphony.
Badder than old King Kong? In 1780 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composes Symphony No. 34 in C major, K. 338, his farewell to Salzburg. In 1781 he breaks with his patron Archbishop Colloredo of Salzburg, who gives him a literal boot in the rump, and he strikes off on his own, moves to Munich, composes the opera seria Idomeneo, King of Crete (Jan. 29) for elector Karl Theodor, then settles in Vienna in the summer in a house rented for him by friends, where he tries teaching; Mozart's favorite horn player Joseph Leutgeb (Leitgeb) (1732-1811), who moved in 1777 fom Salzburg to Vienna, making his living as a cheesemonger inspires him to compose a set of Horn Concertos, incl. Horn Concerto No. 1, K.412 (1791), Horn Concerto No. 2, K.417 (1783), Horn Concerto No. 3, K.447 (1784-7), and Horn Concerto No. 4 (K. 495) (1786) (most famous). On July 16, 1782 Mozart's opera Abduction from the Seraglio (Die Entfuhrung aus den Serail), requested by HRE Joseph II debuts in Vienna, about a young man in love with two Spanish women; no longer a bum, on Aug. 4 he marries foxy German soprano and musician Konstanze (Constanze) Weber (1762-1842), one of the four Weber sisters (daughters of composer Carl Maria von Weber's brother Fridolin) after giving up on her older sister Aloysia Weber (1760-1839), one of the leading singers of the day, who appear later as Donna Anna in the first Viennese production of "Don Giovanni". On Oct. 26, 1783 his Mass in C minor ("Kyrie"), K.427 debuts in Salzburg, which he composes as the result of a vow in relation to his wife Constanze and father Leopold to ease their strained relationship. On Mar. 9, 1785 he debuts Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K467; the 2nd movement is features in the 1967 Swedish film Elvira Madigan, and gains that name; also Six Haydn String Quartets, Op. 10; incl. String Quartet in G major, K387, String Quartet in D minor, K.421, String Quartet in E flat major, K.428, String Quartet in B flat major ("Hunt"), K.458, String Quartet in A major, K.464, String Quartet in C major ("Dissonances"), K.465, all composes after hearing Franz Josef Haydn's quartets for the first time and getting turned on, then spending two years figuring out how to do it, causing Haydn to tell Mozart's daddy Leopold "I tell you before God as an honest man that your son is the greatest composer known to man either in person or by reputation. He has taste and, what is more, the most profound knowledge of composition." On May 1, 1786 he debuts his opera The Marriage of Figaro (K492) in Vienna, teaming with Jew-turned-Catholic librettist Abbe Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749-1838) for this, plus Don Giovanni and Cosi Fan Tutte; Cherubino sings "Non So Piu" to explain why he goes for maidens, although it is a "breeches" role, played by women. On Oct. 29, 1787 he debuts his opera (the greatest ever?) Don Giovanni, Il Dissoluto Punito at the Estates Theatre in Prague, and conducted it personally; it starts with serial rapist Don Giovanni pursuing Donna Anna, and ends with a Statue from Hell taking him down; it features Vedrai Carino. Also in 1787 he debuts A Little Night Music (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik) (Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major) (K.525). On June 26, 1788 he composes Symphony No. 39 in E flat major, K.543, followed on July 25 by "Great" Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K.550 (his 2nd and last minor key symphony), Piano Sonato No. 16 in C major, K.545, and Symphony No. 41 in C major ("Jupiter"), K.551 (Aug. 10) (his last symphony, by Jove?); his three great symphonies, all composed in the summer of 1788, none ever performed under his direction. In 1788 he also cranks out Divertimento for String Trio in E flat major, K.563, and The Trios, K.496, K.548, K.564, all work and no play makes Wolfie a dull boy.
In Nov. 1783 Florence-born Italian composer and child prodigy Maria Luigi Carlo Zenobio Salvatore Cherubini (1760-1842) debuts Lo Sposo di Tre e Marito di Nessuna (The Betrothed of Three and Husband of None) in Venice, his first comic opera, after which he headed to London then France in 1785, spending the rest of his life producing serious stuff but really blurring the lines, making friends with fellow child prodigy Frederic Chopin, and getting admired by Beethoven, who called him his greatest contemporary. In 1788 he debuts Demophoon (Démophoon) at the Grand Opera in Paris, with libretto by Jean-Francois Marmontel, his first tragedy, which is a success, getting him a job as dir. of the Theatre de Monsieur in the Tuileries in 1789, followed by the Theatre Feydeau in Paris in 1792; it features Dirce Duet. On July 18, 1791 he debuts his opera Lodoiska (Lodoïska) at Theatre Feydeau in Paris, with libretto by Claude-Francois Fillette-Loraux, from the novel "Les Amours du Chevalier de Faublas" by Jean-Baptiste Louvet de Couvrai, about the Princess of Altanno and Count Floreski; it becomes his first big hit (200 perf.), praised for realistic heroism, although later it is mistaken as an early Romantic opera, anything Beethoven likes must be. Also in 1791 Nicholas Dalayrac debuts his opera Camille, which introduced the innovation of bells. On Dec. 13, 1794 Cherubini debuts his opera Eliza (Elisa), or The Journey to the Glaciers of Mt. St. Bernard at Theatre Feydeau in Paris; set in the Swiss Alps, it follows Nicholas Dalayrac by featuring bells, who cares if they're unwieldy they're crowd-pleasers; features a Ranz des Vaches (Kuhreihen) played by Swiss herdsmen; Carl Maria von Weber becomes a fan. On Mar. 13, 1797 he debuts his opera comique Medea (Médée) at Theatre Feydeau, with libretto by Francois-Benoit Hoffmann (Nicolas Etienne Framery), based on Euripides' tragedy, and Pierre Corneille's play; his masterpiece, although it gets a lukewarm reception until it is revived in Florence in 1953 by Maria Callas. On Jan. 16, 1800 he debuts the opera comique Les Deux Journees, ou Le Porteur d'Eau (The Two Days, or The Water Carrier) at guess where, with libretto by Jean-Nicolas Bouilly, which is his greatest hit, causing Beethoven to keep the score on his desk while composing "Fidelio", where's the money honey; too bad, Napoleon thinks he's too complex (suspecting a rat when the action is set in 1647 but smells like the French Rev.), allowing younger composers such as Francois-Adrien Boieldieu (1775-1834) to begin passing him up. On Feb. 25, 1806 after receiving an invitation to visit Vienna, he debuts his opera comique Faniska at Theater am Karntnertor, with German libretto by Joseph Sonnleithner based on "Les Mines de Pologne" by Rene Charles Guilbert de Pixerecourt, about Rava mayor Rasinski and his wife Faniska and daughter Hedwig; his last hit, praised by Haydn, whom he met personally, and of course Beethoven. After the 1813 opera Les Abencerages (Abencérages), about the last days of the Moorish kingdom of Granada (1491) flops, he switches to church music; it features Suspendez a Ces Murs.
On Jan. 2, 1790 Mozart's opera Cosi Fan Tutte debuts in Vienna; 1st time since 1787 that he receives a commission? In Sept. 1791 he debuts his opera La Clemenza di Tito, and also cranks out Quintet for the Glass Armonica, and the sad unfinished Requiem Aeternam, composes on his deathbed after being commissioned by Count Franz von Walsegg (1763-1827), an amateur musician living in Stuppach Castle near Gloggnitz, who likes to pass off others' works as his own; to get the rest of the money Mozart's wife Constanze arranged for his pupil Franz Xaver Sussmayr (1766-1803) to complete it. In Jan. 1792 the debut of his Requiem is attended by respectful colleague Antonio Salieri (1750-1825) to benefit his ne'er-do-well family. When Mozart croaked of who knows what caused by overwork and money worries, and is buried in an unmarked mass pauper's grave, they should have at least saved the brain, he leaves Clarinet Concerto in A major (K.622), written for fellow Freemason clarinetist friend Anton Stadler.
In 1795 Franz Josef Haydn returns from his second tour of London, well aware that he is the #1 Euro composer now, debuting Twelve London Symphonies, the last being No. 104 in D major ("The London Symphony), his last symphony. In 1797 he composes The Emperor Quartet, followed in 1798 by the Lord Nelson Mass, in 1799 by the oratorio The Creation, and in 1801 by the oratorio The Seasons. In 1804 Haydn's seasons ran out, and Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837) succeeded Franz Joseph Haydn as Kappellmeister to Prince Esterhazy in Eisenstadt (until 1811), followed by Stuttgart and Weimar, where he becomes friends with Goethe and Schiller and turns Weimar into a Euro musical capital. Also in 1804 Italian violin phenom Nicolo Paganini (1782-1840), who made his debut at age 13, left home at age 15, and retired at age 19 (to get laid?) resumed public performances, and in 1805 becomes court musician at Lucca, from time to time touring lucky Italy, one time playing an entire piece on one string. On May 31, 1809 Haydn dies, leaving more than 100 symphonies, 20 operas, 377 arrangements of Scottish and Welsh airs, and a ton of other classical music in his 77 years, incl. 200 works for the baryton; his skull is stolen from his grave, and not restored until 1954, forget what I said about saving the brain.
Romantic Composers are what make our movie industry go. The first great master of Romantic music is "Der Grosse Komponist" Ludwig van Beethoven (Ger. "beet garden") (1770-1827), born on Dec. 17, 1770 [Sagittarius] in Bonn at No. 20 Bonngasse. After his daddy begins presenting the 8-y.-o. boy as a 6-y.-o. prodigy, he becomes a prof. organist at age 11, and is known for pouring ice water over his head to stimulate his brain. In the 1780s pianist Johann Ludwig Dussek (1760-1812) becomes a hit in Germany and France, and a favorite of Marie Antonette, pleasing the ladies by becoming the first to sit sideways to let them ogle him; after the French Rev. starts, he fled to London, where he becomes a hit again, working with John Broadwood (1732-1812) to develop the "English Action" piano to flaunt his powerful style, which is later used by Beethoven, who writes his first piano concerto in E-flat (unpub.) at age 14. On Apr. 15, 1784 Maximilian Frederick of Konigsegg-Rothenfels (b. 1708) dies, and Austrian archduke Maximilian Franz (1756-1801), 16th and last child of Empress Maria Theresa and HRE Francis I, and brother of Marie Antoinette is appointed archbishop-elector of Cologne (until 1794), with seat in Bonn, helping elect his brother Leopold II in 1790, and giving young Ludwig van Beethoven his musical ed.; in 1791 because his daddy Ludwig Sr. is kappelmeister, he is rumored to be a grandmaster of the mysterious Priory of Sion too, woo woo woo.
In the 1790s the Romantic Movement in Europe begins, rejecting the cold mechanistic view that people are just cogs in a machine, and stressing individuals with all their passions and mood swings as the only real deal. Speaking of romantic, in 1785 aging Jacques (Giacomo) Casanova (1725-98) becomes a semi-retired librarian working for Count Ferdinand Ernst Joseph Gabriel von Waldstein und Wartenberg (1762-1823), Beethoven's first patron in Bonn in the Chateau de Dux until death, dying quietly at the job. After becoming Haydn's pupil in 1792, in 1795 Beethoven composes Rondo a Capriccio (Rondo alla Ingharese quasi un Capriccio) ("Rage over a Lost Penny"), Op. 129 (left incomplete, finished and titled by Anton Diabelli, and pub. posth.), along with Three Piano Concertos, Op. 1: No. 1 in E flat major, No. 1 in G major, No. 2 in C minor, becoming his first public appearance in Vienna. In 1796 his progressive hearing loss begins, the same year that George Washington loses his last tooth. On Apr. 2, 1800 Beethoven debuts Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21 in Vienna, which features Adagio Molto, Andante Cantabili con Moto, Menuetto, and Finale. In 1800 popular and vain German composer-pianist Daniel Steibelt (1765-1823) arrives in Vienna on tour, and challenges Beethoven to a playoff at the house of the Count von Fries, where Big Beet humiliates him by improvising from a music sheet placed upside down on the rack, after which he quits hs tour and ends up in Russia in 1808 where hey hadn't heard the story. In 1801 Beethoven composes Moonlight Sonata (Quasi una Fantasia) (Piano Sonata no. 14, Op. 27 no. 2 in C#-minor), which doesn't have a lot of notes, but each is so very perfect and important; it is dedicated to his pupil and main squeeze Countess Giulietta Gicciardi (1784-1856) ("the most beautiful woman in the whole world"), to whom he proposed, but her parents rejected his suit for lack of sufficient social standing, the father saying "That chap Beethoven will never amount to anything". In 1836 it receives the popular name from poet and music critic Heinrich Friedrich Ludwig Rellstab (1799-1860), who was thinking of Lake Lucerne. In Oct. 1802 while suffering from intestinal troubles and failing eyesight, and grieving over the loss of his babe, Beethoven writes the Heiligenstadt Testament, asking doctors to use his remains to "explain the causes of my malady so that the world may be reconciled to me". Also in 1802 he composes Symphony No. 2 in D-major, Op. 36, followed in 1803 by Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 47 ("Kreutzer").
In 1803 German Romantic composer Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber (1786-1826) debuts his first successful opera Peter Schmoll and His Neighbors in Augsburg, which gets him the job of dir. of the Breslau Opera in 1806. Too bad, his attempts at reform are resisted, and he quits in 1807, then gets charged with embezzlement in 1810 and banished from Wurttemberg, which allowed him to bounce around to Prague, Berlin, and Dresden. In 1819 he composes his piano composition Invitation to the Dance. On June 18, 1821 he debuts his opera Der Freischutz (Freischütz) (The Marksman or Freeshooter) at the Berlin Schauspielhaus, which becomes the first German Romantic opera, and features the Hellsing Rip Van Winkle Scene, along with a good Overture. On Oct. 25, 1823 he debuts his opera Euryanthe at the Theater am Kartnertor in Vienna, which has a poor libretto by Helmina von Chezy, but a great Overture. After receiving an official invitation by impresario Charles Kemble, he travels to London and composes the opera Oberon, or The Elf King's Oath, which debuts on Apr. 12, 1826, right before his June 5 death of overwork and TB, how romantic.
Two Romantics in the same room are too many? On May 18, 1804 the French Senate and Tribunate proclaims Corsican-born Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) as Emperor Napoleon I, and a plebiscite ratified it by 3,572,329 to 2,569); on Dec. 2 after being persuaded by his uncle Cardinal Joseph Fesch (appointed French ambassador to Rome this year), Pope Pius VII assisted in his coronation in Paris, but Nappy insisted on a magic moment, placing the crown on his own head; Nappy revived absolute monarchy while modernizing it, basing it on achievement rather than birth, except when it comes to his succession, which go to his male heir (incl. adopted children of his brothers), and then to his brothers. This all causes Beethoven to lose his respect for his hero, tear up the title page, and change the name of his newly-created E-flat Third (3rd) Symphony, Op. 55 from Bonaparte Symphony (New Groves) to Eroica (Heroic) in May, allowing the pub. manuscript to carry the inscription "Composed to celebrate the memory of a great man", but not Napoleon, whom he calls a "tyrant"; it is dedicated to Lobkowitz, and first performed privately in Aug.; in 1806 Beethoven gets pissed-off and walks out when asked to play for French officers. Also in 1804 he debuts his only opera Fidelio, Op. 72 in Vienna, about Floristan and Leonore, who disguises herself as boy Fidelio; it contains brief sections of "Ode to Joy". His Third (3rd) (Eroica) Symphony (Vienna, Theater an der Wien) debuts to mixed reviews, inaugurating the era of heroic music (driving rhythms, drastic dynamic changes, martial instruments); Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 3.
In Mar. 1806 Beethoven debuts his Fourth Symphony in B-flat major, Op. 60 in Vienna; he also composes his Violin Concerto, Op. 61. In 1807 he composes his Leonora Overture, No. 3. On Dec. 22, 1808 his Fifth Symphony, Op. 67 ("the most sublime noise that has ever penetrated into the ear of man" - E.M. Forste) and Sixth (Pastoral) Symphony, Op. 68 (featuring trombones) debut simultaneously in Vienna in a 4-hour concert which also incl. Piano Concerto No. 4, the concert aria Ah, Perfido, and two movements from the Mass in C, with the grand finale being the Choral Fantasy (with a theme similar to 1824's "Ode of Joy"); too bad, it broke down halfway through because the best musicians are at a benefit concert featuring Haydn, so he had to hire 2nd rate ones; Beethoven's last stage appearance as a pianist. Carl Czerny later claims that Beethoven got the first four notes of the Fifth Symphony from the call of the Yellowhammer bird. In 1809 Beethoven composes Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73 ("Emperor"); being too deaf to perform it, Beethoven has it debuted by Friedrich Schneider; a French soldier is so inspired with its grandeur that he shouts "C'est l'empereur!", giving it the nickname, even though Beethoven despises self-crowning Emperor Napoleon; E-flat is also used in the "Eroica Symphony".
In 1806 Italian composer ("the Italian Mozart") Gioacchino Antonio Rossini (1792-1868), known for covering himself with blankets when composing debuts his first opera Demetrio a Polibio in Rome, followed in 1810 by La Cenerentola (Cinderella), and La Cambiale di Matrimonio (Venice). By now he had the corner on the opera market in Italy, and excused his baldness by saying that every composer gets it by age 30. He follows with L'Italiana in Algeri (Venice) (1813), and The Barber of Seville (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) (opera) (Rome) (Feb. 20, 1816), which saw the hostile audience won over by the end of the first act, which features Largo al Factotum; "Make way for the factotum,/ with all them Figaros./ Make way for the factotum of the city/ Rushing to his shop now that it's dawn./ Ah, isn't life good! How pleasant it is/ for a barber of class." He follows with La Gazza (La Scala, Milan) (1817). On Aug. 3, 1829 he debuts his opera William Tell (Guillaume Tell) at the Salle Le Pelletier in Paris, becoming his 39th and last opera at age 37; libretto by Etienne de Jouy and Hippolyte Bis; based on Friedrich Schiller's play "William Tell", set in Lake Lucerne; incl. The William Tell Overture, incl. "March of the Swiss Soldiers" (used as the theme of "The Lone Ranger").
In Oct. 1808 11-y.-o. Vienna-born Austrian Romantic composer Franz Seraph Peter Schubert (1797-1828) becomes a choirboy in the imperial chapel in Vienna, and enters the Kaiserlich-Konigliches Stadtkonvikt (Imperial and Royal City College) (main musical school of Vienna) until his voice cracks on July 26, 1812 and he leaves in Oct. 1813), getting introduced to the music of Mozart and making a bunch of lifelong friends, incl. Italian I-coulda-had-a-V8 composer Antonio Salieri (1750-1825), who takes him on as his pupil. In 1810 he composes the first of 700 lieder (songs). In 1814 he composes Der Taucher (Taücher), D77, String Quartet in B flat major, D112, Des Teufels Lustschloss, D84 (first opera), Mass No. 1 in F major, D105 (Oct. 16) (Liechtental Church) (sung by Therese Grob), and Gretchen am Spinnrade, D118, his first masterpiece. In 1816 he dished out more sherbet, Symphony No. 2 in B flat, D125, First Piano Sonata in E major, D157, Mass No. 2 in G, D167, Der Vierjahrige Posten, D190 (1-act operetta) (May 19), 3rd (Rhenische) Symphony in D major, D200 (Fernando), Second Piano Sonata in C major, D279, Freunde von Salamanka, D326, Der Erlkonig (Erlkönig), D328 (based on a Goethe ballad), plus another mass, 144 songs, and two operas. In 1816 he composes 4th (Tragic) Symphony in C minor, D417, Prometheus, D451 (cantata) (June 17) (his first paid commission - 40 gulden), Mass No. 4 in C major, D452, 5th Symphony in B flat, D485, plus an opera and 100 more songs. In 1817 he begins his Schubertiaden concert parties in the houses of wealthy middle-classers, organizesby his new apostles, poet-playwright Franz Grillparzer and singer Johann Michael Vogl, and in 1818 becomes summer music teacher to the three daughters of Count Johann Esterhazy at Zelasz, his estate in W Hungary. Meanwhile in 1817 he cranks out Der Tod und Das Madchen (Death and the Maiden) (D531), An die Musik, D547 (lyrics by Schober), and Die Forelle (The Trout), D550, followed in 1818 by Symphony No. 6 in C major, D589, and Overture in the Italian Style, D590 (Mar. 1) (Theater an der Wien) (first of his works to be performed in public), and in 1819 by Die Zwillingsbruder, D647, Piano Sonata in A, D664, Piano Quintet in A (The Trout), D667, and Schafer Klagelied (Goethe) (his first song sung in public).
The 1810s is the Beethoven and Rossini decade in music. On Apr. 27, 1810 Beethoven composes Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor ("Für Elise"), which is not pub. until 1867, but becomes one of his most popular piano compositions. On June 15, 1810 Beethoven's Music to Goethe's "Egmont", Op. 84 debuts in Vienna for Goethe's 1787 play about Lamoral, Count of Egmont (1522-68), followed in 1811 by The Archduke Trio (Op. 97), in honor of his pupil and benefactor Archduke Rudolph, brother of Emperor Franz I. On Dec. 30, 1812 the Convention of Taurroggen (Taurage) declaring Prussia neutral is signed by Prussian field marshal Hans David Ludwig, Count Yorck (York) von Wartenburg (1759-1830) after he is talked into turning against the French (whom he had supported at Riga) in order to stop reprisals by the Russkies, who gained Koenigsberg; when he heard about it, Prussian king (since 1797) Frederick William III declared it void and ordered his court-martial, causing Yorck to utter the soundbyte: "The army desires war with France, the nation desires it, the king himself desires it, but his will is not free, therefore the army must make his will free", after which the bearer of his removal order is not allowed to pass through his lines, and he is absolved in 1813 with the Treaty of Kalisch, causing Beethoven to name the jackboot-kicking Yorckscher Marsch (Yorck March) in his honor, the magic moment and turning point in Prussian history. On Dec. 8, 1813 Beethoven's Seventh (7th) Symphony in A major, Op. 92 (written in the Bohemian spa town of Teplice and dedicated to Count Moritz von Fries) debuts in Vienna, confirming his status as the world's greatest composer - and Germans as the new master race compared to yesterday's news the French? In 1813 the waltz becomes the rage in European ballrooms, and in July 1816 the "indecent foreign dance" made its appearance in English ballrooms with a ball given by the Prince Regent in London. On Feb. 27, 1814 Beethoven debuts his Eighth (8th) Symphony, Op. 93 in Vienna, conducting while "the orchestra largely ignored his ungainly gestures and followed the principal violinist instead". Too bad, by 1818 Beethoven is deafy deaf deaf, and all conversation with him had to be done with written notes. On May 23, 1814 he debuts his much-revised final version of his one and only opera Fidelio, Op. 72 in Vienna. In 1818 he debuts Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major, Op. 106 ("Hammerklavier Sonata"); dedicated to his patron Archduke Rudolph of Austria, with the opening chords supposed to suggest the words "Vivat, vivat Rudolphus!"; it took two agonizing years to write?
In 1814 Irish composer John Field (1782-1837) composes Nocturnes (for piano), inventing the nocture, a musical composition evocative of the night, which turns on Polish Romantic composer-pianist ("the Poet of the Piano") (child prodigy) Frederic Francois Chopin (1810-49), who moves to France in 1831 and becomes French citizen, although he remains a Polish patriot. Backing up, in 1829 Chopin composed Piano Sonata No. 1 in C minor, Op. 4, followed in 1831 by Revolutionary Etude, Op. 10, No. 12 after witnessing the 1830 bombardment of Warsaw, followed in 1832 by Etude Op. 10, No. 3 (Tristesse); his most beautiful melody, he thinks. In 1833 he follows with Twelve Etudes, Op. 10, in 1834 by Fantaisie-Impromptu, in 1835-6 by Ballad No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23, and in 1839 by Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35 ("Funeral March"). Talk about Romantic, he only grew sideburns on the side facing the audience. In 1837-47 he has an affair with French novelist George Sand (Amandine or Amantine Lucile Aurore, Baroness Dupine-Dudevant) (1804-76), who is an illegitimate descendant of Polish king Augustus II. Too bad, on Oct. 17, 1849 Chopin dies in Paris at Place Vendome 12 of TB (cystic fibrosis?); he suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy, as proved by suddenly leaving the stage during a 1848 performance of his Sonata in B flat minor in Manchester, England after seeing monsters emerge from the piano; his body is buried in Paris and his heart in Holy Cross Church in Warsaw; his Paris funeral on Oct. 30 draws 3K.
On Nov. 14, 1818 Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy-born composer Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti (1797-1848) debuts his first opera (3rd composed, 1st to be performed) Enrico, Conte di Borgogna at the Teatro San Luca in Venice, with libretto by Bartolomeo Merelli; it incl. Elisa! Elisa! Oh! Me infelice... Care aurette. In 1822 after composing his 9th opera, he moves to Naples until Oct. 1838, composing 51 operas that debut at Teatri di San Carlo, dying in 1848 after composing 66 operas total. On Dec. 26, 1830 he debuts Anna Bolena at Teatro Carcano, Milan, with libretto by Felice Romani, about Henry VIII's 2nd wife Anne Boleyn, becoming the first of four operas about the English Tudors; his first internat. hit, performed throughout Europe. On May 12, 1832 he debuts the comic opera L'Elisir d'Amore (comic opera) at Teatro della Canobbiana in Milan, with libretto by Felice Romani; written in six weeks, it becomes the most performed opera in Italy in 1838-48; it incl. the tenor aria Una Furtiva Lagrima (A Secret Tear). On Sept. 26, 1835 he debuts the tragic opera On Sept. 26, 1835 Lucia di Lammermoor at Teatro San Carlo, Naples, becoming the first with libretto by Salvatore Cammarano, based on Sir Walter Scott's 1819 "The Bride of Lammermoor"; it incl. The Mad Scene. On Oct. 29, 1837 he debuts the tragic opera Roberto Devereux at Teatro San Carlo, Naples, with libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, based on "Elisabeth d'Anglette" by Francois Ancelot (1829) and "Historie secrete des amours d'Elisabeth et du comte d'Essex" (1787) by Jacques Lescéne des Maisons, based on the life of English queen Elizabeth I's beau Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex. On Dec. 2, 1840 he debuts the opera La Favorite at the Academie Royale de Musique in Paris, with libretto by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaez based on the unperformed libretto "L'ange de Niside" and the play "Le Comte de Comminges" by Baculard d'Arnaud. On Jan. 3, 1843 he debuts the comic opera Don Pasquale at the Theatre Italien in Paris) (Apr. 17 at La Scala, Milan), with libretto by Donizetti and Giovanni Ruffini, who refuses credit; the high point and end of the 19th cent. opera buffa tradition?; becomes one of the top-3 Italian comic operas along with his "L'Elisir d'Amore" (1832) and Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" (1816).
In 1818 Austrian schoolteacher Franz Xaver Gruber (1787-1863) composes the Xmas classic Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht (Silent Night, Holy Night); the original lyrics are written in 1816 in Mariapfarr by Austrian priest Josef Mohr (1792-1848); the organ is broken, so Gruber rewrites the hymn to be sung with guitar at Midnight Mass on Dec. 24.
On June 14, 1820 bringing-up-the-rear Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828) debuts the opera Die Zwillingsbruder, D647 at Kerntnertor Theater (a flop), followed by Die Zauberharfe, D644 (opera) (Aug. 19) (Kerntnertor Theater) (a flop), Quarttetsatz, D703, Lazarus (oratorio), and The Twenty-Third Psalm. In Aug. 1821 he debuts Symphony No. 7 in E major, D729, followed in 1822 by Variations on a French Song, D624 (dedicated to Beethoven), Mass in A flat, D678, Symphony No. 8 in B minor (Unfinished Symphony), D7579 (1822-8) (first performed in 1865), Wanderer Fantasy, D760 (piano sonata), and Mass in A flat. In 1823 he debuts Piano Sonata in A minor, D784 (his first mature sonata), Die Verschworenen, D787, Die Schone Mullerin, D795 (based on the poetry of Wilhelm Mueller), Fierabras, D796, and Rosamunde, D797. His works after this year really take off, consummating his unique lyrical, melodic style, but since he takes sick in Jan. and only lives one year beyond Beethoven he never really gets his time in the Sun. In 1824 he composes Octet in F for Wind and Strings, D803, Quartet in A minor, D804, Quartet in D minor (Death and the Maiden), D810, and Sonata in A minor for Piano and Arpeggione, D821, followed in 1825 by Songs from Sir Walter Scott, in 1826 by String Quartet in G, D887, Piano Sonata in G, D894, and Ave Maria, Op. 52 No 6, in 1827 by Deutsche Messe, D872, Impromptus, Op. 90, Moments Musicaux, Op. 94, Piano Trio in B-flat, Op. 99 (D898), Die Winterreise, D911 (lyrics by Wilhelm Mueller), and Piano Trio in E-flat, Op. 100 (D929), and in 1828 by Symphony No. 7 in C major, (Great) Symphony No. 9 in C major (Mar.) (his masterpiece?), String Quintet in C major, Grillparzer Standchen (Ständchen), D920, Piano Duet Fantasy in F minor, D940 (dedicated to Countess Caroline Esterhazy), Mass No. 6 in E flat major, D950, Schwanengesang (Swan Song), D957 (last and greatest song collection), incl. No. 4 Standchen (Ständchen) (Serenade); Piano Sonata in C minor, D958, Piano Sonata in A, D959, and Piano Sonata in B flat, D960 (last work). Too bad, on Nov. 19, 1828 he dies in Vienna of syphilis, still a failure after his first full scale public concert on Mar. 26, leaving a ton of classical and sacred works incl. 600 lieder, 9 symphonies, and 22 piano sonatas that becomes popular only a cent. after his death, incl. Sonata No. 21 in B flat, along with his Unfinished 8th Symphony in B minor.
The 1820s are also the Beethoven decade. In 1821 Big Beet debuts Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110, the first of three sonatas with an otherworldy mood; he varies the usual fast-slow-fast 3-movement construction to fast-faster-slow. In 1823 he debuts Missa Solemnis (Solemn Mass), Op. 123 in St. Petersburg, Russia, commissioned by Prince Nikolas Galitzin to celebrate the 1820 installation of Beethoven's friend, pupil and patron Archduke Rudolph as cardinal; he also debuts the 1-hour Diabelli Variations, 33 variations dedicated to his "Immortal Beloved" Antonie (Antonia) von Birkenstock Brentano (1780-1869). On May 7, 1824 Beethoven debuts his last and best symphony, the 70-min. Ninth (9th) "Choral" Symphony in D minor, Op. 125, which is greatly influenced by the ideas of the French Rev. ("liberty, equality, fraternity"); the final movement Ode to Joy (Ode an die Freude) is based on Schiller's 1785/1808 poem "Ode to Freedom"; "Freude, schoner Gotterfunken" (first line); "All men will become brothers under thy gentle wing" (final chorus); the score is dedicated to Prussian King Frederick William III; deaf Beethoven tries to conduct, but they ignore him, and when the performance ends, he is lost in his ms. until the alto soloist turns him toward the adoring audience; he had been trying to set Schiller's poem to music since 1790, carrying a copy around and discovering the final melody in 1822; the debut loses money because of the costs of hiring so many people, pissing Beethoven off; its 1825 London debut draws mixed reviews, with one calling it "at least twice as long as it should be"; did-I-mention the Curse of the 9th Symphony begins, that anyone who writes or is writing a 9th symphony will soon die, incl. Antonin Dvorak, Vaughan Williams, and Anton Bruckner. On Mar. 27, 1827 German deaf ear-trumpet-using bigwig composer Ludwig van Beethoven (b. 1770) dies in Vienna, leaving 32 piano sonatas and only one opera; his last words: "Applaud, friends, the comedy is finished", or "I shall hear in heaven"; Franz Schubert visited his deathbed on Mar. 19 and wass one of the 36 torch bearers at his Mar. 29 funeral, which saw 20K line the streets; he is buried in the Wahring Cemetery W of Vienna, then moved to the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna in 1888; in 2005 the Argonne Nat. Lab. of the U.S. Energy Dept. announced that his body contained 60 times the avg. level of lead, accounting for his abdominal pain, bad digestion, depression, fevers and irritability.
In 1821 16-y.-o. German musical instrument maker Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann (1805-64), who invents the piano-like Terapodion (Uranion) in 1816 allegedly invents the Accordion (squeezebox) and/or the Harmonica (mouth organ) (harmonicas are sold in Vienna in 1825).
In 1823 Hungarian composer Ferenc Erkel (1810-93) composes Himnusz, with lyrics by Hungarian poet Ferenc Kolcsey (1790-1838), which is adopted as the Hungarian nat. anthem in 1844.
In 1826 German Romantic composer (child prodigy) (Jewish-turned-Protestant) Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-47), grandson of Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelsson (1729-86), and son of a wealthy Berlin banker, who made his first public appearance as a pianist at age 9, and took the name Bartholdy after converting to Protestantism composes Overture to "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Op. 21. In 1829 he rediscovered J.S. Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" at the Berlin Singakademie 100 years after its first (Good Friday) performance in 1729, and directed the first performance since Bach's death, launching his career as a pianist and conductor. In 1830-45 he pub. the 8-vol. Songs Without Words, which become the most popular pieces for piano. In 1832 he composes The Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave), inspired by Fingal's Cave, the Scottish side of the Giant's Causeway on Staffa (Pillar) Island. In 1833 he composes Italian Symphony, Op. 90, which debuts in London. In 1835 he becomes conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig. In 1836 he debuts his oratorio St. Paul in Dusseldorf, and in 1837 debuts Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 ("Scottish Symphony"), dedicated to Queen Victoria, a Jew in love with everything Protestant. In 1841 Mendelssohn is called to Berlin by Frederick William IV of Prussia to reorganize the cathedral choir and direct concerts. In 1843 he debuts Incidental Music to Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Op. 61, in Potsdam, which contains the ever-popular Wedding March. He follows it in 1844 with his Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, which becomes a #1 classical all-time hit, and in 1846 with the oratorio Elijah, op. 70 which debuts in Birmingham (his masterpiece?) Too bad, he dies in Leipzig on Nov. 4, 1847 after the death of his favorite sister Fanny Mendelssohn causes the overworked genius to collapse and never recover, the good die young, hanky please; actually, Fanny was a talented composer too, who pub. six pieces under his name as Op. 8 and Op. 8, and left "Easter Sonata", which wasn't discovered until 1970.
Speaking of Romantic hookups, in 1827 French writer Marie Catherine Sophie de Flavigny, Comtesse D'Agoult (AKA Daniel Stern) (1805-76) marries Comte d'Agoult, then hooks up with Hungarian New German School pianist-composer Franciscus (Ferenc) "Franz" Liszt (1811-86) (Hungarian for flour) (kissed on the forehead as a baby by Beethoven), giving him three daughters, incl. Cosima Liszt (1837-1930), who marries German composers Hans von Bulow and Richard Wagner. In 1894 Hans von Bulow (b. 1830) dies in Cairo, Egypt, leaving the immortal soundbytes: "Bach is the Old Testament and Beethoven the New Testament of music"; "A tenor is not a man but a disease"; "Always conduct with the score in your head, not your head in the score." Backing up, on Dec. 1, 1822 11-y.-o. Franz Liszt debuts as pianist in Vienna at the Landstandischer Saal, going on to give 1K concerts in 10 years and become known as "the Napoleon of the Piano". In Sept. 1831 he hears Niccolo Paganani play violin in Paris, turning him on, after which he practices 24/7 to become the #1 piano virtuoso, transposing Hector Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique" in 1832 and becoming a star. In 1846 he begins writing his famous rhapsodies, virtually resigning as a pianist in 1847, and completing 15 by 1853. In 1849 he debuts the symphonic poem Tasso's Lament in Weimar, followed in 1854 by the symphonic poem Les Preludes, in 1857 by Eine Faust-Symphonie, and on Aug. 15, 1865 by the oratorio The Legend of St. Elizabeth (Budapest).
Jumping ahead, Liszt's rival is Moldavian-born Russian Jewish pianist-composer-conductor Anton Grigorevich Rubinstein (1829-94), who converted to Greek Orthodox at age 4, and whose portrait bears a striking resemblance to Ludwig von Beethoven. In 1862 he founds the St. Petersburg Conservatory. In 1866 his brother Nikolai Grigoryevich Rubinstein (1835-81) founds the Moscow Conservatory.
In 1827 Viennese composer Johann Strauss I (1804-49) composes Tauberln-Walzer, Op. 1 ("Little Doves"), followed in 1828 by Viennese Carnival, Op. 3, and Suspension Bridge, Op. 4, in 1830 by Galop de la Carreras, Op. 29a, and Tivoli Slide, Op. 39, in 1838 by Paris Waltz, Op. 101, in 1840 by Viennese Sentiments, Op. 116. in 1843 by Echoes of the Rhine (Lorelei Rheinklange), Op. 154. in 1848 by Radetzky March, Op. 228; named for Joseph Radetzky von Radetz (1766-1858); the audience is expected to clap and stomp their feet during the chorus. On Feb. 9, 1867 his son Johann Strauss II (1825-99) debuts his waltz The Blue Danube, Op. 314 (An der Schonen Blauen Donau) in Vienna; it isn't a big hit at first.
On Feb. 29, 1828 French composer Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber (1782-1871) debuts the first-ever French grand opera (a romantic historical story with a 4-act or 5-act structure, ballet sequence, and spectacular stage effects) La Muette de Portici (The Mute Girl of Portici) (AKA Masianello) at the Paris Opera, about Masaniello's rising against the Spanish masters of Naples in the 17th cent., the mute dancer Fenella and Elvire; incl. Du Pauvre sedul Ami Fidule, Amis, le Soleil Va Paraitre, Amour Sacre de la Patrie (Sacred Love of Fatherland). In July 1830 a rev. toppled France's conservative Bourbon monarchy; on Aug. 25, 1830 after tenor Adolphe Nourrit (1802-39) sung the leading role in a performance of the opera at the Theatre de La Monnaie in Brussels, a riot begins, launching the Belgian Rev. of 1830 (ends Aug. 12, 1831) against the Dutch, with workers rioting and attacking the homes of govt. officials, escalating into civil war; on Sept. 23-26 6K Dutch troops under Prince Frederick failed to retake Brussels in bloody street fighting, and on Sept. 26 the liberal bourgeoisie established a provisional govt. under Charles Latour Rogier (1800-85); on Oct. 4 Roman Catholic Belgium declared independence from Protestant Netherlands, rejecting the artificial union forced on them by the 1815 Congress of Vienna, pissing-off the Dutch, who on Oct. 27 bombard Antwerp, causing British PM Wellington, one of the statesmen responsible for the union to call the London Conference of reps. from Britain, France, Prussia, Austria and Russia, which arranged an armistice; on Nov. 10 the Belgian nat. congress proclaims a constitutional monarchy and deposed William I, and on Dec. 20 the London Conference recognizesBelgian independence, with the independent duchy of Brabant divided into the Dutch province of Northern Brabant (mainly Flemings) and the Belgium province of Antwerp and Brabant. Meanwhile on Jan. 28, 1830 Auber debuts his most successful opera Fra Diavolo at the Opera-Comique in Paris, with a libretto by Eugene Scribe, based on the life of early 19th cent. Naples bandit Michele Pezza; Listen. Also in 1830 Auber and Casimir Delavigne and Daniel Auber composes the song La Parisienne, which becomes almost as popular as the Marseillaise, and follows it up with La Varsovienne for the Poles.
On Mar. 29, 1828 German Romantic composer Heinrich August Marschner (1795-1861) (#1 in Germany behind Richard Wagner and Carl Maria von Weber) debuts his opera Der Vampyr (The Vampire) in Leipzig, with libretto by Wilhelm August Wohlbruck, based on the 1821 play "Der Vampir oder Die Totenbraut" by Heinrich Ludwig Ritter, based on the 1819 novel "The Vampyre" by John Polidori; Listen. On Dec. 22, 1829 he debuts his opera Der Templer und die Judin (Jüdin), Op. 60 (The Templar and the Jewess) at the Stadttheater in Leipzig, based on Sir Walter Scott's 1819 novel "Ivanhoe", which becomes his biggest hit, with 200+ perf. in Germany by the end of the cent.; Listen. On May 24, 1833 he debuts his opera Hans Heiling in Berlin, which becomes an even bigger hit, making him #1 in Euro Romantic opera until Richard Wagner; Listen.
In Dec. 1830 French Romantic composer Hector Berlioz (1803-69) debuts his big hit Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14 (An Episode in the Life of the Artist) at the Paris Conservatoire, which tells of a young, unhappy, suicidal lover (himself) who "poisons himself with opium" in the "depths of despair" of "hopeless love"; Paganani declared him a genius and gives him 20K francs; 1st Movement, 2nd Movement, 3rd Movement, 4th Movement, 5th Movement. In 1837 he debuts Grande Messe des Morts, Op. 5 (Requiem) in Paris.
On Mar. 6, 1831 Sicilian bel canto opera composer Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini (1801-35) debuts his opera La Sonnambula at Teatro Carcano in Milan, with libretto by Felice Romani, starring Giuditta Angiola Maria Constanza Pasta (nee Negri) (1797-1865) as Amina, and Giovanni Battista Rubini as Elvino; Amina's line "Ah! Non credea mirarti/ Si pesto estingo, o fiore" (I did not believe you would fade so soon, oh flower!" is inscribed on Bellini's tomb in the Catania Cathedral in Sicily; he follows on Dec. 26, 1831 with the opera Norma at La Scala in Milan, with libretto by Felice Romani, written (like La Sonnambula) especially for Giuditta Pasta, a role that becomes a favorite for sopranos Jenny Lind and Lilli Lehmann, and is later owned by Maria Callas.
On Nov. 21, 1831 German Jewish composer Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864) debuts his grand opera Robert le Diable (Robert the Devil) at the Paris Opera, with libretto by Eugene Scribe and Casimir Delavigne, becoming the 2nd grand opera after Daniel Auber's "La Muette de Portici", making him a superstar; incl. Idole de Ma Vie. On Feb. 29, 1836 he debuts his grand opera Les Huguenots at the Paris Opera, with libretto by Eugene Scribe and Emile Deschamps, the first opera to be performed at the Paris Opera more than 1000x (May 16, 1906); it starre Adolphe Nourrit and Cornelie Falcon (as Marguerite de Valis), whose voice failed next Apr.; incl. O Beau Pays. In 1842 Meyerbeer becomes musical dir. of the Royal Opera House in Berlin. On Apr. 16, 1849 he debuts his grand opera Le Prophete (Prophète) at the Paris Opera, with libretto by Eugene Scribe; incl. Coronation March. On Apr. 28, 1865 the posth. grand opera L'Africaine (The African), about Vasco da Gama debuts at the Grand Opera in Paris, with libretto by Eugene Scribe; incl. Oh! Paradis! After he dies, jealous Richard Wagner begins a vicious anti-Semitic smear campaign against him, and his expensive-to-produce operas are later banned by the Nazis.
On Nov. 29, 1836 Russian composer ("Father of Russian Classical Music") Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804-57) debuts the first-ever Russian opera A Life for the Tsar at the Bolshoi Theatre in St. Petersburg, about patriot Ivan Susanin's fight to expel the pesky Poles for Romanov tsar #1 Michael. On Nov. 27, 1842 he debuts his 2nd opera Ruslan and Lyudmila at the same venue, based on an 1820 Alexander Pushkin poem; too bad, it is a flop, after which his career tanked and he go abroad until he croaked in Berlin; incl. Ruslan and Lyudmila Overture.
On Nov, 17, 1839 Parma-born Italian opera composer Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (1813-1901) debuts his first opera Oberto, Conte di San Bonifacio at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, with libretto by Temistocle Solera; the British debut is in Feb. 1982 in Bloomsbury Theatre, London. On Sept. 5, 1840 his opera Un Giorno di Regno debuts at ditto, and is a flop, partly caused by the death of his wife Margherita Barezzi during its composition, but he follows on Mar. 9, 1842 with Nabucco (Nebuchadnezzar), with libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on the play by Anicet-Bourgeois and Francis Cornu, which made him a star; it features Va, Pensiero, Sull'ali Dorate (Fly, Thought, on Golden Wings) (Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves), the only chorus allowed by the Metropolitan Opera; the soprano role of Abigaille has so much high tessitura that it ruins singers' voices, causing Leontyne Price and Joan Sutherland to refuse to sign it, although Ghena Dimitrova (1941-2005) excels at it. He follows with Ernani (the Bandit) (Mar. 9, 1844) (La Fenice Theatre, Venice) (set in 1519) (the first opera ever recorded, in 1903), I Due Foscari (Nov. 3, 1845) (Teatro Argentina in Rome), Alzira (Aug. 12, 1845) (Teatro San Carlo, Naples) (based on Voltaire's play "Alzire, ou les Americains", Attila (Mar. 17, 1845) (Teatro La Fenice in Venice) (libretto by Temistocle Solera, based on the play "Attila, King of the Huns" by Friedrich Ludwig Zacharias Werner), Macbeth (Mar. 14, 1847) (Teatro della Pergola, Florence) (libretto by Francesco Maria Piave and Andrea Maffei, based on the Shakespeare play), which features La Luce Langue, I Masnadieri (The Bandits) (July 22, 1847) (Her Majesty's Theatre, London) (based on Friedrich von Schiller's "Die Rauber"), Jerusalem (Nov. 26, 1847) (Academie Royale de Musique, Paris) (French libretto by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaez). On Oct. 25, 1848 he debuts the opera Il Corsaro (The Corsair) at Teatro Grande, Trieste, with libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on Lord Byron's poem "The Corsair", followed on Jan. 27, 1849 by La Battaglia di Legnano at Teatro Argentina, Rome, with libretto by Salvatore Cammarano, based on Joseph Mery's play "La Battaille de Toulouse". On Dec. 8, 1849 he debuts the opera Luisa Miller at Teatro San Carlo, Naples, with libretto by Salvatore Cammarano, based on Friedrich von Schiller's play "Kabale und Liebe", followed by Stiffelio (Nov. 16, 1850) (Teatro Grande, Trieste) (libretto by Francesco Maria Piave), based on the play "Le Pasteur, ou L'Evangile et le Foyer" by Emile Souvestre and Eugene Bourgeois; starts out as a plot about a Protestant minister forgiving his adulterous wife by quoting the New Testament, but after the censors step in it becomes an English Crusader who has his carpet cleaned? The hits just kept coming, starting with Rigoletto (Mar. 11, 1851) (La Fenice, Venice); based on Victor Hugo's "Le Roi s'Amuse" about a hunchbacked court jester and his beautiful 16-y.-o. sweet young thing daughter Gilda, who is seduced and murdered by the mean horny Duke of Mantua after Rigoletto mocks Count Monterone as he is being unjustly executed and receives a curse; incl. La Donna e Mobile (Woman is Fickle); "Woman is flighty,/ Like a feather in the wind/ She changes her voice and her mind./ Always sweet, pretty face,/ In tears or laughter,/ she is always lying"; beginning of a string of masterpieces for lecherous male supremacists? Then Il Trovatore (The Troubadour) (Jan. 19, 1853) (Teatro Apollo, Rome); based on the 1836 play "El Trovador" by Antonio Garcia Gutierrez; gypsy Azucena's son Manrico is the troubadour, who is in love with Leonora, who is desired by Conte di Luna; so easy to produce, "All you need is the four best singers in the world" (Enrico Caruso); La Traviata (The Fallen Woman) (Mar. 6, 1853) (La Fenice, Venice); original title "Violetta"; libretto by Francesco Maria Piave; based on the 1848 novel "La Dame aux Camelis" by Alexandre Dumas fils; courtesan (high class ho) Violetta Valery (based on Marguerite Gautier), her maid Annina, and servant Giuseppe, Giorgio Germont and his son Alfredo, who falls in love with Violetta, who ends up dying in his arms. Les Vepres (Vêpres) Siciliennes (The Sicilian Vespers) (opera) (June 13, 1855) (Paris Opera); based on the 1282 Sicilian Vespers; French libretto by Charles Duveyrier and Eugene Scribe. Simon Boccanegra (Mar. 12, 1857) (La Fenice, Venice); libretto by Francesco Maria Piave; based on the play "Simon Bocanegra" by Antonio Garcia Gutierrez, about the first Doge of Genoa; Aroldo (opera) (Aug. 16, 1857) (Teatro Nuovo, Rimini); libretto by Francesco Maria Piave; a rewrite of 1850's "Stiffelio" to please censors, which makes it a bore? Un Ballo in Maschera (opera) (Feb. 17, 1859) (Teatro Apollo, Rome); libretto by Antonio Somma; the 1792 assassination of Gustav III of Sweden; contains so many comedic scenes that it rises to Shakespearean? The 1860s are also big for Verdi, strarting with La Forza del Destino (The Force of Destiny) (opera) (Nov. 10, 1862) (Bolshoi Kameny Theatre, St. Petersburg); libretto by Francesco Maria Piave; based on Angel de Saavedra's "Don Alvaro o La Fuerza de Sino" and Friedrich Schiller's "Wallenstein's Lager"; Peruvian nobleman Don Alvaro courts Donna Leonora, but his part-Indian blood holds him back, and it all ends in a double death like Romeo and Juliet?; the overture becomes a big hit. Don Carlos (Mar. 11, 1867) (Paris Opera); French libretto by Camille du Locle and Joseph Mery; based on Friedrich Schillers's play "Don Carlos, Infante of Spain (1545-68)"; Verdi's longest opera (4 hours); it features O Don Fatale. On Dec. 24, 1871 Verdi debuts his opera Aida (Arab. "reward, present") (Khedivial Opera House, Cairo); libretto by Antonio Ghislanzoni; conducted by Giovanni Bottesini; his #2 masterpiece after 1887's "Otello"; based on a scenario by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette; commissioned by Egyptian khedive Ismail Pasha for 150K francs; the pharaoh's daughter Amneris loves hunky capt. of the guard Radames, who really loves Ethiopian hot chocolate slave Aida (secret daughter of king Amonasro), who invades Egypt to rescue her, and is defeated after Radames is made Egyptian CIC, getting betrothed to Amneris as his reward; too bad, after learning she's a princess he is seduced on his wedding day by Amonasro into betraying his country and giving up his army's location and letting Aida and Amonasro escape, and after high priest Ramfis blows the whistle, he is condemned to being buried alive in a tomb, only to discover Aida waiting for him in the cooler to make some hot fudge sundaes in eternity; not written to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal because Verdi doesn't write "occasional pieces"; Act 3 opens in front of a temple of Isis on the bank of the Nile. Requiem Mass (Manzoni Requiem) (Milan) (May 22, 1874); commemorates the 1st anniv. of the death of Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni (1785-1873). Otello (opera) (Feb. 5, 1887) (Teatro alla Scala, Milan); libretto by Arrigo Boito; based on Shakespeare's "Othello", with Desdemona's father Brabantio omitted; his #1 masterpiece. Falstaff (opera) (Feb. 9, 1893) (La Scala, Milan); adapted by Arrigo Boito from Shakespeare's "Merry Wives of Windsor" and "Henry IV"; his last opera; his last comic opera 50 years earlier is a flop, but he finally gets over it since his comedy is about over, and he will soon join Margherita?
In 1840 German poet Max Schneckenburger (1819-49) composes Wacht am Rhein (Watch on the Rhine), which is set to music in 1854 by conductor Karl (Carl) Wilhelm (1815-73), becoming Germany's most popular patriotic song during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1.
In 1841 Belgian instrument maker Antoine-Joseph "Adolphe" Sax (1814-94) invents the saxophone (patented on June 28, 1846); also the saxhorn and the saxotromba. Nothing is more romantic than a honking goose?
On Mar. 31, 1841 German Romantic composer Robert Alexander Schumann (1810-56) debuts his Symphony No. 1 in B-flat major, Op. 38 ("Spring Symphony") in Leipzig, conducted by Felix Mendelssohn. Backing up, he met his wife, German pianist-composer Clara Josephine Wieck Schumann (1819-96) in 1828 at age 9 when she begins performing for her father Friedrich Wieck, his piano teacher. In 1840 after daddy takes him to court to stop it, she reaches the legal age of 21 and marries him, then talks him into writing for orchestra rather than just piano. With her pushing him on, he follows with Das Paradies und die Peri (Paradise and the Peri) (secular oratorio) (Leipzig) (1843), and Genoveva (Leipzig) (1850). On Feb. 6, 1851 his big hit Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major ("Rhenish") debuts in Dusseldorf, celebrating the Rhineland; it has five movements not four; 1st Movement; 2nd Movement; 3rd Movement; 4th Movement; 5th Movement. In 1852 he composes Music to Byron's "Manfred". In 1854 after making Brahms into the Third B he attempted suicide, then is confined in a mental institution at his own request for two years before croaking in 1856 in middle age.
1848 is one of those years people don't want to talk about. After crop failures and recessions leave many of the poor on the verge of starvation, the European Revs. of 1848 (Springtime of Nations) (Springtime of the Peoples) (Year of Rev.) sees liberal revs. spring up simultaneously across Europe; only the Euro states of Britain, Russia, Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, and the Ottoman Empire are spared; too bad, most of them are quickly quashed, with tens of thousands tortured and killed, although the social changes later proved profound; "Society is cut in two: those who had nothing united in common envy, and those who had anything united in common terror" (Alexis de Tocqueville).
On Aug. 28, 1850 Leipzig-born German composer Wilhelm Richard Wagner (1813-83), developer of the leitmotif (leitmotiv) (guiding theme), known for introducing the tuba into the orchestra debuts his opera Lohengrin in Weimar, but misses the debut since he is in exile in Switzerland; it contains the music for Here Comes the Bride (Bridal Chorus). On June 10, 1865 his opera Tristan und Isolde debuts at the Royal Court Theater in Munich), based on the 1210 vers. by Gottfried von Strassburg; it contains Liebestod (Love Death). In 1868 Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg debuts in Munich. On Sept. 22, 1869 his opera Das Rheingold debuts at the Nat. Theatre in Munich, the first of the four operas of Der Ring des Nibelungen (Die Walkure, Siegfried, Gotterdammerung); it starred August Kindermann as Wotan, Heinrich Vogl as Loge the fire god, and Wilhelm Fischer as Alberich the Nibelung dwarf; it opens with an E flat major prelude representing the eternally-unchanging Rhine River; Wotan, his wife Fricka, and her sister Freia (goddess of love) (whose golden apples keep the gods young) get in a feud with giants Fasolt and Fafner over an unpaid debt for building Wotan's castle; meanwhile Alberich steals the Rheingold from the Rheinmaidens Woglinde, Wellgunde, and Flosshilde, and makes a ring of power out of it, along with the invisibility helmet Tarnhelm, causing the giants to hold Freia for ransom, forcing Wotan to get the ring from Alberich, descending into the earth to a choir of 18 tuned anvils; after Wotan finally gets the ring, Alberich retaliates by cursing it, and after Fasner kills Fasolt and Freia is saved, Earth goddess Erda intervenes and forces Wotan to give the ring back to the Rhinemaidens, after which thunder god Donner clears the air, and spring god Froh creates a rainbow bridge to Wotan's new castle of Valhalla. In 1870 his opera Die Walkure (The Valkyries) debuts, featuring Ride of the Valyries. In 1874 his opera The Ring of the Nibelung (Nibelungen), debuts - his opus maximus, finished after 26 years of work; it features Gotterdammerung (Götterdämmerung); the 15-hour set of four operas concludes with fat blonde-braided Brunnhilde singing an aria then riding into Siegfried's funeral pyre while dressed like a valkyrie with horned helmet, spear and shield, causing the expression "It ain't over till the fat lady sings" to be coins. In 1876 the Bayreuth Festspielhaus (pr. BYE-royt) in W Germany opens with the first complete performance of "Ring des Nibelungen"; a fan-shaped auditorium with continuous rows of seating and no Baroque box-and-tier system, Wagner supervised its design and construction, and ran it until his death, then is buried on its grounds along with his father-in-law Franz Liszt, after which his grandson Wieland Wagner begins using minimal sets and sophisticated lighting for atmosphere. While Adolf Hitler later becomes a big fan of both, in 1870 Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900), prof. of philology at the U. of Basel met Wagner at his villa on Lake Lucerne, and becomes a big fan at first, then in 1874 they violently quarreled and becomes enemies, after which Nietzsche claims to believe that his music is effete and decadent.
In 1853 Robert Schumann pub. an article in the mag. Neue Bahnen proclaiming his find of German composer-pianist Johannes Brahms (1833-97), whom he predicted would become the next great composer in the line running from J.S. Bach through Beethoven, which would make the Three B's of Classical Music. In 1854 Brahms composes Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra, followed by Two Serenades (1860), Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (German Requiem) (1868) (written after his mother dies), Brahms' Lullaby (The Cradle Song), Op. 49 No. 4 (1868), with lyrics from the German folk poem collection "Des Knaben Wunderhorn", and the 2nd stanza by Georg Scherer (1824-1909), first sung by Brahms' friend Bertha Faber, Triumphlied (Song of Triumph) (1871) (to celebrate the big German V over the French in Jan. 1871), and Hungarian Dances (1874), all of which fixed him financially. In 1876-86 he cranks out four symphonies, starting with Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 (1876), Symphony No. 2, Op. 75 (1877), Symphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90 (1883) (an attempt to reconcile Classical with Romantic?), Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90 (1884), and Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 (1886). In 1880 he composes Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 (Breslau), and Tragic Overture, followed in 1883 by Gesang der Parzen, and in 1888 by Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra in A minor, Op. 102.
On July 5, 1855 Theatre des Bouffes Parisiens at 4 Rue Monsigny in Paris opens with the musical operetta Les Deux Aveugles (The Two Blind Men) by German-born Jewish former cellist Jacques Offenbach (1819-80), moving on Dec. 29, 1856 to the location of the Theatre Conte, with Offenbach coining the term "opera bouffe" to describe his works, which are full of comedy, parody, satire and farce. On Oct. 14, 1856 he debuts his operetta La Bonne d'Enfant (The Nanny) at Theatre des Bouffes Parisiens, with libretto by Eugene Bercioux. On Oct. 21, 1858 he debuts Orpheus in the Underworld (Orphee aux Enfers) at Theatre des Bouffes Parisiens, which is a giant hit with 228 perf.. It is his first full-length operetta, after a French law limiting anything but grand opera to one act and three singers is changed in 1858; it features his big hit The Can-Can (Cancan) (Infernal Gallop), which accompanies the music hall dance called the Can-Can, in which dancing girls repeatedly raise their long skirts to reveal petticoats and black stockings, sans panties - ooh lala how shocking? On Nov. 26, 1860 he debuts his "fantastic ballet" Le Papillon (The Butterfly) at the the Salle Le Peletier in Paris, with libretto by Jules-Henry Vernoy de Saint Georges, starring Emma Livry as Farfalla the Butterfly, Louise Merante as Prince Djalma, Louise Marquet as the Fairy Hamza, and Mme. Simon as the Diamond Fairy; in 1867 George Leybourne (1842-84) et al. composes the hit song The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze, about French acrobat Jules Leotard (1842-70) (namesake of the 1-piece gymsuit), based on Act. 2 Scene 1, with Offenbach everybody thinks they can take more and more clothes off'n their back. On Dec. 17, 1864 he debuts his operetta La Belle Helene at Theatre des Varietes, Paris, which allegedly reached 700 perf., with libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy; about Helen's elopment with Paris that brought on the Trojan War, starring Hortense "La Sneder" Schneider and Jose Dupuis; Sample. On Oct. 31, 1866 he debuts his operetta La Vie Parisienne at Theatre du Palais Royal, Paris, with libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy; Ouverture, Finale. On Oct. 5, 1880 Offenbach dies, leaving the unfinished opera (his best?) The Tales of Hoffmann (Les Contes d'Hoffmann) (completed by Ernest Guiraud in 1881), containing The Baccarole.
In 1856 The Five (Mighty Handful), a group of Russian composers with the goal of creating a distinctively Russian music is formed in St. Petersburg (until 1870), led by Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev (1837-1910), along with Cesar Antonovich Cui (1835-1918), Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839-81), Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), and Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin (1833-87) (a chemistry prof. who moonlighted); Russian music critic Vladimir Vasilievich Stasov (1824-1906) serves as their mentor, making sure that all their creations sound really, really Russian. In 1866 Mussorgsky composes St. John's Night on the Bare Mountain for St. John's Eve (June 23), while Rimsky-Korsakov composes Sadko, Op. 5, vying for first tone poem by a Russian composer. In Feb. 1875 Mussorgsky debuts his violin concerto Boris Godunov in St. Petersburg. In 1877 Borodin debuts his Second Symphony in B minor, most original ever written by a Russian composer? In 1880 Borodin debuts his tone poem On (In) the Steppes of Central Asia. Borodin leaves his opera Prince Igor unfinished, and it is completed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) and Alexander Glazunov in 1890.
On Mar. 19, 1859 Charles Gounod (1818-93) debuts his masterpiece opera Faust at the Theatre-Lyrique in Paris); it flops at first, then becomes one of the most popular operas of all time.
In 1860 Victor Mustel (1815-90) of France invents the Dulciphone (Typiphone), a tuning-fork harpsichord. In 1886 his son M. Auguste Mustel invents the Celesta (pr. chel-ES-ta) (small metal bars struck by felt hammers with piano-like keyboard), which is used by Tchaikovsky in "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" (1892), and is often used to substitute for the glockenspiel.
In 1863 French composer Georges Alexandre Cesar Leopold Bizet (1838-75) debuts his opera The Pearl Fishers (Les Pecheurs de Perles), followed in 1866 by Symphony No. 1 in C major ("Roma") , and in 1867 by the opera The Fair Maid of Perth (Le Jolie Fille de Perth). On Mar. 3, 1875 he debuts his opera Carmen at the Opera-Comique in Paris, with libretto by Ludovic Halevy and Henri Meilhac based on the 1845 novel by Prosper Merimee (1803-70), about gypsy Carmen, bullfighter Escamillo, Don Jose, and Micaela; it features Toreador, en Garde (Escamillo's Aria) (Toreador Song), L'Amour est un Oiseau Rebelle (Carmen's Habanera) (Love Is Like a Rebellious Bird), Pres des Ramparts de Seville (Seguidilla), and Les Tringles des Sisters Tintaient (Gypsy Song); stars mezzo-soprano Celestine Galli-Marie (Célestine Galli-Marié) (1840-1905) as Carmen (salary 2.5K francs per mo.), who smokes cigs and catfights over lover Don Jose, played by tenor Paul Lherie (Lhérie) (1844-1937); baritone Jacques Joseph Andre Bouhy (1848-1929) plays Escamillo, and Marguerite Chapuy plays Micaela; the debut is a failure with Parisian critics for being too risque, and it almost closed after 4-5 performances, then filled the house for 37 performances, after which it is kept going for 48 performances by giving away tickets; on June 3 Bizet (b. 1838) dies thinking it is a flop, after which it debuts in Vienna in Oct. and becomes a big hit, although Opera Comique wouldn't stage it again until 1883.
In 1866 after once thinking it ran the world around 1453, only to see its balloon keep shrinking, Austria suffered the final giant needle-gun D to Prussia in the Seven Weeks' War taking the remaining air out. There is one light, Austrian composer Franz von Suppe (Suppé) (1819-95), who composes the immortal Popeye Spinach Overture (AKA Poet and Peasant Overture) in 1846, followed by the even more immortal Lone Ranger Theme (Light Cavalry Overture) in 1866. I think we know that the stage is now set for the birth of the one and only Ahnuld a cent. later.
In 1866 Russian composer Peter (Pyotr) (Piotr) (Petr) Ilich (Ilyich) Tchaikovsky (Tschaikowsky) (1840-93) begins teaching at the new Moscow Musical Conservatory, which is later named for him. In 1868 he composes Symphony No. 1. On Mar. 16, 1870 he debuts his overture Romeo and Juliet: Overture-Fantasy in Moscow; too bad, it is disrupted by a demonstration caused by a sensational court case involving conductor Nikolai Rubinstein and a female student, causing Tchaikovsky to rewrite the ending in 1880. In 1873 he composes Symphony No. 2, followed in 1875 by Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 23 (Boston); incl. the super-popular Tonight We Love. On Mar. 4, 1877 (Feb. 20 Old Style) his ballet Swan Lake debuts at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, about good white swan Odette (Fr. "treasure") and bad black swan Odile (daughter of evil wizard Von Rothbart), who impersonates her so that hunk Siegfried will break his promise to her; too bad, it flops. Also in 1877 he debuts the symphonic poem Francesca da Rimini, followed in 1879 by the operas Eugene Onegin, and The Maid of Orleans. In 1882 he debuts his The 1812 Overture, which he called "loud and noisy".
On Apr. 3, 1868 Norwegian composer Edvard Hagerup Grieg (1843-1907) (originally spelled Greig after his Scottish great-grandfather who fought in the 1746 Battle of Culloden) debuts his one and only concerto, Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 in Copenhagen, which becomes one of the most popular ever. In 1867-1901 he pub. Lyric Pieces, a collection of 66 piano compositions in 10 vols., incl. Wedding Day At Troldhaugen, Op. 65 No. 6, To Spring, Op. 43 No. 5, March of the Trolls, Op. 54 No. 3, Butterfly, Op. 43 No. 1. He also composes the music for Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) for his Feb. 24, 1876 play Peer Gynt, incl. In the Hall of the Mountain King, Morning Mood.
The 1870s is the decade of the launch of hyphenated composers Cam and Nick, Charles-Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921) and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) (Rimsky as in Rome). In 1871 Saint-Saens debuts his symphonic poem Le Rouet d'Omphale, Op. 31. In 1873 Rimsky-Korsakov debuts his opera Ivan the Terrible in St. Petersburg. In 1877 Saint-Saens debuts his opera Samson et Dalila in Weimar. In 1882 Rimsky-Korsakov debuts the opera The Snow Maiden in St. Petersburg. In 1886 Mussorgsky's posth. A Night on Bald Mountain is releases, arranged by Rimsky-Korsakov based on Mussorgsky's 1867 tone poem "St. John's Night on the Bare Mountain". In 1887 Rimsky-Korsakov composes Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34. In 1888 Rimsky-Korsakov debuts his symphonic suite Scheherezade, Op. 35 in St. Petersburg, based on "Thousand and One (Arabian) Nights"; Listen; "The Sultan Schariar, convinced that all women are false and faithless, vowed to put to death each of his wives after the first nuptial night. But the Sultana Scheherazade saved her life by entertaining her lord with fascinating tales, told seriatim, for a thousand and one nights. The Sultan, consumed with curiosity, postponed from day to day the execution of his wife, and finally repudiated his bloody vow entirely." In Dec. 1888 Rimsky-Korsakov follows with the overture (Great) Russian Easter Festival Overture, Op. 36; Listen. On Nov. 1, 1892 Rimsky-Korsakov debuts his opera Mlada in St. Petersburg), followed on Dec. 10, 1895 by his opera Christmas Eve in St. Petersburg. On Dec. 7, 1897 (Nov. 25 Old Style) Rimsky-Korsakov debuts his opera Mozart and Salieri, with a libretto from Alexander Pushkin's 1830 verse drama that claims that jealous Salieri poisoned Mozart. On Jan. 7, 1898 (Dec. 26 Old Style) Rimsky-Korsakov debuts his opera Sadko at Solodovnikov Theatre, Moscow, and also composes the operas The Tsar's Bride, and The Noblewoman Vera Sheloga. On Nov. 3, 1900 (Oct. 21 Old Style) Rimsky-Korsakov debuts the opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan in Solodovnikov Theatre, Moscow; it features the orchestral interlude Flight of the Bumblebee to close Act 3 Tableau 1, which is jazzed-up by Am. trumpet player Al Hirt for the 1966-7 TV series The Green Hornet. On Oct. 14, 1902 (Oct. 1 Old Style) Rimsky-Korsakov debuts his opera Servilia at Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg), with libretto based on the drama by Lev Alexandrovich Mey about Nero's reign; also the opera Kaschchey the Deathless, about an ugly old wizard who preys on young women. On Oct. 16, 1904 (Oct. 3 Old Style) Rimsky-Korsakov debuts his opera Pan Voyevoda (The Gentleman Provincial Governor) at St. Petersburg. On June 21, 1908 (June 8 Old Style) Rimsky-Korsakov dies. On Oct. 7, 1909 (Sept. 24 Old Style) Rimsky-Korsakov's opera The Golden Cockerel (Le Coq d'Or) posth. debuts at Solodovnikov Theatre in Moscow, with libretto by Vladimir Belsky from Alexander Pushkin's 1834 poem "The Tale of the Golden Cockerel", based on "Tales of the Alhambra" by Washington Irving, about a clairvoyant bird who pecks a king to death. In 1921 just like Mozart in 1791, Saint-Saens writes something for a clarinet in his last year of life, his Clarinet Sonata in E flat major, Op. 167.
The 1870s is also the decade of the launch of English comic operetta composers Sullibert and Gillivan, er, Gilligan's Island, er, Gilbert and Sullivan, who benefitted from the groundwork laid by Jacques Offenbach. In 1871 English playwright-librettist Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836-1911) (knighted in 1907) and English composer Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan (1842-1900) (knighted in 1883) begin their collaboration (ends 1896), producing 14 comic operettas, which starting in 1881 are produced by Richard D'Oyly Carte (1844-1901) at the Savoy Theatre in London, causing the term "Savoyard" to be coins for an actor, producer or admirer of their operas, and "Gilbertian" to mean a humorous play; it is lit by newfangled electricity. The repertoire incl. Thespis (comic operetta #1) (1871); a Christmas entertainment. Trial by Jury (comic operetta #2) (Royalty Theatre, London) (Mar. 25, 1875); no spoken dialogue; the judge is played by Arthur Sullivan's brother Fred. The Sorcerer (comic operetta #3) (1877). H.M.S. Pinafore; or, The Lass That Loved A Sailor (comic operetta #4) (May 25, 1878) (Opera Comique, London); 571 perf. (their first big hit); a navy captain's daughter is in love with a low class foremast hand, while her daddy wants her to marry the firdstord of the admiralty. The Pirates of Penzance (comic operetta #5) (1879); the Pirate King, Maj.-Gen. Stanley and his daughters; features The Major-General's Song, with cool lyrics; "I am the very model of a modern major-general,/ I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral,/ I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical/ From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorial;/ I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,/ I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,/ About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o'news,/ With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse./ I'm very good at integral and differential calculus;/ I know the scientific names of beings animalculous:/ In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,/ I am the very model of a modern major-general." The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu (comic operetta #9) (Savoy Theatre, London) (Mar. 14, 1885) (672 perf.); the Mikado, his son Nanki-Poo, who is loved by elderly Katisha, Ko-Ko the Lord High Executioner, with a jackhammer smile on his face and his fiance Yum-Yum and wards Peep-Bo and Pitti-King, Poo-Bah, Lord High Everything Else, Lord Pish-Tush; incl. the phrase "short, sharp shock" to mean a quick severe punishment; features three Geishas singing Three Little Maids From School Are We, later becoming a gay favorite.
In 1870 French composer Leo Delibes (1836-91) debuts his ballet Coppelia, followed in 1876 by Sylvia in Paris. On Apr. 14, 1883 he debuts his opera Lakme (Lakmé) at Opera Comique in Paris, with libretto by Edmond Gondinet and Philippe Gille, based on the 1880 novel "Rarahu ou Le Mariage de Loti" by Pierre Loti, starring Van Zandt as Lakme and Jean-Alexandre Talazac as Gerald; incl. The Flower Duet, Bell Song.
On Jan. 19, 1884 French opera composer Jules Emile Frederic Massenet (1842-1912) debuts his opera Manon at Opera-Comique in Paris, with libretto by Henri Meilhac and Philippe Gille based on the 1731 Abbe Prevost novel "Manon Lescaut", which becomes his biggest hit; Listen. On Feb. 16, 1892 he debuts his opera Werther at the Imperial Theatre Hofoper in Vienna, with libretto by Edouard Blau, Paul Milliet, and Georges Hartman based on Goethe's 1774 novel "The Sorrows of Young Werther"; Listen; incl. Pourquoi me Reveiller, o Souffle du Printemps?
In 1873 Czech Romantic composer Antonin Leopold Dvorak (1841-1904), who likes to combine classical with native music debuts his first hit, the cantata Hymnus. On Apr. 17, 1875 (Easter Mon.) he debuts his opera Vanda, Op. 25 at the Provisional Theatre, Prague, about Vanda, daughter of deceased Polish prince Krak, her sister Bozena, Cracow knight Slavoj, bard Lumir, sorceress Homena, abd German prince Roderich. In 1876-7 he composes the oratorio Stabat Mater, Op. 58. On Jan. 27, 1878 he debuts the comic opera The Peasant Rogue, Op. 35 at the Czech Theatre, Prague, with libretto by J.O. Vesely, with a story cloned from Figaro, about a prince who wants to seduce Betuska, who is in love with Jenik, after which the princess dresses up as Betuska to trap him. In 1878 he also composes Slavonic Dances, Op. 46 (1st series) (2nd series 1886), incl. Slavonic Dance No. 1, Slavonic Dance No. 2 in E minor, Slavonic Dance No. 3, Slavonic Dance No. 4 in F major, Slavonic Dance No. 5 in A major, Slavonic Dance No. 6 in D major, and Slavonic Dance No. 7. In 1891 he debuts his Dumka (Dumky) Trio No. 4 in E minor, Op. 90; a Dumka (Dumy) is a Ukrainian epic ballad of thoughtful or melancholy character; Movement 1, Movement 2, Movement 3, Movement 4, Movement 5, Movement 6. In 1893 he debuts his biggest hit Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95, B. 178 ("From the New World") (5th and last symphony), composed during his U.S. visit in 1892-5, inspired in part by Negro spirituals, becoming his biggest hit; Listen; while staying in the Czech community of Spillville, Iowa, he composes "American" String Quartet in F, Op. 96 (June 10, 1893), which uses Am. Negro and Am. Indian music themes; 1st Movement, 2nd Movement, 3rd Movement, 4th Movement. In 1894 he debuts his Humoresques, Op. 101, the most famous short piano piece after Beethoven's "Fur Elise"; Listen.
In 1874 French painter Claude Monet (1840-1926) launches the Impressionism Movement with a public exhibition in Paris of his 1872 work Impression: Sunrise (Impression, Soleil Levant) (Le Havre Harbor at Sunrise), along with the soundbyte: "Landscape is nothing but an impression, and an instantaneous one, hence this label that is given us, by the way because of me. I had sent a thing done in Le Havre, from my window, sun in the mist and a few masts of boats sticking up in the foreground... They asked me for a title for the catalogue... and I said 'Impression'." Of course music and all the other arts soon follow along.
Meanwhile in Italy around 1875, the lit. movement of Versimo (It. "realism") (ends 1895), inspired by French naturalism is founded by Giovanni Verga (1840-1922) and Luigi Capuana (1839-1915), and adopted by composers Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919), Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945), Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (1858-1924) et al., give them a few years to work out the details.
In 1887 German composer Richard Strauss (1864-1949) debuts Aus Italien in Munich, followed in 1889 by the symphonic poem Don Juan in Weimar. In 1890 he composes Tod und Verklarung (Death and Transfiguration), Op. 24. On May 10, 1894 he deuted his opera Guntram in Weimar, which features the famous Guntram Finale. In 1895 he debuts Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks, Op. 28 in Cologne. On Nov. 30, 1896 he debuts Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 in Berlin. In 1903 he debuts Sinfonia Domestica in New York, which uses a sax quartet. Finally in 1905 his opera Salome debuts in Dresden, becoming his first hit, about the lust of Salome for John the Baptist, which shocked Victorian audiences, causing it to be banned in Boston, Mass., making it more popular?; it features Dance of the Seven Veils. On Jan. 26, 1911 the opera Der Rosenkavalier (The Night of the Rose), by him and Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929) debuts in Dresden, the first German opera since Humperinck's "Hansel und Gretel"; it features Rosenkavalier Overture. In 1917 they and Max Reinhardt (1873-1943) found the Salzburg Festival.
In 1888 French composer-pianist Alfred Eric Leslie "Erik" Satie (1866-1925), who called himself a phonometrician (somebody who measures and writes down sounds) instead of a musician pub. Gymnopedies (Gymnopédies), three piano compositions which are precursors of modern ambient music; Gymnopedie No. 1, Gymnopedie No. 2, Gymnopedie No. 3. Italian-Polish poet-writer-critic Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) coins the term "Surrealism" to describe Satie's works.
On Nov. 6, 1888 Tchaikovsky debuts Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64 in St. Petersburg. In 1889 he debuts his ballet The Sleeping Beauty at Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, based on Charles Perrault's "La Belle au Bois Dormant"; the last act Aurora's Wedding is often performed alone; Tsar Alexander III comments "Very nice". In 1890 he debuts his The Queen of Spades (Pique Dame), Op. 68, based on the 1834 short story by Alexander Pushkin. Too bad, his angel in St. Petersburg, Nadezhda von Meck suddenly cut off his 6K rubles a year stipend, causing him to put the pedal to the medal, and on Dec. 18, 1892 he debuts his ballet The Nutcracker at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, based on E.T.A. Hoffmann's "The Nutcracker and the Mouse"; Clara gets a you know what for Xmas; it features Overture, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Trepak, Dance of the Toy Flutes, Waltz of the Snowflakes; too bad, it is a flop until George Ballanchine resurrected it in annual performances. On Oct. 28, 1893 (Oct. 16 Old Style) he debuts "Pathetique" Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, before croaking way too early in life nine days later; Pathetique Finale. On Jan. 15, 1895 his opera Swan Lake debuts for the 2nd time posth. in St. Petersburg at Mariinsky Theatre; the first (1877) production is a flop, but this one rocks da house, RIP and crack my nuts; Swan Lake Main Theme.
On May 17, 1890 Italian composer Pietro Antonio Stefano Mascagni (1863-1945) debuts his first opera Cavalleria Rusticana at Teatro Costanzi in Rome, with libretto by Givoanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, based on a short story by Sicilian-born Giovanni Verga (1840-1922), which is a giant hit, launching the did-I-mention Italian Versimo (Ital. "realism") Movement in dramatic music (esp. grand opera), where works are impersonal and write themselves; incl. Addio alla Madre, Intermezzo. On May 21, 1891 seeing his commercial chance, Italian composer Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919) debuts his opera (I) Pagliacci (The Clowns) at Teatro Dal Verme in Milan, conducted by Arturo Toscanini, and starring Adelina Stehle as Nedda, Fiorello Giraud as Canio, Victor Maurel as Tonio, and Mario Ancona as Silvio; incl. Vesti la Giubba, No, Pagliacco Non Son; beginning in 1892 it is performed as the Cav/Pag double bill with Mascagni's, that's economic realism.
In 1890 French Impressionist composer (transition figure from Romantic to modernist music) Claude-Achille Debussy (1862-1918) composes the piano suite Suite Bergamasque (rev. 1905), which features Clair de Lune. On Dec. 29, 1893 he debuts his String Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Op. 10 in Paris (only work he assigned an opus to); Listen. On Dec. 22, 1894 he debuts his symphonic poem Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (Prelude a l'Apres-midi d'un Faune) in Paris, based on a poem by Stephane Mallarme; Listen.
In 1891 Russian composer Sergei Wassilievich (Vasilyevich) Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) debuts Piano Concerto No. 1 (rev. 1917), followed on Oct. 8, 1892 with Prelude in C-sharp minor (Moscow), the coolest classical piano piece of all time, and he's only 19. In 1894 he debuts Prelude in C-sharp minor, Op. 3 no. 2. He follows that on Oct. 27, 1901 with Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 (Moscow); not as hot as No. 3, but still pretty cool.
On Feb. 9, 1893 Harry Lawrence Freeman (1869-1954) debuts his opera Epthelia at the Deutsches Theater in Denver, Colo., becoming the first opera written by an African-Am. to be successfully produced.
On Dec. 23, 1893 German composer Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921) (my vote for coolest name for a composer) debuts his opera Hansel and Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel) in Weimar.
In 1893 Italian composer Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini (1858-1924) debuts his 3rd opera Manon Lescaut at Teatro Regio in Turin, based on Abbe Prevost's 1731 novel, becoming his first hit. On Feb. 1, 1896 he debuts La Boheme (Bohème), with libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Henri Murger's "Scenes de la Vie de Boheme"; the debut is conducted by Arturo Toscanini, who repeated 50 years later for a first; Marcello, Rodolfo and Colline; Rodolfo burns his poems to keep his stove going in Act 1; it features Musetta's Waltz. On Jan. 14, 1900 Puccini debuts his big hit opera Tosca at Teatro Costanzi in Rome, set during the republican troubles in Rome with Napoleon in 1798-9; brown-eyed singer Floria Tosca's painter beau Mario Cavaradossi is tortured to reveal the location of his escaped friend Cesare Angelotti (former consul of the Roman Repub., wanted on political charges), but he won't talk so she reveals his location (Mario's well), but the dope kills himself to avoid arrest, and now Cavaradossi is scheduled to be shot, but evil police chief Baron Scarpia promises her that his men will use blanks if she will put out for him, and she at first agrees, then stabs him before he can do her, uttering the soundbyte "This is Tosca's kiss", then waits for Mario to play dead so they can escape together; too bad, they use real bullets, and she is found out by spoilsport policeman Spoletta, after which she throws herself from the castle and dies; receives a mixed reception; later, in a performance in Chicago they use a trampoline instead of a mattress, causing a "bouncing Tosca" at the end; in another performance in San Francisco, the firing squad are last-minute hires, who shoot Tosca instead of Mario; incl. the hit song E Lucevan le Stelle (And the Stars Were Shining). In 1900 David Belasco (1853-1931) and John Luther Long (1861-1927) debuts their play Madame Butterfly, based on the 1898 short story by John Luther Long and the 1887 novel "Madame Chrysantheme" by Pierre Loti, set in Nagasaki, Japan, about U.S. Navy Lt. B.F. Pinkerton of the USS Abraham Lincoln, who marries 15-y.-o. geisha Cio-Cio San (Madame Butterfly), then leaves for the states, promising to return "when the robins nest again", but after three years, during which time she has borne his half-breed son, she learns that he has married a white woman, after which she gives her boy a small U.S. flag and a doll, then commits hari-kari, uttering the soundbyte "To die with honor, when you can no longer live with honor". On Feb. 17, 1904 Puccini debuts his opera Madama Butterfly at La Scala in Milan, with libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa; it actually flops until it is revised on May 28 to make the 2nd act shorter, becoming a giant hit; it features Un Bel di Vedremo, Vogliatemi Bene, Tu, Tu Piccolo Iddio, Cio-Cio San; F.B. Pinkerton is really Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton, but "B.F." means "bloody fool" to Brits?; changed to Linkerton for Germans because Pinkerton sounds like a German swear word? On Dec. 10, 1910 Puccini debuts his opera La Fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West) in New York City, with libretto by Guelfo Civinini and Carlo Zangarini, based on the 1905 play by David Belasco about the 1849 Calif. Gold Rush, Polka Saloon Owner Minnie, and her beau Dick Johnson; 1st world premiere for the Metropolitan Opera House; inspiration for Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera"? In 1918 he debuts his 1-act opera Gianni Schicchi at the Metropolitan Opera, first of a trio of operas known as "Il Trittico" (The Tryptych), based on Dante's "Inferno"; it features the hit song O Mio Babbino Caro, sung by Lauretta, who begs her wealthy daddy Donati (on his deathbed) to let her marry Rinuccio, becoming a favorite for sopranos; "And if my love are in vain, I would go to the Ponte Veechio and throw myself in the Arno". On Apr. 25, 1926 after dying and leaving it unfinished, his opera Turandot debuts at La Scala in Milan (completed by Franco Alfano), based on Carlo Gozzi's 1762 work; the cruel heroine poses three riddles, with death for the losers, and Calaf the Unknown Prince, son of King Timur of Tartary bangs the gong 3x, after which she balks at how ugly he is, then he gives her a chance to guess his name by dawn, but she orders her subject to stay up all night and find it or be executed; on Nov. 16 Moravian soprano Maria Jeritz (1887-1982) stars in the title role in its North Am. debut at the Metropolitan Opera; incl. the last-act tenor aria Nessun Dorma (None Shall Sleep) (D major), sung by Calaf as the night begins; the cool lyrics end: "Dilegua, o notte, tramontate stelle, tramontate stelle, all'alba vincero, vincero, vincero!" (Vanish, o night, fade stars, fade stars, at daybreak I shall win, I shall win!) (sustained B4 followed by sustained A4); all the main chars. except Calaf are Chinese, hence they sing eight authentic Chinese tunes in pentatonic scale (using the five black keys on the piano), while Calaf's songs are Western, which makes then stand out more?; Turandot's motif is the 18th cent. Chinese tune "Mo Li Hua" (Jasmine).
On Nov. 4, 1895 Irish-born composer-conductor-cellist Victor August Herbert (1859-1924), who emigrated to the U.S. in 1886 debuts his first hit operetta The Wizard of the Nile at the Casino Theatre in New York City, with libretto by Harry Bache Smithe (1860-1936). On Mar. 16, 1897 he debuts his 2nd hit operetta The Serenade at the Kickerbocker Theater in New York City, with lyrics by Smith, which ran 79 perf. On Sept. 26, 1898 he debuts hit operetta #3 The Fortune Teller at Wallack's Theatre in New York (40 perf.). On Oct. 13, 1903 he debuts his biggest hit operetta Babes in Toyland in New York City (192 perf.), an attempt to cash in on "The Wizard of Oz"; incl. Babes in Arms, March of the Toys, Toyland. On Dec. 25, 1905 he debuts his operetta Mlle. Modiste at the Knickerbocker Theatre in New York City (202 perf.); incl. Kiss Me Again. On Sept. 24, 1906 he debuts another hit operetta The Red Mill at the Knickerbocker Theater in New York City (274 perf.), which debuts again on Oct. 16, 1945 at the Ziegfield Theatre for 531 perf.; in 1906 producer Charles Dillingham placed Broadway's first moving illuminated sign in front of the theater, an electric revolving red windmill; Listen. On Sept. 8, 1913 he debuts his operetta Sweethearts at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City (136 perf); incl. On Parade. On Mar. 19, 1917 he debuts his operetta Eileen (The Hearts of Erin) at the Shubert Theatre in New York City, based on the 1835 novel Rory O'Moore by his grandfather Samuel Lover; it only ran for 64 perf., after which his career faded when WWI causes tastes to change; incl. Thine Alone.
In 1895-7 English composer Frederick (Fritz) Theodore Albert Delius (1862-1934) composes his fantasy overture Over the Hills and Far Away, followed in 1896 by Appalachia, in 1906 by Sea Drift, based on the poetry of Walt Whitman, in 1907 by Brigg Fair, in 1908 by A Mass of Life, based on the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, and in 1912 by the tone poem On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring; Listen. In 1913 he debuts Summer Night on the River, followed in 1919 by Fennimore and Gerda (written in 1909-10). Too bad, he contracted syphilis in Paris as a young man, and it caught up to him by 1918, slowing him to a crawl.
In 1899 English composer Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) debuts his Enigma Variations, Op. 36, with each piece having a "friend pictured therein". In 1902-30 he composes five Pomp and Circumstance Marches, the first for Edward VII's coronation; the title comes from Shakespeare's "Othello", Act 3 Scene 3: "Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war"; Pomp and Circumstance No. 1.
"Ich bin ein Jelly Doughnut" - JFK. In 1899 Berlin-born German conductor-composer Carl Emil Paul Lincke (1866-1946) launches Berlin opera with the debut of his operetta Frau Luna in Berlin, about a trip to the Moon in a hot air balloon by some Berliners, who meet Frau Luna and her court; incl. the march Berliner Luft, which becomes Berlin's unofficial anthem. In 1902 he debuts the operetta Lysistrata in Berlin, which incl. the song Gluhwurmchen (Glühwürmchen), which Johnny Mercer translates into English as Glow Little Glow Worm. He also composes the Wedding Dance, which is features in the 1997 film "Titanic".
In 1900 English black composer (Sierra Leonean father, English mother) Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) (named after the poet, with a mistaken hyphen in the birth certificate) debuts Hiawatha, which incl. Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, causing him to become known as the Black Mahler. On Sept. 12, 1912 he dies broke of pneumonia, but George V grants his widow a pension.
On Apr. 30, 1902 Claude Debussy debuts his only opera Pelleas et Melisande (Pelléas et Mélisande) at Opera-Comique in Paris, based on the play by Maurice Maeterlinck, starring Mary Garden as Melisande, the wife of Pelleas' brother; a hit, it made Debussy into an instant celeb, causing him to begin writing mainly for the piano (until 1910); incl. Mes Longs Cheveux. In 1903-5 he composes La Mer: Three Symphonic Sketches for Orchestra (The Sea) (1903-5); composes while on holiday at the English Channel coast in Eastbourne; it debuts on Oct. 15, 1905 in Paris; Listen. In 1910 he pub. vol. 1 of Preludes for Piano, which drew comparisons to Chopin.
On Dec. 30, 1905 Hungarian composer Franz Lehar (Lehár Ferenc) (1870-1948) debuts his hit operetta The Merry Widow (Die Lustige Witwe) at Theater an der Wien in Vienna; it features Vilja Song, You'll Find Me at Maxim's, and Merry Widow Waltz; after hearing it, rival Austrian Viennese composer Oscar Straus (1870-1954) remarked "Das kann ich auch" ("I can also do that"), and on Mar. 2, 1907 he debuts his hit operetta A Waltz Dream (Ein Walzertraum) at the Carltheater in Vienna, with libretto by Leopold Jacobson and Felix Dormann, based on the Hans Muller-Einigen's 1905 "Book of Adventures"; it features Leise, Ganz Leise. On Nov. 14, 1908 Straus debuts his bigger hit operetta The Chocolate Soldier (Der Tapfere Soldat) (The Brave Soldier) at Theater an der Wien in Vienna; it features My Hero.
In 1908 Hungarian composer-pianist Bela Viktor Janos Bartok (1881-1945) (#2 Hungarian composer after Liszt) composes the first of his six string quartets (1917, 1927, 1934, 1939). In 1926 he composes Out of Doors, a set of five solo piano pieces. The same year he composes his Piano Concerto No. 1. In 1930 he composes Cantata Profana, Op. 94 (The Nine Splendid Stags); a father is teaching his nine sons how to hunt when they turn into nine stags, and he almost kills them before discovering it, but when they return home he tells them that their life is now in the forest; claims it expresses his personal credo. In 1936 he composes Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Op. 114. In 1943 he composes Concerto for Orchestra, Op. 116, written in 55 days after he gets ill from leukemia and Serge Koussevitzky offers him the job to pay his medical bills; it debuts on Dec. 1, 1944 with the Boston Symphony, and ends up as one of his most popular compositions; Listen. In 1945 he composes Piano Concerto No. 3 in E major, Op. 119 during the last 5 mo. of his life, leaving the last 17 measures unfinished, which are finished by his pupils; Listen.
In 1909 gay mean taskmaster Russian impresario Sergei Diaghilev (1872-1929) founds the Ballets Russes (Fr. "Russian Ballet") in Paris, creating a sensation with its exotic Russian dancers Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950) (Diaghilev's gay lover) and Anna Pavlova (1881-1931), and launching the careers of choreographers Michel Fokine (1880-1942), Leonide Massine (1896-1979), Bronislava Nijinska (1891-1972), and George Balanchine (1904-83); it never performed in Russia, and broke up after his 1929 death; meanwhile in 1913 Nijinsky hooks up with Hungarian countess Romola Pulszky (1891-1978) and marries her, pissing-off Diaghilev, who fires him, after which he suffers a nervous breakdown in 1919 and never dances again.
On Sept. 12, 1910 Austrian conductor-composer Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) (a conductor first, composer second, cranking out 10 Romantic symphonies, most of which didn't catch on), who in 1896 converted from Judaism to Christianity debuts Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major ("Symphony of a Thousand") in Munich, the last of his works to be premiered during his lifetime; finally he has a big hit; Listen. His 2nd most popular symphony is Symphony No. 2 ("Resurrection"), which debuts in 1895; Listen. His Symphony No. 5 in c sharp minor is composed in 1901-2, and features a funereal trumpet solo at the beginning, and a popular Adagietto.
In 1910 Russian composer Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (1882-1971) debuts his ballet The Firebird (L'Oiseau de Feu) in Paris, the first of three ballets commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev and performed by his Ballets Russes; it starred Tamara Platonovna Karsavina (1885-1978) after Anna Pavlova couldn't hack the score. He follows it in 1911 with the ballet Petrouchka (Paris), featuring a puppet man who represents humanity in the automation age; it features Danse Russe. On May 29, 1913 he debuts his ballet Rite of Spring: Pictures from Pagan Russia (Le Sacre du Printemps) (Sacred Spring) at Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris, about pagan sex rituals in ancient Russia; "I have penetrated the secret of the rhythm of the spring"; the debut, featuring the sexy dancing of Nijinsky is so daring that many in the audience are shocked and outraged, causing a riot to break out and Stravinsky and Nijinsky to flee the theater; meanwhile 14-y.-o. Francis Poulenc witnesses elderly Comtesse de Pourtales screaming that she's being taken for a fool, while Maurice Ravel keeps shouting "Genius!"; choreographer Sergei Diaghilev orders the lights flipped on and off while the crowd boos and hisses power burgers; "A blasphemous attempt to destroy music as an art" (Carl Van Vechten); there are only nine more performances this year, but next year a concert version receives a standing ovation; listen. On May 26, 1914 he debuts his opera Le Rossignol (The Nightingale) at Theatre Nat. de l'Opera, Paris, conducted by Pierre Monteux; a Chinese fisherman brings a melodious nightingale to the emperor, who falls in love with it, causing the Japanese emperor to send him a mechanical one, which he adopts instead, then grows sick, after which the real one strikes a deal with Death to keep him alive by singing for him every night.
On Dec. 2 1912 Czech.-born Am. composer Rudolf Friml (1880-1972) (who toured as the pianist for Czech violinist Jan Kubelik since 1901) debuts his first operetta The Firefly, at the Lyric Theatre in New York City, with libretto by Otto Harbach, about a young Italian New York street singer who disguises herself and serves as a cabin boy on a ship to Bermuda, where she falls in love and becomes a grand opera diva. In 1923 he composes The Donkey Serenade for the Ziegfeld Follies. On Sept. 2, 1924 he debuts his operetta-style musical Rose-Marie at the Imperial Theatre in New York City, featuring Indian Love Call, with music by Herbert Stothart, and book and lyrics by Otto Harbach (1885-1949) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960). In 1925 he debuts The Vagabond King in New York City (511 perf.), based on the 1901 novel-play "If I Were King" by Justin Huntly McCarthy, about Francois Villon, who woos Louis XI's cousin Katherine De Vaucelles and becomes king for a day while defending France against the Duke of Burgundy, starring Dennis King, featuring Song of the Vagabonds. In the 1930s his romantic musical style becomes kaput, and he go back to being a pianist.
In 1912 Vienna-born Austrian Jewish Expressionist composer (triskaidekaphobic) Arnold Schoenberg (Schonberg) (Schönberg) (1874-1951), originator of the equal opportunity Twelve-Tone System (Technique), which ensures that all 12 notes of the chromatic scale get equal time debuts Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16, introducing atonality to classical music; Listen. No surprise, he isn't welcome in Master Race Nazi Germany, and in 1934 he fled to the U.S.
On July 28, 1914 - Nov. 11, 1918 the horrific World War I caused the entire Old Regime in Europe to self-destruct, while Commies, anarchists and other revolutionaries waited in the wings. Too bad for Russian music, the 1917 Russian Rev. saw the entire tsarist regime overthrown along with its Orthodox Catholic underpinnings, in favor of the openly atheist Marxist Communist Soviet Union regime (founded Dec. 30, 1922), dedicated to starting time over with year one no matter how many they had to kill, incl. in art and music, meaning that all works had to be approved by the state, creating a new Dark Ages.
In 1914-1916 English celestial upholsterer Gustav Theodore Holst (1874-1934) composes his orchestral suite The Planets, which is first performed on Sept. 19, 1918 at Queen's Hall in London before 250 lucky planet-pluckers. It consists of seven movements, about 7 planets, conveying ideas and emotions associated with each planet's influence on the psyche, not its astrological influence, later becoming a favorite with sci-fi flicks; the hasty debut only played five movements, and the first complete public performance is on Oct. 10 in Birmingham; Mercury the Winged Messenger, Venus the Bringer of Peace, Mars the Bringer of War, Jupiter the Bringer of Jollity, Saturn the Bringer of Old Age, Uranus the Magician, Neptune the Mystic.
On Feb. 11, 1916 the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Md. performs its first concert.
In 1916 Romanian-born Jewish-Am. soprano Alma Gluck (1884-1938) records Carry Me Back to Old Virginny, composed in 1878 by black minstrel James Alan "Jimmy" Bland (1854-1911) for the Victor Talking Machine Co., becoming the first million-selling record; she goes on to become the mother of Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (1918-).
In 1916 Italian composer-conductor Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) composes the four symphonic poems Fontane di Roma, P. 106 (Fountains of Rome); Listen. In 1924 he follows with the symphonic poem Pini di Roma (Pines of Rome), which is a big hit in the U.S.; Listen. He completed his Roman Trilogy in 1926 with the tone poem Feste Romane (Roman Festivals); Circus Games, The Jubilee, Harvest Festivals in October, Epiphany.
In 1917 the Parisian musical group Les Six (The Six) in Montparnasse is founded by French composers Georges Auric (1899-1983), Louis Durey (1888-1979), Arthur Honegger (1892-1955), Darius Milhaud (1892-1974), Francis Poulenc (1899-1963), and Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983); later Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) and Erik Satie (1866-1925).
His name is muck? On Mar. 25, 1918 after his close relationship with the Kaiser, his all-German music performances, combined with a manufactured scandal about play "The Star-Spangled Banner" catch up with him, German-born Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor (since 1912) Karl Muck (1859-1940) is arrested as an enemy alien despite Swiss citizenship, spending the rest of the war in Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga.; he is replaced by more PC Frenchie Henri Rabaud (1873-1949) (until 1919).
On Apr. 21, 1918 in WWI during a a German invasion of Russia, Russian composer-pianist Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (1891-1953) (student of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov) debuts his Classical Symphony, Op. 25 for his fellow Bolsheviks in Petrograd (St. Petersburg). In 1919 he debuts his opera The Love for Three Oranges, Op. 33 (L'Amour des Trois Oranges), with libretto based on Carlo Gozzi's play "L'Amore delle Tre Melarance", based on Giambattista Basile's fairy tale "The Love for Three Oranges"; it debuts in Chicago, Ill. on Sept. 30, 1921; it features March of Love for Three Oranges. On May 2, 1936 his Peter and the Wolf debuts at the Center Children's Theater in Moscow; it go on to become a children's classic. On Dec. 30, 1838 his opera Romeo and Juliet debuts at Mahen Theatre in Brno; a rev. version is staged on Jan. 11, 1940 at the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad; it features Dance of the Knights. He dies of a heart attack on Mar. 5, 1953, the same day as Stalin.
In 1919 the Los Angeles Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in Calif. is founded by philanthropist William Andrews Clark Jr. (1877-1934), going on to be noted for its innovation; "We are interested in the future. We are not trying to re-create the glories of the past, like so many other symphony orchestras" (Esa-Pekka Salonen); after Sergei Rachmaninoff turns it down, dir. #1 (until 1927) is London, England-born Walter Henry Rothwell (1872-1927).
In Oct. 1920 Russian physicist Leon Theremin (Lev Sergeyevich Termen) (1896-1993) invents the Theremin, an electronic music device that is later used for outer space effects, which impresses Vladimir Lenin so much that he sends him on a world tour to demonstrate Soviet superiority, allowing him to patent it in the U.S. in 1928.
In 1923 after hearing jazz in Harlem, N.Y. in 1922 and becoming a believer, French composer Darius Milhaud (1892-1974) debuts his jazz ballet The Creation of the World (La Creation du Monde). In 1928 he debuts the opera Christophe Colombe, with libretto by Paul Claudel. In 1936 he composes Suite Provencale. He wrote 15 operas and 12 ballets.
On Feb. 12, 1924 Brooklyn, N.Y.-born Jewish composer-pianist George Gershwin (Gershowitz) (1898-1937) and the Paul Whiteman Band debuts Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue at the Aeolian Hall in New York City, founding the "symphonic jazz" school; Gershwin Playing Rhapsody in Blue. He used his older brother Israel "Ira" Gershwin (1896-1983) as his lyricist. On Dec. 13, 1928 he debuts his symphonic tone poem An American in Paris at Carnegie Hall in New York City; Listen. On Oct. 10, 1935 he debuts his jazz opera Porgy and Bess at in Alvin Theater, New York City, which features an all-black cast, and goes for 124 perf.; set in Catfish Row (real-life Cabbage Row) in Charleston, S.C.; choral dir. by Eva Jessye (1895-1992); stars Anne Wiggins Brown (192-2009) as Bess, Jack Carr as her possessive lover Crown, John Williams "Bubbles" Sublett (1902-86) as drug dealer Sportin' Life, and baritone Robert Todd Duncan (1903-98) as Porgy, who go on to lead a successful protest against the Nat. Theatre of Washington, D.C. for audience segregation; too bad, the 1935 album features mostly white opera singers; incl. It Ain't Necessarily So, Summertime, I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'.
On Nov. 22, 1928 French composer Joseph Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) debuts his 1-hit wonder ballet Bolero (original name "Fandango") at the Paris Opera, commissioned by Russian ballerina Ida Rubinstein; the theme is almost entirely in C major, and has a 17-min. crescendo; Listen. The New York Philharmonic debut by conductor Arturo Toscanini on Nov. 14, 1929 made it a big hit; too bad, when he does it again on May 4, 1930 at the Paris Opera, they get in a fight, with Ravel claiming his tempo is too fast, and Toscanini claiming he had to speed it up to "save" it. Ravel writes three other ballets, incl. Daphnis and Chloe for Sergei Diaghilev, which debuts on June 8, 1912 in Paris.
In Mar. 1929 the Pan-Am. Assoc. of Composers, founded by avant-garde composer Henry Dixon Cowell (1897-1965) holdsits inaugural concert in New York City, featuring works by Brazilian-Cuban ultra-modernists, incl. Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959), Carlos Chavez (1899-1978), Amadeo Roldan (1900-39), and Alejandro Garcia Caturla (1906-40); next year it switches to U.S. ultra-modernists, incl. Charles Edward Ives (1874-1954), Dane Rudhyar (1895-1985), George Antheil (1900-59), Ruth Crawford Seeger (1901-53), Henry Brant (1913-2008), and Vivian Fine (1913-2000).
On Jan. 24, 1934 Russian Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-75) debuts his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Mzensk) District, Op. 29 in Leningrad, with libretto by Alexander Preis, Listen. It marks him as a force to be reckoned with, by Stalin, who doesn't like it, and gets him messed up in his Great Terror/Purge of 1936-8, which he barely survives by withdrawing his Fourth Symphony, and sucking up to him in his Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47 ("A Soviet Artist's Response to Justified Criticism"), which debuts on Nov. 21, 1937 in Leningrad, and receives a 40-min. ovation, getting him off the hook with Stalin. Too bad, after WWII is out of the way, the Soviet regime denounces him again in 1948 for being too "formalist" (Western), until Stalin dies in 1953, and he finally joins the Communist Party in 1960, I got my mind right boss, can I kiss your foot boss, just don't cut off my vodka and cigarettes.
On Dec. 26, 1937 the Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra in Tel Aviv, founded by Polish Jewish violinist Bronislaw Huberman (1892-1947) gives its first perf. under conductor (a former fascist who leaves Italy in 1938 after being roughed-up by blackshirts) Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957); the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra is founded in 1948.
On Nov. 5, 1938 West Chester, Penn.-born gay Am. composer Samuel Osborne Barber II (1910-81) (lover of Gian Carlo Menotti) debuts his Adagio for Strings, which is used in the 1986 Oliver Stone film Platoon and the 1989 Michael J. Fox and Sean Penn tear-jerker film Casualties of War.
In Oct. 1939 Polish Jewish composer Paul Kletzki (Pawel Klecki) (1900-73) composes Symphony No. 3: In Memoriam, dedicated to victims of Nazism, incl. himself, the shock causing him to quit composing in 1942.
On Sept. 1, 1939 - Sept. 2, 1945 the horrific World War II sliced and diced the world again, this time finishing Europe off as a world power until ?, while leaving the U.S. and Soviet Union as the big powers. Actually, the U.S. had half the world's wealth, and if it wasn't for the Commies they would have been the world's only superpower and world policeman, which the rest of the world couldn't allow to happen because the U.S. was too ahem, white. So no surprise, after a long Cold War during which it opened its gates to immigrants of all colors from throughout the world, the U.S. emerged triumphant with the dissolution of the mainly white Soviet Union (founded Dec. 30, 1922) on Dec. 26, 1991. Yes, it was great to be an American from 1945 until 9/11, that is, if you weren't too Red.
In 1940 Am. journalist Varian Mackey Fry (1907-67), the "Artists' Schindler" travels from the U.S. to unoccupied Vichy-controlled Marseille, France with a list of 200 prominent (mainly Jewish) intellectuals and artists known to be in areas of Nazi-occupied Europe, and hooks up with U.S. vice-consul Hiram "Harry" Bingham IV (1903-88), Am. artist Miriam Davenport (1915-99), and Am. heiress Mary Jayne Gold (1909-97) to create the Emergency Rescue Committee, going on to smuggle 2K-4K (2.5K?) of them out of the clutches of the Gestapo to neutral Portugal and Martinique, where most end up the U.S. after getting around the usual Anti-Semitism, incl. artists Jean Arp (1886-1966), Andre Breton (1896-1966), Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), Max Ernst (1891-1976), and Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973), chemist Otto Meyerhof (1884-1951), writers Hannah Arendt (1906-75), and Franz Werfel (1890-1945), and composers Paul Abraham (1892-1960), Bela Bartok (1881-1945), Ralph Benatzky (1884-1957), Paul Hindemith (1895-1963), Emmerich Kalman (1882-1953), Ernst Krenek (1900-91), Darius Milhaud (1892-1974), Arnold Schonberg (1874-1951), Robert Stolz (1880-1975), Oscar Straus (1870-1954), Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), Ernst Toch (1887-1964), and Kurt Weill (1900-50).
In 1941 Bronx, N.Y.-born Jewish-Am. composer William Howard "Bill" Schuman (1901-92) (named after Pres. William Howard Taft) debuts his Symphony No. 3, which becomes his most popular symphony. On Mar. 26, 1943 he debuts Secular Cantata No. 2, A Free Song in Boston, Mass., with text from Walt Whitman's "Drum Taps", winning the first Pulitzer Prize in music. He becomes the pres. of Julliard School of Music in 1945-62, the collaborator of Frank Loesser (1910-69), and 1st pres. of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 1962-9. In 1950 he debuts George Washington Bridge. In 1953 he debuts his first opera Mighty Casey in Hartford, Conn., based on "Casey at the Bat" by Ernest L. Thayer; revised in 1976. In 1956 he debuts New England Triptych, adapted from melodies by Am. composer William Billings.
On Dec. 3, 1942 Soviet Armenian composer Aram Ilyich Khachaturian (1903-78) debuts his ballet Gayane with the Kirov Ballet, set on a Soviet collective farm; it features Sabre Dance Theme, and Adagio. In 1947 he composes Symphony No. 3; meant as a tribute to Communism, it backfires when central committee chmn. Andrei Zhdanov (1896-1948) condemns it in the 1948 Zhdanov Decree as "formalist" and "antipopular", causing him to almost give up composing.
On Mar. 12, 1943 after defending the Communist Party USA in the 1936 pres. election, getting him blacklisted, even though he never joins it, causing him to need a way to bail himself out, Brooklyn, N.Y.-born Jewish composer Aaron Copland (Kaplan) (1900-90) debuts his Fanfare for the Common Man, inspired by a speech by U.S. vice-pres. Henry A. Wallace which declared the dawning of the "century of the common man"; it purposely debuts three days before income taxes are due, since withholding tax is put in place in 1942, causing collections to rise from $3.2B in 1942 to $6.5B in 1943 and $20B in 1944. Earlier on Oct. 16, 1938 he debuts his ballet Billy the Kid in Chicago, in which a symbolic char. called Alias is killed repeatedly by Billy, followed on Oct. 16, 1942 by his ballet Rodeo at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York); choreographed by Agnes de Mille for the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo; the first truly Am. ballet?; it features Hoedown. On Oct. 30, 1944 he debuts his ballet Appalachian Spring at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., with Martha Graham dancing the lead role; smart Copland arranges parts for a full orchestra to increase his audience.
In 1943 Am. composer Norman Dello Joio (1913-2008) composes The Mystic Trumpeter, followed in 1946 by A Jubilant Song, based on the poetry of Walt Whitman, and in 1948 by Variations, Chaconne, and Finale. On Apr. 20, 1957 he debuts Meditations on Ecclesiastes at Juilliard School, winning a Pulitzer Prize.
On June 7, 1945 English composer-conductor-pianist (child prodigy) Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten (1913-76) debuts his opera Peter Grimes at Sadler's Wells in London, making him an internat. star.; it features the Four Sea Interludes. Also in 1945 he debuts The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34. In 1948 Aldeburgh Music Festival in Suffolk, England is founded by Britten and gay bud tenor Sir Peter Pears (1910-86), who go on to er, churn out a load of work together; Britten is created baron in 1976.
On Jan. 24, 1951 the 1-act opera Amahl and the Night Visitors (first opera written for TV), by Italian-Am. composer Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007) debuts on NBC-TV, becoming a perennial Christmas favorite; it features All That Gold, and Shepherd's Chorus. Too bad, although he is big man on campus for awhile, his defense of lightweight opera as mass entertainment causes him to be regarded as old-fashioned when the avant-garde era takes over in the 1960s. In 1954 he debuts his opera The Saint of Bleecker Street, which wins a Pulitzer Prize); orphaned Annina in New York City's Little Italy has religious visions and performs miracles while her brother Michele tries to protect her from exploitation.
On Apr. 26, 1951 English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) (great-nephew of Charles Darwin) debuts his opera The Pilgrim's Progress at Covent Garden, London, based on the 1678 work by John Bunyan, with the character of Christian changed to Pilgrim, featuring 41 individual singing roles. On Jan. 14, 1953 he debuts the ballet Sinfonia Antartica, Symphony No. 7 in Manchester, based on music from the film "Scott of the Antarctic" (1948); dedicated its conductor Ernest Irving (1878-1953).
In 1951 LA-born absurd electronic music composer John Milton Cage Jr. (1912-92) composes Music of Changes (for piano) (derived from the I Ching), and Imaginary Landscape No. 4 (for 12 radios tuned randomly). In 1952 he tops it with 4'33", 4 min. 33 sec. in which no sound is called for, a 3-movement piece with silences of different lengths - I want my money back?
In 1952 Roman Catholic French composer and ornithologist Olivier Messiaen (1908-92), who gets into birds so much that he decided they would be the source of his musical inspiration composes Blackbird (Le Merle Noir), followed in 1953 by Le Reveil (Réveil) des Oiseaux, simulating birdsong between midnight and noon in the Jura. In 1958 he topped it with Catalogue d'Oiseaux, 13 pieces for piano, each imitating a different bird's song.
In 1952 prodigious German-born gay Marxist composer Hans Werner Henze (1926-) debuts his opera Boulevard Solitude in Hanover. On May 20, 1961 he debuts his opera Elegy for Young Lovers in Schwetzingen; incl. Carolina's Monologue. On Dec. 9, 1968 he debuts his oratorio Das Floss der Medusa (The Raft of Medusa) at Planten un Blomen Hall in Hamburg as a requiem for Che Guevara; too bad, he is arrested with several others at the Hamburg debut for placing a red flag on the stage after the Che poster is torn up by the orchestra mgr., after which he spent a year teaching in Cuba, but becomes disillusioned with Castro. On June 2, 1983 he debuts his opera The English Cat at the Stuttgart Opera. In 1997 he debuts his 9th Symphony, with libretto by Hans-Ulrich Treichel based on the Anna Seghers novel "The Seventh Cross", dedicated to "the heroes and martyrs of German anti-fascism"; breaks the curse of the 9th symphony?
In 1953 Leonard Bernstein becomes the first American to conduct at La Scala, Cherubini's Medea (1797) featuring Maria Callas.
On Mar. 28-Apr. 5, 1957 the Second Composers' Congress in the Soviet Union, presided over by Dmitri T. Shepilov reaffirms the decision of the first congress in Jan. 1948 to denounce modernist composers Dmitri Shostakovich et al., adding jazz ("wild caveman orgies") and rock ("explosions of basic instincts and sexual urges"); too bad, Shepilov picks the wrong side and joins Malenkov, Molotov, Kaganovich, and other plotters in the pro-Stalin Anti-Party Group Affair, a failed attempt to depose Khrushchev as first secy. of the Communist Party, which gets the Presidium to vote him out only to have the Central Committee back him up in June, after which the "anti-party group" is sacked, along with Shepilov's known friend, defense minister Grigory Zhukov, who had voted to keep Big K; the new era arrives when they are not executed but merely demoted to sideline jobs.
On Sept. 25, 1957 Lawrence, Mass.-born Jewish composer-conductor Leonard (Louis) Bernstein (1918-90) debuts his biggest hit West Side Story at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City; it features the song Maria.
On Apr. 13, 1958 Harvey Lavan "Van" Cliburn Jr. (1934-2013) becomes the first Americansky to win the Tchaikovsky Internat. Piano Contest in Moscow, shocking the world; when he returns he receives a ticker tape parade in New York City; his recording of Tchaikovsky's First Concerto becomes the first million-selling piano record. On Apr. 17-Oct. 19 42M visit the Brussels World's Fair (Expo '58) in Belgium, the first major world's fair since WWII, which features a Congolese Village, and the Atomium, a giant model of an iron crystal unit cell; Edgar Varese's Poeme Electronique is played on 425 loudspeakers in the Philips Pavilion, designed by the firm of Le Corbusier; film critics Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Goddard award the top prize to Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil" even though Universal Studios treats it as a B-movie.
On Sept. 22, 1958 the NBC-TV series Peter Gunn debuts, featuring the Peter Gunn Theme, by Cleveland, Ohio-born composer Enrico Nicola "Henry" Mancini (1924-94). On Oct. 5, 1961 Blake Edwards' Breakfast at Tiffany's debuts, based on the 1958 Truman Capote novel, starring introverted doll-like Audrey Hepburn (after Marilyn Monroe turns down the part) as extroverted poverty-stricken Tiffany's window-viewing socialite Holly Golightly, and pretty boy George Peppard as neighbor writer Paul "Fred" Varjak; features Hepburn singing Mancini's Moon River, which won the best song Oscar. On Dec. 26, 1962 Blake Edwards' Days of Wine and Roses debuts, based on the J.P. Miller play about alcoholic exec Joe Clay (Jack Lemmon) dragging down his wife Kirsten Arnesen Clay (Lee Remick), who both are nominated for Oscars; it features the Mancini song Days of Wine and Roses, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, which won an Oscar.
In 1960 the Minimalist Music movement is born in the New York City Downtown scene, featuring constant harmony, steady pulse, stasis, and reiteration of musical phrases; it is adopted by composers Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, La Monte Young et al.
In 1963 French experimental music composer Luciano Berio (1925-2003) releases Passaggio, followed in 1965 by Laborintus II. In 1968 he releases Sinfonia for Voices and Orchestra. In 1972 he releases Rectal I.
In 1964 Italian composer-conductor Ennio Morricone (1928-) turns classical music into a necessity for a hit film with his Spaghetti Western films for dir. Sergio Leone, starting with A Fistful of Dollars (1964), followed by For A Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), and Once Upon A Time in the West (1968).
In 1967 Flushing, Queens, N.Y.-born film composer John Towner Williams (1932-) begins besting Morricone with a string of hit film scores, starting with Valley of the Dolls (1967), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), Fiddler on the Roof (1972), which features If I Were A Rich Man, and Sunrise, Sunset, The Cowboys (1972), Jaws (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Star Wars (1977), which features Luke's Theme, and Princess Leia's Theme, The Empire Strikes Back (1980), which features The Imperial March, Return of the Jedi (1983), which features The Emperor's Theme, The Parade of the Ewoks, and Luke and Leia, Superman: The Movie (1978), which features Can You Read My Mind, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), which features Ark of the Covenant (Map Room) Theme, Marion's Theme, and The Medallion, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Jurassic Park (1993).
On Apr. 2, 1968 Stanley Kubrick's $10M classical music-heavy landmark A-list sci-fi film 2001: A Space Odyssey, based on Arthur C. Clarke's story "The Sentinel" debuts, with a cool score by Romanian-born Austrian-Hungarian Jewish composer Gyorgy Ligeti (1923-2006), starring white dull-enough-but-kinky-inside Keir Dullea as a space Ulysses, with its depiction of space travel as commercializesand matter-of-fact (Pan Am Orion between Earth and Moon), and its depiction of the AI talking computer HAL (I-1 B-1 M-1), who throws a hissy fit over Jupiter, which just happens to be the home of the aliens who evolved us from apes, and gave us a test to qualify for the next evolutionary jump; #2 grossing film of 1968 ($56.7M). The soundtrack features The Blue Danube, plus Ligeti's Atmospheres (1961), Lux Aeterna (1966) (moonbus scene), Requiem (Kyrie) (1963-5), and Aventures (1962). His 1967 piece Lontano is used in the 1980 film "The Shining".
On July 25, 1976 Baltimore, Md.-born minimalist composer Philip Glass (1937-) debuts his opera Einstein on the Beach, the first of his Portrait Trilogy, incl. Satyagraha (1979), and Akhnaten (1983), a love duet with the female in a lower register than the male, which features Love Duet, and Akhnaten's Aria. On Apr. 2, 1983 Godfrey Reggio's film Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance, is releases, a visual tour of the U.S. with cool cinematography by Ron Fricke, and cool music by Philip Glass; it is followed by "Powaqqatsi" (1998), "Naqoyqatsi" (2002).
In 1978 Worcester, Mass.-born minimalist composer John Coolidge Adams (1947-) composes the 4-movement Shaker Loops for strings; Listen. On Oct. 22, 1987 he debuts the opera Nixon in China at the Houston Grand Opera; incl. Arrival Scene, Banquet Scene, I'm the Wife of Mao Tse-tung, Flesh Rebels. On Sept. 19, 2002 he debuts On the Transmigration of Souls at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City as a tribute to 9/11; Listen. On Oct. 1, 2005 he debuts his opera Doctor Atomic at the San Francisco Opera, about Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project; incl. Bhagavad Gita Chorus, Batter, My Heart, Red Alert, and Doctor Atomic Solo.
In Mar. 1981 Hugh Hudson's Christian message film Chariots of Fire (title comes from the William Blake poem "Jerusalem": "Bring me my Chariot of fire", based on 2 Kings 2:11, 6:17) tells the behind-the-scenes story of the 1924 Paris Olympics, with Ben Cross as Jewish English runner Harold Abrahams, and Ian Charleson as Christian Scottish runner Eric Liddell, who run for religious and personal reasons, not necessarily having to do with patriotism, with every supporting actor hitting all cylinders, incl. Ian Holm as Arab trainer Sam Mussabini, Alice Krige as Abraham's opera star babe Sybil Gordon, Nigel Havers as ultra-pampered blonde Anglo-Saxon Lord Andrew Lindsay, Nicholas Farrell as "my complete man" Aubrey Montague, Brad Davis and Dennis Christopher as Am. superstar athletes Jackson Scholz and Charles Paddock, Cheryl Campbell as Liddell's monomaniac sister Jennie, and John Gielgud and Lindsay Anderson as the snobby English masters of Trinity and Caius (pr. like keys), all to cool music by Greek composer Vangelis (Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou) (1943-); "Different, mountains, different Gods"; the greatest pure non-gimmicky religious movie of all time?; costumes by Melena Canonero; on TLW's top five list; executive producer is Egyptian-born Emad El-Din Mohamed Abdel Moneim "Dodi" Fayed (1955-97), later known as the last beau of Princess Diana; "I know God made me for a purpose, but I also know he made me fast". In Apr. 1981 the album is releases, featuring Chariots of Fire Theme (#1 in the U.S.), and Jerusalem. On June 25, 1982 Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner debuts, based on the Philip K. Dick story "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep"; it stars Harrison Ford and Edward James Olmos as 2019 cops Rick Deckard and Gaff, who must track down pesky "replicants", humanoid robots Daryl Hannah ("Pris"), Joanna Cassidy ("Zhora"), Brion James ("Leon Kowalski"), led by Rutger Hauer ("Roy Batty"), who are programmed to die in days and are searching for their maker Eldon Tyrell (Joe Turkel), finally getting to him through his asst. J.F. Sebastian (William Sanderson), only to discover he's a replicant too; meanwhile Deckard falls for replicant Rachael (Sean Young), and has to decide between eloping or terminating her; Deckard is a replicant?; score by Vangelis features Rachel's Song, and End Theme; TLW's favorite sci-fi flick other than Star Trek and Star Wars; should have been set in Nov. 2049 not Nov. 2019?
In 1984 Helsinki, Finland-born Esa-Pekka Salonen (1958-) becomes guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, becoming dir. #10 in 1992-2009, going on to make it "the most intellectually lively orchestra in America".
In 1995 George Walker (1922-) composes Lilacs, based on the 1865 poem "When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom'd" by Walt Whitman on the death of Pres. Lincoln, becoming the first African-Am. composer to win a Pulitzer Prize for music - he got out of the bushes?
In 2002 New Haven, Conn.-born 10-y.-o. prodigy Jay "Bluejay" Greenberg (1991-) is admitted to Juilliard School, where the buzz is that he's becoming the greatest composer since Mozart. His most well-known work is Overture to 9/11. In 2005 he composes Symphony No. 5.
In Sept. 2009 28-y.-o. Venezuelan-born wunderkind Gustavo Adolfo Dudamel Ramirez (1981-) becomes dir. #11 of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (until ?), causing Dudamelomania, a resurgence of interest in classical music; on Oct. 3 he conducts his first concert called "Bienvenido Gustavo".
On Jan. 11, 2017 the 789M Euro Elbphilarmonie (Elbe Philharmonic Hall) AKA Elphi in Hamburg, Germany is inaugurated, becoming one of the largest and most acoustically advanced concert halls on Earth.