06 February 2011

Composer Centenaries 2011

In advance of each new year I customarily make a list of all the minor composer anniversaries and try to include as many as possible in my radio broadcasts and in concert programmes, both ones I give and ones I help compile for others. Some years ago, while working for a South African radio station, I devised a series of two-hour long radio programmes, “Anniversaries”, which went out once a month on various classical music radio stations around the world and included music with a special significance for the month. It’s an easy way of adding unusual repertoire to concerts and it highlights the work of composers who have been forgotten or whose music gets passed over by programme-planners with what we might call a Taste Agenda.

Of course, we don’t need to promote the work of the major composers, yet we do – look at the surfeit of Mahler going on at the moment what with death and birth anniversaries in consecutive years – and the trouble is, when a major composer has an anniversary, nobody else gets a look-in. What, I ask, happened to Samuel Barber’s centenary? Poor old fellow shared his anniversary with Chopin and Schumann, so he got pushed completely out of the picture. How nice it would have been to have one of the symphonies, the piano or cello concertos or, indeed, any of the songs to remind us that the Violin Concerto, School for Scandal and Adagio for Strings were not the only things he composed.

2011 marks Liszt’s bi-centenary, so we can expect wall-to-wall Liszt come October 22nd. But I HATE almost every note Liszt wrote, and, determined not to have to suffer any more of it than is absolutely necessary, I have been very active in promoting the others. (Mind you, lots of Liszt may reverse my view: I used to like Mahler, but a year of back-to-back GM has driven it out of me and now I shudder at the thought of yet another overblown piece of grotesquerie masquerading as a symphony!) On the whole, though, I suspect my championing of forgotten composers’ birthdays will be to no avail. But it’s fun to try and to help matters along at the Malaysian Philharmonic – where, almost deliberately it seems to me, they shun any anniversary in their programming – I’m giving a couple of pre-concert talks about composers whose anniversaries fall during 2011. It will be illustrated with lots of lovely musical extracts, so if you can make it on either Saturday 15th Jan and 6.30pm or Sunday 16th Jan at 3.00pm, do come along; I’d love to put the musical extracts up on to his blog, but I lack both the time and the knowledge!

But for those who can’t attend or those who want to know more, here is the list of composers born 500, 400, 300, 200 and 100 years ago. I’d love to cash in on the death anniversary scene – that way I could add both York Bowen and Percy Grainger (died 50 years ago) to the mix – but 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of Mahler’s death too, so I don’t want to go there.

 500 Years;
Robert Morecock (English church music composer, 1511-1582)
Osbert Parsley (English church music composer, 1511-1585)
Nicola Vicentino (Italian madrigal composer, 1511-1576)
400 years:
Thomas Brewer (English composer who lived up to his name and turned to alcohol, 1611-1660)
Pablo Bruna (Spanish composer of organ music, 1611-1679)
Andreas Hammerschmidt (Bohemian composer of sacred music, 1611-1675)
 Domenico Obizzi (Italian vocal composer, 1611-1630)
Carlo Rainaldi (Italian composer of sacred music, 1611-1691)
Felician Schwab (German composer of sacred music, 1611-1661)
Valentin Strobel (German lute composer 1611-1669)
 300 years:
Maria Barbara (Portuguese composer and Queen of Spain who was famously a pupil of Scarlatti, 1711-1758)
Charles-Henri de Blainville (French composer and cellist, 1711-1769)
Giuseppe Bonno (Austrian composer of operas and sacred music, 1711-1788)
William Boyce (English composer and Master of the King’s Musick, 1711-1779)
Jean-Baptiste Cupis de Camargo (Belgian composer and horseman, 1711-1778)
Johann Gräfe (German postman who wrote songs, 1711-1787)
Ignaz Holzbauer (Viennese composer who settled in Mannheim, 1711-1783)
 John Keeble (English organist and composer, 1711-1786)
Gaetano Latilla (Neapolitan composer of more than 50 operas, 1711-1788)
Pierre-Joseph Le Blan (Belgian composer specialising in clock chimes, 1711-1765)
 Jean-Joseph Cassanea de Mondonville (French composer and violinist, 1711-1772)
Johann Baptist Neruda (Czech composer who wrote 97 works, 1711-1776)
James Oswald (Scottish composer of instrumental music, 1711-1769)
David Perez (Neapolitan composer of operas and sacred music, 1711-1778)
Peregrinus Pögl (German monk who wrote incredibly dull music, 1711- 1788)
Juan Moreno Polo (Spanish composer of organ music, 1711-1786)
Johann Gabriel Sayffarth (German composer of songs and symphonies, 1711-1796)
 Domingo Terradellas (Spanish composer of Italian operas, 1711-1751)
Joseph Umstatt (Austrian composer of symphonies, 1711-1762)
Giuseppe Venturelli (Italian composer of instrumental music, 1711-1775).
200 years;
James Cox Becket (American composer of unusually colourful music, 1811-1905)
Gaetano Capocci (Italian composer of sacred music, 1811-1898)
Angelo Catelani (Italian composerwho gave up writing operas after he heard one by Verdi, 1811-1866)
Félix Le Couppey (French composer of educational pieces for piano, 1811-1887)
Ferdinand Hiller (German composer of symphonies and concertos, 1811-1885)
Christian Hohmann (German composer of light music, 1811-1861)
 Benedict Jucker (Swiss composer, great-grand-pupil of Bach, 1811-1876)
Samuel de Lange (Dutch composer for the organ, 1811-1884)
Ann Mounsey (English song composer, 1811-1891)
August Gottfried Ritter (German organist and composer, 1811-1885)
 Louis Sehindelmeisser (German opera composer, 1811-1864)
 Jan Nepomuk Škroup (Czech composer of sacred music, 1811-1892)
Giovanni Speranza (Italian opera composer, 1811-1850)
Wilhelm Taubert (German composer and friend of Mendelssohn, 1811-1891)
Ambroise Thomas (French opera composer whose Mignon had over 1000 performances in less than 30 years, 1811-1896)
Arthur Henry Dyke Troyte (English song-writer, 1811-1857)

100 years:
Jehan Alain (French composer killed on military service, 1911-1940)
 René Amengual (Chilean composer of piano music, 1911-1954)
Mario Ruiz Armengol (Mexican composer of folk songs and dances, 1911-2002)
Raffaele d’Alessandro (Swiss composer of concertos, 1911-1959)
José Ardévol (Cuban composer of 130 works, 1911-1981)
Bruno Bartolozzi (Italian avant-garde composer, 1911-1980)
Stanley Richard Bate (English composer of 5 piano concertos, 1911-1959)
Paul Burkhard (Swiss composer of stage works, 1911-1977)
Erik Bergman (Finnish composer, 1911-2006)
Ján Cikker (Slovakian opera composer, 1911-1989)
Bernadino Custodio (Filipino composer of orchestral music, 1911-2001)
Gábor Darvas (Hungarian composer of Electronic music, 1911-1985)
 Charles Faulkner Bryan (American composer of educational music, 1911-1955)
Arkady Filipenko (Ukrainian ship-builder turned composer, 1911-1983)
Roberto Garcia Morillo (Argentinean composer, 1911-2003)
Philip Green (English composer who wrote under several pseudonyms, 1911-1982)
 Jean-Jacques Grunewald (French organist composer, 1911-1982)
Nikola Hercigonja (Croatian composer of vocal music, 1911-2000)
Bernard Herrmann (American composer of thriller film scores, 1911-1975)
Alan Hovhaness (Astonishingly prolific American composer, 1911-2000)
 Kikuku Kanai (The first important Japanese female composer, 1911-1986)
 Boris Kremenliev (Bulgarian composer who emigrated to America, 1911-1988)
 Stefan Kisielewski (Polish composer a human rights campaigner, 1911-1991)
 Jan Koetsier (Dutch composer with a penchant for wind music, 1911-2006)
Philip Lang (American composer for the Broadway stage, 1911-1986)
George Liberace (American composer, brother to the famous be-sequined entertainerLiberace, 1911-1983)
Vilho Luolajan-Mikkola (Finish composer of national songs, 1911-2005)
Frederick May (Irish composer 1911-1985)
 Robert McBride (American composer of jazz and film scores, 1911-2007)
Gian Carlo Menotti (Italian-born American opera composer – 1911-2007)
 René Mertzig (Luxemburg native who gave up composing in 1968, 1911-1986)
 Jacopo Napoli (Italian opera composer, 1911-1994)
 Lionel Nowak (American composer of piano music for the right hand, 1911-1995)
Andrej Očenáš (Slovakian composer of gargantuan works, 1911-1995)
Anne-Marie Ørbeck (Norwegian composer of one symphony, 1911-1996)
Histada Otaka (Japanese composer who studied in Vienna, 1911-1951)
Dangatar Ovezov (Soviet composer of operas and symphonies, 1911-1966)
Gustaf Allan Pettersson (Swedish composer of 17 symphonies, 1911-1980)
Franz Reizenstein (English composer famed for his Hoffnung scores, 1911-1968)
 Roger Roger (English light music composer, 1911-1975)
Arsenio Rodríquez (Cuban band composer, 1911-1971)
Nino Rota (Italian composer for films and much, much more – 1911-1979)
Nino Sanzogno (Italian composer of orchestral music, 1911-1983)
Angel Sauce (Venezuelan composer, 1911-1995)
Norbert Schultze (German composer for the stage, b.1911)
Ding Shande (Chinese composer of the Long March Symphony, 1911-1995)
Osama Shimizu (Japanese composer of operas, 1911-1986)
Julia Smith (American opera composer, 1911-1989)
Endre Szervánsky (Hungarian composer of very serious music, 1911-1977)
 Tan Xiaolin (Chinese composer who studied in the USA with Hindemith, 1911-1948)
Phyllis Tate (English composer of operas and vocal music, 1911-1987)
George Tremblay (Canadian composer of three symphonies, 1911-1982)
Vladimir Ussachevsky (American electronic and choral composer, 1911-1990)
 Hans Vogt (German composer primarily of chamber music, 1911-1992) N
azib Gayanovich Zhiganov (Russian composer of Tartar heritage, 1911-1988)

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