It’s a sure sign that the year is drawing to a close when I begin to think about putting together a list of anniversaries, and that time is now fast approaching.
After a first quick check, and a weeding out of lots of names which really don’t make the cut, it’s clear that 2012 will be one of our least exciting anniversary years in a long time. After our Liszts and our Mahlers and our Chopins and our Schumanns in recent times, our list for next year only contains one big name: Claude Debussy. Even apart from monsieur D and after broadening it to include a couple of names more famous as interpreters than as composers, the list as I see it is the shortest yet. Because of this, I’m throwing things over to the gang for extra input.
The following (in the usual calendar order) is a starting point. If anyone knows of further names which should be added, please make suggestions by leaving comments here (remember, you need to be registered to leave comments) and argue your case for inclusion. As you see, I’ve included one non-composer in the list. We’ve given the nod to performer anniversaries before, and I felt that Georg Solti deserved to feature in view of his significant anniversary. I haven’t yet managed to find a comprehensive list for instrumentalists, singers and the like with anniversaries next year, so it would be especially helpful if anyone else can come up with a few other names to keep Georg Solti company.
Gúnter Wand, 7th January, 100th Anniversary of Birth *
Sigismond Thalberg, 8th January, 200th Anniversary of Birth *
Frederick Delius, 29th January, 150th Anniversary of Birth
Fritz Kreisler, 29th January, 50th Anniversary of Death
Jacques-François Ibert, 5th February, 50th Anniversary of Death
Rudolf Firkusny, 11th February, 100th Anniversary of Birth *
Edward German, 17th February, 150th Anniversary of Birth
Bruno Walter, 17th February, 50th Anniversary of Death *
Jan Ladislav Dušek/Dussek, 20th March, 200th Anniversary of Death
Janques-François Halévy, 17th April, 150th Anniversary of Death
Kathleen Ferrier, 22nd April, 100th Anniversary of Birth *
Friedrich von Flotow, 26th April, 100th Anniversary of Birth
Jean Françaix, 23rd May, 100th Anniversary of Birth
Alfred Deller, 31st May, 100th Anniversary of Birth *
John Ireland, 12th June, 50th Anniversary of Death
Eugene Goossens, 13th June, 50th Anniversary of Death *
Anton Stadler, 15th June, 200th Anniversary of Death *
Sergiu Celibidache, 28th June, 100th Anniversary of Birth *
Igor Markevitch, 27th July, 100th Anniversary of Birth
Giovanni Gabrieli, 12th August, 400th Anniversary of Death
Jules Massenet, 13th August, 100th Anniversary of Death
CLAUDE DEBUSSY, 22nd August, 150th Anniversary of Birth
John Cage, 5th September, 100th Anniversary of Birth
Hanns Eisler, 6th September, 50th Anniversary of Death
Francesco Geminiani, 17th September, 250th Anniversary of Death
Kurt Sanderling, 19th September, 100th Anniversary of Birth (only died on 17th September this year) *
Dmitri Hvorostovsky, 16th October, 50th Birthday *
Henry Lawes, 21st October, 350th Anniversary of Death *
Georg Solti, 21st October, 100th Anniversary of Birth
Conlon Nancarrow, 27th October, 100th Anniversary of Birth
José Cura, 5th December, 50th Birthday *
Kirsten Flagstad, 7th December, 50th Anniversary of Death *
Maurice Ravel, 28th December, 75th Anniversary of Death *
I’m a bit late adding this entry, but hopefully Mr Liszt will forgive my tardiness. As you all know, last Saturday, 22nd October, was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Franz Liszt, and we marked the occasion with a Liszt Day. Despite what I’m sure were reservations by some members about devoting an entire session to music by Liszt, it was all a great success, with the musical choices nicely varied (chamber, concerto, choral, instrumental, song).
Since this, to the best of my knowledge and memory, was the first time that one of our composer days actually fell on the anniversary, we also had a bit of a special celebration in the form of a birthday cake, specially ordered for the occasion with a suitable message in honour of the man himself.
Of course, just because Liszt day has now been and gone, that doesn’t mean that we can’t listen to any more of his music this year. There’s still lots more out there, both familiar and unfamiliar, so bring it on!
Rodion Shchedrin has written lots more than his wonderful Carmen Ballet, even though that’s what he’s best-known for. One very popular piece is his Humoreske, the last of his Three Funny Pieces. This exists in many versions (I have a recording for Piano Trio which is quite good). What all the versions share is humour. Shchedrin, I reckon, would have got on well with Rossini, and I’d say there’d be great crack at a dinner party if they were both at it.
These two videos from YouTube give some idea of the sense of humour he’s capable of. Video quality is very poor in Marc-André Hamelin’s solo piano offering, but it’s worth putting up with for the wonderful tongue-in-cheek delivery. The second, from what looks like a fun evening at the Verbier Festival, is equally good fun, especially notable for the star lineup.
I couldn’t believe it three weeks ago when I opened our weblog and saw that we’d been hacked by some sniveling ne’er-do-wells in Saudi Arabia. Like I said in the email I circulated at the time, I cannot understand the mentality of people who do this sort of thing. I put them in the same boat as the useless little gurriers who deface buildings with their graffiti and their tagging nonsense. A good dose of the birch or the cat-o’-nine-tails — that’d do them good, I reckon (but then again I’m probably not supposed to advocate that sort of thing in these nanny-state times).
Anyway, enough of the Grumpy Old Man rant. I’ve now managed to sort out the problem, and our Weblog is back up and running, fit and hale and hearty again. Those of you familiar with how things were before the ****ing hackers got their filthy little paws on it will immediately notice that things look very different. This is because, as part of the recovery process, I upgraded the WordPress software which does all the magic to the latest version, and the theme we used to have is no longer supported by the latest WordPress. Anyway, perhaps the new look can be seen as a new beginning — and let’s hope the ****ing hackers leave us alone this time.
One final word of warning: the new version of WordPress is like a new toy that I’ve been given to play with, so it’s more than likely that I’ll be tweaking the Weblog from time to time, refining the look and adding changes and improvements. Indeed, there’s every likelihood that the basic look will change again — but I promise I’ll warn you when and if it does.
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