Classical Music Timeline: 1930s

This is one of a series of postings of important classical music dates, from the 17th century to the present. Included are the date and location of the birth and death of composers, and the premiere date and location of the first public performance of works. When the premiere date and location is unknown, the date or year of completion of the work is given. Though reasonably comprehensive, this is a subjective list, so the choice of composers and works is mine. If you find any errors, or if you can offer a premiere date and location for a work where only the completion date or year is listed, please post a comment here.

1930
August 7 – Veljo Tormis (1930-2017) was born in Kuusalu, Estonia

November 28 – Symphony No. 2 in D♭ major, op. 30, “Romantic” by Howard Hanson (1896-1981) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

December 17 – Peter Warlock (1894-1930) died in London, England

1931
Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) completed Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite III, P172

Percy Grainger (1882-1961) completed the orchestral version of Blithe Bells (Ramble on Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze”)

September 8A Choral Fantasia, op. 51 by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in Gloucester, England

October 3 – Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) died in Copenhagen, Denmark

November 22Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofé (1892-1972) was first performed in Chicago, Illinois

December 2 – Vincent d’Indy (1851-1931) died in Paris, France

1932
February 8 – John Williams (1932-) was born in New York, New York

March 17La donna serpente, opera by Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) was first performed in Rome, Italy

April 2 – Symphony No. 9 by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) was first performed in Munich, Germany

April 22 – Isao Tomita (1932-2016) was born in Tokyo, Japan

May – Piano Quartet in A minor, op. 67 by Joaquín Turina (1882-1949) was first performed (location unknown)

September 5 – Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra in D minor, FP 61 by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was first performed in Venice, Italy

1933
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) completed Cavatina

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) completed Pastorale for Violin and Piano

Aita Donostia (1886-1956) completed Urruti-jaia [Festive Song], for chamber orchestra

January 23 – Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Sz. 95, BB 101 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was first performed in Frankfurt, Germany

April 9 – Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933) died in Leipzig, Germany

August 30 – Overture to The School for Scandal, op. 5 by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

October 10 – Gloria Coates (1933-2023) was born in Wausau, Wisconsin

October 15 – Concerto for Piano, Trumpet, and String Orchestra (Piano Concerto No. 1), op. 35 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

1934
February 23 – Edward Elgar (1857-1934) died in Worcester, Worcestershire, England

MarchBrook Green Suite, for string orchestra, H. 190 by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

March 21 – Franz Schreker (1878-1934) died in Berlin, Germany

April 3The Haunted Ballroom, ballet by Geoffrey Toye (1889-1942) was first performed in London, England

May 25 – Gustav Holst (1874-1934) died in London, England

June 10 – Frederick Delius (1862-1934) died in Grez-sur-Loing, France

September 27 – Fantasia on “Greensleeves” by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) and arranged for string orchestra and harp by Ralph Greaves (1889-1966) was first performed in London, England

November 7 – Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, in A minor, op. 43 by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was first performed in Baltimore, Maryland

December 21Lieutenant Kijé, suite, op. 60 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Paris, France

December 31Egyptian Nights, symphonic suite, op. 61 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in a radio broadcast from Moscow, Russia

1935
William Grant Still (1895-1978) completed Summerland

January 28 – Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935) died in Moscow, Russia

March 10 – Auvo Sarmanto (1935-) was born in Helsinki, Finland

March 24Music for a Scene from Shelley, tone poem, op. 7 by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in New York, New York

April 10 – Symphony No. 4 in F minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

May 17 – Paul Dukas (1865-1935) died in Paris, France

May 29 – Josef Suk (1874-1935) died in Benešov, Czech Republic

July 17 – Peter Schickele (1935-2024) was born in Ames, Iowa

November 6 – Symphony No. 1 in B♭ minor by William Walton (1902-1983) was first performed in London, England

December 1 – Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, op. 63 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

December 4 – Johan Halvorsen (1864-1935) died in Oslo, Norway

1936
January 29Summer’s Last Will and Testament, cantata by Constant Lambert (1905-1951) was first performed in London, England

March 21 – Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

April 11Music for Children, for piano, op. 65 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

April 18 – Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) died in Rome, Italy

May 2Peter and the Wolf, a symphonic fairy tale for children, op. 67 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

May 10The Plow That Broke the Plains, with documentary film score by Virgil Thomson (1896-1989), received its public premiere in Washington, D.C.

July 22 – Krasimir Kyurkchiyski (1936-2011) was born in Troyan, Bulgaria

October 2Dona Nobis Pacem, cantata for soprano, baritone, chorus, and orchestra by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England

October 28 – Carl Davis (1936-2023) was born in Brooklyn, New York

November 11 – Edward German (1862-1936) died in London, England

1937
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) completed Four Marches for Military Band, op. 69

January 19Hollywood Suite by Ferde Grofé (1892-1972) was first performed in New York, New York

January 31 – Philip Glass (1937-) was born in Baltimore, Maryland

March 12 – Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) died in Paris, France

March 29 – Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) died in Lausanne, Switzerland

May 7 – “Walking the Dog (Promenade)” by George Gershwin (1898-1937) premiered in the film Shall We Dance. This may be the last instrumental composition by Gershwin.

May 8The Prince and the Pauper, with film score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957), was released

July 11 – George Gershwin (1898-1937) died in Los Angeles, California

July 12 – Piano Concerto in D♭ major, op. 38 by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

September 30 – Valentin Silvestrov (1937-) was born in Kyiv, Ukraine

November 21 – Symphony No. 5 in D minor, op. 47 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

December 28 – Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) died in Paris, France

1938
Howard Hanson (1896-1981) completed Suite from Merry Mount

Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) completed Cinco piezas del siglo XVI (Five Pieces of the Sixteenth Century), for piano

January 5Songs of Our Days, cantata for mezzo-soprano and baritone soloists, chorus, and orchestra, op. 76 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

February 16 – John Corigliano (1938-) was born in New York, New York

February 22Colas Breugnon, opera, op. 24 by Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

May 26 – William Bolcom (1938-) was born in Seattle, Washington

October 5Serenade to Music in D major by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

October 19 – “September Song”, from Knickerbocker Holiday by Kurt Weill (1900-1950) was first performed in New York, New York

November 5Adagio for Strings in B♭ minor by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in New York, New York

December 30 – Romeo and Juliet, ballet, op. 64 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Brno, Czech Republic

1939
Percy Grainger (1882-1961) completed “The Duke of Marlborough” Fanfare (BFMS No. 36)

March 9Cuatro piezas para piano by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Paris, France

May 17Alexander Nevsky, cantata, op. 78 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

June 2 – Enrique Fernández Arbós (1863-1939) died in San Sebastián, Spain

June 22 – Heikki Sarmanto (1939-) was born in Helsinki, Finland

November 21 – Symphony No. 6 in B minor, op. 54 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

December 21Zdravitsa, cantata for chorus and orchestra, op. 85 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

1920s

1940s

Classical Music Timeline: 1920s

This is one of a series of postings of important classical music dates, from the 17th century to the present. Included are the date and location of the birth and death of composers, and the premiere date and location of the first public performance of works. When the premiere date and location is unknown, the date or year of completion of the work is given. Though reasonably comprehensive, this is a subjective list, so the choice of composers and works is mine. If you find any errors, or if you can offer a premiere date and location for a work where only the completion date or year is listed, please post a comment here.

1920
FebruaryLe Tombeau de Couperin (orchestral version) by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was first performed in Paris, France

March 25The Hymn of Jesus, op. 37 by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

April 8 – Charles Griffes (1884-1920) died in New York, New York

May 23Short Festival Te Deum, H. 145 by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

June 20Three Tone-Pictures, op. 5 by Charles Griffes (1884-1920) was first performed in Greenwich, Connecticut

October 2 – Max Bruch (1838-1920) died in Berlin, Germany

1921
January 23The Three Miracles of Saint Cecilia, incidental music to the play by Henri Ghéon, by Aita Donostia (1886-1956) was first performed in Paris, France

January 30The Fog is Lifting, for flute and harp, op. 41, no. 2, by Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) was first performed in Copenhagen, Denmark

February 20 – Ruth Gipps (1921-1999) was born in Bexhill-on-Sea, England

March 4 – Kaljo Raid (1921-2005) was born in Tallinn, Estonia

September 27 – Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921) died in Neustrelitz, Germany

October 9Taras Bulba by Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) was first performed in Brno, Czech Republic

October 21 – Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) was born in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England

December 16 – Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) died in Algiers, Algeria

December 16 – Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, op. 26 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Chicago, Illinois

1922
January 16 – Symphony No. 3, “Pastoral”, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

January 30 – Percy Grainger (1882-1961) completed Spoon River (AFMS No. 2) [elastic scoring]

February 25Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was first performed in Paris, France

March 10 – Hans Sitt (1860-1922) died in Leipzig, Germany

May 20Daisies, in F major, op. 38, no. 3 (piano-only version) by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was first performed in London, England

October 19Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) as orchestrated by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), was first performed in Paris, France

1923
Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) completed the Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite II

Joseph Canteloube (1879-1957) completed Baïlèro, Chants d’Auvergne, Series 1, No. 2

May 14The Perfect Fool by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

May 28 – György Ligeti (1923-2006) was born in Târnăveni, Romania

September 30Hassan, incidental music, by Frederick Delius (1862-1934) was first performed in London, England

October 18 – Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, op. 19 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Paris, France

1924
February 12Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin (1898-1937) was first performed in New York, New York

February 27 – Trevor Duncan (1924-2005) was born in London, England

May 8 – The revised version of Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, op. 16 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Paris, France

July 27 – Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) died in Berlin, Germany

September 14Ruralia hungarica, Five pieces for orchestra, op. 32b, by Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960) was first performed in Pécs, Hungary

September 28 – Rudolf Barshai (1924-2010) was born in Labinsk, Russia

November 4 – Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) died in Paris, France

December 14The Pines of Rome, tone poem by Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was first performed in Rome, Italy

1925
Enrique Fernández Arbós (1863-1939) completed his orchestrations of five of the twelve piano pieces, Iberia, by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909)

May 29 – Concerto Grosso No. 1 for String Orchestra with Piano Obbligato by Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) was first performed in Cleveland, Ohio

August 31Mississippi Suite by Ferde Grofé (1892-1972) was first performed in New York, New York

November 20 – Clytus Gottwald (1925-2023) was born in Szczawno-Zdrój, Poland

November 29 – The Love for Three Oranges, Suite, op. 33bis by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Paris, France

December 3 – Piano Concerto in F major by George Gershwin (1898-1937) was first performed in New York, New York

1926
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) completed Seven Part-Songs, op. 44

Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) completed Zarabanda lejana (Distant Sarabande)

May 2 – Trio for Oboe, Bassoon, and Piano, FP 43 by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was first performed in Paris, France

May 12 – Symphony No. 1 in F minor, op. 10 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

June 26 – Sinfonietta by Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

October – Peter Warlock (1894-1930) completed Capriol Suite

October 31 – Symphony No. 5 in F♯ minor, “Dance Symphony”, by Emil von Reznicek (1860-1945) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

November 1The Profound Life of Saint Francis of Assisi, incidental music to the play by Henri Ghéon, by Aita Donostia (1886-1956) was first performed in Paris, France

December 26Tapiola, tone poem in B minor, op. 112 by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was first performed in New York, New York

1927
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) completed Gypsy Caprice

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) completed Three Botticelli Pictures

March 24Háry János Suite, op. 35a by Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) was first performed in Barcelona, Spain

June 7Le pas d’acier (“The Steel Step”), ballet, op. 41 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Paris, France

June 14The Red Poppy, ballet, op. 70 by Reinhold Glière (1875-1956) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

October 27 – Dominick Argento (1927-2019) was born in York, Pennsylvania

1928
Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) completed Schluck und Jau, incidental music

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) completed Brazilian Impressions

Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) completed the two-piano transcription of his orchestral piece, Cinco piezas infantiles (Five children’s pieces)

February 12Egdon Heath, tone poem, op. 47 by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in New York, New York

June 12Gli uccelli (“The Birds”) by Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was first performed in São Paulo, Brazil

August 12 – Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) died in Ostrava, Czech Republic

September 11 – String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters”, by Leoš Janáček (1854-1928) was first performed in Brno, Czech Republic

October 9 – Einojuhani Rautavaara (1929-2016) was born in Helsinki, Finland

December 13An American in Paris by George Gershwin (1898-1937) was first performed in New York, New York

1929
January 11 – Stabat Mater, op. 53 by Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) was first performed in Warsaw, Poland

February 10 – Jerry Goldsmith (1929-2004) was born in Los Angeles, California

February 21Roman Festivals, tone poem by Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was first performed in New York, New York

May 21L’enfant prodigue (“The Prodigal Son”), ballet, op. 46 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Paris, France

November 7 – Suite-Divertissement, for violin, viola, cello, and piano, by Alexandre Tansman (1897-1986) was first performed in Brussels, Belgium

1910s

1930s

Classical Music Timeline: 1910s

This is one of a series of postings of important classical music dates, from the 17th century to the present. Included are the date and location of the birth and death of composers, and the premiere date and location of the first public performance of works. When the premiere date and location is unknown, the date or year of completion of the work is given. Though reasonably comprehensive, this is a subjective list, so the choice of composers and works is mine. If you find any errors, or if you can offer a premiere date and location for a work where only the completion date or year is listed, please post a comment here.

1910
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) completed Caprice Viennois, for violin and piano, op. 2

Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) completed Praeludium and Allegro (in the style of Pugnani), for violin and piano

Ein Tanzspiel by Franz Schreker (1878-1934) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

March 1 – Suite in A major, op. 98b, B190, “American” by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

March 9 – Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania

April 23 – Italia, Rhapsody for Orchestra, op. 11, by Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) was first performed in Paris, France

May 29 – Mily Balakirev (1837-1910) died in Saint Petersburg, Russia

June 25The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was first performed in Paris, France

September 6 – Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in Gloucester, England

September 12 – Symphony No. 8 in E♭ major by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was first performed in Munich, Germany

1911
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) completed Two Eastern Pictures, for women’s voices and harp (H. 112)

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) completed Ma Mère l’Oye (Mother Goose) Suite

Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) completed Recitative and Scherzo-Caprice, for solo violin, op. 6

Percy Grainger (1882-1961) completed Irish Tune from County Derry (BFMS No. 29)

February 21 – Berceuse élégiaque, op. 42 (BV 252a) by Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) was first performed in New York, New York

March 8 – Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) was born in Somerville, Massachusetts

March 11 – Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda, Third Group, by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in Blackburn, England

April 3 – Symphony No. 4 by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was first performed in Helsinki, Finland

May 2 – Invocation for Cello and Orchestra, op. 19, no. 2, by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

May 18 – Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) died in Vienna, Austria

June 14 – Johan Svendsen (1840-1911) died in Copenhagen, Denmark

July 7 – Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007) was born in Cadegliano-Viconago, Italy

August 1 – Autumnal, op. 8, by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

September 14 – Five Mystical Songs, for baritone, chorus, and orchestra, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in Worcester, England

December 3 – Nino Rota (1911-1979) was born in Milan, Italy

December 6 – Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda, First Group, by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England

December 23 – I gioielli della Madonna (The Jewels of the Madonna), opera by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948), was first performed in Berlin, Germany

1912
Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960) completed Three Pieces, op. 23

February 28 – Violin Concerto, op. 33 by Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) was first performed in Copenhagen, Denmark

March 22 – Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda, Second Group, by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

April 22 – La Péri, ballet by Paul Dukas (1865-1935), was first performed in Paris, France

June 8 – Daphnis et Chloé by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was first performed in Paris, France

June 26 – Symphony No. 9 by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

July 23 – Aristophanic Suite, The Wasps, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

August 7 – Piano Concerto No. 1 in D♭ major, op. 10 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

August 13 – Jules Massenet (1842-1912) died in Paris, France

September 24 – The Sea, Suite for Orchestra, H. 100 by Frank Bridge (1879-1941) was first performed in London, England

1913
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) completed St. Paul’s Suite, in C major, op. 29, no. 2

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) completed Questo fu il carro della Morte, op. 2

April 24 – Canto serioso, for horn and piano, FS 132 by Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) was first performed in Copenhagen, Denmark

May 6 – Gyula Dávid (1913-1977) was born in Kecskemét, Hungary

October 23 – On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring by Frederick Delius (1862-1934) was first performed in Leipzig, Germany

November 22 – Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) was born in Lowestoft, England

1914
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) completed A Dirge for Two Veterans, H. 121

Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960) completed Variations on a Nursery Song, op. 25

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) completed Il Tramonto (“The Sunset”), for mezzo-soprano and string quartet, P. 101

Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) completed Sinfonia Drammatica in B♭ minor, P. 102

February 5 – Ten Pieces, op. 12 , for piano, by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

March 18 – Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda, Fourth Group, by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

March 27 – Symphony No. 2, “A London Symphony”, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

May 9 – Carlo Maria Giulini (1914-2005) was born in Barletta, Italy

August 28 – Anatoly Lyadov (1855-1914) died near Borovichi, Russia

November 12 – Second Quintet in E♭ minor for Piano and Strings, op. 26, by Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

1915
Claude Debussy (1862-1918) completed “Christmas Carol for Homeless Children”, for children’s chorus (Noël des enfants qui n’ont plus de maison: Nous n’avons plus de maison), CD 147

George Enescu (1881-1955) completed Orchestral Suite No. 2, in C major, op. 20

May – English Pastoral Impressions, op. 26, by Ernest Farrar (1885-1918) was first performed in Harrogate, England

1916
Franz Schreker (1878-1934) completed Verschwiegene Liebe (Silent Love), arrangement for voice and orchestra of Eichendorff Lieder: No. 3 by Hugo Wolf (1860-1903)

Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974) completed Symphony No. 3 in D major, op. 10, “Västkustbilder” (“West Coast Pictures”)

January 29 – Scythian Suite, op. 20 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

April 9 – Nights in the Gardens of Spain, for piano and orchestra, G. 49 by Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

April 11 – Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina

1917
Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) completed the Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 1, P 109

Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) completed Song of the Black Swan (Canto do cysne negro), for cello and piano, W122

Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974) completed the Suite No. 3, op. 19, no. 1, for violin, viola, and string orchestra

Ilse Fromm-Michaels (1888-1986) completed Piano Sonata, op. 6

Ilse Fromm-Michaels (1888-1986) completed Walzerreigen, op. 7

March 11The Fountains of Rome, tone poem by Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was first performed in Rome, Italy

May 3 – Schelomo: Hebraic Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra, B. 39 by Ernest Bloch (1880-1959) was first performed in New York, New York

July 24 – Robert Farnon (1917-2005) was born in Toronto, Canada

September 15 – Richard Arnell (1917-2009) was born in London, England

1918
Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) completed D’un Soir Triste, symphonic poem

January – Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) completed the orchestral version of D’un matin de printemps

February 11 – Pan and Syrinx, symphonic poem in F major, op. 49 by Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) was first performed in Copenhagen, Denmark

February 11 – Romanian Folk Dances, Sz. 68 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was first performed in Budapest, Hungary

March 15 – Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) died in Mézy-sur-Seine, France

March 25 – Claude Debussy (1862-1918) died in Paris, France

April 9Le bourgeois gentilhomme, orchestral suite, op. 60 by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

April 21 – Symphony No. 1 in D major, op. 25, “Classical”, by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

July 3 – Heroic Elegy, op. 36, by Ernest Farrar (1885-1918) was first performed in Harrogate, England

August 25 – Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts

September 18 – Ernest Farrar (1885-1918) died near Le Cateau, Cambrai, France (World War I casualty)

September 29 – The Planets, op. 32 by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was first performed in London, England

1919
Gustav Holst (1874-1934) completed Ode to Death, for chorus and orchestra, op. 38

Percy Grainger (1882-1961) completed the orchestral version of Colonial Song (Sentimental No. 1)

Peter Warlock (1894-1930) completed the choral work Balulalow

George Gershwin (1898-1937) completed Lullaby, for string quartet

March 31 – Two Studies for Doktor Faust, BV 282 by Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) was first performed in Zürich, Switzerland

April 11 – Le Tombeau de Couperin (piano), M. 68 by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was first performed in Paris, France

June 22 – The White Peacock (orchestral version) by Charles Griffes (1884-1920) was first performed in New York, New York

October 27 – Cello Concerto in E minor, op. 85 by Edward Elgar (1857-1934) was first performed in London, England

November 16 – Poem for Flute and Orchestra, A. 93 by Charles Griffes (1884-1920) was first performed in New York, New York

November 24 – Symphony No. 5 in E♭ major, op. 82 by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was first performed in Helsinki, Finland

November 28 – The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan, tone poem by Charles Griffes (1884-1920) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

1900s

1920s

Classical Music Timeline: 1870s

This is one of a series of postings of important classical music dates, from the 17th century to the present. Included are the date and location of the birth and death of composers, and the premiere date and location of the first public performance of works. When the premiere date and location is unknown, the date or year of completion of the work is given. Though reasonably comprehensive, this is a subjective list, so the choice of composers and works is mine. If you find any errors, or if you can offer a premiere date and location for a work where only the completion date or year is listed, please post a comment here.

1870
January 5 – Liebeslieder Waltzes, op. 52, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

April 8 – Charles Auguste de Bériot (1802-1870) died in Brussels, Belgium

1871
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed The Bridal Procession Passes By, op. 19, no. 2 [later orchestrated by Johan Halvorsen (1864-1935) as the Norwegian Bridal Procession]

1872
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed the incidental music for Sigurd Jorsalfar, op. 22

May 1 – Hugo Alfvén (1872-1960) was born in Stockholm, Sweden

May 16 – Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940) was born in Lyubim, Russia

October 12 – Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was born in Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, England

November 10 – L’Arlésienne Suite No. 1, op. 23bis, incidental music by Georges Bizet (1837-1875) was first performed in Paris, France

1873
January 19 – Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, op. 33, by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was first performed in Paris, France

April 1 – Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was born in Oneg, Novgorod, Russia

April 22 – Wiener Blut, op. 354, waltz by Johann Strauss II (1825-1899) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

November 2 – Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, op. 56a, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

November 10 – Henri Rabaud (1873-1949) was born in Paris, France

December 11 – String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, op. 51, no. 1, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

1874
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) completed Der Abend (The Evening) from Three Quartets, op. 64, no. 2

January 4 – Josef Suk (1874-1935) was born in Křečovice, Czech Republic

May 22Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) was first performed in Milan, Italy

June 22 – Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) completed Pictures at an Exhibition, for piano

September 21 – Gustav Holst (1874-1934) was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

1875
January 11 – Reinhold Glière (1875-1956) was born in Kyiv, Ukraine

January 24 – Danse macabre, op. 40, by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was first performed in Paris, France

February 2 – Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) was born in Vienna, Austria

March 3 – Carmen, opera by Georges Bizet (1837-1875) was first performed in Paris, France

March 7 – Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was born in Ciboure, France

May 8 – Neue Liebeslieder Waltzes, op. 65, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Karlsruhe, Germany

June 3 – Georges Bizet (1837-1875) died in Bougival, France

September 15 – Louise Farrenc (1804-1875) died in Paris, France

October 31 – Piano Concerto No. 4 in C minor, op. 44, by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) was first performed in Paris, France

November 18 – Piano Quartet No. 3 in C minor, op. 60, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

1876
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Ballade in the Form of Variations on a Norwegian Folk Song in G minor, op. 24, for piano

January 12 – Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948) was born in Venice, Italy

January 28 – Sérénade mélancolique in B♭ minor for violin and orchestra, op. 26, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

February 24 – Peer Gynt, op. 23, incidental music by Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was first performed in Oslo, Norway

November 4 – Symphony No. 1 in C minor, op. 68, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Karlsruhe, Germany

November 18 – Slavonic March in B♭ minor, op. 31, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 23 – Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) was born in Cádiz, Spain

December 10 – Serenade for Strings in E major, op. 22, B52 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

1877
March 4 – Swan Lake, op. 20, ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

March 9 – Francesca da Rimini: Symphonic Fantasy after Dante, op. 32, symphonic poem by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

July 27 – Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960) was born in Bratislava, Slovakia

November 21 – Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933) was born in Oberndorf am Neckar, Germany

December 2 – Symphonic Variations, op. 78, B70 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

December 9 – Cello Concerto in D minor by Édouard Lalo (1823-1892) was first performed in Paris, France

December 9 – Romance in F minor, for violin and orchestra, op. 11, B39 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

December 30 – Symphony No. 2 in D major, op. 73, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

1878
Vincent d’Indy (1851-1931) completed The Enchanted Forest (La forêt enchantée), op. 8

February 22 – Symphony No. 4 in F minor, op. 36, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

March 23 – Franz Schreker (1878-1934) was born in Monaco

1879
L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2, incidental music by Georges Bizet (1837-1875) and compiled by Ernest Guiraud (1837-1892), was published

January 1 – Violin Concerto in D major, op. 77, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Leipzig, Germany

February 26 – Frank Bridge (1879-1941) was born in Brighton, England

March 4 – Symphony No. 2 in B minor (revised) by Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

March 29 – Eugene Onegin, op. 24, opera by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

May 15 – Nocturne in B major, op. 40, B47 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed prior to this date in Nice, France

May 16 – Czech Suite in D major, op. 39, B93 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

July 9 – Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was born in Bologna, Italy

October 19 – Symphony No. 5 in F minor for Organ, op. 42, no. 1, by Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) was first performed in Paris, France

October 21 – Joseph Canteloube (1879-1957) was born in Annonay, France

October 29 – Eight Pieces for Piano, op. 76, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

November 8 – Violin Sonata No. 1 in G major, op. 78, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Bonn, Germany

1860s

1880s

Scythia Sweet

One of the enjoyable aspects of recording asteroids passing in front of stars (we call them asteroid occultations) is the interesting names of some of the asteroids. This month, Bob Dunford, Steve Messner, and I had two double-chord events across the asteroid 1306 Scythia, discovered in this month of 1930 by Soviet astronomer Grigory Neujmin (1886-1946).

The name 1306 Scythia immediately brought to mind a favorite piece of music, the Scythian Suite—surely one of the most unusual and otherworldly compositions by Sergei Prokofiev, or anyone else for that matter.

A quick look at the entry for 1306 Scythia in the 5th edition of Dictionary of Minor Planet Names by Lutz D. Schmadel (1942-2016) quickly confirmed my suspicion that the subject matter of both asteroid and musical composition is the same.

Named for the country of the ancient Scythians comprising parts of Europe and Asia now in the U.S.S.R. in regions north of the Black sea and east of the Aral sea.

In the wee hours of Friday, July 12, Bob Dunford in Illinois and I in Wisconsin observed only the second asteroid occultation of 1306 Scythia (and the first since 2014). The predicted path is shown below.

Predicted shadow path of the asteroid 1306 Scythia from the star Tycho 5189-597-1 (UCAC4 414-136241) on 12 July 2019 UT.

Bob, who was observing at Naperville, observed a 4.3-second dip in brightness as the asteroid covered the star between 8:23:46.203 and 8:23:50.531 UT, and I, observing at Dodgeville, observed a 1.3-second event between 8:24:01.783 and 8:24:03.054. Our light curves are shown below.

Bob Dunford’s light curve of the 1306 Scythia / Tycho 5189-597-1 event of 12 July 2019 UT, using a 14-inch telescope.
David Oesper’s light curve of the 1306 Scythia / Tycho 5189-597-1 event of 12 July 2019 UT, using a 12-inch telescope.

Here’s a map showing our observing locations relative to the predicted path.

1306 Scythia / Tycho 5189-597-1 event of 12 July 2019 UT – Predicted Path and Observer Locations

Here’s the profile showing the chords across the asteroid.

1306 Scythia / Tycho 5189-597-1 event of 12 July 2019 UT – Asteroid Profile and Chords

Just four days later, both Bob Dunford and I had a high probability event of the same asteroid passing in front of a different star, and this time we were joined by Steve Messner. Bob and Steve both got positives! Unfortunately, I was clouded out.

Predicted shadow path of the asteroid 1306 Scythia from the star TYC 5188-573-1 on 16 July 2019 UT.
1306 Scythia / Tycho 5188-573-1 event of 16 July 2019 UT – Predicted Path and Observer Locations
1306 Scythia / Tycho 5188-573-1 event of 16 July 2019 UT – Asteroid Profile and Chords

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) wrote the Scythian Suite in 1915 when he was 24 years of age. Even at that young age, Prokofiev already showed great talent and originality.

Sergei Prokofiev, circa 1918

Here are some excerpts of the Scythian Suite performed by the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Stanisław Skrowaczewski. This is a 1983 recording (Vox Box CD3X 3016). The movement descriptions are based on those given in Wikipedia.

1st movement: Invocation to Veles and Ala – barbaric and colorful music describing the Scythians’ invocation of the sun.

Some of the music you’ve heard in the original “Star Trek” certainly was inspired by this.
Alien landscape music
Alien landscape music #2

2nd movement: The Alien God and the Dance of the Evil Spirits – as the Scythians make a sacrifice to Ala, daughter of Veles, the Alien God performs a violent dance surrounded by seven monsters.

Best to observe this nasty dance from a distance…
This certainly reminds me of Dmitri Shostakovich, but he was only 9 years old at the time and just beginning to compose!

3rd movement: Night – the Alien God harms Ala; the Moon Maidens descend to console her.

This beautiful movement of many moods begins peacefully, then moves to a section of descending lines that might remind you of “The Planets” by Gustav Holst, but this was being written at the exact same time as the Scythian Suite! Next the music takes an ominous turn, and then returns to a little night music, but more a travel through interstellar or intergalactic space rather than a terrestrial night.

4th movement: The Glorious Departure of Lolli and the Cortège of the Sun – Lolli, the hero, comes to save Ala; the Sun God assists him in defeating the Alien God. They are victorious, and the suite ends with a musical picture of the sunrise.

Here, now, the conclusion of this remarkable work.

Prokofiev’s Scythian Suite. There is nothing else like it in the orchestral repertoire!

Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda

Gustav Holst (1874-1934) is, of course, best known for The Planets, but I continue to discover other compositions by Holst which are truly remarkable and unjustifiably neglected.

I listened to an out-of-print compact disc this evening that features some Holst rarities: Hymn to Dionysus, Choral Hymns of the Rig Veda, and Two Eastern Pictures. Fortunately, there are still used copies available of this 1985 UK release, so I was able to purchase the disc: Unicorn Digital DKP(CD) 9046. These performances are by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal College of Music Chamber Choir, conducted by Sir David Willcocks (1919-2015), and the legendary harpist Osian Ellis (1928-). What a gem of a recording this is! Seek it out!

The standout work on this disc is a (nearly) complete recording of the Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda, written in four groups between 1908 and 1912. The Rig Veda is the oldest scripture of the Hindu religion. Not satisfied with existing English translations, Holst learned Sanskrit so that he could provide his own translation.

Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda, op. 26

First Group, for chorus and orchestra (H. 96)
   I.   Battle Hymn
   II.  To the Unknown God
   III. The Funeral Hymn [not included in this recording]

Second Group, for women's chorus and orchestra (H. 98)
   I.   To Varuna (God of the Waters)
   II.  To Agni (God of Fire)
   III. Funeral Chant

Third Group, for women's chorus and harp (H. 99)
   I.   Hymn to the Dawn
   II.  Hymn to the Waters
   III. Hymn to Vena (Sun rising through the mist)
   IV.  Hymn of the Travellers

Fourth Group, for men's chorus and orchestra (H. 100)
   I.   Hymn to Agni [not included in this recording]
   II.  Hymn to Soma (the juice of a herb)
   III. Hymn to Manas (the spirit of a dying man)
   IV.  Hymn to Indra [not included in this recording]

I also very much enjoyed the final work on this recording, Two Eastern Pictures, written in 1911.

Two Eastern Pictures, for women’s voices and harp (H. 112)

I.  Spring
II. Summer

I certainly hope that this fine recording will be reissued soon, and that live performances of these works are in the offing.

Neptune, the Mystic

Many years ago I wrote a short poem while listening to the final and most otherworldly section of The Planets by Gustav Holst: Neptune, the Mystic.

Here it is:

Neptune, the Mystic from The Planets by Gustav Holst
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley
Ambrosian Chorus, John McCarthy
Alto ALC 1013
The endless poetry of space
Sends shivers across my spine,
And there upon the threshold sounds
The now distant drone of time.
Music fills the spacecraft
Starlight fills the night,
And there upon the threshold think
I wonder, was I right?
David Oesper

 

The Planets was written by Holst between 1914 and 1916, and the premiere performance was at The Queen’s Hall, London, on September 29, 1918.  Adrian Boult conducted the orchestra in a private performance for about 250 invited guests.  The Queen’s Hall was destroyed by an incendiary bomb during the London Blitz in 1941, seven years after Holst’s death in 1934.

Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930, and was considered to be the ninth planet until its controversial demotion by the IAU in 2006.  A number of composers have added a Pluto movement to The Planets (“Pluto, the Renewer” by Colin Matthews, for example), and even an improvised performance (“Pluto, the Unpredictable”) by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic.  I remember enjoying “Pluto, the Unknown” by American composer Peter Hamlin performed by the Des Moines Symphony in 1992, but unfortunately no recording of this work exists.