Classical Music Timeline: 1940s

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.

1940
Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) completed The Comedians, op. 26

June 11 – Divertimento for string orchestra, Sz. 113 BB 118 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was first performed in Basel, Switzerland

July 1The Sea Hawk, with film score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957), was released

November 9Concierto de Aranjuez, for guitar and orchestra, by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Barcelona, Spain

November 16 – Violin Concerto in D minor by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

December 3 – Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940) died in Moscow, Russia

December 9 – Sextet for Piano and Winds (1939 revision), FP 100 by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was first performed in Paris, France

December 26 – Symphony No. 4, “Folk Song Symphony”, by Roy Harris (1898-1979) was first performed in Cleveland, Ohio

1941
January 3 – Symphonic Dances, op. 45 by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was first performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

January 10 – Frank Bridge (1879-1941) died in Eastbourne, England

February 7 – Violin Concerto, op. 14 by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

April 17 – Adolphus Hailstork (1941-) was born in Rochester, New York

June 21Masquerade Suite by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

June 26Warsaw Concerto by Richard Addinsell (1904-1977) premiered in the film Dangerous Moonlight

1942
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) completed Song of the Brave, for tenor and piano, op. 89, no. 2

March 5 – Symphony No. 7, “Leningrad”, by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia (Leningrad at the time)

April 16 – Second Essay for Orchestra, op. 17 by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in New York, New York

June 11 – Geoffrey Toye (1889-1942) died in London, England

June 18 – Paul McCartney (1942-) was born in Liverpool, England

December 4A Ceremony of Carols, op. 28 by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) was first performed (in its final form) in London, England

December 9Gayane, ballet by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was first performed in Perm, Russia

1943
March 12Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Cincinnati, Ohio

March 28 – Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) died in Beverly Hills, California

June 24 – Symphony No. 5 in D major by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

1944
Percy Grainger (1882-1961) completed the orchestration of La Vallée des cloches (”Valley of the Bells”) from Miroirs by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

January 28 – Symphony No. 1, “Jeremiah”, by Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was first performed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

April 16Concierto de estío, for violin and orchestra, by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Lisbon, Portugal

May 7Our Town, music from the film score, by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

May 8 – Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) died in Woking, England

June 7Gran Marcha de los Subsecretarios (“Grand March of the Subsecretaries”), for piano four hands, by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

August – Kaljo Raid (1921-2005) completed Symphony No. 1

October 30Appalachian Spring, ballet by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Washington, D.C.

October 31Sebastian, ballet by Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007) was first performed in New York, New York

December 1 – Concerto for Orchestra, Sz. 116, BB 123 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

December 27 – Amy Beach (1867-1944) died in New York, New York

December 30 – Piano Sonata No. 8 in B♭ major, op. 84 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

1945
Suite from Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was arranged by Artur Rodziński (1892-1958)

January 13 – Symphony No. 5 in B♭ major, op. 100 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

April 9Girl No. 217, with film score by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978), was released

August 2 – Emil von Reznicek (1860-1945) died in Berlin, Germany

September 15 – Anton Webern (1883-1945) died in Mittersill, Austria

September 24 – John Rutter (1945-) was born in London, England

September 26 – Béla Bartók (1881-1945) died in New York, New York

October 12 – Symphony No. 3, H. 299 by Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

November 3 – Symphony No. 9 in E♭ major, op. 70 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

November 21Cinderella, ballet, op. 87 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 30 – Symphony No. 4, H. 305 by Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) was first performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

December 17À l’ombre de Torre Bermeja (“In the Shadow of the Crimson Tower”) by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

December 17A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map, for male chorus, brass, and drums, op. 15 by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) was first performed in New York, New York

1946
Twenty-Four Preludes, op. 38 by Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

February 8 – Piano Concerto No. 3 in E major, Sz. 119, BB 127 by Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was first performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

October 16 – Granville Bantock (1868-1946) died in London, England

October 18 – Symphony No. 3 by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

October 23 – Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, op. 80 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 14 – Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) died in Alta Gracia, Argentina

November 27Cinco piezas infantiles (“Five children’s pieces”), for orchestra, by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was first performed in Madrid, Spain

December 6 – Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) died in Saint Petersburg, Russia

1947
January 8 – Piano Concerto, op. 44 by Richard Arnell (1917-2009) was first performed in New York, New York

February 15 – Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35 by Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) was first performed in St. Louis, Missouri

February 15 – John Adams (1947-) was born in Worcester, Massachusetts

March 5 – Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) died in Rome, Italy

June 14 – Michael Mauldin (1947-) was born in Port Arthur, Texas

August 20 – Concerto for Bassoon and Strings with Percussion by Gordon Jacob (1895-1984) was first performed in London, England

October 23Starlight Roof Waltz by George Melachrino (1909-1965) was first performed in London, England

November 12Flourish, Mighty Land, cantata for chorus and orchestra, op. 114 by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 29The Legend of Ohrid, ballet by Stevan Hristić (1885-1958) was first performed in Belgrade, Serbia

1948
William Grant Still (1895-1978) completed Miniatures, for flute, oboe, and piano

January 21 – Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948) died in Venice, Italy

April 21 – Symphony No. 6 in E minor by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

May 4Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

June 27 – George Templeton Strong (1856-1948) died in Geneva, Switzerland

October 29 – Violin Concerto in C major, op. 48 by Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

October 30The Red Pony, suite from the film score, by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was first performed in Houston, Texas

1949
Clive Richardson (1909-1998) completed Beachcomber

Robert Farnon (1917-2005) completed How Beautiful is Night

January 14 – Joaquín Turina (1882-1949) died in Madrid, Spain

September 8 – Richard Strauss (1864-1949) died in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

September 11 – Henri Rabaud (1873-1949) died in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France

December 2Turangalîla-Symphonie by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

1930s

1950s→

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: 1900s

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.

1900
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) completed the final version of The Swan of Tuonela, op. 22, no. 3

March 2 – Kurt Weill (1900-1950) was born in Dessau, Germany

April 7 – Piano Concerto in C♯ minor, op. 45, by Amy Beach (1867-1944) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

July 1 – Symphony No. 1 in E minor, op. 39, by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

July 2Finlandia, op. 26, by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was first performed in Helsinki, Finland

July 12 – Requiem in D minor, op. 48, by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was first performed in Paris, France

November 3The Tale of Tsar Saltan, opera, by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 14 – Aaron Copland (1900-1990) was born in Brooklyn, New York

1901
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) completed The Snow is Falling, op. 1, no. 5, for children’s chorus and organ

January 27 – Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) died in Milan, Italy

February 3 – Pelléas et Mélisande Suite, op. 80, by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was first performed in Paris, France

February 7Pohádka (Fairy Tale), op. 16, by Josef Suk (1874-1935) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

September 14Chanson de Nuit, in G major, op. 15, no. 1, and Chanson de Matin, in G major, op. 15, no. 2 by Edward Elgar (1857-1934) were first performed in London, England

October 19 – Pomp and Circumstance, March No. 1 and March No. 2, by Edward Elgar (1857-1934) were first performed in Liverpool, England

October 27Three Nocturnes, CD 98, by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was first performed in Paris, France

November 9 – Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, op. 18, by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 22 – Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) was born in Sagunto, Valencia, Spain

1902
Josef Suk (1874-1935) completed Elegie (Under the Impression of Zeyer’s Vyšehrad), op. 23

Franz Schreker (1878-1934) completed Schwanensang (Swan Song), for chorus and orchestra, op. 11

March 29 – William Walton (1902-1983) was born in Oldham, England

June 28 – Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) was born in New York, New York

September 10 – The Witch of Atlas, Tone Poem for Orchestra No. 5, by Granville Bantock (1868-1946), was first performed in Worcester, England

1903
February 22 – Hugo Wolf (1860-1903) died in Vienna, Austria

June 6 – Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) was born in Kojori, Georgia

October 8 – Helios Overture, op. 17, by Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) was first performed in Copenhagen, Denmark

October 19 – Vittorio Giannini (1903-1966) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

November 10 – Symphony No. 2 in D major, op. 43, by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was first performed in Stockholm, Sweden

1904
January 13 – Richard Addinsell (1904-1977) was born in London, England

March 16In the South (Alassio), op. 50, by Edward Elgar (1857-1934) was first performed in London, England

March 30Koanga, opera, by Frederick Delius (1862-1934) was first performed in Wuppertal, Germany

May 1 – Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) died in Prague, Czech Republic

October 18 – Symphony No. 5 in C♯ minor by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was first performed in Cologne, Germany

December 2Songs of Travel by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

December 30 – Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987) was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia

1905
Claude Debussy (1862-1918) completed Suite bergamasque, CD 82

Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960) completed Winterreigen, op. 13

August 23 – Constant Lambert (1905-1951) was born in London, England

October 15La Mer, CD 111, by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was first performed in Paris, France

October 19 – Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 47, by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

November 7 – William Alwyn (1905-1985) was born in Northampton, England

December 9 – Dance of the Seven Veils, from Salome, opera by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in Dresden, Germany

1906
Aita Donostia (1886-1956) completed Rapsodia Baskongada [Basque Rhapsody]

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) completed the orchestration of “Une barque sur l’océan” from Miroirs

March 7 – Konzertstück in D major, for cello and orchestra, op. 12, by Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960) was first performed in Budapest, Hungary

May 9 – Iberia, Book 1, by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909) was first performed in Paris, France

May 27 – Symphony No. 6 in A minor by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was first performed in Essen, Germany

July 24 – Alfredo Casella (1883-1947) completed Symphony No. 1 in B minor, op. 5

September 25 – Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia

December 6 – Orchestral version of Dolly Suite, op. 56 by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was first performed in Monte Carlo, Monaco [orchestrated by Henri Rabaud (1873-1949)]

1907
February 3 – Symphony No. 2 in C minor, “Asrael Symphony”, op. 27, by Josef Suk (1874-1935) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

February 16 – Alec Wilder (1907-1980) was born in Rochester, New York

February 21 – “The Walk to the Paradise Garden”, from the opera A Village Romeo and Juliet, by Frederick Delius (1862-1934) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

February 22 – Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet, and Strings by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was first performed in Paris, France

September 4 – Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) died in Bergen, Norway

September 11 – Iberia, Book 2, by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909) was first performed in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France

November 17 – James Moody (1907-1995) was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland

1908
Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933) completed Marche triomphale, “Nun danket alle Gott” op. 65, no. 59 (for organ)

January 2 – Iberia, Book 3, by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909) was first performed in Paris, France

January 23 – Edward MacDowell (1860-1908) died in New York, New York

January 26 – Symphony No. 2 in E minor, op. 27, by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

February 18 – Brigg Fair, An English Rhapsody, by Frederick Delius (1862-1934) was first performed in London, England

March 15Rapsodie espagnole, M. 54, by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was first performed in Paris, France

May 15 – Lars-Erik Larsson (1908-1986) was born in Åkarp, Sweden

June 21 – Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) died near Luga, Leningrad Oblast, Russia

June 29 – Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts

September 20 – Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908) died in Biarritz, France

October 18 – Drapa, op. 27, for Large Orchestra by Hugo Alfvén (1872-1960) was first performed in Stockholm, Sweden

October 19 – Geirr Tveitt (1908-1981) was born in Bergen, Norway

November 19 – Jean-Yves Daniel-Lesur (1908-2002) was born in Paris, France

December 10 – Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) was born in Avignon, France

1909
January 9Gaspard de la nuit, M. 55, by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was first performed in Paris, France

February 9 – Iberia, Book 4, by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909) was first performed in Paris, France

February 21 – The Enchanted Lake, op. 62, by Anatoly Lyadov (1855-1914) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

February 22In the Fen Country, tone poem by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was first performed in London, England

May 1 – Isle of the Dead in A minor, op. 29, symphonic poem by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

May 1 – George Melachrino (1909-1965) was born in London, England

May 18 – Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909) died in Cambo-les-Bains, France

June 23 – Clive Richardson (1909-1998) was born in Paris, France

October 7Le Coq d’Or, opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

November 28 – Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, op. 30, by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was first performed in New York, New York

December 12Kikimora, op. 63, tone poem by Anatoly Lyadov (1855-1914) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

December 15 – Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909) died in Barcelona, Spain

December 18 – Octet for Double String Quartet in C major, op. 7, by George Enescu (1881-1955) was first performed in Paris, France

1890s

1910s

Classical Music Timeline: 1890s

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.

1890
Feuillet d’album by Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894) was first published

February 2 – Symphony No. 8 in G major, op. 88, B163 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

June 21 – Death and Transfiguration, op. 24, tone poem by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in Eisenach, Germany

October 17 – Piano Quartet No. 2 in E♭ major, op. 87, B162 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

November 4Prince Igor, opera by Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

November 8 – César Franck (1822-1890) died in Paris, France

December 8 – Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959) was born in Polička, Czech Republic

1891
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Two Melodies for String Orchestra, op. 53

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Lyric Pieces, Book V, op. 54 (some were orchestrated later as the Lyric Suite)

Norwegian Dances, op. 35, by Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was orchestrated by Hans Sitt (1850-1922)

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) completed Beau Soir

Josef Suk (1874-1935) completed Piano Quartet in A minor, op. 1

January 15 – Marche Solennelle by Edward German (1862-1936) was first performed in London, England

March 16 – Fantasy Pieces, op. 2, for oboe and piano, by Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) was first performed in Copenhagen, Denmark

April 18 – Symphony in B♭ major, op. 20 by Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) was first performed in Paris, France

April 27 – Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was born in Sontsivka, Ukraine

October 9 – Requiem in B♭ minor, op. 89, B165 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Birmingham, England

December 12 – Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet in B minor, op. 115, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

1892
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) completed Seven Fantasies for Piano, op. 116

Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909) completed Capricho árabe (Arabic Caprice), for solo guitar

March 19 – The Nutcracker Suite, op. 71a, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

March 27 – Ferde Grofé (1892-1972) was born in New York, New York

April 6 – Symphony No. 4 in D minor, op. 13, B41 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

April 22 – Édouard Lalo (1823-1892) died in Paris, France

May 6 – Ernest Guiraud (1837-1892) died in Paris, France

September 26 – Prélude in C♯ minor, op. 3, no. 2 from Morceaux de fantaisie by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was first performed in Moscow, Russia

October 21 – Te Deum, op. 103, B176 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in New York, New York

December 18 – Symphony No. 8 in C minor, WAB 108, by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) was first performed in Vienna, Austria

1893
January 18 – Mass in D by Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) was first performed in London, England

January 30 – Intermezzo in E♭ major, op. 117, no. 1, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in London, England

March 4 – Symphony No. 2 in G minor, “Sintram”, by George Templeton Strong (1856-1948) was first performed in New York, New York

August 21 – Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) was born in Paris, France

October 28 – Symphony No. 6 in B minor, op. 74 “Pathétique” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

November 6 – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) died in Saint Petersburg, Russia

November 23 – Karelia Suite, op. 11 by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was first performed in Helsinki, Finland

December 16 – Symphony No. 9 in E minor, op. 95, B178 “From the New World” by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in New York, New York

December 23 – Hänsel und Gretel, opera by Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921), was first performed in Weimar, Germany

1894
Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935) completed Caucasian Sketches, Suite No. 1, op. 10

January 1 – String Quartet No. 12 in F major, op. 96, B179 “American” by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Boston, Massachusetts

January 22 – Six Pieces for Piano, op. 118, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in London, England

January 22 – Rhapsody in E♭ major, op. 119, no. 4, by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was first performed in London, England

February 25 – Serenade for Strings in E♭ major, op. 6 by Josef Suk (1874-1935) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

March 16 – Méditation from Thaïs by Jules Massenet (1842-1912) was first performed in Paris, France

May 17 – Richard Strauss (1864-1949) completed Ruhe, Meine Seele, op. 27, no. 1 at Weimar, Germany. He completed an orchestral song version of this piece in 1948.

September 13 – Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894) died in Paris, France

October 30 – Peter Warlock (1894-1930) was born in London, England

December 16 – Silent Woods, for cello and orchestra (or piano), op. 68, no. 5, B182 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Basel, Switzerland

December 22 – Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, symphonic poem by Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was first performed in Paris, France

1895
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) completed the Viola Sonata in F minor, op. 120, no. 1 (version of Clarinet Sonata, op. 120, no. 1)

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) completed the Viola Sonata in E♭ major, op. 120, no. 2 (version of Clarinet Sonata, op. 120, no. 2)

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Two Nordic Melodies for String Orchestra, op. 63

Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935) completed Armenian Rhapsody on National Themes, op. 48

Léon Boëllmann (1862-1897) completed Suite gothique, op. 25 for organ

January 3 – Borys Lyatoshynsky (1895-1968) was born in Zhytomyr, Ukraine

April 3 – Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) was born in Florence, Italy

May 11 – William Grant Still (1895-1978) was born in Woodville, Mississippi

July 5 – Gordon Jacob (1895-1984) was born in London, England

November 5 – Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, op. 28 tone poem by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in Cologne, Germany

December 13 – Symphony No. 2 in C minor, “Resurrection”, by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

1896
Souvenir d’un lieu cher (Memory of a Beloved Place), op. 42, for Violin and Orchestra (arranged by Alexander Glazunov), by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was first published

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Symphonic Dances, op. 64

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed Lyric Pieces, Book VIII, op. 65

Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909) completed Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Memories of the Alhambra), for solo guitar

Edward MacDowell (1860-1908) completed Woodland Sketches, op. 51

Leokadiya Kashperova (1872-1940) completed Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in G major, op. 1, no. 1

January 10 – Sonatina in G major, for violin and piano, op. 100, B183 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Brno, Czech Republic

March 16Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer), by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) was first performed in Berlin, Germany

March 19 – Cello Concerto in B minor, op. 104, B191 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in London, England

May 20 – Clara Schumann (1819-1896) died in Frankfurt, Germany

June 3 – The Water Goblin, symphonic poem, op. 107, B195 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

June 3 – The Noon Witch, symphonic poem, op. 108, B196 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Prague, Czech Republic

October 11 – Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) died in Vienna, Austria

October 28 – Howard Hanson (1896-1981) was born in Wahoo, Nebraska

November 25 – Virgil Thomson (1896-1989) was born in Kansas City, Missouri

November 27 – Also sprach Zarathustra, op. 30, tone poem by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in Frankfurt, Germany

December 27 – Poème, for violin and orchestra, op. 25 by Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) was first performed in Nancy, France

1897
Richard Strauss (1864-1949) completed Der Abend, op. 34, no. 1 (“The Evening”), for chorus

January 3 – Symphony in C by Paul Dukas (1865-1935) was first performed in Paris, France

March 28 – Symphony No. 1 in D minor, op. 13 by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) was first performed in Saint Petersburg, Russia

April 3 – Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) died in Vienna, Austria

May 29 – Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) was born in Brno, Czech Republic

June 12 – Alexandre Tansman (1897-1986) was born in Łódź, Poland

October 11 – Léon Boëllmann (1862-1897) died in Paris, France

1898
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) completed Sicilienne, op. 78, for cello and piano

February 12 – Roy Harris (1898-1979) was born in Chandler, Oklahoma

March 20 – The Wild Dove, symphonic poem, op. 110, B198 by Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) was first performed in Brno, Czech Republic

September 26 – George Gershwin (1898-1937) was born in Brooklyn, New York

November 13 – Four Sacred Pieces by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) was first performed in its entirety in Vienna, Austria

1899
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) completed the orchestration for Two Lyric Pieces, op. 68

Percy Grainger (1882-1961) completed Fisher’s Boarding-House

January 7 – Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was born in Paris, France

March 3 – Ein Heldenleben, op. 40, tone poem by Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was first performed in Frankfurt, Germany

June 3 – Johann Strauss II (1825-1899) died in Vienna, Austria

June 10 – Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) died in Limay, Yvelines, France

June 19 – Variations on an Original Theme, op. 36 “Enigma Variations” by Edward Elgar (1857-1934) was first performed in London, England

1880s

1900s

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

Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

The remarkable composer and virtuoso pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) wrote five works for piano and orchestra. The first four were his piano concertos.

Piano Concerto No. 1 in F♯ minor, Op. 1 (1891; revised 1917)

Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 (1901)

Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 (1909)

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G minor, Op. 40 (1926; revised 1941)

His 2nd and 3rd piano concertos are especially beautiful, and are among the finest examples of this genre in the entire repertory.

Then, in 1934, eight years after his final piano concerto, he wrote his final work for piano and orchestra, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. It is a set of 24 variations in a single movement lasting 23 to 25 minutes. Its point of departure is the last of the 24 Caprices for Solo Violin, written between 1802 and 1817 by the great violinist Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840). Here is a performance of Caprice No. 24.

Kyoko Yonemoto playing Caprice No. 24 in A minor by Niccolò Paganini

And, oh, what Rachmaninoff does with this theme by Paganini! Energetic, scintillating, lush, virtuosic—these are just a few of the words that describe this incredibly dynamic and exciting work. It is the perfect introduction to Rachmaninoff’s music, and arguably his finest work—at least in terms of what he accomplishes in a mere two dozen minutes.

There are many fine recordings of this remarkable piece. I have several. Here they are, in order of duration.

23:00 Gary Graffman (1928-), New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)

23:01 Cecile Licad (1961-), Chicago Symphony, Claudio Abbado (1933-2014)

23:16 Adilia Alieva (living; birth year unknown), Orchestra Sinfonica do Samremo, Walter Proost (living; birth year unknown)

23:36 Vladimir Ashkenazy (1937-), London Symphony, André Previn (1929-2019)

23:44 Stephen Hough (1961-), Dallas Symphony, Andrew Litton (1959-)

24:56 Daniil Trifonov (1991-), Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin (1975-)

As you can see even from this small sample, a piece of music can be played with widely varying tempos and, of course, interpretations. The Trifonov recording is the latest addition to my collection, and you’ll note that it is a full 1m12s longer than the next longest interpretation, another great recording by pianist Stephen Hough.

I was bowled over by this Trifonov recording, and it is my current favorite. There is so much to savor here, and yet I never get the sense that the tempo is too slow. Time is certainly relative when it comes to music!

Give this recording of Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini a listen! Truly outstanding.

Deutsche Grammophon 479 4970 GH