Musical anniversaries in 2011

January 3, 2011

I have combed through my collection looking for composers who will have major anniversaries in 2011. Overshadowing all will be the centenary of Mahler’s death and, later in the year, Franz Liszt’s 200th birthday. But there are a few other notable births and deaths to mark as well. Personally I am looking forward to marking Victoria’s memorial in August. Here is the list I came up with:

100 years

Alan Hovhaness (birth) – March 8
Gustav Mahler (death) – May 18
Gian Carlo Menotti (birth) – July 7

200 years

Franz Liszt (birth) – October 22

400 years

Tomás Luis de Victoria (death) – August 27

650 years

Philippe de Vitry (death) – June 9

7 Responses to “Musical anniversaries in 2011”


  1. A dizzyingly long list of mostly obscure composers with 2011 anniversaries is available here.

    The centenary of the short-lived Jehan Alain will be an important event for organists, as will the 350th birthday of Georg Böhm (Bach’s teacher in Lüneburg). I’m also pleased that the Allan Pettersson centenary is this year – his symphonies are among the most emotionally devastating pieces of music I know, and perhaps this year we’ll have the chance to hear some of his music in live performances. I’m afraid that even a major anniversary won’t do much for the likes of Gabor Darvas and Louis Schindelmeisser, though.

  2. cburrell Says:

    Thanks for that link, Osbert. Alain’s music is one of the significant gaps in my collection. I think there is a recording made by Marie-Claire Alain, who I assume is some kind of relation to the composer, that is well regarded.

    I notice that Jacopo Peri is on the list; I do have a bit of his music, but I didn’t notice him when I was making my list. The list also includes Johannes Ciconia, though according to my reckoning his anniversary is next year. Wikipedia agrees with me; AllMusic does not.

    I don’t think I’ve heard anything from Allan Pettersson, but he is there on the periphery of my vision. Perhaps I’ll see if any of his music is available from eMusic.


  3. Marie-Claire Alain is the younger sister of the late composer, and one of the best organists of her generation. I heard her play in Montreal a few years ago – her technique is not what it used to be (she must be close to eighty years old by now!) but she is still a tremendously intelligent and sensitive player. Many of her recordings are now out of print; fine traversals of Jehan Alain’s works are also available from Eric Lebrun and Kevin Bowyer.

    The most recorded Pettersson symphony is the Seventh, although my own favourite is probably the Sixth. There is an excellent recording of the complete symphonies on cpo, although individual symphonies turn up elsewhere. I wish you luck – it is extremely bleak music, and probably an acquired taste for most people, but ultimately very rewarding.

  4. cburrell Says:

    I count Shostakovich’s Quartet No.15 as among my favourite pieces of music, so I can handle bleakness. Surely Pettersson cannot be much more bleak than that?

  5. KathyB Says:

    Well, the choir that I used to be part of has a Victoria requiem in its repetoire. Maybe we should arrange a performance in his honour.

  6. cburrell Says:

    That’s a great idea, Kathy. I think there’s a choir in town called the Victoria Scholars; I bet they are brewing something.

    I found some symphonies of Pettersson on eMusic, Osbert, but not No.6. No.7 is there, on BIS, conducted by Lief Segerstam. I think I’ll try it, especially considering that it will cost me only about $0.30; bargains like that are hard to beat.

  7. AKeuk Says:

    Thanks for mentioning Allan Pettersson, if You are interested in more information about concerts or CDs visit http://www.pettersson100.de – perhaps you know about concerts or activities concerning the centenary – I would be glad to know about.


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