Musical anniversaries in 2012

January 5, 2012

Last year at this time Osbert kindly pointed out a site that lists all the first-, second-, third-, fourth-, and fifth-tier composers who have significant birthdays or memorials in the current year. By all means, look there to see if your favourite composer is named. As for me and my house, we will be marking the following significant anniversaries, in one way or another.

50 years

John Ireland (death) – June 12

100 years

Jules Massenet (death) – August 13
John Cage (birth) – September 5

150 years

Frederick Delius (birth) – January 29
Claude Debussy (birth) – August 22

400 years

Giovanni Gabrieli (death) – August 12

450 years

Adrian Willaert (death) – December 7

1100 years

Notker Balbulus (death) – April or May


The big one is obviously Debussy’s birthday, but even that, not being a true centenary, will be somewhat muted. It is interesting to see two major Venetian composers with anniversaries this year (Gabrieli and Willaert); it gives one an excuse to make a pilgrimage — if one needed another reason to go to Venice. (Not that I’ll be going.) And is anyone else surprised to learn that John Ireland died only in 1962? I had thought him at least a few decades earlier than that.

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