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March 5 — March 11, 2012

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Monday, March 5
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Barber sings Barber ...

Samuel Barber (1910 - 1981):
Dover Beach
Samuel Barber, baritone; Curtis String Quartet
Pearl 0049

On Barber

1853 — American composer Arthur Foote, in Salem, Mass.;
1887 — Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, in Rio de Janeiro;

1778 — British composer Thomas Arne, age 67, in London;
1947 — Italian composer Alfredo Casella, age 63, in Rome;
1953 — Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, age 61, in Moscow (the same day that Joseph Stalin died);

1735 — Handel: Organ Concertos Op. 4, nos. 2-3, in London as intermission features during a revival performance of Handel's oratorio "Esther" at the Covent Garden Theater (Gregorian date: March 16);
1818 — Rossini: opera "Mosè in Egitto" (Moses in Egypt) (1st version in Italian), in Naples at the Teatro San Carlo;
1868 — Boito: opera "Mefistofele," at the Teatro della Scala in Milan;
1889 — MacDowell: Piano Concerto No. 2, with the composer as soloist, in New York City;
1892 — Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 1 (Gregorian date: Mar. 17);
1904 — Liadov: symphonic poem "Baba Yaga" (Gregorian date: Mar. 18);
1904 — Ravel: String Quartet, in Paris, by the Heymann Quartet;
1905 — Frederick S. Converse: "The Mystic Trumpeter" by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Fritz Scheel conducting;
1933 — Barber: "Dover Beach" for medium voice and string quartet, at the French Institute in New York City, by mezzo-soprano Rose Bampton and the New York Art Quartet;
1933 — Malipiero: Violin Concerto No. 1, by the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orcherstra with Pierre Monteux conducting and Viola Mitchell the soloist;
1940 — Copland: "John Henry," on a CBS "School of the Air" radio broadcast, by the Columbia Broadcasting Symphony conducted by Howard Barlow;
1942 — Cage: "The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs" (text by James Joyce) for voice and piano, in New York;
1942 — Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7 ("Leningrad") by the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra, conducted by Samuel Abramovitch Samosud, in Kuibyshev (the temporary Soviet capital where the orchestra and Shostakovich had been evacuated);
1944 — Piston: Symphony No. 2, in Washington, D.C., by the National Symphony, Hans Kindler conducting;
1965 — Piston: Symphony No. 6, by the Boston Symphony;
1990 — David Ward-Steinman: "Intersections II: Borobudur," for percussion and "fortified" piano, at the Canberra Institute of the Arts in Australia, by percussionist Daryl Pratt and the composer at the piano;
2003 — Bright Sheng: Tone Poem for Pipa, Sheng, Cello, Piano, and Orchestra ("Song and Dance of Tears") with Wu Man (pipa, Wu Tong (sheng), Yo-Yo Ma (cello) and Emanuel Ax (piano), with the New York Philharmonic, David Zinman conducting.

Tuesday, March 6
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Beethoven's Op. 127 ...

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827):
String Quartet in Eb, Op. 127
LaSalle Quartet
DG 453 768

On Beethoven's String Quartets

1844 — Russian composer Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (Gregorian date: Mar. 18);
1870 — Austrian operetta composer Oscar Straus, in Vienna;

1932 — American composer and bandleader John Philip Sousa, age 77, in Reading, Pa.;
1967 — Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály, age 84, in Budapest;

1791 — Beethoven: "Ritterballett" (Knightly Ballet), in Bonn;
1825 — Beethoven: String Quartet in Eb, Op. 127, in Vienna, the Schuppanzigh Quartet; This premiere was under-rehearsed and poorly performed (the Quartet had only received the music two weeks earlier), and Beethoven arranged for a second performance by a quartet led by violinist Joseph Boehm on March 26, which was better rehearsed and better received;
1831 — Bellini: opera "La Sonnambula" (The Sleepwalker), in Milan at the Teatro Carcano;
1853 — Verdi: opera "La Traviata" (The Lost One), in Venice at the Teatro La Fenice;
1896 — Arthur Foote: Suite in d, by the Boston Symphony, Emil Paur conducting;
1917 — Rachmaninoff: "Etudes-tableaux," Op. 39 (first complete performance of the set of nine), in Petrograd (St. Petersburg), by the composer (Julian date: Feb. 21);
1926 — Hindemith: "Concerto for Orchestra," by the Boston Symphony with Serge Koussevitzky conducting;
1927 — Prokofiev: Quintet for winds and strings, Op. 39, in Moscow;
1933 — Varèse: "Ionisation," in New York City, with Nicholas Slonimsky conducting;
1934 — Piston: "Concerto for Orchestra," in Cambridge, Mass.;
1947 — Miaskovsky: Symphony No. 25, at the Moscow Conservatory by the USSR State Symphony, Alexander Gauk conducting;
1984 — John Harbison: "Ulysses' Raft," by the New Haven Symphony, Murray Sidlin conducting;
2000 — Poul Ruders: opera "The Handmaid's Tale," in Copenhagen, by the Royal Danish Theater, Mark Schönwandt conducting;
2003 — John Harbison: "Requiem," by vocal soloists Christine Brewer, Margaret Lattimore, Paul Groves, and Jonathan Lemalu, with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and the Boston Symphony conducted by Bernard Haitink.

Wednesday, March 7
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Daniel Pinkham ...

Daniel Pinkham (1923 - 2006):
Maurice Murphy, trumpet; London Symphony; James Sedares, cond.
Koch International 7179

On Daniel Pinkham

1574 — Baptism of English madrigalist John Wilbye, in Diss (Norfolk);
1875 — French composer Maurice Ravel, in Ciboure;
1887 — Estonian composer Heino Eller, in Tartu;

1786 — Bohemian-born composer and violinist Franz [František] Benda, age c. 77, in Nowawes, near Potsdam; He was active at the court of King Frederich II of Prussia;
1809 — Austrian composer and organist Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, age 73, in Vienna;
1979 — Norwegian composer Klaus Egge, age 72, in Oslo;

1711 — Handel: opera, "Rinaldo," in London (Julian date: Feb. 24);
1730 — Handel: opera "Partenope," in London (Julian date: Feb. 24);
1819 — Rossini: opera "Mosè in Egitto" (Moses in Egypt) (2nd version in Italian), in Naples at the Teatro San Carlo;
1867 — Brahms: Scherzo in eb, Op. 4, for piano, in Vienna;
1883 — Balakirev: symphonic poem "Tamara" (Gregorian date: Mar. 19);
1884 — Chadwick: "Scherzo" in F (from Chadwick's Symphony No. 2, a work in progress), by the Boston Symphony, George Henschel conducting; The entire symphony was premiered by the same orchestra on Dec. 10, 1886, with the composer conducting;
1892 — Tchaikovsky: "The Nutcracker" Suite, in St. Petersburg (Gregorian date: Mar. 19);
1896 — Gilbert & Sullivan: operetta "The Grand Duke" at the Savoy Theatre in London;
1899 — d'Indy: "Chansons et danses" for winds, in Paris;
1953 — Persichetti: "Pageant" for band, in Miami;
1958 — Piston: Viola Concerto, by the Boston Symphony, Charles Munch conducting;
1965 — Easley Blackwood: Symphony No. 3, in Chicago;
1971 — Menotti: opera "The Most Important Man," at the New York City Opera;
1980 — Daniel Pinkham: "Serenades" for trumpet and winds, at Harvard University's Sanders Theater in Cambridge, Mass., by trumpeter Rolf Smedvig and the Harvard Wind Ensemble conducted by Thomas Everett;
2001 — Harbison: "Partita (Concerto for Orchestra)," in Minneapolis, by the Minnesota Orchestra, Yan Pascal Tortelier conducting;
2002 — Colgrass: "Crossworlds" (Concerto for Flute, Piano and Orchestra), commissioned by the Boston Symphony for flutist Marina Piccinini and pianist Andreas Haefliger, with Hans Graf conducting;

Thursday, March 8
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Alan Hovhaness ...

Alan Hovhaness (1911 - 2000):
Symphony No. 21 (Ani)
Trinity College of Music Wind Orchestra; Keith Brion, cond.
Naxos 8.559385

On Alan Hovhaness

1714 — German composer Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (the third son of J.S. Bach), in Weimar;
1904 — Greek composer Nikos Skalkottas, on the island of Euboca;
1911 — American composer Alan Hovhaness, in Somerville, Mass.;

1869 — French composer Hector Berlioz, age 62, in Paris;
1957 — Swiss composer Othmar Schoeck, age 70, in Zurich;
1961 — British conductor and arranger Sir Thomas Beecham, age 81, in London;
1983 — English composer and conductor Sir William Walton, age 80, in Ischia;

1752 — Handel: oratorio "Jephtha," in London (Julian date: Feb. 26);
1896 — Rachmaninoff: symphonic fantasy "The Rock," in Moscow (Gregorian date: Mar. 20);
1898 — R. Strauss: tone-poem "Don Quixote," in Cologne, Wüllner conducting;
1902 — Sibelius: Symphony No. 2, by the Helsinki Philharmonic, with the composer conducting;
1903 — Enescu: "Rumanian Rhapsodies" Nos. 1 and 2, in Bucharest, with the composer conducting;
1934 — Piston: "Concerto for Orchestra," by the Boston Symphony, Serge Koussevitzky conducting;
1954 — Stravinsky: "Three Songs from William Shakespeare," at an "Evenings on the Roof" concert in Los Angeles conducted by Robert Craft;
1956 — David Diamond: Symphony No. 6, by the Boston Symphony, Charles Munch conducting;
1957 — Xenakis: "Pithoprakta," in Munich;
1979 — Rihm: opera "Jakob Lenz," in Hamburg at the Opera stabile (Staatsoper);
1991 — Daniel Asia: "At the Far Edge" for orchestra, by the Seattle Youth Symphony, Ruben Gurevich conducting;
2000 — Karen Tanaka: "At the Grave of Beethoven" for string quartet, in London, by the Brodsky Quartet;
2000 — John Tavener: "The Lord's Prayer," in Guildford (England), by the Tallis Scholars.

Friday, March 9
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Tabloid Paganini? ...

Niccolo Paganini (1782 - 1840):
Caprice No. 10
James Ehnes, violin
Telarc 80398

On Paganini

1737 — Bohemian composer Josef Mysliveczek, in Ober-Sarka; He was a friend and colleague of Mozart;
1839 — Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky (Gregorian date: Mar. 21);
1910 — American composer Samuel Barber, in West Chester, Pa.;
1930 — American composer and jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman, in Forth Worth, Texas;

1706 — Burial date of German composer Johann Pachelbel, age c. 52, in Nuremberg;

1740 — Handel: oratorio "L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato," and Organ Concerto in Bb, Op. 7, no. 1, in London (Julian date: Feb. 27);
1748 — Handel: oratorio "Joshua," in London at the Covent Garden Theater; The event possibly included the premiere of Handel's "Concerto a due cori" No. 1 as well (Gregorian date March 20);
1842 — Verdi: opera "Nabucco" (Nabucodonosor), in Milan at the Teatro alla Scala;
1844 — Verdi: opera "Ernani," in Venice at the Teatro La Fenice;
1849 — Nicolai: opera "Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor" (after Shakespeare's play "The Merry Wives of Windsor"), in Berlin at the Königliches Opernhaus;
1868 — Thomas: opera "Hamlet," (after Shakespeare's play "Hamlet") at the Paris Opéra;
1877 — Tchaikovsky: symphonic-fantasy "Fancesca da Rimini," in Moscow (Julian date: Feb. 25);
1924 — Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 5 (first version), in Paris, by the composer; A revised version of this sonata premiered in Alma-Ata (USSR) on February 5, 1954, by Anatoli Vedernikov;
1930 — Weill: opera "Die Aufsteig und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny" (The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny), in Leipzig at the Neues Theater;
1941 — Cowell: Symphony No. 2 ("Antropos"), in Brooklyn;
1951 — Honegger: Symphony No. 5 ("Di tre re"), by the Boston Symphony, Charles Munch conducting;
1980 — Earle Brown: "Caldar Piece," for percussionists and mobile, in Valencia, Calif.;
1982 — Berio: opera "La vera storia" (The True Story), in Milan at the Teatro alla Scala;

Saturday, March 10
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Chamber Diamond ...

David Diamond (1915 - 2005):
Clarinet Quintet
David Shifrin, clarinet; Chamber Music Northwest
Delos 3088

On David Diamond

1839 — American composer and organist Dudley Buck, in Hartford, Conn.;
1844 — Spanish composer and violinist Pablo de Sarasate, in Pamplona;
1892 — French composer Arthur Honegger, in Le Harve;
1903 — American composer and jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, in Davenport, Iowa;

1832 — Italian-born composer Muzio Clementi, age 80, in Evesham, England;
1870 — Czech-born composer and pianist Ignaz Moscheles, age 75, in Leipzig;
1910 — German composer Carl Reinecke, age 85, in Leipzig;
1991 — American composer Elie Siegmeister, age 82, in Manhasset, N.Y.;

1785 — Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K. 467, at the Burgtheater in Vienna, with the composer as soloist;
1837 — Mercadante: opera "Il Giuramento" (The Oath), in Milan;
1875 — Goldmark: opera "Die Königin von Saba" (The Queen of Sheba), in Vienna at the Court Opera (Hofoper);
1877 — Borodin: Symphony No. 2, in St. Petersburg, by the Russian Musical Society, Eduard Nápravik conducting (Julian date: Feb. 26);
1880 — Paine: Symphony No. 2 ("Spring"), at Sanders Theater in Boston, by the Boston Philharmonic, Bernard Listermann conducting; The following day, the orchestra of the Harvard Musical Association performed the same work downtown at Boston's Musical Hall, with Carl Zerrahn conducting;
1888 — Franck: symphonic poem "Pysché," in Paris;
1912 — Gliere: Symphony No. 3 ("Ilya Murometz") in Moscow (Gregorian date: Mar. 23);
1916 — Granados: "Intermezzo & Epilogue," from "Goyescas," by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski conducting;
1922 — Loeffler: "Irish Fantasies" (Nos. 2, 3 & 5 only) for voice and orchestra, by the Boston Symphony, with Pierre Monteux conducting and tenor John McCormack the soloist;
1932 — Wallingford Riegger: "Dichotomy" for orchestra, in Berlin;
1952 — David Diamond: Quintet for clarinet and strings, at Town Hall in New York City, by clarinetist David Oppenheim, Nathan Gordon and Lillian Fuchs (violins), and Aaron Twerdowsky and Bernard Greenhouse (cellos);
1963 — Henze: opera "Il re cervo" (The Stag King), in Kassel at the Staatstheater; This is the 2nd version of Henze's opera "König Hirsch" which was first staged in an abridged version in Berlin on September 24, 1956; The complete original version of the opera was eventually staged in Stuttgart on May 7, 1985;
1964 — John Harbison: "Sinfonia," in Cambridge, Mass., with violinist Rose Mary Harbison and the Bach Society Orchestra of Harvard, Gregory Biss conducting;
1977 — John Harbison: "Diotima" for orchestra, in Boston, with the Boston Symphony, Joseph Silverstein conducting;

Sunday, March 11
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Ruggles and Cowell anniversaries ...

Carl Ruggles (1897 - 1971):
Cleveland Orchestra; Christoph von Dohnanyi, cond.
Cleveland Orchestra 75th Anniversary CD Edition 093-75

Henry Cowell (1897 - 1965):
Homage to Iran
Leopold Avakian, violin; Mitchell Andrews, piano; Basil Bahar, Persian drum
CRI 836

On Carl Ruggles
More on Ruggles
On Henry Cowell
An essay on Cowell's legacy

1876 — American composer Carl Ruggles, in Marion, Mass.;
1897 — American composer Henry Cowell, in Menlo Park, Calif.;

1791 — Haydn: Symphony No. 92, conducted by the composer, at the first of his London concerts; Haydn had composed this symphony at the request of a French count in 1788-89, and presumably its first performance took place in Paris around that time; The symphony's nickname, "Oxford," derives from a July 7, 1791, performance conducted by Haydn at the Sheldonian Theater at Oxford University, where Haydn was awarded an honorary degree;
1830 — Bellini: opera "I Capuleti e I Montecchi" (The Capulets and Montagues), in Venice at the Teatro la Fenice;
1851 — Verdi: opera "Rigoletto," in Venice at the Teatro La Fenice;
1867 — Verdi: opera "Don Carlos" (1st French-language version in 5 acts) at the Paris Opéra;
1886 — Tchaikovsky: "Manfred" Symphony (after Byron), in Moscow (Gregorian date: Mar. 23);
1888 — Dvorak: Symphony No. 2 in Bb, in Prague; This symphony was composed in 1865;
1915 — Ravel: ballet "Ma Mère l'Oye" (Mother Goose), at the Paris Opéra; This orchestral score is based on an earlier Ravel work of the same name for two pianos;
1917 — Respighi: tone-poem "The Fountains of Rome," in Rome;
1929 — Colin McPhee: Concerto for Piano with Wind Octet, in Boston;
1999 — Corigliano: "A Dylan Thomas Trilogy," at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with soloists and the National Symphony, Leonard Slatkin conducting;