Another year has gone and it’s time to take stock. To do this, I decided to take the same angle Clemens used last year (see “A slightly different procedure to last year”), having a look at the composers who died in 2013 and giving, where possible, an example of books or CDs held at the Pendlebury Library.
I’ll also take a look at the main anniversaries celebrated last year.
4th February 2013: Donald Byrd, 80, American jazz trumpeter and eclectic musician who took on many styles of music, from bebop to soul and funk, and particularly jazz fusion; the Pendlebury library holds a CD (Pen CD B.383) from the collection of Julian Andrews, recorded in 1955 under the band leader Kenny Clarke, a CD which marked Cannonball Adderley’s recording début.
8th February 2013: James DePreist, 76, American conductor and one of the few black conductors to achieve international renown; at the beginning of his career he was noticed by Leonard Bernstein who selected him as assistant conductor at the New York Philharmonic. His extensive discography includes more than 50 recordings, such as Sofia Gubaidulina’s Violin Concerto Offertorium and the Sonata for Violin and Cello, which is borrowable at the Pendlebury (Pen CD A.522).
22nd February 2013: Wolfgang Sawallisch, 89, German conductor and pianist. Amongst his numerous acclaimed recordings is Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten (Pen CD C.111). It’s an amazing studio recording which fully balances the voices’ interpretation and the orchestra. It’s worth a listen!
27th February 2013: Harvey Lavan “Van” Cliburn, Jr., 78, American pianist. He became famous in 1958 when, during the Cold War, he won the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow. Four years later the first “Van Cliburn International Piano Competition” took place in Texas. Unfortunately we don’t hold any of his recordings, but his biography, written just a year after his success in Moscow, is available at the UL (M557.c.95.373).
13th April 2013: Stephen Dodgson, 89, English composer. Though not a guitarist himself, he dedicated particular attention to this instrument, writing both solo and chamber works for guitar. His Guitar Concerto No 1, which we hold (Pen 871.E.D13), was written for Julian Bream in 1956.
14th April 2013: Sir Colin Davis, 85, English conductor. I like to remember his connections with Cambridge: in the 1950s, barred from the RCM conducting class, he took odd jobs, such as conducting at music camps and giving lessons in Cambridge. If you want to read more, have a look at last year’s post “To celebrate, to commemorate: Sir Colin Davis (1927 – 2013)”.
His discography is huge: we have 34 CDs and DVDs of his in total. I recommend watching the DVD of Tannhäuser (Pen DVD C.365), the opera which marked his début at the Bayreuth Festival in 1977.
6th May 2013: Steve Martland, 53, English composer who was a versatile musician and took his inspiration from a wide range of sources and produced harsh and aggressive works. His best-known orchestral work is the massive Babi Yar (1983), which was premiered simultaneously in Liverpool and in St Louis, Missouri; you can borrow the CD to listen from the Pendlebury (Pen CD A.41).
22nd May 2013: Henri Dutilleux, 97, French composer; on the occasion of the conductor Paul Sacher’s 70th birthday, some composers, including Dutilleux, were asked by Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich to write compositions for solo cello using Sacher’s surname spelled in musical notes as the theme (eS, A, C, H, E, Re). Dutilleux’s composition was entitled Trois Strophes sur le nom de Sacher. At the Pen we hold the score (Pen 886.E.D2) and the CD (Pen CD S.32).
10th December 2013: Jim Hall, 83, American jazz guitarist and composer. He collaborated with musicians such as Bill Evans, Paul Desmond, Ella Fitzgerald, Lee Konitz and Art Farmer. The Pendlebury Library has a few of his CDs, including one recorded with the Paul Desmond Quartet between 1959 and 1964 (Pen CD B.346).
Looking back, 2013 has also been a rich year of anniversaries, starting with Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner. In the year marking the 200th anniversary of their birth the music and theatre world have focused on these two musical legends.
The Wagner Year celebrations have been centred in Leipzig, where he was born, and in Bayreuth, where many of his works were premiered and where the Festival he founded is based.
Celebrations for the bicentenary of Verdi’s birth took place all over Italy with a packed agenda of events. In particular, Emilia Romagna organised celebrations that were at once innovative, popular and culturally rich. In order to promote Verdi’s operas to the wider public, Emilia Romagna organised the “Giuseppe Verdi 200 Digital Opera Series”, which included a programme of 12 Verdi productions performed in regional theatres that were broadcast online free of charge and were available to view in schools, libraries, etc.
The past year was also dedicated to Benjamin Britten, a composer who dominated English art music in the 20th century. I won’t dwell on him because Susi has already done so recently in this blog, better than I could! (“To celebrate, to commemorate: Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976)” and “Britten and Purcell: the arc of universal harmony”).
At the Pendlebury we have plenty of music by him and you can also consult recent monographs by Neil Powell (Benjamin Britten : A Life for Music, Pen Pb.570.91B.P2) and by Paul Kildea (Benjamin Britten : A Life in the Twentieth Century, Pen Pb.570.91B.K3).
To conclude, we must remember that 2013 has also celebrated the anniversary of Witold Lutoslawski (centenary of his birth), Pietro Mascagni (150th anniversary of his birth) and Francis Poulenc (50th anniversary of his death).