1949 was the bicentenary of the birth of Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801), a prolific Italian composer of, mainly, operas. He wrote over 80 operas, which must have taken some doing, besides various instrumental works. The best-known opera is Il Matrimonio Segreto, a comic opera about a secret marriage, first performed in Vienna in 1792, with the Austrian emperor in the audience. The emperor was so infatuated with the work that he demanded that the whole of it be performed again as an encore, and gave a supper for the performers. He died in Venice, exiled from Naples (after a period of imprisonment) for political reasons. Italy issued a stamp, SG 741, to mark the bicentenary.
I had never heard of Carl Oorf or Carmina Burana until I received a cover with this stamp on it ... did some research and was blown away the first time I heard the opera!
I have sung in the chorus for Carmina Burana a couple of times. It's a great sing.
that is awesome! I can't hardly sing in the shower without scaring dogs and kids ... but I would give a lot to be able to participate, even if I had to hum, in a presentation of something epic like this piece. Here's my favorite youtube clip ... very popular clip by all accounts ..
Think of 20th century classical music composers and you'll probably think of Stravinsky (1882-1971). Born in Russia, he emigrated to, first, France, and then the USA, taking up citizenship of both countries. He came to fame initially through ballets like The Firebird, Petrushka, and The Rite of Spring (whose premiere caused a near-riot, with objects being thrown at the orchestra and some 40 of the audience expelled): these were works calling for large orchestras. His style changed several times. He wrote neo-classical works - partly pastiches of earlier classical music - many of which called for much smaller instrumental forces. For much of his life he was resistant to 12-tone music of the school of Arnold Schoenberg but from the 1950s he wrote a number of works drawing on 12-tone techniques - including a rather uncanny 12-tone setting of the nonsense poem of Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussycat. Almost all his music is very carefully structured, with an almost mathematical precision: this is true even of the orgiastic Rite of Spring - underlying its thumping irregular rhythms and dissonances is a strong and carefully controlled mathematical pattern. Here is Stravinsky on a US stamp of 1980, SG 1819.
1956 was the centenary of the death of the composer Robert Schumann, with some of whose works I wrestled in my teens under the patient tutelage of my piano teacher. W Germany issued a stamp that year - SG 1160.
Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) was a German composer probably most famous for the opera Mathis der Maler, about the painter Matthias Grunewald and his struggles with authority - a parable for Hindemith's own difficulties with the Nazis - and Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber. Some of his music was heavily influenced by Johann Sebastian Bach. For some he is a rather too cerebral composer, and his works are relatively little-played in the English-speaking world. Here he is on a German stamp of 1995, issued for the centenary of his birth - SG 2686.
Last Edit: Dec 10, 2014 11:02:08 GMT -5 by Deleted
This man with a magnificent 19th-century beard is the French composer Gounod (1818-1893) on a French stamp of 1944, SG 812, issued slightly late to mark the 50th anniversary of his death. Gounod is best-known for two works: a setting of the Ave Maria using as accompaniment the music of Bach's first prelude from the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier (a work almost anyone who has learnt classical piano will have tackled); and the opera Faust. His opera Roméo et Juliette, based on the Shakespeare play, is also sometimes performed.
Vincent d'Indy (1851-1931) was a French composer whose work is little performed nowadays. He wrote in most genres - symphonic works, string quartets, operas, choral works, and so on. He was heavily influenced by the music of Berlioz and Wagner. One of his achievements was to play a major part in the revival of the music of the great Italian Renaissance/Baroque composer Monteverdi and of other "early music". Here he is on a 1951 French stamp, SG 1112.
Massenet (1842-1912) was a French composer most famous for his operas, particularly Manon (plot based on the novel Manon Lescaut by Prévost, a novel also the subject of an opera by Puccini) and Werther (loosely based on a novel by Goethe). Here he is on a French stamp, SG 749, issued in 1942 for the centenary of his birth.
George Gershwin (1898-1937) probably needs no introduction. He was one of the great American composers of the 20th century, whose music crossed the divides between classical music, jazz and show music. The lyrics of 12 Broadway shows were written by his brother Ira and are frequently noteworthy for their wit and intelligence. George Gershwin's musical style is particularly remarkable for its constantly inventive rhythms - with the rhythm often changing within a song while still retaining a foot-tapping character. Here he is on a Monaco stamp of 1998, SG 2377, issued for the centenary of his birth. The music is the clarinet opening of his Rhapsody in Blue, a virtuoso work for piano and jazz band or orchestra (there are several versions), which I have unsuccessfully attempted in a piano-only arrangement.
2003 was the birth bicentenary of the French composer Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), and Monaco issued a stamp to mark the occasion, SG 2607. Berlioz was a major figure in romantic music of the 19th century, and influenced composers like Wagner and Liszt. His most famous work is probably the Symphonie Fantastique. Some of his works are extremely grandiose, calling for huge orchestral forces. His Grande Messe des Morts (a Requiem for soldiers who died in the 1830 revolution in France) demands four offstage brass ensembles and the premiere had over 400 performers. His grand opera Les Troyens (The Trojans) is so long it has frequently been either subject to large cuts to condense it, or performed on two successive evenings. Among his other works are the operas La Damnation de Faust and Benvenuto Cellini and the song cycle Les Nuits d'Eté. Even though he often wrote for large orchestras, his instrumentation was often delicate, with daring and original combinations of instruments: and he wrote a very influential treatise on the art of instrumentation.
Aram Khatchaturian (1903-1978) was a composer of Armenian origin, born in Georgia, who is best known for two ballets, Gayane (with its sabre dance) and Spartacus. One piece of music from Spartacus was used as the theme music of a long-running British TV series of the 1970s, The Onedin Line. Like other composers in the Soviet Union, he had some difficulties with the communist regime, though less so than, say, Prokofiev or Shostakovich, probably because his compositional style was fairly traditional and he drew on folk music. In 2003 Monaco issued a stamp, SG 2608, for the centenary of his birth, showing the composer and performers in the sabre dance.
Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) was a Danish composer whose works did not achieve widespread international recognition until well after his death. I can remember their starting to be appreciated in the UK in the 1960s. Outside Denmark, he is best known for his symphonies (he wrote 6), especially the Fourth Symphony, nicknamed "The Inextinguishable", written during Word War 1, in whose final movement two timpanists on opposite sides of the orchestra battle it out. In 1965 Denmark issued a stamp for the centenary of his birth, SG 466.
Kurt Weill (1900-1950) was a German composer best known for his stage music, including Happy End, The Threepenny Opera and Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. A Jew, with left-wing sympathies, he fled Germany in 1933, settling in the United States where he changed his compositional style to that of the American musical. Much of his best music is satirical in character, and influenced by Berlin cabaret music of the 1920s and early 1930s, with words by the communist writer Brecht. In 2000 Germany marked the centenary of his birth with a stamp, SG 2951.
Telemann (1681-1767) was a largely self-taught composer of the German baroque. A friend of Johann Sebastian Bach, he was godfather to one of J S Bach's sons, Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach. He wrote over 3000 pieces of music, among them operas, choral works, concerti, and chamber and instrumental music. For a long time he was regarded as the equal of J S Bach, but his reputation declined a little as Bach's own music began to acquire greater popularity from the mid-19th century. His compositional style is simpler than Bach's often is. I play some of his organ music in my church. In 1981 West Germany marked the tercentenary of his birth with a stamp, SG 1949.
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