Albert Roussel (1869-1937) on a 1969 French semi-postal. He is best-known for four symphonies and the ballet Le Festin de l'Araignée (The Spider's Feast). His music evolved from a style influenced by Debussy to neoclassicism. He was one of the most important French composers of the years between the two World Wars. He also taught composition, and among his students was the Czech composer Martinu.
The composer Auber (1782-1871) on a 1971 French semi-postal. He was one of the leading French opera composers of the 19th century, but today his operas are rarely staged outside France. In Paris one of the roads leading to the Paris Opera House, and the nearest RER railway station to the opera house, are named after him.
Gustave Charpentier (1860-1956) on a French semi-postal of 1962. He was a baker's son who was able to study music thanks to a rich benefactor. He is known for just one work, the opera Louise of 1900, set among the Paris working class with a libretto largely by Charpentier himself - other works have been forgotten, and he composed virtually nothing after 1913, when a sequel to the opera flopped.
The composer Chabrier (1841-1894) on a 1942 French stamp, issued slightly late for his birth centenary in aid of a charitable fund for musicians. His best-known work is probably an orchestral rhapsody called España, but he wrote in many other genres, including a number of operas which have never established themselves in the repertoire. In his last years he had financial problems following the collapse of his bankers, and suffered from ill-health due to the syphilis which finally killed him. He was an early collector of paintings by Impressionists.
Post by mourningdoves on Jul 2, 2017 21:16:51 GMT -5
Here's Dante Michaelangelo Benvenuto Ferruccio Busoni on Italy Scott 1207, part of that long 1970s series (not quite definitive, not quite commemorative) of artists, musicians, and other creative types. He went by Ferruccio; Scott oddly ID's the stamp as "F. B. Busoni".
Somewhat unusually for an Italian composer, he wrote relatively little vocal music. I looked him up online and began to understand why: he was born in Trieste, which was then part of Austria-Hungary, and much of his training was in Austria and Germany. That, plus he was a child prodigy on the 88's. When I first heard his music, I thought I heard the missing link between Bach and the 20th century, so I wasn't surprised to learn that he edited a huge edition of Bach's keyboard music. If you want to read a bit more about Busoni, the Bach Cantatas website is a nice place to start.
Post by mourningdoves on Jul 3, 2017 22:20:14 GMT -5
Domenico Cimarosa was a near-contemporary of Mozart and one of the early creative forces behind the Neapolitan opera tradition. Here he is on a 1949 stamp.
One of my sources said he wrote more than sixty operas; another said he wrote more than eighty of 'em. To think that somebody could even come up with enough music and enough storylines to fill eighty operas - never mind writing out the scores in longhand and trying to collect royalties off of the publishers - blows me away. Music Academy Online has a brief synopsis of Cimarosa's eventful, turbulent life.
Post by mourningdoves on Jul 4, 2017 20:31:59 GMT -5
Alfredo Catalani was born in Lucca in 1854; so was Puccini, four years later. Italy honored his birth centenary with this stamp:
Life was a struggle for Catalani. He contracted tuberculosis as a teenager, and struggled with the whims of the music industry as he tried to get established as a composer. It seemed as if he had finally found success with his opera La Wally (I have no idea what that means in Italian, but Toscanini - a huge fan - named one of his daughters Wally in honor of Catalani's opera), but he was so exhausted that he was never able to finish another work, and he died before he was 40. If you want to know a bit more, Music Web International has a lovely appreciation of his art available.
Post by mourningdoves on Jul 15, 2017 18:20:33 GMT -5
Here is Saverio Mercadante on an Italian stamp issued to mark the centenary of his death in 1870.
Mercadante was born in Altamura, a small town in southeastern Italy, in 1795. He traveled as far as Vienna and Madrid in his younger days, trying to make a name as a composer, but in 1840 he became director of the Naples Conservatory and stayed there for the rest of his life. Another astonishingly prolific composer, he is credited with more than sixty operas along with some substantial instrumental and sacred music. He was very popular in his day, but his works dropped out of the repertoire in the years after his death and have only slowly started to be heard again.
This stamp is a bit unusual in that it pairs a traditionalist composer and a modernist graphic design. Not that many of Italy's music-themed stamps have that far of a juxtaposition.
Post by mourningdoves on Aug 20, 2017 22:50:41 GMT -5
Half of a 1985 series from Bulgaria.
Modeste Moussorgsky was a 19th-century Russian composer most famous for Pictures at an Exhibition. He wrote it for piano; the orchestrated version, which is the one casual listeners have probably heard, was done by Maurice Ravel. Sadly, Moussorgsky was plagued by what medical practitioners now understand to be clinical depression, which with attendant alcohol abuse brought an early end to his unique voice.
If you love Italian opera - or if you hate it - that's probably because of Giuseppe Verdi, one of the most popular and influential of all composers in that genre. If you think you hate it, it may be because somebody tried to ram high culture up your nose before you were ready, so give it another try.
The last stamp is a bit of a mystery. Filip Koutev (or Kutev, as it's sometimes transliterated) was an influential Bulgarian composer. Like several others, he tried to fuse national folk-type elements with classical forms and orchestration. He also founded a choir (the Filip Koutev National Folklore Ensemble) which is still around. I've actually never heard any of his compositions. That may be because of a copyright dispute that has thrown a wrench into the distribution of Bulgarian music; when I saw that story in the Times, I understood why most of the Gega Records catalog and its Bulgarian Orchestra recordings had disappeared from my Spotify playlists, and I've been scurrying around trying to find "real" copies.
Post by mourningdoves on Sept 14, 2017 21:22:01 GMT -5
Norwegian composer Johan Severin Svendsen on a 1990 stamp.
He wasn't wildly prolific, and he wasn't all that well-known outside of Norway and Denmark; but his two symphonies, Norwegian rhapsodies, and romance for violin still are heard now and then. I've listened to the symphonies; though Svendsen is usually classed with the Late Romantics, they sounded a little older than that to me, and considerably more cheerful than most Late Romantics who weren't named Antonin Dvorak. It was like he'd been listening to lots of Haydn when he wrote them. For further reading, I found this.
Post by mourningdoves on Oct 17, 2017 22:34:38 GMT -5
On a 1987 stamp, here's an early opera composer, Christoph Willibald Glück. Considering that he lived in the 18th century, when getting from one town to the next was a serious endeavor, he had an astonishingly peripatetic life. He was born in Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate, not to be confused with Rheinland-Pfalz of postwar German philatelic fame), moved to Bohemia with his father (a forester) when young, and at various times in his adult life lived in Milan, Paris, and Vienna. Even what his native language was has been a point of controversy: logically, he should have spoken Czech, but there is no evidence of his ever having written a word in that language. (The link is to a page on Radio Swiss Classic.) One of his music students, Antonio Salieri (the same guy who was unjustly vilified in Amadeus), described him as speaking several languages, none of them especially fluently.
Although his operas have all but disappeared from the repertoire, and from modern consciousness, he's considered one of the most vital elements in the development of opera as an art form. BBC Music Magazine has the skinny on that.
(Notes to self: 1. Look up what a Pfalz is and why it translates as Palatinate. 2. Find some guys named Willibald and hang out with them for a while.)
Post by mourningdoves on Oct 18, 2017 21:47:03 GMT -5
@michaelcayley has already posted a couple of stamps of Edvard Grieg, but we're talking Grieg here, so a couple more are always in order. These are from 1943, the centenary of his birth.
To many listeners, Grieg is best-known for the music he wrote for Ibsen's play Peer Gynt - including The Hall of the Mountain King - or one of his two piano concertos. They're not exactly typical of his music, though; he wrote volumes of miniatures and chamber music, including scads of compositions for solo piano.
You might be interested in this medium-length biography provided by the people who run the house where he and his wife spent the last two decades of his life; it's now a museum.
Post by mourningdoves on Nov 1, 2017 21:59:58 GMT -5
Here's Vatroslav Lisinski from a 1954 Jugoslav issue.
I wasn't able to find very much about Lisinski in English. From Wikipedia, I learned that:
Lisinski was born Ignatius Fuchs to a German Jewish family. He would later change his name to Vatroslav Lisinski,which is a Croatian calque of his original name.
And from that, I learned that a calque is a loan-phrase, a direct translation from one language to another. A very simple example would be a German immigrant named Johannes Müller becoming John Miller at (or west of) Ellis Island. But who would have known that "Ignatius" could become "Vatroslav"?
Lisinski wrote the first Croatian opera. I couldn't find it on Spotify, but I found a beautiful choral piece of his performed by the Trebević Choir directed by Josip Magdić on a CD entitled Sarajevo: les voix de l'Oubli. One of Zagreb's most respected concert halls is named after him. There was even a movie about his life.
Post by mourningdoves on Nov 4, 2017 20:34:07 GMT -5
Here is Mieczysław Karłowicz, a Polish composer who isn't nearly as well-known as he should be. I've listened to some of his music and it reminds me of Richard Strauss, at least partly because he was an incredible orchestrator: somebody who could get the most out of the sonic possibilities of a standard symphony orchestra.
There isn't a lot of his music available. In 1909, he went mountain climbing in the Tatras and was killed in an avalanche; he was only 32. In addition to that tragic early death, some of the manuscripts he did complete were lost in World War I and have never turned up anywhere. As for what is available, I've heard most of the recordings of his music done by the Warsaw Philharmonic (which has become an insanely good band under the direction of Antoni Wit) and can recommend them without reservation to anybody who likes Tchaikovsky, the aforementioned Strauss, or Dvořak.
This is my favorite "composers" stamp set (Scott #3838-41), and one of my favorite sets of stamps, period. Engraved by Scandinavian artist, Martin Morck (who is also involved in training 10 Chinese stamp engravers, because China is committed to keeping the art of the engraved stamp alive).
Last Edit: Nov 15, 2017 20:52:13 GMT -5 by youpiao: Add Scott Catalogue number.
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