A Classic Constellation

2009 brings us an exciting array of anniversaries in the world of European art music. Feargus OSullivan examines the situation in The National (UAE):

For classical music, years like 2009 come almost as rarely as Halley’s Comet. In a flurry of activity unseen since the bicentenary of Mozart’s death, a remarkable constellation of composer anniversaries are packed into the next 12 months. The great Austrian Haydn died 200 years ago, the same year in which that most popular composer of the Victorians, Mendelssohn, was born. It is also the 250th anniversary of the Baroque master Handel’s death, while Britain’s exquisite opera pioneer Henry Purcell was born 350 years ago this September.


The unusually prominent line-up of musical stars this year... means that the 50th anniversary of the fine Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu’s death has been overshadowed by classical and baroque splendour.

OSullivan examines other pros and cons of anniversary commemorations and proclaims Joseph Haydn as this year's big winner. The man who has long been 'arguably the world's least known great composer' is finally getting his due.

We are, after all, talking about the man who effectively created the classical symphony, producing music that is almost invariably fresh and delightful – and somehow especially sympathetic and warm towards its listeners. With major retrospectives of his work worldwide and even a 50 CD box set of his collected works, enthusiasm for this important figure appears to be returning... Having a whole year in which to focus on the man has also helped provide a frame for his mind-bogglingly large oeuvre: Britain’s BBC Radio Three is currently rattling through his 104 symphonies by broadcasting two a week.
The full article details both world and UAE events and may be viewed at The National web site.


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