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THE DICTIONARY OF COMPOSERS AND THEIR MUSIC

A LISTENER'S COMPANION

by

ERIC GILDER


Hans Memling (1433 - 1494) Les Anges Musiciens Musée Royal des Beaux-Arts, Anvers

This work is reproduced here by the very kind permission of Eric Gilder's daughter, Paula Day and the copyright holder, Tamara Gilder, his grand-daughter. It was published in 1982

This work may not be copied or reproduced in any form except with the prior permission of Paula Day and Tamara Gilder.


PLEASE NOTE: We have attempted to put this on the web as quickly as possible. The entires do vary in the amount of detail. If you would like to add additional detail, such as a complete worklist, to an entry please send it to Len Mullenger len@musicweb-international.com

Profile
Preface

Acknowledgements
Part 1

Abbreviations

A-Z Composer Index

CHRONOLOGY

1300 1600 1700-1750 1750-1800 1800-1825 1825-1850 1850-1875 1875-1900 1900-1910 1910-1920 1920-1930 1930-1940 1940-1950 1950-1960 1960-1970 1970-1980 1980-1983


 

ERIC GILDER - A Brief Profile

b. 25 December 1911

d. 1 June 2000

Eric Gilder was a composer, teacher, conductor, pianist and musicologist. He trained at London's Royal College of Music studying under John Ireland, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Constant Lambert and Sir Malcolm Sargent. A prolific composer, Gilder wrote for the orchestra, voices, the theatre and television. He served as a choral conductor and appeared at London's Royal Festival Hall both as a conductor and as a pianist. He began his career as a teacher at a London music college that some years later was renamed as the Eric Gilder School of Music. He taught and lectured on a variety of music subjects.

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PREFACE

To school children, history means learning the dates of kings. The real historian, however, may know the dates engraved on historic milestones, but is unlikely to remember the dates of the thousands of little incidents occurring during his journey through time; he is more interested in the scenery

Having spent a large part of my life teaching musical appreciation and history, I know that 1685 was a good year for composers, bringing forth Bach, Handel and the younger Scarlatti; but if you asked me when Liadov wrote Kukalki I really could not tell you off-hand. In order to be equipped for all the questions thrown at me by students I needed to go to the lecture room carrying a dozen bulky volumes. (Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians has lengthened my left arm considerably.) What I required was certain factual ungarnished information contained snugly between the covers of one book. I combed the libraries for such a book, but could not find one; so I wrote my own, and the present volume is the result. Research of a different nature has shown that this could be of lasting value as a permanent reference work, not only to the academic student, but also to the vast numbers of interested laymen - the music-lovers, concert-goers, record collectors, and listeners.

The original intention has become Part One of this book - an alphabetical list of composers with their music arranged chronologically. To have called it 'A Complete List of Everything Ever Composed by Anybody' would have been an absurd boast; call it rather 'A List of Everything That Mattered Composed by Anyone Who Mattered'. All composers must have their jottings, tentative pieces, trifling things that have been discarded as unworthy, mere exercises. Some of these have been preserved, and may be seen in museums in the composer's own handwriting; but their contribution to the world's musical treasury is too inconsiderable to make them worthy of special mention. There are some works that composers themselves would not wish to be immortalised. Dukas, for example, who was his own severest critic, burned all his unpublished compositions when in his early forties and, although still composing, published no more.

Omissions and exceptions are therefore inevitable. One of my sourcebooks lists 6,000 Contemporary American Composers! My apologies for not including all of them, but I had to bear in mind the intended size of this book. Of the countless people who have written music, the 426 represented here are those whose works may be heard today in the concert hall, the opera or ballet house and the church. Many of these composers have also written incidental music and music for the theatre which is included here; but a complete list of works for the theatre could fill a large book by itself and, in general, composers who have written for that medium alone have been omitted. The lists of works are reasonably comprehensive, but the student requiring more definitive lists is recommended to the great number of much bulkier volumes.

One can suppose that the history of music truly began when our cave-dwelling mothers chose certain words in their limited language and intoned them, while our fathers were banging on hollow tree trunks. The development of the art, bearing in mind the frailty of the human voice and the poverty of ancient instruments, was slow and seemingly casual. My contention is that the flowering of music, modern music as we know it today, has occurred in fact only in the last 60(!) years. It is therefore a very young art, which explains why during our own lifetimes there have been such impressive steps forward.

Using this as a milestone, the earliest composer mentioned in this book is Guillaume de Machaut, born around 1300, and the lists go up to 1984. In later editions this could be updated. For each composer there is a short biography, then a chronological list of works. Beside each date is the composer's age, for the sake of the student who is not also a profound mathematician. As far as possible the dates given are those when the work was first conceived - there was sometimes a long gestation period before the work was finally born into the world.

It was during the compiling of Part One that the ideas for Parts Two and Three emerged, and for me these became the most fascinating sections in some respects.

Part Two is a chronological survey, enabling the reader to turn to any year from 1300 to 1984 and see exactly what music was written, which composers were born and which died. Such a historical overview can perhaps best be appreciated if one sticks a pin somewhere in the calendar. Take the year 1847. That was the year Mendelssohn died. Spontini who had been so prolific writing operas in the classical mould, was still alive; Balakirev, Brahms, Bizet, Dvorak, Fauré, Grieg, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Saint-Saëns, Sullivan and Tchaikovsky were children; Donizetti, whose operas were well rooted in tradition, still had a year to live; and in that year Verdi wrote Macbeth and Wagner was already working on Lohengrin, to be produced four years later. It was a good year for opera, contributions coming from Balfe, Dargomizhsky, Flotow and Schumann. Berwald, Meyerbeer and Rossini were all writing with middle-aged maturity, while the fourteen-year old Borodin produced his Flute Concerto; Glinka, called the father of Russian music, wrote Greeting to the Fatherland, Berlioz was in his forties, Liszt his thirties, and Chopin was an ailing man of thirty-seven with only two years to live. Offenbach and Franck were both in their twenties and already established as powers in the musical world. Lalo, the elegant Frenchman of Spanish descent, was already writing music of Spanish flavour which was to influence Falla, Debussy and Ravel. Smetana was twenty-three and was later to establish the great nationalist school of Czech music and to conduct the Czech Opera in which Dvorak played the viola.

When Spontini was born, Boyce was still alive; when Boyce was born. Corelli was still alive; and Corelli was born a mere ten years after Monteverdi died. In this year of 1847 Spontini still had four more years to live; by the time he died, d'Indy was born, and he lived until 1931, by which time Boulez was very much alive. So, with the names of five men - Corelli, Boyce, Spontini, d'Indy and Boulez - who could just have met each other, we span the whole of musical composition from the glees, madrigals and motets to the music of today, a matter of something over 300 years.

Part Three is a timeline, enabling one to see at a glance which composers were contemporaries, when each was born and died. It is a visual aid to gaining a clear perspective of musical history. Research for this book brought up copious anomalies. Standard books on the subject have often been at variance with each other in the matter of dates. This is something quite understandable. Certain modern composers, for example, were only accepted by publishers or performing or copyright organisations quite late in their composing careers, and a large collection of early works bears only the date of such acceptance. Not all manuscripts bear a date in the composer's handwriting. I am a very minor composer myself, and if I were asked the date of a certain composition I might easily say, 'Oh, about twenty years ago,' unable to be any more accurate. With the more ancient composers there was often little or no documentation at all, and in some cases we do not even know exactly when they were born. Many composers did not give their works opus numbers, and some who did appeared to be unable to count! Such catalogues as Köchel's of Mozart must be accepted as definitive; but for the rest, I have been ruled by the greatest consensus of opinion. There has been a great variety of spellings of the names and works of Russian composers. The only accurate way to spell them, of course, is in the original Russian; any other spelling must be purely phonetic. We must almost be grateful that there are no Chinese or Japanese in our lists! This book incorporates spellings that are generally accepted in the Western world. In a similar way, the titles of works given are the titles by which they are best known, be they translated or in the original language. thus, L'Après-midi d'un faune and Night on the Bare Mountain.

Special mention must be made of the list of works by Johann Sebastian Bach, which can generally only be dated according to the years he spent in various appointments; i.e. during the nine years between 1708 and 1717 while at Weimar, as court organist, chamber musician and finally Kapellmeister, he composed most of his great organ works. Then at Cothen, between 1717 and 1722 as Kapellmeister and conductor of the court orchestra, he wrote the Brandenburg Concerti, the suites for orchestra, the violin concerti and much chamber music. From 1722 until his death in 1750 he was Cantor of the Leipzig Thomasschule, and there he composed approximately 265 church cantatas as well as compositions for one of the Leipzig musical societies of which he was conductor.

Eric Gilder

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

In making acknowledgements, I must mention first June G. Coombs, without whose dedicated research on my behalf and whose typing, retyping, editing and proof-reading this book might never have appeared at all. I must thank a large number of modern composers who have written to me personally with lists of their works - I have one from Shostakovich in fractured French - and the many publishers, notably Messrs Boosey and Novello, who have been so co-operative in helping me fill the gaps. My sincere thanks, too, to Sir Adrian Boult, Sir David Willcocks and Sir Anthony Lewis, among many others, for their encouragement.

Among the many source-books were such standard works as Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the Oxford Histories, Scholes's Oxford Companion to Music, the International Cyclopaedia of Music and Musicians, Osborne's Dictionary of Composers and Anderson's Contemporary American Composers. The British Performing Right Society and the American ASCAP contributed much information on the contemporary scene; for the rest, the reference books in French, German and Italian, and the biographies of composers, have been too numerous for me to be able to remember all of them.

To all these, who furnished me with such great excitement over years of research, I give my grateful thanks.

Eric Gilder

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PART ONE

 

In this alphabetical listing of composers, their music is arranged in chronological order. The dates, next to which appear the composers' ages, are those when the music is first mentioned. It is not always possible to ascertain whether these dates refer to the commencement or to the completion of a piece of music. Where possible, both dates are given, as Stravinsky: Les Noces (1917-1923). In some cases, the first information available is a mention of a first performance, in which case the name of the work is prefaced with the letters f.p.; in others, the first information may refer to the date of publication, when the letter p is used. For some works, the letter c for circa prefaces the nearest approximation. Posthumous in the age column indicates that the work was published, or first performed, after the composer's death. When dates of some of a composer's music cannot be traced, those works are listed at the end of the entry and undated.

Collections of short works are sometimes not listed individually. Consider the five hundred chamber cantatas of Alessandro Scarlatti, or the two hundred songs of Charles Ives: to list all such music would require many volumes. Instead, in such cases, works are referred to as so many 'songs', 'piano pieces', 'cantatas', etc.

Key signatures are generally given in full, such as Rhapsody in C# minor. However, if a number of works of the same kind were written in any one year, keys are abbreviated: for example, Four string quartets in Dm: C: A: F#m, indicating works in D minor, C major, A major and F# minor.

In the section for Bach, a number of works bear the suffix (& continuo). This indicates that the continuo is not generally used in modern performance.

A few composers, although generally considered as being of a particular nationality, were born in another country. In these instances both countries are listed: for example, USA (b Germany). In cases where the country of a composer's birth no longer exists, the modern equivalent is also included: Bohemia (Czechoslovakia).

As explained in the preface, works are given the names by which they are best known to English-speaking people.

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ABBREVIATIONS

fp First performance

p Date of publication

SATB Soprano, alto, tenor and bass

SPNM Society for the Promotion of New Music

SSA Soprano, soprano and alto

vv Voices

A-Z COMPOSER INDEX

 

 

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