12-24: John Dunstaple ( Dunstable ) / Orlando Consort 1995 - Bernard Hermann Film Music / Salonen 1996 - Alban Berg Chamber Concerto Boulez / Barenboim 1967 | Violin Concerto Boulez / Zukerman 1984 - Alec Wilder : Hansel & Gretel / Barbara Cook | Rudy Vallee 1958

Not shown: Friedrich Klose, Francisco Pujol & Alan Fluck

1453 – John Dunstaple [Dunstable] (English composer, astronomer, astrologer & mathematician)
1823 – Philipp Christoph Kayser (German pianist, composer & poet, friend of Goethe)
1862 – Joseph Funk (American music publisher, composer & teacher)
1898 – Eugeniusz Pankiewicz (Polish composer & pianist, brother of Józef)
1908 – François-Auguste Gevaert (Belgian composer & organist)
1930 – Oskar Nedbal (Czech violist, composer & conductor)
1932 – Eyvind Alnæs (Norwegian composer, pianist, organist & choirmaster)
1935 – Alban Berg (Austrian composer)
1941 – Siegfried Alkan (German composer)
1942 – Friedrich Klose (German composer)
1944 – Joseph Gustav Mraczek (Czech-born German composer & conductor)
1945 – Francisco Pujol (Spanish choirmaster, musicologist & composer)
1961 – Guy de Lioncourt (French composer)
1966 – Gaspar Cassadó i Moreu (Spanish cellist & composer)
1972 – César Geoffray (French composer, violinist & conductor)
1975 – Bernard Herrmann (American film & concert composer & conductor, associated in particular with the films of Alfred Hitchcock)
1980 – Alec Wilder (American multi-genre composer)
1980 – Siggie Nordstrom (American model, actress, socialite & lead singer of The Nordstrom Sisters)
1987 – Betty Noyes (American actress & singer, dubbed singing voice of Debbie Reynolds in Singin' in the Rain)
1992 – Bobby LaKind (American conga player, backup drummer, singer & songwriter, The Doobie Brothers)
1994 – Rossano Brazzi (Italian actor & singer, Three Coins in the Fountain, South Pacific)
1997 – Alan Fluck (English music teacher, Farnham Grammar School, pupils included Jeffrey Tate)
1997 – Anthea Joseph (English manager of London folk music venue The Troubadour & co-producer at Witchseason Productions)
2000 – Nick Massi (American bass singer & bass guitarist, The Four Seasons)
2002 – Luciano Chailly (Italian composer & music administrator in radio & television, father of Riccardo & Cecilia)
2002 – Jake Thackray (English folk singer, songwriter, guitarist, poet & journalist)
2006 – Braguinha aka João de Barro
[Carlos Alberto Ferreira Braga] (Brazilian composer & singer of sambas & marchinhas)
2006 – Kenneth Sivertsen (Norwegian multi-genre composer, singer, guitarist, poet & comedian)
2010 – Eino Tamberg (Estonian composer)
2011 – Johannes Heesters (Dutch actor & singer)

Here we have some notable composers who worked in multiple genres... one of the all-time great film composers... and two important figures in the British folk-music renaissance of the 60s & 70s. But most prominently, we have the earliest truly great English composer; and the composer who more than any other represents the point of continuation between the Austro-German Romantic tradition that ended with Mahler and Strauss and the atonal modernism of the 20th century.

Both Dunstaple and Berg can be thought of as transitional composers. With Berg, it's easy to hear why. Berg's highly expressive 12-tone music recalls the overripe Romanticism of the late music of Mahler to a greater extent than does that of Schoenberg, and to a far greater extent than does that of Webern - those other two main representatives of the Second Viennese School.

With Dunstaple, one has to put on 14th- and 15-century ears to appreciate how his late-Medieval music anticipates an important feature of Renaissance music. In medieval Britain, musical practice had developed in a more independent fashion than it had on the continent, one salient result of this being that the interval of a 3rd is far more prevalent in it, lending it a greater sweetness than is found in French and Italian music of the period.

Starting in the late 14th century, that sweet sound of 3rds starts to catch on outside of England. As the decades wear on - and thanks in no small measure to the popularity of Dunstaple and other English composers of his day - we find more and more that those 3rds start being treated as stable sonorities. It's when the 3rd starts finally being admitted all over Europe as a true consonance alongside the perfect 5th and octave that we can say the transition from Medieval harmony to Renaissance harmony is complete. Or something like that.


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