February 17

1653 Arcangelo Corelli – Italian composer and violinist (d. 1713); his Opus 6 Concerti Grossi are seminal works in the form.

1820 Henri Vieuxtemps – Belgian composer and violinist (d. 1881); known for playing what is now known as the ‘Vieuxtemps Guarneri del Gesu’, a violin of superior workmanship.

1855 first performance of Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in Weimar, with the composer as soloist and Hector Berlioz conducting.

1859 premiere of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) in Rome at the Teatro Apollo; the libretto by Antonio Somma is based on Eugène Scribe’s text for Daniel Auber's 1833 opera, Gustave III, ou Le bal masqué.

1862 Sir Edward German (born German Edward Jones) – English composer (d. 1936); best remembered for his incidental music for the stage and as a successor to Sir Arthur Sullivan in the field of English comic opera.

1887 Leevi Madetoja – Finnish composer (d. 1947); wrote 3 symphonies but a fully scored fourth symphony was reportedly lost when his briefcase was stolen at a Paris railway station in 1938.

1889 first performance of César Franck's Symphony in D minor at the Paris Conservatoire; conservative French critics dismissed the work as being “too Germanic”.

1901 premiere of Gustav Mahler’s cantata Das klagende Lied (Song of Lamentation) in Vienna, with composer conducting; composed between 1878 and 1880 and greatly revised over the next two decades, it is one of the earliest of his works we have today.

1904 premiere of the two-act version of Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly at La Scala in Milan; poorly received, so Puccini made revisions and split the second act into two acts; the three-act version premiered in May, 1904 and was a resounding success.

1914 first performance of Ernö Dohnányi’s Variations on a Nursery Song for piano and orchestra in Berlin with the composer as soloist; subtitled ‘For the enjoyment of humorous people and for the annoyance of others’.

1926 Lee Hoiby – American composer, arranger and pianist (d.2011); most well-known work is his setting of Tennessee Williams's Summer and Smoke, which premiered at the St Paul Opera in 1971.

1934 Anner Bylsma – Dutch cellist (83 years old); author of the book Bach, the Fencing Master, an analysis of Bach's Cello Suites; one of the pioneers of the 'Dutch Baroque School' and rose to fame as a partner of Frans Brüggen and Gustav Leonhardt.