March 3

called ‘London Symphonies’, conducted by the composer, at the Hanover-Square Concert Rooms in London; nickname comes from the ‘ticking’ rhythm throughout the second movement.

1842 first performance of Felix Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3 ‘Scottish’ in Leipzig, inspired by a walking tour of Scotland in 1829, specifically a visit to the ruins of a chapel at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh.

1875 premiere of Georges Bizet's Carmen at the Opéra-Comique, Paris; not successful at first and Bizet died never knowing of the opera's eventual overwhelming popularity.

1891 Federico Moreno Torroba – Spanish composer (d.1982 at age 91); made important contributions to the classical guitar repertoire, but also wrote for other instruments, including many zarzuelas and 2 operas.

1895 Alexander Voormolen – Dutch composer (d.1980); most popular pieces are the Baron Hop Suites (1924 and 1931) and the concertos for oboe and for 2 oboes (1938).

1899 first performance of Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life) in Frankfurt, with the composer conducting; generally agreed to be autobiographical, despite protestations from the composer; the evidence? The work contains more than 30 quotations from Strauss's own works!

1931 an act of Congress makes The Star-Spangled Banner the national anthem of the United States; the lyrics come from Defence of Fort McHenry, a poem written in 1814 by lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the fort’s bombardment by ships of the Royal Navy in Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812; the tune is a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men's social club in London.

1942 first performance of Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 ‘Leningrad’ in Kuybyshev, USSR; the composer initially dedicated the work to the life and deeds of Vladimir Lenin, but decided instead to dedicate the symphony to the city of Leningrad on its completion in December 1941; became very popular in both the Soviet Union and the West as a symbol of Nazi resistance; still regarded as the major musical testament of the estimated 25 million Soviet citizens who lost their lives in World War II.

1944 Florence Quivar – American mezzo-soprano (74 years old); though retired from the operatic stage, she remains active as a concert and recital performer.

1949 Roberta Alexander – American soprano (69 years old); made her debut at the Netherlands Opera in 1975 and remains well known in the Netherlands.

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