July 25, 1883: Alfredo Casella is born at via Cavour 41 in Turin, the only child of Carlo Casella, a professional cellist, and Maria Bordino, daughter of a steward.
November 2, 1896: Alfredo Casella (13) is examined for entrance to the Paris Conservatoire. He is accepted.
July 20, 1899: Alfredo Casella (16) wins the piano competition at the Paris Conservatoire. Ecstatic, he runs to a nearby church where his mother has been praying for her son’s success.
November 11, 1907: Alfredo Casella (24), along with the Swiss critic Aloys Mooser, visits Mily Balakirev (70) in his St. Petersburg apartment. Casella recently completed an orchestration of Balakirev’s Islamey and sent it to St. Petersburg, hoping for his approval. It is given gladly. Balakirev, who is living in near seclusion, tells Casella, “The last Frenchman I spoke to was Berlioz.”
April 23, 1910: Alfredo Casella (26) directs first performances of three of his orchestral works, in the Salle Gaveau, Paris: Symphony no.2, Suite in C major, and the rhapsody Italia.
September 12, 1910: Symphony no.8 “of a thousand” for three sopranos, two altos, tenor, baritone, bass, boys chorus, mixed chorus, and orchestra by Gustav Mahler (50) to the medieval hymn Veni Creator Spiritus and words of Goethe, is performed for the first time, at the Neue Musik Festhalle, Munich, conducted by the composer. The performers include eight soloists, 170 in the orchestra (plus organ) and 850 singers (both children and adult). It is the greatest success of Mahler’s life. Among the glittering audience are Camille Saint-Saëns (74), Alphons Diepenbrock (48), Richard Strauss (46), Paul Dukas (44), Max Reger (37), Alfredo Casella (27), Anton Webern (26), Auguste Rodin, Lilli Lehmann, Siegried Wagern, Willem Mengelberg, Bruno Walter, Leopold Stokowski, and Thomas Mann. Mann will send Mahler a copy of his new book Königliche Hoheit. “It is certainly a very poor return for what I received—a mere feather’s weight in the hand of the man who, as I believe, expresses the art of our time in its profoundest and most sacred form.” It is the last time Mahler and Strauss meet.
May 29, 1913: Le Sacre du Printemps, a ballet by Igor Stravinsky (30) to a scenario of Roerich, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris. The ballet and its music cause a riot in the theatre as proponents and opponents resort to fisticuffs to exchange opinions on the value of art. The dancers perform to music that they have to imagine, as few in the auditorium can hear it, except during certain lulls. The choreographer, Vaclav Nizhinsky, almost runs onto the stage from the wings but is physically restrained by the composer. Sergey Diaghilev, the impresario, flicks the lights several times in an effort to douse the demonstrations. Nothing works. Those participating in the discussions include Maurice Ravel (38) and Florent Schmitt (42). Camille Saint-Saëns (77) simply repeats “he’s mad, he’s mad” several times before walking out. In the audience is a young composer named Gian Francesco Malipiero (31) who was encouraged to attend by Alfredo Casella (29). “I awoke from a long and dangerous lethargy.” He decides to disown all his previous work and strike out anew. Daniel Chennevière (Dane Rudhyar) (18) calls it “a tremendous experience.”
March 29, 1914: Notte di maggio op.20 for voice and orchestra by Alfredo Casella (30) to words of Carducci is performed for the first time, in Paris directed by the composer.
June 3, 1914: Deux mélodies hébraïques for voice and piano by Maurice Ravel (39) are performed for the first time, at the Salle Malakoff, Paris, the composer at the piano. Also premiered are the Sonata for flute and piano op.52 by Charles Koechlin (46) and the Sonata for flute and piano by Alfredo Casella (30).
May 24, 1915: Morning. Alfredo Casella (31) leaves his Paris home and ventures out into the city. He finds joy and delirium everywhere as Parisians celebrate the entry of Italy into the war. On hearing the news, Casella reports to the Italian consulate to find out what is required of him.
January 21, 1917: Elegia Eroica for orchestra by Alfredo Casella (33) is performed for the first time, in Rome. The work is intended to honor the members of the allied forces. The audience is extremely hostile and drowns out the last movement. The press is scathing, one critic suggesting that the composer be deported.
March 16, 1917: The new Società Nazionale di Musica gives its first concert in the Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome. The society is organized by Alfredo Casella (33) and includes Ottorino Respighi (37) and Gian Francesco Malipiero (34). It will soon change its name to Società Italiana di Musica Moderna.
July 11, 1921: Alfredo Casella (37) marries his second wife, Yvonne Müller, a pianist and his former student, in Paris.
November 19, 1924: La giara, a ballet by Alfredo Casella (41) after Pirandello, is performed for the first time, in Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris.
February 7, 1925: Le couvent sur l’eau, a ballet by Alfredo Casella (41) to a story by Vaudoyer, is performed for the first time, at Teatro alla Scala, Milan.
March 11, 1927: Concerto Romano for organ, brass, percussion, and strings by Alfredo Casella (43) is performed for the first time, in Wannamaker’s Department Store, New York under the direction of the composer. It was commissioned by the owner of the store.
October 8, 1928: Concerto for violin and orchestra by Alfredo Casella (45) is performed for the first time, in Moscow.
March 17, 1932: La donna serpente, an opera fiaba by Alfredo Casella (48) to words of Lodovici after Gozzi, is performed for the first time, in the Rome Opera. Audience reaction is mixed. Critics are disappointed.
April 5, 1933: Introduzione, aria e toccata for orchestra by Alfredo Casella (49) is performed for the first time, in Teatro Augusteo, Rome.
November 17, 1933: Concerto for piano, violin, cello, and orchestra by Alfredo Casella (50) is performed for the first time, in Berlin.
October 30, 1934: Alfredo Casella (51) is awarded the Coolidge Medal by the Library of Congress, Washington.
September 1, 1935: The Nazi Party sends out one of several letters listing composers whose music is considered degenerate and may not be played. Among those honored are Erik Satie (†10), Ernst Bloch (55), Joseph Matthias Hauer (52), Alfredo Casella (52), Alban Berg (50), Kurt Weill (35), Ernst Krenek (35), and Aaron Copland (34).
May 19, 1937: Il deserto tentato, an opera mistero by Alfredo Casella (53) to words of Pavolini, is performed for the first time, in Teatro Comunale, Florence. Audience reaction is generally positive. The press is broadly mixed.
September 12, 1938: The Sonata a tre for piano trio by Alfredo Casella (55) is performed for the first time, in the Giustiniani Palace, Venice.
November 28, 1940: La camera dei disegni, a ballet by Alfredo Casella (57), is performed for the first time, in Rome.
March 16, 1943: La rosa del sogno, a ballet by Alfredo Casella (59), is performed for the first time, at the Rome Opera.
March 22, 1945: Concerto for strings, piano, and percussion by Alfredo Casella (61) is performed for the first time, in Basel.
March 5, 1947: Alfredo Casella dies of cancer in Rome, Republic of Italy, aged 63 years, seven months, and eight days. His mortal remains will be laid to rest in the Cimitero Comunale Monumentale Campo Verano in Rome.