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The next five years will see an avalanche of anniversaries—which only serve to highlight the fact that the glories of classical music lie in the past

By Martin Kettle   January 2009

Anniversary outbreak ahead

Being overwhelmingly a dead art form rather than a living one, classical music relies more heavily than it ideally should on anniversaries for its marketing. With the start of 2009, that dependence is about to escalate. Over the next five years, concert and opera life will be dominated by a series of unusually lustrous anniversaries. These musical birthdays will direct programme planning as well as stand as a reprimand to the more modest achievements of the art form in the present day.

The years 2009 to 2013 will see the centenary of a number of works and…

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