Every year Bachtrack, which claims to be the most comprehensive database of classical concerts, releases a statistical summary of the year past. Interestingly, what they choose to focus on changes year to year. This time there are a couple of graphs on how often nations perform music by their own composers:
I found some of these statistics surprising. Is there really that much contemporary Spanish music?
I feel somewhat ashamed that we Britons perform so little of our ‘early’ music (though still a bit more than most). After all, we are the island of Tallis, Byrd, Dowland, Taverner, Morley, Johnson, Bacheler… I suspect, however, that Bachtrack’s database is lacking when it comes to more low-key concerts. A lute or keyboard recital, unless it’s in Wigmore Hall, is probably not going to be listed.
Each year Bachtrack list the most performed contemporary composers — and each year Arvo Part comes out on top. John Adams is now a close second, probably because it was his seventieth birthday this year (the ‘anniversary effect’ has similarly pushed Monteverdi and Bernstein up the ‘Top Composers’ list). The most performed composer of them all is Mozart, followed by Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Schubert and Tchaikovsky. (Haydn and Schumann are just behind.)
Let’s end with some British early music. A setting of O Bone Jesu by Scottish composer Robert Carver: