timeline of composers

It is the season of requiems. At least here in Sweden we have lots of Requiem concerts around Halloween or Alla Helgons Afton as we used to call it before the Americanization began. The triumphal entry of Halloween into Swedish culture may be the subject of another blog post. This blog post is about composers. We have been to two requiems this year. The ones by Duruflé and Brahms. I knew that Duruflé is kind of recent. The requiem is from the 40s. But I tried to put Brahms in the same time as Haydn which turned out to be totally and fundamentally wrong since Haydn was all dead before Brahms was born. So to make some sense out of the when of composers I decided to construct a time line.

I added randomly composers I came to think off and that I like or that are *important*. (Disclaimer: I don't really like Brahms...) For a while there was no living composer between Beethoven and Brahms but than I came to think of Verdi. He saves the continuity through the graph....

There seems to be a cluster of composers born in the middle of the 19th century and active towards the late 19th century that I particularly like. A favorite for a long time in my youth - maybe because I play the piano - was Claude Debussy. The best piece of classical music I know right now is the Requiem by Gabriel Fauré. Also interesting is that this period is also the most interesting when it comes to visual arts. This is the age of impressionists with great French painters like Monet and Degas leading the way. My favorite Swedish art is also from this time. What was it that made this time so interesting when it comes to the arts? Yet another blog post about that may-haps but I think the answer may be found in the borderlands between absolutism and relativism, authority and freedom etc. It was all falling apart - or in place depending on your view - at this time.

For the nerd. You may look at the source to see what I did. It is a straightforward use of the time line graph in the Google visualization API. I have been using some of the other graph types for statistics with my current client so it was an easy choice to put this together with the same technique. And the data was put in by MANUALLY reading wikipedia articles and transporting dates into the code. Will build integration with freebase or similar another time.....

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