Music Anniversaries in 2018

1918: 100 years ago

The first performance of Igor Stravinsky's L'Histoire du soldat was performed on September 28, 1918 in Switzerland, just before the end of World War I. It tells the story of a deserting soldier who makes a deal with the Devil, and is based on a Russian folk tale. 

Gustav Holst's The Planets: Suite for Large Orchestra (sometimes called The Planets, Op. 32 or Seven Pieces for Large Orchestra) was first performed in September 2018, with two movements omitted. The first full performance of the piece was in 1920. The piece was extremely well received, and remains popular to this day. 

Rita Hayworth was born October 17, 1918. Hayworth went on to have a prominent Hollywood career in the 1940s. 

In November 1918, Rosa Ponselle debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in the role of Leonora in Verdi's La Forza del Destino, opposite Enrico Caruso. Ponselle was the first American to take a lead onstage at the Metropolitan without having first trained and performed in Europe, opening the doors to other American talent. 

Popular music at the time included a number of songs by Irving Berlin, including a number of songs about the war and soldiers coming home, and by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, who arguably made the first recording of jazz music

You can explore more Smithsonian collections related to the year 1918 by visiting "1918: A Year in the Collections."