Birth of Classical Music 2: Galante - Classical


    Viola Fair Website   


A Birth of Classical 3

A YouTube History of Music

Galant - Classical

Group & Last Name Index to Full History:


Composers are listed chronologically. Tracks are listed alphabetically.

Not on this page? See history tree below.



Carl Friedrich Abel    Johann Georg Albrechtsberger
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach    Johann Christian Bach    Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach    Wilhelm Friedemann Bach    Jirí Antonín Benda
Christian Cannabich    Armand-Louis Couperin
Louis-Claude Daquin
Frederick II
Christoph Willibald Gluck
Johann Michael Haydn    Franz Joseph Haydn    Leopold Hofmann
Niccolò Jommelli
Karel Blažej Kopřiva    Leopold Koželuch     Jan Křtitel Kuchař
Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg   Giovanni Battista Martini   Metastasio   Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart   Josef Mysliveček
Giovanni Battista Pescetti    Niccolò Piccinni
Franz Xaver Richter    Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Antonio Salieri    Giovanni Sammartini    Giuseppe Sammartini    Josef Seger    Georg Andreas Sorge    Carl Stamitz    Johann Stamitz
Giuseppe Tartini



Featured on this page in order of the composer's birth date.

Names are alphabetical, not chronological, per year:


1692 Giuseppe Tartini
1694 Louis-Claude Daquin
1695 Giuseppe Sammartini
1698 Metastasio
1700 Giovanni Sammartini
1703 Georg Andreas Sorge
1704 Giovanni Battista Pescetti
1706 Giovanni Battista Martini
1709 Franz Xaver Richter
1710 Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
1712 Frederick II    Jean-Jacques Rousseau
1714 Christoph Willibald Gluck    Niccolò Jommelli
1716 Josef Seger
1717 Johann Stamitz
1718 Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg
1722 Jiří Antonín Benda
1723 Carl Friedrich Abel
1727 Armand-Louis Couperin
1728 Niccolò Piccinni

Christian Cannabich

1732 Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach    Franz Joseph Haydn
1735 Johann Christian Bach
1736 Johann Georg Albrechtsberger
1737 Johann Michael Haydn    Josef Mysliveček
1738 Leopold Hofmann
1745 Carl Stamitz
1747 Leopold Koželuch
1750 Antonio Salieri
1751 Jan Křtitel Kuchař
1756 Karel Blažej Kopřiva    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


  This page indexes the galant and classical periods of classical music. In general, several who wrote in the galant style begin the list, followed by several mainly Baroque composers who nevertheless bridged to classical. (The classical period is generally considered to stretch from 1730 to 1820.) The classical pages are structured differently from the other YouTube histories. Due that specific dates are largely impossible with early classical music we keep the convention of indexing works on those pages by alphabetical order only. That is, they are not in chronological order. Dates are noted by appendage and refer the year of publication if not composition. Posthumous publishing dates are generally not noted. Years at listing headers attempt to date years during which the musician was (possibly) actively composing in some manner. They are broadly circa and largely, though not exclusively, disregard childhood (juvenilia), but may account for unknown works, published or not, in early adulthood, college or study. End dates assume most composers were yet working at the time of their deaths excepting unique cases known otherwise. A note as to opus numbers: Opus numbers are those given by composers themselves, the practice beginning about the time of Joseph Haydn. Publishers also assigned opus numbers. But opus numbers were generally so disorganized that various cataloguing systems developed to gain some clarity as to sequence.) As for brackets (: [Part 1]), they indicate sections made by YouTube channels. If the composer you're seeking isn't on this page he may be in Baroque or Romantic.


Birth of Classical Music: Giuseppe Tartini

Giuseppe Tartini

Source: Mythologica
Born in Piran in which is in the Republic of Venice (present-day Slovenia) in 1692, Giuseppe Tartini received his elemental education, including music, from Franciscans. While later studying law at the University of Padua Tartini pursued the martial art of fencing. In 1710 he married trouble in Elisabetta Premazone. As she was the mistress of Cardinal Giorgio Cornaro, Tartini faced charges of abduction, from which he fled to the Franciscan monastery in Assisi. He there began to study the violin. He became the first known owner of a violin made by Antonio Stradivari in 1715. In 1716 he went to Ancona to work in that city's opera orchestra. 1721 found him Maestro di Cappella at the Basilica di Sant'Antonio in Padua. He opened a music school in 1726. Also a music theorist, Tartini examined acoustics and harmony, publishing treatises from 1750 until his death in 1770. Among his works are a number of symphonies, but he focused nigh exclusively on violin concerti and sonatas. B numbers below are per Paul Brainard 1959. D numbers are Minos Dounias as of 1935.

Giuseppe Tartini   1715 - 1770

 Trio Sonata in G major

   B G1

    Quartus Chamber Players

 Violin Concerto A major

    D 88   Allegro

    Violin: Federico Guglielmo

 Violin Concerto in D major

    D 17   Adagio

    Orfeo Orchestra/György Vashegyi

     Violin: László Paulik

 Violin Sonata in G major

    1731?   B G17

    Violin: Fabio Biondi

 Violin Sonata in G minor

    1731?   B G10   'Didone abbandonata'

    The Palladians

 Violin Sonata in G minor

    1799   B G5   'Le trille du diable'

    James Levine & Wiener Philharmonike

    Violin: Anne-Sophie Mutter

Birth of Classical Music: Giuseppe Tartini's Stradivarius

Tartini's Stradivarius

Source: A Violin's Life
Birth of Classical Music: Louis-Claude Daquin

Louis-Claude Daquin

Source: Wiki Gallery
Born in Paris in 1694, Louis-Claude Daquin is most remembered for his noels. Noels had developed out of the motet (sacred polyphonic songs) composed especially for Christ Mass since the 13th century (though the first mention of "Christ Mass" was in 1038, very likely accompanied with chant or hymn, that about the time hymns began replacing the Gregorian chant). The term's first use is thought to be circa 1420 by composer, Nicolas Grenon. Daquin composed in both the baroque and galant manner. A history of the galant period alone could well include him as it's initial representative. The galant period in music (1720 to 1770) had its sibling in architecture and art known as the rococo period. One might think of galant as light and elegant baroque. Daquin's father, a painter, is said to have wrought a prodigy, Daquin performing at the court of King Louis XIV of France at age six. Two years later he conducted his choral work, 'Beatus Vir'. He was for a time a pupil of Louis Marchand. At age twelve Daquin became organist at the Sainte-Chapelle, the following year at the Church of Petit Saint Antoine. 1727 found him an organist at the Church of Saint Paul, 1732 at the Church of the Cordeliers. In 1739 that he became organist to King Louis XV at the Chapelle Royale. Like a frog always seeming to land on the most pleasant pads, he became organist at Notre-Dame Cathedral in 1755. Paris buried its keyboard virtuoso in 1772.

Louis-Claude Daquin   1700 - 1772

 Noels 1-12

    Organ: Olivier Baumont

 L'Amusante Rondeau

     Harpsichord: Ernst Stolz

 Pièces de Clavecin

     Deuxième Suite: L'Hirondelle   1735

     Harpsichord: Olivier Baumont

 Pièces de Clavecin

     Troisième Suite: Le Coucou   1735

     Harpsichord: George Malcolm

Birth of Classical Music: Venetian Pleasure: Watteau

Venetian Pleasure   1718

Jean-Antoine Watteau

Source: 1st Art Gallery

Birth of Classical Music: Toilette of Venus: Boucher

The Toilette of Venus   1751

François Boucher

Source: Met Museum

Birth of Classical Music: The Swing: Fragonard

The Swing   1767

Jean-Honoré Fragonard

Source: Nancy Zhang
Born in Milan 1695, Giuseppe Baldassare Sammartini was an oboist and elder brother to Giovanni Battista Sammartini. Earliest records find him at St. Celso's in 1717 as an oboist (likely flute and recorder as well). Three years later he was playing the instrument at the Teatro Regio Ducal. In 1729 he headed for Brussels, then London, where the publishing of his '12 Trio Sonatas' had preceded him since 1727. Prince Frederick of Wales became Sammartini's patron in 1736 until his death in 1750. Like Daquin, Sammartini ventured into the galant style with Sammartini, and like Scarlatti his sonatas were influential to the blossoming of the classical. Not only was Sammartini hugely popular during his time, but he has been one of the more well regarded composers throughout the centuries since. Most of his oeuvre surviving, Sammartini wrote 24 sonatas for flute and bass, 30 trios for flute or violin, 24 concerti grossi, 4 keyboard concertos, 1 oboe concerto, 16 overtures, and some cello sonatas and flute duets. The galant period in music was quite brief in comparison to rococo in art and architecture. Fitting well inside it, the galant in music is yet much associated with rococo. To the left are paintings by three important rococo painters who were contemporaneous with Sammartini. Watteau was born eleven years earlier than Sammartini. Boucher was born eight years later, Fragonard not until 1732. To the right is the rococo interior at the Ottobeuren Basilica in Bavaria, an example of rococo interior design and the summer palace of Russian Empress Elizabeth. It stands where Catherine the Great had built a prior palace in 1717. Elizabeth thought that palace so worthless that she had it demolished to make room for something more to her tastes in 1733.

Giuseppe Sammartini   1715 - 1750

 Concerto for Recorder & Strings in F major

    [Part 1]   Recorder: Clara Cowley

    Orquestra Ars Musicae de Mallorca

 Concerto for Recorder & Strings in F major

    [Part 1]   Recorder: Clara Cowley

    Orquestra Ars Musicae de Mallorca


   Harpsichord Concerto in A major

    Flute Concerto in D major

    Flute Concerto in A major

    Oboe Concerto 9 in B flat major

     Oboe Concerto 12 in C major

     I Misici Ambrosiani/Paolo Suppa

     Flute: Paolo Ferrigato

     Harpsichord: Donatella Bianchi

      Oboe: Francesco Quaranta

 Harpsichord Concerto in A major

    I Musici Ambrosiani/Michele Suppa

    Harpsichord: Donatella Bianchi

 Oboe Concerto in E flat

    Batzdorfer Hofkapelle/Daniel Deuter

    Oboe: Xenia Löffler

 Oboe Concerto in G minor

    Les Muffatti/Peter Van Heyghen

    Oboe: Benoit Laurent

 Sonata 12 in B major

    I Fiori Musicali/Maria Giovanna Fiorentino

 Trio Sonata 4 in F major

    Allegro   Gerda Fisk



Birth of Classical Music: Ottobeuren Basilica

Ottobeuren Basilica in Bavaria

Source: Wonder Mondo

Birth of Classical Music: Rococo Interior

Rococo Interior

Source: emily2217

Birth of Classical Music: Rococo Exterior

Empress Elizabeth's Summer Palace

Birth of Classical Music: Metastasio


Painting: Martin van Meytens

Source: Wikipedia
For sake of space this history keeps to composers of music. But it would be gravely amiss to not enter the librettist, Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi, better known as Metastasio. Metastasio's career began Baroque, spanned the Classical period and ventured into the Romantic. Born in Rome in 1698 to a father once a soldier in papal forces become a grocer. A precocious child, Metastasio is said to have entertained on the streets with impromptu verses on subjects suggested by his audiences. One such performance won him the adoptive care of Giovanni Vincenzo Gravina, an eminent lawyer and founder of the literary Arcadian Adademy. This also brought Metastasio an education, in jurisprudence and Latin, that his father alone could in no way swing. It was Gravina from whom Metastasio got his name, an Hellenization of "Trepassi". Gravina took his prodigy to Naples, but entered Metastasio into the care of Gregorio Caroprese in Scaléa when the demands of improvising began to take its toll. To convalesce, at age twelve, Metastasio translated 'Iliad' into octave stanzas. He wrote his first tragedy, 'Giustino', two years later, having it printed in 1713, though it was likely as juvenile as he said it was. Caroprese died in 1714. Upon Gravina's death in 1718 Metastasio found himself with fifteen thousand scudi. If you consider that 15,000 scudi could buy you several very nice houses, or a casino, you could say Metastasio might have retired at age twenty. But he spent it in a couple of years, so entered the legal profession. His first notable composition was 'Endimione' in 1721, an epithalamium. (An epithalamium is a poem written for a bride on her way to the marital chamber.) In 1722 the writing of 'Gli orti esperidi' won him quarters in the home of soprano, Marianna Bulgarelli, in Rome. During this time Metastasio was averaging 300 scudi per opera, which was nothing to sniffle about, yet limiting. He therefore went to Vienna in 1730 to become court poet to Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI. Metastasio was left yet another fortune when Bulgarelli died in 1734. Not expecting such generosity, he renounced it, feeling guilt for ill feelings he'd had against her. (The serpent of the thing is that the fortune then went to Bulgarelli's surviving husband who married again, while Metastasio's father and sister struggled.) In 1755 he lost his noble patronage upon the death of Countess Althann, at about which time he largely retired until his death in 1782, leaving a legacy of 130,000 florins. (These days 130,000 florins approach about $73,000; in Metastasio's day it simply approached huge wealth like few poets have ever experienced). Metastasio wasn't a Shakespeare as a writer, but there can't be any history of opera without him. His works had been translated into French, English, German, Spanish and modern Greek during his lifetime. He provided lyric for operas, oratorios, cantatas and canzonettas amidst much else.

Metastasio   1720 - 1782

  Didone abbandonata

     Son regina, e sono amante   1724

     Composers: Domenico Sarro   1724

                       Niccolo Piccinni   1770

    I Turchini di Antonio Florio/Antonio Florio

  Il re pastore

     L'amerò, sarò costante   K 208   1775

     Composer: Mozart

     Vienna Haydn Orchestra/István Kertész

     Soprano: Lucia Popp Violin: Eszter Perenyi

  Misera, dove son!

     Ah! non son'io   K 369   1781

     Composer: Mozart

      Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

      Sir Neville Marriner   Sylvia McNair

   Vier Canzonen

     Da quel sembiante appresi   D 688   1820

     Composer: Schubert

      Piano: Matin Katz   Tenor: Lawrence Brownlee

  Born in 1700 in Milan, Giovanni Battista Sammartini was younger brother to Giuseppe Sammartini (above). Sammartini is thought to have composed his first work at age twenty-five, having learned music from his father as a child. In 1728 he became maestro di cappella at both Sant'Ambrogio and the Congregazione del Santissimo Entierro, remaining at the former the rest of his life. Sammartini composed for both churches and noble houses. Christoph Willibald Gluck was his student from 1737 to 1741. He died in 1775 in Milan. Giovanni's was a something similar career to that of his older brother's: he composed in the galant style and was influential to classical composition to come. Among his more important contributions was the development of the symphony out of trio sonata and concerto forms, rather than the overture as it usually was. More than 450 of Sammartini's works yet exist, including 70 symphonies, though not a few of his compositions are lost as well. Catalogue numbers below are those of Jenkins-Churgin.

Giovanni Sammartini   1725 - 1775

 Maria Addolorata

    J 121

     Capriccio Italiano Ensemble/Filippo Ravizza


    Sinfonia in A   1732

     Dresdner Barockorchester

 Symphony in A major

    J 60

    Accademia d'Arcadia & Alessandra Rossi Lürig

 Symphony in A major

    J 63

    Accademia d'Arcadia & Alessandra Rossi Lürig

 Symphony in E major

    J 31

    Accademia d'Arcadia & Alessandra Rossi Lürig

 Symphony in G major

    J 39

    Ensemble 415/Chiara Banchini

Birth of Classical Music: Giovanni Sammartini

Giovanni Sammartini

Source: Il Rossignolo
  Born in 1703 in Mellenbach, Thuringia, Georg Andreas Sorge was more a music theorist than composer. He was hired as an organist in 1721/22 by Count Heinrich XV in Lobenstein, serving the court the remainder of his life. Little is known about his life, however, beyond his literary works but that he was a friend of Johann Sebastian Bach. Sorge died in 1778. Like other composers, lack of documentation makes the years that he was actively engaged in serious composition difficult to estimate. Though its highly unlikely that he worked as an organist for two decades before pursuing composition, his earliest known published work, 'Clavierübung' ('Keyboard Practice') dates to 1739.

Georg Andreas Sorge   1725 - 1778

 3 Choralbearbeitungen

    'Aun sich ber Tag grendet hat'

    'Aun lob, mein Seel, ben herren'

    'Schmucke bich, o liebe Seele'

    Organ: Einer von Weitem

 Nun danket alle Gott

    Organ: Einer von Weitem

 Toccata per ogni Modi [Part 1]

    Cembalo: Sergey Myasoedov

 Toccata per ogni Modi [Part 2]

    Cembalo: Sergey Myasoedov

 Toccata per ogni Modi [Part 3]

    Cembalo: Sergey Myasoedov

  Born circa 1704 in Venice, Giovanni Battista Pescetti studied under Antonio Lotti, went to Vienna to compose operas (his first appearing in 1725), then landed in London in 1736 to become director of the Opera of the Nobility the next year. (The Opera of the Nobility was major rival to Handel's Royal Academy of Music.) In 1745 Pescetti returned to Venice, where he taught music while a second organist at St. Mark's Basilica until his death in 1766. Pescetti wrote mostly operas and sonatas for harpsichord and organ.

Giovanni Pescetti  1720 - 1766

  Harp Sonata in C minor

    Harp: Asuncion Claro

Birth of Classical Music: Giovanni Battista Martini

Giovanni Battista Martini

Painting: Angelo Carescimbeni

Source: Museo Musica Bologna
Born in 1706 in Bologna, Giovanni Battista Martini had a violinist for a father. He nevertheless donned the Franciscan habit in 1722. He became master of the chapel in 1725 at the Basilica of San Francesco in Balogna. He also taught, and in those capacities emphasized the Roman school. In 1758 he began teaching at the Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna, dying in 1784. Martini was a composer of sacred music at a time when secular opera had been demonstrating with phenomenal success for the last century that one didn't require a church to compose music. And when the brightest cultural centers were no longer in Italy but northern Europe, the Roman (and Venetian) school as it had been during the Renaissance was a phenomenon of the past. That is, one might not call Martini a hep cat in zoot suit and fedora, but he was and remains a major master of his especial repertoire while baroque was drawing its last breaths.

Giovanni Battista Martini   1720 - 1784


    Organ: Stephen Mann

 Concerto a 4 in D major

    Accademia degli Astrusi/Federico Ferri

 Elevazione for Organ

    Organ: Stephen Mann

 Flute Concerto in G major

    [Part 1]   Recorder: Clara Cowley

    Orchestra da camera Benedetto Marcello

    Direction: Luca Ferrara

    Flute : Massimo Mercelli

 Heu quid miserum me

    Passion cantata

    Ensemble Strumentale dell'Osservanza

     Direction: Luigi Verdi

 Salve Regina in D minor

    Coro Quodlibet di Mogliano Veneto

 Sinfonia da camera a 4 in D major


    Il Rossignolo/Ottaviano Terani

 Te Deum in D major

    Ensemble Cantissimo/L'arpa festante

    Conductor: Markus Utz

    Soprano: Iris-Anna Deckert

Birth of Classical Music: Franz Richter

Franz Richter   1785

Engraving: Christophe Guérin
Born in either Bohemia or Holleschau, Moravia (now Holešov, Czech Republic) in 1709, Franz Xaver Richter doesn't show up in documents until 1740 when he was appointed deputy kapellmeister at the Fürststift Kempten in Allgäu in southern Germany, a Benedictine monastery now in southern Bavaria. It was common for monasteries to have choirs, and there may have existed something of an orchestra as well. In 1747 Richter became employed as a bass singer to Holy Roman Prince-Elector, Charles Theodore, in Mannheim He helped make Mannheim a significant musical center in Germany as among the Mannheim school of orchestration founded by Carl Stamitz in 1741/42. In 1768 Richter was appointed cammercompositeur (chamber composer). He was made kapellmeister at Strasbourg Cathedral in 1769. In 1787 he took a trip to Munich to visit acquaintances of the Mannheim school, the court and school since relocated there. He died in Strasbourg in 1789, prior to the French Revolution. Richter began his career as something of a square, if not a bumpkin, Benedictine monasteries and all. But by the time of his death he was a well-regarded musician and theorist who had published and toured as far away as France, the Netherlands and England. It was about Richter's time when conducting began. In the portrait to the left Richter uses a rolled sheet of score paper for a baton.

Franz Xaver Richter   1735 - 1789

  Kemptener Te Deum in D major


      Camerata Vocale Günzburg

     Johann Christian Bach-Akademie Köln

     Jürgen Rettenmaier

 Symphony 29 in G minor

    London Mozart Players/Matthias Bamert

 Symphony 52 in D major

    London Mozart Players/Matthias Bamert

 Symphony 53 in D major

   London Mozart Players/Matthias Bamert

  Born in 1710 in Weimar, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was the eldest son of Johann Sebastian Bach, who trained his son extensively before sending him to Merseburg in 1726 to learn violin from Johann Gottlieb Graun. (What are thought to be Bach's first compositions are contained in the 'Little Keyboard Book' at Yale University, given him by his father at age ten.) Bach began to study law at Leipzig University in 1729 and had a lifelong fascination with mathematics. In 1733 he became organist at St. Sophia's in Dresden. In 1746 he became organist at the Marktkirche Unser Lieben Frauen in Halle. Unfortunately Bach met with various conflicts in Halle such that he resigned in 1764. He unsuccessfully reapplied for the post in 1768, teaching alone not sufficient to financial needs. Between 1771 and 1774 he worked in Braunschweig, then left for Berlin where Princess Anna Amalia, sister of Frederick, listened to his organ recitals for a couple of years. For reasons unclear he soon fell from grace with Amelia and died in poverty in 1784. Freidemann is among the more complex and enigmatic of the major Bachs. An improvisational virtuoso at keyboard, he was yet socially inept and wanting in this or that manner, such that progress in the actual world met frustration, put to the solitary task of composing instead. Bach composed largely for keyboard, including sonatas, fantasias and symphonies. He also wrote chamber music, for flute especially, and a number of sacred cantatas. The polonaise (below) is a Polish dance in 3/4 time. Catalogue numbers below are the Bach-Repertorium (BR) and system of Martin Falck 1913/19 (F).

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach   1725 - 1784

 12 Polonaises

    BR A27-38   F 12

    Fortepiano: Harald Hoeren

 Concerto for 2 harpsichords in E flat major

    BR C11   F 46

    Musica Antiqua Köln/Reinhard Goebel

     Harpsichords: Andreas Staier & Robert Hill

 Fantasia for harpsichord in E minor

     BR A24   F 21

     Cembalo: Léon Berben

 Lasset uns ablegen die Werke der Finsternis

    BR F1   F 80   Cantata

    Rheinische Kantorei/Das Kleine Konzert

    Hermann Max

 Symphony in D major

    BR C8   F 64

     Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

     Stephan Mai

 Symphony in D minor

    BR C7   F 65

    Jeune Orchestre Atlantique

    Stéphanie-Marie Degand

Birth of Classical Music: Wilhelm Friedemann Bach

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach

Source: Wikipedia
Birth of Classical Music: Frederick II

Frederick II

Source: University of Houston
Born in 1712 in Berlin, Frederick II (Frederick the Great) was a runaway boy at age 18 because his father was King of Prussia, Frederick William I. Attempting to flee to England in 1730 with a friend waiting in Potsdam, he was caught and both arrested. The main problem is that both of them were officers. The court martial found his friend, one Hans Hermann von Katte, guilty of desertion, sentencing him to life. Frederick William, however, believed treason a more just charge and had Frederick observe Katte's beheading. Pardoned, Frederick was stripped of rank and sent to study statecraft and administration in Küstrin. Prior to 1740 he reentered the Prussian army as a colonel. His book,'Anti-Machiavel', was published anonymously in 1740. He also succeeded Frederick William as King of Prussia that year, age 28. He had then, to turn aside from Enlightenment arts and humanities to attend to his realm, the first on his agenda being the consolidation of his scattered territories, resulting in the Silesian Wars (1741-45) against Hapsburg Austria. Then it was the Seven Years' War (1754/56-1763) against Austria, France, Sweden and Saxony. Then it was War of the Bavarian Succession (1778-19) against Austria. Frederick was and is known to be among the greatest tactical geniuses in history. It wasn't unusual for him to lead his troops into battle, six horses shot from beneath him during his military career. He owned, however, an unreasonable and concentrating prejudice against Poles, making Frederick the not so Great with them as he applied various pressures to make them wish to leave his acquired Polish domains. He far preferred Jews to stimulate trade in an economy he much improved, while running a Protestant monarchy that retained Jesuits for their academic skills. He himself was a Freemason. He held Plato and Marcus Aurelius in high regard, and corresponded with Voltaire. Frederick spoke six languages and could read Latin, ancient Greek and Hebrew. Frederick is also known for his construction projects, including buildings, canals and his rococo Sanssouci palace built 1745-47. He established the first veterinary school in Germany. Yet amidst all the greatly condensed foregoing Frederick found time to become a skilled transverse flute player and compose more than a hundred sonatas and four symphonies. (A transverse flute is simply the modern flute, held horizontally, unlike the recorder.) Among the musicians he employed were Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Johann Joachim Quantz, Carl Graun and Franz Benda. Frederick died at Potsdam in an armchair in his study at his Sanssouci palace in 1786. We give his active composing years below as of 1740, when Bach and Quantz became musicians to the court. Benda and Graun had been with Frederick since '32 and '33 respectively. But Frederick's sonatas were confusedly catalogued with those of Quantz until Philipp Spitta in 1889. (Generally marked SpiF to indicate Spitta, concerto numbers below are not Spitta, but the others may be.

Frederick II   1740 - 1786

  Flute Concertos 1-4

    Ensemble Sans Souci Berlin

    Flute: Christoph Huntgeburth

  Flute Sonata 9 in E minor

    Da Camera magna

    Cembalo: Stanislav Heller

    Flute: Marianne Steffen

  Flute Sonata 11 in D minor

    Da Camera magna

    Cembalo: Stanislav Heller

     Flute: Marianne Steffen

  Flute Sonata 14 in E flat major

    Da Camera magna

    Cembalo: Stanislav Heller

     Flute: Marianne Steffen

  Flute Sonata 20 in A major

    Mark Longo

  Symphony 4 in A major

     Pro Arte Orchester/Kurt Redel

Birth of Classical Music: Sanssouci Rococo Palace

Sanssouci Rococo Palace
  Born in 1712 in the city-state of Geneva, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wasn't a major composer. But he was a major Enlightenment (1650-1800) philosopher who was also a music theorist. Rousseau's father was a watchmaker whose wife died nine days after Rousseau's birth. At age 13 Rousseau worked for a notary, then an engraver, then ran away to Savoy in 1728 (age 15) to find himself in the care of Françoise-Louise de Warens, a paid Catholic proselytizer. Under Warens Rousseau studied mathematics, music, philosophy and, at age twenty, love with a woman fourteen years his senior. In 1742 he went to Paris to present a system of numbered musical notation to the French Academy of Sciences, which it rejected. In 1743 Rousseau worked briefly as a secretary for Comte de Montaigue, French ambassador to Venice. Rousseau began writing about music in 1749, contributing articles to Diderot and D'Alembert's 'Encyclopédie'. His first of seven operas, 'The Village Soothsayer' was performed for King Louis XV in 1752. By 1762 Rousseau had written several major works. But the name he'd made for himself was no security, for it was that year he published 'Emile', rejecting the doctrines of original sin and divine revelation, also proposing in so many words that it was religion that wrought virtue, not Catholicism versus Protestantism. Such resulted in his books being burned in Paris, as well as banned in both Catholic France and Calvinist Geneva. Facing arrest, he fled to Neuchâtel, Switzerland, then Môtiers, they protected by the Prussian crown. His house was nevertheless stoned in 1765, urging him to Great Britain and the hospitality of Scottish philosopher, David Hume. By this time Rousseau was experiencing paranoia. Not trusting Hume, he returned to France in 1767 with an assumed name. In 1770 he was legally permitted to return to Paris, though not allowed to publish. Rousseau's latter years were spent in social withdrawal with the exception of Christoph Willibald Gluck, whom he met in 1774. He died of hemorrhage in Ermenonville in 1778 while taking a morning walk. Though Rousseau had been far more concerned with political philosophy than music, in addition to operas he composed more than fifty works, including two symphonies.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau   1745 - 1778

 Le Devin du Village


    Gabriela Burgler

 Rousseau Variations [Part 1]

    Piano: Yoel Ahn

 Rousseau Variations [Part 2]

    Piano: Yoel Ahn

Birth of Classical Music: Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Pastel: Maurice Quentin de La Tour

Source: Canal Academie
Birth of Classical Music: Christoph Willibald Gluck

Christoph Gluck

Painting: Joseph Duplessis

Source: Sazburger Bachor
Born in Erasbach (now part of Berching, Bavaria) in 1714, Christoph Willibald Gluck was born to a forester and learned several instruments as a child. Gluck is the first composer in these histories to be of especial significance to, and transition to, the classical period (sharing those distinctions with Johann Stamitz). Gluck's major operatic rival was Niccolò Piccinni, of Naples, in Paris, whose star flashed bright but not for so long. In 1731 he enrolled into the University of Prague, but he had no degree when he he popped up in Milan in 1737 to study under Giovanni Sammartini. He performed his first opera, 'Artaserse', in 1741 at the Teatro Regio Ducal. In 1745 Gluck became house composer at London's prestigious King's Theatre. In 1747 he traveled to Dresden where he produced 'Le nozze d'Ercole e d'Ebe', partnering with the Pietro Mingotti troupe. He left for Vienna with Mingotti the next year, then left Mingotti for the troupe of Giovanni Locatelli in Prague in 1750, also composing 'Ezio' that year. 1752 found him working in Naples before returning to Vienna in 1754. In 1761 Gluck exchanged opera seria for opéra comique, producing 'Don Juan' that year and 'Orfeo ed Euridice' the next. (That was his Italian version. His revised French version [Wq 41] was done in 1774.) Gluck found patronage under Marie Antoinette, wife of King Louis XVI, in the early seventies, producing 'Iphigénie en Aulide' in 1774 with the Paris Opera. From 1784 to his death of stroke in Vienna in 1787 Gluck lived largely in retirement. Gluck had written instrumentals, songs and eight ballets, but his significance as a composer was in his reformation of the opera, completing 49 of them.

Christoph Willibald Gluck   1740 - 1787


    1767   Wq 44

     Teatro alla Scala Chorus & Orchestra

     Conductor: Gianandrea Gavazzeni

       Alceste: Leyla Gencer

 Le Cinesi

    1754   Wq 18

      Orchestra of Schola Cantorum Basiliensis

      René Jacobs

 Don Juan

    1761   Wq 52

      English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner

 Flute concerto in G major

    Pro Musica Orchester Wien/Charles Adler

     Flute: Camillo Wanausek

     Album: 'Gluck, Pergolesi & Boccherini'

 Orfeo ed Euridice

    1762   Wq 30

      Münchener Bach-Chor & Orchester/Karl Richter

 Paride ed Elena

    1770   Wq 39

      Coro e Orchestra RAI di Milano/Mario Rossi

Birth of Classical Music: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Source: NAXOS
Born in 1714 in Weimar, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was son to Johann Sebastian Bach. Though he and his brothers had been taught music by his father, all intending to become professional musicians, Bach studied law from 1731 to 1738, obtaining his degree. This was done to obtain better a position as a musician, a little like joining the navy as enlisted without rank versus as an officer if you go to college to learn anything first. Howsoever, his first compositions also date from 1731. Bach soon obtained employment in Berlin from Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia, becoming a member of the orchestra in 1740 upon Frederick becoming king. Bach was among the earliest piano, versus harpsichord, virtuosos. (The piano had been invented in 1700 in Florence by Bartolomeo Cristofori.) By 1740 his reputation as a clavier (piano) player had already tinkled throughout Europe. He had also written some thirty sonatas and such for harpsichord and clavichord by then. In 1768 Bach became director of music for Hamburg, also acquiring the patronage of Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia. He now began concentrating less on keyboard and more on sacred music. The next twenty years saw him produce some seventy liturgical works and 21 settings of the Passion. Bach is most noted for his symphonies and keyboard pieces (especially sonatas and concertos) as well as chamber and choral works. He stood shoulder to shoulder with his father, Johann Sebastian, in stature as a composer (where music began, in Mozart's opinion), and has ever since. We list only the catalogue system of Eugene Helm/1989.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach   1725 - 1788

 Concerto for 2 Harpsichords in F major

    1740   H 408

     OSI Orchestra dela Svizzera Italiana

     Harpsichords: Ton Koopman/Tini Mathot

 Flute Concerto in G major

    1755   H 445

     Flute:James Galway

 Harpsichord Concerto in E minor

    1745   H 418

    Filmed in Hungary

    Győr University Orchestra

    Conducting: Gergely Ménesi

    Piano: András Kemenes

 Symphony in D major

    1775   H 663   Presto

    Orquesta de Cámara de Jerusalém

    Mendi Rodan

 Symphony in E-flat major

    1757   H 654

    Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

 Symphony in G major

    1776   H 666

    OSI Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana

    Ton Koopman


  Born in 1714 in Aversa, Italy, Niccolò Jommelli had a linen merchant for a father. In 1725 Jommelli was enrolled into the Sant'Onofrio building of the Naples Conservatory of Music. Three years later he was transferred to the Pietà dei Turchini building. Jommelli completed his first opera, a buffa (comedy), in 1737: 'L'errore amorosa', followed by 'Odoardo' the next year. His first seria, 'Ricimero re di Goti', was performed in Rome in 1740. He quickly then obtained the protection of Duke Henry Benedict of York who, upon becoming a cardinal, appointed Jommelli to the Vatican. He first performed 'Ezio' in Bologna in 1741. In 1745 he became director of music at the Ospedale degli Incurabili in Venice. In 1747 Jommelli performed 'Didone abbandonata' at the Argentina Theatre in Rome. In 1753 he went north where the action was, Rome something falling behind the times during the Baroque. Duke Charles Eugene of Württemberg employed him as kapellmeister in Stuttgart in 1753, which for him was cause to celebrate, as he could now leave sacred music behind and focus on opera. He returned to Naples in 1768, dying there in 1774. Among the librettists with whom Jommelli worked was Metastasio. Albeit Jommelli's operas were very popular from start to finish (he commissioned to produce operas all about Italy), his star didn't shine quite so bright as his immediate contemporaries Christoph Gluck and Niccolò Piccinni. In 'Sinfonia in G major', below, Karl-Heinz Schickhaus plays a chromatic dulcimer (hackbrett), developed in the 1930s from the hammered dulcimer, which originated in the Middle East circa 1000 AD, soon finding its way to Europe.

Niccolò Jommelli   1725 - 1774

 Demofoonte [Part 1]

    Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini/Riccardo Muti

 Demofoonte [Part 2]

    Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini/Riccardo Muti

 Demofoonte [Part 3]

    Orchestra Giovanile Luigi Cherubini/Riccardo Muti

 Piano Concerto in D major

    I Solisti Partenopei/Ivano Caiazza

     Piano: Antonella Cristiano 

 Sinfonia in G major

    Münchener Kammerorchester/Hans Stadlmair

    Hackbrett: Karl-Heinz Schickhaus


    Piccola Orchestra Veneta/Marco Bellussi

  Il Vologeso   [Part 1]

    Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra/Frieder Bernius

 Il Vologeso   [Part 2]

    Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra/Frieder Bernius

 Il Vologeso   [Part 1]

    Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra/Frieder Bernius

Birth of Classical Music: Niccolo Jommelli

Niccolo Jommelli

Source: Anacardiaceae
  Born in 1716 in Řepín, Bohemia, Josef Seger  had been educated at a Jesuit gymnasium in Prague as a child. He took his degree in philosophy from Charles University, meanwhile studying organ with Bohuslav Černohorský. In 1741 Seger became organist at the Church of Our Lady before Týn, adding a similar position to his tasks in 1745 at the Church of the Knights of the Cross. He strayed not therefrom until his death in Prague in 1782. Among Seger's greatest contributions to Bohemian music, being an important tangent to the Baroque and Classical periods, was his teaching of a number of strong Czech composers: Karel Kopřiva, Jan Koželuh, Jan Křtitel Kuchař and Josef Mysliveček among others. He composed a prolific number of largely sacred works for keyboard and voice.

Josef Seger   1735 - 1782

 8 Toccaten und Fugen

    1793   No 2 in G minor

     Organ: Allan Dieball

 8 Toccaten und Fugen

     1793   No 6 in G major

     Organ: Allan Dieball

 8 Toccaten und Fugen

    1793   No 7 in D major

    Organ: Allan Dieball

 Fugue in A minor

    Organ: Aleš Bárta

 Toccata in E Major

    Organ: Allan Dieball

Birth of Classical Music: Johann Stamitz

Johann Stamitz

Source: Find a Grave
Born in 1717 in Deutschbrod, Bohemia, Johann Stamitz is the first Czech to enter these histories, others working in his vicinity of Europe having been German but for visiting composers. He is also the first in these histories, together with Christoph Willibald Gluck, to be of particular importance to, and transition to, the classical period. Stamitz left the University of Prague in 1734/35 after one year of study to play the violin, as he was virtuosic with the instrument. Stamitz is one of those composers who left more history via music than document. He doesn't show up again until a 1742 performance before the Mannheim court, perhaps appointed the year before. 1954 finds him performing in Paris at a concert spirituel (public concerts given in Paris since 1725). Returning to Mannheim in 1755, he died two years later. All said as like to be neatly done with Stamitz, until one consider that he was the founder of the Mannheim school in 1741/42, which is a bigger deal than it sounds, because for there to be "school" of a musical period it had to attract a few major composers and have distinctive affect on the greater scene in Europe. (A Neapolitan "school" is sometimes mentioned. Though Naples was a major cultural center approaching that of Rome and Venice, which Alessandro Scarlatti [from Sicily] had put on the map, the Naples Conservatory of Music [established 1537] wasn't the influence on classical that the Mannheim composers were. Though major composers would attend the Naples Conservatory, and though Naples was a flashy scene, a Neapolitan "school" of fundamental importance didn't really much exist.) The Mannheim school consisted of not a few highly talented composers over the years and would be influential to classical composer, Joseph Haydn. Stamitz left behind not a little of especial interest: 58 symphonies, 10 orchestral trios and a number of concertos for various instruments.

Johann Stamitz   1735 - 1757

  6 Trios for Orchestra

    Op 1   Musica Aeterna Bratislava

  Clarinet Concerto in B flat major

    Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields/Iona Brown

    Clarinet: Sabine Meyer

 Flute Concerto in G major

    Cologne Chamber Orchestra/Helmut Müller-Brühl

     Flute: Robert Aitken

 Missa Solemnis in D major

    Alsfelder Vokalensemble

     Barockorchester Bremen

 Trumpet Concerto in D major

    Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

    Budapest Concerto Armonico/Péter Szüts

    Trumpet: Håkan Hardenberger


  Born in 1718 in Marpurgsdorf, Germany, Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg wasn't the composer that others on this page were. But as a music theorist he joins Johann Mattheson as one of the earliest music critics. Marpburg was well-educated, though not known where. In 1746 he became secretary to a Prussian general in Paris where met such as Rond d'Alembert, Voltaire and Jean-Philippe Rameau. In 1746 Marburg returned to Berlin where the fifties saw his greatest literary and musical production. Marpurg became employed with the Royal Prussian Lotteries in 1760, becoming director in 1763. (Lotteries had been in use since before the birth of Christ in China. They were one way the Great Wall of China was financed. Romans funded projects with lotteries as well. They disappeared during the Dark Ages, first reappearing in the 15th century in towns of the Low Countries, then Milan in 1499. The first record of a town lottery in the Netherlands, for walls and fortifications, wasn't a record of the first lottery held, but documents 4,304 tickets sold, for a prize of 1,737 florins, about $170,000 today. Lotteries were also held to feed the poor.) Marpurg died in 1793, there so much more known about his literary works (consult Wikipedia) than his life that we've had to wander off topic to make a paragraph.

Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg    1745 - 1793

 Herr ich habe missgehandelt

    Ex Tempore/Florian Heyerick

 Fugue in D minor

    1777   Op 1:3

    Organ: Rolf Uusväli

 Jesu meine Freude

    Choir of Clare College/Timothy Brown

 Wer nur den lieben Gott

    Chorale prelude in A minor

    Organ: Rolf Uusväli


Birth of Classical Music: Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg

Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg

Source: Opera Plus
Birth of Classical Music: Jiri Antonin Benda

Jiri Antonin Benda

Source: Leporelo
Born in 1722 in Bohemia, violinist Jiri Antonin Benda (also Georg Anton Benda) was younger brother to Franz Benda. He entered the Jesuit gymnasium in Gitschin in 1735. The year before graduating (1742) he was made second violinist at the chapel of Frederick II (Fredrick the Great of Prussia) in Berlin. (Upon leaving the gymnasium Benda began seriously composing in Potsdam with his brother for a brief a time.) His next employment was in 1749 as Kapellmeister to the Duke of Gotha, eldest son of Frederick II. The Duke provided him with the funds to study in Italy for a couple of years in 1764. Benda retired from the court in 1778 to travel about Europe, such as Hamburg and Vienna, and eventually settled in Köstritz where he died in 1795. Among Benda's more important contributions to the classical period was the melodrama. The melodrama was an interesting operatic development in which thrill was of more weight than characterization. (Think of an action film versus a drama, simple plots and stereotypical roles.) and usually spoken rather than sung. The Singspiel was closely related, a kind of dialogic opera. The first full melodrama was written in 1762 by the Coignet/Rousseau team, though not performed until 1770 ('Pygmalion'). Benda saw therein a potential to exploit, as would Mozart.

Jirí Antonín Benda   1740 - 1778

  Ariadne auf Naxos

   1775   Melodrama   Libretto: Johann Brandes

   Kammersolisten Minsk/Dmitri Subow

  Concerto for harpsichord in G minor

    Talichův komorní orchestr/Jan Talich

    Cembalo: Zuzana Růžičková


    1779   Melodrama   Libretto: Friedrich Gotter

    Prague Chamber Orchestra/Christian Benda

  Romeo und Julie

   1776   Singspiel

    La stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider

    Julie: Heidrun Kordes   Romeo: Scott Weir

  Sinfonia 2 in G major

    Prague Chamber Orchestra/Christian Benda

  Sinfonia 4 in F major

    Prague Chamber Orchestra/Christian Benda

  Sinfonia 5 in G major

    Prague Chamber Orchestra/Christian Benda

  Born in Köthen, Germany, in 1723, Carl Friedrich Abel was an early classical composer who specialized in cello and viola de gamba as a performer. His father was composer, Carl Friedrich Abel. He received additional instruction from Johann Sebastian Bach at Thomasschule in Leipzig (among the oldest schools in Europe, founded in 1212). In 1743 Abel joined Hasse's court orchestra where he remained the next fifteen years. In 1758/59 he crossed the Channel where he began his collaborations with Johann Christian Bach in 1762 in London. Abel and Bach gave concerts together until the latter's death in 1782. Abel became a chamber musician for Queen Charlotte in 1764. Upon Bach's death in '82 Abel traveled in Germany and France for the next three years. He finished out his life as a chief member of the Hanover Square Rooms (Queen's Concert Rooms), dying in 1787. WK numbers are Walter Knape as of 1971.

Carl Friedrich Abel   1740 - 1787

 6 Flute Concertos Opus 6

    WK 46-48 & WK 50

     La Stagione/Michael Schneider

 Symphony in D major

    1767   WK 15   Op 7:3

    Adrian Shepherd

 Symphony in D major

    1785   Op 17:3

    The Hanover Band/Anthony Halstead

 Symphony E flat major

    1767   WK 18   Op 7:6

     Adrian Shepherd

Birth of Classical Music: Carl Friedrich Abel

Carl Friedrich Abel   1777

Painting: Thomas Gainsborough

Source: Wikimedia Commons
  Born in 1727 in Paris, Armand-Louis Couperin was one of the Couperin musical dynasty, his cousin, François Couperin, among the most notable. Louis' father was a church composer and organist. Upon his father's death in 1748, Couperin inherited his position at Saint Gervais. He held positions at several churches, as well as the Royal Chapel of Louis XVI, before his death in a traffic accident in 1789. His library contained 885 books, indicating he was financially comfortable. What little music by Couperin that survives (he published little) is largely keyboard pieces. He never wrote for theatre.

Armand-Louis Couperin   1745 - 1789

  Pièces de Clavecin

     L'Affligee   1751

     Harpsichord: Jennifer Paul

  Pièces de Clavecin

     La Chéron   1751

     Harpsichord: Skip Sempé

  Pièces de Clavecin

     Les Quatre Nations   1751

     Cembalista: Falerno Ducande

  Pièces de Clavecin

    Les Tendre Sentimens   1751

    Harpsichord: Jennifer Paul

  Suite in D minor for Clavecin

     Harpsichord: Onofrio Della Rosa

Birth of Classical Music: Armand-Louis Couperin

Armand-Louis Couperin

Engraving: Charles-Joseph Flipart

Source: Elysium Ensemble
Birth of Classical Music: Armand-Louis Couperin

Niccolo Piccinni

Source: Foggia Zon
Born in Bari in southern Italy in 1728, Niccolò Piccinni was educated at the Naples Conservatory of Music, Sant'Onofrio, his father a musician of whom it is said he didn't want his son to make the same mistake. Piccinni produced his first opera, 'Le donne dispettose', in 1755. It was 1760 when his opera, 'La Cecchina, ossia la buona Figliuola', ignited not only Naples, but all of Europe. Now thriving, by 1773 he had written 50 operas, performing thirty of them in Rome. In 1776 Piccinni found patronage in Marie Antoinette who brought him to Paris to compose operas at the Academie Royale de Musique. One could say Piccinni took the "Neapolitan school" to France, but what he really took was a Piccinni way of composing opera versus that of his major rival at the time, Christoph Willibald Gluck. Piccinni became a professor at the Royal School of Music in 1784. Upon the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 he returned to Naples, employed by Ferdinand IV. Which was fine until his daughter married a French democrat. He was then placed under house arrest for four years, suspected of being a revolutionary. Piccinni completed his life traveling between Naples, Rome and Venice, returning to Paris in 1798, dying two years later in Passy. Though Piccinni made quite a splash in his time it was a brief fame, he largely forgotten since then. Just how many operas Piccinni composed yet seems quite moot, from eighty to as many as 130 unconfirmed. The major librettists with whom he worked were Carlo Goldoni ('La Cecchina'), Jean-François Marmontel ('Roland') and Metastasio ('Catone in Utica').

Niccolò Piccinni   1750 - 1800

 La cecchina, ossia la buona figliuola

    [Part 1]   1760

    Orchestra Serenissima Pro Arte

     Bruno Campanella

 La cecchina, ossia la buona figliuola

    [Part 2]   1760

    Orchestra Serenissima Pro Arte

     Bruno Campanella

 La cecchina, ossia la buona figliuola

    [Part 3]   1760

    Orchestra Serenissima Pro Arte

     Bruno Campanella

 Catone in Utica

    [Part 1]   First Performance 1770 Mannheim

    Orchester des Nationaltheaters Mannheim

     Reinhard Goebel

 Catone in Utica

    [Part 2]   First Performance 1770 Mannheim

    Orchester des Nationaltheaters Mannheim

     Reinhard Goebel

  Catone in Utica

     [Part 3]   First Performance 1770 Mannheim

     Orchester des Nationaltheaters Mannheim

       Reinhard Goebel


     [Part 1]   First Performance 1778 Paris

      Bratislava Chamber Choir

       Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia

       David Golub


    [Part 2]   First Performance 1778 Paris

     Bratislava Chamber Choir

     Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia

     David Golub


    [Part 3]   First Performance 1778 Paris

     Orquestra Ars Musicae de Mallorca

    Bratislava Chamber Choir

    Orchestra Internazionale d'Italia

    David Golub

  The Classical period is generally given as 1730 to 1820. Popped from the oven in Mannheim in 1731, Christian Cannabich helped make a steamroller (which is apt) of the Mannheim school. With Cannabich we're firmly planted in the soil of the classical period. If asked who was the first real classical composer you could reply "Cannabich" and get into a debate as to Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, Johann Christian Bach, Joseph Haydn and Leopold Hofmann as well, meaning the question has no answer. Cannabich's father was a flute and oboe player to the Mannheim court. Cannabich became a scholar violinist in the Mannheim court orchestra in 1744 as he studied under Johann Stamitz, and a full member two years later. In 1750 he visited Rome on the Palatinate's (Duke Charles Theodore of Sulzbach) tab to study beneath Niccolò Jommelli. He studied under Giovanni Battista Sammartini in Milan in 1756. By 1757 he was ready to assume Stamitz' position as first violinist to the court of Mannheim. His first of not a few trips to Paris occurred in 1764. In 1774 Cannabich became director of the Mannheim court orchestra, required to compose for ballet. He died in 1798. Though Cannabich had associated with Mozart on a number of occasions the two led separate careers. ('Piano Sonata 7 in C Major' is dedicated to Cannabich's daughter, Rose, whom Mozart instructed on piano). Cannabich left behind forty ballets, thirty sonatas and 75 symphonies amidst much else.

Christian Cannabich   1745- 1798

 Sextet in C major

 Symphony No 57 in E flat major


     London Mozart Players/Matthias Bamert

 Symphony No 68 in B flat major

    Neue Hoffkapelle München

    Conductor: Christoph Hammer

Birth of Classical Music: Christian Cannabich

Christian Cannabich

Engraving: Egid Verhelst II

Source: Wikimedia Commons
  Born in 1732 in Leipzig, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach was the son of Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach is a transitional figure from late Baroque to early classical who also composed in the galant style. He studied at St. Thomas School before his first professional appointment in 1750 in Bückeburg as a harpsichordist to Count William of Schaumburg-Lippe, becoming konzertmeister in 1759. Bach traveled to London in 1778 to visit his brother, Johann Christian Bach, before dying in Bückeburg in 1795. His claim to fame are his keyboard pieces, including largely sonatas, chamber music, concertos and symphonies. But this particular Bach was also a master at composing for song, writing arias, cantatas, oratorios, incidental music and sacred pieces. (Among the librettists with whom Bach worked was Johann Gottfried Herder.) Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach is sometimes called "the Bückeburger Bach" to distinguish him from others, there so many that the Bach-Repertorium (BR) research group was founded to catalogue them all.

Johann Friedrich Bach   1750 - 1795

 Keyboard Concerto in E major

    BR C37

    Orchestre de Chambre du Festival d`Echternach

     Yoon K. Lee

 Die Kindheit Jesu

    BR D5   'Schlummre sanft'

    Alt-Mezzo: Kathrin D. Widmann

Birth of Classical Music: Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach

Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach

Source: Codalario
Birth of Classical Music: Joseph Haydn

Joseph Haydn

Source: Regio Chor
In a failed attempt to make this webpage search friendly we need limit the number of works we list per composer. Which isn't to very represent any of them. But that is especially true of Joseph Haydn. With Haydn we are with one the musical supernovas of all time, why Classical is called Classical. Haydn was born in 1732 in Rohrau, Austria (on the Hungarian border at the time). His father was the village mayor, his mother a cook for Count Harrach. Recognizing Hadyn's gift, his parents sent him at perhaps age six to study music beneath a choirmaster in Hamburg named Johann Matthias Frankh. In 1740 he went to Vienna to work as a chorister at St. Stephen's. In 1749 Haydn was caned and dismissed for the prank of snipping off another chorister's pigtail. He then freelanced, working as a teacher and serenading on the streets. In 1752 he became valet to Niccolo Porpora. Thus far Haydn had been taught next to nothing but hunger by Frankh and at St. Stephen's. Nigh all he knew about composing had been from independent study of such as Johann Joseph Fux and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Finally getting some traction, Haydn produced his first opera,'Der krumme Teufel' ('The Limping Devil'), in 1753, only to be shut down for offensive language. Meanwhile compositions he'd written and given away to others were being published and sold by them. Poor Haydn was yet just too simple for a human world. He had worked for the nobility before, briefly in 1752, and as a freelancer at the court in Vienna from '54 to '56. But in 1757 he became Kapellmeister to Count Morzin of Austria and things began to swing enough for him to write his first symphonies. Unfortunately the Count was experiencing twists in fortune necessitating the dismantling of his musical establishment in 1761. Haydn then became Vice-Kapellmeister for Prince Paul II Anton, and full Kapellmeister in 1766. Anton had been succeeded by Nicolaus in 1762, but he was still of the House of Esterházy, a dynasty of great wealth with several palaces (such as the Eszterháza, the "Hungarian Versailes" in present-day Austria) where Haydn worked as his patrons traveled about. Now in his element, Haydn turned up the heat. Because Nicolaus played the baryton (similar to a viol) Haydn produced some 200 pieces for that instrument in the next ten years. Once Nicolaus ceased playing the baryton Haydn was able to concentrate more on opera. Another change in 1779 again defined the sort of music Haydn composed: he was allowed to compose and publish music as his own property rather than that of the House of Esterházy. He now began focusing on quartets and symphonies. Up to that time one of Europe's major composers was nowhere and in no way to be seen but at an exclusive Esterházy palace. Now he was writing on commission for clients as far away as Cadiz, Spain. In 1784 Haydn met and played quartets with Mozart, their association one of mutual high esteem. Nicolaus died in 1790, leaving Haydn a sweet pension of 1000 florins a year. But his son, Anton, was faced with need to economize, dismissed the majority of his musicians and reduced Haydn's pay to 400 florins a year (yet fairly good remuneration for a composer at the time, equivalent to about $65,000 today). But nice thing was that Anton liberated Haydn to travel and work with other than Esterházy musicians. He thus answered an invitation to work in England where his published works had preceded him, making him very popular. After visiting Mozart briefly in Vienna, on New Year's Day, 1791, Haydn first put foot to English soil and became a rock star, both as a composer and clavier performer. During the early nineties Haydn met Beethoven. Their relationship was a bit more complex than his friendship with Mozart. Though Haydn was Beethoven's tutor, the latter later stated he "learned nothing" from the former. Yet even later Beethoven placed Haydn with Johann Sebastian Bach and Mozart in eminence. In 1795 Haydn left London permanently for Vienna. Prince Anton had meanwhile died and his son, Nicolaus II, wanted music. Haydn then divided his time between the House of Esterházy in the summers and his own home in Vienna the rest of the year, composing for public performances. Haydn's last major work was his sixth mass for Nicolaus II in 1802, 'Harmoniemesse'. In 1803 he began to become too ill to work, his last public appearance a charity performance of 'The Seven Last Words' in December that year. Though Haydn was unable to work during his last years he was retained as Kapellmeister by the Esterházy family until his death in 1809. Haydn had sustained an attack of smallpox as a child. But what plagued him was polypus so severe as to prevent him from composing. Perhaps on those occasions he pulled out his rosary, he a devout Catholic. Haydn's contributions to later developments were especially strong as to the sonata and fugue. Haydn also owned interest in the Sturm and Drang (Storm and Stress) proto-Romantic movement in Germany during the seventies. A few examples of that sympathy are 'Trauer' (Mourning) Symphony No. 44, 'Farewell' Symphony No. 45 (below), 'Keyboard Sonata No. 33' (below) and his 'Sun' quartets, all as of 1771-72. Haydn wrote concertos, masses, piano trios, string quartets, 16 operas, above a hundred symphonies and a host of solo piano pieces. The catalogue numbers below are those of Hoboken-Verzeichnis.

Joseph Haydn   1750 - 1809

 Baryton Trio in A minorr

    Hob 11:87    Esterházy Ensemble

 Baryton Trio in B minorr

    Hob 11:91   Esterházy Ensemble

 Divertimento in C major

    Hob 2:17

    Haydn Sinfonietta Wien/Manfred Huss

 Horn Concerto 2 in D major

    Hob 7d:1

    Orchestre de Chambre National de Toulouse

     Alain Moglia   Horn: André Cazalet

 Keyboard Sonata in C minor

    1771    Hob 16:20

     Piano: Andras Schiff

 Keyboard Sonata in E-flat major

    1789-90    Hob 16:49

    Piano: Alfred Brendel

 Mass in D minor

    1798   Hob 22:11   Gloria

    Det Norske Blåseensemble & Solistkor Oslo

     Grete Pedersen

 Mass in D minor

    1798   Hob 22:11   Kyrie

    Det Norske Blåseensemble & Solistkor Oslo

     Grete Pedersen

 Piano Trio in A flat major

    1790   Hob 15:14

    Cello: Philipp Bosbach

    Piano: Harald Hoeren

    Violin: Susanne von Bausznern

 Symphony 45 in F sharp minor (Farewell)


    Orchestra of St. Luke's/Charles Mackerras

 Violin Concerto in B flat major

    Prague Chamber Orchestra

    Bohuslav Matousek

Birth of Classical Music: The Eszterháza Palace

The Eszterháza Palace

Source: Manitou Winds
Birth of Classical Music: King's Theatre - Queen's Theatre

Her (His) Majesty's Theatre

(Queen's Theatre   King's Theatre)

Source: Wikipedia
Born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1735, Johann Christian Bach was a son of Johann Sebastian Bach, who died when Johann Christian was fifteen. His brother, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, was 21 years his senior. Johann Christian no doubt received musical instruction from his father as a child. In 1756 he went to Italy to study under Giovanni Battista Martini in Bologna. In 1760 he became a church organist in Milan, also dropping Luther for Catholicism about that time. 1762 found Johann in London producing opera at the King's Theatre. (King's Theatre was the place to perform in England. To the left is a drawing of the theatre as it would have appeared in Bach's time, before its major reconstruction in 1791. King's Theatre was erected in 1705 as Her Majesty's Theatre [Queen's Theatre], its name changing by monarch.) Perhaps because England enjoyed a considerably higher literacy rate than the rest of Europe they discovered "Johann" to be a misspelling of "John" and called this Bach by his correct name. He soon became music master to Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III. Johann [sic] was popular, composing in the brief-lasting galant style, but not for so long as other Bachs. (Be as may, Mozart, whom he met in London in 1764, owned a great esteem for his music. Mozart found nice things to say about any musician, but that settles any question as to ability in John's case, Mozart arranging three of his sonatas into concertos.) He also had the misfortune of employing a steward who stole the majority of his wealth, such that he died in debt in London on New Year's Day in 1782. (Charlotte paid his debts and put his widow on a pension.) Of the more than ninety symphonies ascribed to Bach only 48 have been confirmed. An industrious composer, Bach otherwise wrote largely keyboard and chamber music (sonatas and quartets. In addition to symphonies he wrote a good number of concertos and concertantes for orchestra. (Concertantes are concertos lite, emphasizing instrumental solos.) He also wrote a good number of canzonettas (light songs originating in Italy the prior century), liturgical pieces and incidental music. Cataloguing, including opus numbers, is by Ernest Warburton as of 1999.

Johann Christian Bach   1750 - 1782

 Amadis de Gaule

    1779   W G:39   Opera

    Solamente Naturali/Musica Florea/Didier Talpain

 Gloria in G major

    1759   W E:4

    Choeur de chambre de Namur

     L'ensemble Les Agrémens

      Wieland Kuijken

 Keyboard Concertos Op 7

    No 1-7   W C:55-60a

    Piano: Anthony Halstead

 Lucio Silla

    1776   W G:9   Opera

    Mozarteumorchester Salzburg/Ivor Bolton

 Vauxhall Songs

    W H:26   'Come Colin, pride of rural swains'

    W H:35   'Would you a female heart inspire'

     W H: 27    'Ah, why shou'd love with tyrant'

     Boyd Neel Orchestra

    Soprano: Elsie Morrison

 Vauxhall Songs

    W H:31   'Lovely yet ungrateful swain'

     W H: 36   'Cease a while ye winds to blow'

      Boyd Neel Orchestra

      Soprano: Elsie Morrison


    1763   W G:5   Opera

    Opera Fuoco/David Stern

Birth of Classical Music: Johann Christian Bach

Johann Christian Bach   1776

Painting: Thomas Gainsborough

Source: Wikipedia
Birth of Classical Music: Johann Georg Albrechtsberger

Johann Albrechtsberger

Source: Raptus Association
Born in 1736 in Klosterneuburg, Austria, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger was taught music and philosophy by Benedictines at Melk Abbey in Vienna. He began working as an organist in Raab in 1755, Maria Taferl in 1557, then returned to Melk Abbey before assuming a similar position to the court of Vienna in 1772. He was likely seriously composing at Melk prior to the composing dates given below. Two decades later he became Kapellmeister of St. Stephen's Cathedral (1792). Albrechtsburger was in high demand as a theorist and teacher, with an impressive list of pupils including Beethoven. He died in Vienna in 1809, leaving some 300 keyboard works (organ intensive), 300 sacred works and about 240 others.

Johann Albrechtsberger   1755 - 1809

  Divertimento 2 in C major

    1777   Flute: Pál Németh

  Keyboard Concerto in B flat major

    Amadeus Chamber Orchestra/Freddy Cadena

    Piano: A. Bachchiev

  Prelude and Fugue in C major

    Organ 4 hands: Fabio Ciofini & Jordi Vergés

  String Quartet in C major   Op 7:4

    Allegro moderato

    The Authentic String Quartet

  String Quartet C major   Op 20:5



Birth of Classical Music: Johann Michael Haydn

Johann Michael Haydn
Born in 1737 in Rohrau, Austria, Johann Michael Haydn was the younger brother of Joseph Haydn. His father was a wheelwright and village mayor. He also played harp. About 1745 Haydn became a singer at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. In 1757 he was appointed Kapellmeister to the court of the Bishop of Grosswardein in Nagyvárad. Situated from Austria across some 200 miles of present-day Hungary in Oradea, Romania, that makes Haydn the most eastern-bound composer in these histories thus far. In 1763 Haydn became Kapellmeister to Archbishop Schrattenbach in Salzburg. He also worked as an organist at the Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Church of the Holy Trinity) in Salzburg. Haydn remained in Salzburg until his death in 1806. Haydn composed more than 400 pieces of sacred music, including a good number of antiphons (a kind of responsory by choir or congregation), canticles (diminutive to "song" in Latin, a hymn taken from other Scripture than David's 'Psalms'), graduals (an antiphon sung between the Epistle and the Gospel in the Eucharistic service) and masses. His secular instrumentals include a strong number of symphonies and serenades. Haydn's many pieces for voice include 65 canons. (A canon is an instrumental or vocal work in which the same music is begun at different times. The nursery song, 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat', is an apt example.) MH numbers below per Sherman & Thomas, 1993.

Johann Michael Haydn   1755 - 1806

  Gloria et Credo ad Missam Sancti Gabrielis

    MH 112   C major

    Cantores Carmeli/Michael Stenov

  Missa in C major

    MH 43

    Choir and Orchestra of St. Peter/Paul Rott am Inn

  Missa pro Defuncto Archiepiscopo Sigismundo

    1771   MH 155   Requium

    Ensemble Pygmalion/Raphaël Pichon

  Missa Tempore Quadragesimae in D minor

    MH 553   Credo

    Ex Tempore/Florian Heyerick

  Requiem in B-flat major

    1806   MH 838

    KammerChor Saarbrücken

     Kammerphilharmonie Mannheim

     Georg Grün

  Horn Concerto in D major

    MH 134

    Orchestre de Chambre National de Toulouse

     Alain Moglia

     Horn: André Cazalet

     Trombone: Michel Becquet

  Trumpet Concerto 2 in D major

    MH 104

    Münchener Kammerorchester/Hans Stadlmair

    Trumpet: Maurice André

  Violin Concerto in B flat major

    MH 36

    Camerata Salzburg/Lukas Hagen

    Violin: Lukas Hagen

  Born in Prague in 1737 to an upper-class mill owner, Josef Mysliveček attended Charles-Ferdinand University. Returning to the trade of his father, Mysliveček became a master miller in 1761, only to quit that profession to study music, which he did with Josef Seger. In 1763 he journeyed to Venice to study under Giovanni Pescetti, and would make several trips between Italy and his northern homelands during his career. His premier opera, 'Semiramide', was produced in Bergamo in 1766, his second, 'Il Bellerofonte', in Naples the next year. Mysliveček never married, but he could count Mozart among his friends. Unfortunately, Mysliveček is thought to have been victim to tertiary syphilis, resulting in the disfigurement of his face, worsened by a doctor attempting to cure it. He wrote concerti, sonatas, oratorios and symphonies amidst much else including 26 opera serie. Together with Cristoph Gluck, Mysliveček put composing of Czech origin on the map with other major composers of the classical period. Among the librettists with whom he worked was Metastasio. He died a relatively young man in poverty in 1781, likely of syphilis.

Josef Mysliveček   1760 - 1781

  Abramo e Isacco

    1776   Oratorio

    Kühn Mixed Choir/Sinfonietta Praha/Ivan Parik

  Cello Concerto in C major

    Camerata Chicago/Drostan Hall

    Cello: Wendy Warner

  Il Bellerofonte

     1767   Opera

     Czech Philharmonic Chorus

     Prague Chamber Orchestra

       Zoltan Peskó


    First performance 1771 Florence   Opera

    The Czech Ensemble Baroque

  La Passione di Nostro Signore Gesu Cristo

     1773   Oratorio

     Chorus Musicus Köln/Das Neue Orchester

       Christoph Spering

  Violin Concerto in A major


     Dvořák Chamber Orchestra/Libor Pešek

      Violin: Shizuka Ishikawa

   Violin Concerto in E major


      Dvořák Chamber Orchestra/Libor Pešek

      Violin: Shizuka Ishikawa

  Violin Concerto in F major


      Dvořák Chamber Orchestra/Libor Pešek

      Violin: Shizuka Ishikawa

Birth of Classical Music: Leopold Hofmann

Leopold Hofmann
Source: Musicalics
Born in Austria to a ranking civil servant in 1738, Leopold Hofmann sang into nice digs at age seven, serving as a chorister to Holy Roman Empress Elisabeth Christine, his director and teacher František Tůma. He continued his studies in composition, harpsichord and violin under a couple more notable teachers until securing a position in 1758 at St. Michael's in Vienna as a musicus (professional composer/conductor). 1764 found him choral director at St. Peter's Church, then Kapellmeister in 1766. Three years later Hofmann was teaching music to the royal family. In 1772 he became Kapellmeister at St. Stephan's. In 1791 Mozart became an assistant to Hofmann, who was ill, thinking he might be required to assume Hofmann's position. But Mozart died (1791) before Hofmann did, the latter in 1793. The largest portion of Hofmann's oeuvre consists of concerti and symphonies. Catalogue numbers are those of Allan Badley per his doctoral thesis of 1986.

Leopold Hofmann   1715 - 1750

 Flute Concerto in D major

    B II:D4   Flute: Maria Filippova

    Czech Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conducting: Jan Talich

  Born in Mannheim in 1745, Carl Stamitz was the eldest son of Johann Stamitz. He also trained under Christian Cannabich. Early employed as a violinist by the court in Mannheim, he began traveling as a virtuoso in 1770, including Paris, London, Saint Petersburg, the Low Countries, Prague and about Germany. Settling in Jena in 1794, he died in poverty in 1801. Stamitz composed above 50 symphonies, more than 38 symphonie concertantes and at least 60 concertos.

Carl Stamitz   1760 - 1801

  6 Quartets   Op 19:5

    Etienne Boudreault   Ernst Kovacic

    Steven Dann   Anssi Karttunen

  Cello Concerto 1 in G major

     Movement 1

     Prague Chamber Orchestra

      Cello: Christian Benda

  Cello Concerto 1 in G major

     Movements 2 & 3

     Prague Chamber Orchestra

      Cello: Christian Benda

  Cello Concerto 2 in A major

    II: Romance: Andantino

    III: Rondo: Allegretto

     Prague Chamber Orchestra

     Cello: Christian Benda

  Flute Concerto in G major   Op 29a

    Flute: Soomin

  Viola Concerto in D major   Op 1

    Collegium Aureum/Franzjosef Maier

    Viola: Ulrich Koch

Birth of Classical Music: Carl Stamitz

Carl Stamitz

Source: Classical Connect
  Born in 1747 in Velvary, Bohema (now Czech Republic), Jan Antonín Koželuh changed his name in 1774 tp Leopold Koželuch to avoid confusion with that other composer younger by about a decade. Among Koželuch's teachers in the early seventies was František Dušek. His first work was a ballet for the National Theater in Prague in 1771 for which composed for the next twenty-five seasons. In 1778 Koželuch journeyed to Austria where he studied under Johann Albrechtsberger. During the early eighties he acquired the position of organist for the Archbishop of Salzburg and established a publishing house in 1775. In 1792 he became court composer and Royal Orchestra Master to Austrian Emperor Franz II. He died in 1818. With composing in that area of Europe (Bohemia in general, nestled largely between Austria, Germany and Poland, becoming part of Prussia under Frederick II) and the transition from baroque to classical one sees Freemasonry arising as well, juxtaposed to Lutheranism in Germany and the Catholicism of the Holy Roman Empire. Both Koželuch and Frederick II were Freemasons. Koželuch was better known as a piano virtuoso during his time than a composer from his time onward. Though published and popular throughout Europe fellow composers such as Mozart and Beethoven were critical. Koželuch's legacy was about 400 works including some thirty symphonies, 22 piano concertos and 63 piano trios. P numbers below are per Milan Poštolka, 1964.

Leopold Koželuch   1770 - 1818

  Keyboard Concerto in F major

    P 4:1   Op 12

    Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina/Oliver von Dohnány

     Piano: Tomas Dratva

  Keyboard Sonata in F minor

    P 12:37   Op 38:3   I: Allegro agitato

    Piano: Anna Petrova-Forster

  Keyboard Sonata in F minor

    P 12:37   Op 38:3   I: Largo

    Piano: Anna Petrova-Forster

  Keyboard Sonata in F minor

    P 12:37   Op 38:3   II: Allegretto

    Piano: Anna Petrova-Forster

  Moisè in Egitto

    P 16:1   Oratorio

    Rheinische Kantorei/Das Kleine Konzert

    Hermann Max

  Sinfonia concertante in E flat major

    P 2:1

    Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

     Consortium Classicum

     Iona Brown

  Symphony in C major

    P 1:6   Op 24:1

    Concerto Köln/Werner Ehrhardt

Birth of Classical Music: Leopold Kozeluch

Leopold Kozeluch

Engraving: W. Ridley

Source:  My Art Prints
Birth of Classical Music: Leopold Kozeluch

Antonio Salieri

Source: Bio
Born in 1750 in the Republic of Venice, Antonio Salieri was a major classical composer on par with Mozart. His main claim to fame was opera for three languages and a powerful influence on opera to come. Salieri was orphaned in 1763/64, upon which he was taken in by a monk in Padua, then in Venice by one Giovanni Mocenigo, a connected nobleman. Receiving instruction from Giovanni Pescetti, then a lesser-known opera singer, he was taken to Vienna for tutoring in 1766 by composer, Florian Leopold Gassmann. He also received instruction from Metastasio, such that in 1770 he produced his first opera, a buffa titled 'Le donne letterate'. (The librettist was Boccherini.) From 1778 to 1780 Salieri took opera productions about Italy, including Milan, Venice and Rome. In 1783 or '84 Salieri went Paris to work with Christoph Gluck, resulting in 'Les Danaïdes'. (Gluck had largely composed 'Les Danaïdes' before hiring Salieri to notate it. He nevertheless gave Salieri credit for the whole thing.) Another trip to Paris resulted in the great success of 'Les Horaces' and 'Tantara'. Returning to Vienna in 1788, Salieri's protector, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, died in 1790. Salieri's position to the court as director of Italian opera was then retired in 1792, though he continued to work on commission. His last opera, a singspiel titled 'Die Neger', was performed in 1804. Salieri withdrew from theatrical composing to teach (Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt and Franz Schubert among his pupils). But theatrical music was undergoing the shift toward the Romantic period, a transition Salieri didn't wish to pursue. The master had reached the pinnacle, then pulled out before slipping too badly ('Die Neger' a flop). Turning to cantatas, oratorios and songs, he completed his final work in 1815: '26 Variations on La follia di Spagna'. Salieri's last years were something more depressing than they should have been, the rumor afire that he had poisoned Mozart in 1791. (Albeit Mozart and Salieri had definitely been professional rivals, other factors indicate greater friendship than hostility in a personal capacity. Albeit Mozart had disputes at the professional level, one thing we've noticed in researching this history is that he always seemed to find nice things to say about any fellow musician at all.) A fall in 1823 left Salieri with dementia until his death in 1825. He had completed thirty-seven staged operas amidst his greater oeuvre.

Antonio Salieri   1765 - 1823

  26 Variations on La Folia de Spagna


     London Mozart Players/Matthias Bamert

  Mass in D major

    Also 'Hofkapellmeistermesse' or 'Kaisermesse'

     1788   'Emperor'

      St. Florianer Sängerknaben

       Leondinger Symphonieorchester

      Uwe Christian Harrer

  La grotta di Trofonio   [Part 1]

    First performed 1785 Vienna   Opera

    Choeur de l'Opéra de Lausanne

    Les Talens Lyriques

     Christophe Rousset

  La grotta di Trofonio   [Part 2]

    First performed 1785 Vienna   Opera

    Choeur de l'Opéra de Lausanne

     Les Talens Lyriques

     Christophe Rousset

  Prima la musica e poi le parole

    First performed 1786 Vienna   Opera

    Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam

      Nikolaus Harnoncourt


    First performed 1787 Paris   Opera

    Orquestra Ars Musicae de Mallorca

  Requiem in C minor


    Coro Gulbenkian/Orquestra Gulbenkian

    Lawrence Foster

  Mandolinist and keyboard player Jan Křtitel Kuchař was born in 1751 in the Czech region of Hradec Králové (now Czech Republic, its northern border Poland). Kuchar was a Jesuit seminarian who then studied under Josef Seger in Prague before becoming an organist at the Church of St. Jindrich. He also began teaching. Meeting Mozart in 1787, the pair were on friendly terms. Kuchar became a Freemason about that time, Freemasonry beginning to appear in association with composing during the classical period, especially in the Czech vicinity of Europe (: Frederick II and Leopold Koželuch). In 1790 he traded his position in Prague for a monastery in Strahov. The next year he began conducting in Prague, from which he resigned in 1800. He died in Prague in 1829. Though not a major composer, and obscure since his times, Kuchar was nevertheless of notable mention among his contemporaries.

Jan Krtitel Kuchar   1785 - 1800

  Fantasie in E minor

    Organ: Ondřej Mucha

  Fantasie in E minor

    Organ: Jaroslav Tuma

  Pastorale in D major

    Organ: Jaroslav Tuma

  Pastorale in G major

    Organ: Jaroslav Tuma

  Born in 1756 in Cítoliby, now in the Czech Republic, Karel Blažej Kopřiva (son of composer, Vaclav Jan Kopriva) studied under Josef Seger in Prague, then became an organist at St. Jacob's Church in Cítoliby. Had either Kopriva or his life been as short as this paragraph he could have hidden beneath my sofa, then scared me when he came jumping out. But he had died in 1785 first. Not having reached age thirty, Kopriva's potential was barely realized.

Karel Blažej Kopriva   1770 - 1785

  Fugue in D

     Organ: Milan Šlechta

  Fugue in A flat major

     Organ: Milan Šlechta

   Organ Concerto in D

     Prague Chamber Orchestra/František Vajnar

     Harpsichord: František Xaver Thuri

     Organ: Milan Šlechta

Birth of Classical Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Source: Band of Artists
Born in 1756 in Salzburg, Austria, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had antennae to extraintelligence, personifies the classical period and remains the indisputable crown of European music over the centuries up to his time. Mozart's first surviving composition was 'Minuet in G for Keyboard' (below), part of set of three other minuets and an allegro written in '61-'62 at age six. Mozart's father was a violinist who had published a violin textbook. Receiving instruction from his father, Mozart's sister, Nannerl, four years older was also a skilled harpsichordist. In 1762 Mozart's father began taking his children on tour for the next three years, visiting Munich, Vienna, Prague, Paris, Zurich and London. Mozart wrote his first symphony at age eight in 1764: 'Symphony 1 in E flat major' (K 16, below). His first operatic work was a singspiel, K 35: Part 1 of 'Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots' (Part 2 composed by Johann Michael Haydn, Part 3 by Anton Adlgasser), appearing in 1767. In 1769 Leopold (Mozart's father) began touring Italy with Mozart alone, Rome and Milan in particular, leaving Nannerl and his wife at home in Salzburg. They were on such less-than-convenient journeys by carriage that Mozart at least sketched many of his compositions. In 1773 Mozart was hired as court musician to Count Hieronymus von Colloredo in Salzburg. Unfortunately he was paid only 150 florins a year, a very good wage for someone 17 years old but far short of the average of about 300 florins for the standard composer. Thus Leopold and Wolfgang began traveling again, searching for a benefactor in Vienna, Munich, Augsburg, Mannheim, Paris, and Strasbourg, meanwhile resigning from the court of the Count in 1777, only to return in 1779, though to the comfortable salary of 450 florins now, with the Count an Archbishop by then. In 1781 Mozart was summoned to Vienna by the Archbishop, but there was a big shot versus little shot thing between them, and Mozart's was an independent attitude. (He did things like approaching a Russian ambassador, without permission, to start a conversation.) As musicians were to be heard, not seen, Mozart's final request to resign from the court was answered with a literal boot to the glutei maximi. Worse, Mozart's father had wished conciliation. Howsoever, the occasion marks the times: once opera had come on the scene (Jacopo Peri in 1597) musicians had begun to less depend on nobility and more on ticket sold. Mozart nevertheless prospered in Vienna with his new wife as of 1782, first presenting concertos, then operas. He did so well that he rented an extremely expensive apartment costing more than 38 florins per month (nigh $8000 today). He spent 900 florins on a piano, another 300 on a billiard table and kept servants. In 1784 Mozart met his greatest influence and perhaps best friend, Joseph Haydn. He also became a Freemason in 1784 (his father the next year), thought to have composed for Masonic occasions as early as 1772. There is no record of Mozart having ever met his counterpart in supraclassical composition, Beethoven, though they may have met in Vienna. In 1787 Mozart accepted a position with Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II. At only 800 florins a year it was part-time. Matters began splattering to the floor that year upon the Austro-Turkish War (1787–91). Nobility in Europe had been gradually descending in financial capacity for more than a century as free enterprise was developing another class system. Now the unpopular war, allied with Russia, against the Turks was making Austria a place to leave. Unable to either afford or give up his velvet lifestyle, Mozart began taking out loans about the time he wrote his last symphony, 'Symphony 41 in C major' (K 551: 'Jupiter', below). His last piano concerto (K 595, below) appeared in January 1791, his last opera, 'Die Zauberflöte' ('The Magic Flute'), in September that year. (Swedish director, Ingmar Bergman, issued a film, rather than stage, interpretation in 1975, which transition in drama Mozart would have likely embraced, writing not a few film scores had he lived during the modern period.) Just as he was able to begin paying his debts Mozart fell ill and died in December of 1791. It isn't known of what Mozart so suddenly died. "Poison" was a rumor that developed over the years (see Antonio Salieri). As Mozart was in debt when he died he was buried in a common grave. Antonio Salieri was among the five musicians who attended his funeral. Howsoever, at only age thirty-five Mozart had composed more than 600 works, not a few seminal and most easy to wish to hear countless times for two centuries now. One manner in which Mozart influenced posterity was his impressionable influence on Beethoven fifteen years younger. Mozart focused on concertos and symphonies for piano and violin, among other instrumental works being much serenades, divertimenti, marches and minuets. A good number of masses and sonatas accompany the sacred music he composed. His operas are acknowledged at 22. He also wrote a prolific number of arias, songs and canons for voice. In the midst of the rest, Mozart composed several of what are referred to as scatological canons, both lyrics and music. (Of the few samples below, bringing us to both the pinnacle and posterior of the classical period, Mozart put 'Hard to Read' to Latin, thus 'Difficile lectu'.) One can speculate to kingdom come why he wrote them, from privately addressing Colloredo, who had literally booted him from service to his court, to outright libertine lechery. K numbers below per the Köchel (Verzeichnis) catalogue.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart   1760 - 1791

  Canon in B flat major

    'Leck mich im Arsch' ('Lick Me in the Arse')

     1782   K 231   Scatological canon

     Chamber Choir of Europe/Nicol Matt


  Canon in B flat major

    'Leck mir den Arsch' ('Lick My Arse')

    1782   K 233   Scatological canon

     Chamber Choir of Europe/Nicol Matt


  Canon in F major

    'Difficile lectu'   ('Hard to Read')

    1786-87   K 559   Scatological canon

  Divertimento in D major

     1779–80   K 334


  Minuet in G major

   1761–62   K 1   First known composition

    The Great Repertoire

  Piano Concerto 11 in F major

    1782-83   K 413

    Israel Chamber Orchestra/Yoav Talmi

     Piano: Yael Koldobsky

  Piano Concerto 13 in C major

    1783   K 415

     English Chamber Orchestra/Jeffrey Tate

     Piano: Mitsuko Uchida

  Piano Concerto 27 in B-flat major

    1791   K 595   Last concerto

    Chamber Orchestra of Europe

     Piano: Murray Perahia

  Piano Sonata 7 in C Major

    1777   K 309

    Piano: Maria João Pires

  Piano Sonata 11 in A major

    1783?   K 331   'Alla Turca'

     Piano: Lars Roos

  Requiem Mass in D minor

    1791   K 626

    Wiener Philharminiker/Herbert von Karajan

  Serenade in B flat major

    1781   K 361

    Orchestra of St. Luke's/Sir Charles Mackerras

  String Quartet 16 in E flat major

     1783   K 428

     The Mosaïques Quartet

  String Quartet 17 in B-flat major

    1784   K 458

    Borromeo String Quartet

  Symphony 1 in E flat major

    1764   K 16   First symphony

  Symphony 41 in C major

    1788   K 551   Last Symphony

    London Firebird Orchestra/Achim Holub

  Violin Concerto 2 in D major

    1775   K 211

    Eduard Serov

  Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)

    1791   K 620   Last opera

    With monologue/dialogue

  Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)

    1791   K 620   Last opera

    Monologue/dialogue omitted

    Drottningholm Court Theater

    Conductor: Arnold Östman


We temporarily suspend this section of the history of classical music at its apex with Mozart. We may be making additions as such occur.





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