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Baroque Era

In the Thirty Years' War, Spain launches attack France from the north, but repelled in Picardy • General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony establishes three militia regiments, the first of America’s National Guard; they also establish Harvard College, N America’s first institute of higher education •
Rembrandt -  Danaë  
Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II dies; is succeeded by his son Ferdinand III • Pierre Fermat (Fr, founder of modern number theory) and Rene Descartes (Fr) independently develop analytic geometry; Descartes introduces his philosophy in
Discours de la Methode
General assembly in Scotland abolishes episcopacy (rule by bishops) in Scottish Church • Shogunate forces effectively wipe out Christianity in Japan • Galileo Galilei (It) publishes
Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences, describing laws of motion for falling bodies and projectiles
First Bishops’ War: Scottish Covenanters (Presby terians), protesting against Episcopalianism, capture Edinburgh Castle • Sakoku now enforced in Japan: no foreigners allowed into the country and no Japanese allowed to leave; penalty of torture or death

Scots wage Second Bishops' War against Charles I; to raise money for the war, Charles summons the so-called Long Parliament (1640-60), which opposes him and moves to impeach his advisers • Portuguese revolt and overthrow their Spanish rulers: Duke Joao of Braganga becomes King Joao IV 


René Descartes with Queen Christina of Sweden



Giovanni Battista Buonamente has his Sixth Book of Sonatas, scored for two to six instruments with continuo, published in Venice. The composer-violinist is now maestro di cappella at the Basilica di S Francesco in Assisi. 

 Buonamente Sonata sesta sopra Ruggiero

Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi

Melchior Franck publishes his stunning Paradisus musicus. 

Melchior Franck: Paradisus Musicus (1636): Wer ist der, so von Edom kömpt

Melchior Franck: Paradisus Musicus (1636): Sihe umb Trost

French musical theorist Marin Mersenne (1588-1648) issues the first volume of his four-part Hamionie universelle (Universal Harmony). The treatise offers descriptions and classifications of the musical instruments of the time, and a thorough appraisal of the French musical style. Mersenne also presents groundbreaking observations on acoustics, exploring the relationship between pitch and vibration, and the process of sound wave transmittance through the air to the listeners ear. 

Heinrich Schutz publishes his Kleiner geistlichen Concerten (Little Sacred Concertos) in Leipzig, scored predominantly for one to five voices and continuo. He explains in the dedication of the work that he has not included obbligato instruments due to the economic constraints of the time. 

Heinrich Schütz - Kleine geistliche Concerte

Samuel Scheidt loses his four children during an outbreak of plague in Halle. 


4 February
Heinrich Schutz's heartfelt Musikalische Exequien, scored for six soloists, choir and continuo, is first performed at the funeral of Prince Heinrich Posthumus von Reuss in Gera. The final part of the memorial features spatially- separated choral groups singing two different texts simultaneously. 

Heinrich Schütz. Musikalische Exequien op. 7
1.- Concierto en forma de misa de funeral alemán
2.- Motete: Herr, wenn ich nur Dich habe
3.- Canticum Simeonis: Herr, nun lässest Du Deinen Diener

23 February
William Davenants masque The Triumphs of the Prince d’Amour, with music by brothers William Lawes and Henry Lawes, is introduced at Middle Temple in London. 

Sir William Davenant (baptised 3 March 1606 – 7 April 1668), also spelled D'Avenant, was an English poet and playwright. Along with Thomas Killigrew, Davenant was one of the rare figures in English Renaissance theatre whose career spanned both the Caroline and Restoration eras and who was active both before and after the English Civil War and during the Interregnum.

24 June
Giovanni Battista degli Antonii, Italian composer, born.

Giovanni Battista degli Antonii

Giovanni Battista degli Antonii (born 24 June 1636 in Bologna , died 1698 ) was an Italian composer of the Baroque period.
Giovanni Battista degli Antonii was the son of a trombonist at the Basilica of San Petronio and a brother of the musician Pietro degli Antonii . He received his musical education from the father and possibly from Giacomo Maria Predieri (1611-1695). He had a first job as trombonist at the Concerto Palatino , where he worked until 1675. At the same time, he was a member of the Capella musicale at San Petronio from 1654, but was dismissed in December 1657 following a restructuring by Kapellmeister Maurizio Cazzati . In 1684 he was admitted to the Accademia Filarmonica . In the period from 1687 to 1698 he was organist at the Basilica of San Giacomo Maggiore,

His collections, published from 1687, contain exclusively instrumental music, especially for violin and violoncello . There were also two collections with Versetti for organ (1687 and 1696). For almost one hundred years, his twelve Ricercari Op.1, printed in 1687, was given a pioneering importance for the cello composition of the cello, and, in addition to the works by Domenico Gabrielli, they were regarded as the earliest examples of the development of a solorepertoire for violoncello.  However, at the end of the 20th century the Biblioteca Estense in Modena found the manuscript of theRicercate per il violino , which after a short time turned out to be the upper part of the alleged violoncello solo, since these were in the same transcript.

Giovanni Battista Degli Antonii - Ricercate sopra in Violoncello Op.1
1. Ricercata No.1 0:00
2. Ricercata No.2 4:09
3. Ricercata No.3 9:22
4. Ricercata No.4 13:22
5. Ricercata No.5 17:28
6. Ricercata No.6 21:32
7. Ricercata No.7 26:52
8. Ricercata No.8 31:40
9. Ricercata No.9 36:11
10. Ricercata No.10 39:18
11. Ricercata No.11 43:44
12. Ricercata No.12 48:06

​Giovanni Battista degli Antonii

A printed version of these violin works is not handed down, and it remains odd that the violoncellostimme was declared under pressure as Ricercate sopra il violoncello . Notwithstanding the fact that the question of some violoncellists, whether some of the ricercari can be of the nature Solowerke, has clarified with it, others can also be played very well as solos for a bassinstrument. 



Giovanni Battista Buonamente's seventh and final book of sonatas and sinfonias is published in Venice. The publisher dedicates each piece to a famous Venetian, mostly noblemen but including the composers Monteverdi and Giovanni Rovetta

Giovanni Battista Buonamente Sonata X "Cavaletto zoppo"

Merula's Canzoni overo sonate concertate per chiesa e camera is published in Venice. It is one of the earliest printed collections to specify church and chamber instrumental styles. 

Canzoni overo sonate concertate per chiesa e camera

Dietrich Buxtehude, composer and organist of German ancestry but possibly Danish birth, is born around this time. 

12 February
Virgilio Mazzocchi supplies music to the first comic opera, L’Egisto or Il Falcone (The Falcon), staged at the Palazzo Barberini, Rome. With libretto by Rospigliosi, the opera is revived two years later as Chi soffre speri

"La Fiera di Farfa", extrait de "l'Egisto", opéra de Mazzocchi 

Jakob Froberger is appointed court organist in Vienna on the accession of Ferdinand III. He soon obtains leave to study with Girolamo​ Frescobaldi in Rome. 

The Teatro San Cassiano in Venice becomes the world’s first public opera house (with boxes reserved for the nobility), opening with L'Andromeda by Francesco Manelli and Benedetto Ferrari. Manelli’s wife, Maddalena. takes one of the female roles, becoming one of the first women of opera. 

Heinrich Schutz again secures leave from war- torn Dresden. He returns to the Danish court at Copenhagen and stays until the following year. 

6 August
English dramatist, poet and (masque) librettist Ben Jonson dies in London, aged about 64. 

7 December
Bernardo Pasquini is born in Pistoia, Tuscany. 

Bernardo Pasquini

Pasquini was born at Massa in Val di Nievole (today Massa e Cozzile), Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

He was a pupil of Mariotto Bocciantini in Uzzano. Later he moved to Rome and in 1657 became organist of Santa Maria in Vallicella (Chiesa nuova). In November 1667 entered to the service of Prince Borghese. In February 1664 he was appointed organist of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore and Santa Maria in Aracoeli.
Together with Arcangelo Corelli and Alessandro Scarlatti, in 1706 Pasquini became member of the Academy of Arcadia. He composed numerous operas, all staged in Rome between 1672 and 1692, and partially replayed in several Italian theatres (Florence, Pisa, Naples, Ferrara, Perugia, Genoa, Rimini etc.).
Pasquini died at Rome, and was buried in the church of San Lorenzo in Lucina.

Bernardo Pasquini - Sonate per gravicembalo

Bernardo Pasquini - La Sete di Christo - Passion Oratorio (1689)

Bernardo Pasquini


Organist at the cathedral in Kouigsberg, Heinrich Albert issues his first book of sacred and secular songs in Arien (Arias), scored with continuo. In this and his second book (1640), Albert provides useful notes on continuo performance, including the essential advice that it should not sound like ‘hacking a cabbage’. 

Heinrich Albert • Der Mai, des Jahres Herz, beginnt
0:00 min. Der Mai, des Jahres Herz, beginnt
3:38 min. Seelchen, habt ihr nicht gesehen

Domenico Mazzocchi publishes Madrigali a cinque voci in Rome. Featuring both unaccompanied and concerted madrigals, the collection contains some of the earliest instructions of crescendo and diminuendo. In addition to the part books, Mazzocchi issues the madrigals in full score, ‘so that if ears are not granted the occasion to hear them, neither the eye nor intellect will be deprived of delighting in their better moments’. 

 Mazzocchi - Madrigale Ah se poteste mai

Caspar Kittel, pupil of  Heinrich Schutz, publishes his only known musical collection, Cantade und Arien, and in so doing introduces the Italian cantata into the German musical tradition. 

Caspar Kittel - Gleish wie zur Sommerszeit

Gregorio Allegri composes his strikingly beautiful Miserere around this time for the papal choir of the Sistine Chapel. A singer and devout priest, he is respected for his deep concern for the poor and imprisoned. 

Gregorio ALLEGRI - "Miserere mei, Deus"

Monteverdi publishes his Madrigali guerrieri et amorosi (Madrigals of War and Love), otherwise knownas his Eighth Book of Madrigals. Included in the collection is a revised version of Il ballo delle ingrate (1608) and the first print of Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (1624). 

Monteverdi - Madrigali, Libro VIII (1)

Monteverdi - Madrigali, Libro VIII (2)

John Wilbye, one of England’s leading madrigalists, dies in Colchester, aged 64. 



Andreas Hammerschmidt, aged about 27, brings out the first volume of his Musicalische Andachten (Musical Devotions). The five-part collection, published at various stages over the next 14 years, contains over 150 sacred pieces for one to 12 voices. This year the composer begins a life-long position as organist of the Johanniskirche in Zittau. 

Andreas Hammerschmidt - Herr, wie lange willst du mein so gar vergessen

27 February
Virgilio Mazzocchi's Chi soffre speri (He Who Suffers May Hope), a revised version of his comic opera L’Egisto (1637), is performed with scenic effects by Gian Lorenzo Bernini at the Barberini Theatre in Rome. The production features added intermedi by Marco Marazzoli

Mazzocchi, Marazzoli: Chi soffre, speri

Heinrich Schutz brings out a second book of Kleine geistliche Concerten (Op. 9), in Dresden. 

Heinrich Schütz - Anderer Theil kleiner geistlichen Concerten, Op. 9

Loreto Vittori composes his pastoral opera Galatea, most likely first performed at the Barberini Palace this year. 

3 April
Italian composer Alessandro Stradella is born outside Viterbo. 

1 June
Prolific German composer Melchior Franck whose output includes secular songs, psalm-settings and over 600 motets, dies in Coburg, aged about 60. 

23 January
Francesco Cavalli secures the post of second organist at St Mark’s, Venice. The next day his first opera, Le nozze di Teti e Peleo, is premiered at the Teatro San Cassiano. It is the earliest surviving Venetian opera. 

4 February
Alessandro Melani, Italian composer, born.

Inventive violinist-composer Carlo Farina dies of the plague, in Venice. 

28 October
Stefano Landi, one of the pioneering composers of Roman opera, dies in Rome, aged 52. 

Alessandro Stradella

Alessandro Stradella, (born April 3, 1639, near Viterbo [Italy]—died February 25, 1682, Genoa), Italian composer, singer, and violinist known primarily for his cantatas.


Stradella apparently lived for periods in Modena, Venice, Rome, and Florence. In Turin in 1677 an attempt was made to murder him, for reasons that are not known, though it was believed to be at the instigation of a Venetian senator with whose fiancée Stradella had eloped. A document in Modena confirms his murder in 1682.

Stradella was one of the finest composers of chamber cantatas, of which 174 survive, both secular and for religious observance (e.g., Christmas Cantata); his fresh, mellifluous melodies are frequently supported by harmonies bolder than are usually found in music of this period. Particularly interesting in his instrumental music is his novel application of concerto grosso texture to accompaniments of arias in some of his stage works and oratorios. Stradella’s legendary life, embroidered from conjecture and scanty facts, was the subject of eight 19th-century operas and of at least one novel.

Alessandro Stradella - La forza delle stelle

Alessandro Stradella: Serenata a 3 ''Qual prodigio è ch'io miri?'' 

Alessandro Melani

Alessandro Melani (4 February 1639 – 3 October 1703) was an Italian composer and the brother of composer Jacopo Melani, and castrato singer Atto Melani. Along with Bernardo Pasquini and Alessandro Scarlatti, he was one of the leading composers active in Rome during the 17th century. He is also ranked among the second school of Roman opera composers which began with his brother's 1668 opera Il Girello. He is chiefly remembered today for his large output of liturgical music that he wrote while serving in various musical posts in Rome. Of particular interest is the large number of polychoral motets that he produced and his eight ascribed oratorios. Three published collections of his liturgical music survive today along with numerous solitary motets from other published volumes. A number of original manuscripts also survive.


Born in Pistoia, Melani began singing at the Pistoia Cathedral at the age of 11, remaining there for ten years until he became maestro di cappella in Orvieto and Ferrara in 1660. He returned to Pistoia in December 1666 to replace his brother as maestro di cappella of the cathedral in June 1667. The following October he was appointed maestro di cappella of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. He remained there until July 1672 when he became the maestro at San Luigi dei Francesi, remaining in that role until his death 31 years later.

Alessandro Melani - Motetti

Alessandro Stradella
Alessandro Melani


The Whole Booke of Psalmes (otherwise known as The Bay Psalm Book) is published in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is the first English language book printed in America. 

Title page of the Bay Psalm Book

Monteverdi sets Homer in his first opera for Venice,
Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (Ulysses’ Homecoming), which manages a healthy run of ten performances at the Teatro SS Giovanni e Paolo. This same year the septuagenarian composer issues a retrospective sacred music collection, Selva morale e spirituale. 

Claudio Monteverdi - Il Ritorno Di Ulisse In Patria
00:00:01 Act I
00:56:48 Act II
01:50:09 Act III


Claudio Monteverdi - Selva morale e spirituale

Monteverdi's opera L’Arianna (1608) inaugurates the Teatro San Moise in Venice. Soon afterwards the venue plays host to Benedetto Ferrari's new opera Il pastor regio

Benedetto Ferrari/Claudio Monteverdi: Il pastor regio

German composer Paul Siefert, organist at the Marienkirche in Danzig, publishes his Psalmen Davids, chorale motet settings of the Calvinist Reformed Church Psalter. He is later criticised in print by his rival, the composer-theorist Marco Scacchi, for corrupt technique and distasteful examples of sacred music.

Marienkirche in Danzig

In a letter to musical theorist Giovanni Doni, Pietro della Valle refers to his Oratorio della Purificatione, which is to be performed at the oratory of the Chiesa Nuova. This is the
first documented use of the term oratorio in application to a musical genre, although the work itself only lasts around 12 minutes. 

Francesco Cavalli’s second opera, Gli amori d ’Apollo e di Dafne, opens in Venice. 

P. F. Cavalli - Gli amori d'Apollo e di Dafne - Atto I, Scena 3 (Giove, Venere e Amore)

P. F. Cavalli - Gli amori d'Apollo e di Dafne - Lamento d'Apollo - Atto III, scena terza

Giovanni Battista Draghi, Anglo-Italian composer, born.

Nicolaus Adam Strungk, German composer and violinist, born.

Giovanni Battista Draghi

Giovanni Battista Draghi (ca. 1640 – buried 13 May 1708) was an Anglo-Italian composer and keyboard player. He may have been the brother of the composer Antonio Draghi.

Draghi was brought to London in the 1660s by King Charles II who was trying, unsuccessfully, to establish Italian opera in England. He remained in England for the rest of his life.In 1673 Draghi was made first organist of the queen's Catholic chapel in Somerset House. In 1684 he took part in what became known as the Battle of the Organs.

He was hired by master organ maker Renatus Harris to demonstrate the superiority of his organ when Harris was trying to gain the contract to build the new organ for the Temple Church. Harris' rival "Father" Bernard Smith hired organists and composers John Blow and Henry Purcell to demonstrate his organ and won the contest.

Giovanni Battista Draghi - Minuet F-Dur

Nicolaus Adam Strungk

Nicolaus Adam Strungk (christened 15 November 1640 in Braunschweig – 23 September 1700 in Dresden) was a German composer and violinist.

Nicolaus Adam was the son of the organist Delphin Strungk. He studied organ under his father, then at the University of Helmstedt. From 1660 he studied violin with Nathanael Schnittelbach, performing for the Duke of Wolfenbüttel, and Kaiser Leopold I in Vienna. From 1665 he was chamber musician in the service of Prince Johann Friedrich in Hanover.

In 1679 Strungk became director of the Hamburger Ratsmusik. In 1688 he succeeded Christian Ritter as deputy Kapellmeister and organist in Dresden, where in 1693 he succeeded Christoph Bernhard as Hofkapellmeister. He left after three years, in 1696, to take up directorship of the Leipzig Opera. He died of fever („am hitzigen Fieber“) a few years later.

His fourth daughter, Dorothea Christine Lachs, was a noted poet and author of the libretto to Telemann's Germanicus.
Strunck's surviving keyboard compositions, two ricercars and seven capriccios, were composed in Rome and Vienna between 1683 and 1686. They were written in a strictly contrapuntal style with two or three sections, each having a different subject.

Nicolaus Adam Strungk: Laudate pueri

Nicolaus Adam Strungk - Leucoleons Galamelite

Nicolaus Adam Strungk • Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ

Giovanni Battista Draghi
Nicolaus Adam Strungk

Rembrandt -  Danaë 

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