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Baroque Era

Irish rebellion against William and Mary (Eng) continues • French seize town of Nice from Savoy • In war to liberate Hungary, Germans defeat Turks at Battle of Salem Kemen; Turkish Grand Vizier Mustafa Kiuprili killed • Witch hunts begins in Salem, Massachusetts • Jean Baptiste Racine (Fr): Athalie  • 
Pierre Mignard - Christ and the Woman of Samaria
War of the League of Augsburg continues: French fleet defeated at Cap La Hogue, ending French threat to invade England • Hanover (Ger) becomes an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire  • Florent Dancourt (Fr): Les Bourgeoises a la mode • William Congreve (Eng): Incognito 
War of the League of Augsburg continues: French defeat the forces of William III (Eng) at Neerwinden (Neth) and the army of Savoy at Marsaglia (It) • English government borrows £1m in loans from the public at 10%, starting England’s National Debt • William Penn (Eng):
An Essay on the Present and Future Peace of Europe 
War of the League of Augsburg continues: English naval attack on Brest fails • Queen Mary II (Eng) dies, leaving her husband, William III, as sole ruler and without a direct heir • Press censorship in England ends with the expiration of the Licensing Act
 • William Congreve (Eng): comedy of manners The Double Dealer • John Dryden (Eng): tragicomedy Love Triumphant • Academie Frangaise publishes its first official French dictionary
1695War of the League of Augsburg: army of William III (Eng) recaptures city of Namur (now Belg) from French • Russia and Turkey are at war: Russia’s army, led by Tsar Petr I (The Great), fails to capture Azov, gateway to the Black Sea • Isaac Newton becomes Master of the Mint, supervising England’s coinage • Philosopher John Locke (Eng): Essay on The Reasonableness of Christianity • William Congreve (Eng): comedy Love for Love

William Penn (1644 – 1718),  was an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, early Quaker, and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.



The Gartentheater (Garden Theatre) in Herrenhausen, Hanover, is completed. It remains the oldest surviving palace theatre in Germany.

John Blow composes his Cecilian ode The Glorious Day is Come, scored for voices, woodwind, brass, strings and, for the first time in English notated music, kettledrum.

Henry Purcell’s semi-opera Dioclesian, introduced the previous year, is published in London. It is the only theatrical work by the composer to be fully published during his lifetime.

H. Purcell: «Prophetess or The History of Dioclesian» 

Giovanni Legrenzi’s Balletti e Correnti, a dance music collection for strings and continuo, is published posthumously in Venice.

LEGRENZI: Sonate & Balletti

Johann Pachelbel composes Musicalische Ergotzung (Musical Delights), six suites for two scordatura violins and basso continuo.

Pachelbel:Musicalische Ergotzung Partita 1 in F Major

Pachelbel:Musicalische Ergotzung Partita 2 in C Minor

Pachelbel:Musicalische Ergotzung Partita 3 in Bb Major

Pachelbel:Musicalische Ergotzung Partita 4 in E Minor

Pachelbel:Musicalische Ergotzung Partita 5 in C Major

Pachelbel:Musicalische Ergotzung Partita 6 in B Flat Major

22-year-old Italian poet and librettist Apostolo Zeno establishes the ‘Accademia degli Animosi’ to promote Arcadian values (pastoral life, naturalness, etc.) in the arts.

25 February
Alessandro Scarlatti'opera L’humanita nelle fiere opens at the Teatro di San Bartolomeo, Naples.

Teatro di San Bartolomeo, Naples.

Henry Purcell collaborates with John Dryden on the semi-opera King Arthur, or The British Worthy, performed for the first time at the Dorset Garden Theatre, London. This year Purcell also writes incidental music to Thomas Southerne’s comedy The Wives’ Excuse.

Henry Purcell - King Arthur or the British Worthy 

King Arthur, or The British Worthy (Z. 628), is a semi-opera in five acts with music by Henry Purcell and a libretto by John Dryden. It was first performed at the Queen's Theatre, Dorset Garden, London, in late May or early June 1691.

The plot is based on the battles between King Arthur's Britons and the Saxons, rather than the legends of Camelot (although Merlin does make an appearance). It is a Restoration spectacular, including such supernatural characters as Cupid and Venus plus references to the Germanic gods of the Saxons, Woden, Thor, and Freya. The tale centres on Arthur's endeavours to recover his fiancée, the blind Cornish Princess Emmeline, who has been abducted by his arch-enemy, the Saxon King Oswald of Kent.



Johann Kuhnau publishes the second part of his Neuer Clavier-Ubung (New Keyboard Music), containing seven suites, each set in a different minor key, and including a single sonata, the first German example of its kind.

Neue Clavier Übung: Partie II. - D-moll · Johann Kuhnau

2 May
Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen is staged at the Dorset Garden Theatre, London. With a libretto adapted (anonymously) from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it is the first semi-opera based on a Shakespeare play.

Henry Purcell - The Fairy-Queen, semi-opera in 5 atti per soli, coro e orchestra Z. 629 (1692)

Marin Marais, viol virtuoso and royal chamber musician, produces the earliest published French collection of pieces en trio.

Marin Marais - Pièces en trio

With the looming threat of a French invasion during the ongoing War of the League of Augsburg (1688—97), Johann Pachelbel leaves Stuttgart and settles in Gotha, Thuringia, where he becomes town organist.

31 May
Antonio Lotti becomes second organist at St Mark’s, Venice.

12 October
Composer Giovanni Battista Vitali dies in Bologna, aged 60.

Giovanni Alberto Ristori, Italian composer, born.

In Bologna Giuseppe Torelli publishes his Op. 5, comprising six Sinfonie a tre (trio sonatas) and six Concerti a quattro. The latter appear to be the first printed orchestral concertos.

Giuseppe Torelli - Violin Concertos op. 5

8 April
Italian composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini is born in Pirano, Istria.

22 November
Henry Purcell’s finest ode, Hail! Bright Cecilia, is first performed for the St Cecilia’s Day celebrations in London. Structured in 13 sections, it is sumptuously scored for solo voices, chorus, woodwinds, strings, brass, timpani and continuo.

Purcell: "Hail! Bright Cecilia"
I. Symphony  [00:00]
II. Hail! Bright Cecilia [9:50]
III. Hark! hark! each tree [13:52]
IV. 'Tis Nature's voice [17:39]
V. Soul of the world [22:07]
VI. Thou tun’st this world [24:15]
VII.  With that sublime celestial lay [29:26]
VII. Wondrous machine! [32:16]
IX. The airy violin [34:26]
X. In vain the am’rous flute [35:44]
XI. The fife and all the harmony of war [42:21]
XII. Let these among themselves contest [45:14]
XIII. Hail! Bright Cecilia, hail to thee [47:37]

Giovanni Alberto Ristori

Giovanni Alberto Ristori (1692 - 7 February 1753) was an Italian opera composer and conductor.

He is thought to have been born in Bologna, and was the son of Tommaso Ristori, the leader of an opera troupe belonging to the King of Poland and Elector of Saxony August II the Strong (based in Dresden). August II 'loaned' his opera troupe to the Russian Empress Anna for the celebration of her coronation in Moscow. Ristori died in Dresden.

Calandro, his opera in three acts to a libretto by Stefano Benedetto Pallavicini, was both the first opera buffa written in Germany and also the first Italian opera performed in Russia. It was given under his, and his father’s direction, with thirteen actors and nine singers including Ludovica Seyfried, Margherita Ermini and Rosalia Fantasia, in 1731 in Moscow.

G.A. Ristori: Messa per Il Santissimo Natale

G.A. Ristori: «I Lamenti d'Orfeo». Сomponimento Drammatico for 2 Sopranos and Orchestra

Giovanni Alberto Ristori


Antonio Caldara, currently a cellist at St Mark’s, Venice, publishes his first instrumental pieces, 12 Suonate a 3 (trio sonatas).

Antonio Caldara Sonate a tre

Antonio Vivaldi is tonsured (top of head shaved) and begins training for the priesthood.

28 January
Gregor Joseph Werner, Austrian composer, born.

Johann Pachelbel publishes Acht Chorale zum Praeambulieren (Eight Chorale Preludes) in Nuremberg.

Pachelbel - Chorale Preludes
00:20 Ach Gott vom Himmel, sieh darein (Setting 1)
01:57 Ach Gott vom Himmel, sieh darein (Setting 2)
08:09 Ach Herr, mich armen Sunder (Setting 1)
09:58 Ach Herr, mich armen Sunder (Setting 1)
14:26 Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (Setting 1)
16:59 Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr (Setting 2)
21:05 Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ
23:46 Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir
25:30 Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott

Nicolaus Adam Strungk establishes an opera house in Leipzig and inaugurates it with his own Alceste.

13 February
Johann Kaspar Kerll, composer and keyboardist, dies in Munich, aged 65.

4 December
Medea is a lover scorned in the erimes-of-passion opera Medee, by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, premiered at the Paris Opera. With libretto by Thomas Corneille, the opera is royally endorsed and critically acclaimed, but suffers unfavourable reactions from those loyal to Jean-Baptiste Lully (d. 1687).

Charpentier - Medee

Having just composed his first opera, Sigismundus, the 12-year-old Georg Telemann has his instruments confiscated by his mother to discourage him from a career in music. Undeterred, he composes on the quiet and practises on borrowed instruments.

26 December
The 25-year-old Francois Couperin, already distinguished for his Pieces d’orgue (1690), takes up one of the posts of organist to the royal chapel of Louis XIV.

Gregor Joseph Werner

Gregor Joseph Werner (28 January 1693 – 3 March 1766) was an Austrian composer.

Werner was born in Ybbs an der Donau. He served from 1715 to either 1716 or 1721 (unknown) as the organist at Melk Abbey. During the 1720s he was in Vienna, where he may have studied with Johann Fux. Werner was married on 27 January 1727.

On 10 May 1728 he took up the position he was to hold for the rest of his life, as Kapellmeister at the Esterházy court in Schloss Esterházy in Eisenstadt. The appointment "opened a new era for music" at the court; previously, there had been seven years of relative inactivity following the death of Prince Joseph in 1721; his widow Maria Octavia, serving as co-regent for her young son Paul Anton, had instituted economies in the musical establishment. Robbins Landon and Jones suggest that Werner was hired at the then 17-year-old prince's instigation.Werner set to work, bringing new music to the court from Vienna and composing prolifically. He remained in full charge of the Esterházy musical establishment until 1761, when he entered a period of semi-retirement, his responsibilities limited to church music. 

Throughout this time he worked for a prince who was himself highly musical: Paul Anton had received musical training from the court musicians as well as from music masters imported from abroad; he played the violin and the flute. Werner died in Eisenstadt on 3 March 1766.

Werner - Musicalischer Instrumental Calender

Werner - Prelude and fugue for string orchestra in C minor

Gregor Joseph Werner


Tomaso Albinoni, aged 22, produces his first opera, Zenobia, regina de Palmireni, at the Teatro di SS Giovanni e Paolo. This year also sees the publication of his Op. 1 trio sonatas.

Tomaso Albinoni - Zenobia, regina de Palmireni - I

Tomaso Albinoni - Zenobia, regina de Palmireni - II

Tomaso Albinoni - 12 Trio sonatas , op. 1
00:00:00 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata I in D Minor
00:08:07 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata II in F Majo
00:17:12 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata III in C Major
00:24:22 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata IV in G Minor
00:31:29 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata V in C Major
00:38:03 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata VI in A Minor 
00:45:11 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata VII in G Major
00:52:12 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata VIII in B Minor
00:58:59 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata IX in D Major
01:05:44 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata X in F Minor
01:13:49 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata XI in E Minor
01:19:30 12 Trio Sonatas, Op. 1, Sonata XII in B-Flat Major

Georg Philipp Telemann is sent to school in Zellerfeld where his mother hopes he will be steered from music into a financially rewarding profession. Telemann's tutor, Caspar Calvoer (1650-1725), recognises the boy’s talent and instructs him in music theory.

28 January
Alessandro Scarlatti’s Il Pirro e Demetrio triumphs at the Teatro San Bartolomeo, Naples. The opera achieves international success.

Alessandro Scarlatti: Pirro E Demetrio, Le Violette

15 March
Cephale et Procris, by the 28-year-old Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, is introduced at the Paris Opera. This tragedie lyrique is the first opera written by a French female composer.

E.-C. Jacquet de la Guerre: «Céphale et Procris»

Philippe de Bourbon, Duke of Chartres and future Regent of France (1674-1723), composes his first opera, Philomele, with the help of Marc-Antoine Charpentier. It is performed at the Palais Royal, Paris.

Arcangelo Corelli publishes 12 chamber sonatas as his Op. 4, in Rome. The set is dedicated to the young Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, who becomes Corelli's most supportive patron.

Arcangelo Corelli - 12 chamber sonatas,  Op. 4
Sonata n. 1 in do maggiore

Sonata n. 2 in sol minore   6:26

Sonata n. 3 in la maggiore   12:45

Sonata n. 4 in re maggiore   21:48

Sonata n. 5 in la minore   28:55

Sonata n. 6 in mi maggiore   35:11

Sonata n. 7 in fa maggiore   41:32

Sonata n. 8 in re minore   48:23

Sonata n. 9 in si bemolle maggiore   53:08

Sonata n. 10 in sol maggiore    1:01:53

Sonata n. 11 in do minore    1:06:33

Sonata n. 12 in si minore    1:14:19

30 April
Henry Purcell’s ode Come Ye Sons of Art, scored for solo voices, chorus and orchestra, is presented for the birthday celebrations of Queen Mary II of England.

The English queen, aged 32, dies from smallpox at the end of the year.

Henry Purcell - Come, Ye Sons of Art (Ode for Queen Mary)

21 June
Andre Campra is appointed Maitre de musique at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.

26 October
Swedish composer Johan Helmich Roman is born in Stockholm.

Frenchman Andre Cardinal Destouches, aged 22, leaves the second company of the King’s Musketeers for a career in music.

Henry Purcell supplies incidental music for Thomas D’Urfey’s The Comical History of Don Quixote.

Henry Purcell - The Comical History of Don Quixote - From rosy bow'rs

22 November
In London Henry Purcell’s indulgent Te Deum and Jubilate, for solo voices, choir and orchestra, is first performed at St Bride’s, Fleet Street, during the St Cecilia’s Day celebrations.

Henry Purcell - Te Deum & Jubilate

Johan Helmich Roman

Johan Helmich Roman (26 October 1694 – 20 November 1758) was a Swedish Baroque composer. He has been called "the father of Swedish music" or "the Swedish Handel." He was the leader of Swedish Opera through most of Swedish Opera's Age of Liberty.


Roman was born in Stockholm into the family of Johan Roman, a member of the Swedish royal chapel. The family name "Roman" may be derived from the Finnish place name Rauma, since Johan's ancestors lived in Finland. The boy probably received his first music lessons from his father. He joined the royal chapel in 1711 as violinist and oboist. Around 1715 the King granted Roman permission to study abroad, and the young composer spent some six years in London. He almost certainly studied under Johann Christoph Pepusch, met Francesco Geminiani, Giovanni Bononcini, and, most importantly, George Frideric Handel, whose music made a lasting impression on Roman.

Roman returned to Sweden in 1721. He was soon appointed deputy master of the royal chapel, and six years later he became Chief Master of the Swedish Royal Orchestra. Roman's life during the 1720s was full of organisational activity which led to much improved standards at the chapel, and, in 1731, the first public concerts in Sweden. Roman's only work published during his lifetime, a collection of 12 sonatas for flute, violone and harpsichord, appeared in 1727. In 1730 Roman married, but his wife died just four years later. In 1734 the composer left Sweden to visit several European countries—Austria, England, France, Germany, and Italy. He returned to Stockholm in 1737, bringing back a wealth of music by various composers for the royal chapel to perform. In 1738 Roman married again. In 1740 he was elected a member of the newly established Royal Academy of Sciences.

Roman's successful career took a turn for the worse in early 1740s. The composer's greatest patron, Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden, died in late 1741. In 1742 Roman's activity was greatly hindered by health problems. In 1744 Roman composed one of his finest works, Drottningholmsmusique: a large orchestral suite for the wedding of the Crown Prince Adolf Frederick of Sweden and Louisa Ulrika of Prussia. Ironically, it was due to Adolf Frederick's and Louisa Ulrika's efforts that Roman's career suffered. The new crown princess had different tastes in music, and her husband set up a very strong competing chapel. Finally, Roman's second wife Maria Elisabeth Baumgardt died in 1744, leaving the composer with five children.

In 1745 Roman retired from his post as leader of the royal chapel due to deafness, which had progressed rapidly during the previous years. He settled in the parish of Ryssby, on the estate Lilla Haraldsmåla, near the city of Kalmar in south-east Sweden. Apart from a single visit to Stockholm in 1751–52 to direct the funeral and coronation music on the accession of Adolph Frederik, Roman's last years were dedicated to translating European theoretical treatises into Swedish, and adaptation of sacred texts into Swedish language. He died at Haraldsmåla in 1758. His work has never been forgotten, for already nine years after his death the Royal Academy of Sciences held a commemorative ceremony, where Roman's achievements were documented; copies of Roman's works are found in manuscripts from as late as 1810.

Johan Helmich Roman - Golowinmusiquen (1728)

Johan Helmich Roman - Drottningholmsmusiken (1744)

Johan Helmich Roman - Harpsichord Suites

Johan Helmich Roman - Flute Concerto in G-major

Johan Helmich Roman - Svenska Mässan (Swedish Mass)

Johan Helmich Roman - Violin Concerto in D-minor

Johan Helmich Roman - Sinfonia in E minor

Johan Helmich Roman - Te Deum (1/2)

Johan Helmich Roman - Te Deum (2/2)

Johan Helmich Roman


Castrato singer, composer and theorist Giovanni Andrea Bontempi publishes Historia musica, the first Italian history of music.

Georg Muffat publishes Florilegium primum, a collection of orchestral suites inspired by the French style of Jean-Baptiste Lully.

Georg Muffat - Florilegium Primum, Suite in G minor

Henry Purcell provides incidental music to Aphra Behn’s tragedy Abdelazar (1676), including the Rondeau that Benjamin Britten will popularise 250 years later in the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.

Henry Purcell: Abdelazer 
II. SUITE:   Rondeau - 3:26    Air I - 5:00    Air II - 6:20
Minuet - 7:46     Air III - 8:41     Jig - 9:54
Hornpipe, air  IV - 10:33 - 11:19     Hornpipe - 12:45
Lucinda is bewitching fair - 12:49

Johann Pachelbel becomes organist of St Sebaldus, one of Nuremberg’s oldest and most important churches.

Georg Muffat publishes Florilegium primum, a collection of orchestral suites inspired by the French style of Jean-Baptiste Lully.

Henry Purcell composes his last semi-opera, The Indian Queen, based on the play by John Dryden and Robert Howard. Daniel Purcell contributes music to the fifth act—possibly completing the work after his brothers death.

Henry Purcell: «The Indian Queen» 

Michel Pignolet de Monteclair’s Adieu de Tircis a Climene, an early example of the French cantata, appears in Christophe Ballard’s monthly Recueil d’airs serieux et a hoire (Collection of Serious Airs and Drinking Songs).

Michel Pignolet de Montéclair. Cantata ''Le retour de la paix''

Around this time Jean-Fery Rebel composes his Recueil de 12 sonates for violin and continuo.

Jean-Ferry Rebel - Violin Sonatas

20 February
Johann Ambrosius Bach dies, having just remarried the previous year.



Johann Sebastian Bach, aged nine, and his brother Johann Jacob Bach are taken into the care of his eldest brother, Johann Christoph Bach, organist at the town of Ohrdruf.  

5 March
Henry Purcell’s Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary is performed during the queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

Henry Purcell - Funeral of Queen Mary

Queen Mary II's funeral, Westminster Abbey, London, 1695

Pascal Collasse presents his Ballet des saisons at the Paris Opera.

Ballet des Quatre Saisons [Suite] - Pascal Collasse & Louis Lully (1695)

21 November
Henry Purcell dies (possibly from tuberculosis) in Westminster, London, aged 36. Buried in the Abbey five days later, his epitaph reads:

‘Here lyes Henry Purcell Esqre,
who left Lyfe and is gone
to that Blessed Place where
only his harmony can been exceeded.’

End of year
Following the death of Henry Purcell, John Blow returns to the vacant post of organist of Westminster Abbey (from which he had resigned in 1679). He also replaces Purcell as keeper and tuner of the King’s instruments.

Pietro Antonio Locatelli

Pietro Locatelli, in full Pietro Antonio Locatelli, (born September 3, 1695, Bergamo, Republic of Venice [Italy]—died March 30, 1764, Amsterdam, Netherlands), Italian violinist and composer, one of the first great violinists who practiced virtuosity for virtuosity’s sake, thereby extending the technical vocabulary of the violin. He is perhaps best known for his L’Arte del violino, a group of 12 violin concerti issued with 24 capriccios ad libitum for solo violin.


At age 14 Locatelli was a member of the instrumental ensemble of Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo. At 16 he went to Rome, perhaps to study with violinist-composer Arcangelo Corelli, though he may well have studied with a number of other eminent musicians in and around the city at that time. Locatelli toured widely, refining his skills. Ultimately, about 1729, he settled in Amsterdam, where he gave up public performance in favour of regular concerts for a group of wealthy amateurs. There, too, within the strong Dutch music publishing tradition, he published his works. His playing was particularly admired for its double stops (playing two strings at once), and he frequently used special tunings for special effects. Some of the bravura passages in his studies and caprices, which anticipate those of Niccolo Paganini in their concentration on technical feats, slight the musical content for the technical effect. As a composer, Locatelli was most drawn to the sonata and concerto forms. Both reveal him to have been capable of elegant and expressive melody.

When Locatelli went to Amsterdam in 1729, he discovered the centre of European music publishing. He published his Opp. 2–6, 8 and 9 and a new edition of Op. 1 in Amsterdam, and Op. 7 in the neighbouring city of Leiden. 
Not only Op. 1 was composed in his early years, but also Op. 3 and parts of Op. 2 and 4 to 8. Locatelli obtained a privilege which protected Opp. 1–8 (which were also issued in Leiden, in Holland) from unauthorised reprints and prevented the import of reprints. In his application for the privilege he referred to himself as an "Italian music master living in Amsterdam".
Locatelli's virtuosity is reflected in the Capricci through the use of high registers, double stopping, chords and arpeggios with wide fingering and overextension of the left hand, harmonics, trills in two-part passages (Trillo del Diavolo), double trills, varied bow types and variable bowings.

Locatelli's works can be divided into three categories:

-works for his own performances as a virtuoso;
-representative works for larger ensembles;
-chamber music and small works arranged for small ensembles.

P. A. Locatelli: Sinfonia funebre for 2 violins, viola & b.c. in F minor

Pietro Antonio Locatelli - Concerti grossi (No. 5, 6, 2, 12)

Pietro Antonio Locatelli - Concerti Grossi Op I

Locatelli - L'arte del violino - Violin Concertos, Op. 3

2 Hours With Locatelli Violin Sonatas Opus 8

P. A. Locatelli - Sonate a 2 Op. 2 (1-12)

P. A. Locatelli - Sonate a 3 Op. 5 1-6()

Locatelli: Concerti Grossi 

Pietro Antonio Locatelli

Pierre Mignard - Christ and the Woman of Samaria

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