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Baroque Era

Britain is at war with Spain • France comes under the able administration of King Louis XV’s tutor, Cardinal Fleury, who sends Due de Bourbon-Conde, former First Minister, into exile • An anti-Turkish alliance is formed by Russia and Austria
 • Jonathan Swift (Ire): Gulliver's Travels • Chinese scholars complete a 5,020-volume encyclopaedia
King George I dies; is succeeded as ruler of Britain and Hanover by his son George II, who is influenced by his wife Caroline • Spain, at war with Britain and France, blockades Gibraltar • Russia’s ruler Ekaterina I dies; is succeeded by Petr II, a grandson of Petr I, the Great • Turks are entrenched in western Transcaucasia

Anglo-Spanish war formally ends with the Convention of Prado • First Amish Mennonites arrive in America • Astronomer James Bradley (Eng) calculates the speed of light to be around 301,000 km/s (actual speed, 299,792 km/s) • Voltaire (Fr): epic poem
La Henriade on Henri IV of France • Alexander Pope (Eng): The Dunciad • Clergyman William Law (Eng): A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, precursor of Methodism
British government makes North and South Carolina Crown colonies because of the incompetence of their proprietors • Baltimore, Maryland, founded as ‘tobacco port’ • Scientist Stephen Gray (Eng) differentiates between electrical conductors and non-conductors • Benjamin Franklin (N Amer) starts publishing The Pennsylvania Gazette • Jonathan Swift (Ire) attacks Irish poverty in satire A Modest Proposal 

Petr II (Russ) dies; is succeeded by Anna, daughter of Ivan V, who is dominated by her German lover, statesman Ernst Johann Biron • Persians under warrior Nadir Kuli drive Turks from Transcaucasia and end alien Afghan rule; Persian rule is restored under Shah Tahmasp II, with Nadir Kuli as the real power •
Canaletto - The Entrance to the Grand Canal, Venice • James Thomson (Scot): pastoral poem The Seasons • Physicist Rene-Antoine de Reaumur (Fr) devises a thermometer scale with 0° as the freezing point of water


Benjamin Franklin  (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a renowned polymath and a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions.



Johann Sebastian Bach appears in print for the first time with his Partita No. 1 for keyboard, published at his own expense. He will combine this work with five others into his Clavier-Ubung (Keyboard Practice), Op. 1.

Bach - Partita No. 1 in B-flat major, BWV 825

Johann Sebastian Bach - Sechs Partiten [(Clavier Übung I BWV 825-BWV 830) (Cd No.1)]
0:00:00 Partita N° 1, Si Bemol Mayor, BWV 825
0:00:00 Praeludium  0:01:44 Allemande
0:06:34 Corrente  0:09:27 Sarabande
0:14:18 Menuet I  0:15:42 Menuet II  0:17:07 Gigue

0:19:23 Partita N°2, Do Menor, BWV 826
0:19:23 Sinfonía  0:23:41 Allemande  0:28:29 Corrente
0:30:54 Sarabande  0:33:55 Rondeaux  0:35:29 Capriccio

0:39:16 Partita N° 3,  La Menor, BWV 827
0:39:16 Fantasia  0:42:02 Allemande  0:44:34 Corrente
0:47:44 Sarabande  0:51:38 Burlesca  0:53:52 Scherzo
0:55:29 Gigue

0:58:454 Partita N° 4,  Re Mayor, BWV 828
0:58:54 Ouverture   1:05:13 Allemande  1:14:50 Corrente
1:18:43 Aria  1:21:20 Sarabande  1:26:47 Menuet
1:28:09 Gigue

1:32:20 Partita N° 5, Sol Mayor, BWV 829
1:32:20 Praeambulum 1:34:52 Allemande  1:39:40 Corrente
1:41:44 Sarabande  1:45:28 Tempo di Minuetto 
1:47:14 Passepied  1:48:58 Gigue

1:53:01 Partita N° 6, Mi Menor, BWV 830
1:53:01 Toccata  2:00:38 Allemanda   2:03:51 Corrente
2:09:26 Air   
2:11:12 Sarabande  2:16:57 Tempo di  Gavotta
2:19:08 Gigue

In Paris Francois Couperin publishes Les nations, comprising four trio sonata suites clearly influenced by Arcangelo Corelli.

Francois Couperin: "Les Nations"

25 February
Jean-Philippe Rameau, aged 42, marries Marie-Louise Mangot, aged 19. This year he follows up his Traite de I’harmonie (1722) with the publication of Nouveau systeme de musique theorique (New System of Music Theory), in Paris.

12 March
George Frideric Handel’s opera Scipione, written in three weeks to a text by Antonio Rolli, is performed for the first time at the King’s Theatre, London. A march from the largely forgotten opera is later adopted by the British Grenadier Guards as their Regimental Slow March.

Georg Friedrich Händel - Scipione HWV 20​

12 April
Composer and music historian Charles Burney is born in Shrewsbury.

5 May
Prima donnas Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni cross swords for the first time in George Frideric Handel’s opera Alessandro. The casting of rival sopranos as queens vying for the attention of Alexander is a deliberate ploy by the Royal Academy to spice up the opera season. Two camps of fans emerge and proclaim their loyalties by wearing either a Cuzzoni scarf or a Bordoni ribbon.

Georg Friedrich Händel - Alessandro (1726)

Francesco Geminiani issues his concerto arrangements of the first six of Corelli's Op. 5 sonatas, backed by aristocratic subscription. This year he is involved with other prominent musicians including Giovanni BononciniJohann Christoph Pepusch and William Croft in the founding of The Academy of Vocal Music.

F. Geminiani: Concerti Grossi after Corelli Op.V

CONCERTO No. 1 in D major 0:08

CONCERTO No. 2 in B flat-major 10:17

CONCERTO No. 3 in C major 19:27

CONCERTO No. 4 in F major 30:15

CONCERTO No. 5 in G minor 39:53

CONCERTO No. 6 in A major 48:51
CONCERTO No. 7 in D minor 58:43 

CONCERTO No. 8 in E minor 1:08:40

CONCERTO No. 9 in A major 1:19:12

CONCERTO No. 10 in F major 1:29:34

CONCERTO No. 11 in E major 1:39:19
CONCERTO No. 12 in D minor "Follia" 1:46:52

Arcangelo Corelli - Sonatas Op. 5 Nos. 1-6
1. Sonata a violino e violoncello o cimbalo No.1 in D 0:00
2. No. 2 in B flat  10:52 
3. No. 3 in C   21:07
4. No. 4 in F   32:23
5. No. 5 in G minor  42:44
6. No. 6 in A   53:11

John Stanley, aged 14 and clinically blind, is appointed organist at St Andrews, Holbom, ‘in preference to a great number of candidates’.

Leonardo Vinci and Pietro Metastasio begin their operatic collaborations with a new setting of Didone in Rome, and Siroe, re di Persia (Cyrus, King of Persia) the following month in Venice.

Leonardo Vinci - Didone abbandonata - 1

Leonardo Vinci - Didone abbandonata - 2

18 June
Court composer Michel-Richard Delalande dies in Versailles, aged 68.

Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni go head to head at Newmarket. Such is the craze surrounding the two singers that even racehorses are named after them.

2 September
Giovanni Alberto Ristori’s Calandro, the first opera buffa to be written in Germany, is performed for the royal court in Dresden.

Giovanni Alberto RISTORI - CALANDRO

François-André Danican Philidor, French composer, born.

Charles Burney

Charles Burney, (born April 7, 1726, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Eng.—died April 12, 1814, Chelsea, Middlesex), organist, composer, and the foremost music historian of his time in England.


After attending Chester Free School (1739–42), Burney returned to Shrewsbury, assisted his half-brother, a church organist, and learned violin and French. In 1744 he began a musical apprenticeship with Thomas Arne at Drury Lane, in London, where he later collaborated with David Garrick. He married Esther Sleepe in June 1749 (one of their daughters was the English novelist Fanny Burney), became organist at St. Dionis’ Backchurch in October, and that winter succeeded John Stanley as organist and harpsichordist of the concerts at the King’s Arms, Cornhill.

He was elected to the Royal Society of Arts in 1764, was appointed to positions in the king’s musical establishment in 1767 and 1774, took a D.Mus. at Oxford in 1769, and became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1773.

Burney toured France and Italy collecting materials for a projected history of music in 1770, where he met and formed a lasting friendship with Padre Martini, a fellow music historian; this was followed by a visit to the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria in 1772, where he consulted with the famed librettist Pietro Metastasio. His first success as a writer came with the publication of his travel journals, The Present State of Music in France and Italy… (1771) and The Present State of Music in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Provinces… (1773). On his return he devoted every moment he could spare from teaching to his General History of Music, published between 1776 and 1789 in four volumes. Among the many musicians with whom Burney consulted on his trips to the continent were Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his father, Johann Adolph Hasse, Christoph Willibald Gluck, Frederick II (the Great) (a renowned flutist), and C.P.E. Bach, the most notable of J.S. Bach’s sons.


Charles Burney - Cornet Pieces (1751)

Charles Burney - Introduction and Fugue e min.wmv

Charles Burney

His final appointment was as organist at Chelsea Hospital from 1783. He was an important supporter of Joseph Haydn (with whom he had been in correspondence) during his two visits to London; he wrote and published a poem in his honour, and his enthusiasm for George Frideric Handel did much to persuade Haydn, on his return to Vienna, to turn his attention to oratorio. Burney’s Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Abate Metastasio appeared in 1796. Between 1801 and 1805 he wrote the music articles for Abraham Rees’s Cyclopaedia and was handsomely rewarded with a fee of £1,000. Burney virtually retired in 1805. He was granted a king’s pension in 1806 and in 1810 became a correspondent of the Institut de France. He was also an amateur astronomer.Burney’s General History of Music established him as the foremost writer on music in the country and contributed greatly to burgeoning interest in “ancient music.” Yet his was not an antiquarian’s history but a readable account catering to amateurs as well as professionals. What most interested Burney—and his subscribers—was contemporary music; he was an enthusiastic champion of Haydn and devoted a long chapter to Italian opera in England. Burney also wrote sympathetically on the music of the Renaissance; nevertheless, it is principally for its insight into fashionable musical taste in 18th-century London that Burney’s History is indispensable. Along with Burney’s influential association with Haydn, his astute descriptions of C.P.E. Bach and the young Mozart in performance may also be counted among his legacies.

François-André Danican Philidor

François-André Danican Philidor (September 7, 1726 – August 31, 1795), often referred to as André Danican Philidor during his lifetime, was a French composer and chess player.

He contributed to the early development of the opéra comique. He was also regarded as the best chess player of his age; his book Analyse du jeu des Échecs was considered a standard chess manual for at least a century, and a well-known chess opening and a checkmate method are both named after him.

Music career
Philidor joined the royal choir of Louis XV in 1732 at the age of 6, and made his first attempt at the composition of a song at the age of 11. It was said that Louis XV wanted to listen to the choir almost every day, and the singers, while waiting for the king to arrive, played chess to relieve their boredom; this may have sparked Philidor's interest in chess.

Starting in about 1740, he lived and worked in Paris as a performer, teacher and music copyist. He was the teacher of the Bohemian composer and pianist Ludwig Wenzel Lachnith. During this time he met Diderot, who calls him 'Philidor le subtil' in Le neveu de Rameau. He spent much of the period 1745–54 in London after a concert tour of the Netherlands collapsed, and moved in the same circles as Dr Johnson and Dr Burney.

François-André Danican Philidor: "Tom Jones" -
act 1

François-André Danican Philidor: "Tom Jones" -
act 2 

François-André Danican Philidor: "Tom Jones" -
act 3 

François-André Philidor

He returned to the French capital in 1754, although his music was found by some to be too Italianate (as a result of his travels). However he scored several triumphs at the fair theatres, starting with Blaise le savetier in 1759. His three most successful works were Le sorcier (1764), Tom Jones (after Henry Fielding, 1765), and Ernelinde, princesse de Norvège (1767).

For a time Philidor was among the leading opera composers in France, and during his musical career produced over 20 opéras comiques and two tragédies-lyriques. He also wrote secular cantatas and motets.

Philidor also wrote music for masonic rituals.



Joseph Bodin de Boismortier publishes his quasi-concerto style Six Concertos for Five Flutes, Op. 15, in Paris.

Boismortier  6 Concertos for 5 Flutes Op. 15

Concerto in E minor Op 15 no 6 
Concerto in D minor Op 15 no 3 8:31
Concerto in A minor Op 15 no 2 16:38
Concerto in A minor Op 15 no 5 27:16
Concerto in B minor Op 15 no 4 32:34
Concerto in G minor Op 15 No 1 44:43

Michele Mascitti brings out his Op. 7 collection of sonatas and concertos in Paris. The four string concertos included are the first of their kind to be published by a composer resident in France.

Michele Mascitti - Concertos and Sonatas

Swedish composer Johan Helmich Romandirector of the royal orchestra in Stockholm, makes a rare visit to the printing press with his 12 Flute Sonatas. The pieces are in light galant style and aimed at competent amateurs.

Johan Helmich Roman - Flute sonata I

Johan Helmich Roman - Flute sonata XII

Giuseppe Tartini sets up a violin school in Padua which soon attracts students from across Europe. It becomes known as ‘The School of the Nations’.

30 March
Opera composer Tommaso Traetta is born in Bitonto, south-east Italy.

11 April (Good Friday):
Johann Sebastian Bach directs the first version of his St Matthew Passion at St Thomas’s Church, Leipzig. With libretto by the poet Christian Henrici (1700 – 1764), writing under the pen name Picander, was a German poet and librettist for many of the cantatas which Johann Sebastian Bach composed in Leipzig, the setting calls for soloists, double choir, double orchestra and two organs—unusually large for the composer’s Leipzig performances. The work fuses the sacred and dramatic into a monument of Christian devotion.

J. S. Bach - St Matthew Passion, BWV 244
The Lutheran oratorio passion, a sacred drama popular in Germany, already existed in the 17th century as a mixture of Lutheran chorales, strophic arias, and choruses. By the next century, composers (including Bach) had added the flare of operatic recitative and aria to the genre. Bach wrote three Passions during his career: the St Matthew, the St John and the St Mark, though of these the latter has largely been lost. The first two, however, remain favourites of the choral repertoire and are frequently performed in concert during the Easter season. The St Matthew Passion, for double chorus, double orchestra, two organs and soloists, is a grand work first performed on Good Friday 1727. The text is taken from the Gospel According to Matthew, chapters 26 and 27, with added recitative and aria texts by local poet Christian Friedrich Henrici. The narrative structure is thus: the Evangelist narrates the unfolding events as they occur in recitatives, with occasional lines of dialogue sung by soloists. Solos are also used for prayers and commentary on the story, as in the alto solo “Buss und Reu” (“Grief and Sin". The chorus sometimes take a direct participatory role, presenting dialogue by the crowds in the drama for example, and sometimes offer detached commentary or prayer, including the interjected chorales. While Bach never wrote an opera, the Passions are very much in the same theatrical vein.

PART ONE (68:001 The work opens with a prologue in which the chorus lament the events to come. The narrative proper begins in Bethany with Christ prophesying his own imminent crucifixion. The story then follows the Biblical story of Judas’s collusion with the Pharisees,Jesus’s appeals to God, and finally the betrayal and arrest. After each section of narrative a commentary is inserted in the form of a recitative and aria or a chorale.
PART TWO (92:00) After another Prologue, which bemoans the arrest of Jesus, the second part begins with the interrogation before Caiaphas, Peter’s denial, and the judgment by Pilate. Bach concludes the work withJesus’s crucifixion, death and entombment, and a final choral lament.

Antonio Vivaldi’s Op. 9 collection of solo violin concertos,

La cetra (The Lyre), is published in Amsterdam.

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) - La Cetra, 12 concerti per violino, archi e basso continuo Op. 9 (1727)

Concerto I in do maggiore RV 181a   0:00 

Concerto II in la maggiore RV 345   8:39

Concerto III in sol minore RV 334   18:12

Concerto IV in mi maggiore RV 263a   28:09

Concerto V in la minore RV 358   38:58

Concerto VI in la maggiore RV 348   47:07

Concerto VII in si bemolle maggiore RV 359   58:38

Concerto VIII in re minore RV 238   1:06:37

Concerto IX in si bemolle maggiore RV 530   1:16:20

Concerto X in sol maggiore RV 300   1:24:58

Concerto XI in do minore RV 198a "Il sospetto"   1:33:17

Concerto XII in si minore RV 391   1:42:45

31 January
George Frideric Handel's opera Admeto opens with huge success at the King s Theatre, London.
With Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni again in leading roles, the behaviour of their loyal supporters becomes increasingly rowdy throughout the opera season. 


20 February
George Frideric Handel, three days before his 42nd birthday, is granted British citizenship.

29 April
Antonio Vivaldi’s opera Siroe, re di Persia (text by Pietro Metastasio, first set by Leonardo Vinci the previous year) is introduced at the Teatro Pubblico in Reggio Emilia. It is one of four operas Vivaldi produces this year.

6 June
The rivalry between the prima donnas Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni erupts both on and off the stage during Giovanni Bononcini’s opera Astianatte, at London’s Haymarket.

The two divas wrestle each other and fights break out in the audience between their loyal supporters. King George’s daughter, Princess Amelia, looks on aghast, and the opera season draws to a swift close.

Spera che questo cor - Astianatte - Bononcini 

28 September
Andre Cardinal Destouches 
becomes maitre de musique de la chambre at the court at Versailles.

11 October
Four anthems composed by George Frideric Handel are sung at the coronation of George II at Westminster Abbey, including the spectacular Zadok the Priest. The royal favourite will be performed at each subsequent British coronation.

George Frideric Handel - Coronation Anthem No. 1 (Zadok the Priest)

Tommaso Traetta

Tommaso Traetta, in full Tommaso Michele Francesco Saverio Traetta, (born March 30, 1727, Bitonto, Naples—died April 6, 1779, Venice), composer who, with Niccolò Jommelli, was a precursor of Gluck in the 18th-century movement for operatic reform.

He studied in Naples and from 1758 to 1765 was music master to Don Felipe, duke of Parma and infante of Spain. He was director of the Conservatorio dell’Ospedaletto, Venice (1765–68) and music director to Catherine the Great of Russia (1768–75).

Traetta, although he did not break completely with the conventional operatic style, sought to reduce its artificiality. He abandoned the traditional sharp distinction between recitative and aria; his recitatives are often orchestrally accompanied and of great emotional power, and his arias frequently advance the dramatic action instead of interrupting it. His harmonies are richer, and his orchestra plays a more prominent musical role than had been common. Like Gluck, he brought the chorus more directly into the action and often included ballet sequences. Widely respected by his contemporaries, he wrote 48 operas, notably Ifigenia in Tauride (1763) and Sofonisba (1762). He also wrote a Stabat Mater and an oratorio, Salomone (1768).

Tommaso Traetta: Stabat Mater

Tommaso Traetta - Litanie A 4 Voci

Tommaso Traetta - Antigona 1_2

Tommaso Traetta - Antigona 2_2

Tommaso Traetta


Johann Joachim Quantz becomes flute teacher to Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia.

Giovanni Battista Sammartini becomes maestro di cappella of Milan’s Congregazione del SS Entierro.

30 April
George Frideric Handel’s final opera for the Royal Academy, Tolomeo (Ptolemy), opens at the King’s Theatre, London.

G. F. Handel - PTOLEMY, KING OF EGYPT 1728 HWV 25

Giuseppe Tartini’s Sei concerti a cinque e sei stromenti,

Op. 1/1, is published in Amsterdam.

Tartini - Violin Conc. op. 1 nrs. 1 - 4
Violin Concerto #1 In G Minor, D 85
Violin Concerto #2 In E Minor, D 55  7:06
Violin Concerto #3 In F, D  5:32
Violin Concerto #4 In D, D  8:37

Tartini - Violin Conc. op. 1 nrs. 5 - 8
Violin Concerto No.5 in F major, D58
 Violin Concerto No.6 in A major, D89  3:50
Violin Concerto No.7 in A minor, D111   6:56
Violin Concerto No.8 in A major, D91  7:09

15 May
The 42-year-old Domenico Scarlatti marries the 16-year-old Maria Catalina Gentili, in Rome.

1 June
The Royal Academy is declared bankrupt, having lost around £50,000 of shareholders’ investment over its nine-year enterprise.

15 August
Having withdrawn from public life many years earlier, the composer Marin Marais dies in Paris, aged 72.

Georg Telemann publishes Der getreue Musikmeister (The True Music Master), a collection of works by himself and other composers including Johann Sebastian Bach, Sylvius Leopold Weiss and Jan Dismas Zelenka, geared particularly towards domestic music making.

16 January
Opera composer Niccolo Piccinni is born in Bari, southern Italy.

29 January
John Gay’s (1685-1732) The Beggar’s Opera opens at John Rich’s Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre and gains an ecstatic response from the London public. Comprising spoken dialogue and popular tunes arranged by Johann Christoph Pepusch, the ballad-opera includes music by Henry Purcell, Jeremiah ClarkeGeorge Frideric Handel. Giovanni Bononcini and John Eccles. A variety of topical themes are satirised, such as hangings, the character of Prime Minister Walpole, Italian opera and the Cuzzoni-Bordoni rivalry.

The first production runs for 62 performances making, in the words of the contemporary aphorism, ‘Gay rich and Rich gay’.

Johann Christoph Pepusch - THE BEGGAR'S OPERA. 

Antonio Vivaldi meets Emperor Charles VI of Austria and receives a substantial gift of money and a gold chain with medallion.
Vivaldi dedicates to him his Op. 9 violin concertos.

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) - La Cetra, 12 concerti per violino, archi e basso continuo Op. 9 (1727)

Concerto I in do maggiore RV 181a   0:00 

Concerto II in la maggiore RV 345   8:39

Concerto III in sol minore RV 334   18:12

Concerto IV in mi maggiore RV 263a   28:09

Concerto V in la minore RV 358   38:58

Concerto VI in la maggiore RV 348   47:07

Concerto VII in si bemolle maggiore RV 359   58:38

Concerto VIII in re minore RV 238   1:06:37

Concerto IX in si bemolle maggiore RV 530   1:16:20

Concerto X in sol maggiore RV 300   1:24:58

Concerto XI in do minore RV 198a "Il sospetto"   1:33:17

Concerto XII in si minore RV 391   1:42:45

John Gay's virulent political satire Polly, sequel to The Beggar’s Opera, is banned before it reaches the stage. Gay publishes over 10,000 copies of the text and makes a tidy profit. A production is finally staged in 1779.

17 February
George Frideric Handel, following Leonardo Vinci (1726) and Antonio Vivaldi (1727), stages his own setting of Pietro Metastasio's Siroe, re di Persia at the King’s Theatre, London.

The two divas Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni resume their work with a little more decorum than that displayed the previous year.

George Frideric Handel - Siroe, re di Persia, HWV 24

25 December
German composer Johann Adam Hiller is born in Wendiseh-Ossig, near Gorlitz.

Niccolò Piccinni

Niccolò Piccinni (16 January 1728 – 7 May 1800) was an Italian composer of symphonies, sacred music, chamber music, and opera. Although he is somewhat obscure today, Piccinni was one of the most popular composers of opera—particularly the Neapolitan opera buffa—of his day.


Piccinni was born in Bari, and educated under Leonardo Leo and Francesco Durante, at the S. Onofrio Conservatory. Piccinni's first opera, Le donne dispettose, was produced in 1755, and in 1760 he composed, at Rome, the chef d'œuvre of his early life, La Cecchina, ossia la buona Figliuola, an opera buffa with a libretto by Goldoni, which "enjoyed a two-year run in Rome and was played in all the important European capitals.
La buona figliuola represents a special moment in the history of eighteenth-century music in which comedy began to take on a new dramatic force. This can especially be seen in the sensitive writing of Cecchina's Act II aria "Una povera ragazza."

The opera was such a success that fashions of dress, shops, and houses were all named after La Cecchina. It also set off a debate about the merits of the new sentimental style, especially in England, where conservative reactionaries were wary of the supposed feminizing influence of modern Italian music. Antonio Baretti commented in 1768 that individuals “of weight and consideration” should not be blamed for condemning “those puny gentlemen” who, as enthusiasts of Italian opera, were able to “feel its minuet niceties, and to be of course in rapture with the languishing Cecchina’s of Piccini [sic].” This modern music, Baretti decried, “far from having any power of increasing courage or any manly virtues, has on the contrary a tendency towards effeminacy and cowardliness.”

Six years after this Piccinni was invited by Queen Marie Antoinette to Paris. He became the first Italian after Jean-Baptiste Lully to write operas for the Academie Royale de Musique, as the opera was called. He collaborated with the poet and dramatist Marmontel on several projects designed to advance the cause of the operatic reform. Marmontel's first librettos took as their foundation texts Philippe Quinault had written for Lully, Roland 1778, and Atys, 1779, then the subsequent efforts, starting with Didon, were original texts. The Parisian public was divided into two rival parties, which, under the names of Gluckists and Piccinnists, carried on an unworthy and disgraceful war. Gluck's masterly Iphigénie en Tauride was first produced on 18 May 1779. Piccinni's Iphigénie followed on 23 January 1781. The antagonism of the rival parties continued, even after Gluck left Paris in 1780.

In 1784 Piccinni became professor at the Royal School of Music, one of the institutions from which the Conservatoire was formed in 1794. On the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, Piccinni returned to Naples, where he was at first well received by King Ferdinand IV; but the marriage of his daughter to a French democrat brought him disgrace - he was accused of being a revolutionary and placed under house arrest for four years. For the next nine years he maintained a precarious existence in Venice, Naples and Rome; but he returned in 1798 to Paris, where the public received him with enthusiasm, but he made no money. He died at Passy, near Paris. 

Niccolò Piccinni - Didon
Dido, Queen of Carthage (Didon), falls in love with the Trojan warrior Aeneas (Énée), who has been shipwrecked on her shore. However, Dido is promised in marriage to the African king Iarbas (Iarbe). War breaks out between Aeneas and Iarbas in which the Trojan is triumphant. But Aeneas is warned by the ghost of his father, Anchises, that he must leave Carthage at once for Italy. The heartbroken Dido commits suicide by throwing herself on a funeral pyre. Her Carthaginian subjects swear eternal revenge on Aeneas' descendants, the Romans.

Niccolò Piccinni - Roland (1778)

Niccolò Piccinni - Iphigenie en Tauride 1_2

Niccolò Piccinni - Iphigenie en Tauride 2_2

Niccolò Piccinni - La buona figliuola, or La Cecchina 
The marquis of Conchiglia has fallen in love with Cecchina who is a maid. Shocked by the social impropriety of such a match, Cavaliere Armidoro, the fiancé of the marquis's sister, refuses to marry Lucinda. Distraught over losing the man she loves, Lucinda begs the marquis to stop seeing Cecchina. Meanwhile, Cecchina has several problems of her own, including Mengotto, a poor man who is infatuated with her and won't leave her alone, and Sandrina and Paoluccia, two jealous maids who try to cause as much trouble for Cecchina as they can. After many plot twists, the opera ends well when Tagliaferro, a German soldier, reveals that Cecchina is in fact the daughter of a German baron, which enables Cecchina to marry the Marchese without upsetting Armidoro.

Niccolò Piccinni - Salve Regina

Johann Adam Hiller

Johann Adam Hiller, Hiller also spelled Hüller, (born Dec. 25, 1728, Wendisch-Ossig, near Görlitz, Saxony [Germany]—died June 16, 1804, Leipzig), German composer and conductor, regarded as the creator of the German singspiel, a musical genre combining spoken dialogue and popular song.


Hiller learned to play several instruments and to sing and also briefly studied law while developing wide intellectual and literary interests. After varied activities in the musical life of Leipzig, including the production of many vocal compositions and writings about music, he became conductor (1781–85) of the Gewandhaus concerts and the town’s leading musical figure. He also started a singing school. After an ill-fated move to a court position in Courland, he returned to Leipzig, becoming from 1789 to 1800 the cantor of the Thomasschule, a position formerly held by J.S. Bach.

With his singspiels Hiller gave Germany its first national operettas, which quickly became popular. Die Liebe auf dem Lande (1768; “Love of the Land”) and Die Jagd (1770; “The Hunt”) rank among the finest of his many works in the form. He also wrote numerous songs and church music.

Johann Adam Hiller's 'Das Orakel' (1753) - Ouvertüre

Johann Adam Hiller - Das Orakel - Aria V

Johann Adam Hiller - Das Orakel - Aria XIV

Niccolò Piccinni
Johann Adam Hiller


Jean-Joseph Mouret brings out his Suites de symphoniesin Paris. He is currently artistic director of the Concert Spirituel.


     Mouret - Première Suite de Symphonies, Fanfares

Princess Maria Barbara of Portugal marries the Crown Prince Ferdinando of Spain. Domenico Scarlatti leaves the royal court in Lisbon and follows his patron first to Seville, then Madrid in 1733

The visually-impaired John Stanley, aged 17, becomes the youngest student to date to gain a Bachelor of Music degree at Oxford University.

3 May
Bohemian composer Florian Leopold Gassmann is born in Brux (Cz., Most).

Mid May 
Johann Sebastian Bach takes up the directorship of Leipzig University’s collegium musicum (founded by Georg Philipp Telemann in 1702). Bach also gains the honorary title of court Kapellmeister from Duke Christian of Saxe-Weissenfels. A similar title from Cothen had expired a year earlier with the death of Prince Leopold.

The publisher Le Cene issues three sets of Antonio Vivaldi  concertos, Opp. 10-12, in Amsterdam. With the Op. 10 collection Vivaldi introduces some of the earliest known flute concertos, including the celebrated six-movement ‘La Notte’ (No. 2).

Antonio VIVALDI - 6 Concerti a Flauto traverso, Op.10

CONCERTO No.1 "Tempesta mare" in F major RV433 0:01

CONCERTO No.2 "La notte" in G minor RV 439 6:06

CONCERTO No.3 "Il gardellino" in D major RV 428 13:55

CONCERTO No.4 in G major RV 435 23:20 

CONCERTO No.5 in F major RV 434 30:16

CONCERTO No.6  in G major RV 437 37:56

Antonio VIVALDI - 6 concerti Opus 11 [1729]

No. 1 for Violin, Strings and B.C. in D major RV 207

No. 2 for Violin, Strings and B.C. in E minor "Il favorito" RV 277  7:49

No. 3 for Violin, Strings and B.C. in A major RV 336  20:49

No. 4 for Violin, Strings and B.C. in G major RV 308   32:10

No. 5 for Violin, Strings and B.C. in C minor RV 202   43:43

No. 6 for Oboe, Strings and B.C. in G minor RV 460   56:05

Antonio Vivaldi: 6 Concertos Op.12
Concerto No.1 in G minor, RV 317 0:00
Concerto No.2 in D minor, RV 244 12:45
Concerto No.3 in D major, RV 124 22:55
Concerto No.4 in C major, RV 173 29:55
Concerto No.5 in B flat major, RV 379 40:48
Concerto No.6 in B flat major, RV 361 51:56

27 June 
Composer Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre dies in Paris, aged 64.

16 July
Johann David Heinichen dies from tuberculosis in Dresden, aged 46.


The Czech composer Jan Dismas Zelenka takes over duties to the royal chapel, but he is denied the official post of court musical director because he does not write operas.

31 July 
Nicola Francesco Haym, Italian librettist of some of George Frideric Handel's finest operas (including Giulio Cesare, Ottone, Tamerlano and Rodelinda), dies in London, aged 51.

23 November 
Georg Philipp Telemann introduces his serious operaFlavius Bertaridus at the Gansemarkt in Hamburg.

G.P. Telemann - Flavius Bertaridus - Aria - Lieto suono di trombe guerriere

1 January 
Johann Sebastian Bach brings in the New Year in Leipzig with his jubilant cantata Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm (God, as is Your name, so is Your renown).

Bach - Cantate BWV 171 - Gott, wie dein Name, so ist auch dein Ruhm

26 November
Leonardo Vinci’s serenata La contesa dei Numi (The Contest of the Gods), with libretto by Pietro Metastasio, is first performed at the palace of the French ambassador in Rome. The occasion celebrates the birth of the dauphin, son of Louis XV.

Perché viva felice un regnante - La contesa de' numi - Vinci

18 January 
The directors of the bankrupt Royal Academy allow George Frideric Handel and John Heidegger (1666 - 1749, Swiss count and leading impresario) to make use of the King’s Theatre, together with costumes, stage machinery and scenery. 

With SenesinoFrancesca Bordoni and Faustina Cuzzoni all having abandoned London, Handel eaves for the continent eight days later in the pursuit of new singers.

2 December 
With £20,000 of their own money invested, the George Frideric Handel - Heidegger Second Academy opera season begins with the composer’s Lotario.

George Frideric Handel - `Lotario HWV 26

Florian Leopold Gassmann

Florian Leopold Gassmann (3 May 1729 – 21 January 1774) was a German-speaking Bohemian opera composer of the transitional period between the baroque and classical eras. He was one of the principal composers of dramma giocosoimmediately before Mozart.


Gassmann was born in Brüx, Bohemia, and was most likely trained by Johann Woborschil, the local chorus master. From 1757 until 1762, he wrote an opera every year for the carnival season in Venice, and was also appointed choirmaster in the girls’ conservatory in Venice in 1757.

In 1763 he was called to Vienna as court ballet composer, and was held in great affection by Emperor Joseph II. In 1764 he was appointed chamber composer to the Emperor, and in 1772 court conductor.

In 1766 Gassmann met up-and-coming young Antonio Salieri in Venice, invited him return with him to Vienna with him and taught him composition using Johann Joseph Fux’s textbook Gradus ad Parnassum. Salieri remained in Vienna, and succeeded Gassmann as chamber composer to the Emperor on the latter's death in 1774. Another Italian composer, Giuseppe Bonno, succeeded Gassmann as court conductor.

In 1771, he founded the Tonkünstler-Societät (Society of Musical Artists), which was the first group in Vienna to give concerts for the general public, and for the benefit of its members' widows and orphans. He wrote his oratorio La Betulia liberata for that purpose.

In 1774, he died in Vienna from long-term consequences of a carriage accident sustained on his final visit to Italy.

George Frideric Handel visits Venice where he secures the soprano Anna Maria Strada del Po (fl. 1719–1741) for his new opera company. After talent-scouting in Italy, Handel travels to Halle to visit his mother, whose health is failing rapidly. He misses an opportunity to visit Bach in Leipzig.

F. L. Gassmann - Requiem in C minor (1774)
Introit (adagio): 0:00
Te decet hymnus (andante): 4:19
Requiem aeternam (grave): 7:30
Kyrie eleison (alla breve - double fugue): 8:24
Dies irae (andante maestoso): 10:47
Tuba mirum (andante cut time): 13:28
Rex tremendae (adagio): 16:53
Recordare (andante): 17:45
Confutatis (andante): 23:04
Huic ergo/Amen (grave/moderato - double fugue): 27:40

Florian Leopold Gassmann - Quartett n. 3 e-moll

Florian Leopold Gassmann - Ouverture

Florian Leopold Gassmann


"Since hardly anyone has composed more than myself...

I hope that my family will find in my wallet something to make them regret my passing".

Extract from the preface of Francois Couperin's Pieces de clavecin (Volume IV), published this year.

Francois Couperin - IV Book of Harpsichord (1730) - Ordres 20 to 27
Ordre 20ème de clavecin in G major
Ordre 21ème de clavecin in E minor
Ordre 22ème de clavecin in D major
Ordre 23ème de clavecin in F major
Ordre 24ème de clavecin in A major
Ordre 25ème de clavecin in E flat major
Ordre 26ème de clavecin in F sharp minor
Ordre 27ème de clavecin in B minor

4 April
George Frideric Handel cobbles together the pasticcio Ormisda, incorporating music by Leonardo Vinci, Johann Adolph Hasse and others. With a run of 14 performances it is the most successful production of the season.

27 May
Opera composer Leonardo Vinci, aged in his late 30s, dies suddenly in Naples. It is suspected that he had been poisoned due to an adulterous love affair.

Around this time Jean-Philippe Rameau publishes Nouvelles suites de pieces de clavecin and Cantates francoises a voix seule.

Jean-Philipphe Rameau Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin - Suite for harpsichord in A minor
Allemande 0:00
Courante 11:47
Sarabande 16:21
Les trois mains 20:30
Fanfarinette 25:21
La triomphante 28:12
Gavotte (avec six doubles) 29:56
Doubles de la Gavotte : I 32:15 II 33:10 III 34:07 IV 35:04 V 36:00 VI 36:50

The Leipzig council vent their frustration at Johann Sebastian Bach for failing to carry out required duties at the Thomasschule. They accuse him of being stubborn and incorrigible, and failing to deliver quality choristers.

13 June
The first Handel - Heidegger opera season limps to a close.

14 June
Opera composer Antonio Sacchini is born in Florence.

Leonardo Vinci and the librettist Pietro Metastasio achieve great success with the operas Alessandro nell’Indie and Artaserse, premiered at the Teatro delle Dame, Rome.

Leonardo Vinci - Alessandro nell'Indie - Introduzione - Recitativo - Aria

Leonardo Vinci - Artaserse - 1 - 2 -3

Leonardo Vinci and the librettist Pietro Metastasio achieve great success with the operas Alessandro nell’Indie and Artaserse, premiered at the Teatro delle Dame, Rome.

 Johann Adolph Hasse - Faustina Bordoni

Johann Sebastian Bach sends Leipzig council a statement outlining proposals to better exploit the towns musical resources.

Frustrated that his position of Kantor is being undermined, he ignores the bulk of criticisms levelled at him in June. The town council, in turn, ignores Bach’s proposals.

Johann Adolph Hasse sets his version of  Pietro 
’s Artaserse, first performed at the Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo, Venice. Metastasio's libretto will be set by at least 70 different composers over the next 70 years.

Johann Adolph Hasse - Artaserse - 1 - 2 - 3

28 October
Johann Sebastian Bach writes to his friend Georg Erdmann in Danzig (Gdansk), enquiring of employment opportunities.

The "George Erdmann Letter", the original, page 1.

16 February
Marguerite-Antoinette Couperin (19 September 1705 – c. 1778, French harpsichordist) inherits the court post of ordinaire de la chambre pour le clavecin from her father, Francois Couperin, whose health is failing. She becomes the first woman to hold the position.

24 February
George Frideric Handel stages his comedy Partenope at the King’s Theatre, London. It manages only seven performances.

George Frideric Handel - PARTENOPE, HWV 27

3 November
A revival of Scipione opens the second Handel-Heidegger opera season, with the castrato Senesino back on the London stage.​ Scipione had its premiere on 12 March 1726 at The King's Theatre, Haymarket. Handel revived the opera in 1730.

Georg Friedrich Händel - Scipione HWV 20​



Nicholas Poussin's painting of the Continence of Scipio

Antonio Sacchini

Antonio Sacchini, in full Antonio Maria Gasparo Gioacchino Sacchini (born June 14, 1730, Florence [Italy]—died Oct. 6, 1786, Paris, France), Italian opera composer who reached the height of his fame in England and France in the second half of the 18th century. Oedipe à Colone (1785), an opera seria (“serious opera”), remains his best-known work.

Although he was of humble background, Sacchini received thorough training at an early age in violin, keyboard instruments, singing, and composition at the Conservatorio di Santa Maria di Loreto in Naples. Following the positive reception of several of his operas, he was hired as secondo maestro to teach at the conservatory upon the retirement of the primo maestro, Gennaro Manna, in 1761. In the same year, Sacchini’s first opera seria, Andromaca, opened at the premiere opera theatre of Naples, the Teatro San Carlo.

While continuing to provide a steady output of operas for Naples during the early 1760s, Sacchini expanded his activity northward by writing operas for theatres in Rome. He moved to Rome in 1763 and found that his comic works for the Teatro Valle were particularly well received. In 1768 Sacchini moved again, this time to Venice, where he was named director of the famed Conservatorio dell’Ospedaletto. Among his most notable works written for performance in Venice were two in the operia seria genre, the acclaimed Alessandro Severo (1762) and Alessandro nelle Indie (1763; “Alexander in the Indies”)—composed before his actual move to the city—as well as a number of oratorios, written to be performed by the students of his conservatory, and many sacred works for various Venetian churches. While living in Venice, Sacchini also continued to teach, counting among his students two of the preeminent singers of the period, Adriana Gabrieli and Nancy Storace (both later associated with Mozart in Vienna).

Sacchini’s operatic career abroad, which began with works for the Ducal Theatre in Stuttgart and the Residenz Theater in Munich, culminated in his relocation to London in 1772. He remained in London for nine years, and during that time he experienced some of his greatest triumphs—particularly in opera seria—and secured the favour of the British public. Indeed, the foremost music historian of the period, Charles Burney, described Sacchini’s London operas as equal or superior in quality to any others performed there in the 1770s. In the shadow of his operatic successes, however, Sacchini was noted for his profligate and dissolute style of living, and in 1781 he was constrained to leave London for Paris to avoid debtors’ prison.The timing of Sacchini’s arrival in Paris was fortuitous, since it coincided with the visit of Austrian emperor Joseph II. His first two operas performed in France were actually adaptations of earlier Italian operas, but the unsuccessful Dardanus, performed in Versailles in 1784, was an original French opera. Variously claimed and rejected by both the “Gluckists” and the “Piccinnists” in the ongoing controversy, Sacchini suffered a major setback when Marie Antoinette, under heavy pressure from the anti-Piccinni faction, went back on her word to have his new French opera Oedipe à Colone (“Oedipus at Colonus”) performed in 1785.

Oedipe à Colone has been generally acknowledged as Sacchini’s masterpiece. It managed to remain within the repertoire of the Paris Opéra through the mid-19th century, and it also received occasional revivals elsewhere, including Naples in 1808 and 1817, Frankfurt in 1862, and Brussels in 1881.

Antonio Sacchini -  Chimène

Antonio Sacchini - Œdipe à Colone  (1786)

Antonio Sacchini - Renaud 1_2

Antonio Sacchini - Renaud 2_2

Antonio Sacchini - La contadina in corte 1_2

Antonio Sacchini - La contadina in corte 2_2

Antonio Sacchini - L'isola d'amore

Antonio Sacchini - L'amore soldato 1_2

Antonio Sacchini - L'amore soldato 2_2

Canaletto - The Entrance to the Grand Canal, Venice

Antonio Sacchini
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