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Baroque Era

In War of the Austrian Succession, Prussians defeat Austrians at Mollwitz • Bavaria, France and Spain (later with Saxony and Prussia) conclude a secret anti-Austrian alliance • Military revolt overthrows Russian tsar Ivan VI and puts Elizaveta, youngest daughter of Petr I, the Great, on the throne • Burials outnumber baptisms by 2 to 1 in London at height of gin-drinking craze: 75 percent of children die before age five in England at this time • David Hume (Scot): Essays Moral and Political 

First Silesian War ends with Treaty of Breslau and Berlin: Austria cedes upper and lower Silesia to Prussia • War of the Austrian Succession, Austrians overrun Bavaria and Bohemia • Spanish forces attack Georgia from Florida

Russo-Swedish Treaty of Abo cedes Finnish territory to Russia • Turkey and Persia are at war • In War of Jenkins’ Ear Britain invades Florida • King George’s War begins • France and Spain sign Treaty of Fontainebleau • Austria hands over Piacenza and Parma to Sardinia • French encyclopaedist Jean d'Alembert publishes
Treatise on Dynamics  
Armies of King Friedrich II, the Great, of Prussia invade Saxony and Bohemia, starting Second Silesian War (part of the War of the Austrian Succession) • France goes to war with Austria and Britain • Eliza Haywood (Eng) launches
The Female Spectator, the first periodical written for women by a woman • Jean-Étienne Liotard – The Chocolate Girl 
Charles Edward Stuart (The Young Pretender’) lands in Scotland from France and starts Jacobite rebellion; he wins battles of Prestonpans and Penrith • Holy Roman Emperor Karl VII dies; is succeeded by Franz I, husband of Maria Theresa • Naturalist Charles Bonnet (Switz) discovers instances of parthenogenesis (reproduction without mating) among insects • Physician Julien Offroy de La Mettrie (Fr) publishes
Natural History of the Soul 

Jean-Baptiste le Rond d'Alembert (1717 – 1783), French mathematician, mechanician, physicist, philosopher, and music theoris



Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni composes the opera Artamene for the Teatro San Angelo in Venice. It is his last (and possibly 81st) stage work.

Around this time Johann Vaclav Antonin Stamitz, aged 24, is engaged as a string player at the electoral court in Mannheim.

28 July
Having arrived in Vienna in search of new patronage, Antonio Vivaldi dies from an internal inflammation, aged 63. He receives a humble burial the same day.

Jean-Philippe Rameau publishes Pieces de clavecin en concerts for harpsichord, violin (or flute) and viola da gamba. Nine of the 19 pieces are named after friends, patrons and pupils.

J. P. Rameau - Pieces de Clavecin en Concerts

Premier Concert
1. La Coulicam
2. La Livri
3. Le Vezinet

Deuxieme Concert
4. La Laborde
5. La Boucon
6. L'agaçante
7. Menuets I & II

Troisieme Concert
8. La la Poplinerie
9. La Timide
10. Tamburins I & II

Quatrieme Concert
11. La Pantomime
12. L'indiscrete
13. La Rameau

Cinquieme Concert
14.La Forqueray
15. La Cupis
16. La Marais

22 August
George Frideric Handel begins composing the oratorio Messiah on biblical text selected and arranged by Charles Jennens. Handel does not leave his house for three weeks and frequently goes without food.

Johann Sebastian Bach publishes Aria with 30 Variations— later known as the Goldberg Variations—as book IV of his Clavier-Ubung. The sets more familiar name derives from Bach's pupil Johann Gottlieb Goldberg (1727-1756, German harpsichordist, organist, and composer), who, as harpsichordist to Count Kaiserling in Dresden, is said to have regularly played the variations late at night to entertain his sleepless employer. Many scholars reject the story.

Johann Sebastian Bach - Aria with 30 Variations

Variations  No.1 - No.15

Johann Sebastian Bach - Aria with 30 Variations
 Variations  No.16 - No.30
Aria da Capo è Fine

George Frideric Handel’s romantic comedy Deidamia fails after only three performances in London. Handel abandons opera for good.

George-Frideric Hande - Deidamia​ - HWV 42

8 February
Composer Andre-Ernest-Modeste Gretry is born in Liege.

I did think I did see all Heaven
before me and the great God
Himself seated on His throne,
with His Company of Angels.

to his servant, on completing Part II of Messiah.


14 September
George Frideric Handel, in 23 days, completes the score of his Messiah.

George Frideric Handel - Messiah

George Frideric Handel arrives in Dublin (by invitation of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland) to participate in the winter concert season. The following month he revives his oratorio L'Allegro (1740). The work that failed to inspire London audiences is well appreciated.

26 December
Christoph Willibald Gluck's first opera, Artaserse, to a libretto by Pietro Metastasio, premieres in Milan.

André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry

André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry, (born Feb. 10/11, 1741, Liège [now in Belgium]—died Sept. 24, 1813, Montmorency, near Paris, France), French composer of operas, a leader in the evolution of French opéra comique from light popular plays with music into semiserious musical drama.


Grétry studied singing, violin, and harmony and in 1761 was sent to Rome to study composition. In 1766 he went to Geneva as a music teacher. There he met Voltaire, at whose suggestion he went to Paris in 1767. From 1768 he produced more than 50 works for the stage, including Le Tableau parlant (1769; “The Speaking Picture”) and Zémire et Azor (1771). His masterpiece, Richard Coeur de Lion (1784; “Richard the Lionheart”), is an early example of French Romantic opera.

Grétry’s music is noted for its finesse and melodic grace. He excelled in the development of dramatic scenes through melody and careful setting of words. He was widely honoured during his lifetime and received a pension from Napoleon in 1802. In 1789 he published his Mémoires; ou, essais sur la musique (“Memoirs; or, Essays on Music”).

André Ernest Modeste Grétry - Guillaume Tell (1791)
Guillaume Tell, drame mise en musique in three acts, first performance 9 April 1791, Salle Favart, Paris.

Libretto: Michel-Jean Sedaine 

André-Ernest Modeste Grétry (1773) Le Magnifique

Le Magnifique, opera en 3 actos, libreto de Jean-Michel Sedaine.

André Modeste Grétry - Zémire et Azor

Andre Gretry

André Ernest Modeste Grétry - Grand Motet



Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s six Prussian Sonatas for harpsichord are published in Nuremburg.

C.P.E. Bach - Prussian Sonatas Wq 48
1. Sonata No. 1 in F major  0:00
2. Sonata No. 2 in B flat major  10:08
3. Sonata No. 3 in E major  22:57
4. Sonata No. 4 in C minor  34:30
5. Sonata No. 5 in C major  47:53
6. Sonata No. 6 in A major  58:52 

2 March
Baldassare Galuppi, promoting himself in London, presents his opera Scipione in Cartagine at the King’s Theatre, Haymarket.

Baldassare Galuppi - Scipione in Cartagine - Aria -
Di madre ai cari amplessi

John Stanley's Six Concertos in Seven Parts (Op. 2) are published in London.

John Stanley - Concerto No. 1 in D major

John Stanley - Concerto No. 2 in B minor

John Stanley - Concerto No. 3 in G major

John Stanley - Concerto No. 4 in D minor

John Stanley - Concerto No. 5 in A major

John Stanley - Concerto No. 6 in B Flat major

24 March
George Frideric Handel revives Imeneo (1740) for a concert performance in Dublin. As with L’Allegro (1740), the London failure is hailed a triumph by the Irish.

13 April
Great excitement surrounds the charity premiere of Handel's Messiah (1741) in Dublin. A request is made for ladies not to wear hoop skirts and for gentlemen to leave their swords at home, in order to fit more people into the Fishamble Street Music Hall. 700 people attend the momentous occasion and nearly £400 is raised for charity.

2 May
Christoph Willibald Gluck, again setting Pietro Metastasio, presents Cleonice (Demetrio), his second opera, in Venice.

13 August
Having taken Dublin by storm, George Frideric Handel returns to England.

7 December
Carl Heinrich Graun’s opera Cleopatra e Cesare inaugurates the new Berlin Opera House, built under the direction of Frederick the Great.

C. H. Graun: Cleopatra e Cesare (1742) 



Johann Vaclav Antonin Stamitz is promoted to first violinist at the Mannheim electoral court.

3 February
Giovanni Battista Sammartini stages his last opera,  L'Agrippina, moglie di Tiberio, at the Regio Ducal Teatro, Milan.

G. B. Sammartini - L´Agrippina moglie di Tiberio - Torbida notte intorno

23 March
George Frideric Handel directs the first London performance of Messiah at Covent Garden. During the Hallelujah Chorus King George II stands up, possibly greatly moved, or perhaps to relieve a stiff knee. The entire audience follows suit and so begins the long-running tradition. Unfortunately for Handel, many boycott his Sacred Oratorio for being performed in a playhouse; consequently it manages only two repeat performances.

George Frideric Handel suffers from another temporary 'paralytic disorder’.

18 February
George Frideric Handel's oratorio Samson, composed 1741, enjoys a victorious premiere at Covent Garden. The libretto, by Newburgh Hamilton, is largely an adaptation of Milton’s dramatic poem Samson Agonistes.

Georg Friedrich Händel - Samson HWV 57

19 February
Italian composer and cellist Luigi Boccherini is born in Lucca.

27 November
George Frideric Handel directs his ‘Dettingen’ Te Deum and anthem The King shall Rejoice at the Chapel Royal, in celebration of George II’s recent victory over the French at Dettingen, Bavaria.

G. F. Handel - Dettingen Te Deum, HWV 283

1.   Herr Gott, Dir sei Lob!  00:00
2.   Alle Welt verheret dich  04:06
3.   Dir singt der Engel reiner Chor 06:54
4.   Vor dir Cherubim und Seraphim 09:10
5.   Der hochgelobte Chor der Apostel 12:43
6.   Du bist der Ehren König 15:45
7.   Als du auf dich genommen 18:48
8.   Als du ziegreich zerbrachst 22:34
9.   Du sitzest zu der Rechten des Herrn 24:30
10. Nimm uns auf in deiner Heil'gen Zahl 29:39
11. Tag für Tag 31:11
12. Bewahr, o Herr  34:38
13. O Herr, auf dich steht mein Hoffen 36:26

Handel: The King Shall Rejoice, HWV 260



Johann Sebastian Bach finishes a second volume of 24 preludes and fugues, completing the Well-Tempered Clavier (first volume 1722).

Bach: well-tempered clavier, book 2 (BWV 878 - 893)

Carl Philippe Emanuel Bach publishes his Wurttemberg Sonatas, a collection of six harpsichord sonatas dedicated to his pupil Duke Carl Eugen of Wurttemberg. Together with the Prussian Sonatas (1742), the pieces demonstrate Carl Bach’s mastery of contrapuntal techniques, as well as his innovative approach to harmonic organisation and thematic development. He is one of the first composers of the period to explore the transf ormation of emotion in a single movement, bucking the Baroque ideal of the unity of expression (or affekt).

God save the king 

God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save The Queen!
Send her victorious
Happy and glorious
Long to reign over us
God save the Queen!

One realm of races four
Blest more and ever more
God save our land!
Home of the brave and free
Set in the silver sea
True nurse of chivalry
God save our land!

Of many a race and birth
From utmost ends of earth
God save us all!
Bid strife and hatred cease
Bid hope and joy increase
Spread universal peace
God save us all!

Carl Philippe Emanuel Bach publishes his Wurttemberg Sonatas, a collection of six harpsichord sonatas dedicated to his pupil Duke Carl Eugen of Wurttemberg. Together with the Prussian Sonatas (1742), the pieces demonstrate Carl Bach’s mastery of contrapuntal techniques, as well as his innovative approach to harmonic organisation and thematic development. He is one of the first composers of the period to explore the transf ormation of emotion in a single movement, bucking the Baroque ideal of the unity of expression (or affekt).

CPE Bach - Württemberg Sonatas Wq 49
1. Sonata No. 1 in A minor  0:00
2. Sonata No. 2 in A flat major  14:59
3. Sonata No. 3 in E minor  28:31
4. Sonata No. 4 in B flat major  41:26
5. Sonata No. 5 in E flat major  56:19
6. Sonata No. 6 in B minor  1:09:58

4 March
Jean-Joseph Cassanea de Mondonville becomes sous-maitre of the royal chapel in Paris.

29 June
Andre Campra, a leading composer of the French stage and church, dies in Versailles, aged 83.

Pietro Antonio Locatelli’s X sonate Op. 8, comprising solo and trio sonatas, is issued in Amsterdam and dedicated to Abraham Croock, a wealthy gunpowder merchant.

Pietro Antonio Locatelli - Violin Sonatas Opus 8

00:00:01 Violin Sonata Opus 8 No.1 in F major
00:10:09 Violin Sonata Opus 8 No.2 in D major
00:20:01 Violin Sonata Opus 8 No.3 in G minor 
00:29:43 Violin Sonata Opus 8 No.4 in C major
00:39:03 Violin Sonata Opus 8 No.5 in G major 
00:52:33 Violin Sonata Opus 8 No.6 in E flat major
01:06:27 Violin Sonata Opus 8 No.7 in A major
01:21:18 Violin Sonata Opus 8 No.8 in D major 
01:32:56 Violin Sonata Opus 8 No.9 in F minor
01:45:57 Violin Sonata Opus 8 No.10 in A major

Franz Xaver Richter blends Baroque and pre-Classical styles in two sets of 6 grandes simphonies (a 4), published in Paris.

Franz Xaver Richter - Sinfonia a Quattro in C minor

10 February
George Frideric Handel’s secular oratorio Semele, adapted from William Congreve's opera libretto of the same name, begins a run of only four performances at Covent Garden. Some of the public condemn it for not being proper opera, others for sullying the sacred nature of the oratorio. His next oratorio, Joseph, follows three weeks later and although not a success, it is better received.

George Frideric Handel - Semele HWV 58

"Prophetic Raptures Swell My Breast" from Händel's "Joseph and His Brethren"

Sweden’s foremost composer, Johan Helmich Roman, produces his orchestral suite Drottningholmsmusique for the Stockholm wedding celebrations of Adolphus Frederik and Louisa Ulrika of Prussia.

Johan Helmich Roman - Drottningholmsmusiken 

23 October
George Frideric Handel completes his oratorio Belshazzar, with text by Charles Jennens.

Georg Friedrich Händel - Belshazzar HWV 61

Belshazzar and the writing on the wall - Rembrandt

3 November
With Lord Middlesex’s opera company unable to mount a new season at the King’s Theatre, George Frideric 
moves in with his own oratorio subscription concerts. High-profile society members loyal to Middlesex boycott Handel’s season, which, with a string of revivals, struggles from the outset.


Niccolo Jommelli undertakes a short spell as musical director of the Ospedale degli Incurabili (Hospital for Incurables) in Venice. He leaves for Rome the following year.

20 February
Johann Peter Salomon, German composer, born.

Jean-Marie Leclair, for the last five years in service to the Duke of Gramont, issues his Six Violin Concertos Op. 10, in Paris.

Leclair - violin concerto op.10 no.6 in C major

23 February
Jean-Philipp Rameau’s La Princesse de Navarre, a comedie-ballet with libretto by Voltaire, is first performed for the marital celebrations of the Dauphin and the Infanta Maria Theresa of Spain, at Versailles.

Jean-Philippe Rameau La Princesse de Navarre

Jean-Jacques Rousseau stages excerpts of his newly-composed opera Les muses galantes at the house of La Poupliniere in Paris. Jean-Philippe Rameau, invited to witness and comment, in no uncertain terms charges the philosopher-composer with plagiarism. He also asserts that the opera has been composed partly by a learned musician—the 19-year-old Francais-Andre Danican Philidor—and partly ‘by an ignoramus who does not understand the first thing about music’.

Jean Jacques Rousseau - Les Muses Galantes - extraits

Johann Vaclav Antonin Stamitz, aged 28, is appointed Konzertmeister at Mannheim. Over the ensuing years he will elevate the Mannheim orchestra to the most famous and respected ensemble in Europe, renowned for its precision playing and lively dynamic contrasts and crescendos.

Georg Christoph Wagenseil’s first opera, Ariodante, is introduced in Venice.

31 March
Jean-Philipp Rameau's first comedie lyrique, Platee, is introduced at Versailles.

Rameau: Platée 

7 May
Composer Carl Philipp Stamitz, son of Johann Vaclav Antonin Stamitz, is born in Mannheim.

Late summer
Christoph Willibald Gluck arrives in London to take up the post of composer to the Kings Theatre, having achieved several years of operatic success in Italy. The theatre is closed at this time, however, due to the Jacobite rebellion raging in Scotland and the north of England. Gluck stays for one year.

George Frideric Handel’s oratorios Hercules and Belshazzar (1744), both completed the previous year, are introduced at the King’s Theatre with little success. The season of 24 planned subscription concerts peters out after 16 performances.

George Frideric Handel - `HERCULES` HWV 60

Thomas Augustine Arne attempts to write Italian-style comic opera with his inauspiciously entitled composition The Temple of Dullness. The opera quickly fails.

In Dresden, King Frederick II is thrilled by a newly-revised version of Johann Adolph Hasse's opera Arminio (1730). Delighted also with the part played by Hasses famous wife, Faustina Bordoni, the king requests the composers attendance each evening at court to direct musical performances. Hasse is later rewarded with a diamond ring and 1,000 thalers to share out among members of the orchestra.

23 December
Bohemian-born Jan Dismas Zelenka, long-serving church composer to the Dresden Court, dies aged 66.

25 December
Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, French composer, born.

Johann Peter Salomon

Johann Peter Salomon (20 February 1745 – 28 November 1815) was a German violinist, composer, conductor and musical impresario.

He was born in Bonn and was the second son of Philipp Salomon, an oboist at the court in Bonn.

At the age of thirteen, he became a violinist in the court orchestra and six years later became the concert master of the orchestra of Prince Heinrich of Prussia.
He moved to London in the early 1780s, where he worked as a composer and played violin both as a celebrated soloist and in a string quartet.
Salomon brought Joseph Haydn to London in 1791–92 and 1794–95, and together with Haydn led the first performances of many of the works that Haydn composed while in England.
Salomon died in London in 1815, of injuries suffered when he was thrown from his horse. He is buried in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey.

Carl Philipp Stamitz

Carl Stamitz, in full Carl Philipp Stamitz, (baptized May 8, 1745, Mannheim, Palatinate [Germany]—died Nov. 9, 1801, Jena, Saxony [Germany]), German composer of the last generation of Mannheim symphonists.


Stamitz was the son of Johann Stamitz, the founder of the Mannheim school. He played violin in the court orchestra at Mannheim in 1762 and was also a viola and viola d’amore player there, before leaving for Paris in 1770. He spent several years in Paris (with his brother Anton, also a violinist and composer), then toured widely as a virtuoso after 1777, spending time in England and The Hague, where on one occasion he shared the stage with then 12-year-old Beethoven. In 1794 he became conductor of the orchestra at Jena; even with this position and despite his continued activity as a composer, he was unable to pay off his debts before his death. As a composer, he was the most productive of the Stamitz family; he wrote a large number of instrumental works, including symphonies; concerti and concertante works; and quartets, trios, and sonatas.

Carl Stamitz wrote more than 50 symphonies, at least 38 symphonies concertantes and more than 60 concertos for violin, viola, viola d'amore, cello, clarinet, Basset horn, flute, bassoon and other instruments. He also wrote a large volume of chamber music. Some of the clarinet and viola concertos that Stamitz composed are considered to be among the finest available from the period.

During the period when he lived in Paris, Stamitz began to cooperate with the Bohemian born clarinet virtuoso Joseph Beer (1744-1811), which proved fruitful for both Stamitz and Beer. At least one of Stamitz's clarinet concertos (the concerto No. 6 in E-flat major) seems to have been composed jointly by the two men, as both of their names appear on the title page of the Viennese manuscript. Stamitz was the first composer to specify a left-hand pizzicato (an important virtuoso device) in a musical composition. This occurs in his Viola Concerto in D major, where the passage in question is designated by an "0" above the notes.

Stamitz's cello concertos were written for Frederick William II of Prussia, who was a gifted amateur musician: both Mozart and Beethoven wrote music for the king.

Carl Stamitz - Piano Concerto in F major

Carl Philipp Stamitz -  Flute Concerto in G Major

Carl Stamitz - Viola Concerto in D-major, Op.1

Carl Stamitz - Cello Concerto No.4 in C-major

Carl Stamitz - Clarinet Concertos nos.7, 8, 10, 11

Carl Stamitz - Clarinet & Basson Concertos Vol. 1 de 2

Stamitz - Symphony in D-major "La Chasse" (c. 1772)

Joseph Boulogne de Saint-Georges

Joseph Boulogne de Saint-Georges, (b. Baillif, Guadeloupe, December 25, 1745; d. Paris, June 9, 1799)


French swordsman, soldier of fortune, and composer. The son of a planter and an African slave, he was raised from the age of seven in France. More is known about his training as a swordsman than about his musical studies. He was 19 when he became a Gendarme de la Garde du Roi and acquired the title “Chevalier”; by the time he was 20 he was recognized as the finest fencer in France and the equal of any in Europe. Also an excellent violinist, in 1769 he was invited to join the Concert des Amateurs, then Paris’s finest orchestra, under the supervision of composer Francois-joseph Gossec (1734-1829). Saint-Georges became its concertmaster and, in 1773, its director. After the Amateurs was disbanded in 1781, he founded the Concert de la Loge Olympique. In 1784 or early 1785, acting as agent for the lodge’s grandmaster, the Count d’Ogny, he arranged the commissioning of Haydn’s six Paris Symphonies. Revolutionary politics and various diplomatic and military adventures kept Saint-Georges occupied during the 1790s; early in the decade he spent 18 months in prison on orders of Robespierre and later he helped quell a slave revolt in Santo Domingo.

Joseph Bologne - Violin Concertos

1. Op.VIII No.9 In G 0:00
2. Op.V No.2 In A 20:49
3. Op.V No.1 In C  42:56
4. Op.III No.1 In D  1:02:27

Joseph Bologne -Symphonies
1. Symphony concertante for 2 Violins, Op.6 no.1 in C major  0:00
2. Symphony concertante for 2 Violins, Op.6 no.2 in B flat major 15:11
3. Symphony concertante for 2 Violins, Op.9 no.1 in C major  39:56
4. Symphony concertante for 2 Violins, Op.9: no.2 in A major  54:06

 Joseph Boulogne  - Violin Concertos HQ

Johann Peter Salomon
Carl Philipp Stamitz
Joseph Boulogne

Jean-Étienne Liotard – The Chocolate Girl 

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