top of page

Baroque Era

In War of Austrian Succession, France defeats Austria and its allies at Raucoux, and conquers the Austrian 
Netherlands; Russia makes an alliance with Austria • French encyclopaedist Denis Diderot writes Philosophical Thoughts • Jean le Rond d’Alembert (Fr) develops theory of complex numbers
  • Samuel Johnson (Eng) begins his Dictionary of the English Language (completed 1755)

In the War of the Austrian Succession, British fleets defeat French fleets off Cape Finisterre, northwest Spain, and in the West Indies • The first clinic for venereal diseases is founded with the London Lock Hospital • James Lind (Scot) runs a pioneering clinical trial to establish that citrus fruits prevent scurvy • William Hogarth (Eng) draws Industry and Idleness • Charles Colie (Fr): comedy Truth in Wine • Voltaire (Fr): fictional philosophical tale Zadig • Samuel Richardson (Eng): Clarissa, or The History of a Young Lady
The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) ends the War of Austrian Succession: Pragmatic Sanction in Austria (the succession of Empress Maria Theresa) and right of Hanoverian succession in Britain is agreed by all parties  • British physician John Fother-gill describes diphtheria • Excavation begins on the site of Pompeii (It) • Philosopher David Hume (Scot):
Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding • French political philosopher Charles de Montesquieu publishes The Spirit of Laws, an entirely new approach to the study of social and political institutions • Tobias Smollett (Scot): novel The Adventures of Roderick Random
France and Britain manoeuvre for position in North America • Spain and Britain sign a commercial treaty
 • A sign language for deaf mutes is devised in Portugal • English philosopher and physician David Hartley publishes Observations on Man, his Fame, Duty, and Expectations • Henry Fielding (Eng): Tom Jones • Naturalist Georges de Buffon (Fr) publishes the first three volumes of his 44-volume Natural History
Britain joins Austria and Russia in a defensive alliance against Prussia • Britain gives up the Asiento, a monopoly of slave trade with the Spanish colonies • London’s first Westminster Bridge is completed •
Thomas Gainsborough - Mr and Mrs Andrews • Thomas Gray (Eng): Elegy in a Country Churchyard

Denis Diderot (5 October 1713 – 31 July 1784) was a French philosopher, art critic, and writer.



Johann Sebastian Bach publishes his six Schubler Chorales for organ, transcribed from earlier cantatas.

Johann Sebastian Bach - Schubler Chorales
1. Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr', BWV 771  0:00
2. Die Schubler Chprale Prelude BWV 645-650 17:20
3. Chorale Preludes BWV 730-740 36:14

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach resigns from his post at the Dresden Sophienkirche and takes up now employment as organist and musical director of the Liebfrauenkirche (Our Lady’s Church) in Halle.    

Neapolitan composer Francesco Durante writes his Requiem Mass in C minor. 

Francesco Durante - Requiem per soli, coro e orchestra in do minore

0:00 - I. Requiem     4:07 - I. Kyrie

Graduale     7:02 - I. Requiem aeternam

Tractus     9:54 - I. Absolve Domine

12:20 - I. Dies irae   13:45 - II. Tuba mirum
15:30 - III. Mors stupebit   17:37 - III. Quid sum miser
19:03 - IV. Recordare   19:43 - V. Quaerens me
21:19 - VI. Ingemisco   23:17 - VII. Preces meae
27:42 - VIII. Lacrimosa

31:35 - I. Domine Jesu   34:21 - II. Hostias

36:30 - I. Sanctus   39:20 - II. Benedictus

42:50 - I. Agnus Dei

45:46 - I. Lux aeterna   48:57 - II. Libera me, Domine
52:02 - III. Dies illa   53:26 - IV. Requiem aeternam

Francesco Geminiani, aged 58, issues his final set of Sonatas (Op. 5), comprising six violin sontatas and six cello sonatas, and his final collection of concerti grossi (Op. 7).

Francesco  Geminiani - Concerti grossi (da Corelli Op. 5)

Concerto n. 1 in re maggiore

Concerto n. 2 in si bemolle maggiore   10:05 

Concerto n. 3 in do maggiore   20:19

Concerto n. 4 in fa maggiore   30:23

Concerto n. 5 in sol minore   41:23

Concerto n. 6 in la maggiore   50:36

Concerto n. 7 in re minore   1:00:02

Concerto n. 8 in mi minore   1:09:02

Concerto n. 9 in la maggiore   1:20:10

Concerto n. 10 in fa maggiore   1:30:42

Concerto n. 11 in mi maggiore   1:41:18

Concerto n. 12 in re minore "La Follia" 1:49:44

Francesco Geminiani  - 6 Concerti grossi per 2 violini, viola, violoncello, archi e basso continuo Op. 7 (1746)

7 January
Christoph Willibald Gluck stages La caduta de’ giganti (The Fall of the Giants), his first London production, at the King’s Theatre. Incorporating much previously composed music, the opera panders to the London audience by allegorising the impending defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites. 

25 March
A charity concert featuring works by both George Frideric Handel and Christoph Willibald Gluck is given in London. Whether both composers attend is not recorded, although Handel’s opinion of Gluck is (by Charles Burney): ‘he knows no more of counterpoint than my cook, Waltz.’

End of March
Christoph Willibald Gluck demonstrates his glass-harp skills, performing in two concerts (one of these possibly the charity event above) ‘upon twenty-six drinking glasses, tuned with spring-water’ (General Advertiser, 31 March).

George Frideric Handel composes his oratorio Judas Maccabaeus. Prince Frederick of Wales has commissioned the work in celebration of the victory (led by his brother, the Duce of Cumberland) over the Jacobites at Culloden. Formerly antagonistic towards Handel, Prince Frederick now becomes an important royal patron.

Georg Friedrich Händel - JUDAS MACCABAEUS HWV 63
Oratorio in three acts by Thomas More


Morell's libretto is based on the deuterocanonical or apocryphal book 1 Maccabees (2–8), with motives added from the Antiquitates Judaicae by Flavius Josephus.

The events depicted in the oratorio are from the period 170–160 BC when Judea was ruled by the Seleucid Empire which undertook to destroy the Jewish religion. Being ordered to worship Zeus, many Jews obeyed under the threat of persecution; however, some did not. One who defied was the elderly priest Mattathias who killed a fellow Jew who was about to offer a pagan sacrifice. After tearing down a pagan altar, Mattathias retreated to the hills and gathered others who were willing to fight for their faith.

Handel's music depicts the changing moods of the Jewish people as their fortunes vary from dejection to jubilation.

Part 1
The people mourn the death of their leader Mattathias, but his son Simon tries to restore their faith and calls them to arms (Arm, arm, ye brave). Simon's brother, Judas Maccabaeus, assumes the role of leader and inspires the people with thoughts of liberty and victory through the power of Jehovah.

Part 2
The people have been victorious, but Judas is concerned that vanity will cause the people to claim victory for themselves. When news arrives that the Seleucid commander Gorgias is preparing to enact revenge, the people's joyous mood gives way to wailing and dejection (Ah! wretched Israel!). Again Judas rallies the people (Sound an alarm) and insists that the pagan altars must be destroyed and that false religions must be resisted.

Part 3
Victory has finally been achieved for the Jewish people (See, the Conqu’ring Hero Comes!). News arrives that Rome is willing to form an alliance with Judas against the Seleucid empire. The people rejoice that peace has at last come to their country (O lovely peace).

The Triumph Of Judas Maccabeus
Painting by Peter Paul Rubens

14 February
George Frideric Handel directs the  first performance of his Occasional Oratorio (An Occasional Oratorio (HWV 62), based upon a libretto by Newburgh Hamilton after the poetry of John Milton and Edmund Spenser)composed with new and recycled music, in patriotic celebration of the Jacobites’ retreat from England.

George Frideric Handel - Occasional Oratorio 

27 August
German composer Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer dies in Rastatt, aged 89.

15 October
Georg Christoph Wagenseil stages his opera La clemenza di Tito in Vienna. At the end of the year he also premieres Demetrio, in Florence.



Composer and virtuoso performer Jean-Baptiste Forqueray publishes Pieces de viole avec la basse continue, in Paris. Most of the 29 pieces are credited to his father, Antoine Forqueray (who died two years previously), with just three to himself. They are considered the most fiendishly difficult pieces of viol repertory.

Antoine & Jean-Baptiste Forqueray Suites for Viola da Gamba and B.c.
1-6 Première Suite 0:00
7-11 Deuxième Suite 25:50
12-19 Quatrième Suite 44:53

Johann Sebastian Bach visits his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach at the court of Frederick II in Berlin. During his stay, Bach performs improvised fugues to the court, including a ricercare based on a theme by the king. Flattered by royal praise, Bach later composes a series of keyboard and chamber works all based on the royal theme. The resulting Musikalisches Opfer (Musical Offering) is dedicated to the king with servile propriety: the most distinguished part of [the Musikalisches Opfer] is the work of your Majesty’s own illustrious hand’.

Bach - Musikalisches Opfer, BWV 1079 

Christoph Graupner indulges the timpanist in his courtly Sinfonia for two horns, timpani and strings. A blend of symphony and suite, it is one of over 100 works by the composer in the symphony or hybrid mould.

Georg Matthias Monn, composes his fashionable Violin Concerto in B flat major in Vienna. He appeals to the galant temperament with catchy tunes and harmonic clarity.

Matthias Georg Monn - Concerto for violin, strings & continuo in B flat major

Giuseppe Tartini’s Op. 4 and Op. 5, each containing six violin sonatas, are published in Paris.

Tartini - Solo Violin Sonatas

2 January
Jean-Fery Rebel, remembered mainly for his instrumental music, dies in Paris, aged 80.

George Frideric Handel composes the oratorios Joshua and Alexander Balus (1748).

George Frideric Handel - Joshua
1. Chorus: Ye sons of Israel 00:00
2. Aria (Achsah): Oh, who can tell, oh, who can hear 04:16
3. Aria (Achsah): Hark, 'tis the linnet and the thrush! 09:33
4. Aria (Joshua): Haste, Israel haste, your glitt'ring arms 
prepare! 15:29
5. Solemn March 18:09
6. Chorus: Glory to God! 20:03
7. Aria (Othniel): Heroes when with glory burning 25:49
8. Aria (Caleb): See, the raging flames arise 30:06
9. Chorus: Almighty ruler of the skies 33:31
10. Aria (Joshua) and chorus: With redoubled rage return 36:04
11. Aria (Joshua) and chorus: O thou bright orb, great ruler of the day 39:29
12. Aria (Caleb): Shall I in Mamre's fertile plain 42:35
13. Chorus: Father of mercy, hear the pray'r we make 45:31
14. Aria (Achsah): Happy, oh, thrice happy we 48:23
15. Chorus: See, the conqu'ring hero comes! 51:23
16. Aria (Achsah): Oh, had I Jubal's lyre 54:26
17. Duet (Achsah, Othniel): O peerless maid, with beauty blest  57:00
18. Chorus: The great Jehovah is our awful theme 01:00:00

29 June
The two-act serenata Le nozze d’Ercole e d’Ebe (The Marriage of Hercules and Hebe), with light Italianate music by Christoph Willibard Gluck, has its premiere at Pillnitz, near' Dresden. Gluck furnishes the first movement of his overture with music poached from a Giovanni Battista Sammartini symphony.

Gluck - Die Hochzeit von Herkules und Hebe: Sinfonia

28 January
Niccolo Jommelli's serious opera Didone abbandonata, to a libretto by Metastasio (first set 1724), opens at the Teatro Argentina in Rome. Jommelli, recently arrived from Venice, is widely known in court circles throughout the Italian peninsula and continues to field commissions from Naples, his native city.

Niccolò Jommelli - Didone abbandonata 1-3, 2-3, 3-3

15 March
Les fetes de l’Hymen et de l'Amour, an opera-ballet by Jean-Philippe Rameau, is first performed at Versailles for the wedding celebrations of the dauphin and his second wife, Maria-Josepha of Saxony. Around this time the composer also pens his virtuosic keyboard piece La Dauphine.

Jean Philippe Rameau - La Dauphine 

26 December
Baldassare Galuppi’s opera L’olimpiade opens with great success at the Teatro Regio Ducal in Milan. Pietro Metastasio’s libretto, set several times previously (first by Caldara in 1733), inspires some 50 different operas during the 18th centuiy. 

Galuppi - L'Olimpiade - 1, 2

Place: Ancient Greece
Time: During the Olympic Games
Act 1
Megacles arrives in Sicyon just in time to enter the Olympic Games under the name of Lycidas, a friend who once saved his life. Unknown to Megacles, Lycidas is in love with Aristaea, whose hand is to be offered to the winner of the games by her father, King Cleisthenes. Lycidas, once betrothed to Princess Argene of Crete, is unaware that Megacles and Aristaea already love each other, and he subsequently tells his friend of the prize. Aristaea and Megacles greet each other fondly, but Megacles now feels bound by his promise to compete as Lycidas. Meanwhile, Argene arrives in Olympia disguised as a shepherdess, to win back Lycidas.

Act 2
Megacles wins the games, confesses the truth to Aristaea and departs, broken-hearted. When Lycidas comes to claim her, Aristaea reproaches him, as does the disguised Argene, much to his dismay. Amyntas, tutor to Lycidas, reports that Megacles has drowned himself, and King Cleisthenes, apprised of the deception, banishes Lycidas.

Act 3
Argene prevents the desperate Aristaea from suicide, Megacles is rescued by a fisherman, and Lycidas contemplates the assassination of the king. Aristaea pleads mercy for Lycidas and Argene offers herself in his place; as proof that she is a princess, she shows Cleisthenes a chain given her by Lycidas. He recognizes it as belonging to his son, abandoned in infancy to forestall the prophecy that he would kill his father. Lycidas, reinstated, accepts Argene, leaving his sister to Megacles.

1 April
George Frideric Handel directs the premiere of Judas Maccabaeus (1746) at Covent Garden. Eager to witness the depiction of a heroic Jew on the London stage, a significant Jewish public bolsters attendance figures. The oratorios anti-Jacobite allegory, devised by Thomas Morell (1703-1784, librettist), secures the works immediate success.

9 July
Italian opera composer Giovanni Bononcini, former London rival of Handel, dies in Vienna, aged 76.



Johann Sebastian Bach revises The Art of Fugue. Composed in the early 1740s and comprising 12 fugues and two canons, the collection represents the apogee of Baroque fugal counterpoint. Bach continues the revision process into the following year, hampered by a debilitating eye disease.

Bach - The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080

In Holland Francois-Andre Danican Philidor writes L’analyze des echecs (Analysis of Chess). The French composer, who turns 22 this year, is one of Europe’s foremost chess players.

23 March
German composer, organist and theorist Johann Gottfried Walther dies in Weimar, aged 63.

Nicola Antonio Porpora is appointed Kapellmeister at Dresden. He assumes control only for two years, when he is diplaced by his rival, the more popular composer Johann Adolph Hasse.

Jean-Philippe Rameau’s nephew Jean-Frangois (1716-1777) insults the directors of the Paris Opera and lands himself in jail. Rameau, lacking avuncular benevolence, advises the authorities to deport his nephew to the colonies. The Secretary of State politely dismisses the composer’s request and releases the offender after three weeks.

John Stanley publishes his first set of  Ten Voluntarys (Op. 5) for organ.

John Stanley - Voluntary Op.5 n.1

Giuseppe Tartini’s Op. 6 and Op. 7, each containing six violin sonatas, are published in Paris.

Tartini - Six Sonatas for Violin and Cello or Harpsichord, Op 6

29 February
A genie falls in love with a mortal shepherdess in Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Zais, a pastorale-heroique boasting one of the composer’s most inventive overtures, premiered at the Paris Opera.

Jean-Philippe Rameau -  Zaïs - Pastorale héroïque - Overture

Georg Philipp Telemann presents his St Luke’s Passion (TWV 5:33) at Hamburg’s principal Lutheranchurches during Lent. It is one of his most inspired choral works.

Georg Philipp Telemann - «St Luke Passion»

20 April
Georg Michael TelemannGerman composer, born.

George Frideric Handel’s new oratorios Joshua (1747) and Alexander Balus fail to impress at Covent Garden. The composer writes the oratorios Solomon (1749) and Susanna over the summer.

George Frideric Handel - Alexander Balus

14 May
Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera Semiramide riconosciuta is first staged for the birthday celebrations of Empress Maria Theresa in Vienna. The opera, the composer’s first for Vienna, simultaneously inaugurates the recently renovated Burgtheater. Gluck enjoys spectacular success.

27 August
A sculptor falls in love with his own creation in Pigmalion, set as an acte de ballet (essentially a one-act opera) by Jean-Philippe Rameau and premiered with outstanding success at the Paris Opera.

J. Rameau - Opera Pigmalion 

25 November
Theologian Isaac Watts, considered the ‘Father of English Hymnody’, dies in Stoke Newington aged 74. Among his many classics are ‘Joy to the world’, ‘When I survey the wondrous cross’ and ‘Our God, our help in ages past’.

13 December
Carl Heinrich Graun presents Ifigenie in Aulide at the newly founded Berlin Opera. His employer, Frederick II, contributes to the libretto.

Georg Michael Telemann

Georg Michael Telemann (20 April 1748 – 4 March 1831) was a German composer and theologian. Telemann was born in Plön, the son of the local pastor Andreas Telemann (1715–1755) and his wife Augusta Clara Catharina Capsius. After the death of his father in 1755, he moved to Hamburg, where he was taken in and raised by his then 74 year old Grandfather Georg Philipp Telemann. In Hamburg, he attended the Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums, and from 1770, the Akademisches Gymnasium. On the death of his Grandfather in 1767, the 19 year old Georg Michael composed Trauer-Ode auf das betrübte Absterben meines Großvaters Herrn Georg Philipp Telemann, des Hamburgischen Musik-Chor-Direktors. He also filled his Grandfather's post as Cantor at the Johanneum and director of music in Hamburg's churches until March 1768, when Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was appointed.

From 1770 to 1772 he studied at the University of Kiel. In 1773, whilst still in Hamburg, he published a treatise on continuo playing, Unterricht im Generalbaß-Spielen.

In 1773, Georg Michael moved to Riga, where he was appointed as music director of the city churches and cantor at Riga Cathedral. As part of this job, he also directed the performance of 21 of his Grandfather's passions. He also taught at the cathedral school. In 1812, he published a collection of Chorale settings for organ entitled Sammlung alter und neuer Choral-Melodien and a year later took the position of organist at the cathedral. He retired in 1828 due to a deteriorating eye condition.
He died in Riga in 1831.

Georg Michael Telemann


Antonio Canaletto - Westminster Bridge

7 February
Musketeer-turned-composer Andre Cardinal Destouches dies in Paris, aged 76.

10 February
Susanna (HWV 66) is an oratorio by George Frideric Handel, in English. The libretto had been questionably attributed to Newburgh Hamilton but is now thought to have been penned by the poet/playwright Moses Mendes (d.1758). George Frideric Handel composed the music in the summer of 1748 and premiered the work the next season at Covent Garden theatre.

George Frideric Handel - Susanna (oratorio in three parts), HWV 66

17 March
George Frideric Handel’s new oratorio Solomon (including the sinfonia The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba) encounters public apathy at Covent Garden. As with his previous oratorio season, Handel’s purse is spared by successful revivals of earlier oratorios, including Messiah.

Georg Friedrich Händel - Solomon

25 August
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach 
completes his celebrated Magnificat.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach - Magnificat for 4 voices, chorus, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 3 trumpets, 2 horns, strings & continuo in D minor, H.772, Wq.215

01. Magnificat (Chorus)
02. Quia respexit (Soprano)
03. Quia fecit (Tenor)
04. Et misericordia eius (Chorus)
05. Fecit potentiam (Bass)
06. Deposuit potentes (Tenor, Alto)
07. Suscepit Israel (Alto)
08. Gloria (Chorus)
09. Sicut erat (Chorus)

Johann Sebastian Bach, virtually blind, has by now i completed the amalgamation and revision of one of the crowning works of classical music: the Mass in B minor (BWV232). For liturgical and practical reasons, it cannot be performed during either Lutheran or Catholic worship; it seems Bach has simply created the mass as a devotional work to God. It is the summation of his art and his swansong.

Bach - Mass in B minor (BWV232)
0:00:07 - Kyrie eleison
0:10:33 - Christe eleison
0:15:20 - Kyrie eleison
0:19:06 - Gloria in excelsis Deo
0:25:35 - Laudamus te
0:29:40 - Gratias agimus tibi

21 April
Around 12,000 people attend the rehearsal of George Frideric Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks at Vauxhall Gardens in London. The event causes one of the first recorded traffic jams in the city, with carriages held up on London Bridge for three hours.

Handel - Music for the Royal Fireworks

27 April
A huge celebration of the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748) takes place in Green Park, London. George Frideric Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, commissioned for the event, receives its official premiere. However, after a kingly salute of 101 brass cannons, the fireworks fail to perform as planned. A wing of the massive stage and set catches fire and, according to one source, two spectators are trampled to death in the ensuing panic.

Franz Joseph Haydn resigns as chorister at St Stephens (in Vienna) to avoid punishment following disorderly behaviour, having cut off another student s pigtail. The Kapellmeister accepts the 17-year-olds resignation, but decides to cane him anyway.

5 December
Jean-Philippe Rameau stages the first version of his tragedy Zoroastre at the Paris Opera.

Rameau - Zoroastre 
Acte I

Acte II   00:27:12

Acte III   01:08:04 

Acte IV   01:38:51

Acte V   02:03:50

27 May
George Frideric Handel directs his Fireworks Music and other pieces for the benefit of the Foundling Hospital. He will later be appointed to the governing body of the charity.

15 June
German theorist and composer
Georg Joseph Vogler is born in Wurzburg.

17 December
Italian composer Domenico Cimarosa is born in Aversa.

Georg Joseph Vogler

Georg Joseph Vogler, also known as Abbé Vogler (June 15, 1749 – May 6, 1814), was a German composer, organist, teacher and theorist. 

His greatest successes came as performer and designer for the organ at various courts and cities around Europe, as well as a teacher, attracting highly successful and devoted pupils such as Carl Maria von Weber. His career as a music theorist and composer however was mixed, with contemporaries such as Mozart believing Vogler to have been a charlatan. Despite his mixed reception in his own life, his highly-original contributions in many areas of music (particularly musicology and organ theory) and influence on his pupils endured, and combined with his eccentric and adventurous career, prompted one historian to summarize Vogler as "one of the most bizarre characters in the history of music".

He continued to work hard in old age, and died suddenly of apoplexy at Darmstadt.

Georg Joseph Vogler - Symphony in D-minor (1782)

Georg Joseph Vogler - Requiem in E-flat major


Sequenz  12:17 

Offertorium   27:27

Sanctus   31:56

Agnus Dei   42:44

Libera Me   48:28

Georg Joseph Vogler


Franz Joseph Haydn, aged 17, begins the year jobless, penniless, and with no real expertise in composition or performance. He survives in Vienna largely on the generosity of others.

Franz Joseph Haydn finds lodging in a dark, dank garret under the Michaelerhaus in Vienna. Residents of the Michaelerhaus itself include the Dowager Princess Maria Octavia Esterhazy and her sons, Paul Anton and Nicolaus (with whom Haydn wall later gain historic employment), and the renowned poet and librettist Pietro Metastasio.

29 January
Baldassare Galuppi and librettist Carlo Goldoni present Il mondo della luna (The World on the Moon), a dramma giocoso, at Venice’s Teatro San Moise.

Galuppi - Il mondo della luna

Carlo Osvaldo Goldoni (25 February 1707 – 6 February 1793) was an Italian playwright and librettist from the Republic of Venice.

His works include some of Italy's most famous and best-loved plays. Audiences have admired the plays of Goldoni for their ingenious mix of wit and honesty. His plays offered his contemporaries images of themselves, often dramatizing the lives, values, and conflicts of the emerging middle classes. Though he wrote in French and Italian, his plays make rich use of the Venetian language, regional vernacular, and colloquialisms. Goldoni also wrote under the pen name and title "Polisseno Fegeio, Pastor Arcade," which he claimed in his memoirs the "Arcadians of Rome" bestowed on him

20 July
Johann Sebastian Bach suffers a stroke. Two days later he takes his last communion at home.

28 July
Johann Sebastian Bach dies in Leipzig, aged 65.

His wife, Anna Magdalena, and nine children from two marriages survive him.

His youngest son, Johann Christian Bach, moves to Berlin a few months later to live with his half-brother Carl Philipp Emannuel Bach.

16 March
George Frideric Handel's new oratorio Theodora, with libretto by Morell, struggles to pull in the crowds at Covent Carden. A loyal supporter offers to buy up all the box seats to fund another performance, but Handel knows he is onto a loser, remarking ‘The Jews will not come to it ... because it is a Christian story, and the Ladies will not come because it is a virtuous one’. None of Handel’s new oratorios since Judas Maccahaeus (1747) have achieved any success.

George Frideric Handel - Theodora 

George Frideric Handel makes his final trip to Germany, visiting relatives and friends.

18 August
Composer and teacher Antonio Salieri is born in Legnago.

3 October
Matthias Georg Monn, pioneering Austrian symphonist, dies in Vienna aged 33.

Johann Sebastian Bach’s eyes are twice operated on by the English oculist John Taylor, but with no success. His general health declines rapidly, possibly due to harmful medicines, perhaps also due to the advancing complications of diabetes.

16 October
Silvius Leopold Weiss, German composer and foremost lutenist of the late Baroque, dies in Dresden aged 64.

1 May
George Frideric Handel directs a charity performance of Messiah for the Foundling Hospital. A thousand people flock to the concert given at the hospital chapel, and a similar number are turned away at the door. Handel compensates with a second performance two weeks later. From this time he presents Messiah once a year for the charity, raising over £500 with each event.

Antonio Salieri

Antonio Salieri (18 August 1750 – 7 May 1825) was an Italian classical composer, conductor, and teacher. He was born in Legnago, south of Verona, in the Republic of Venice, and spent his adult life and career as a subject of the Habsburg Monarchy.


He studied violin and X keyboard in his native town, continuing his musical education in Venice after the deaths of his parents around 1765. He became a protege of the composer Florian Leopold Gassmann (1729-74), who brought him to Vienna, taught him composition, and introduced him to such important figures in the musical life of the Hapsburg capital as Metastasio, Gluck, and Emperor Joseph II; the music-loving monarch became one of his most enthusiastic supporters. Following several successful efforts in the comic vein, Salieri made his name as a composer of opera seria with Armida, which met with resounding acclaim at its Vienna premiere in 1771. In 1774 Salieri succeeded Gassmann as court composer and became head of the Italian opera in Vienna. In 1788 he became court Kapellmeister, a title he held until his retirement in 1824. Thanks to his talent and connections, Salieri also enjoyed considerable success in Paris during the 1780s. With the support of Gluck and the emperor (whose sister was Marie Antoinette), Salieri undertook the composition of Les Danaides, a five-act tragedie lyrique, and presided over its premiere at the Paris Opera in 1784. That led to the commission for Tarare, with a libretto by Beaumarchais, which was an even greater hit at its premiere in 1787. Following Salieri’s return to Vienna, Joseph commissioned an Italian version of Tarare, titled Axur, re d’Ormus, with a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte; it received its premiere in 1788 and by 1805 had been performed more than 100 times in Vienna. None of Salieri’s subsequent efforts enjoyed that degree of popularity, but he continued to produce works for the Viennese stage until 1804 and composed a good deal of sacred music after that.

At the time Salieri was active, the vast difference in quality between his best work and Mozart’s best work was not as apparent as it is today. Salieri’s music was rightly admired: It appealed to the tastes of the day, was easily assimilated, and made few demands. As one of the most highly placed musicians in in Vienna during Mozart’s ten years there (1781-91), Salieri almost certainly aroused more envy in Mozart than Mozart did in him; indeed, the Italian could afford to be, and often was, generous in the praise of his younger colleague’s music. In 1789 he arranged for the first performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet and, in April 1791, he may well have conducted the Vienna premiere of one of Mozart’s last symphonies—most likely No. 39 or 40—for it is known that a “grand symphony” by Mozart was played under Salieri’s direction by an orchestra that included the brother clarinetists Anton and Johann Stadler.

It is not known how the rumor originated that Salieri poisoned Mozart, though Mozart’s own son dismissed it as false in 1829.

That did not keep Pushkin from embracing the notion in his verse play Mozart and Salieri (1830) or Peter Shaffer from embellishing it still further in Amadeus (1984).

In his later years Salieri devoted much of his time to teaching, passing along what he had learned about counterpoint, theory, and Italian vocal style to younger musicians, among them Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt.

Antonio Salieri - Ouvertures

1 Antonio Salieri - La Secchia Rapita 00:00
2 Antonio Salieri - Les Danaides 05:39
3 Antonio Salieri - Palmira Regina di Persia 11:24
4 Antonio Salieri - La Fiera di Venezia 15:06
5 Antonio Salieri - Axur Re D'Ormus 18:42
6 Antonio Salieri - La Grotta di Trofonio 21:47
7 Antonio Salieri - Ouverture in Re Maggiore 28:00
8 Antonio Salieri - Europa Riconosciuta 33:45
9 Antonio Salieri - Variazioni sulla Follia 37:47

Salieri "Requiem"

Antonio Salieri - Sinfonia Veneziana

Antonio Salieri - Emperor mass in D-major (1788)

Antonio Salieri - Les Danaïdes

Antonio Salieri - Tarare  (1787)

Antonio Salieri - L'Europa Riconosciuta  (1778)

Salieri - La locandiera

Salieri - 26 variazioni sul tema "la follia di Spagna"

Thomas Gainsborough - Mr and Mrs Andrews

Antonio Salieri
Carlo Goldoni
bottom of page