Classical Era
 

1756-1757-1758-1759-1760

1756
Seven Years’ War started by colonial rivalry: Britain declares war on France; Friedrich II of Prussia attacks Saxony • In India, the Nawab of Bengal captures Calcutta and locks 146 British captives in a small room, the notorious ‘Black Hole’: many die • Voltaire (Fr): Poem on the Lisbon Disaster, attacking the idea of benign providence • Bartolomeo Rastrelli presents the newly built Catherine Palace to Empress Elizabeth and her courtiers in Russia •
François Boucher - Madame de Pompadour 
1757

In the Seven Years’ War a British force capitulates at Kloster-Zeven; French occupy Hanover • Russia and Sweden join the Austro-French alliance against Prussia and Britain • British army under Robert Clive defeats Nawab of Bengal; British rule established in India • David Hume (Scot): The Natural History of Religion 
1758
Seven Years’ War continues • Britain captures French Senegalese possessions • In India, Robert Clive (UK) becomes Governor of Bengal •
Denis Diderot (Fr): The Father of the Family • Claude Helvetius (Fr) in De l'Esprit claims enlightened self-interest is the mainspring of human conduct
1759

In the Seven Years’ War, French are defeated at Minden (Ger); Russians and Austrians inflict a major defeat on Prussians at Kunersdorf (Pol) • British forces capture Quebec City from the French • Jesuits expelled from Portugal • Philosopher-economist Adam Smith (Scot): Theory of Moral Sentiments
1760
British king George II dies; is succeeded by his grandson, George III • In Seven Years’ War, Prussians defeat Austrians at the Battle of Leignitz; Russians burn Berlin; a Prussian army defeats Austrians at the Battle of Torgau • In North America, British capture Montreal from the French, marking the virtual end of French power in Canada • In India, British troops defeat a combined French and Indian force at Wandiwash; Robert Clive returns to England and enters parliament • Scientist and statesman Benjamin Franklin (N Amer) invents bifocals  
• Laurence Sterne (Ire): novel Tristam Shandy, first two volumes
 

Adam Smith (16 June 1723 NS (5 June 1723 OS) – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher and author as well as a moral philosopher, a pioneer of political economy and a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment era. Smith is best known for two classic works: The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). The latter, usually abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics.

 

1756

The celebrated mezzo-soprano castrato Caffarelli (Gaetano Majorano (12 April 1710 – 31 January 1783) was an Italian castrato and opera singer, who performed under the stage name Caffarelli) retires from the stage at the age of 46, having amassed a substantial fortune.

February
Christoph Willibald Gluck is made a papal Knight of the Golden Spur.

Francois-Joseph Gossec publishes his first set of six symphonies (Op. 3) in Paris. Inspired by Johann Antonin Stamitz each symphony is written in three movements for strings alone. Three further sets of symphonies, Opp. 4-6, are published over the next six years.

Leopold Mozart composes the earliest known Trombone Concerto. This year also marks the publication of his famous violin treatise, Versuch einer grundlichen Violinschule.

Leopold Mozart - Trumpet Concerto In D Major

16 February
Johann Adolph Hasse's opera L’Olimpiade, on a popular libretto by Pietro Metastasio, premieres at Dresden.

Johann Adolf Hasse, L'Olimpiade, Siam navi all'onde algenti

10 April
Giacomo Antonio Perti dies in Bologna, aged 94. For the last 60 years he has served as maestro di cappella of San Petronio.

Six symphonies by Georg Christoph Wagenseil are published in Paris as his Op. 2.

Wagenseil - Symphony in G major, WV 413

12 May
With a heavy heart Franz Joseph Haydn directs his own music during a ceremony in which the woman he loves, Therese Keller, takes the veil.

27 January
Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is born in Salzburg. He is the seventh but only second surviving child of Leopold Mozart and Maria Anna Mozart.

see more...                  see also: complete works

30 July
In Naples Niccolo Piccinni, aged 28, marries his singing pupil Vincenza Sibilla, aged 14. The composer's first opera seria (following three comedies), Zenobia, opens at the Teatro San Carlo in December.

"Lasciami, o ciel pietoso" - Texto de Pietro Metastasio e música de Nicola Piccinni, ópera "Zenobia", ato I / cena VI.

 

1757

Around this time Franz Joseph Haydn writes his Divertimenti a Quattro, representing some of the earliest string quartets. A number of the pieces are played at a musical gathering at Baron von Furnberg’s residence in Weinzierl, where the performers include Haydn and the 21-year-old Johann Albrechtsberger (both future teachers of Beethoven).

Haydn - Divertimento in G-major

Haydn - String Quartets Op.1 - No. 1, 2 , 3 and 4

27 March
Pioneering Czech composer and violinist Johann Vaclav Antonin  Stamitz dies in Mannheim, aged 39.

This same month sees the publication of his six Op. 2 symphonies, demonstrating the four-movement plan that he has done much to establish in recent years (fast-slow-minuet and trio-fast finale).

Jan Václav Stamic (Johann Stamitz) Sinfonia in D major Melodia Germanica

1. Presto
2. Andante non adagio 
3. Menuetto
4. Prestissimo

Around this time Franz Joseph Haydn pens his Symphony No. 1 in D major, scored for two oboes, two horns and strings.

F.J. Haydn - Hob I:1 - Symphony No. 1 in D major

15 May
Kapellmeister Carl Heinrich Graun introduces his Te Deum at St Peters Church in Berlin in celebration of the recent Prussian victory over the Austrians at the Battle of Prague (Seven Years’ War), 6 May.

C.H. Graun - Te Deum laudamus

Niccolo Jommelli sets Pietro Metastasio's Temistocle (1736) for Naples.

Niccolò Jommelli - Temistocle (Napoli, Teatro San Carlo, 1757) - "Serberò fra ceppi ancora" (Temistocle)

18 June 
Ignaz Pleyel, Austrian composer, born.

11 March
George Frideric Handel’s revised oratorio The Triumph of Time and Truth (1737) receives the first of four performances to a packed house at Londons Covent Garden.

The Triumph of Time and Truth is the final name of an oratorio by George Frideric Handel produced in three different versions across fifty years of the composer’s career:
Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (The Triumph of Time and Delusion), HWV 46a
Handel’s very first oratorio, composed in spring 1707, to an Italian-language libretto by Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili. Time and Delusion are personified (thus spelled with an initial capital even in Italian). Comprising two sections, the oratorio was premiered that summer in Rome. One of its famous arias is Lascia la spina, cogli la rosa (Leave the Thorn, Take the Rose), later recast as Lascia ch’io pianga (Leave Me to Weep) in the opera Rinaldo.

Il trionfo del Tempo e della Verità (The Triumph of Time and Truth), HWV 46b
Revised and expanded into three sections in March 1737, the work also had its name adjusted. Handel was by that time living in England and producing seasons of English-language oratorio and Italian opera. This version premiered on March 23, received three more performances the next month, and was revived on one date in 1739.

The Triumph of Time and Truth, HWV 71
In March 1757, possibly without much involvement from the blind and aging Handel, the oratorio was further expanded and revised. The libretto was reworked into English, probably by the composer’s prolific last librettist, Thomas Morell, while John Christopher Smith Jr. probably assembled the score. Although Jephtha (1751) is considered the composer’s true last oratorio, this third version of Il trionfo comes later. Isabella Young sang the role of Counsel (Truth) at the premiere.

23 July
Italian composer and keyboard virtuoso Domenico Scarlatti dies in Madrid, aged 71, having just overseen the compilation and copying of his 13th set of 30 keyboard sonatas.

26 July
Egidio Duni and librettist Louis Anseaume 
launch their collaborative partnership with Le peintre amoureux de son modele at the Foire St Laurent, Paris. The work immediately becomes a leading example of opera comique.

Egidio Duni, Le Peintre amoureux de son modèle [The Painter in Love with his Model], extract

Ignaz Pleyel
 

(b. Ruppersthal, June 18, 1757; d. Paris, November 14, 1831)

Austrian composer, music publisher, and pianoforte maker. The child of a schoolmaster, he was taken to Vienna, where he received his early musical education from Johann Baptist Vanhal. Count Erdody became Pleyel’s patron and sent him to study composition with Joseph Haydn, who later referred to him as his “dearest and most efficient pupil.”













Pleyel spent a couple of years in Italy at the beginning of the 1780s, and in 1784 he accepted a position in Strasbourg as assistant Kapellmeister at the cathedral, becoming Kapellmeister in 1789. Late in 1791, jobless as a result of the French Revolution, he arrived in London as conductor of the Professional Concert and found himself, much to his surprise, in competition with his old master Haydn, who was being presented at the same time by Johann Peter Salomon. Haydn maintained much affection for his former pupil, and wrote from London, “We are often together, and it does him honor to find that he knows the worth of his old father. We shall each take our share of success, and go home satisfied.”

 

Pleyel’s return to France the following year was rather ill timed; according to some sources he was declared an enemy of the Republic, though eventually he managed to clear himself of the charges by writing, while under arrest, a humdrum patriotic hymn. He settled in Paris in 1795, establishing himself as a music seller and later as a publisher; in 1802 his firm issued the first “miniature” scores ever published. Ever the entrepreneur, he secured in 1801 the first publication rights to all of Haydn’s quartets written to date. By this time Pleyel’s own work as a composer was largely finished. During the 1780s and 1790s, he produced a prodigious number of symphonies, concertos, and chamber pieces, especially string quartets and piano trios. His early works showed much taste and craft, but many of his compositions from about 1792 on exhibit an overly derivative style with little substance or imagination.
 

In 1807 Pleyel established his pianoforte factory, an enterprise that carried his name well beyond his death; his son, Camille, continued what became a highly successful business. Pleyel pianos were known for their silvery, singing quality and light touch. They were the preferred piano of Chopin, who made his Paris debut in the Pleyel rooms. The company continued to make instruments under its own name well into the 20th century.

Ignaz Pleyel - Piano Works

Rondo Favorit in E-flat major, Ben 613 - [0:00]

Sonatina in E-flat major, Ben 579 - [3:23]

Sonatina in D major, Ben 578 - [7:46]

Sonata in G major, Ben 572 - [12:30]

Sonata in B-flat major, Ben 571 - [22:23]

Sonata in D major, Ben 43 - [34:31]

Andante from Sonatina in B-flat major, Ben 577 - [48:06]

Rondo Favorit in A major, Ben 114 - [50:29]

Ignaz Pleyel - Violin concerto in D major

Ignaz Pleyel - Symphony in D-minor, B147 (1791)

Ignaz Pleyel - String Quartet in C Major Op. 2 No. 2 - I Allegro Moderato

Ignaz Pleyel String Quartet in C Major Op. 2 No. 2 - II. Adagio Cantabile

Ignaz Pleyel String Quartet in C Major Op. 2 No. 2 - III. Finale: Allegro

 
 

1758

Although blind, George Frideric Handel presses on with a successful season of oratorio revivals, many of which include new arias composed with the assistance of John Christopher Smith (Jnr).

Summer
George Frideric Handel endures another ineffectual eye operation, this time under the scalpel of John Taylor, the same oculist who unsuccessfully treated Johann Sebastian Bach.

21 January
Niccolo Piccinni’s first commission from Rome, the opera Alessandro nelle Indie, premieres at the Teatro Argentina. This year the composer pens three more operas for Naples, as well as his oratorio La morte di Abele (The death of Abel).

Niccolo Piccinni - "Se il ciel mi divide" Alessandro nelle Indie (1758)

14 March
Jean-Joseph Cassanea de Mondonville's oratorio Les Israelites a la Montagne d’Horeb is first performed at the Concert Spirituel in Paris.

Jean-Joseph de Mondoville - Grand Motet: "In exitu Israël" (1753)

Summer
With the Seven Years’ War (1756-63) raging, Carl Philipp Emannuel Bach leaves Berlin with his family to avoid the advancing Russian army. They stay with friends in Zerbst for several months. This year sees the completion of Bach’s Geistliche Oden und Lieder mit Melodien (Spiritual odes and songs with melodies), based on poems by his renowned friend Christian Gellert.
(Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (4 July 1715 – 13 December 1769) was a German poet, one of the forerunners of the golden age of German literature).

C.P.E. Bach - Bußlied (aus Gellert-Oden, 1758)

20 November
Leading Swedish composer Johan Helmich Roman dies near Kalmar, aged 68.

 

1759

6 simphonies by Franz Xaver Richter are published as his Op. 2 in Amsterdam.

František Xaver Richter Symphony in C major

Franz Xaver Richter. Sinfonia a Quattro in C major 'La Melodia Germanica'

František (Franz) Xaver Richter Sinfonia con Fuga in G minor

Franz Xaver Richter - Symphony No.53 in D-major "Trumpet"

Franz Xaver Richter. Sinfonia a Quattro in G major

Franz Xaver Richter. Sinfonia A Quattro In C Minor

9 February
The impresario G-B Locatelli brings comic opera to Moscow, with Baldassare Galuppi's recent hit La calamita de’ cuori (The Calamity of Hearts, 1752).

April
George Frideric Handel directs his last concert, a triumphant performance of Messiah (1742), at Covent Garden. With failing health he is hereafter confined to his bed.

14 April
George Frideric Handel dies in London, aged 74. Although impoverished at various stages of his life, he leaves a sizeable estate worth £20,000. Six days later he is buried in Westminster Abbey with some 3000 people in attendance.

7 July
Thomas Augustine Arne receives a doctorate from Oxford University. Later this year he produces a revised and very successful version of Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera at Covent Garden.

Johann Joachim Quantz's Sei duetti a due flauti traversi (Six duets for transverse flute), Op. 2, is published in Berlin. The 62-year-old composer continues to teach flute to King Frederick of Prussia and direct concerts at court.

J.J.Quantz - 6 Duets for 2 Flutes

1.Sonata No.1 G dur  0:00

2.Sonata No.2 a moll 7:31

3.Sonata No.3. h moll 16:17

4.Sonata No.4 C dur 25:32

5.Sonata No.5 D dur 34:26

6.Sonata No.6 e moll 43:44

8 August
Composer Carl Heinrich Graun dies in Berlin, aged about 55.

3 October
Christoph Willibald Gluck’s one-act opera L’Arbre enchante is introduced at the Schonbrunn Schlosstheater in Vienna.

27 November 
František Vincenc KrommerCzech composer, born.

 

Franz Krommer

František Vincenc Krommer (27 November 1759 in Kamenice – 8 January 1831 in Vienna) was a Czech composer of classical music and violinist. His 71-year life span began half a year after the death of George Frideric Handel and ended nearly four years after that of Ludwig van Beethoven.












The main events of his life were as follows:

From 1773 to 1776, he studied violin and organ with his uncle, Antonín Mattias Kramár, in Turany. Here he became organist along with his uncle in 1777. In 1785 he returned to Vienna as violinist in the orchestra of the duke of Styria, now in Simontornya in Hungary.
In 1790, Krommer was named Maestro di Cappella at the Cathedral of Pécs, Hungary. He returned again to Vienna in 1795, becoming Maestro di Cappella for Duke Ignaz Fuchs in 1798.
From 1813 until his death in 1831, Krommer succeeded Leopold Kozeluch as composer for the Imperial Court of Austria.
He may have been Kapellmeister as early as 1814.

Franz Krommer: Concerto in F Major Op. 37 for Oboe & Orchestra
Ingo Goritzki, Oboe
Polish Chamber Philharmonic
Wojciech Rajski, Conductor​

František Krommer - Clarinet Concerto Op. 36 (1803)
David Glazer, clarinet
Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn conducted Jörg Faerber

Franz Krommer - Concerto for two clarinets in E-flat major, op.35
Filarmonica "Paul Constantinescu" Ploiesti
Dirijor: Ovidiu Balan, Clarinet: Mihai Ailenei

 

1760

Johann Christian Bach becomes second organist at Milan cathedral. He converts to Catholicism in order to increase his employment opportunities in Italy.

The 17-year-old Luigi Boccherini, already gaining fame as a virtuoso cellist, composes his first significant pieces, the Six String Trios Op. 1 (published 1767 as Op. 2).

 

Boccherini: String Quartets Op. 2, Nos. 1-6

Francois-Joseph Gossec composes his Missa pro defunctis, later published as Messe des morts (1780).

François-Joseph Gossec - Missa Pro Defunctis (Messe des morts)

John Mainwarings biography of  George Frideric Handel, Memoirs of the Life of the Late George Frederic Handel, is published anonymously in London. It is the first exclusive biography of a composer.

22 February
Anna Magdalena Bach, second wife of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750), dies poverty stricken in Leipzig, with only her daughters having remained loyal to her.
 

Anna Magdalena Bach (née Wilcke or Wilcken) (22 September 1701 – 22 February 1760) was an accomplished singer. Bach married Anna on December 3, 1721, 17 months after the death of his first wife, Maria Barbara Bach. 

Together they raised the children from his first marriage and had 13 children of their own from 1723 to 1742, seven of whom died at a young age:

Christiana Sophia Henrietta (1723–1726)
Gottfried Heinrich (1724–1763)
Christian Gottlieb (1725–1728)
Elisabeth Juliana Friederica, called "Liesgen" (1726–1781), married to Bach's pupil, Johann Christoph Altnickol
Ernestus Andreas (1727–1727)
Regina Johanna (1728–1733)
Christiana Benedicta (1729–1730)
Christiana Dorothea (1731–1732)
Johann Christoph Friedrich, the 'Bückeburg' Bach (1732–1795)
Johann August Abraham (1733–1733)
Johann Christian, the 'London' Bach (1735–1782)
Johanna Carolina (1737–1781)
Regina Susanna (1742–1809)

The title page to Singende Muse an der Pleiße, a collection of strophic songs published in Leipzig in 1736, by Johann Sigismund Scholze. It has been suggested that the two people shown may be Bach and his wife Anna Magdalena

Composer John Stanley and John Christopher Smith form a partnership to continue Handel's tradition of oratorio performances at London’s Covent Garden. Clinically blind from the age of two, Stanley has developed a formidable musical memory: he is reputably able to perform the organ continuo part to an entire oratorio after just one hearing.

10 May
German composer Christoph Graupner
 dies in Darmstadt, aged 77. Extremely prolific, he is now best-known for his orchestral music and sacred cantatas.

Georg Chrisnoph Wagenseil has Six Symphonies (Op. 3) published in Paris. A steady stream of his orchestral works are printed in the French capital, gaining the Vienna-based composer international standing.

Georg Christoph Wagenseil. Symphony in G major, WV 413

Georg Christoph Wagenseil - WV418 Symphony In G Minor

Georg Christoph Wagenseil. Symphony in B flat major, WV 438

Georg Christoph Wagenseil - WV441 Symphony In Bb Major

Georg Christoph Wagenseil. Symphony in D major (WV 374, D10)

Georg Christoph Wagenseil. Symphony in C major, WV 351

July
The armies of Frederick II blast Dresden and with it Johann Adolph Hasse's house, destroying many manuscripts ready for publication.

September
Composer Luigi Cherubini is born in Florence, possibly on the 8th day of the month.

11 November
William Boyce's anthem The souls of the righteous is first performed at the funeral of George II. This year has seen the publication of the composer’s Eight Symphonies, Op. 2, whose music derives from overtures to earlier dramatic works.

William Boyce - Symphonies
01. Symphony no 1. in B flat major 00:00
02. Symphony no 3 in C major 07:36
03. Symphony no 7 in B flat major 13:50
04. Symphony no 4 in F major 23:52
05. Symphony no 5 in D major 30:22
06. Symphony no 2 in A major 38:24
07. Symphony no 6 in F major 44:28
08. Symphony no 8 in D minor 51:07

6 February
Niccolo Piccinni’s comic opera La buona figliuola (The Accomplished Maid) goes down a storm at the Teatro delle Dame in Rome. Based on Samuel Richardsons Pamela, the work rapidly becomes a Europe-wide sensation.

Niccolò Piccinni - La buona figliuola, or La Cecchina 
 

Synopsis
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.

26 November
Franz Joseph Haydn marries Maria Keller, the elder sister of his former love, Therese. It is possible that the composer has entered into the marriage out of a sense of duty to Maria’s father, who has shown him much kindness and generosity over recent years. The marriage will be a childless and unhappy one.

28 November
Thomas Augustine Arne scores a hit with his Italian-style comic opera Thomas and Sally at Covent Garden. He is the first English-born composer to succeed with the genre. Set in a light galant style, the opera introduces the clarinet into English orchestral music.

Sally's arias from Thomas Arne's "Thomas and Sally"

12 February
Czech composer and pianist Jan Ladislav Dussek is born in Caslav.

15 February
Jean-François Le Sueur,  French composer, born.

25 December
Georg Philipp Telemann’s Christmas Cantata Auf Zion! is first performed in Hamburg.

Telemann - CANTATA `AUF ZION! UND LASS IN GEHEILGTEN HALLEN` 

Jan Ladislav Dussek

Jan Ladislav Dussek, Dussek also spelled Dušek or Dusik, (born Feb. 12, 1760, Čáslav, Bohemia [now in Czech Republic]—died March 20, 1812, St. Germain-en-Laye, France), Bohemian pianist and composer, best known for his piano and chamber music.










 


The son of a cathedral organist, Dussek studied music with his father and showed great skill as a pianist and organist at an early age. He sang in the choir at Iglau (Jihlava) and later studied theology at Prague. After working as an organist, in about 1779 or 1780 he began to perform as a virtuoso pianist, most notably in the Netherlands, where he attained a great reputation and wrote a large number of “accompanied sonatas” for pianoforte and strings. In Hamburg in 1782 he studied under C.P.E. Bach. He subsequently toured as a pianist, performing in St. Petersburg, Berlin, Paris, and Italy. He made a successful debut in 1789 in London, where he established a music shop and gave many concerts, prompting the visiting Joseph Haydn to write about him in glowing terms. When his business failed in 1799 Dussek fled from England to escape his creditors (his wife and her family were not so fortunate). He subsequently stayed in Hamburg and Berlin (as kapellmeister), appeared in concerts in Čáslav and Prague, and lived in the household of Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand in Paris from about 1807 until his death.

As a pianist Dussek possessed great dexterity and could elicit a singing tone that was much praised by his contemporaries. He is said to have been the first pianist to place his piano sideways on the platform, so that the public could see a profile view of the performer (an innovation often credited to Franz Liszt). Dussek’s own musical compositions include a considerable number of pianoforte sonatas and concerti and numerous chamber works for piano and strings. His piano sonatas represent him at his best, and, though his works are largely forgotten, he influenced the growth of piano technique, both as pianist and as composer.

 

Jan Ladislav Dussek - 4 Piano Sonatas
00:00:01 Piano Sonata Op 77
00:27:33 Piano Sonata 9.1 in B Flat Major
00:39:10 Piano Sonata 9.2 in C Major
00:56:57 Piano Sonata 9.3 in D Maor

Dussek - The Six Sonatinas Op. 46, for Piano 

Dussek - Duets for Harp and Fortepiano Op38 & 69

1. in E flat major with 2 Horns Op. 38  0:00
2. in B flat major, Op. 69 no 1/C 234  12:49
3. Duo concertante in E flat major Op.69 No.2  33:40
4. Duo concertante in F major, Op. 69 no 3  53:50

Dusík - Concerto for 2 Pianos, Op. 63 (c. 1807)

Dussek: The Sufferings of The Queen of France op. 23

 

Jean-François Le Sueur
 

Jean-François Lesueur, Lesueur also spelled Le Sueur, (born February 15, 1760, Drucat-Plessiel, near Abbeville, France—died October 6, 1837, Paris), composer of religious and dramatic works who helped to transform French musical taste during the French Revolution.



















In 1781 Lesueur was appointed chapelmaster at the cathedral of Dijon and in 1786 at Notre-Dame de Paris. There he aroused controversy by introducing a large orchestra to accompany his masses, which, he maintained, should make a dramatic appeal. Though Lesueur’s masses, admired by operagoers, caused Notre-Dame to be described as L’Opéra des gueux (“The Beggars’ Opera”), he succeeded in blending the sacred and secular styles, thus anticipating the religious works of Hector Berlioz and Charles Gounod and also the Requiem of Giuseppe Verdi. In his Christmas oratorio he transformed themes in a manner suggesting Richard Wagner’s use of leitmotif. After 1789 he wrote several odes and chants for performance at the open-air celebrations of the Revolution by vast numbers of choristers and instrumentalists. Between 1793 and 1796 he wrote his operas La Caverne, Paul et Virginie, and Télémaque. He was inspector of the Paris Conservatoire from 1795 to 1802 and in 1804 was made director of music to Napoleon I, to whom he dedicated his opera Ossian; ou, les bardes. He was later director of music to Louis XVIII and in 1818 professor of composition at the Conservatoire, where his pupils included Berlioz, Gounod, and Ambrose Thomas.

Jean-François Le Sueur - Paul et Virginie
François-Nicolas Geslot : Paul
Hanna Bayodi : Virginie
Sophie Fournier : Herminie
Jaël Azzaretti : Babet
Aurore Bucher : Sara
Mathias Vidal : Domingo
Nigel Smith : Saint-Albe
Ronan Nédélec : Capitaine, Chef indiens
Chef de choeur : Frank Markowitsch

Choeur de Radio France
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Direction : Hervé Niquet

Salle Olivier Messiaen, Maison de Radio France à Paris, 2006 

 

François Boucher - Madame de Pompadour

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