top of page

Classical Era


Britain appeases its American colonies by repealing the hated Stamp Act, but antagonises them with the Declaratory Act • King Fredrik V of Denmark dies; he is succeeded by his mentally unstable son Christian VII • Britain’s oldest surviving theatre, the Theatre Royal, Bristol, opens • Chemist Flenry Cavendish (Eng) isolates hydrogen •
Joseph Wright of Derby - A Philosopher Lecturing on the Orrery
British Government suspends New York’s colonial assembly for refusing to enforce the Quartering Act • Townshend Acts: British Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend persuades Parliament to tax lead, paint, paper and tea imported into the colonies; Boston (Mass) begins boycott of imports • Spain, Naples and Spanish colonies expel Jesuits • Methodism takes hold in the American colonies •
G-B Tiepolo (It) paints The Immaculate ConceptionJean-Honore Fragonard (Fr) paints The Swing • Clergyman-chemist Joseph Priestley (Eng): History and Present State of Electricity, suggests that inverse square law applies to electrical as well as to gravitational attraction
Massachusetts assembly petitions King George III (UK) and contacts legislatures of other colonies calling on them for support; royal governor at Boston dissolves Massachusetts assembly; Boston refuses to quarter British troops • Genoa cedes Corsica to France • Poles fleeing into Turkish territory are pursued by Russians; Turkey declares war on Russia • London Royal Academy founded • Laurence Sterne (Ire): A Sentimental Journey • Clergyman-chemist Joseph Priestley (Eng): Essay on the First Principles of Government, anticipating Jeremy Bentham’s ‘greatest happiness for greatest number’ ideal • First weekly parts of the Encyclopaedia Britannica are issued in Scotland • Johann Joachim Winckelmann, German art historian and archaeologist, dies
British parliament urges application of 16th-century act to bring American colonists charged with treason to Britain for trial: Virginia assembly passes resolution of protest • Russians overrun Turkish provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia • King Friedrich II, the Great, of Prussia, plans to partition Poland as a means of keeping the peace • Famine kills one third of the population of Bengal (India) • Pope Clement XIII dies; is succeeded by Pius VI • Jean Fragonard (Fr) paints The Study • George Stubbs (Eng) paints Horse Attacked by a Lion • Edmund Burke (Ire): Observations on the Present State of the Nation

‘Boston Massacre': several citizens of Boston (Mass) are killed in a protest riot against presence of British troops • Townsend Acts of 1767 repealed, but tax on tea imported into N. America maintained • Russian fleet defeats Turkish fleet off the Anatolian coast • Spain disputes British possession of the Falkland Islands • British navigator James Cook discovers Botany Bay, Australia • Thomas Gainsborough (Eng) paints
The Blue Boy • Jean Fragonard (Fr) paints The Love Letter • Poet Thomas Chatterton (Eng) commits suicide at age of 17 • German philosopher Immanuel Kant becomes professor of logic and metaphysics at Konigsberg (Ger)

Joseph Priestley (1733 – 1804) was an 18th-century English Separatist theologian, natural philosopher, chemist, innovative grammarian, multi-subject educator, and liberal political theorist who published over 150 works.



The publishing house Artaria & Co., Founded in Mainz the previous year, relocate to Vienna.

Vienna Artaria Haus

Johann Christian Bach publishes his Op. 5 sonatas, specified as suitable for harpsichord or piano. As such they are England’s first printed piano works.

Johann Christian Bach - 6 Sonatas Op 5

Christian Cannabich has Six Symphonies issued as his Op. 4, in Paris.

J.C. Cannabich - Sinfonia in B flat major

Michael Haydn, at Salzburg, composes his Flute Concerto No. 1 in D major.

M. Haydn: D-major Flute Concerto

11 February
Niccolo Jommelli presents his serious opera Vologeso at Ludwigsburg for the birthday celebrations of Duke Karl Eugen. This year he also produces two comic operas, La critica and Il matrimonio per concorso, as well as his Mass in D major.

Niccolò Jommelli - Il Vologeso 1_3

Niccolò Jommelli - Il Vologeso 2_3

Niccolò Jommelli - Il Vologeso 3_3

Niccolò Jommelli - Mass in D major

Peter Beckford (Peter Beckford, 1740–1811, was a British landowner, huntsman, writer, collector and the patron of the composer and pianist Muzio Clementi), returns to England from Rome accompanied by the 14-year-old Muzio Clementi. For the next seven years Beckford will act as guardian and musical patron to the boy. Clementi provides musical entertainment at Beckford’s country estate, for which his Italian father receives quarterly payments in return.

3 March
Gregor WernerKapellmeister at the Court of Prince Esterhazy, dies aged 73. Franz Joseph Haydn is promoted to the vacant post, assuming charge of both sacred and secular music. Around this time he begins a thematic catalogue of his compositions.

29 November
The Wolfgang Amadeus Mozarts complete a three-year European tour, returning home to Salzburg.



Thomas Augustine Arne’s Four New Overtures or Symphonies are published in London. Probably adapted from theatre works, the three-movement galant symphonies suggest the influence of the resident Johann Cristian Bach and also the Mannheim school.

Thomas Arne - Four Symphonies
1. Symphony No. 1 in C Major
2. Symphony No. 4 in C Minor  8:38
3. Symphony No. 2 in F Major  22:58
4. Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Major  32:29

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach becomes honorary Kapellmeister to Princess Anna Amalia of Prussia.

Andre-Ernest-Modeste Gretry sets up home in Paris, where he will establish himself as a leading composer of opera comique.

25 June
Probably the most prolific composer who ever lived, Georg Philipp Telemann dies in Hamburg, aged 86.

His godson,
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, secures the vacant post of
Kantor of the Lateinschule and music director of Hamburg’s five principal churches, but does not take office until the following year. Georg Michael Telemann, the composers grandson, fulfils duties as interim director of church music in Hamburg.

Composer and harpsichordist Johann Schobert, together with his wife and child, a servant and three friends, die after a meal of poisonous fungi, which they thought to be mushrooms.

Franz Joseph Haydn composes his Symphonies Nos. 33-35 and the Stabat mater in G minor. He sends a copy of the liturgical work to Johann Adolph Hasse, who responds with a letter of praise.

F.J. Haydn - Symphony No. 33 in C major 

F.J. Haydn - Symphony No. 34 in D minor 

Joseph Haydn - Symphony No. 35 in B-flat major 

Franz Joseph Haydn - Stabat mater in G minor
0:00 1. Stabat Mater dolorosa (tenor solo/chorus)
7:44 2. Quam tristis et afflicta (contralto solo)
14:10 3. Quis est homo, qui non fleret (chorus)
16:44 4. Quis non posset contristari (soprano solo)
23:04 5. Pro peccatis suae gentis (bass solo)
25:35 6. Vidit suum dulcem natum (tenor solo)
31:15 7. Eja mater, fons amoris (chorus)
35:05 8. Sancta mater istud agas (soprano/tenor)
42:50 9. Fac me vere tecum flere (contralto solo)
49:08 10. Virgo virginium praeclara (quartet/chorus)
56:38 11. Flammis orci ne succendar (bass solo)
58:42 12. Fac me cruce custodiri (tenor solo)
1:01:45 13. Quando corpus morietur...paradisi gloria (soprano & contralto soli/chorus)

20 January
Josef Myslivecek’s opera Il Bellerofonte premieres with great success at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.

Josef Mysliveček - Il Bellerofonte, Opera in 3 acts
The basic pretext of the story of Il Bellerofonte is a tragic separation of the lovers Bellerofonte and Argene due to the hostility of Argene’s father Ariobate. Bellerofonte was the son of a king of Corinth, but his birthright was usurped by one Clearco. Without a kingdom of his own, Bellerofonte is not deemed an appropriate candidate for marriage to a royal princess. Bellerofonte proves his worthiness by slaying the monster that plagues Ariobate’s kingdom with a yearly demand for the sacrifice of a noble virgin, but Ariobate accedes to the marriage of Argene and Bellerofonte only after an unexpected turn of events in the third act: news arrives that the usurper Clearco has been overthrown and Bellerofonte may re-claim the kingdom of Corinth. In a sidelight, the virgin Briseide, slated for sacrifice to the monster, is saved from death and finds a lover to marry in the "second tier" of romantic involvements.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, aged 11, contracts smallpox, but makes a good recovery the following month. 
Apollo et Hyacinthus is an opera, K. 38, written in 1767 by Mozart, who was 11 years old at the time.

24 November
Francois-Andre Philidor’s Ernelinde is premiered at the Paris Opera. Achieving 17 repeat performances, the opera is later revised under the title Sandomir, prince de Dannemarck.

F-A. D. Philidor - Ernelinde, princesse de Norvège - Air d'Ricimer 

26 December
Christoph Willibald Gluck and librettist Ranieri de’ Calzabigi introduce their opera Alceste at the Vienna Burgtheater. With the second of his ‘reform operas’ Gluck asserts a transparent unity between the overture and proceeding drama. He also discards operatic conventions that hinder dramatic continuity, such as perfunctory exit arias and showy coloratura passages. 

Admetus beweint Alkeste by Johann Heinrich Tischbein

20 June
Francois-Joseph Gossec enjoys a very favourable reception for his opera Toinon et Toinette at the Comedie-Italienne in Paris. Productions follow in Germany, Holland and Scandinavia.



In the Thatched House Tavern in St James’s Street, London, Johann Christian Bach gives what is possibly the first public piano performance in England. The German emigre plays on a small square piano made by Johannes Zumpe. This year Bach and his business partner, Carl Friedrich Abel, move their regular concert series to Almacks Great Room in King Street, St James’s.

Around this time Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach

completes his first three symphonies (in D minor,

F major and B flat major).

Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach: Sinfonia in D minor WFV I:3 (1768)

J. C. F. Bach - Symphonie in B-Dur, HW 1/20
Symphony in B flat major

I.  Largo - Allegro       0:00
II. Andante con moto  8:42

J. C. . Bach - Symphonie in B-Dur, HW 1/20
Symphony in B flat major

III. Minuetto    0:00
IV. Rondo allegretto scherzando  4:37

William Boyce, aged 56 and very deaf, resigns from his his post at St Michael’s Cornhill following a complaint by wardens that ‘the playing of the organ did not give the satisfaction to the Parish which they had a right to expect'.

20 March
Luigi Boccherini, aged 25, makes his Paris debut at the Concert Spirituel, performing one of his cello sonatas.

Luigi Boccherini, Cello Concertos No 2, Anner Bylsma, violoncello

Leopold Mozart’s wages from the Salzburg court are -withheld until the end of the year due to his consistent absence. Meanwhile he continues to peddle his child prodigies, Wolfgang and Nannerl.

19 April 
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach officially takes up his position as Kantor in Hamburg. He will have to supply music for nearly 200 events each year.

2 May
Baldassare Galuppi premieres his opera Ifigenia in Tauride at the court of Catherine the Great in St Petersburg. This year the composer completes his three-year contract with the Russian court and returns to Venice.

Ifigenia in Tauride - Baldassare Galuppi
Orchestra Regionale dei Conservatori del Veneto
Direttore Filippo Maria Bressan, 2006

Around this time Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf  has his Six Symphonies Op. 1 published in Amsterdam.

Franz Joseph Haydn composes his Symphony No. 49 in F minor, La Passione. This year he loses his home and many manuscripts in a fire that devastates Eisenstadt.

Joseph Haydn - Symphony No. 49 in F minor "La passione" 

The 12-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composes the opera La finta semplice (The Feigned Madwoman) at the request of Emperor Joseph II. Incredulous at the result, the theatre director Giuseppe Afflisio accuses Leopold Mozart of ghost-writing the opera for his son. Plans for a performance this year are abandoned.

Josef Myslivecek publishes Six sonates for 2 violins and cello as his Op. 1, in Paris.

Josef Myslivecek Six Sonatas for 2 Cellos and Bass Sonata in G

Ferdinand Tobias Richter's Six String Quartets Op. 5 are published in London. The date of composition may be as early as 1757.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau publishes his Dictionnaire de musique in Paris, containing musical terms and definitions as well as music history, theory, interpretation and aesthetics.

20 August
Andre-Ernest- Modeste Gretry grabs attention with the success of Huron, an opera comique, at the Comedie-Italienne in Paris.

Gretry - Overture 'Le Huron'

Franz Joseph Haydn’s three-act buffa opera Lo speziale (The Chemist) inaugurates the new opera house at Esterhaza.

Lo Speziale (Der Apotheker) - Joseph Haydn Part 1

Ann De Renais - Grilletta
Ana Naqé - Volpino
Dick Van Daele - Sempronio
Koen Vereertbrugghen - Mengone

Tom Viaene - Director
Chamber Orchestra of Mechelen - Tom Van den Eynde


Lo speziale (The Apothecary), Hob. 28/3, is a three-act opera buffa by Joseph Haydn, with a libretto by Carlo Goldoni.

An old man, Sempronio, is determined to marry a young woman, Grilletta, more for her money than for any other reason. Sempronio however has two rivals: his apprentice, Mengone, who has taken the job only to be near Grilletta, and Volpino, a young man about town.

Mengone has entered the service of the apothecary Sempronio, though he does not possess the slightest knowledge of chemistry. His love for Sempronio's ward Grilletta is the reason, and in the first scene he mixes drugs while making melancholy reflections on his lot, which has led him to a master who buries himself in his newspapers instead of attending to his business, and allowing his apprentices get on as best they may.

Sempronio relates that the plague is raging in Russia. The news that an old cousin of his has married his young ward is more interesting to him than all his drugs and pills; he intends to act likewise with Grilletta. This young lady has three suitors, one of whom, a rich young coxcomb, enters to order a drug. His real intention is to see Grilletta. He notices that Mengone loves her too, so he sends him out, in order to have Grilletta to himself. But she only mocks him, and on Mengone's return Volpino is forced to retire. Alone with Mengone, Grilletta encourages her timid lover, whom she likes, but just when he is about to take her hand Sempronio returns, furious to see them so intimate. He sends Mengone away to work and the young girl to her account books, while he buries himself once more in the papers.

Missing a map, he is obliged to leave the room: the young people take advantage of the situation, and when Sempronio, having lost his spectacles, goes to fetch them, Mengone grows bolder and kisses Grilletta. The old man returns at the supreme moment, and in a rage sends each to their room.

Mengone's effrontery emboldens Sempronio to marry Grilletta at once. He is however detained by Volpino, who comes to bribe him by an offer from the Sultan to go to Turkey as apothecary at court, war having broken out in that country. The wily young man insinuates that Sempronio will soon grow rich, and offers to give him 10,000 ducats at once, if he will give him Grilletta for his wife. Sempronio is quite willing to accept the Sultan's proposal, but not to cede Grilletta. So he sends Mengone away to fetch a notary, who is to marry him to his ward without delay. The maiden wracks her brains on how to rouse her timid lover to action.

Sempronio, hearing her sing sadly, suggests that she wants a husband and offers her his own worthy person. Grilletta accepts him, hoping to awaken Mengone's jealousy and rouse him to action. The notary comes, in whom Grilletta at once recognizes Volpino in disguise. He has hardly sat down, when a second notary enters, saying that he has been sent by Mengone and claiming his due. The latter is Mengone himself, and Sempronio, not recognizing the two, bids them sit down. He dictates the marriage contract, in which Grilletta is said to marry Sempronio by her own free will; the two false notaries distort every word of old Sempronio's, and each puts his own name instead of the guardian's. When the contract is written, Sempronio takes one copy, Grilletta the other and the whole fraud is discovered. Volpino vanishes, but Mengone promises Grilletta to do his best in order to win her.

In the last scene Sempronio receives a letter from Volpino, telling him that the Pasha is to come with a suite of Turks to buy all his medicines at a high price, and to appoint him solemnly as the Sultan's apothecary. Volpino indeed arrives, with his attendants, all disguised as Turks, but he is again recognized by Grilletta. He offers his gold, and seizes Grilletta's hand, to carry her off, but Sempronio interferes. Then the Turks begin to destroy all the pots and glasses and costly medicines, and when Sempronio objects, the false Pasha draws his dagger, but Mengone intervenes and induces the frightened old man to promise Grilletta to him, if he succeeds in saving him from the Turks. No sooner is the promise written and signed, than Grilletta tears off the Pasha's false beard and reveals Volpino, who retires baffled, while the false Turks drink the young couple's health at the cost of the two defeated suitors.

Lo Speziale (Der Apotheker) - Joseph Haydn Part 2

27 January
Egido Romualdo Duni’s comic opera Les moissonneurs, to a libretto by Charles-Simon Favart. opens with great success at the Comedie-Italienne in Paris.

3 March
Renowned Italian composer and teacher Nicola Antonio Porpora dies in Naples, aged 81. He has ended life in extreme poverty, largely due to the termination of his Dresden pension during the Seven Years’ War (1756-63).

Around this time Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s one-act singspiel Bastien und Bastienne is premiered at the residence of Dr Anton Mesmer, founder of mesmerism.

8 November
Giovanni Battista Sammartini, aged 67, is appointed maestro di cappella of the ducal court of Milan.



Johann Albrechtsberger veers from tradition in his Concerto for (Alto) Trombone and his Concerto ( for Jews Harp and Mandora.

J.G. Albrechtsberger: Concerto for alto trombone (Kurt Neubauer & String Orchestra Jesenik)

Luigi Boccherini, now in Spain, dedicates his Op. 8

string quartets to the Infante, Don Luis. 

Boccherini: String Quartet D-Dur Op.8-1 G.165

Bohemian composer Johann Baptist Wanhal leaves Vienna for a two-year career enhancement tour of Italy. Meanwhile his string quartet collections Opp. 1 and 2 are published in Paris.

Jan Baptist Vanhal : String Quartet F Major Op. 6, No.1

Jan Baptist Vanhal : String Quartet E flat Major Op 13, No.1

Francois-Joseph Gossec remains its director for the next four years, using the position to premiere his own symphonies. This year he issues his Six simphonies a grande orchestre, Op. 12.

François-Joseph Gossec Symphonie Es-Dur op.12 Nr.5

Francois-Joseph Gossec - Symphony in F Op 12 No 6

Around this time Franz Joseph Haydn composes his Op. 9 string quartets. Whilst these are termed divertimenti a quattroHaydn’s mature compositional style and idiomatic string writing creates advances on the Opp. 1 & 2 divertimento-style quartets of the late 1750s. Henceforth, Haydn s quartets observe a four movement scheme.

J. Haydn - String Quartet Op. 9 No. 1 in C major

J. Haydn - String Quartet Op. 9 No. 2 in E flat major

J. Haydn - String Quartet Op. 9 No. 3 in G major

J. Haydn -  String Quartet Op. 9 No. 4 in D minor

J. Haydn - String Quartet Op. 9 No. 5 in B flat major

J. Haydn - String Quartet Op. 9 No. 6 in A major

27 October
The 13-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is appointed third Konzertmeister to the Court Chapel in Salzburg.

1 November
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's oratorio Die Israeliten in der Wuste (The Israelites in the Wilderness) is performed for the first time, in Hamburg.

C.P.E. Bach: "Die Israeliten in der Wüste"
An oratorio, "The Israelites in the Desert", from a 1970 recording featuring Hermann Prey, Ernst Haefliger, Sylvia Geszty and Catherine Gayer, along with the Singakademie Chorus of Berlin and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, directed by Mathieu Lange.

Die Israeliten in der Wüste (The Israelites in the Desert)
While known mainly for his works in other genres, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach also composed several oratorios during his career as a composer. After arriving in Hamburg in 1768, he found himself in an atmosphere that was much more conducive to musical creativity than his previous post in Berlin had provided him. With his new post came many new responsibilities and Bach found himself composing pieces in the longer symphony and concerto genres. One of his first compositions at his new Hamburg post was the oratorio Die Israeliten in der Wüste (The Israelites in the Desert), which he began in the second half of 1768 and finished early in 1769. The piece was based on a libretto by German librettist Daniel Schiebeler who, rather than creating the libretto by using direct quotes from scripture, used poetry based on scripture.

Bach wrote the oratorio for the consecration of the Lazarettkirche in 1769 and the score was first printed in 1775. He wrote the piece with the intention that it be performed "not only on a solemn occasion, but at any time, inside or outside the Church". This hope ultimately came to fruition when the piece was later performed outside of German-speaking areas and gained a reputation as a concert piece rather than a solely sacred piece, a status it maintained into the next century. Part of the reason for this was that in Hamburg, much better performers, facilities, and funds were available to produce such a technically complicated piece. Of course, the shift this piece underwent in moving from the church to the concert hall was accompanied by necessary changes in style and production, but as time has shown, Bach was able to adjust seamlessly to the changes in the times.

Bach's overall style of writing oratorio is clearly influenced by the earlier German composer George Frideric Handel. Bach's themes, musical effects, and affinity for the Old Testament all indicate a respect for and heavy influence by Handel's oratorios, particularly, one of his better-known works, Messiah.

Die Israeliten in der Wüste is an oratorio based on the Old Testament story of the pain and suffering of the Israelites in the desert. In this piece, Bach keeps up with the changing musical ideas of the time by abandoning his typical styles in favor of adopting an empfindsam quality, using every movement of the piece to underscore the drama and move the affections to more fully engage the listener. Each separate movement has a mood or feeling of its own, but together, Bach’s goal is to create an empfindsam tone and ultimately recreate some of his characters’ emotions. Throughout the first part of the oratorio, Bach creates a feeling of sadness and desperation as the Israelites seem hopelessly lost in the desert. They bemoan their misfortune and begin to lose their faith as their situation becomes more and more bleak. However, the mood of the piece changes significantly when Moses discovers a spring and hope is restored among the Israelites. Once more, they regain their faith and begin giving praise to God, thanking Him for saving them once again.

The oratorio's second part continues the story begins with a Handelian theme, most likely added because of the great success of Handel's Messiah in Hamburg. However, it is somewhat jarring next to the poetic words in the libretto and slow, sad music that follows. Like other composers at the time, Bach treated music as a way to express the words written in the libretto. As such, the tempo at the beginning of the second part (adagio), the minor key, and Bach's crescendo aid in creating the mood of longing being experienced by the characters. Additionally, significant words in the libretto are often musically embellished with trills or higher notes so as to stress their importance.

The piece is made up primarily of three types of movements: choruses, recitatives, and arias. The choruses are generally sung by a large ensemble of the Israelites. They are primarily homophonic, with vocal melodies that mostly follow the orchestral arrangement. Bach's recitatives are mostly recitativo secco, or plain recitative. These recitatives are accompanied by a continuo but no other instruments. Bach also uses recitativo accompagnato, which utilizes other instruments so as to be more emotionally expressive. The arias are typically sung by principal characters and convey emotion, rather than plot advancement like recitatives. Like the other movements, Bach uses his arias to convey intense emotion, to fit in with his empfindsam approach to the oratorio. They are written in a da capo form, which is organized so as to reflect the pattern of human emotion as it occurs.



8 January
Niccolo Piccinni’s opera Didone abbandonata is introduced at the Teatro Argentina in Rome. It is just one of nine operas by the composer premiered this year: two in Rome, three in Naples, three in Milan and one in Mannheim. The English historian Charles Burney, visiting Italy this year, regards Piccinni as ‘ingenious and original’.

Niccolò Piccinni - Didone abbandonata 1_3

Niccolò Piccinni - Didone abbandonata 2_3

The Death of Dido, by Andrea Sacchi
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 - Didone abbandonata 3_3

Didone: Roberta Invernizzi
Enea: Maria Ercolano
Jarba: Dionisa di Vico
Selene: Maria Grazia Schiavo
Araspe: Luca Dordolo
Osmida: Milena Gerogieva

La Cappella della Pietà dei Tuchini, direttore Antonio Florio Parigi, citè de la musique, 24 ottobre 2003

29 January
Johann Adam Hiller 
promotes the genre of the singspiel with Die Jagd (The Hunt), first performed in Weimar.

C.P.E. Bach: "Die Israeliten in der Wüste"

3 September
Florian Leopold Gassmann's La 
contessina, his most popular opera, is first performed before Joseph II and Frederick the Great at Mahrisch-Neustadt.

3 November
Christoph von Gluck's third ‘reform’ opera, Paride ed Elena (Paris and Helen), divides its royal audience at Vienna’s Rurgtheater.

Paride : Lajos Koszma,
Elena: Magda Laszlo,
Eros/Aristeo: Valeria Mariconda,
Giovane Trojano: Lorenza Canepa,
Pallade: Linda Vajna,
Troiano: Doro Antonioli 
Coro e Orchestra RAI di Milano - Direttore: Mario Rossi. 5 settembre 1968

The hero Paris is in Sparta, having chosen Aphrodite above Hera and Athena, sacrificing to Aphrodite and seeking, with the encouragement of Erasto, the love of Helen. Paris and Helen meet at her royal palace and each is struck by the other's beauty. She calls on him to judge an athletic contest and when asked to sing he does so in praise of her beauty, admitting the purpose of his visit is to win her love. She dismisses him. In despair Paris now pleads with her, and she begins to give way. Eventually, through the intervention of Erasto, who now reveals himself as Cupid, she gives way, but Pallas Athene (Athena) now warns them of sorrow to come. In the final scene Paris and Helen make ready to embark for Troy.


The Love of Helen and Paris
by Jacques-Louis David (1788)

Paris, the son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy, appears in a number of Greek legends. Probably the best known was his elopement with Helen, queen of Sparta, this being one of the immediate causes of the Trojan War.

8 November
Luigi Boccherini takes up his appointment of compositore e virtuoso di camera to the Infante Don Luis in Aranjuez, Spain.

26 February
Italian composer and violinist Guiseppe Tartini dies in Padua, aged 77.

6 December
Andre Gretry
’s bouffon opera Les deux  avares (The Two Misers) is introduced at the 
Comedie-Italienne, Paris, during the wedding celebrations of the Dauphin and Marie Antoinette.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composes his String Quartet No. 1 in G major, K. 80, possibly inspired by a meeting with Giovanni Battista Sammartini in Milan. This year he also pens five symphonies, the opera Mitridate and the Miserere in A minor, K. 85.

Mozart - KV 80 - String Quartet No. 1 in G major

W. A. Mozart - KV 85 (73s) - Miserere in A minor

5 July
Pope Clemens XIV makes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart a Knight of the Golden Spur. Only one musician before MozartOrlando di Lasso (d. 1594)—has been awarded the same grade of honour. Although able to use the title of‘Cavaliere’ (or ‘Ritter’), Mozart will never use it.

17 December
Ludwig van Beethoven is baptised in Bonn, having most likely been born the previous day.

26 December
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart directs the premiere of his opera Mitridate, re di Ponto at the Teatro Regio Ducal, Milan. Lasting around six hours, the opera manages 21 repeat performances.

Anton Joseph Reicha, French musical theorist and teacher

Anton Joseph Reicha

Anton Joseph Reicha

Anton Joseph Reicha (1770-1836), French musical composer, theorist and teacher of composition, was born at Prague on the 27th of February 1770, and educated chiefly by his uncle, Joseph Reicha (1746-1795), a clever violoncellist, who first received him into his house at Wallerstein in Bohemia, and afterwards carried him to Bonn.

Here, about 1789, he was made flutist in the orchestra of the elector. In 1794 he went to Hamburg and gave 'music lessons there, also producing the opera Godefroid de MonU'ort. He was in Paris in 1799 and in Vienna from 1802 to 1808, during which period he saw much of Beethoven and Haydn. In the latter year he returned to Paris, where he produced three operas without much success. In 1817 he succeeded Méhul as professor of counterpoint at the Conservatoire. In 1829 he was naturalized as a Frenchman, and in 183 5 he was admitted as a member of the Institute in the place of Boieldieu. He died in Paris on the 28th of May 1836. He produced a vast quantity of church music, five operas, a number of symphonies, oratorios and many miscellaneous works. Though clever and ingenious, his compositions are more remarkable for their novelty than for the beauty of the ideas upon which they are based. His fame is, indeed, more securely based upon his didactic works. His Traité de mélodie (Paris, 1814), Cours de composition musicale (Paris, 1818), Traité de haute composition musicale (Paris, 1824-26), and Art du coinpositeur dramatique (Paris, 1833), are valuable and instructive essays for the student, though many of the theories they set forth are now condemned as erroneous.

Antonín Rejcha (Reicha) Quintet for Pianoforte and Strings in C minor

1. Adagio - Allegro
2. Lento poco andante
3. Allegro vivio - Menuetto
4. Finale. Allegro

Anton Reicha - Clarinet Concerto in G-minor (1815)

Mov.I: Allegro 00:00
Mov.II: Andante 11:14
Mov.III: Rondeau: Allegretto 19:54

Clarinet: Dieter Klöcker

Orchestra: Prague Chamber Orchestra

Conductor: Milan Lajcik

Anton Reicha - Requiem
Requiem aeternam
Dies irae
Prague Philharmonic Choir-Dvorak Chamber Orchestra-Lubomir Mátl


Joseph Wright of Derby - A Philosopher Lecturing on the Orrery,
or the full title, A Philosopher giving a Lecture on the Orrery in which a lamp is put in place of the Sun

bottom of page