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Classical Era


United States begins peace negotiations with Britain, to the chagrin of its allies, France and Spain • Britain loses several of its West Indian possessions to France • Austria and Russia conclude a treaty designed to end Turkish power and divide the Balkans between them • Emperor Josef II issues the Edict of Tolerance, weakening Roman Catholic power in Austria; half the country's monasteries are closed within ten years • Henry Fuseli (Switz/UK) paints The Nightmare • Friedrich Schiller (Ger): play The Robbers • Jean Jacques Rousseau (Fr): Confessions published posthumously • Philosopher Immanuel Kant (Ger): Critique of Pure Reason
Treaty of Salbai brings to an end the war between Britain and Marathas • A British fleet under Admiral George Rodney defeats a French fleet commanded by Admiral Frangois de Grasse at Battle of the Saints in West Indies • Britain and the United States sign a preliminary peace treaty in Paris: British lose Minorca to Spain, and Spain acquires Florida • Britain abandons its judicial and legislative supremacy over the Irish parliament • Bank of North America is established in Philadelphia • Montgolfier Brothers (Fr) build the first hot-air balloon • Fanny Burney (later Madame d’Arblay, Eng): novel Cecilia

Britain, USA, France, and Spain sign the Peace of Versailles, recognising independence of the United States of America: British and French possessions in the West Indies are confirmed • William Pitt becomes British prime minister 
• Russia seizes Baku and assumes sovereignty over Georgia • British forces in India surrender to Tippoo Sahib, Sultan of Mysore • Pilatre de Rozier (Fr) makes the first manned hot-air balloon ascent in Paris, in a Montgolfier balloon • The first paddlewheel steamboat sails on the Saone River, France • William Blake (Eng): Poetical Sketches • Philosopher Moses Mendelssohn (Ger; grandfather of Felix): Jerusalem

Russia annexes Crimea and Kuban • Holy Roman Emperor Josef II removes the Hungarian crown to Vienna and causes outcry; emperor is forced to restore the crown to Hungary • USA suffers economic depression • Serfdom is abolished in Denmark • Evangelist John Wesley (Eng) formalises the foundation of Methodism • Henry Cavendish (Eng) describes the composition of water • Joshua Reynolds (Eng) paints Mrs Siddons as the Tragic Muse • Jacques-Louis David (Fr) paints Oath of the Horatii The Marriage of Figaro by Pierre Beaumarchais (Fr) is staged for the first time • Friedrich von Schiller (Ger): drama Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love)

US Land Ordinance establishes a survey system • Holy Roman Emperor Josef II attempts to exchange the Austrian Netherlands for Bavaria • Friedrich II, the Great, of Prussia creates a League of German Princes to combat Austrian expansion (under Joseph II) • Jean-Pierre Blanchard (Fr) and John Jeffries (US) make first aeronautical channel crossing (Dover to Calais) by hydrogen gas balloon • Philosopher Immanuel Kant (Ger) writes Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Ethics • Coal-dealer and printer John Walter (Eng) founds The Daily Universal Register (later The Times) newspaper • Anglican priest William Paley (Eng): Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy

Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher who is a central figure in modern philosophy. Kant argued that the human mind creates the structure of human experience, that reason is the source of morality, that aesthetics arises from a faculty of disinterested judgment, that space and time are forms of human sensibility, and that the world as it is "in-itself" is independent of humanity's concepts of it. 



Johann Christian Bach’s Six Grand Overtures (Op. 18), including three for double orchestra, are published in London. Throughout this year Bachs health declines significantly.

Johann Christian Bach 6 Sinfonias Op.18
1. Sinfonia No.1 In E Flat Major  0:04
2. Sinfonia No.2 In B Flat Major  13:18
3. Sinfonia No.3 In D Major  23:15
4. Sinfonia No.4 In D Major  37:20
5. Sinfonia No.5 In E Major  47:45
6. Sinfonia No.6 In D Major  1:02:49
Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Karl Münchinger, Conductor
Rec.: 1974, 1976

Luigi Boccherini composes his Stabat Mater for solo soprano and strings. Modelled on Pergolesi’s famous example, he will later revise the work for two sopranos and a tenor (1800).

29 January
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart directs Idomeneo at the court theatre in Munich. Despite a successful premiere, the opera receives only two repeat performances.

(prima versione 1781  "per una voce sola, due violini,viola, violoncello obbligato e c. basso")
soprano Eva Dřízgová - Jirušová
Janáček Chamber Orchestra
conductor Paolo Gatto 1997
1.   Stabat Mater        00:00
2.   Cujus animam      04:32
3.   Quae moerebat    06:20
4.   Quis est homo     09:03
5.   Pro peccatis        10:36 
6.   Eja mater            14:13
7.   Tui nati                21:17
8.   Virgo virginum      25:30
9.   Fac ut portem      30:39
10. Fac me plagis      33:29
11. Quando corpus     35:40

4 February
Probably killed by advanced venereal disease, Czech composer Josef Myslivecek dies penniless in Rome, aged 43. His funeral is paid for by a former pupil.

Franz Joseph Haydn completes his String Quartets Op. 33, composed in a ‘new and special manner’, according to his own marketing. Although not a significant advancement on his Op. 20 quartets (1772), the set proves influential in Vienna and inspires Mozart’s ‘Haydn’ quartets, begun next year.

Dedicated to Grand Duke Paul of Russia, the collection also becomes known as the Six Russian Quartets.

J. Haydn - Hob III:37 - String Quartet Op. 33 No. 1 in B minor

J. Haydn - Hob III:38 - String Quartet Op. 33 No. 2 in E flat major

J. Haydn - Hob III:39 - String Quartet Op. 33 No. 3 in C major

J. Haydn - Hob III:40 - String Quartet Op. 33 No. 4 in B flat major

J. Haydn - Hob III:41 - String Quartet Op. 33 No. 5 in G major

J. Haydn - Hob III:42 - String Quartet Op. 33 No. 6 in D major

24 December
While visiting Vienna, Muzio Clementi goes head to head with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in a piano duel, organised by Emperor Joseph II. The contest includes performances of their own work, sightreading and improvisation. The emperor is unable to pronounce a winner and so declares it a draw. Mozart reports back to his father that Clementi has great technical proficiency, but ‘not a kreuzers worth of taste or feeling’. Clementi, more generously, admires Mozarts ‘spirit and grace’.




Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Variations on a March by Dressler becomes his first publication. This year the 11-year-old begins to deputise as organist for his teacher, Christian Neefe (Christian Gottlob Neefe ( 1748-1798) was a German composer and conductor), at the court chapel in Bonn.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Nine Variations, WoO. 63, "Dressler"

Franz Joseph Haydn  composes his symphonies Nos. 76-78. Thanks to changes in his Esterhazy contract allowing him to sell music abroad, they are Haydn's first symphonic works to be written with an international market in mind. The French publisher Boyer purchases them the following year.


J. Haydn - Hob I:76 - Symphony No. 76 in E flat major
1. Allegro (0:00)
2. Adagio ma non troppo (8:42)
3. Menuetto: Allegretto (16:40)
4. Finale: Allegro ma non troppo (20:15)

 The Academy of Ancient Music, conducted by Christopher Hogwood.

J. Haydn - Hob I:77 - Symphony No. 77 in B flat major
1. Vivace (0:00)
2. Andante sostenuto (8:50)
3. Menuetto: Allegro (14:27)
4. Finale: Allegro spiritoso (17:09)

The Academy of Ancient Music, conducted by Christopher Hogwood.

Joseph Haydn - Symphony No. 78 in C-Minor

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composes his Haffner Symphony (K. 385) and the piano concertos Nos. 11 and 13 (K. 413 and K. 415). By the end of the year he has also composed his String Quartet in G major, K. 387, the first of his Haydn Quartets.

Mozart - Symphony No. 35 in D Major "Haffner" K.385 

1. Allegro con spirito
2. Andante
3. Menuetto
4. Presto

Philharmonie Zuidnederland conducted by Daniel Smith
Avrotros Radio 4 January 30, 2015

Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 11 in F major, K. 413 

00:00 - Allegro (Cadenza: Anda)
08:37 - Larghetto (Cadenza: Anda)
15:46 - Tempo di Menuetto

Géza Anda (Pianist & Conductor) with the Camerata Salzburg (Camerata Academica des Salzburger Mozarteums).

Mozart - KV 387 - String Quartet No. 14 in G major
1. Allegro vivace assai (0:00)
2. Menuetto: Allegretto (11:28)
3. Andante cantabile (19:10)
4. Molto allegro (26:23)

Mozart -  Piano Concerto No. 13 in C major, K. 415

1 January
Johann Christian Bach dies in London, aged 46. He leaves considerable debts, partly due to the failure of the Bach-Abel concerts, but also having been heavily defrauded by a servant. He is buried in St Pancras churchyard.

29 January
French composer Daniel-Frangois-Esprit Auber is born in Caen.

17 March
Violin virtuoso Giovanni Viotti thrills Paris giving his debut performance at the Concert Spirituel.

12 April
Celebrated poet and librettist Pietro Metastasio dies in Vienna, aged 84.


16 July
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart triumphs with his first opera for Vienna, Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio), despite hissing from anti-Mozart cabals in the audience. Afterwards, 
Emperor Joseph famously remarks, ‘Very many notes, my dear Mozart’, which gains the response ‘Exactly the necessary number, your Majesty’.

26 July
Composer and pianist  
John Field is born in Dublin. 

4 August
Wolfgahg Amadeus Mozart, aged 26, marries Constanze Weber, aged 20, at St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. Mozart’s father, Leopold Mozart, harbours grave concerns about his son’s ability to provide for a family, and at the same time establish his career in Vienna. His reluctant consent to the union arrives the next day.

Maria Constanze Cäcilia Josepha Johanna Aloysia Mozart (née Weber) (5 January 1762 – 6 March 1842) was an Austrian woman who trained as a singer. She married twice, her first husband being Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and was later, jointly with her second husband Georg Nikolaus von Nissen, Mozart's biographer. She and Mozart had six children: Karl Thomas Mozart, Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart, and four who died in infancy.

During most of Constanze's upbringing, the family lived in her mother's hometown of Mannheim, an important cultural, intellectual, and musical center of the time. The 21-year-old Mozart visited Mannheim in 1777 on a job-hunting tour with his mother and developed a close relationship with the Weber family. He fell in love, not with the 15-year-old Constanze, but with Aloysia. While Mozart was in Paris, Aloysia obtained a position as a singer in Munich, and the family accompanied her there. She rejected Mozart when he passed through Munich on his way back to Salzburg.

The family moved to Vienna in 1779, again following Aloysia as she pursued her career. One month after their arrival, Fridolin died. By the time Mozart moved to Vienna in 1781, Aloysia had married Joseph Lange, who agreed to help Cäcilia Weber with an annual stipend, and she also took in boarders to make ends meet. The house where the Webers lived (on the second floor) was at Am Peter 11, and bore a name (as houses often did at the time): Zum Auge Gottes ("God's Eye").

Marriage to Mozart
On first arriving in Vienna on 16 March 1781, Mozart stayed at the house of the Teutonic Order with the staff of his patron, Archbishop Colloredo. In May, he "was obliged to leave," and chose to board in the Weber household, originally intending "to stay there only a week."

After a while, it became apparent to Cäcilia Weber that Mozart was courting Constanze, now 19, and in the interest of propriety, she requested that he leave. Mozart moved out on 5 September to a third-floor room in the Graben.

The courtship continued, not entirely smoothly. Surviving correspondence indicates that Mozart and Constanze briefly broke up in April 1782, over an episode involving jealousy (Constanze had permitted another young man to measure her calves in a parlor game). Mozart also faced a very difficult task getting permission for the marriage from his father, Leopold.

The marriage finally took place in an atmosphere of crisis. Daniel Heartz suggests that eventually Constanze moved in with Mozart, which would have placed her in disgrace by the mores of the time. Mozart wrote to Leopold on 31 July 1782, "All the good and well-intentioned advice you have sent fails to address the case of a man who has already gone so far with a maiden. Further postponement is out of the question." Heartz relates, "Constanze's sister Sophie had tearfully declared that her mother would send the police after Constanze if she did not return home [presumably from Mozart's apartment]." On 4 August, Mozart wrote to Baroness von Waldstätten, asking: "Can the police here enter anyone's house in this way? Perhaps it is only a ruse of Madame Weber to get her daughter back. If not, I know no better remedy than to marry Constanze tomorrow morning or if possible today."

The marriage did indeed take place that day, 4 August 1782. In the marriage contract, Constanze "assigns to her bridegroom five hundred gulden which [...] the latter has promised to augment with one thousand gulden", with the total "to pass to the survivor". Further, all joint acquisitions during the marriage were to remain the common property of both. A day after the marriage took place, the consent of Wolfgang's father arrived in the mail.
After Mozart's death
Mozart died in 1791, leaving debts and placing Constanze in a difficult position. At this point Constanze's business skills came into fruition: she obtained a pension from the emperor, organized profitable memorial concerts, and embarked on a campaign to publish the works of her husband. These efforts gradually made Constanze financially secure and ultimately, wealthy. She sent Karl and Franz to Prague to be educated by Franz Xaver Niemetschek, with whom she collaborated on the first full-length biography of Mozart.

Toward the end of 1797, she met Georg Nikolaus von Nissen, a Danish diplomat and writer who, initially, was her tenant. The two began living together in September 1798, and were married in Pressburg (today Bratislava) in 1809. From 1810 to 1820, they lived in Copenhagen, and subsequently travelled throughout Europe, especially Germany and Italy. They settled in Salzburg in 1824. Both worked on a biography of Mozart; Constanze eventually published it in 1828, two years after her second husband's death.

During Constanze's last years in Salzburg, she had the company of her two surviving sisters, Aloysia and Sophie, also widows, who moved to Salzburg and lived out their lives there.

Early years
Constanze Weber was born in Zell im Wiesental, a town near Lörrach in Baden-Württemberg, in the south-west of Germany, then Further Austria. Her mother was Cäcilia Weber, née Stamm. Her father, Fridolin Weber, worked as a "double bass player, prompter, and music copyist." Fridolin's half-brother was the father of composer Carl Maria von Weber. Constanze had two older sisters, Josepha and Aloysia, and one younger one, Sophie. All four were trained as singers and Josepha and Aloysia both went on to distinguished musical careers, later on performing in the premieres of a number of Mozart's works.

26    September
Giovanni Paisiello stages the first operatic version of Beaumarchais’ Le barbier de Seville (The Barber of Seville). Premiered in St Petersburg, the opera achieves instant success, with many productions soon following across Europe.

Il Barbiere di Siviglia by Giovanni Paisiello

Topi Lehtipuu: Il conte di Almaviva
Mari Eriksmoen: Rosina
Pietro Spagnoli: Bartolo
Andrè Schuen: Figaro
Fulvio Bettini: Don Basilio

Freiburger Barockorchester
René Jacobs: Conductor

Theater an der Wien
February, 2015


27 October
Composer and violinist Nicolo Paganini is born in Genoa.    


Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber

(b. Caen, January 29, 1782; d. Paris, May 12, 1871)


French composer. A late bloomer, he pursued music as a dilettante for many years, composing sporadically and at one point studying privately with Luigi Cherubini. It was only in 1819, following the death of his father and the bankruptcy of the family’s art-supply business, that Auber turned seriously to the composition of opera as a means of supporting himself. Within a decade he created more than a dozen works, including La muette de Portici (The Mute Girl of Portici; 1828), which became the prototype for the style known as grand opera. With its incendiary plot-line and sensational effects (the final scene depicts nothing less than the eruption of Vesuvius), La muette de Portici emerged as a focal point of revolutionary fervor throughout Europe; the riot at a Brussels performance on August 25, 1830 actually sparked the Belgian revolution of 1830. Auber continued to crank out operas for another 40 years, composing his last one in 1869, at the age of 87. Of the remainder of his works, the best known are Fra Diavolo (1830) and Le cheval de bronze (The Bronze Horse; 1835). The former is still occasionally staged, and the latter contains what is probably Auber’s finest overture.


Auber - Fra Diavolo ( The Inn of Terracina )

Daniel Francois Esprit Auber - Manon Lescaut

Daniel Auber - The Crown Diamonds - Overture

Daniel F. E. Auber - La muette de Portici. Ouverture


John Field

(b. Dublin, July 26, 1782; d. Moscow, January 23, 1837)

Irish pianist and composer. After preliminary instruction in music from his grandfather, an organist, he took piano lessons in Dublin, giving his first concerts at the age of nine. He became a student of Muzio Clementi in London in 1793, and his playing drew Haydn’s approval during his second visit to London in 1794-95.


Field traveled with Clementi to Paris, Vienna, and St. Petersburg in 1802-03; finding the musical climate in St.

Petersburg to his liking, he remained there on and off, teaching and performing, until 1807, when he settled in Moscow. The years 1811-21 proved particularly productive ones for him as a composer, and he enjoyed a prosperous career as a teacher until the 1830s, when changing tastes and his failing health began to work against him. During his final years, battling rectal cancer, he undertook several concert tours and spent nine months in a hospital in Naples. Friends brought him back to Moscow, where he spent the last months of his life revising some of his earlier compositions.

Apart from a handful of chamber pieces and songs, Field’s compositional output consists entirely of works for the piano, either solo or with orchestra. He wrote seven brilliant concertos for his instrument, which treat the orchestra in a manner redolent of late Haydn and early Beethoven, with many lovely, imaginative touches. He is best known for his 16 nocturnes, composed between 1812 and 1836.

These luminous works gave birth to a genre that has attracted numerous later composers, beginning with Chopin and Liszt and their colleagues Johann Baptist Cramer (1771-1858), Frederic Kalkbrenner (1785-1849), and Sigismond Thalberg (1812-71), and including Glinka, Balakirev, Tchaikovsky, Faure, Scriabin, and Barber. The “nocturne” texture explored in them, consisting of an ornamentally elaborated melody over a steady left-hand accompaniment, usually chordal or in broken figures, became not only a characteristic of the genre itself but an essential part of the language of pianism, especially during the Romantic era. 

John Field - 18 Nocturnes

Performed by Benjamin Frith

00:00 - Nocturne No. 1 in E-flat Major, H 24
03:54 - Nocturne No. 2 in C minor, H 25
07:36 - Nocturne No. 3 in A-flat Major, H 26
12:30 - Nocturne No. 4 in A Major, H 36 
18:03 - Nocturne No. 5 in B-flat Major, H 37
20:58 - Nocturne No. 6 "Cradle Song" in F Major, H 40 
26:05 - Nocturne No. 7 in C Major, H 45 
31:22 - Nocturne No. 8 in A Major, H 14 
35:48 - Nocturne No. 9 "Romance" in E-flat Major, H 30
39:50 - Nocturne No. 10 in E minor, H 46
43:02 - Nocturne No. 11 in E-flat Major, H 56
49:36 - Nocturne No. 12 in G Major, H 58 
52:05 - Nocturne No. 13 "Dernière Pensée" in D minor , H 59 
55:52 - Nocturne No. 14 in C Major, H 60 
1:04:50 - Nocturne No. 15 in C Major, H 61 
1:10:01 - Nocturne No. 16 in F Major, H 62 
1:14:57 - Nocturne No. 17 in E Major, H 13  
1:26:00 - Nocturne No. 18 "Midi" in E Major , H 54

John Field - Concertos No.1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
Concerto No 1 in E Flat Major, H 27
Concerto No 2 in A Flat Major, H 31
Concerto No 3 in E Flat Major, H 32
Concerto No 4 in E Flat Major, H 28
Concerto No 5 in C Major, H 39
Concerto No 6 in C Major, H 49

John Field: Piano Concerto in C minor no. 7 H58 
Paolo Restani, piano; Marco Guidarini, conductor
Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice



Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf begins composing his Twelve Symphonies on Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’. Only six symphonies of the collection survive complete.

Dittersdorf: Symphonies after Ovid's Metamorphoses I
Symphony in C major "The Four Ages of Man"
Adrian Shepherd - 1987

Dittersdorf: Symphonies after Ovid's Metamorphoses II
Symphony in D major "The Fall of Phaeton"

Dittersdorf: Symphonies after Ovid's Metamorphoses III
Symphony in G major "The Transformation of Actaeon into a Stag"

Dittersdorf: Symphonies after Ovid's Metamorphoses IV
Symphony in F major "The Rescuing of Andromeda by Perseus"

Dittersdorf: Symphonies after Ovid's Metamorphoses V
Symphony in D major "The Petrification of Phineus and his friends"

Dittersdorf: Symphonies after Ovid's Metamorphoses VI
Symphony in A major "The Transformation of the Lycian Peasants into Frogs"

7 April
Austrian composer Ignaz Holzbauer dies in Mannheim, aged 71.

While visiting Salzburg, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart graciously helps his friend Johann Michael Haydn who is too ill to fulfil a commission from Archbishop Colloredo. He composes two duets for violin and viola (K. 423 and K. 424) and submits the pieces as Haydn's work.


W. A. Mozart: Duo per violino e viola KV 423.
Laura Marzadori violino e Simonide Braconi viola. Concerto del 10 novembre 2014 - Conservatorio G. Verdi di Milano

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Duo for violin & viola No. 2 in B flat major, K. 424
1. Adagio - Allegro
2. Andante cantabile 3. Theme with
6 Variations. Andante grazioso
Arthur Grumiaux, violin and Arrigo Pelliccia, viola

L'oca del Cairo (The Goose of Cairo or The Cairo Goose, K. 422) is an incomplete Italian opera buffa in three acts, begun by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in July 1783 but abandoned in October.

Franz Joseph Haydn composes his graceful Cello Concerto (No. 2) in D major.


27 March
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart displays mean-spirited humour with the dedication of the Horn Concerto K. 417 to his friend Joseph Leutgeb, a virtuoso horn player.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Horn Concerto No. 2, K. 417
Philharmonia Orchestra - Conductor: Herbert von Karajan 
- Soloist: Dennis Brain - 1953 

00:00 - I. Allegro maestoso
06:40 - II. Andante
10:14 - III. Rondo

Didon (Dido) is a tragédie lyrique in three acts by the composer Niccolò Piccinni with a French-language libretto by Jean-François Marmontel. Didon was first performed at Fontainebleau on 16 October 1783

Niccolò Piccinni - Didon

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

26 October
Constanze Mozart leads the soloists in the first performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s (unfinished) Mass in

C minor, in Salzburg. The breadth of emotion and quality of music is unprecedented in Mozart's sacred output, ranging from the grand solemnity of the Kyrie to the delectable operatic lyricism of Laudamus te. Mozart has composed the so-called Great Mass in gratitude to God for Constanze s recovery from ill health and their recent marriage.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Great Mass in C minor K 427
1. Kyrie                                                  6:52
2. Gloria                                                 2:12
3. Laudamus te                                    4:52
4. Gratias                                               1:25
5. Domine                                              2:51
6. Qui tollis                                            5:20
7. Quoniam                                           4:21
8. Jesu Christe - Cum Sancto Spiritu 4:31
9. 3 Credo: Credo in unum Deum     3:25
10. Et incarnatus est                            8:16
11. 4 Sanctus                                        3:34
12. Benedictus                                      5:34

4 November
Composed ‘at breakneck speed’, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 36 is premiered at Linz as Wolfgang and Constanze pass through on their return to Vienna.

Mozart Symphony # 36 "Linz" 

16 December
Johann Adolph Hasse, one of the most successful opera composers of the century, dies in Venice, aged 84.



Franz Joseph Haydn publishes his Piano Sonatas Nos. 40-42 and the Piano Concerto in D major.

Haydn - Piano Sonata No. 40, Hob.XVI:40, Op. 37 No. 1, in G Major

Haydn - Piano Sonata in B flat major, XVI/41 - Nicholas Walker

Franz Joseph Haydn - Piano Sonata No 42 in G Major, Hob XVI:27

Joseph Haydn - Piano Concerto No. 11 in D major, Hob. XVIII/11
Mikhail Pletnev, piano.

Iván Fischer, conductor.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s solo and chamber compositions this year include the Piano Sonata in C minor, K. 457, and his String Quartet in B flat major, K. 458 (The Hunt), part of his collection of six Haydn Quartets.

Mozart: Piano Sonata No 14 in C minor, K 457
Grigory Sokolov in Schwetzingen, 2001

Mozart - 'The Hunt', String Quartet No. 17 in B-flat major (K. 458)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart begins the Verzeichnuss aller meiner Werke, a thematic catalogue of his new works. The following month he performs at 13 private concerts and three subscription concerts.

5 April
Versatile German maestro Louis Spohr is born in Brunswick.

28 April 
Antonio Salieri’s Les Danaides, a five-act tragedie lyrique influenced by Christoph von Gluck's reforms, creates a sensation at the Paris Opera. Management commission two further operas from the composer.

Antonio Salieri: 'Les Danaïdes', Tragédie en musique
Judith van Wanroij, Hypermestre
Philippe Talbot, Lyncée
Tassis Christoyannis, Danaüs
Katia Velletaz, Plancippe
Thomas Dolié, Pélagus 


Les Danaïdes is an opera by Antonio Salieri, in 5 acts: more specifically, it is a tragédie lyrique. The opera was set to a libretto by François-Louis Gand Le Bland Du Roullet and Louis-Théodore de Tschudi, who in turn adapted the work of Ranieri de' Calzabigi (without permission). Calzabigi originally wrote the libretto of Les Danaïdes for Christoph Willibald Gluck, but the aged composer, who had just experienced a stroke,[ was unable to meet the Opéra's schedule and so asked Salieri to take it over.

The plot of the opera is based on Greek tragedy and revolves around the deeds of the mythological characters Danaus and Hypermnestra.
Act I 
Danaus and his fifty daughters, the Danaïdes, vow loyalty to their enemy Aegyptus, Danaus's brother. Aegyptus dies and is succeeded by his eldest son, Lynceus (Lyncée). He and his brothers each agree to marry one of the Danaïdes; Danaus instructs his daughters to take revenge by killing their husbands on their wedding night.[8]
Act II 
Lynceus's wife Hypermnestra (Hypermnestre) is alone in refusing to obey her father's order, even after Danaus confronts her with the prophecy that he will be murdered himself if she fails to satisfy his lust for vengeance.
Act III 
After the wedding ceremony, Hypermnestra manages to escape with Lynceus, just as his brothers are being killed.
Act IV 
Danaus is enraged when news of Lynceus's escape reaches him, but he is distracted from his anger when Lynceus storms the city, killing all fifty of the Danaïdes except Hypermnestra and burning the palace to the ground.
Act V 
The Danaïdes are sent to Hades where their father is seen chained to a rock, his entrails being torn from him by a vulture. The Furies promise an eternity of suffering.

The Danaides by John William Waterhouse

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 14 in E flat major, K 449 
Pianist Heejung Park
Toronto's Chamber Orchestra (Conductor: Nurhan Arman)

Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 15 in B-flat Major, K. 450 (Murray Perahia)

Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 16 in D Major, K. 451 (Mitsuko Uchida)

Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 17 in G major, K. 453 (Mitsuko Uchida)

Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 18 in B-flat major, K. 456 (Mitsuko Uchida)

Mozart - Piano Concerto No.19, K.459 (Murray Perahia)

9 February
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completes his Piano Concerto No. 14 in E flat major (K. 449). Five more piano concertos follow this year: No. 15 in B flat major (K. 450) through to No. 19 in F major (K. 459). Collectively, their extended expressive range represents a watershed in Mozart’s concerto writing.

1 July
Composer Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, the eldest son of Johann Sebastian Bach, dies in Berlin aged 73. After many years of financial hardship, he leaves his wife and daughter struggling in poverty.

23 August
Giovanni Paisiello’s comic opera Il re Teodoro in Venezia (King Theodore in Venice) to a libretto Giovanni Battista Castigoes, down a storm at the Vienna Burgtheater. Mozart attends the premiere but suffers ‘a fearful attack of colic’, ending in vomiting.

Giovanni Paisiello - IL RE TEODORO IN VENEZIA
Tedoro: Sesto Bruscantini
Gafforio: Florindo Andreolli
Acmet Terzo: Mario Basiola
Taddeo: Paolo Pedani
Lisetta: Cecilia Fusco
Sandrino: Nicola Monti
Belisa: Rukmini Sukmavati
Messer Grande: Angelo Nosotti
I Virtuosi di Roma direttore Renato Fasano - Registato agli studi Rai di Torino il 22 aprile 1962

Andre Gretry’s medieval Richard Cceur-de-lion opens in Paris. His opera comique is a pioneering example of the ‘rescue opera’ and also notable for its use of a recurring romance, anticipating the leitmotif. The work remains in the French repertory throughout much of the 19th century.

Gretry - Overture - 'Richard, Couer de Lion'

Louis Spohr

Louis Spohr

Louis Spohr, original name Ludwig Spohr, (born April 5, 1784, Brunswick, Brunswick [Germany]—died Oct. 22, 1859, Kassel, Hesse [Germany]), German violinist, composer, and conductor whose compositions illustrate an early aspect of the Romantic period in German music.


Spohr taught himself composition by studying the scores of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He studied violin with the leader of the Brunswick orchestra and in 1802 with Franz Eck, who took him on a tour of Russia. He toured Italy with the great violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini and in 1817 became conductor of the opera in Frankfurt am Main. In 1820 Spohr made the first of his six tours of England. He became court conductor at Kassel in 1821. In his later years his political radicalism incurred the displeasure of his patron, the elector of Hesse-Kassel, who pensioned him in 1857. Shortly afterward, he broke his left arm and was no longer able to play the violin.

Though opposed to the forward-looking composers of his time—he disliked the works of Carl Maria von Weber and the late works of Ludwig van Beethoven—Spohr regarded Richard Wagner’s music highly and conducted The Flying Dutchman and Tannhäuser. Spohr’s 11 operas include Faust (1816), one of the earliest German Romantic operas, and Jessonda. Of his nine symphonies, the fourth, Die Weihe der Töne (The Consecration of Sound), was the most successful. He also wrote 15 violin concerti (of which No. 8 continues to be performed), 34 string quartets, 4 double string quartets, and a nonet. 

A composer, Spohr produced more than 150 works with opus numbers, in addition to a number of nearly 140 works without such numbers. He wrote music in all genres. His nine symphonies show a progress from the classical style of his predecessors to program music: his sixth symphony represents successive styles from "Bach–Handel" to the moderns; his seventh symphony represents the 'sacred and secular in human life' with a double orchestra; and his ninth symphony represents Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons). (The autograph score of the tenth symphony, which bears the complete work, is held by the Staatsbibliothek Berlin. Furthermore the same institution holds a complete set of copied parts. Between 1803 and 1844 Spohr wrote more violin concertos than any other composer of the time, eighteen in all, including works left unpublished at his death. Some of them are formally unconventional, such as the one-movement Concerto No. 8, which is in the style of an operatic aria, and which is still periodically revived, most recently in a 2006 recording by Hilary Hahn. There are two double-violin concertos as well. Better known today, however, are the four clarinet concertos, all written for the virtuoso Johann Simon Hermstedt, which have established a secure place in clarinettists' repertoire.

Among Spohr's chamber music is a series of no fewer than 36 string quartets, as well as four double quartets for two string quartets. He also wrote an assortment of other quartets, duos, trios, quintets and sextets, an octet and a nonet, works for solo violin and for solo harp, and works for violin and harp to be played by him and his wife together.

Though obscure today, Spohr's operas Faust (1816), Zemire und Azor (1819) and Jessonda (1823) remained in the popular repertoire through the 19th century and well into the 20th, when Jessonda was banned by the Nazis because it depicted a European hero in love with an Indian princess. Spohr also wrote 105 songs and duets, many of them collected as Deutsche Lieder (German Songs), as well as a mass and other choral works. Most of his operas were little known outside of Germany, but his oratorios, particularly Die letzten Dinge (1825–1826) were greatly admired during the 19th century in England and America. This oratorio was translated by Edward Taylor (1784–1863) and performed as The Last Judgment in 1830 for the first time. During the Victorian era Gilbert and Sullivan mentioned him in act 2 of The Mikado in a song by the title character.

Louis Spohr - Symphony 2 in D Minor Op. 49 (1820)
I. Allegro
II. Larghetto
III. Scherzo. Presto - Trio I - Trio II
IV. Finale. Vivace

NDR Radiophilharmonie
Conducted by Howard Griffiths

Spohr - Symphony Nº3 in C Minor, Op.78 (1828)
Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra-Alfred Walter

Ludwig Spohr - Symphony Nº4, Op.86"Die Weihe der Töne"(1832)
III.Tempo di Marcia-Andante maestoso(Ambrosian Ode):13:50
Budapest Symphony Orchestra - Alfred Walter

Louis Spohr - Clarinet Concerto No.1 C minor Op. 26
Clarinetist: Karl Leister
Orchestra: Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart
Conductor: Rafael Frubeck de Burgos

Louis Spohr - Clarinet Concerto No.2 in E flat major Op.57

Clarinetist: Karl Leister

Louis Spohr - Clarinet Concerto No.3 in F minor 19

Clarinetist: Karl Leister

Louis Spohr - Clarinet Concerto No.4 E minor 

Clarinetist: Karl Leister



Ludwig van Beethoven, aged 14, completes his three Piano Quartets (clavecin, violin, viola and cello) WoO. 36, in Bonn.

Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Quartet in E flat major WoO 36 No 1 , 2 and 3

3 January
Baldassare Galuppi, renowned above all for his opera seria, dies in Venice, aged 78.

10 March
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart introduces his stunningly tuneful Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major (K. 467) at a benefit concert held in Vienna’s Burgtheater. As with his Piano Concerto in D minor (February), it seems that he had completed the work only the previous day A sumptuous, lyrical Allegro is followed by his best-known slow movement, the sublime Andante, and an elaborate sonata-rondo concludes with theatrical flamboyance.

Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467
Piano: Arthur Rubinstein
Conductor: Alfred Wallenstein
RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra

0:00 - Allegro maestoso
14:46 - Andante
21:19 - Allegro vivace assai

12 January
Giovanni Paisiello premieres his opera Antigono in Naples. It is the first of many operas he will compose under his new contract with the Neapolitan court. For the next five years he is unable to leave the kingdom without royal consent.

11 February
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  performs his brilliantly dramatic Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor (K. 466) at the first of six subscription concerts at the Mehlgrube concert hall in Vienna. With the work completed just the previous day, the final movement has to be sight-read by the orchestra, as there has been no time to practise it.

Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466 
00:00 - Allegro
14:54 - Romanze
25:09 - Allegro assai

Mitsuko Uchida
Jeffrey Tate
English Chamber Orchestra  

12 February
At a party thrown by
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Joseph Haydn hears the younger composer s latest quartets ((K. 458 (1784), K. 464 (1785)  and K. 465 (1785)—three of six quartets dedicated to Haydn later this year).
Haydn remarks to Leopold Mozart,
‘I tell you before God and as an honest man that your son is the greatest composer I know, either in person or by name’.

W.A.Mozart: String Quartet No.18 in A major, K.464
1.Allegro 0:00
2.Menuetto 6:30
3.Andante 12:16
4.Allegro non troppo 24:53

Petr Messiereur - Violin
Jan Kvapil - Violin
Jan Talich - Viola
Evzen Rattay - Cello 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - String quartet K.465

I. Adagio - Allegro
II. Andante cantabile
III. Menuetto. Allegretto
IV. Allegro

Amadeus String Quartet (Norbert Brainin - Siegmund Nissel - Peter Schidlof - Martin Lovett), London, 1954

1 September
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's String Quartets Op. 10 (the Haydn Quartets) are published in Vienna.

In the dedication, Mozart writes to Haydn:

"I send my six children to you, most celebrated and dear friend. They are indeed the fruit of long and laborious endeavour ... From this moment I surrender to you all my rights over them."
Influenced by Haydn’s Op. 33 quartets, Mozart has written them simply out of the need to create. They become his most celebrated works of the genre.

The six quartets:
String Quartet No. 14 in G major, ("Spring"), K. 387, Op. 10 No. 1 (31 December 1782)
String Quartet No. 15 in D minor, K. 421/417b, Op. 10 No. 2 (17 June 1783)
String Quartet No. 17 in B-flat major ("Hunt"), K. 458, Op. 10 No. 3 (9 November 1784)
String Quartet No. 16 in E-flat major, K. 428/421b, Op. 10 No. 4 (June–July 1783)
String Quartet No. 18 in A major, K. 464, Op. 10 No. 5 (10 January 1785)
String Quartet No. 19 in C major ("Dissonance"), K. 465, Op. 10 No. 6 (14 January 1785)

W. A. Mozart - KV 421 (417b) - String Quartet No. 15 in D minor
1. Allegro (0:00)
2. Andante (12:05)
3. Menuetto: Allegretto (19:25)
4. Allegretto ma non troppo (23:11)
Composed in Vienna in June 1783. Published as Op. 10 No. 2 in 1785 with a dedication to Joseph Haydn.

W. A. Mozart - KV 428 (421b) - String Quartet No. 16 in E flat major
1. Allegro ma non troppo (0:00)
2. Andante con moto (10:35)
3. Menuetto: Allegro (24:45)
4. Allegro vivace (31:02)
Composed in Vienna in June or July 1783. Published in 1785 as Op. 10 No. 4 with a dedication to Joseph Haydn.

2 November
Niccolo Piccinni’s tragic opera Penelope fails to please the French court at Fontainebleau, although it soon finds favour with the public.

Henry Fuseli - The Nightmare

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