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Classical Era


Friedrich II of Prussia dies; Friedrich Wilhelm II • Massachusetts farmers rebel agains-high taxes and are suppressed by state militia • Britair acquires the Malayan island of Penang • Willem V of Orange loses command of the Dutch army in conflict witt the French-supported Patriot party • Jacques Balmat and 
Michel Paccard (Fr) make first assent of Mont Blanc • Count Alessandro Volta (It) invents a primitive electric battery • Chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth (Ger) discovers uranium and zirconium • William Beckford (Eng) publishes Gothic novel
Vathek • John Burgoyne (Eng): The Heiress • Philanthropist Thomas Clarkson (Eng): Essay on Slavery

US Constitution is signed in Philadelphia; first states to ratify it are Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Georgia • The Northwest Ordinance is enacted, providing for government of US north-west territories • Tsarina Catherine II of Russia forms a defensive alliance with Holy Roman Emperor Josef II • Josef makes the Netherlands an Austrian province 
• France moves towards revolution because of financial crisis • Willem V of Orange regains authority in Netherlands with Prussian help • Turkey declares war on Russia • Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun (Fr) paints Marie Antoinette and Her Children • Schiller (Ger): Iphigenie auf Tauris • Methodist John Wesley (Eng): Sermons
Seven more states ratify the US Constitution (now totalling 11) • Seven-year trial of Warren Hastings (former Governor-General of India, accused of corruption) begins in Britain • Louis XVI summons French Estates-General (national assembly) for 1789 after demands by Paris parlement (local court) • British, Dutch and Prussians form Triple Alliance to preserve peace • Swedes invade Finland • Danes invade Sweden • Austria is at war with Turkey • Britain sends its first convicts to Port Jackson settlement in Australia • Britain founds Sierra Leone as a haven for former slaves • Philosopher Immanuel Kant (Ger): Critique of Practical Reason

French Revolution begins when Paris mob storms fortress-prison of the Bastille; French National Assembly adopts Declaration of the Rights of Man and prohibits its members from working for the king; for safety from the mob, Louis XVI is forced to move from Versailles to Paris • First US Congress meets in New York • George Washington becomes first US President • North Carolina ratifies the US Constitution and becomes 12th State • Judiciary Act establishes federal court system in USA • Belgium, encouraged by France, declares independence from Austria • William Blake (Eng): Songs of Innocence • Goethe (Ger): Tasso

Rhode Island ratifies the US Constitution and becomes 13th State • French Revolution continues; political clubs, led by Robespierre and others, increase their authority; moderate leader Comte de Mirabeau tries to prevent overthrow of monarchy; Louis XVI accepts new constitution • In France, Jews are given civil liberties, clergy are placed under civil organisation, titles are abolished and sweeping administrative reforms are introduced • Leopold II becomes Holy Roman Emperor • Russia gains part of Finland from Sweden, and Russian-Swedish war ends • Austrians suppress independence movement in Belgium • Philosopher Immanuel Kant (Ger): Critique of Judgment

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age.



Luigi Boccherini (in Spain) sends off four symphonies (Op. 37) to his new patron, Prince Wilhelm of Prussia.

Boccherini - Symphony in C major. Op.37, No.1. G 515

I. Allegro con moto 00:00
II. Menuetto con un poco di moto 04:56
III. Andante 08:45
IV. Allegro vivo assai 12:32

Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss
Johannes Goritzki, conductor

Boccherini - Sinfonia op. 37 no. 3 G 517 in D minor

00:01 1st  Mvt : Allegro moderato
08:35 2nd Mvt:  Minuetto con moto – Trio
12:55 3rd Mvt:  Andante amoroso
18:20 4th Mvt:  Allegro vivo ma non presto

Accademia Strumentale Italiana
Conductor: Giorgio Bernasconi

Boccherini: Sinfonia in la maggiore op 37 n 4 

Franz Joseph Haydn completes his Paris Symphonies (Nos. 82-87), commissioned the previous year for the (Masonic) Concert de la Loge Olympique. This popular set includes L’Ours (The Bear), La Poule (The Hen) and La Reine (The Queen—so nicknamed as it becomes Marie Antoinettes favourite).

Haydn-Symphony No.83 in G Minor, Hob.I:83 -"La Poule"

00:00 - Allegro spiritoso
07:33 - Andante
16:06 - Menuet. Allegretto - Trio
19:32 - Finale. Vivace

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, dir. S. Kuijken

Haydn-Symphony No.84 in E-flat Major, Hob.I:8

1 Largo - Allegro
2 Andante
3 Menuet e Trio
4 Finale. Vivace

Orchestre de Paris  Paavo Järvi, conductor

Haydn-Symphony No.85 in B-flat Major, Hob.I:85 -"La Reine"

00:00 Adagio - Vivace
08:05 Romanze. Allegretto
14:25 Menuetto - Trio
18:50 Finale. Presto

BBC Symphony Orchestra
Ernest Ansermet, conductor

Haydn-Symphony No.86 in D Major, Hob.I:86

00:00 - Adagio - Allegro
08:09 - Capriccio: Largo
14:41 - Menuet: Allegretto - Trio
19:42 - Finale: Allegro con spirito

Sigiswald Kuijken and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Haydn- Symphony No.87 in A Major, Hob.I:87
00:00 - Vivace
07:20 - Adagio
13:59 - Menuet - Trio
18:10 - Finale: Vivace

Sigiswald Kuijken and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Haydn-Symphony No.82 in C Major, Hob.I:82 -"L'Ours"

00:00 - Vivace assai
07:20 - Allegretto
14:06 - Menuet & Trio
17:54 - Finale. Vivace

Tafelmusik, dir. Bruno Weil (1994)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composes three remarkable piano concertos: No. 23 in A major (K. 488), No. 24 in C minor (K. 491) and No. 25 in C major (K. 503). Other works this year include the popular Horn Concerto No. 4 in E flat major (K. 495), the piano quartet in E flat major (K. 493), the Hoffmeister Quartet (K. 499) and the Prague symphony, No. 38 in D major (K. 504).

Mozart- No. 23 in A major (K. 488)

00:00 - Allegro 
11:22 - Adagio 
18:42 - Allegro assai

Mitsuko Uchida-Jeffrey Tate-English Chamber Orchestra

Mozart-No. 24 in C minor (K. 491)

00:00 - Allegro 
14:13 - Larghetto 
22:30 - Allegretto 

Mitsuko Uchida-Jeffrey Tate-English Chamber Orchestra

Mozart-No. 25 in C major (K. 503)

00:00 - Allegro maestoso
15:38 - Andante 
22:59 - Allegretto

Mitsuko Uchida-Jeffrey Tate-English Chamber Orchestra

Mozart-Horn Concerto No. 4 in E flat major (K. 495)

1. Allegro moderato
2. Romanza Andante
3. Rondo Allegro
Dennis Brain, french Horn
Philharmonia Orchestra-Herbert von Karajan, Conduct.

Mozart-Piano quartet in E flat major (K. 493)

Asaf Zohar - Piano
Hagai Shaham - Violin
Zvi Carmeli - Viola
Zvi Plesser - Cello

Mozart-String Quartet No. 20 in D major, K. 499, "Hoffmeister"

I. Allegretto [0:00]
II. Menuetto: Allegretto [9:38]
III. Adagio [13:00]
IV. Allegro [21:00]

Jaap Schröder, violin - Marilyn McDonald, violin
Judson Griffin, viola - Kenneth Slowik, cello

Mozart-Prague symphony, No. 38 in D major (K. 504)

I. Adagio - Allegro - (0:00)
II. Andante - (16:00)
III. Finale: Presto - (25:53)
Freiburg Baroque Orchestra-Directed by René Jacobs

4 January
Antonio Sacchini's opera Oedipe a Colone is premiered at Versailles. Introduced at the Paris Opera the following year, this tragedie lijrique will become the composer’s lasting legacy, with hundreds of performances over the next 40 years.

Antonio Sacchini - Œdipe à Colone

Œdipe:                François Loup
Antigone:            Natalie Paulin
Polynise:            Robert Getchell
Thésée:              Tony Bountté
Eriphile:              Kirsten Blaise

Une athénienne:  Kara Morgan
Le grand prêtre:  Jason Kaminski
Un coryphée:      Philip Cave

Opera Lafallette Orchestra & Chorus - Ryan Brown


Oedipe et Antigone by Johann Peter Krafft (1809)
The plot is based on the myth of Oedipus, King of Thebes. Oedipus has been expelled from the city after it was revealed he had killed his father and married his mother. Now blind and aged he wanders through Greece accompanied only by his daughter Antigone. Meanwhile, the throne of Thebes has been divided between Oedipus' two sons, Eteocles and Polynices. But the two have quarrelled and Eteocles has driven out Polynices, who seeks refuge with Theseus, King of Athens.

Act 1
The opera begins with Polynices and Theseus striking a pact: Polynices will marry Theseus' daughter, Eriphyle, and Theseus will help him retake the throne of Thebes, thus forging an alliance between that city and Athens. The Athenians celebrate and Theseus and Polynices go to the temple to offer a sacrifice. Polynices feels guilty he banished his father Oedipus from Thebes. As he sacrifices, the temple fire goes out, a symbol of the anger of the Furies.

Act 2
Polynices wanders outside the temple where he sees an old man being led by a girl. It is Oedipus and Antigone. Oedipus senses the presence of the Furies and is sent temporarily insane. Antigone pleads with the gods to have mercy on her father. A crowd appears and when they learn the identity of Oedipus they want to drive him away, but Theseus stops them and offers the old man his hospitality.

Act 3
Polynices tells Antigone he is so remorseful he would give up everything, including Eriphyle, to be forgiven by his father. Antigone tries to reconcile Oedipus and his son, but Oedipus reacts by accusing her of disloyalty and cursing both Polynices and Eteocles. Only when Polynices begs his father to kill him with his own hands does Oedipus take pity on his son. This act of forgiveness earns the mercy of the gods. The wrath of the Furies is appeased.

7 February
Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario), K. 486, is a comic singspiel by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, set to a German libretto by Gottlieb Stephanie, an Austrian Schauspieldirektor. Originally, it was written because of "the imperial command" of the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II who had invited 80 guests to a private luncheon. It is regarded as "a parody on the vanity of singers", who argue over status and pay.

Mozart, who describes it as "comedy with music" wrote it as his entry in a musical competition which was given a private performance hosted on 7 February 1786 by Joseph II at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna

1 May
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart directs the first performance of his operatic masterpiece The Marriage of Figaro at the Burgtheater in Vienna. Although the stage-play of Beaumarchais’ Figaro has been banned, Emperor Joseph II has approved the production thanks to some judicious editing by the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte of the overtly seditious sections. The popularity of opera increases on each subsequent performance, to the dismay of Salieri and other rivals of Mozart.

19 May
The blind composer John Stanley dies in London, aged 73.

11 July
Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf triumphs in Vienna with his comic singspiel Doktor und Apotheker. It becomes one of the few German-language operas of the Classical period to achieve success across Europe.

Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf - Doktor und Apotheker

11 September
Friedrich Kuhlau, Danish composer, born.

6 October
Antonio Sacchini, one of the leading composers of opera seria, dies in Paris, aged 56.

17 November
Vicente Martin y Soler's comic opera Una cosa rara (A Rare Thing), composed in collaboration with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, takes Vienna by storm, completely eclipsing Mozarts Figaro. The opera is one of the earliest to feature a waltz.

Soler Una cosa rara 1

Soler Una cosa rara 2

Soler Una cosa rara 3

7 December
Antonio Salieri's Horace opens at the Paris Opera but fails to capture even a glimpse of the excitement surrounding Les Danaides (1784).

Antonio Salieri: Ouverture to Les Horaces

Antonio Salieri composed this French tragedie lyrique,"Les Horaces," in 1786 and premiered at Versailles, France. The opera is based on the legendary Roman battle between the Horatii and the Curiatii, and the murder of Camille, the sister of the Horatii. Ouverture performed by the Mannheimer Mozartorchester, conducted by Thomas Fey.

18 December
German composer, conductor and pianist Carl Maria Weber
second cousin to Constanze Mozart, is born in Eutin, Schleswig-Holstein.

Friedrich Kuhlau

Friedrich Kuhlau

Friedrich Daniel Rudolf Kuhlau (11 September 1786 – 12 March 1832) was a German-born Danish composer during the Classical and Romantic periods. He was a central figure of the Danish Golden Age and is immortalized in Danish cultural history through his music for Elves' Hill, the first true work of Danish National Romanticism and a concealed tribute to the absolute monarchy. To this day it is his version of this melody which is the definitive arrangement.


Kuhlau was born on 11 September 1786 just south of Lüneburg in Uelzen district of Lower Saxony (Germany). At the age of seven, he lost his right eye when he slipped on ice and fell. His father, grandfather, and uncle were military oboists. Even though Kuhlau was born to a poor family, his parents managed to pay for piano lessons. Later he studied the piano in Hamburg where he also had his debut as a pianist in 1804.

In 1810, he fled to Copenhagen to avoid conscription in the Napoleonic Army, which overwhelmed the many small principalities and duchies of northern Germany, and in 1813 he became a Danish citizen.
During his lifetime, Kuhlau was known primarily as a concert pianist and composer of Danish opera, but was responsible for introducing many of Beethoven's works, which he greatly admired, to Copenhagen audiences. Kuhlau was a prolific composer, as evidenced by the fact that although his house burned down, destroying all of his unpublished manuscripts, he still left a legacy of more than 200 published works in most genres.

Friedrich Kuhlau - Elverhøj, Op.100 (1828)

Elverhøj, comedy with music in five acts, first performance 6 November 1828, Royal Opera house, Copenhagen. Libretto: Johan Ludvig Heiberg

Elisabeth: Bodil Gøbel, soprano
Mogens: Mogens Schmidt Johansen, baritone
Karen: Gurli Plesner, alto

Danish National Radio Choir 

The Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra Conductor: John Frandsen

Friedrich Kuhlau - Piano Concerto Op. 7 (1810)

Felicja Blumental, piano and the Salzburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Theodore Guschlbauer

Friedrich Kuhlau  -  Piano Sonatinas No.20 -88-55-60

Philharmonic Orchestra, Louis Jullien



Franz Joseph Haydn completes The Seven Last Words for orchestra. New compositions this year include his celebrated Symphony No. 88 in G major and the six Prussian Quartets, Op. 50.

Haydn - Symphony No. 88 G major 
Leonard Bernstein - Wiener Philarmoniker

Haydn - String quartets op.50 no 1-3
00:00 String quartet in B flat major, op.50 no 1
21:55 String quartet in C major, op.50 no 2
43:40 String quartet in E flat major, op.50 no 3
Tokyo String Quartet, rec. 1973

Haydn - String quartet in F sharp minor, op. 50, no 4
Tokyo String Quartet

Haydn - String Quartet Op. 50 No. 5 in F major
1. Allegro moderato (0:00)
2. Poco adagio (7:43)
3. Tempo di menuetto: Allegretto (11:43)
4. Finale: Vivace (16:10)

J. Haydn - Hob III:49 - String Quartet Op. 50 No. 6 in D major
1. Allegro (0:00)
2. Poco adagio (9:48)
3. Menuetto: Allegretto (17:20)
4. Finale: Allegro con spirito (22:04)

Wolfgahg Amadeus Mozart composes his C major and G minor String Quintets (K. 515 and K. 516), A Musical Joke for two horns and strings (K. 522), the Sonata in A major for piano and violin (K. 526) and the serenade Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music) for chamber string ensemble.

Mozart  - String Quintet No.2 in C major K.515
1. Allegro
2. Menuetto. Allegro
3. Andante
4. Allegro
Melos Quartet - Franz Beyer, Viola - 1987

Mozart: String Quintet in G minor, K.516
Benjamin Bowman, Sini Simonen, Michel Camille, Steven Dann, Ursula Smith

Mozart - A Musical Joke K. 522

Allegro  00:00 
Menuett: Maestoso  04:58 
Adagio Cantabile  11:16 
Presto  17:22 

Capella Istropolitana, Paul Kantschieder, conductor

Mozart - Violin Sonata No. 35 in A major, K. 526

I. Molto allegro [0:00]
II. Andante [9:30]
III. Presto [19:50]

Sigiswald Kuijken, violin, Luc Devos, fortepiano

Mozart - Eine Kleine Nachtmusik K. 525
I. Allegro 00:00 
II. Romanze: Andante 05:57
III. Menuetto: Allegretto 12:33
IV. Rondo: Allegro 14:56
Opole Philharmonic Orchestra - Werner Stiefel

11 January
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart arrives in Prague where he will conduct his Prague Symphony No.38 (1786) and a performance of The Marriage of Figaro (1786). For four weeks he revels in his immense popularity in the city, leaving the following month with a commission for a new opera.

12 January
Georg Jiseph Vogler's French-style opera Castore e Polluce is introduced at the Munich Residenztheater.

Ludwig van Beethoven, aged 16, is sent to Vienna to make contacts, display his talent and meet Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The elder composer reputedly remarks, ‘Keep your eyes on him; some day he will give the world something to talk about’.
Beethoven's stay is cut short by news of his critically ill mother, who dies during the summer of tuberculosis.

28 May
Composer, violinist and theorist Leopold Mozart dies in Salzburg, aged 67.

One week after the death of his father, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart buries Vogel Star—his pet starling. He and veiled mourners perform a funeral service for the bird. Mozart provides a eulogy and a headstone for the grave.

8 June
Antonio Salieri wins back French favour (after the failure of Horace, 1786) with the hugely successful Tarare, in collaboration with Pierre Beaumarchais, at the Paris Opera.

Salieri. TARARE. Deutsche Handel Solisten. 1988

Tarare is an opéra (tragédie lyrique) composed by Antonio Salieri to a French libretto by Pierre Beaumarchais. It was first performed by the Paris Opera at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin on 8 June 1787. Salieri also reworked the material into an Italian version retitled Axur, re d'Ormus with libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, which opened in Vienna in January 1788.

The genius that presides over the reproduction of creatures, or Nature    soprano
The genius of fire, which presides over Sun, in love with Nature    basse-taille (bass-baritone)
Atar, King of Ormus, a wild and unrestrained man    basse-taille (bass-baritone)
Tarare, a soldier in his service, honoured for his great virtues    taille (baritenor)
Astasie, Tarare's wife, both tender and pious    soprano
Arthénée, High Priest of Brahma, a misbeliever devoured by pride and ambition    basse-taille (bass-baritone)
Altamort, an army general, son of the High Priest, a reckless and fiery youth    basse-taille (bass-baritone) 
Urson, captain of Atar's guard, a valiant man of great honor    basse-taille (bass-baritone)
Calpigi, chief of the Eunuchs, a European slave and a former singer emerged from the Chapels of Italy, being sensitive and gay    haute-contre 
Spinette, a European slave woman, Calpigi's wife and a former Neapolitan cantatrice, being meddlesome and coquettish    soprano  
Elamir, a boy of the Augurs, being naive and very devout    boy soprano  
A priest of Brahma    basse-taille (bass-baritone) 
A slave    basse-taille (bass-baritone)  
A eunuch    basse-taille (bass-baritone) 
A shepherdess/A shadow (prologue)    soprano 
A peasant    basse-taille (bass-baritone)

1 October
Martin y Soler’s third operatic collaboration with Da Ponte, L'arbore di Diana, premieres sensationally at Vienna’s Burgtheater. Da Ponte regards it as his best work.

Vicente Martín y Soler - L'arbore Di Diana (The Tree of Diana) 
Amore    soprano 
Diana    soprano 
Doristo    bass  
Endimione    tenor  
Silvio    tenor 
Britomarte    soprano    
Chloe    contralto    
Clizia    mezzo-soprano

29 October
Wolfgahg Amadeus Mozart directs his opera Don Giovanni in Prague, having completed the overture only the previous night. With his second Da Ponte collaboration, Mozart mixes light buffa with profound seria, no doubt worrying the impresario Guardasoni who has commissioned the opera directly in response to the hit satirical comedy Figaro (1786). The opera is nonetheless a huge success.

15 November
Opera reformer Christoph Willibald Gluck dies in Vienna aged 73, having suffered a severe stroke the previous day.

1 December
Emperor Joseph II appoints Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to the position of court chamber musician in order to keep him in Vienna. His only duty is to supply dances for court balls.

Domenico Cimarosa arrives in St Petersburg to take up his new appointment as maestro di cappella at the court of Catherine II. 



Luigi Boccherini composes his Six String Quintets Op. 40, Two String Quartets Op. 41 and a Symphony in C minor, also Op. 41. At this time he holds the position of chamber music composer to Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia. He remains in Spain, however, sending the king a dozen instrumental works each year.

G 340: String Quintet Op. 40 No. 1 in A major 
G 341: String Quintet Op. 40 No. 2 in D major
G 342: String Quintet Op. 40 No. 3 in D major
G 343: String Quintet Op. 40 No. 4 in C major
G 344: String Quintet Op. 40 No. 5 in E minor
G 345: String Quintet Op. 40 No. 6 in B-flat major

G 214: String Quartet Op. 41 No. 1 in C minor
G 215: String Quartet Op. 41 No. 2 in C major

Luigi Boccherini, symphony in C minor, op. 41,G.519
Conducted by Carlo De Martini.

Allegro vivo assai - 00:00
Pastorale: lentarello - 6:24
Minuetto: allegro - 11:53
Finale: allegro - 14:23

12 February
Joseph II officially appoints Antonio Salieri to the post of Hofkapellmeister in Vienna. The composer will serve the court in this capacity for the next 36 years.

24 February
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completes his Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major (Coronation, K. 537).


Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 26 in D major, K. 537, 'Coronation'
00:00 - Allegro 
14:13 - Larghetto
21:29 - Allegretto

Murray Perahia
English Chamber Orchestra, 

Franz Joseph Haydn composes his String Quartets Op. 54 and Op. 55. He also receives two commissions, both for a set of three symphonies—the first from Prince Krafft Ernst von Oettingen-Wallerstein, the second from Count d’Ogny for the Concert de la Loge Olympique in Paris. He will submit the same three symphonies to both patrons: Nos. 90-92.

Haydn - String Quartet Op. 54 No. 1 in G major
1. Allegro con brio (0:00)
2. Allegretto (8:38)
3. Menuetto (14:42)
4. Finale: Presto (20:12)

Haydn  - String Quartet Op. 55 No. 1 in A major
1. Allegro (0:00)
2. Adagio cantabile (6:11)
3. Menuetto (11:23)
4. Finale: Vivace (15:23)

J. Haydn - Hob I:92 - Symphony No. 92 in G major "Oxford"
1. Adagio - Allegro spiritoso (0:00)
2. Adagio (7:27)
3. Menuetto: Allegretto (13:36)
4. Finale: Presto (18:44)

Joseph Haydn - Symphony No. 90 in C major

I. Adagio - Allegro assai (0:00)
II. Andante (6:41)
III Menuetto: Allegretto (14:18)
IV. Finale: Allegro assai (19:22)


J. Haydn - Hob I:91 - Symphony No. 91 in E flat major (Brüggen)
1. Largo - Allegro assai (0:00)
2. Andante (8:12)
3. Menuetto: Un poco allegretto (14:39)
4. Finale: Vivace (18:34)

Etienne-Nicolas Mehul brings out his three Op. 2 Sonatas for harpsichord (or piano), in Paris.

Méhul: Keyboard Sonata in C major Op.2 No.2
Brigitte Haudebourg, fortepiano

I. Allegro [00:00]
II. Sicilienne [07:20]
III. Allegretto [09:39]

In a year notable for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s symphonic triptych, other compositions include the Piano Sonata No. 16 in C major (K. 545), the Adagio and Fugue in C minor for string quartet (K. 546) and the Violin Sonata in F major (K. 547).

MOZART - Piano Sonata No.16 in C Major, K.545
00:00 I. Allegro
05:07 II. Andante
10:25 III. Rondò: Allegretto

Grigory Sokolov, piano

Mozart: Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K.546
Kammerorchester Rostock - Stefan Hempel

Mozart - Sonata for violin & piano No. 36 in F major ("For Beginners"), K. 547

1. Andante cantabile
3. Andante con variazioni

Isabelle van Keulen, violin and Ronald Brautigam, piano

8 January
Antonio Salieri and Da Ponte introduce their opera Axur re d’Ormus at the Burgtheater in Vienna. Both composer and librettist have recycled material from the Salieri-Beaumarchais collaboration Tartare, staged in Paris the previous year. Axur triumphs and becomes Joseph II's favourite opera.

Antonio Salieri - Axur, re d´Ormus

Axur, King of the Persian Gulf kingdom of Ormus, orders one of his soldiers, Altamor, to abduct Aspasia. She's the wife of Atar, the heroic commander of Axur's army. Not knowing who kidnapped Aspasia but suspecting an overseas enemy, Atar speaks with the king and begs for justice. Moved by his appeal, Axur allows Atar to take a ship and seek his wife. Before Atar leaves, Axur's slave-servant, Biscroma, tells the general that the king has abducted Aspasia and hidden her in the royal harem. Enemy troops now threaten to invade Ormus, and the people plead with Atar to save them. Axur undermines Atar by telling the people that the general has better things to do than lead the army. Enraged, Atar declares himself ready to stand at the head of the army and wipe out the nation's enemies.

While a feast is being held prior to the battle, Biscroma disguises Atar as a Nubian and smuggles him into the harem. Axur discovers "the Nubian" in the harem, but does not realize who he is. Axur decides to marry Aspasia to the Nubian as punishment for being unfaithful to Atar. Axur then changes his mind, and instead sends a squad of soldiers into the harem to kill "the Nubian". The soldiers discover "the Nubian's" true identity. They decide not to kill Atar, because they only have orders to kill "the Nubian" and not the general of the army. But they have orders to arrest Atar, so they do so and bring him before the king. Atar is dragged into court as Axur is wooing Aspasia. The husband and wife embrace. Axur sentences Atar to death for violating the royal harem, and Atar is dragged off to the place of execution. But a crowd surrounds the palace and demands Atar's freedom so that he can save the nation. Axur, realizing he has lost the love of the people, removes his crown and commits suicide. The people proclaim Atar the new King of Ormus.

7 May
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Don Giovanni receives its Vienna premiere. The opera does not repeat its Prague success (1787), although it manages 14 repeat performances throughout the year. 

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart begins writing his last three symphonies—No. 39 in E flat major, No. 40 in G minor and No. 41 in C major—completing the uncommissioned works in around seven weeks. Nos. 40 and 41 crown his achievement in the genre. The English composer-publisher J. B. Cramer  later gives No. 41 the moniker of Jupiter, no doubt inspired by the symphony’s momentous finale.

Mozart - Symphony n°39 K.543

I. Adagio - Allegro 0:00
II. Andante con moto 8:26
III. Menuetto. Allegretto - Trio 16:48
IV. Finale. Allegro 20:48

The Cleveland Orchestra - George Szell - 1960

Mozart - Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550
I. Molto allegro
II. Andante
III. Minuetto. Allegretto
IV. Allegro assai 

Mozart: Sinfonía nº 41, en do mayor, K 551 "Júpiter"
Allegro vivace (00:26)
Andante cantabile (13:29)
Menuetto (Allegretto) (26:46)
Molto allegro (31:54)
Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia-Lorin Maazel, director. 2012

Giovanni Paisiello's comic opera La molinara (The Miller) opens in Naples. It quickly becomes a Europe-wide sensation.

Giovanni Paisiello - La Molinara 1_2

Performed by: 
Rachelina: Adelina Scarabelli, sopr; 
Eugenia: Carmela Remigio, sopr; 
Calloandro: William Matteuzzi, ten; 
Luigino: Bruno Lazzaretti, ten; a
Maranta: Gloria Banditelli, sopr; 
Notar Pistolfo: Bruno Praticò, bs; 
Rospolone: Stefano Rinaldi Miliani, bs; 
I medico: Gastone Sarti, ten; 
Il medico: Alessandro Paliaga, bs;

Orch del teatro comunale di bologna 
dir. Ivor Bolton (1996)

Giovanni Paisiello - La Molinara 2_2

"Nel cor più non mi sento" is a duet from Giovanni Paisiello's 1788 opera L'amor contrastato, ossia La molinara, usually known as La molinara (it) (The Miller-Woman). The duet is sung twice in the opera's second act, first by the miller-woman Rachelina (soprano) and Calloandro (tenor) and then by Rachelina and the notary Pistofolo (baritone). The duet is notable as its theme has been used many times as a basis for other musical works, and due to its inclusion in Alessandro Parisotti's 1885 collection Arie Antiche, the song has secured a place in classical vocal pedagogy.

The duet is written in the key of G major with a 6/8 time signature. The voices are accompanied by violins, viola and continuo. There is an 8 measure instrumental introduction followed by 20 measures of Rachelina singing the theme. Callorando repeats these 20 measures with new text before Rachelina joins him for 12 more that repeat half of the theme. The orchestra then concludes the piece with 4 measures. After some recitative, Callorando leaves the stage and Pistofolo appears. The duet is repeated entirely as before, but this time with Pistofolo (who sings an entirely new set of words) rather than Collandro. Without ornamentation, the range for each singer covers the interval of a minor seventh (from F#4 to E5 for Rachelina and F#3 to E4 for Callorandro and Pistofolo). The duet would have been ornamented by singers according to the custom of the day.


Beethoven composed six variations in G major for piano, WoO 70, in 1795. Other composers that have used the theme include Paganini ("Introduction and variations in G major" for violin, Op. 38, MS 44, 1827), Fernando Sor (Fantasie, Op. 16 for guitar 1823), Friedrich Silcher (flute and piano), Mauro Giuliani (guitar and keyboard), Giovanni Bottesini (for double bass), Nicola Antonio Manfroce, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, and Johann Baptist Wanhal.

Luciano Pavarotti - Nel Cor Più Non Mi Sento
Modena, October 1989
from La Molinara, Giovanni Paisiello

14 December
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the greatest composer of the Bach sons, dies in Hamburg, aged 74.



Franz Joseph Haydn completes his commission for three symphonies, Nos. 90-92, from two different patrons. The last of the three symphonies—later nicknamed Oxford— becomes one of Haydn's best-loved works. Other compositions this year include the Piano Sonatas Nos. 43 and 44, and the Piano Trios Nos. 8-10.

Joseph Haydn - Sonate No.43 Hob XVI/28

Robert Kohnen - harpsichord

1. Allegro moderato
2. Menuet
3. Finale. Presto

Haydn - Sonata No 44 in F major, Hob XVI-29
Jean Martin (1998)

Haydn - Piano Trios Hob XV/40, 41, 9, 8, 10
1. Trio in F major, H. 15/40
2. Trio in G major, H. 15/41  10:54
3. Trio in A major, H. 15/9  26:35 
4. Trio in B flat major, H. 15/8  38:28
5.  Trio in E flat major, H. 15/10  50:45
Van Swieten Trio

Ludwig van Beethoven, aged 18, petitions the Elector of Bonn for half of his father s salary to be paid directly to himself for the education of his brothers, on account of their father being an incompetent alcoholic. The Elector agrees; Ludwig becomes head of the family and his father (a court singer) is suspended from service.

14 July
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart writes to his fellow freemason Baron Michaelvon Puchberg, begging for financial assistance. Subscription concerts and commissions are in poor supply, publishing profits are down and pupils are few. Added to this, both Mozart and his wife are regularly experiencing bouts of ill health. The baron takes pity and lends him substantial funds, and not for the last time.

Francois-Joseph Gossec’s Messe des morts (1760) is performed in memory of those who died during the storming of the Bastille.

12 September
German composer Franz Xaver

Richter dies in Strasbourg, aged 79.
Ignace Pleyel succeeds him as maitre de chapelle at Strasbourg Cathedral.

22 December
Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A major is premiered with the clarinettist Anton Stadler at a concert for the Tonkiinstler-Societat (Musicians’ Benevolent Society) in Vienna.

W. A. Mozart - KV 581 - Clarinet Quintet in A major "Stadler"
1. Allegro (0:00)
2. Larghetto (12:35)
3. Menuetto (18:41)
4. Allegretto con variazioni (25:51)
Jane Booth, clarinet; Eybler Quartet



Ludwig van Beethoven composes two cantatas, one to mark the death of Emperor Joseph II (WoO. 87) and the other for the new Emperor, Leopold II (WoO. 88). Neither cantata is published or performed during Beethoven s lifetime, but both serve as important calling cards for prospective patronage.



Muzio Clementi, in London, publishes his Six Piano Sonatas Op. 25, including the often-performed F sharp minor sonata, No. 5. This year the 38-year-old piano virtuoso decides to abandon his performing career and devote more time to composition.

Clementi - Piano Sonata in C major, Op. 25 No. 1

Clementi - Piano Sonata in G major, Op. 25 No. 2

Muzio Clementi: Sonata in La maggiore Op.25 N. 4

Clementi - Piano Sonata in F-sharp minor, op. 25 no. 5

Franz Joseph Haydn completes his Six String Quartets Op. 64.

Haydn - Hob III:65 - String Quartet Op. 64 No. 1 in C major

J. Haydn - Hob III:68 - String Quartet Op. 64 No. 2 in B minor

J. Haydn - Hob III:67 - String Quartet Op. 64 No. 3 in B flat major

J. Haydn - Hob III:66 - String Quartet Op. 64 No. 4 in G major

J. Haydn - Hob III:63 - String Quartet Op. 64 No. 5 in D major

J. Haydn - Hob III:64 - String Quartet Op. 64 No. 6 in E flat major

26 January
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's third and final operatic collaboration with Da Ponte, Cost fan tutte (All Women are the Same), opens at Vienna’s Burgtheater. With an emphasis on ensembles, the colourful farce contains some of Mozart s best music, but manages only ten performances.

14 July
Francois-Joseph Gossecs Te Deum is performed by a 1,000-strong choir at the Fete de la Federation in Paris to commemorate the storming of the Bastille. Later this year the composer writes his patriotic Marche lugubre

Francois-Joseph Gossecs - Te Deum

4 September
Etienne-Nicolas Mehul
's first staged opera, the comedy Euphrosine, ou Le tyran corrige (Euphrosine, or The Tyrant Reformed), opens with great success at the Theatre Favart in Paris.

28 September
Franz Joseph Haydn's employer, Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy, dies, leaving the composer a yearly pension of 1,000 gulden in his will. His son, Anton, soon disbands the musical establishment at Esterhaza, retaining Haydn as Kapellmeister in name and salary only. With no specific duties to perform, Haydn moves to Vienna.

The impresario Johann Peter Salomon visits
Franz Joseph Haydn and declares in no uncertain terms that he has come to fetch him for London. He offers the composer a package deal of commissions and an advance on receipts to the tune of £1,200. Haydn will provide six symphonies, one opera, and a host of other works for concert appearances.


14 December
Salomon throws a farewell dinner for
Franz Joseph Haydn in Vienna, the day before their departure for England. Among the guests is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who at the end of the evening presciently remarks to Haydn, 'We are probably saying our last adieu in this life’

Mozart - String Quintet No. 5 in D major, K. 593

00:00 - Larghetto - Allegro
10:13 - Adagio
17:36 - Menuetto (Allegretto)
22:56 - Finale (Allegro)

Violin: Arthur Grumiaux & Arpad Gérecz
Viola: Georges Janzer & Max Lesueur
Cello: Eva Czako

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
 composes his String Quintet in D, K. 593, "for a Hungarian music-lover" (unnamed, but possibly the violinist Johann Tost).

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