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Classical Era


Savoy and Nice are ceded to France • Britain captures the island of Elba • France and Spain form an alliance against Britain • Britain captures West Indian islands, including Grenada and St Lucia • Britain opens negotiations for peace with France • Physician Edward Jenner (Eng) introduces vaccination against smallpox • Antoine-Jean Gros - Bonaparte at the Pont d’Arcole 

John Adams assumes office as second President of the USA • French forces cross the Alps into Austria • France proclaims the Cisalpine Republic, comprising most of northern Italy • Napoleon is appointed to command a French invasion of Britain • Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Eng): poem Rime of the Ancient Mariner

French government proclaims a Helvetian Republic in Switzerland • French forces occupy Rome and proclaim a Roman Republic • Pope Pius VI moves to Valence, France • Napoleon begins Egyptian campaign • British defeat French in Battle of the Nile • English poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge publish Lyrical Ballads

French army is expelled from Italy; the Parthenopean and Roman Republics are ended • Russia leaves coalition against France • Napoleon returns to Paris and establishes the Consulate with himself as first consul and virtual dictator of France • In Egypt, French uncover the Rosetta Stone, advancing understanding of hieroglyphics

US government moves to the new capital, Washington, D.C., and John Adams moves into the White House 
• Adams is defeated in US presidential elections; Thomas Jefferson (Republican) wins Presidency after a tied vote with Aaron Burr • British parliament passes an Act of Union creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland • Napoleon re-conquers Italy: an Austrian army is defeated at Hohenlinden; French troops advance on Vienna • Eli Whitney (US) designs muskets with interchangeable parts • Composer turned astronomer William Herschel (Ger/UK) discovers infra-red solar rays • Alessandro Volta (It) invents the electric battery

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834) was an English poet, literary critic, philosopher and theologian who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets.



Active again as Esterhazy Kapellmeister, Franz Joseph Haydn is requested to compose a mass each year for the name day of Princess Maria Esterhazy. This adds to a significant concentration of sacred works in Haydn s output at this time. The Missa Sancti Bernardi von Offida and the Missa in tempore belli (Mass in Time of War) are completed this year.

J. Haydn - Hob XXII:9 - Missa in tempore belli in C major
- Kyrie (0:00)
- Gloria (4:45)
- Credo (15:14)
- Sanctus (25:00)
- Benedictus (27:10)
- Agnus Dei (32:55)
Nancy Argenta, soprano; Catherine Denley, alto; Mark Padmore, tenor; Stephen Varcoe, bass; Collegium Musicum 90 conducted by Richard Hickox.

J. Haydn - Hob XXII:10 - Missa Sancti Bernardi von Offida in B flat major
- Kyrie (0:00)
- Gloria (4:14)
- Credo (12:33)
- Sanctus (21:32)
- Benedictus (22:54)
- Agnus Dei (28:03)

Lorna Anderson, soprano; Pamela Helen Stephen, alto; Mark Padmore, tenor; Stephen Varcoe, bass; Collegium Musicum 90 conducted by Richard Hickox.

Around this time Giovanni Battista Viotti completes his Violin Concerto No. 22 in A minor, in London. Later admired by Brahms, it is widely regarded as the best of his 29 violin concertos.

Giovanni Battista Viotti - Violin Concerto No. 22 in A minor, G. 97

00:02  I. Moderato
15:29  II. Adagio
22:59  III. Agitato assai

Violin : Lola Bobesco
Staatliche Philharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz / Kurt Redel

Giovanni Simone Mayr Opera ' La Lodoiska' Overture

26 January
Simon Mayr 
establishes his credentials with his second opera, La Lodoiska, introduced with great success in Venice.

17 February
Giovanni Pacini, Italian opera composer, born

Franz Joseph Haydn composes his popular Trumpet Concerto in E flat major for Anton Weidinger (currently a member of the Vienna Court Opera), exploiting the groundbreaking chromatic facility of Weidinger s keyed instrument.

Joseph Haydn Trumpet Concerto E flat Major
Alison Balsom, trumpet
Allegro 0:00 Andante 6:40 Allegro 10:30.

26 March
Franz Joseph Haydn's oratorio arrangement of his orchestral work Seven Last Words (1787) is first heard at the Schwarzenberg Palace, Vienna.

23 July
Swedish composer and violinist Franz Berwald is born in Stockholm.

Giovanni Pacini

Giovanni Pacini

Giovanni Pacini, (born Feb. 17, 1796, Catania, Sicily [Italy]—died Dec. 6, 1867, Pescia, Tuscany), Italian opera composer who enjoyed considerable renown in the early to mid-19th century for his melodically rich works, which were finely tailored to the great singers of the period.


Pacini began his formal music studies at age 12, when he was sent by his father, the successful opera singer Luigi Pacini, to study voice in Bologna with the well-known castrato singer and composer Luigi Marchesi. Soon after commencing his studies, however, the young Pacini switched his musical focus to composition. His opera La sposa fedele (“The Faithful Bride”) premiered in Venice in 1919, and for its revival the following year Pacini provided a new aria to be sung specifically by the renowned soprano Giuditta Pasta. By the mid-1820s Pacini had cemented his reputation as a leading composer of his day with a series of both serious and comic works. He attracted particular notice with Alessandro nelle Indie (1824; “Alexander in the Indies”), an opera seria (“serious opera”) based on Andrea Leone Tottola’s updating of a text by 18th-century librettist Pietro Metastasio, and L’ultimo giorno di Pompei (1825; “The Last Day of Pompei”), also an opera seria.

A second phase of Pacini’s compositional career was initiated with the opera Saffo (1840), which differed stylistically from his earlier operas in its dramatic integrity and relative absence of melodic formula; this work marked Pacini’s definitive return to the genre, and it is generally hailed as his masterpiece. It was first performed in Naples, with a libretto by Salvatore Cammarano (the librettist of Donizetti’s well-known Lucia di Lammermoor [1835]), and quickly made the rounds of more than 40 theatres in Italy as well as in France, England, Austria, Russia, and other countries, including various parts of the New World. After the mid-1840s, however, Pacini and his work were overshadowed once again, this time by Giuseppe Verdi, whose operas often directly addressed political issues. In such a politically charged musical climate, Pacini’s works came to be heard as old-fashioned, owing particularly to their use of the cabaletta, the concluding fast section of an operatic number that was increasingly viewed as lacking in genuine dramatic motivation—and that was indeed eschewed by Verdi.
Pacini was the only significant Italian composer of his time to write an autobiography, Le mie memorie artistiche (1865; “My Artistic Memoirs”), and much of the attention that he has received from scholars since the late 20th century has focused on the lively and fascinating account that he gives of his professional career. Since the 1980s he has also enjoyed renewed attention through revivals and recordings of several of his works.


Giovanni Pacini - Carlo di Borgogna (1835)
Conductor: David Parry

Saffo - Giovanni Pacini - 1840
Saffo - Leyla Gencer
Dirce - Vittoria Maniachi
Climene - Franca Mattiucci
Faone - Tito Del Bianco
Ippia - Mario Guggia
Alcandro - Louis Quilico
Lisimau - Maurizio Piacente

Conductor - Franco Capuana
Orchestra - Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli
Chorus - Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli

G. Pacini - Medea Savona - 1843
Medea tragedia lirica in tre atti

Medea, a sorceress and Giasone's wife - Jolantha Omilian
Creonte, King of Corinth - Marcello Lippi
Giasone - Sergio Panajia
Cassandra, a priestess - Maria Cristina Zanni
Calcante, a priest - Giorgio Giuseppini
, Medea's servant  - Enrica Bassano

Festival dell’Opera Giocosa Orchestra Sinfonica di Savona Coro Schola Cantorum San Gregorio Magno – Trecate
Conductor Richard Bonyinge
Teatro Comunale Chiabrera, Savona


Franz Berwald

Franz Berwald

(b. Stockholm, July 23, 1796; d. Stockholm, April 3, 1868)


Swedish composer. He came from a musical family and began playing the violin professionally when he was 16, as a member of the court orchestra in Stockholm. His first efforts at composition date from around 1817, but he composed nearly all his important works during the decade 1840-50. He traveled widely (St. Petersburg, Berlin, Vienna, Paris) but always returned to Sweden. In 1850 he became manager of a glass factory in the north of the country, remaining involved in its operation until 1859. During his life, he was largely overlooked in his homeland; a measure of recognition finally came in 1867 when he was appointed professor of composition at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm.

Berwald’s early works show the influence of Beethoven and Spohr, but already reveal the presence of an independent musical personality. In his maturity he composed about a dozen operas (several now lost), a considerable amount of chamber music, and some songs, but his reputation rests almost entirely on the four symphonies he wrote during the 1840s: Sinfonie serieuse in G minor (1842); Sinfonie capricieuse in D (1842); Sinfonie singuliere C (1845); and Symphony No. 4 in E-flat (1845). These works abound in fresh ideas and attest to the striking originality of Berwald’s formal thought, as well as to the inventiveness with which he manipulated his material, teasing the possibilities of little two- and three-note figures into whole movements with a singular sense of fun and freedom from the rules, as he does in the first movement of the Sinfonie singuliere. 


Franz Berwald Symphony No. 3 in C major "Sinfonie singulière"  (1845)
Berliner Philharmoniker - Igor Markevitch
LP, Heliodor 89717, 1963

00:00 1. Allegro fuocoso
08:23 2. Adagio -- Scherzo: Allegro assai -- Adagio
17:00 3. Finale: Presto

Franz Berwald - Violin concerto in C minor op.2

Franz Berwald - Symphony No.1 in G-minor "Sinfonie sérieuse"  (1842)

Mov.I: Allegro con energia 00:00
Mov.II: Adagio maestoso 11:25
Mov.III: Stretto 18:07
Mov.IV: Finale: Adagio - Allegro molto 23:21

Orchestra: Helsingborgs Symfoniorkester

Conductor: Okko Kamu



Ludwig van Beethoven composes his Piano Sonata No. 4 in E flat major (Op. 7, published this year) and the Piano Trio in B flat major (‘Gassenhauer’), Op. 11.

Beethoven Piano Sonata No 4 in E flat Major, Op 7, “Grand Sonata”
Daniel Barenboim

Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Trio in B flat major (‘Gassenhauer’), Op. 11.  
— Camerata Pacifica - José Franch-Ballester, Ani Aznavoorian & Warren Jones

Muzio Clementi publishes his popular Six Sonatinas for piano Op. 36, in London.

Muzuo Clementi -  Six Sonatinas Opus 36
Piano Diane Hidy

Sonatina Op. 36 No. 1, in C I Allegro
Sonatina Op. 36 No. 1, in C II. Andante
Sonatina Op. 36 No. 1, in C III. Vivace
Sonatina Op. 36 No. 2, in G I. Allegretto
Sonatina Op. 36 No. 2, in G II. Allegretto
Sonatina Op. 36 No. 2, in G III. Allegro
Sonatina Op. 36 No. 3, in C I. Spiritoso
Sonatina Op. 36 No. 3, in C II. Un poco adagio
Sonatina Op. 36 No. 3, in C III. Allegro
Sonatina Op. 36 No. 4, in F I. Con spirito
Sonatina Op. 36 No. 4, in F III. Allegro vivace
Sonatina Op. 36 No. 5, in G I. Presto
Sonatina Op. 36 No. 6, in D I. Allegro con Spirito
Sonatina Op. 36 No. 6, in D II. Allegretto spiritoso

31 January
Franz Schubert is born in Vienna. He is the 12th of 14 children, only five of whom survive infancy.

13 March
Luigi Cherubini’s 
Medee (Medea) is premiered with reasonable success at the Theatre Feydeau in Paris. One of the composer’s outstanding achievements, the Greek legend opera is better received in Germany, and productions continue there throughout the next century.

Luigi Cherubini - MEDEA



Dallas 1958

Cherubini: Medea
Medea: Montserrat Caballé.
Giasone: José Carreras.
Neris : Elena Obratzsova.
Creonte: Kolos Kovats.
Glauce: María Gallego.
Due ancelle: Rosa María Conesa / Mabel Perelstein.
Un capitano: Miguel Ortega.
Conductor: Antoni Ros-Marbà
Teatro Romano. Mérida. July, 1989

Médée is a French language opéra-comique by Luigi Cherubini. The libretto by François-Benoît Hoffman was based on Euripides' tragedy of Medea 
Place: Corinth
Time: Antiquity
Act 1
Outside the palace of King Créon

Dircé is preparing for her wedding to Jason. Years ago, Jason had stolen the golden fleece with the help of Médée, who had betrayed her family and established a relationship with Jason, the result of which was two children. Although Jason has since abandoned Médée, she reappears and demands that he return to her. Jason refuses and Médée curses him, swearing vengeance.

Act 2
Inside the palace

In despair, Médée is encouraged by her slave, Néris, to leave the city. Créon then appears and orders that Médée leave. She asks for one more day with her children and, after the king agrees, she appears to be calmer and gives Néris two wedding presents to take to her rival.

Act 3
Between the palace and the temple

Néris brings the two children out to where Médée is waiting. Sounds of lamentation are heard from within the palace and it is discovered that one of Médée's wedding presents has poisoned Dircé. An angry crowd gathers and Néris, Médée, and the children take refuge in the temple. The two women reappear with Médée grasping a blood-stained knife with which she has killed her two children. The temple, to which Médée returns, goes up in flames.

Franz Joseph Haydn
completes his Six String Quartets Op. 76. The collection includes the Emperor Quartet (No. 3 in C major), incorporating the Emperors Hymn) as a basis for the second movement variations.

Haydn -  'Emperor' Quartet, Op. 76, No. 3

I. Allegro (0:00)
II. Poco Adagio: Cantabile (5:05)
III. Menuetto (12:37)
IV. Finale: Presto (17:13)
Norbert Brainin, violin - Siegmund Nissel, violin
Peter Schidlof, viola - Martin Lovett, cello

29 November
Italian composer  Gaetano Donizetti is born into poverty in Bergamo.    



Ludwig van Beethoven completes his Pathetique piano sonata (Op. 13) and begins composing his Op. 18 string quartets, commissioned by Prince Lobkowitz. This year sees the publication of the Three String Trios Op. 9 and Three Piano Sonatas Op. 10, in Vienna.

Beethoven Sonata No. 8 Op. 13 (Pathetique)
Daniel Barenboim

Beethoven String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18, No. 1 - Afiara String Quartet 

Beethoven String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18, No. 2 - Attacca Quartet 

Beethoven String Quartet No. 3 in D Major, Op. 18, No. 3 - Parker Quartet 

Beethoven - String Trios Op 9 N° 1 G Major 1/3
Perlman - Zuckerman - Harrell

Beethoven - String Trios Op 9 N° 2 D Major 2/3
Perlman - Zuckerman - Harrell

Beethoven - String Trio Op 9 N° 3 C Minor - 3/3
Perlman - Zuckerman - Harrell

Beethoven - Sonata No. 5 in C minor, Op. 10, No. 1 Richard Goode

Beethoven Piano Sonata No.6, Op.10 No.2
Alfred Brendel

Beethoven Piano Sonata no. 7, op. 10 no. 3 
Grigory Sokolov

Beethoven String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Op. 18, No. 4 - Ying Quartet 

Beethoven String Quartet No. 5 in A Major, Op. 18, No. 5 - Julliard School

Beethoven String Quartet No. 6 in B-flat Major, Op. 18, No. 6 - Amphion String Quartet 

20 January
Influential German composer Christian Cannabich, author of more than 70 symphonies, dies in Frankfurt, aged 66.

29-30 April
Franz Joseph Haydn's The Creation debuts before a select audience at the Schwarzenberg Palace, Vienna. Funded by aristocratic subscription, the oratorio is the first work to be written in two languages simultaneously—English and German.
Franz Joseph Ha
ydn will tell his biographer Griesinger "I was never so devout as when I wrote The Creation. Every morning I knelt and prayed to God to give me strength for a happy completion of the work."

Franz Joseph Ha
ydn composes his dramatic Missa in Angustiis.

Haydn's "The Creation" 

Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, Viking Chorale, Cantala, Concert Choir, 2016
Phillip A. Swan, conductor
Emily Birsan '08 (Gabriel, Eve)
Luke Honeck '20 (Uriel)
Evan Bravos '10 (Raphael, Adam)

Missa in Angustiis - "Nelsonmesse" - Franz Joseph Haydn
In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of St. Theresa Church, Trumbull, CT. The St. Theresa Choir welcomes The New Haven Chorale, The Hartt Chorale and Orchestra. A Gala Concert under the baton of Dr. Carolina Flores, featuring Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass - held Saturday, February 23, 2013.
Soloist - Karen Morse, soprano;
Elizabeth Barnes and Lauren Dwane, alto;
Ian O'Brien, tenor;
Marlon McWilliam and Jermain Woodward, bass.

18 October
Johann Simon Mayr’s opera Che originali opens in Venice. It is the fourth of six new stage works produced this year by Mayr for the city’s theatres.

Farsa per musica - Libretto by Gaetano Rossi

Don Febeo            Bruno de Simone
Donna Aristea      Chiara Amarù
Don Carolino         Leonardo Cortellazzi
Donna Rosina       Angela Nisi
Biscroma               Omar Montanari
Celestina               Gioia Crepaldi
Carluccio               Pietro Di Bianco

Conductor             Gianluca Capuano
Director                  Roberto Catalano
Costumes              Ilaria Ariemme
Lights Designer    Alessandro Andreoli

Orchestra dell’Accademia Teatro alla Scala
Teatro Sociale di Bergamo – Festival Donizetti 2017

Ludwig van Beethoven’s Romance for violin and orchestra (No. 2) in F Major is likely introduced around this time, in Vienna.

Ludwig van Beethoven - Romance for Violin & Orchestra No. 2 in F major, Op. 50

Christian Tetzlaff (Violin) and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich under the direction of David Zinman.



Ludwig van Beethoven composes his Septet in E flat major (Op. 20) and his Symphony No. 1 (Op. 21).

Beethoven - Septet in E flat major, Op. 20
Omega Ensemble - City Recital Hall

Natsuko Yoshimoto (violin), Neil Thompson (viola), Svetlana Bogosavljevic (cello), Alex Henery (double bass), Michael Dixon (horn), Rebecca Allen (bassoon) and David Rowden (clarinet)

Beethoven - Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
I. Adagio molto – Allegro con brio;
II. Andante cantabile con moto in F major;
III. Menuetto: Allegro molto e vivace;
IV. Adagio – Allegro molto e vivace.

Herbert von Karajan & Philharmonia Orchestra.

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.

Franz Joseph Haydn composes his Two String Quartets Op. 77, dedicating them to Prince Joseph Franz Lobkowitz. He also begins to write the oratorio The Seasons, although with his advancing years he finds the strain of the process enormous.

Haydn - String quartets op.77 no 1-2
00:00 String quartet op. 77 no 1 in G major
23:35 String quartet op. 77 no 2 in F major
Alban Berg Quartett - Rec. 1993

19 March
Box office records are smashed at Vienna’s Burgtheater with the first public performance of Haydn’s The Creation (1798). The oratorio soon becomes a Europe-wide sensation and the greatest success of the composer’s career.

27 May
Fromental Halévy, French composer, born.

11 October
Etienne-Nicolas Mehul’s Ariodant is introduced at the Opera-Comique, Paris.

Etienne-Nicolas Méhul - Ariodant
- Mélodrame et Air d'Ina : « Eh ! Qu'ai-je à craindre ? » « Mais que dis-je ? »

Artistes :
Véronique Gens (Soprano / Sopran), Les Talents Lyriques, Christophe Rousset (direction / Leitung) • Réalisateur : Olivier Simonnet • Cadreurs : Alexis Kavyrchine (directeur de la photographie), Thomas Gillot, Jonas Marpot, Etienne Monier, Antoine Planchot, Ludovic Plourde • Son : Denis Vautrin assisté de Quentin Rigo • Production : Jean Jacques Schaettel, Lise Lemeunier, Production déléguée Ozango • Anne Decoville (Conseillère musical)

24 October
Prolific Austrian composer Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf dies in Neuhof, Bohemia, aged 59.

Domenico Cimarosa and the poet Luigi Rossi are imprisoned and condemned to death in Naples for openly supporting the French and the formation of a 'Parthenopean Republic’. Rossi is beheaded, but the composer’s sentence is later reduced to one of banishment from the kingdom. 

Fromental Halévy

Fromental Halévy

Jacques-François-Fromental-Élie Halévy, usually known as Fromental Halévy ( 27 May 1799 – 17 March 1862), was a French composer. He is known today largely for his opera La Juive.

Halévy was born in Paris, son of the cantor Élie Halfon Halévy, who was the secretary of the Jewish community of Paris and a writer and teacher of Hebrew, and a French Jewish mother. The name Fromental (meaning 'oat grass'), by which he was generally known, reflects his birth on the day dedicated to that plant: 7 Prairial in the French Revolutionary calendar, which was still operative at that time. He entered the Conservatoire de Paris at the age of nine or ten (accounts differ), in 1809, becoming a pupil and later protégé of Cherubini. After two second-place attempts, he won the Prix de Rome in 1819: his cantata subject was Herminie.

As he had to delay his departure to Rome because of the death of his mother, he was able to accept the first commission that brought him to public attention: a Marche Funèbre et De Profundis en Hébreu for three part choir, tenor and orchestra, which was commissioned by the Consistoire Israélite du Département de la Seine, for a public service in memory of the assassinated duc de Berry, performed on 24 March 1820. Later, his brother Léon recalled that the De Profundis, "infused with religious fervor, created a sensation, and attracted interest to the young laureate of the institute".

Halévy was chorus master at the Théâtre Italien, while he struggled to get an opera performed. Despite the mediocre reception of L'artisan, at the Opéra-Comique in 1827, Halévy moved on to be chorus master at the Opéra. The same year he became professor of harmony and accompaniment at the Conservatoire de Paris, where he was professor of counterpoint and fugue in 1833 and of composition in 1840.

La Juive
With his opera La Juive, in 1835, Halévy attained not only his first major triumph, but gave the world a work that was to be one of the cornerstones of the French repertory for a century, with the role of Eléazar one of the great favorites of tenors such as Enrico Caruso. The opera's most famous aria is Eléazar's "Rachel, quand du Seigneur". Its orchestral ritornello is the one quotation from Halévy that Berlioz included in his Treatise on Instrumentation, for its unusual duet for two cors anglais. It is probable, however, that this aria was inserted only at the request of the great tenor Adolphe Nourrit, who premiered the role and may have suggested the aria's text. La Juive is one of the grandest of grand operas, with major choruses, a spectacular procession in Act I and impressive celebrations in Act III. It culminates with the heroine plunging into a vat of boiling water in Act V. Mahler admired it greatly, stating: "I am absolutely overwhelmed by this wonderful, majestic work. I regard it as one of the greatest operas ever created". Other admirers included Wagner, who wrote an enthusiastic review of Halévy's grand operas for the German press in 1841 (Wagner never showed towards Halévy the anti-Jewish animus that was so notorious a feature of his writings on Meyerbeer and Mendelssohn).

Halévy was elected to the Institut de France in 1836, but after La Juive, his real successes were relatively few, although at least three operas, L'Éclair, La Reine de Chypre and Charles VI received some critical and popular acclaim. Heine commented that Halévy was an artist, but "without the slightest spark of genius". He became, however, a leading bureaucrat of the arts, becoming Secretary of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and presiding over committees to determine the standard pitch of orchestral A, to award prizes for operettas, etc.
The artist Eugène Delacroix described Halévy's decline in his diaries (5 February 1855):

I went on to Halévy’s house, where the heat from his stove was suffocating. His wretched wife has crammed his house with bric-a-brac and old furniture, and this new craze will end by driving him to a lunatic asylum. He has changed and looks much older, like a man who is being dragged on against his will. How can he possibly do serious work in this confusion? His new position at the Academy must take up a great deal of his time and make it more and more difficult for him to find the peace and quiet he needs for his work. Left that inferno as quickly as possible. The breath of the streets seemed positively delicious.

Halévy's cantata Prométhée enchaîné was premiered in 1849 at the Paris Conservatoire and is generally considered the first mainstream western orchestral composition to use quarter tones.

Halévy died in retirement at Nice in 1862, aged 62, leaving his last opera Noé unfinished. It was completed by his former student Georges Bizet, but was not performed until ten years after Bizet's own death.

Jacques Fromental Halévy - La Juive

"La juive" - Halévy - Shicoff  - Stoyanova Wiena 2003

La Juive (The Jewess) is a grand opera in five acts by Fromental Halévy to an original French libretto by Eugène Scribe; it was first performed at the Opéra, Paris, on 23 February 1835.

Halevy -  LA JUIVE
Shiccof, Frédéric Chaslin (conductor).
October 2015 - St Petersburg Mikhailovksy Theater


Place: Constance      Time: 1414
Events before the opera begins

When he was young, the Jew Eléazar had lived in Italy near Rome and witnessed the condemnation and executions of his sons as heretics by Count Brogni. Eléazar himself was banished and forced to flee to Switzerland.

During his journey, Eléazar found a baby near death, abandoned inside a burnt-out house which turned out to be the home of the Count. Bandits had set fire to the house, attempting to kill the entire family of Brogni but unaware that the Count himself was in Rome at the time.

Eléazar took the child, a girl, and raised her as his own daughter, naming her Rachel. Brogni discovered the ruins of his house and the bodies of his family upon his return. He subsequently became a priest and later a cardinal.

At the beginning of the opera, in 1414 Rachel (now a young woman) is living with her adopted father in the city of Constance. 
Act 1   A square in the city of Constance in 1414

Eléazar is a goldsmith. The crowd condemns him for working during a day dedicated to Church festivities. He is saved from a lynching by the arrival of Brogni, who in the process recognises Eléazar as his old adversary.

Prince Léopold arrives in disguise as a young Jewish artist Samuel. Rachel is in love with Samuel and knows nothing of his true identity. Local laws reflect prejudice against the Jews: if a Jew and a Christian have sexual relations, the Christian is excommunicated and the Jew is killed. Léopold is thus taking a great risk in this affair, especially as he is already married to the Princess Eudoxie. The crowd returns to attack Eléazar, but 'Samuel' secretly instructs his troops to calm things down. The act closes with a grand triumphal procession.

Act 2   Inside the house of Éléazar

Rachel has invited 'Samuel' for the Passover celebration in Eléazar's house. He is present while Eléazar and the other Jews sing their Passover prayers. Rachel becomes anxious when she notices that 'Samuel' refuses to eat the piece of unleavened bread that she has given him. He reveals to her that he is a Christian, without telling her his true identity. Rachel is horrified and reminds him of the terrible consequences of such a relationship.

Princess Eudoxie enters to order from Eléazar a valuable jewel as a present for her husband, at which point Samuel (Prince Léopold) hides.

After Eudoxie leaves, Léopold promises to take Rachel away with him. She tries to resist, worrying about abandoning her father, but as she is about to succumb to his advances, they are confronted by Eléazar, who curses Léopold before the latter runs off.

Act 3   Magnificent gardens

Rachel, who has followed 'Samuel' to the Palace, offers her services as a lady's maid to Princess Eudoxie. Eléazar arrives at the palace to deliver the jewel. He and Rachel recognise Léopold as 'Samuel'. Rachel declares before the assembly that Léopold seduced her and she, Eléazar and Léopold are arrested and placed in prison, on the instructions of Cardinal Brogni.

Act 4   A Gothic interior

Princess Eudoxie asks to see Rachel in prison, and persuades her to withdraw her allegations. Rachel agrees; Cardinal Brogni agrees to commute Léopold's sentence, and to spare Rachel and Eléazar if they convert. Eléazar at first answers that he would rather die, but then makes plans to avenge himself. He reminds the Cardinal of the fire in his house near Rome many years before and tells the Cardinal that his infant daughter did not die. He says that she was saved by a Jew and that only he knows who he is. If he dies, his secret will die with him. Cardinal Brogni begs him to tell him where his daughter is, but in vain. Eléazar sings of the vengeance that he will have in dying, but he suddenly remembers that he will be responsible for the death of Rachel. The only way to save her is to admit that the Cardinal is her father and that she is not Jewish but Christian. The act ends with the opera's most famous aria, Eléazar's 'Rachel, quand du Seigneur'. He does not want to sacrifice Rachel to his hatred of Christians, and renounces his revenge. However, when he hears the cries from a pogrom in the streets, he decides that God wants him to bear witness in death with his daughter to the God of Israel.
Act 5   A large tent supported by Gothic columns

Eléazar and Rachel are brought to the gallows where they will be thrown into a cauldron of boiling water. Rachel is terrified. Eléazar explains that she can be saved if she converts to Christianity. She refuses and climbs to the gallows before him. As the people are singing various prayers, Cardinal Brogni asks Eléazar if his own daughter is still alive. Eléazar says that she is and when Cardinal Brogni asks where she can be found, Eléazar points to the cauldron, saying "There she is!" He then climbs to his own death while the Cardinal falls on his knees. The opera ends with a chorus of monks, soldiers and the people singing "It is done and we are avenged on the Jews!"

Charles VI is an 1843 French grand opera in five acts with music composed by Fromental Halevy and a libretto by Casimir Delavigne and his brother Germain Delavigne.

Fromental Halévy – CHARLES VI 

Charles VI (baritone) : Armand Arapian
Isabelle de Bavière (soprano) : Isabelle Philippe
Le Dauphin (tenor) : Bruno Comparetti
Raymond (bass) : Matthieu Lecroart
Odette, fille de Raymond / Raymond’s daughter (mezzo-soprano): Anne-Sophie Schmidt
Le Duc de Bedford (tenor): Armando Noguera
L’Homme de la Forêt du Mans ; Ludger ; Dunois (baritone): Eric Salha
Tanguy Duchatel ; Eric d’Orléans (bass): Pierrick Boisseau
Saintrailles ; Clisson (tenor): Stéphane Malbec Garcia
Lahire ; Marcel ; l’étudiant ; Jean sans Peur (tenor): Jean-Loup Pagesy
Lionel, officier Anglais ; Gontran (tenor): Mathias Vidal

Conductor : Miquel Ortega - Orchestre Français Albéric Magnard - Chœur Orfeon Pamplones - Compìègne, 2005

Place: France      Time: Several years after the battle of Agincourt
The opera centres on King Charles VI of France, who amid episodes of madness, is attempting to defeat the English invaders. The final scene takes place in the Abbey of Saint-Denis. Odette, a fictional predecessor of Joan of Arc, thwarts a plot by Queen Isabelle and the English nobleman Bedfort to displace the Dauphin with Bedfort's son Lancastre, and helps restore the Dauphin to his rightful place as heir to the throne of France.[7] The King is dying as he and the assembled French swear to the Dauphin: Guerre aux tyrans! jamais en France, Jamais l'Anglais ne régnera ("War on the tyrants! never in France, Never shall the English reign").

La magicienne (The Sorceress) is a grand opera in five acts composed by Fromental Halévy. The libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges is based on stories surrounding the European folk figure Melusine, especially Coudrette's 15th-century Roman de Mélusine. The opera premiered on 17 March 1858 at the Théâtre de l'Académie Impériale de Musique in Paris.

Fromental Halévy - LA MAGICIENNE
Mélusine (mezzo-soprano) : Marianne Crebassa
Blanche (soprano) : Norah Amsellem
Aloïs (deuxième soprano) : Jennifer Michel
René de Thouars (tenor) : Florian Laconi
Stello de Nici (baritone) : Marc Barrard
Le Comte de Poitou (bass) : Nicolas Cavallier
Chœur de Radio France - 
Conductor : Lawrence Foster
Orchestre National de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon
Montpellier, July 2011


Setting: Poitou, France in the High Middle Ages

Act 1

Blanche, the young Countess of Poitou, is in her father's château eagerly awaiting the return of her fiancé René from the Crusades. A mysterious pilgrim returning from the Holy Land (the sorcerer Stello di Nici in disguise) appears to say that René's return is imminent and that he has arrived at the forest near the château of the Countess of Lusignan (Mélusine).

The scene shifts to the forest outside the Lusignan château. Mélusine, who had been seduced by Stello di Nici and given supernatural powers by him in exchange for her soul, is surrounded by numerous dancing fairies and genies. On seeing the handsome René asleep in his tent, Mélusine falls in love with him and contrives for him to have a dream in which she appears. René awakens, troubled by the dream and fearful that the beautiful unknown woman in the dream could replace Blanche in his affections. Mélusine and her fairies disappear into the depths of the forest.

Act 2
Mélusine is alone in an underground chamber in her château where she practices her magic and consults various books of the occult. Besotted with René, she longs to be free of her bondage to Stello. She casts a spell which she believes will kill him and rejoices at being freed from his power. At that moment one of the walls in her chamber collapses and Stello appears very much alive to remind her that she cannot escape from their pact.

The scene shifts to the Count of Poitou's château where René has arrived to great rejoicing. In celebration of the impending marriage, a ballet in the form of a human chess game is performed. After the ballet the Sibyl of Samos appears accompanied by a chorus of Greek maidens, priests, and augurs. To the consternation of the Count of Poitou, the Sibyl predicts future unhappiness. René is also worried and observes to himself that the Sibyl's voice is strangely familiar. She then takes him aside and slowly lifts her veil to reveal that she is actually Mélusine. She tells him that Blanche has been unfaithful to him while he was away and asks him join her in the gardens later that night where she will provide proof.

Act 3

In the gardens of the Count of Poitou's château, Mélusine conjures up ghostly apparitions which convince René that Blanche has accepted the advances of her page Aloïs.

As dawn breaks, villagers descend from the hills dancing and singing. They perform a Maypole dance watched by Blanche and her attendants. René joins them, but when they are alone, he angrily confronts Blanche for her infidelity and refuses to marry her. Finding his daughter distraught at René's feet, the Count of Poitou is outraged by the false accusations and threatens René. To protect him from her father's fury, Blanche tells the Count that the accusations are true and that she will now become a nun in the nearby convent. Fearful that René might relent, Mélusine causes a violent thunderstorm and spirits him away in the rain.

Act 4

René and Mélusine, now lovers, are in a richly decorated pavilion in the château Lusignan. They are surrounded by fairies, ondines, nymphs, gnomes and other mythical creatures who dance and sing for their entertainment. Suddenly the castle walls part and Stello de Nici appears. René demands to know who he is and Stello tells him that he is Mélusine's lover. René draws his sword, but Stello's powers make it fall apart in his hands. Stello then reveals Mélusine's trickery to René and tells him about her diabolic nature and pagan practices. René is overcome with remorse and vows to seek Blanche's forgiveness. He curses Mélusine as do a large chorus of demons whom Stello has summoned. As daylight breaks, Mélusine's face takes on a horrible expression and she is bathed in a lurid green light.

Act 5
In a picturesque valley, Blanche and attendants are on their way to the convent which can be seen in the distance. Mélusine, now deeply remorseful, approaches her. She begs Blanche's forgiveness and tells her that René now knows the truth and awaits her in the convent church. At first Blanche refuses to pardon her and leaves for the church to join René. As Mélusine looks longingly towards the convent, trumpets sound, the earth opens up, and Stello appears accompanied by demons and the spirits of the damned. They attempt to drag Mélusine down to hell. Then Blanche, René, and the Count of Poitou are heard in the church praying for her soul. The demons roar in agony. Mélusine holds a rosary up to them and cries out, "I believe in God! I am a Christian!". Blanche, René, and the Count of Poitou come down from the church. Stello and the demons disappear into the earth amidst flames and the sound of thunder. The valley fills with processions of villagers, members of the Count of Poitou's court, and nuns from the convent led by their abbess. As Mélusine dies in Blanche's arms, a large luminous cross appears in the sky.




Ludwig van Beethoven composes his Violin Sonatas in A minor Op. 23 and F major (Spring) Op. 24.

Beethoven - Violin Sonata No 4 in A minor, Op 23

00:00 Presto
06:47 Andante scherzoso
14:44 Allegro molto

Oleg Kagaan, violin
Sviatoslav Richter, piano

Live recording. Munich, March 1976

Beethoven - violin sonata in F major "Spring Sonata" Op.24
Krzysztof Smietana violin and Colin Stone piano

16 January
Luigi Cherubini's Les deux journees (The Two Days) is first staged at the Theatre Feydeau in Paris. 
Set in 1647 at the time of the Fronde, the opera alludes to a heroic rescue story from the recent Reign of Terror. Cherubini receives enormous praise for the work—Beethoven regards him as the greatest opera composer of the day.

Les deux journées - Cherubini
Sir T Beecham - Janine Micheau - Pierre Giannotti

16 September 
Francois Adrien Boieldieu achieves his firstmajor operatic success with the one-act Le calife de Bagdad, staged at the Opera-Comique in Paris.

François-Adrien Boieldieu - Le Calife de Bagdad

Libretto: Saint-Juste; Claude Godard d'Aucor after One Thousand and One Nights.

Ouverture 00:00
Duo: Allons un peu de confinance (Zétulbé, Késie) 07:35
Air: De tous les pays (Késie) 11:59
Terzetto: Voyez, elle est toute interdite (Zétulbé, Lémaïde, Isauun) 19:05
Romance: Depuis le jour (Zétulbé) 23:16
Chorus: C'est ici le sejour des graces 26:46
Air et ensemble: Pour obtenir celle qui'il aime (Isauun, Zétulbé, Késie, Lémaïde, Un juge) 30:54
Final, Marche, Choeur Et Morceau D'Ensemble: Au choix de votre maitre (Isauun, Zétulbé, Késie, Lémaïde) 38:00

Jean Giraudeau: Isauun
Christiane Eda-Pierre: Zétulbé
Jane Berbié: Késie
Jeannine Collard: Lémaïde
Jean-Paul Vaquelin: - Un juge

Orchestra & Chorus: Orchestre Lyrique de l'O. R. T. F.

Conductor: Louis Fourestier
Isaoun, the Caliph of Baghdad, has adopted a disguise so he can roam the streets of the city freely, going under the name "Il Bondocani". Two months before the action begins, he rescued Zétulbé from a band of brigands and Zétulbé has fallen in love with him. But Zétulbé's mother, Lémaïde, is unimpressed by his shabby appearance and refuses to let her marry him. She is amazed when "Il Bondocani" orders his followers to bring in gifts including a casket of jewels. Thinking "Il Bondocani" is a brigand, Lémaïde's neighbour has reported him to the police, who now try to break down the door. After further intrigue, Isaoun finally reveals his true identity to Zétulbé and the two can now be married.

24 November
The opera Das Waldmadchen (The Forest Maiden) by the 14-year-old Carl Maria Weber is introduced in Freiburg, Saxony. Virtually all of the music is lost.

7 May
Prolific Italian composer Niccolo Piccinni dies in Passy, outside Paris, aged 72.

Antoine-Jean Gros - Bonaparte at the Pont d’Arcole 

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