Unless you're a graduate student in 18th century European history, it's unlikely you know off the top of your head who the winners and losers were in the War of the Spanish Succession. Suffice it to say, on today's date in 1713, to celebrate the successful resolution of that conflict, a settlement known as the "Peace of Utrecht," this festive choral "Te Deum" was performed at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.
It was written by a very ambitious 28-year old German composer named George Friedrich Handel. Handel had come to England for a 6-month visit in 1710, and then for good in the spring of 1712. We're not sure if Handel wrote his "Utrecht Te Deum" in response to an invitation from the British royal family, or wrote it "on spec" to win their favor.
In any case, when performed by the Royal Musicians and the choir of the Chapel Royal on July 7, 1713, it made a tremendous impression. Handel was commissioned to provide many more festive choral and instrumental works for British monarchy in the years that followed.
Handel's first royal employer was King George the First, and three years after Handel's death, King George the THIRD sat on the throne. Now, King George the Third may have suffered from madness... He may have lost the American colonies, but at least he DID know a good composer when he heard one. He idolized Handel and saw to it that the composer was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Music Played in Today's Program
George Frederic Handel (1685 - 1757) Utrecht Te Deum St Paul's Cathedral Choir; The Parley of Instruments; John Scott, cond. Hyperion 67009
On This Day
1860 - Austrian composer and conductor Gustav Mahler, in Kalischt, Bohemia
1911 - Italian-born American composer and conductor Gian Carlo Menotti, in Cadegliano
1940 - Drummer and songwriter Ringo Starr (of the Beatles), in Liverpool, England
1968 - American organist and composer Leo Sowerby, age 73, in Port Clinton, Ohio
1713 - Handel: "Utrecht Te Deum," at St. Paul's Cathedral in London (Gregorian Date: July 18)
1956 - Moore: opera "The Ballade of Baby Doe," in Center City, Colo.; According to Opera America, this is one of the most frequently-produced American operas during the past decade
1994 - John Williams: Cello Concerto, at the opening of Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, Mass., by the Boston Symphony, with the composer conducting and Yo-Yo Ma the soloist
2001 - David Ward-Steinman: "Dublin Down," for 2 pianos, during the College Music Society International Conference in Limerick, Ireland, by the composer and Patrice Madura Ward-Steinman
1720 - Funeral of J.S. Bach's first wife, Maria Barbara (age 35); The cause of her death is unknown, and Bach's son Carl Philip Emmanuel reported that his father was at Carlsbad when she died: "The news that she had been ill and died reached him only when he entered his own house";
1747 - J.S. Bach dedicates his "Musical Offering" to Frederich the Great of Prussia
1791 - Haydn conducts his Symphony No. 92 ("Oxford") at the Sheldonian Theater ofOxford University, where he was awarded an honorary degree.
Love the music?
Show your support by making a gift to YourClassical.
Each day, we’re here for you with thoughtful streams that set the tone for your day – not to mention the stories and programs that inspire you to new discovery and help you explore the music you love.
YourClassical is available for free, because we are listener-supported public media. Take a moment to make your gift today.
About Composers Datebook®
Host John Birge presents a daily snapshot of composers past and present, with timely information, intriguing musical events and appropriate, accessible music related to each.
He has been hosting, producing and performing classical music for more than 25 years. Since 1997, he has been hosting on Minnesota Public Radio's Classical Music Service. He played French horn for the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra and performed with them on their centennial tour of Europe in 1995. He was trained at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy.