Composers Datebook®

Handel at work on Messiah


Music Played in Today's Program

George Frederic Handel (1685 – 1757) excerpts fr Messiah UC Berkeley Chamber Chorus; Philharmonic Baroque Orchestra; Nicholas McGegan, cond. Harmonia Mundi 907050

On This Day


  • 1827 - Austrian composer Josef Strauss, in Vienna; He was the son of Johann Strauss I and the younger brother of Johann Strauss, II.;

  • 1862 - French composer Claude Debussy, in St.Germain-en-Laye;

  • 1928 - German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, in Mödrath (near Cologne);


  • 1968 - Birtwistle: opera "Punch and Judy," at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland;

  • 1980 - Tippett: Triple Concerto, for violin, viola, cello and orchestra, in London by the London Symphony, Sir Colin Davis conducting;

  • 1982 - Peter Maxwell Davies: "Image, Reflection, Shadow" at the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland;


  • 1741 - Handel begins work on his famous oratorio, "Messiah," which he finished scoring on September 14 (Gregorian dates: Sept. 2 to 25); The entire work was composed in a period of 24 days;

  • 2002 - An opera by the Iranian-Armenian composer Loris Cheknavariyan based on the Persian epic "Rostam and Sohrab" is staged in Teheran to mark the 1000th anniversary of the birth of poet Abol-Qasem Ferdowsi, on whose epic the opera was based; The performance, at Teheran's Milad Hall, featured 125 Austrian musicians and singers; This marked the first occasion that a Western-style opera was staged in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

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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.

About Composers Datebook®