Composers Datebook®

Johann David Heinichen

Johann David Heinichen (1683 – 1729): Concerto in C (Musica Antiqua of Cologne; Reinhard Goebel, cond.) Archiv 437 549

Composer's Datebook - July 16, 2021


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July 16, 2021


For most music lovers, the towering genius of Johann Sebastian Bach far overshadows all but a handful of other Baroque composers. But in his own time, there were many other composers far more famous than Bach.

Take the case of Johann David Heinichen, who was buried in Dresden on today’s date in 1729. At the time, his royal patron, August the Strong of Saxony, made no attempt to fill the vacant post of Dresden court composer because, to his ears, no one could possibly be as good as Heinichen.

The great 18th century music historian Charles Burney, impressed by Heinichen’s skill at colorful instrumentation, called him “the Rameau of Germany,” and in 1739, ten years after Heinichen’s death, another contemporary music historian coined the phrase "the three H's” to describe the importance of Hasse, Handel, and Heinichen” to 18th century German music.

During most of the 19th century, Heinichen’s music lay forgotten in a Dresden Library. Miraculously, these scores survived the Dresden fire-bombing of World War II. In 1993, a recording of some of Heinichen’s “Grand Concertos” performed by Musica Antiqua of Cologne won – belatedly – several awards and some renewed attention for the long-neglected Johann David Heinichen.

Music Played in Today's Program

Johann David Heinichen (1683 – 1729): Concerto in C (Musica Antiqua of Cologne; Reinhard Goebel, cond.) Archiv 437 549

On This Day


  • 1858 - Belgian composer, violinist and conductor Eugène Ysaÿe, in Liège

  • 1901 - Austrian conductor and composer Fritz Mahler, a nephew of Gustav Mahler, in Vienna; He studied composition with Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern; He emigrated to America in 1936, where he taught at the Juilliard Summer School and conducted the Erie Philharmonic and the Hartford Symphony

  • 1904 - Italian composer Goffredo Petrassi, in Zagarolo (near Rome

  • 1941 - English composer Geoffrey Burgon, in Hambleton, Hampshire

  • 1959 - Scottish composer James MacMillan, in Kilwinning, Ayrshire


  • 1729 - Burial date of German composer and lawyer Johann David Heinichen, age 46, in Dresden

  • 1763 - French flutist and composer Jacques-Martin Hotteterre, age 89, in Paris


  • 1782 - Mozart: opera "The Abduction from the Seraglio," in Vienna at the Burgtheater

  • 1998 - Carol Barnett: "Meeting at Seneca Falls," for soloists, narrator, and chamber ensemble, at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, with Apo Hsu conducting