Composers Datebook®

Handel celebrates peace

Composer's Datebook - July 7, 2023
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Synopsis

Unless you’re just mad about 18th century 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 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. 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’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 and 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, conductor. Hyperion 67009

On This Day

Births

  • 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

Deaths

  • 1968 - American organist and composer Leo Sowerby, age 73, in Port Clinton, Ohio

Premieres

  • 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

Others

  • 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.

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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®