Composers Datebook®

Handel advertises his wares

Composer's Datebook - October 29, 2023


On today’s date in 1739, George Frideric Handel took out an advertisement, announcing that he was now accepting subscriptions for his new set of 12 Grand Concertos for strings. He had, in fact, finished the first concerto one month before, on Sept. 29, and spent the next five weeks polishing off the other 11 at the rate of one every two or three days.

Handel’s publisher was John Walsh Jr., who had a shop in London at the sign of the harp and oboe in Catherine Street on the Strand. One hundred twenty-two copies of the music were to be printed and sold at a prepublication price of two guineas each. Among the initial 100 subscribers were three royal princesses and the duke of Cumberland, and two copies each were sold to the Academy of Music in Dublin and a certain Charles Jennens.

It was Jennens who was to provide the text for Handel’s next major oratorio, Messiah, and the city of Dublin the venue for its famous premiere.

So, in 1739, just as today, it pays to advertise!

Music Played in Today's Program

George Frederic Handel (1685 – 1757) Concerto Grosso in D, Op. 6, no. 5 - I Solisti Italiani Denon 6305

On This Day


  • 1787 - Mozart: opera, "Don Giovanni'," in Prague at the Nationaltheater;

  • 1837 - Donizetti: opera, "Roberto Devereux," at the.Teatro San Carlos, in Naples;

  • 1920 - Edward Burlingame Hill: symphonic poem “The Fall of the House of Usher” (after Poe), by the Boston Symphony with Pierre Monteux conducting;

  • 1950 - Copland: Quartet for Piano and Strings, by the New York Quartet at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. at a Coolidge Festival concert; This work was commissioned by Mrs. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Coolidge Foundation;

  • 1955 - Shostakovich: Violin Concerto No. 1, by the Leningrad Philharmonic, Yevgeny Svetlanov conducting, with David Oistrakh as the soloist;

  • 1956 - Bernstein: musical "Candide" (original version) in Boston as a trial run at the Colonial Theater, directed by Tyrone Guthrie and conducted by Samuel Krachmalnick; The show opened officially on New York at the Martin Beck Theater on December 1, 1956; According to Opera America magazine, this is one of the most frequently-produced American operas during the past decade;

  • 1966 - Milhaud: "Music for Indiana," by the Indianapolis Symphony;

  • 1967 - Persichetti: Symphony No. 8, in Berea, Ohio, by the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Orchestra, George Poinar conducting;

  • 1980 - Off Broadway premiere of Sondheim: revue "Marry Me a Little"(compiled from various Sondheim musicals);


  • 1734 - The famous Italian castrato Farinelli (Carlo Broschi) makes his debut in London at the opening performance of "The Opera of the Nobility," a company formed to rival Handel's "Royal Academy" (Gegorian date: Nov. 9); The performance takes place at the King's Theater in the Haymarket, formerly the home of Handel's company;

  • 1739 - Handel advertises for subscriptions to his new set of Concertos, Op. 6 (Gregorian date: Nov. 9); They are published by John Walsh the younger on April 23 (Gregorian date: May 4) the following year.

  • 1739 - Handel completes in London his Concerto Grosso in c, Op. 6, no. 8 (see Julian date: Oct. 18);

Love the music?

Donate by phone

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.

More Ways to Give

Your Donation


Latest Composers Datebook® Episodes


Latest Composers Datebook® Episodes


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®