Saturday, 13 August 2016


“Has it struck you that the music which is regarded as the most sublime in western civilization, which is the music of Bach, is called baroque?” - PierreSchaeffer

Johann Adolph Hasse, byname Il Sassone (born March 25, 1699, Bergedorf, near Hamburg—died Dec. 16, 1783, Venice) was an outstanding composer of operas in the Italian style that dominated late Baroque opera. Hasse began his career as a singer and made his debut as a composer in 1721 with the opera “Antioco”.

He went to Italy, where he studied with Nicola Porpora and with Alessandro Scarlatti and where his opera seria “Sesostrate” (1726) established his reputation; in Italy he became known as “il Sassone” (the Saxon). After spending several years in Venice, where he married the celebrated mezzo-soprano Faustina Bordoni (c. 1700–81), he became music director of the Dresden Opera (1731). He resided in Dresden from 1739 to 1763, when he retired and went to Vienna.

His last work for the stage was “Ruggiero” (1771), written for the wedding of the archduke Ferdinand at Milan. Hasse’s compositions include more than 60 operas, many of them to librettos by Pietro Metastasio, and nearly a dozen intermezzos, as well as oratorios, masses, and instrumental works. His music was enormously popular during his lifetime; its chief characteristics were melodic beauty and formal balance. His operatic overtures had considerable influence on the development of the symphony, especially in northern Germany.

Hasse’s extensive addition to the repertoire of contemporary church music continued to have occasional performance in Dresden. His oratorios, some with texts by Metastasio, have largely disappeared from repertoire. Hasse’s instrumental music includes flute concertos, and solo, duo and trio sonatas.

Here are some of his Sonatas and Trio Sonatas:

Trio Sonata in F major for oboe, violin and basso continuo
Trio Sonata in D minor for oboe, violin and basso continuo
Sonata No. 5 in E minor for violin and basso continuo
Sonata in G major for oboe and basso continuo
Sonata in F major for chalumeau, oboe, bassoon and basso continuo
Trio Sonata in C major for oboe, violin and basso continuo.

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