1000 Years of Classical Music

1000 Years of Classical Music


Podcast by ABC Classics


1785 and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.21  

The Times newspaper is first published in London, Benjamin Franklin invents bifocal glasses, and Mozart – aged 25 – writes his Piano Concerto No.21.

1725 and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons  

Jonathan Swift completes Gulliver’s Travels, wallpaper and gin become popular in England, and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons are published in Amsterdam.

1570 and Tallis’ Spem in Alium  

Ivan the Terrible commits the brutal Novgorod Massacre, the first atlas is published, and Thomas Tallis composes his 40-part motet Spem in Alium.

1721 and Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos  

Rifles are introduced to America by Swiss immigrants, snuff is rife amongst the European elite, and the Brandenburg Concertos are written by Johann Sebastian Bach.

1610 and Monteverdi’s Vespers  

Galileo discovers the moons of Jupiter, ‘allegory’ and ‘victim’ enter the English language, and Venetian composer Monteverdi publishes the Vespers for the Blessed Virgin.

1788 and Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony  

The First Fleet arrives in Botany Bay, Robert Burns writes Auld Lang Syne, and Mozart composes his final symphony.

1791 and Haydn’s Surprise Symphony  

The world’s first Sunday newspaper is published, Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate is completed, and Haydn pens his Surprise Symphony.

1799 and Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata  

George Washington suffers a bloody death, France introduces the metric system, and Beethoven writes his Pathétique Sonata.

1824 and Beethoven’s Choral Symphony  

Charles Dickens is 12 years old, Emmanuel Kant sets out a manifesto for the Enlightenment, and Beethoven changes music forever with his Choral Symphony.

1819 and Schubert’s Trout Quintet  

The Industrial Revolution is in full swing in England, Singapore is developed as a trading post, and Schubert laments the death of a fish in his Trout Quintet.

1837 and Chopin’s Nocturnes  

The telegraph is patented in the US, Queen Victoria takes the throne of England, and Chopin – living in Paris – writes his Nocturnes Op.32.

1859 and Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde  

Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species is published, as is the first self-help book, and Wagner completes his opera Tristan and Isolde.

1878 and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto  

The phonograph is patented, Stalin is born, and Tchaikovsky writes his Violin Concerto.

1894 and Mahler’s Second Symphony  

The first commercial film is shown, Oscar Wilde writes The Importance of Being Earnest, and Mahler composes his epic Symphony No.2.

1913 and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring  

Canberra is officially named the capital of Australia, and Stravinsky causes riots in Paris with the premiere of his The Rite of Spring.

1924 and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue  

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is under construction, the Klu Klux Klan reaches around 4 million members, and Gershwin brings together the genres of classical and jazz in Rhapsody in Blue.

1976 and Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs  

The Apple Computer Company is formed, Concorde flies for the first time, and Gorecki writes the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.

1988 and Glass’ Metamorphosis  

Australia celebrates the bicentenary, the Phantom of the Opera opens on Broadway, and Philip Glass is inspired by Kafka to write his his Metamorphosis.

2002 and Kats-Chernin’s Wild Swans  

202 people die in the Bali bombings, half of the world’s data is stored in digital form for the first time, and Elena Kats-Chernin writes the ballet music Wild Swans, including Eliza’s Aria.

12th century and Hildegard von Bingen  

One in three children died in infancy, life smelled terrible, and yet Hildegard of Bingen composed music of ecstatic beauty.

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