Personalities | Johann Mattheson | Late Baroque | Classical
(Yo’-han Mat’-te-zon) 1681–1764
German composer and theorist
Mattheson was the most important writer on music during the Baroque era. His Die Vernünfftler, which translated the Tatler and Spectator of Addison and Steele, was the first German weekly (1713). He befriended Handel when he arrived in Hamburg in 1703 and sang the leading tenor role in Handel’s first opera, Almira (1705). He was one of the few composers whose operas were performed regularly at the Gänsemarkt theatre, where they attracted an enthusiastic public. Among his other compositions were an oratorio, cantatas and solo keyboard music. Mattheson was an excellent organist and became music director of Hamburg cathedral in 1715. He turned increasingly to writing as his hearing declined, founding a critical journal on music and writing the famous Grundlage einer Ehren-Pforte (‘Foundation for a Triumphal Arch’, 1740), a dictionary of composers. His lifelong friend Telemann conducted the music that Mattheson had composed for his own burial service after his death in 1764.
Works for Two Harpsichords, Richard Egarr, Patrick Ayrton (Globe)
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