Music at the Court of Frederick the Great 1732-1786

Frederick the Great was not just a capable ruler and significant world leader, but also a very skilled flutist and composer. In his passion for music, he assembled a body of talent that made his orchestra the envy of any other monarch. The concentration of genius among the composers at his court was unrivaled at the time. As Crown Prince in 1732, eight years before ascending the throne, Frederick founded his court orchestra, drawing in the best of the young talent at the time. He envied the Dresden court orchestra and managed to pry some of its best young members out of Dresden, including his flute teacher Johann Joachim Quantz and the gifted violinists Franz Benda, Johann Gottlieb Graun, and Karl Heinrich Graun. Frederick drew other major talent into the court as well, with figures like Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Johann Gottlieb Janitsch. These musicians cultivated a particularly expressive musical style that became known as the Empfindsamer Stil. The course will meet for 6 weeks, one of which will include a live performance of works from the Berlin Court.

Group Leader: Andrus Madsen
Venue: Online
Meets on: Wednesday 10 AM to noon
Starting: 10/9/2024
Sessions: 6
Class Size: 35
Teaching Style: Seminar
Weekly Preparation: 2 hours
Group Leader Biography:

Andrus Madsen is an active performer on the organ, harpsichord clavichord and fortepiano. He is the founding director of Newton Baroque and also plays with Exsultemus. He spearheaded a project combining the forces of Newton Baroque and Exsultemus to perform the entire Harmonischer Gottesdienst cantata cycle of Georg Phillip Telemann during the year 2011. Madsen is known for his eloquent Baroque style improvisation. He strives to play written repertoire as if he is improvising, while his improvisations often sound as if they had been notated. His recording of keyboard music by Pachelbel has received significant critical acclaim, including the praise, “superb recordings of superb instruments by a musician who deserves to be better-known” from Michael Barone of This album, played on organ, harpsichord and clavichord, is available on Raven CD Recordings.