Johann Adolph Hasse: Notes and Commentary

Johann Adolph Hasse was an 18th-century German composer, singer, and teacher of music. Immensely popular in his time, Hasse was best known for his prolific operatic output, though he also composed a considerable quantity of sacred music. He was a pivotal figure in the development of opera seria and 18th-century music.

Despite his popularity as a figure at the very forefront of 18th-century serious Italian opera, after his death Hasse’s reputation vastly declined and his music lay mostly unperformed (with the exception of some of his sacred works, which were revived now and again in Germany). In particular, his operas sank without trace and revival only begun as the 20th century approached its end.

In his day, Hasse’s style was noted primarily for his lyricism and sense of melody.
Careful choice of key was a crucial factor in Hasse’s style, with certain emotions usually marked out by certain key choices. Amorous feelings were expressed by A, for instance, while for expressions of aristocratic nobility Hasse used C and B flat; on the other hand, his supernatural and fear-inducing music usually went into the keys of C and F minor. Most of his arias begin in the major, switching only to minor for the B section before returning to major for the da capo. As his career developed his arias grew much longer but a lyrical sense was still his overriding target. He lived from March 1699 to December 16, 1783.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

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