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from the Santini Collection, MS 1993     push button

Johann Adolf Hasse (1699–1784) was first trained in Hamburg as a singer. In his twenties he moved to Italy, settling for several years in Naples where he converted to Catholicism. While in Naples he studied with Alesandro Scarlatti and possibly Porpora. He began composing operas, which led to commisions from Venice and later from Dresden and Vienna. In the course of his long career he came into contact with many of the most famous composers of his time—Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, and Hasse's many Italian competitors. The Italians were so proud of a German who could master their style that they called him "our dear Saxon" (il caro sassone). During Hasse's long tenure as music director at the court in Dresden, C.P.E. Bach, Quantz (Hasse's flautist in the court orchestra), and Joseph Riepel were influenced by the glories of music at that wealthy court. All three went on to write important music treatises in the 1750s, so in many senses the ideals of Hasse's music entered the mainstream of German musical thought. The terms "baroque" and "classical," which were unknown to Hasse, are of no help in understanding his style. He spent his entire career working in the galant style.