At TriviaQN we have a sweet spot for music in general. Oh, the classical music we have all loved and the styles it has carried through the centuries that still suit our various moods. But, in these centuries and in the workings of the music's masters and apprentices a wealth of trivia can be harvested. We are confident you know a lot of it. But how much of it?
Despite ultimately proven to be a charlatan, British oculist John Taylor (1703-1772) was respected enough during his day to have worked on the eyes of both J. S. Bach (1750) and George Handel (1758). Taylor's surgeries resulted in Bach going blind and seemingly contributed to Handel's death. Later in life, Taylor would also go blind.
Answer: Opus Number
Opus numbers are the numbers you usually find attached to the name of a classical work, such as 'Symphony No. 4', etc. These indicate the order in which the artist produced these works.
During Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution in China, Western music, including that of the classical variety, were frowned upon in contrast to traditional Chinese pieces.
Stockhausen's "Helicopter String Quartet", composed in 1993, requires musicians in four separate helicopters performing independently yet in unison with the overall composition, as their parts are recorded and played simultaneously to a large audience.
The history of classical music is filled with virtuosos and geniuses but none perhaps moreso than Mozart. For instance, he wrote his "Symphony No. 1" at eight years old. Also, during his relatively short life (1756-1791), he composed in excess of 600 pieces - many more than some other great composers who lived much longer.
Answer: Clement XIV
At 14 years of age, Mozart was able to transcribe, completely from memory, a liturgical composition after hearing it just once. For this amazing musical feat, he was knighted and awarded the Order of the Golden Spur by Pope Clement XIV himself.
Answer: Joseph Haydn
A week after his death, Joseph Haydn's (1732-1809) skull was stolen by a couple of scientists who studied the brains of geniuses. When confronted, they returned a skull alright, but it wasn't actually Haydn's. In fact it wasn't until 1954, over 100 years after his death, that Joseph's original skull was recovered and placed in his tomb in Austria alongside the fake.
Answer: Lorenzo Da Ponte
Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749-1838), who in addition to being an opera librettist was also a poet and Catholic priest, assisted Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in bringing forth the classic "Don Giovanni".
Most of Frédéric Chopin's works are solo piano pieces. However, he did occasionally deviate, such as his "Introduction and Polonaise Brillante in C Major for Cello and Piano", which he composed for Prince Antonin Radziwill of Poland and his daughter, Princess Wanda.
Answer: St. John
Johann Sebastian Bach's other fully extant Passion setting is the "St. John Passion", which being originally performed in 1724, predates the "St. Matthew Passion".