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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » P » Pepusch, Johann Christoph

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Johann Christoph Pepusch (1667 - 1752)

Born in Berlin, Pepusch had an early association with the Prussian court as a musician. He moved to London in 1697, reportedly after seeing the execution of a Prussian officer, without trial, for insubordination. In London he first wrote music for an ensemble directed by his brother Gottfried, and he became increasingly involved with the theatre, both as a player and as a composer. He won respect as a scholar and teacher, and in 1713 he was awarded a doctorate by Oxford University. The same period of his life found him employed by the Duke of Chandos, where he was later followed by Handel.

Vocal and Instrumental Music

The name of Pepusch is inevitably associated with the very successful The Beggar’s Opera of 1728, for which he probably provided an overture and the bass lines of its popular melodies. His compositions, however, included much more than this, with works for the theatre and the church, a large number of instrumental sonatas—a hundred of them for violin, and collections of secular English cantatas.


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