Leopold

The second son of peror Ferdinand III, Leopold was born June 9, 1640 in Vienna. Leopold's broad humanistic education included extensive musical instrument instruction (notably on the harpsichord, violin, and recorder) and composition. After his older brother died, Leopold took on the thrones of Hungary and Boh ia. In 1658 he succeeded his father as Holy Roman peror. Leopold is significant in the musical world as both a patron and as a composer. Though his reign was noted for its tumultuous political circumstances, Leopold expanded his court musical establishment, called the Hofkapelle. Generous financial support, the participation in performances by members of the imperial family, and the peror'Sempersonal interest ensured that Vienna was the musical center of European life during Leopold's lifetime. He especially encouraged opera in the Italian style: the best known of these being the work he commissioned for the celebration of his first marriage, Cesti's Il pomo d'oro, in 1666. He was also a more-than-competent composer. Many of his works became part of the court's repertory. Leopold's compositions tend to follow in the Viennese tradition and reveal a preference for simple, deeply-felt melodic style. Among his notable pieces are the Missa angeli custodies, a requi for the first of his three wives, and Miserere in G minor. Leopold died May 5, 1705.