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March 23

1783 first performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 13 and the final version of Symphony No. 35 ‘Haffner’ at one of the composer’s subscription concerts in the Vienna Burgtheater, with Mozart himself as soloist and conductor.

1792 first performance of Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 94Surprise’ conducted by the composer from the fortepiano, at the Hanover-Square Concert Rooms in London; spoiler: the surprise is the sudden fortissimo chord at the end of the otherwise quiet opening theme in the variation-form second movement.

1828 first performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 16 (almost one year to the day after the composer's death on March 26, 1827) in Vienna, by the Schuppanzigh Quartet; under the introductory slow chords in the last movement of his final quartet, the composer had written in the manuscript (in German) ‘Must it be?’ to which he responds, with the faster main theme of the movement, ‘It must be!’.

1844 Eugène Gigout – French composer and organist (d.1925); served as the organist at Saint-Augustin Church in Paris for 62 years; best known for Grand chœur dialogue (1881).

1878 Franz Schreker – Austrian composer, conductor, teacher and administrator (d.1934); despite his success as an opera composer, his Chamber Symphony (1916) is his most frequently performed work today.

1886 first performance of Peter Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony in Moscow; based on the poem by Lord Byron, dedicated to Mily Balakirev; opinion about the seldom-heard work is divided: Arturo Toscanini considered it the composer's greatest composition, but music critic David Hurwitz reports that Leonard Bernstein referred to it as "trash" and never recorded it.

1912 first performance of Reinhold Glière’s Symphony No. 3 ‘Ilya Murometz’ in Moscow, inspired by a Russian folk hero; conductor JoAnn Falletta, who has recorded the work with the Buffalo Philharmonic, says: “The Glière Symphony No. 3 has always been a piece that shimmered on my horizon—a cult piece, in a way, renowned as the composer’s towering masterpiece but rarely played in concert…This work is a cathedral in sound that unfolds in breathtaking swashes of color, poetry and monumental climaxes.”

1939 first performance of Béla Bartók's Violin Concerto No. 2 by the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Willem Mengelberg conducting and Zoltán Székely as the soloist; the US premiere took place in Cleveland in 1943, with soloist Tossy Spivakovsky and The Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Artur Rodzinski.