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Classical Music At the Court of the Peking Emperor

Printable version / Version imprimable

(EIRNS) — Classical Western music seemed to have been first introduced into China by the Jesuits in the 17th century. The great Qing Emperor, Kang-xi, who patronized the Jesuit mission, was quite taken by it. As a result, Italian composer Teodorico Pedrini, a member of Congregation of the Mission (Lazarists or Vincentians), was called to the court of Peking to compose music for the Emperor. Some of the Jesuit priests were
amateur musicians and performed some of Pedrini’s compositions. Since they had not spent much time practicing the new compositions, their performance was below par, and the Emperor didn’t like what he heard. They were told to go back and practice the pieces, which they dutifully did. At the second attempt, they were quite successful and the Emperor was far more pleased.

A selection of Pedrini’s sonatas composed at the court of Kang-xi is on YouTube at