Like many of Vienna’s most prominent musicians, Florian Leopold Gassmann (1729-1774) was a Bohemian by birth. Comparatively little is known about his early life and training although he was well enough established in Italy as a composer to secure a commission to compose his first opera, Merope, for the Teatro S Moisè, Venice, in the Carnival season of 1757. The work was a success and Gassmann composed a new opera annually for the next five years. His third opera, Gli uccelatori, was the first of his many settings of libretti by Carlo Goldoni. In 1763 he succeeded Gluck (as ballet composer) in Vienna and in 1772 succeeded Georg Reutter the Younger as Hofkapellmeister. His premature death in 1774 as a result of a fall from a carriage was regretted by many, including Joseph II who admired his music very much. La casa di compagna (The Country House), Gassmann’s last opera, was premiered at the Burgtheater on 13 February 1773. The libretto is believed to be the work of Giovanni Gastone Boccherini (1742- ca1800), brother of the famous cellist and composer Luigi Boccherini, who signed a three-year contract with the Imperial Court as theatre poet in 1772. Gassmann’s elegance and skill as a composer of theatrical music is evident at every turn in this sparkling overture.