dilluns, 24 de gener de 2022

CLEMENTI, Muzio (1752-1832) - Piano Concerto in C (c.1790)

William Henry Simmons (1811-1882) - The Duet

Muzio Clementi (1752-1832) - Piano Concerto in C (c.1790) [Sonata No.3, Op.33]
Performers: Gino Gorini (1914-1989, piano); Orchestra Da Camera Dell'Angelicum;
Alberto Zedda (1928-2017, conductor)


English composer, keyboard player and teacher, music publisher and piano manufacturer of Italian birth. The oldest of seven children of Nicolo Clementi (1720-1789), a silversmith, and Magdalena, née Kaiser, Clementi began studies in music in Rome at a very early age; his teachers were Antonio Boroni (1738-1792), an organist named Cordicelli, Giuseppi Santarelli (1710-1790) and possibly Gaetano Carpani. In January 1766, at the age of 13, he secured the post of organist at his home church, S Lorenzo in Damaso. In that year, however, his playing attracted the attention of an English traveller, Peter Beckford (1740-1811), cousin of the novelist William Beckford (1760-1844) and nephew of William Beckford (1709-1770), twice Lord Mayor of London. According to Peter Beckford’s own forthright explanation, he ‘bought Clementi of his father for seven years’, and in late 1766 or early 1767 brought him to his country estate of Steepleton Iwerne, just north of Blandford Forum in Dorset; here the young musician spent the next seven years in solitary study and practice at the harpsichord. His known compositions from the Rome and Dorset years, written before the age of 22, are few: an oratorio and possibly a mass (neither survives) and six keyboard sonatas. It was apparently in 1774 that Clementi, freed from his obligations to Beckford, moved to London. His first known public appearances were as solo harpsichordist at benefit concerts for a singer (Bonpace) and a harpist (Jones) in spring 1775. By 1780 he embarked upon a tour of the European continent, performing before royalty and engaging in friendly competitions with colleagues such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. By 1783 he had returned to London, although in the next years he traveled to Paris, Switzerland, and Italy. 

In 1790 he had established himself in London, where he began a secondary career as a publisher and fortepiano builder, as well as a sought-after teacher. In 1802 he toured Europe to gain business for his enterprises, including signing Ludwig van Beethoven to publish that composer’s works. After 1810 Clementi made four further visits to the Continent, two of them extended. The purpose of these visits, for the most part, was to present his orchestral music to European audiences. In 1816-17 he presided over performances of his symphonies at the Concert Spirituel in Paris, and in 1822 he conducted three more at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig; these latter can be identified among the symphonies for which autograph fragments survive in the Library of Congress. But the aging composer’s persistent efforts to make his mark as a symphonist were hardly a success. For after 1824 his works disappeared from the concert stage in England and elsewhere, forced out this time, in large part, by Beethoven’s symphonies. As in his earliest days as a composer, Clementi was still at his best in keyboard music. His large-scale sonatas op.50, though probably nearly complete by 1805, appeared in 1821, and the three volumes of his Gradus ad Parnassum – a monumental compendium of his work from all periods – were published in 1817, 1819 and 1826. In 1830 Clementi retired from his firm, and at about this time he and his family moved to Lichfield, Staffordshire. Soon after they moved once more, some distance to the south, to Evesham in Worcestershire. There Clementi drew up his will on 2 January 1832; on 10 March, after what was described as a brief illness, he died at the age of 80. His funeral on 29 March filled Westminster Abbey, and he was buried with great ceremony in the cloisters.

diumenge, 23 de gener de 2022

PUCCINI, Michele (1813-1864) - Magnificat (1850)

Karl von Blaas (1815-1894) - Jacob’s return (1841)

Michele Puccini (1813-1864) - Magnificat (1850)
Performers: Maurizio Frusoni (tenore); Enrico Nenci (tenore); Maurizio Di Benedetto (basso); Orchestra Lirico Sinfonica del Teatro del Giglio di Lucca; Cappella musicale S.Cecilia della Cattedrale di Lucca; Gianfranco Cosmi (direttore)


Teacher and composer, son of Domenico Puccini (1772-1815). He began a strict musical education in Lucca under his grandfather Antonio and Marco Santucci and then continued in Bologna under Pilotti (in 1836 he was admitted to the Accademia Filarmonica) and at the Naples conservatory. On his return to Lucca he became a teacher at the Istituto Musicale Pacini, where he was director from 1862. For many years he was also organist at S Martino (a post he took over directly from his grandfather) and a piano teacher at the Istituto femminile di S Ponziano. Michele Puccini was most important as a teacher, having among his pupils Fortunato Magi, Luigi Nerici and Carlo Angeloni. A surviving treatise on counterpoint is evidence of his teaching activity, while a harmony treatise has been lost. He also carried out the first research into the history of music in Lucca, leaving manuscript notes and some published articles; he transmitted his interest in this subject to Nerici. After a few unsuccessful attempts at opera, Michele distinguished himself chiefly as a composer of sacred music, particularly of the massively-scored works for the traditional S Croce celebrations. A mottettone of 1845 is especially outstanding. Besides the celebrated Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), Michele Puccini had another musician son, Domenico Michele (1864-1891), who studied at the Milan Conservatory and emigrated in October 1889. He lived at Buenos Aires, Juiuy (as a teacher) and Rio de Janeiro, and is known to have composed.

divendres, 21 de gener de 2022

CORRETTE, Michel (1707-1795) - Concerto 'Le Phénix' (1735)

Sébastien Leclerc II (1676-1763) - Le menuet

Michel Corrette (1707-1795) - Concerto 'Le Phénix' (1735)
Performers: Fritz Wolken, George Zukerman, Jürgen Gode, Karl Steinbrecher (fagots); Martin Galling (clavecin)


French organist, teacher, composer-arranger and author of methods on performing practice; son of Gaspard Corrette. Though little is known of his life, his works, which span nearly 75 years, provide an extraordinarily broad view of ordinary light music in France during the 18th century, and his methods are a rich source of information about performing practice and music of the period. He was married on 8 January 1733 to Marie-Catherine Morize. They had a daughter Marie-Anne (1734-c1822) and a son Pierre-Michel (1744-1801), who became an organist. Corrette first established his reputation by becoming musical director of the Foire St Germain and the Foire St Laurent, where he arranged and composed vaudevilles and divertissements for the opéras comiques (1732-39). From 1737 until its closure in 1790 he was organist at Ste Marie within the temple of the grand prieur of France, thus serving the Chevalier d’Orléans, then the Prince de Conti (1749), and finally the Duke d’Angoulême (1776). About a year after beginning at the temple, he became organist at the Jesuit College in the rue St-Antoine, a position he retained until the Jesuits were expelled in 1762. In 1734 he was styled Grand maître des Chevaliers du Pivois, from 1750 Chevalier de l’Ordre de Christ. He was well known as a teacher, though his reputation was not always favourable. Unsympathetic people called his pupils ‘anachorètes’ (ânes à Corrette) and in 1779 the Mercure said of a new edition of Les amusemens du Parnasse (a harpsichord method) that it was good in its time but contemporary students would find little of value in it. Yet for historians his little treatises are full of value. An anecdote in his double bass method (1773) shows that he visited England: 

"I suppose it is unnecessary to warn those who wear glasses to have some for distance vision. I remember having been at a concert in a little town in England where I saw a trio of spectacles at the harpsichord. Each of the players was competing for the closest position to the music desk. After the heads had knocked against one another, the singer, who was a castrato newly arrived from Italy and who was having difficulty seeing in spite of three pairs of glasses on his nose, had the idea of sitting astride the harpsichordist’s hump-back. This advantage didn’t last long, because the archlute player at one side of the grotesque group had – unfortunately for him – a wooden leg; and as he was playing standing up and in spite of the telescope that he wore on his beet-nose saw no better than the others, he contrived through his contortions of beating time now on the castrato’s back, now on the harpsichordist’s hump, and of signalling the page-turn in Hebrew-fashion for the da capo, to let his wooden leg slip causing them all to fall like Phaeton. A spectator who appreciated novelty called out, ‘Bravo, bravo’."

The wording suggests that the trip took place well before 1773; perhaps the contredanses angloises for flute duo published in 1740 were gathered at first hand. These two quotations illustrate one of the most valuable features of Corrette’s works: the bits of historical information presented with a rare clarity and concreteness. In his violin method, L’école d’Orphée, there are 23 pages of pieces illustrating French and Italian styles, giving a valuable idea of what Frenchmen of the period meant by these designations, so important for the understanding of their explanations of performing practice. A large proportion of Corrette’s music is based on popular tunes of all sorts and constitutes an important source for their study. Music from, or written for, opéra comiques is presented fully scored, sometimes with place and date of performance. The arrangements run from simple harmonizations to transformations of the tunes into concerto movements, as in the 25 concertos comiques.

dimecres, 19 de gener de 2022

CANNABICH, Christian (1731-1798) - Sinfonia (B-Dur) à 12 strumenti

Unknown master (18th Century) - Promenade og. Parade Platz i Mannheim (c.1780)

Christian Cannabich (1731-1798) - Sinfonia (B-Dur) à 12 strumenti
Performers: Nοrthern Sinfonia Orchestra; Boris Brott


German composer. He was the third of the five children born to Matthias and Rosina Cannabich. He received his earliest musical training from his father. His early promise on the violin enabled him to enter the Mannheim orchestra at the age of 12 as a ‘scholar’ earning 50 gulden (6 May 1744), and by February 1746 he was earning 125 gulden as a violinist. After instruction in composition and the violin from Johann Stamitz, he studied with Nicolò Jommelli in Rome from about 1752 to July 1753, then followed him to Stuttgart, remaining there until February 1754. In March of that year he visited Milan, where he encountered the music of G.B. Sammartini and other Italian composers. He returned to Mannheim by 1756, when Marpurg reported that he held the position of third violinist under Stamitz and Dominicus Basconi. After Stamitz's death in March 1757 he was promoted. By 1759 he was joint Konzertmeister with C.J. Toeschi, receiving 700 gulden per year (200 more than Toeschi) and carrying out new duties that included directing the orchestra and preparing music for various court occasions and performances, in particular the académies and ballets. Contemporaries considered him a ‘a born Konzertmeister’ (Schubart) on account of his conducting technique and violin bowing. Mozart called him the best director he had ever seen (letter of 9 July 1778). His fine musical instruction shaped some of the best performers of the century, most notably Wilhelm Cramer and Carl Stamitz. On 8 January 1759 he married Maria Elisabetha de La Motte, who had been in service to the Duchess of Zweibrücken. The marriage produced six children (two died in infancy) of whom Carl August took after his father as a violinist and composer. Two daughters, Rosina (Rosa) Theresia (bap. 18 April 1764) and Elisabetha Augusta (bap. 11 April 1776), were also musically talented. Mozart taught Rosina during his stay in Mannheim in 1777 and wrote a piano sonata for her (? k309/284b); Elisabetha became a singer and studied in Italy in 1793 under a stipend from the Elector of Bavaria. 

The period from 1759 to 1778 was the most productive in Cannabich's career as a composer, giving rise to over 50 symphonies and 20 ballets. In 1774 he was appointed director of instrumental music at Mannheim, a title he held for the rest of his life; his salary was listed at 1500 gulden in 1776. Mozart and the Cannabich family became close friends during Mozart's stays in Mannheim in 1777-78. Cannabich's household was a constant centre of musical activity, and the letters of Mozart and his mother describe many performances and social occasions held there, as well as the writing, copying and playing of various compositions. The Mozart family's comments about Cannabich as a composer range from Leopold's of 6 April 1778, describing Cannabich as ‘a wretched scribbler of symphonies’, to Wolfgang's high praise of an overture of his in a letter of 8 November 1780. In 1778 Carl Theodor became the ruler of the combined Palatinate and Bavaria, causing the Mannheim court to move to Munich. Cannabich became the director of the merged Mannheim and Munich orchestras on 1 October of that year, again at a salary of 1500 gulden, but the expense of the move forced him to proceed to Munich without his family; despite 35 years of service, he had to plead with the elector for a loan to defray family debts. When the family was reunited in Munich, his home again became a hub of musical activity. No salary increases were offered, and in 1790, after Toeschi's death, he had to request additional payments to bring his income to 1800 gulden as compensation for writing the symphonies that had been the responsibility of his colleague. He composed his last symphony in 1794 in Vienna, where the unfinished autograph score, numbered 73, remains; according to Reichardt's Musikalischer Almanach he was there in 1796, supposedly owing to the disturbances of the Napoleonic campaigns. On 26 October 1797 Carl Theodor cut the number of his musicians from 95 to 70, and reduced the salaries of those remaining. Cannabich's salary dropped to 1200 gulden. Shortly thereafter he went to Frankfurt to visit his son Carl, and he died there at the age of 66.

dilluns, 17 de gener de 2022

MUTHEL, Johann Gottfried (1728-1788) - Concerto (Es-Dur) di Joh: Gottfr: Müthel

Anoniem - Plattegrond van Riga (1735)

Johann Gottfried Müthel (1728-1788) - Concerto (fagott, Es-Dur) di Joh: Gottfr: Müthel
Performers: Jennіfer Harrіs (fagott); Katrіn Lazar (fagott); Hofkapelle Hannover; Anne Röhrіg (leitung)


German composer. He received his earliest musical instruction from his father, Christian Caspar Müthel (1696-1764), organist at the Nikolaikirche in Mölln, and was later taught by Johann Paul Kunzen (1696-1757) in Lübeck. At the age of 19 he became a chamber musician and organist at the court of Mecklenburg-Schwerin under Duke Christian Ludwig II. A year’s leave of absence allowed Müthel to go to Leipzig in the spring of 1750 to visit ‘the famous Capellmeister and Music-Director Bach … in order to perfect himself in his profession’, as an accompanying letter from his employer stated. Bach was already ill at this time, and it is not known what kind of teaching he was able to give Müthel. After Bach’s death on 28 July 1750, Müthel left for a study tour, visiting J.C. Altnickol in Naumburg, Hasse in Dresden, C.P.E. Bach in Potsdam and Telemann in Hamburg; he was also active as a copyist during this period. In 1753, through the good offices of his brother, he obtained the post of Kapellmeister to the Russian privy councillor O.H. von Vietinghoff in Riga; he was appointed organist of the principal church of Riga in 1767. His friends and admirers in Riga included J.G. Herder. Müthel, who was also highly regarded as a keyboard virtuoso, never seems to have left Riga again; almost nothing is known about his later life. Müthel's output is small, and both musically and technically his keyboard works are the most demanding part of it. However, fewer of the works in the Pretlack Collection, seem to be by Müthel than was originally thought. For instance, C.F. Schale is named elsewhere as composer of the two harpsichord concertos preserved there (see the Kritischer Bericht to the first volume of Wilhelm’s edition of organ works, 1982). The extract from a letter by Müthel which occurs in the German translation (1773/R) of Burney’s The Present State of Music in Germany, the Netherlands, and United Provinces should therefore be taken seriously, although it sounds like a typical effusion of the ars poetica of the Sturm und Drang period: ‘I have devised many a piece when in good humour and a cheerful mood, but only in outline, and the pieces await a happy disposition of my mind for further work to be done, for I do not care to work when I am not disposed to it. And that true cheerfulness of mind I require to work visits me only rarely’. Particularly in the inner movements of his compositions, Müthel’s characteristic originality watchword gave rise to rhythmically striking motifs and phrases, abrupt changes of dynamics, and other expressive means, all in the service of individual self-expression. His style has something in common with the styles of C.P.E. Bach and other experimentally minded composers of his generation. Burney wrote of him: ‘The style of this composer more resembles that of Emanuel Bach, than any other. But the passages are entirely his own, and reflect as much honour upon his head as his hand’.