Thursday, February 27, 2014

Masters of Mannheim school

   In the Enlightment period composers found model of musical equilibrium between emotional and intellectual elements of musical formation. Thank to this balance musical rules of this period were defined as the classical style. And the one of most flourishing musical centers of this era was Mannheim court with its famous orchestra and a great bunch of talented and well trained composers.  The beginning of the movement was in 1920, when Charles III Philipp, Elector Palatine moved Palatinate’s capital from Heidelberg to Mannheim. Musicians from disbanded orchestras in Innsbruck and Düsseldorf were joined to continue traditions of Silesian Kapelle. In 1723 Mannheim orchestra consisted of 55 musicians from almost all directions of Europe. The band was diversified and competitive, but all those qualities were not recognized outside the country. It was so, until forties. In 1743 begin the reign of Karl Theodor von der Pfalz, art connoisseur and patron of artists. This is also the moment Johann Stamitz, bohemian composer and violinist was employed for Hofkapelle in 1741. Two years later he became first violinist, then concertmaster and conductor of the orchestra. 
   In the court of Charles Theodore orchestra was rapidly changed. Opulence of various instruments, high performing skills made this ensemble famous as band of virtuosi. And many of virtuoso musicians were also composers. And making their personal contribution in musical repertoire of the court they were also inspired one another. Such collection of great musicians made this ensemble famous all over Europe. In 1777 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart submitted a proposal to join the team but his access has not been accepted. It happened even though monarch Charles Theodore has commissioned Mozart’s opera Idomeneo. Composer’s visit in Mannheim has its part in creating classical style. His meeting with instrumentalists and composers has to be turning point. Mannheim court musicians were creating most capable, orderly and flexible orchestra in Europe. This orchestra played a decisive role during the classical turn in Mannheim and in other centers, Vienna and Berlin.

Musik in alten Städten und Residenzen – Mannheim (1961)

   Probably most obvious volume in Electrola-EMI series Musik in alten Städten und Residenzen was the one dedicated to the Mannheim composers. Recorded in 1961 by Kammerorchester der Saarländischen Rundfunks conducted by Karl Ristenpart, album features works of four composers, three orchestral and one for string quartet. First is Orchester-Trio C Major op. 1 No. 1 by Johann Stamitz, one of earlier Mannheim compositions (1755) according to Hugo Riemann this work was inspired by Christoph Willibald Gluck’s triosonaten from 1746. Composed between 1767 and 1771 Quartet for 2 Violini, Viola and Cello E-flat Major op. 5 No. 4 by Franz Xaver Richter (1709-1789) has been recorded in very reliable performance of Drolc Quartet. Second side of the album comprises two orchestral compositions Violin Concerto D Major by Carlo Giuseppe Toeschi (1724-1788) with solist Georg Friedrich Hendel and Sinfonia à 8 “Sinfonie périodique” No. 2 by Anton Filtz (1730-1760). Record was awarded with “Grand prix du disque” and happened to be one of basic recordings of the series.

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