Posted in Musicology on May 31, 2009 |
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One of my passions (to follow on from yesterday’s blog) is the music of Johann Friedrich Fasch. I came upon his music purely by chance when, in 1988, I was looking around for ideas for concerts that I’d been ask to organize on the Fringe of the Edinburgh International Festival. Fasch was born in 1688, you see, so a tercentenary celebration of a composer who the textbooks said was held in high esteem by Bach and Telemann seemed like a plan.
The rest, as they say, is history. The concerts were very successful – the music was popular with the performers and audiences alike. With the help of libraries in Sweden and Germany, I had produced hand-written editions for sonatas and concertos, which were given their modern premieres. For two of the cantatas, we played off copies of Fasch’s own manuscripts – his calligraphy is beautiful!
Nowadays, as more and more libraries around the world digitize their resources and make them available online (and long may it continue, I say!), part of my weekly routine is checking out what additions there have been on my favourite sites. A couple of weeks back, I was leafing through a volume that supposedly contained Melchior Hoffman’s copy of a Telemann cantata in the Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark. To be honest, although the scoring of the separate movements was interesting (there is one that features two harps, for example), I was getting bored and I was on the point of giving up when a little voice in my head said, “No, keep going.”
I’m glad I did – the very next page made my heart jump. I recognized the handwriting immediately: none other than Johann Friedrich Fasch. And it was not too difficult to work out what it was – here were three movements of a church cantata. I fired off a quick email to Dr. Gottfried Gille of Bad Langensalza, Germany, who is something of a specialist in Fasch’s cantatas (having compiled a catalogue of the known texts) to see if he could identify my “bleeding chunk”. It turns out that only the first movement of the cantata is missing – from the 1730/31 cycle setting of poetry by Erdmann Neumeister, the title is Lasst uns dulden, lasst uns hoffen.
This is one of the highlights of my job – finding something thought long-lost, and being able to identify it and share it with others. If I chance upon a “new” piece by Fasch once a year, I’ll be happy. Wish me luck!
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Posted in Musicology on May 30, 2009 |
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You might find it strange if you’ve visited our website that a company specializing in early music doesn’t sell much by Bach, Handel or Vivaldi.
But we’re realists – most of that stuff is already available elsewhere (and we’ll never be in a position to take on the big guys in music publishing with their printing presses and massive warehouses!) – and, besides, we’re on a mission!
There is so much beautiful music out there just waiting to be re-discovered and enjoyed – maybe by YOU!
So we got into this whole field by being passionate about early music in general. Each of those involved in Prima la musica! does have a personal interest in various composers. Our colleague Kim Patrick Clow, for example, just loves Christoph Graupner, who was Kapellmeister (best translated into English as Music Director, I think) at the court of Hessen-Darmstadt in Germany for over 50 years.
It’s especially nice when one’s hard work is recognized in the big wide world, and one’s passion is out there for everyone to see – and to share. So we are delighted that Kim’s article on Graupner has been published (along with some beautiful images of Darmstadt in the 18th century) in the latest issue of Early Music America.
Hopefully this will lead to musicians and music lovers being brave enough to tackle repertoire off the beaten track. The financial difficulties that led this year’s Boston Early Music Festival to cancel the production of a Graupner opera (which would have been a visual and musical treat for audiences!) was a real blow to Kim’s morale; hopefully, the fact that a new general awareness of Graupner’s music (his is not the only Graupner feature in Early Music America this time round!) shows that there are others who share his passion!
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Posted in Musicology on May 29, 2009 |
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It’s been a long time coming, but finally I decided to start a blog that will cover all the work we do here at Prima la musica! After almost 20 years of transcribing and editing “early music” – and publishing it myself for the past six – I thought it would be nice to share my love of my job with everyone out there, and reach out to hear their suggestions.
So whether you’re a performer, teacher, musicologist or simply a lover of early music (nowadays also known as HIP – “historically informed performance”), please drop me a line.
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