HAVING been honoured with an invitation to talk at a weekend symposium devoted to celebrations for the 300th anniversary of Christoph Graupner’s death, I am currently in Darmstadt (Germany). Yesterday’s papers focussed on the development of the court / city as a centre for the arts under Ernst Ludwig, while today’s have turned to Graupner’s music in general, and opera in particular.
Among the most entertaining revalations was a report by Prof. Dr. Ursula Kramer (University of Mainz) about a “Lusthaus” built in the castle grounds. In this sadly no longer extant building, the court used to dine during the summer months. But little did any guests realise what delights lay in store for them – for concealed beneath them was a second chamber, where musicians could assemble (having reached the room through a tunnel) to play tafelmusik. There were holes in the floor at the corners that allowed their sweet sounds to perculate aloft Rashid-Sascha Pegah (another participant in the symposium) had even found references in contemporary documents to “chalumeaux musique”, one of them specifically to music for three chalumeaux. This must surely have been the ouverture suite (GWV401, PLM code GRA183) which Kim Clow has just published with Prima la musica!
So the next time you are sitting somewhere nice, eating, and enjoying (or not, as the case may be), the muzak… just think – it’s not such a new idea