Lost and Found Classics

Friday, October 28 • First Parish, Sudbury
Saturday, October 29 • Emmanuel Church, Boston

Quartet no. 1 in D Major QV 4:8         Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773)
        Vivace   
        Largo
        Allegro

Trio Sonata in Eb Major for traverso, violin, and continuo         attrib. to C. P. E. Bach (1714-1788) or Johann Gottlieb Graun (1702/3-1771)
        Allegro moderato   
        Poco Largo
        Poco Vivace

Concerto in C Major for harpsichord, two violins and bass            Gottlieb Muffat (1690-1770)
        Spirituoso   
        Adagio—Tempo moderato ed arioso
        Finale

Intermission

 
Quartet no. 2 in E Minor QV 4:9        Quantz
        Vivace
        Grave
        Allegro

Concerto in D Major     for traverso, strings, and continuo    W. F. Bach (1710-1784)
        Un poco Allegro   
        Largo
        Vivace

Suzanne Stumpf, traverso; Christina Day Martinson, and Susanna Ogata, violins
Marcia Cassidy, viola; Daniel Ryan, cello; Michael Bahmann, harpsichord
 

Program Notes

The Berlin Singakademie was founded in 1791 as a choral school with composer Carl Friedrich Fasch as its first director. Fasch was succeeded by his student and assistant Carl Friedrich Zelter in 1800. Zelter expanded the scope of the Singakademie to include instrumentalists and focused the organization’s performing activity on the great works of the past, especially those of J. S. Bach. To this end, Zelter avidly collected musical manuscripts for use by the Singakademie. The music collection grew under his directorship and included, among other treasures, the musical estate of Bach’s second son Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach. The collection further expanded in size and importance with a donation by Sara Levy, the great aunt of Felix Mendelssohn, of a large collection of manuscripts, including many autographs of Bach’s eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann Bach.

In 1943, the Singakademie archive was moved to Upper Silesia for safe keeping during the Berlin bombing. Silesia subsequently fell under Soviet control, and the whereabouts of the collection became unknown. Through much detective work and diplomacy the archive was identified and recovered in 1999 from the State Archives in Ukraine. It has been returned to Berlin and is currently being microfilmed and studied. The collection is of inestimable cultural value and comprises a significant corpus of vocal and instrumental works from composers active in Berlin in the eighteenth century.

Among the manuscripts donated to the Singakademie by Sara Levy is a set of six quartets by Quantz, flute instructor to King Frederick the Great of Prussia. The quartets were composed in the 1720s and are the earliest pieces of their genre to be written in Germany. Georg Philipp Telemann may have been influenced by these pieces in the development of his own quartet style. With all the instruments contributing to the thematic material, they are charming, conversational works and are welcome additions to the Baroque quartet repertory.

The Trio Sonata in E-flat Major is attributed to Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach in the Singakademie archive manuscript, and Eugene Helm lists this work as “possibly authentic” in his catalogue of C.P.E. Bach’s works. The work has also been attributed to Johann Gottlieb Graun. Both composers were in the employ of King Frederick the Great. The work is in the deeply expressive empfindsamer (sensitive) style which both composers espoused, including dramatic changes of mood, gestures, and dynamics.

Gottlieb Muffat was a composer, organist, and keyboard player who spent most of his career as a musician at the Viennese court. He is distinguished as the only major Austrian composer of keyboard music of the eighteenth century prior to Haydn and Mozart. Muffat was the son of Georg Muffat, a well-traveled musician who was influential in bringing the French and Italian styles to German-speaking lands. The younger Muffat must have been inspired by the internationalism of his father’s works, an influence that can be detected in his harpsichord concerto in C Major. It is a brilliant work composed in an amalgam of styles. While it structurally hearkens to the early classical style with the clarity and balance of its phrasing, the highly ornamented, idiomatic harpsichord writing is French Baroque in style. Certain polyphonic sections, such as the short Adagio, are in the manner of the Renaissance stile antico, no doubt learned from his teacher, the master contrapuntist J. J. Fux.

The manuscript for W.F. Bach’s Concerto in D Major was among those donated to the collection by his pupil Sara Levy. It could possibly have been written for or at least performed at one of the many musical soirées that Sara Levy hosted. Though unsigned in the original, it is clearly a work by Wilhelm Friedemann due to its characteristic style and the many passages which parallel those in known works by the composer. All of its movements evidence W. F. Bach’s intricate, richly contrapuntal writing as well as his highly original, unpredictable turns of phrase. This masterful work is his only known flute concerto and an important addition to the repertoire.

© Daniel Ryan and Suzanne Stumpf