O´LOGHLIN, Michael

Frederick the Great and his Musicians. The Viola da Gamba Music of the Berlin School.

After decades of stagnation during the reign of his father, the 'Barracks King', the performing arts began to flourish in Berlin under Frederick the Great. Even before his coronation in 1740, the crown prince commenced recruitment of a group of musician-composers who were to form the basis of a brilliant court ensemble. Several composers, including C.P.E. Bach and the Graun brothers, wrote music for the viola da gamba, an instrument which was already becoming obsolete elsewhere. They were encouraged in this endeavour by the presence in the orchestra from 1741 of Ludwig Christian Hesse, one of the last gamba virtuosi, who was described in 1766 as 'unquestionably the finest gambist in Europe'. This study shows how the unique situation in Berlin produced the last major corpus of music written for the viola da gamba, and how the more virtuosic works were probably the result of close collaboration between Hesse and the Berlin School composers. The reader is also introduced to the more approachable pieces which were written and arranged for amateur viol players, including the king's nephew and ultimate successor, Frederick William II.

O'Loghlin argues that the aesthetic circumstances which prevailed in Berlin brought forth a specific style that is reflected not only in the music for viola da gamba. Characteristics of this Berlin style are identified with reference to a broad selection of original written sources, many of which are hardly accessible to English-speaking readers. There is also a discussion of the rather contradictory reception history of the Berlin School and some of its composers. The book concludes with a complete thematic catalogue of the Berlin gamba music, with a listing of original manuscript sources and modern publications.

Gran Bretaña, 2008. 272 pp. Idioma: inglés. Encuadernación: cartoné con sobrecubierta.


List of Figures vii

List of Music Examples ix

Foreword xiii

Acknowledgements xv

Notes on the Text xvii

1 Introduction 1

2 Berlin and the Berlin School 9

3 The Sources 49

4 The Forms and Genres Used in the Berlin Gamba Music 71

5 Alternative Instrumentation for the Viola da Gamba Parts 107

6 Ludwig Christian Hesse 121

7 The Composers and their Works 143

Johann Gottlieb Graun 143

Christoph Schaffrath 164

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach 171

Johann Gottlieb Janitsch 176

Joseph Benedikt (or Baptist) Zyka 189

Carl Heinrich Graun (1703/4–1759) 193

Franz Benda (1709–1786) 197

Carl Friedrich Abel (1723–1787) 198

Conclusion 205


Thematic Catalogue of the Works of the Berlin School

for Viola da Gamba 209

Bibliography 237

Index 249