Academic journal article Notes

Graun-Werkverzeichnis (GraunWV)/Die Musikaliensammlung Thulemeier Und Die Berliner Musiküberlieferung in der Zweiten Hälfte Des 18. Jahrhunderts

Academic journal article Notes

Graun-Werkverzeichnis (GraunWV)/Die Musikaliensammlung Thulemeier Und Die Berliner Musiküberlieferung in der Zweiten Hälfte Des 18. Jahrhunderts

Article excerpt

Graun-Werkverzeichnis (GraunWV). By Christoph Henzel. Beeskow, Germany: Ortus Musikverlag, 2006. [2 vols., xxix , 925; and 352 p. ISBN- 10 3937788026; ISBN-13 9783937788029. i98.] Music examples, facsimiles.

Die Musikaliensammlung Thulemeier und die Berliner Musiküber - lieferung in der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts. By Tobias Schwinger. Beeskow, Germany: Ortus Musikverlag, 2006. [729 p. ISBN-10 3937788085; ISBN-13 9783937788081. i249.] Music examples, facsimiles.

The two substantial reference works reviewed here are both from the impressive new German publisher Ortus (although both bear the date 2006, they actually became available only in mid-2007). Each documents a repertory central to musical life in eighteenth-century Berlin. Although the city's Bach sources have been thoroughly investigated, other Berlin collections have not previously received systematic attention, despite their importance for the musical and cultural history of the city-one of those European capitals whose music during the galant age has attracted renewed interest in recent years. Both publications are recommended for comprehensive music research collections.

Henzel's thematic catalog of the works of the Graun brothers is a major step toward understanding two prolific composers who spent the greatest part of their careers in Berlin. Carl Heinrich Graun (henceforth CHG), best known since the late eighteenth century for his oratorio Der Tod Jesu, was primarily a composer of Italian operas and cantatas. He was employed as Capell meister by King Frederick II "the Great" of Prussia from 1735, when Frederick was still crown prince, until his death in 1759. His older brother Johann Gottlieb ( JGG) was primarily a violinist and composer of instrumental music. A member of Frederick's court from 1732 onwards, he held the title Concert - meister. Both composed numerous concertos, trio sonatas, and other chamber works. Most of their compositions remain in manuscript, with attributions that are often limited to the last name. Hence their output raises numerous questions of authorship, and it is eminently practical that a single catalog should encompass the works of both composers. No identifable works survive by a third brother, Friedrich August, but the family's musical tradition extends to the twentieth-century composer Nicholas Nabokov and the singer and translator Dmitri Nabokov, son of novelist Vladimir Nabokov, all descendants of CHG.

The large number of works-just under a thousand-and the problems of attribution would make any Graun catalog difficult for the non-specialist to negotiate. One is grateful to the author and publisher for providing a second volume containing indexes of names, manuscripts, text incipits, and melodic incipits. The latter is essential, given the many categories in which an individual work might be listed; although limited to incipits for the initial movements of instrumental works, it includes incipits for opera overtures, which circulated as independent sinfonias.

Missing is a list of bibliographic abbreviations, a deficit shared with the other volume under review. Moreover, a complex classification scheme may force one to search multiple sections of the catalog to find the entry for a particular work. There are three major divisions: works of JGG (group A), works of CHG (group B), and works by "Graun" that cannot be assigned definitively to one brother or the other (group C). Even for works in category C, however, Henzel assigns works provisionally to JGG or to CHG. Doubtful works (group D) follow, and a relatively small number of misattributed works occupy an appendix. Works within each group are sorted into twenty generic subcategories designated by roman numerals. Thus the very first work listed, a secular cantata by JGG, is designated "GraunWV A:III:1." Fortunately, within each genre category there is but a single series of arabic numbers, regardless of composer; thus the catalog lists the first of the secular cantatas by CHG as B:III:12. …

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