Thursday, June 14, 2012

Music of the Electoral Palatinate

Few but music historians have spent much time thinking about the music that came out of the German Electoral Palatinate -- the home of the Count Palatine of the Rhine, and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire.  This area, called the Kurpfalz or Pfalzgrafschaft bei Rhein in German, actually has a musical school all its own, named for the city that was its capital after 1720AD: Mannheim.

File:Map of the Oberämter of the Electoral Palatinate (1789) - Numbered.svgFile:Arms of the Palatinate (Bavaria-Palatinate).svg
A map of the Electoral Palatinate (Mannheim is #2) along the Rhine River and its coat of arms. If the shield reminds you of that of Bavaria, that is well, for the Kurpfalz was traditionally ruled by a branch of the same Wittelsbach family that ruled Bavaria.

For this post, I will highlight four composers from this German state.  We start with Johann Stamitz (+1757), father of a couple of other composers, and a rather influential member of this musical school.  This is the first movement of an orchestral trio in C minor, Opus 4, N. 3.

Now, from his son Karl Stamitz (+1801), a Concerto in D major that gives a good example of the "Mannheim Rocket," I think, which is the bold and immediate "rocketing" into the theme of the work.

Next, Christian Cannabich (+1798), a personal favorite of mine, and a man renowned in his time for his ability as a conductor, as well.  Here is his Symphony No. 63 in D major -- though I do prefer his minor key works.  The fellow pictured is Charles Theodore, Elector Palatine and Duke of Bavaria (+1799), Cannabich's patron:

Finally, Franz Xaver Richter (+1789), and Symphony No. 59 in B Flat Major to round out the group:

Live well!

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