Johann Joachim Quantz (1697–1773) was regarded as one of Europe’s finest flute players. He worked at royal courts in Dresden and later in Berlin and Potsdam, where his close association with Frederick the Great added to his renown.
He was drawn to music from an early age and it’s fascinating to read extracts from his autobiography and see how he went from being the son of a blacksmith to one of the most famous musicians in Europe.
Quantz composed over 300 flute concertos and around 230 flute sonatas, as well as trio sonatas, duets and solos. The concertos, in particular, display a distinctly personal style that is inventive, engaging and expressive.
The Sei Duetti a due flauti traversi (Berlin, 1759) are historically significant and engaging compositions that deserve to be heard by a wider audience. They also provide excellent material to work with when studying Quantz’s Versuch. Published seven years after the Versuch, it is clear that Quantz considered the edition, including its lengthy Preface, to be a supplement to the Versuch.
Some notes about Joseph Haydn and his 6 Divertimentos a 3 (Op. 38) for flute, violin and cello, first published in London in 1784 by William Forster.
They are the first chamber music by Haydn to include a flute. The top part is indicated as being for “Violin I or Flute”, but it is significant that this part has no double-stops (unlike Violin II) and stays within the range of the flute.
Dialogue: a discussion between two or more people, especially one directed toward exploration of a particular subject or resolution of a problem.
Baroque musicians and theorists saw many parallels between the Greek and Roman art of rhetoric (oratory) and music. According to ancient writers such as Aristotle, Cicero and Quintilian, orators employed rhetorical means to control and direct the emotions of their audiences and so persuade and move them. It is not surprising, therefore, to find Marin Mersenne in Harmonie universelle (1636) describing musicians as ‘harmonic orators’.
Also known as Historically Inspired Performance or HIP.
What is historical performance?
Johann Joachim Quantz and Historically Informed Performance
A discussion of Johann Joachim Quantz’s important and influential treatise on performance practice published in 1752. By studying Quantz's treatise and those by CPE Bach (1753/62) and Leopold Mozart (1756), we can form a detailed picture of musical taste and performance practice in 18th-century Europe.
The recording Johann Joachim Quantz: Sei Duetti (1759) is the first of a series to be produced as part of an Historical Performance Research Project. The project was initiated in 2010 by the Elysium Ensemble’s principals, Greg Dikmans and Lucinda Moon, and is being supported by the Early Music Studio at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Melbourne and by private and corporate sponsors.
The aim of the project is to identify neglected or newly discovered chamber music from the Baroque and early-Classical periods (1600–1800) with a view to bringing it to a wider audience through historically informed performances and recordings.
Life, the universe and performance practice.
Some musings on the connections with Zen Buddhist philosophy and a brief discussion of Baldassare Castiglione’s decoro, sprezzatura and gracia.
Venice to Versailles - Program Notes
The title ‘Venice to Versailles’ evokes the idea of a journey or the movement from one place (or state) to another. The works recorded here certainly present an intriguing musical journey through the diversity of instrumental chamber music of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: sets of variations on vocal works and ground basses, dances, sonatas and suites from Italy and France.
The program notes for this CD cover the following topics: