A prolific music theorist and critic as well as an established composer, Johannes Mattheson remains surprisingly understudied. In this important study, Margaret Seares places Mattheson’s Pièces de clavecin (1714) in the context of his work as a public intellectual who encouraged German musicians and their musical public to eschew what he saw as the hidebound traditions of the past, and instead embrace a universalism of style and expression derived from contemporary currents in music of the leading European nations. Beginning with the early non-musical writings by Mattheson, Seares places them in the context of the cosmopolitan city-state of Hamburg, before moving to a detailed study of his first major musical treatise Das neu-erÃ¶ffnete Orchestre of 1713, in which he espoused his views about the musics of the past and present and, in particular, the characteristics of the musics of Germany, Italy, France and England. This latter section of the treatise, Part III, is edited and translated into English in the book's appendix - the first such translation available. Seares then moves on to an evaluation of the Pièces de clavecin as a work in which Mattheson reflects in musical terms the themes of modernism (in the sense of Ã la mode) and universalism that are such a strong part of his writings of the period, and a work that represents an important precursor for the keyboard suites of Johann Sebastian Bach and Georg Frideric Handel.
’This book offers an important and fascinating insight into how the world of musical style was viewed in early 18th-century Germany. The translation of Part 3 of Mattheson’s treatise is invaluable.’ Douglas Hollick, The Consort
Contents: Preface; The formative years leading up to Das neu-eröffnete Orchestre and the Pièces de clavecin; Mattheson’s Das neu-eröffnete Orchestre of 1713; Les Pièces de clavecin/Harmonisches Denckmahl; Mattheson’s German heritage; Music à la mode: Mattheson’s response to the music of his Italian and French contemporaries; Mattheson and ‘universalism’; Mattheson’s dance movements: an amalgam of styles; Conclusion; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.
This series was originally supported by funds made available to the Royal Musical Association from the estate of Thurston Dart. Its purpose is to provide a medium for specialized investigations of a topic, concept or repertory - studies of a kind that would not normally be feasible for commercial publishers and that would be too long for most periodicals.