Friday, October 16, 2009


I think musicology must have been invented by the Germans. And for a long time it was completely dominated by Germans.

We had a pretty good music library in my college, and it was filled with shelves of very large books. These included the complete works of J.S. Bach and Telemann. I remember that Telemann had more books on his shelf than Bach, but Bach made up for this with the beginnings of a new set. German musicologists had run out of German composers to study and were starting over with an old one.

In school we studied and performed all manner of pieces by J.S. Bach, but I had at that time never heard anything by Telemann.

If an Italian had performed an opera in a German city, it would appear in one of the miscellaneous collections called Denkmäler. The aim was to create a performable score for all possible German repertoire.

I remember on one of my recitals I performed "Vernügte Ruh," a solo cantata by Bach. To make the parts for the players I made Xerox copies of the score and cut and pasted this into parts. It was possinble to buy a piano vocal score, but not parts. It worked fine.

Scores from Ricordi or Schirmer made do for the Italians.

Our time is the age of Italian musicology, undertaken by scholars from many nations. Professor Gosset in Chicago oversees the publication of the complete works of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi.

Claudio Osele continues his own castrato project.

The musical scores for all the arias on the Sacrificium concert and even some of the instrumental numbers were prepared by Martin Heimgartner. The program even lists the documentary sources which come from all over Europe.

It is wonderful to see this. Perhaps the unknown Italians will become familiar. For most of my life Porpora was a character in a novel by George Sand (Consuelo). Now at last he is a composer.

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