Göttweig Suite 4

Alternative readings of the text of the complete Gottweig edition

Suite IV

May 3, 2017


Guest column by Harold Hill


I am liking more and more this 4th Suite and think it has some very noble and attractive music.  Let's start out with the mistakes I have found so far in the published edition.


(Prelude) - Bar 6, real pitch vda part first three notes should be up a third.

Allemand - Bar 1, beat 3 - one of the two "tenor" notes of either viola d'amore part must be corrected.

Guig(ue) - Bar 8, second eighth note should have sharp in scordatura d'amore part.

Bourre - Bar 7, second half of second beat real notation d'amore part should be up a third.


And now for a brief commentary about some of the movements of the suite -


The (Prelude) offers the fascinating challenge of how to make 29 bars of straight eighth notes interesting, to get started!  It's good to be able to see this movement with its harmonic support to be able to articulate the shaping and phrasing well!  I would humbly suggest, like I've seen you do with a few movements on your website, a piano on the second beat of bar 13 to make a crescendo graduallly to bar 18.  I also "discovered" to bring out well the hemiola 3 bars from the end of the movement finger 1234 on the g string and 2432 on the higher c string, where the second finger prepares the appogiatura for the cadence trill.  In the Allemand I think I like playing the b in the second half of bar 14 with the fourth finger so I'm playing a double stop on the next three sixteenth notes.  I think you would agree at the end of the Guig(ue) we can play the last note with the open low c string as well.  Another "discovery" - the Passagaglia seems to work very well starting up-bow, very lightly in the upper half, and later take two up-bows on the second and third beats of bar 9.


In all of this suite I am noticing great opportunities to get one or more open strings ringing in opportune harmonic and phrasing moments - for instance just in the (Prelude) the down-beat of bar 25 and then later the first three notes of bar 35, all open strings.  I mention this in part because it's one of those things I talked about for my lecture regarding scordatura and fiddle music.  But especially in the Passagaglia there are many places to bring out resonance in the chords.


Finally in the Passagaglia I took it upon myself to see if there was any kind of larger pattern in the variation structure of the four bar pattern.  I found one can group the entire movement into an interesting cycle, which I see like this:  From the beginning, Bars 1-32, 2 groups of four 4 bar cycles, Bars 33-44, 1 group of three 4 bar cycles, Bars 45-68, six groups of 4 bar cycles, Bars 69-92, two (different) groups of three 4 bar cycles, Bars 93-96, one independent group in 4 bars, and finally from bar 97 to the end two (different) groups of three 4 bar cycles.  I'm not really sure how useful that information might be, but perhaps one could consider building or taking away dynamic intensity in terms of the grouping structure.  For instance the cadence at bar 65 comes at the end of a very long series of sixteenth notes and marks where the fifth group of four bars cadences into the sixth of the larger grouping (at least as I see it).