What is this unknown music?
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I have been working on an interesting repertoire of music for the viola d'amore, which is unknown.
My favorite part of it are the 26 Galanteries for solo viola d'amore. I do not know when they were written, but those by one of the two composers, F. Götz, must have been written before his death in 1815. Some of the movments by the other composer, Josef Fuchs, seem to me from the harmony they use to be from even later.
Here is what I have been considering:
The concerti for viola d'amore(s) and orchestra by Götz and Fuchs, there are two double concerti and two solo concerti. I find these quite long winded and repetitive, so they are on the bottem of my list to work on. But don't let that slow you down!
There are 2 Nocturnes, the three duos, for two violas d'amore, by F. Götz. These are string quartet length pieces, in double stops from beginning to end. The keys range from A major to Eb major. You have never heard them because they are quite difficult. Here is an accordatura version of the first March of Nocturno 1:
For those of you who haven't used accordatura/scordatura before, you pretend you are still playing a violin. Yes, this is kind of like using a NYC map to make your way around Toronto.
Try the fingering 01234 in bar 4 on your instrument. It is places like this that have me thinking these three composers used small violas d'amore. Even Jan Kral specifies in his method, from 1871, that the vsl of a vda should be 36 cms.
And finally, there are two Sessettos and a Quintet, by Kuznik. The two sessettos, one in G, one in C, but tuned in the D tuning are for viola d'amore, two violas, two horns, and cello. The Notturno is for Viola d'amore, viola, flute, two horns, and cello/bassoon.
The two sextets have five movements, with the 2nd and the 4th being dances, the same pattern as Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, (if you remember the original second movement is lost.)
Further chamber works that I believe belong to this same tradition include all the works for viola d'amore of Fuchs, and Götz, and perhaps the Galanteries attributed to Fisher. The library holding the Fisher Galanteries wants a hefty fee for the right to work on them and play them. I am hesitating on the Fisher.
Here, from an edition I am working on, is the beginning of the Menuet that is the second movement of a Kuznik Sextet in G:
This is what the viola d'amore part looks like in the original:
I include the facsimile, because the shared approach to notation, the accordatura, is my basis for seeing these Kuznik chamber works as part of the same school as the following image. the Ab is all the accordatura you get. What it means, is you tune in D, as per usual, turn the 7th string down a half step, and then play in Ab major:
This particular movment is by Josef Fuchs. The remarkable harmonic progression I would say has to be from the 1820's, at least. That ending is really beautiful, check it out! I know nothing about him, please let me know if you know of a source of info.
The collection this Ab Adagio is from, is called Galanterie 26 a viola d'amore solo, by Josf Fuchs and F. Götz. I found out about it from this dissertation: https://is.muni.cz/th/384335/ff_b/FRANZ_GOTZ_-_zivot_a_tvorba.pdf
I am still learning what Gallanterie might mean here. Earlier in the 18th century the term Gallanterie meant the non-essential movments of a suite, esp. in compositions for solo instrument. Galanterie appears in the title of Bach's Clavier Urbung, for example. In the time of Bach, the essential movments were allemand, courante, saraband, and gigue, non-essential ones were menuets and passpieds. It has been pointed out to me that perhaps these two composers were trying to write new "old" music for the instrument, in order to preserve it. My hat is off to them, they are by far the most refined composers for the viola d'amore.
And their Galanteries I find their most successful music, because some of them are as little as 18 bars long. The movements are concise, and, I feel a bit weird saying this, but they express a range of only positive emotions, and then only in a restrained way, that's what it seems like to me. And that is what Gallanterie seems to be about. Here is a reference to an article on the use of the term:
The Galant Style Revisited and Re-Evaluated
Author(s): David A. Sheldon
Source: Acta Musicologica, Vol. 47, Fasc. 2 (Jul. - Dec., 1975), pp. 240-270
The duos, on the other hand, a single movement can be more than 10 minutes long and quite repetitive.
Here in this collection, the non-essential movments for Fuchs and Götz are Menuets and Polacas. The very same dances that form the 2nd and fourth movments of Götz Nocturnos for two violas d'amore. Nightmusic, in short.