Saturday, April 9, 2011

Muffat - 12 Concerti Grossi - Nemeth, Capella Savaria







One of the most striking aspects of Muffat's music is the mixture of French and Italian influences. This 'mixed taste' was to become a common feature of music in Germany in the first half of the 18th century. Even in France composers began to incorporate Italian elements in their compositions. One could however argue that Muffat was the very first to mix French and Italian elements. He also went a bit further than others in this respect. He studied with Lully and Corelli, and held both composers in high esteem. The number of his compositions is small - at least as far as we know - but of consistently high quality. What makes his collections of music especiallyGeorg Muffat interesting are the prefaces which contain remarks in regard to interpretation. In his preface Muffat explains why he has mixed French and Italian elements: "I strove so to balance profound Italian feeling with French gaiety and charm that neither the one should colour the music too darkly, nor the other make it too frivolous". This explains the general structure of these concertos, which contain two halves, each beginning with a movement called 'grave', mostly followed by dance movements in a fast tempo. But Muffat doesn't slavishly follow this structure: the Concerto IV begins with a 'sonata' (like all first movements) with a grave character, but this is followed by a sarabande, which is again labelled 'grave'. The Concerto VII also has a second slow movement, an 'aria' with the indication 'largo'. On the other hand, the Concerto VI begins with two fast movements: a sonata in two sections, allegro and presto, followed by an 'aria' which is again an allegro.

In his concertos Muffat deliberately avoided all the extremes often associated with the Italian style: he wanted his music to be "natural and flowing", and therefore avoided "extravagant runs" and "frequent and awkward leaps". This probably also explains the lack of strong dissonance; the strongest are to be found in the second grave of the Concerto V. The influence of Corelli, who provided Muffat with "many useful observations touching his style", is also present in the sequence of short slow and fast sections within a single movement, as here in the second movement (aria) of the Concerto III.

Whereas his 'Armonico Tributo' has been recorded a number of times, the other collections have hardly enjoyed the attention they deserve. 


flac, scans


  1. Hi Otto.

    Wonderful collection you share here on your website. Is it possible you could fix the links for this recording of Muffat? I would be very grateful, indeed.




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