Posts tagged ‘funeral’

April 19, 2014

music for Holy Saturday – “Schlaf wohl, ihr seligen Gebeine” from Georg Philipp Telemann’s funeral cantata “Du aber Daniel, gehe hin” (TWV 4:17)

by ada

Georg Philipp Telemann, who is one of my favourite composers, was a fascinating character, a Renaissance man of the Baroque era, a self-made musician who mastered about every instrument he composed for and who, at the age of 80, was still mentally active enough to create a tuning system based on logarithmic principles. He was also friends with Johann Sebastian Bach, godfather to his second son, Carl Philipp Emanuel and pen pals with Georg Friedrich Händel.

He composed his funeral cantata, betitled Du aber Daniel, gehe hin as his first wife died in childbirth after only 15 months of marriage. The lyrics of its closing choir movement Schlaf wohl, ihr seligen Gebeine (Sleep well, you sacred bones) is based loosely on the text of the Brockes-Passion (which I feel the need to mention every day lately, but well, it’s quite difficult not to be aware of its significance if speaking of Baroque Passion music).

PS.: The last two years’ posts were a Miserere of Zelenka (of course! Zelenka!) and two Jewish liturgical pieces written for the Amsterdam Synagogue by Cristiano Giuseppe Lidarti. I’m planning to do a series on Baroque synagogal music soon in case I ever manage to finish the Salzburg Series during my lifetime, which at this point seems rather unlikely, haha.

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October 4, 2012

music of the week – Dies irae from Missa pro Defuncto Archiepiscopo Sigismondo, MH 155 of Michael Haydn

by ada

After a big, big break caused by computer troubles and serious time deficit due to my horrible work schedule, I’m back with my Salzburg Early Music Composers Series. This time it’s all about Michael Haydn, the younger brother of Joseph Haydn, who, according to his contemporaries, was an even more talented boy soprano than Joseph and who loved Salzburg enough to turn down Prince Esterházy’s offer about a job as vice-Kapellmeister at the Eisenstadt court.

This Requiem is the perfect funeral music, so that its function was recognised even by my musically totally untalented mother.* Michael Haydn wrote it for the death of his employer, Archbishop Sigismund von Schrattenbach, but it has also a more personal note: his only child, Aloisia Josefa died at the same year, short before her first birthday. Wether Haydn, nor his wife, Magdalena Lipp, a famous soprano of the time, have recovered again from the sorrow. Actually, poor Magdalena went quite mad, wearing strange robes and beating herself in public as self-punishment, and Haydn started drinking.

It’s a well-known fact that this Requiem was a source of inspiration for Mozart when writing his own, famous one. He, at the age of fifteen, played the third violin at the funeral of Schrattenbach. The Mozart family was on good terms with Haydn and both Leopold and Wolfgang respected his talent and works, despite of the fact that, in his letters to his son, Leopold (“Daddy”) Mozart heavily criticised Haydn’s love of good wines.

I chose the video from pure patriotism. We could argue about nationality and could remember all the numerous injustice the Habsburg dynasty did to us, Hungarians in the past, but nothing will annul the almost 500 years in which we shared history. Even if the present life and politics of Austria is completely different than that of Hungary, their past remains also our past forever and their culture became ours (well, actually was forced on us, if we want to be precise). That’s why my patriotic soul was hurt so deeply when I came to know that, from the whole European nobility, only the Habsburg people weren’t invited to the Royal Wedding a year ago. Such a shame. Well, William and Kate, you can be famous,  rich and pretty but you have no manners. That’s quite clear.

* I know that criticising your parents isn’t that polite, but well, truth is truth, and it was not my mother I inherited my musical talent from. I guess it has something to do with the mathematician genes of my father. Or it’s just simply the blood of my Ukrainian great-grandfather, who was reported to sing (and, ehm, also to drink) on every day of his life.

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