My current PhD studies at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien under supervision of Dr Clive Brown focuses on the violoncello performance practice of King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia (1744–1797) and his court.
Carlo Graziani (1711-1788) was and eighteenth-century cello virtuoso, and cello teacher of Friedrich Wilhelm II. As tutor to this musically gifted student and constantly by his side in various performances, Graziani was exposed to some of the greatest and latest works being composed for the violoncello during the 18th century. My current project surrounds the study and performance of the 18 sonatas composed by Graziani, which display a rich and varied use of galant music schemata, intended for personal use by the king. These works are perhaps best characterised as un-ornimented Boccherini, in which Graziani has left the decoration of the works to the cellist - in this case, the Prussian monarch who was well trained in the Italian school of playing. Full of virtuosic and beautiful passages it is clear to hear why he was kept as a musical confident to such a musical patron as Friedrich Wilhelm.
Galant Schemata in Theory & Practice Conference 2022
Together with my friend and colleague Jonathan Salamon we are launching an international conference on Galant Schemata Theory. This online conference will be the first of its kind focusing on the performance implications of Schema Theory. The conference will take place online from the 31st September until the 2nd October 2022. For more information please visit:
Mechanical Instrument Digitisation Project
Nothing could be more important to the musicians of today, than to hear recordings (or closely mimicking automations of performance) by eighteenths-century musicians.
Especially when those recordings come with the following statement by the well known and trusted lexicographer Ernst Ludwig Gerber:
“Those clocks which I saw and heard at Mr. Kleemeyer's workshop in 1797 played in a way which left nothing to be desired. Since the Berliners know how to bring so much life into this inanimate, mechanical musician, these clocks would be useful for the history of taste in music for future times, by communicating the manner prevailing in our age to the ears of future generations.” - Neues Historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler 1813
Through work with some Flötenuhren built by Kleemeyer in the 1790s I am reconstructing interpretations pinned into the barrels of these mechanical instruments, including works of Mozart, Haydn and Pleyel, so that we may understand late eigtheenth-century use of ornamentation, tempo modification and articulation.
Janitsch Church Sonatas CD
We at the Berlin Friday Academy are working on the production of a second CD of Johann Gottlob Janitsch's trio sonata output. After winning a grant from the Berlin government, we set out recording some of the most beautiful music written by the composer during the 1740s. This CD is a real jewellery box of gems as we are not only exploring the premiere recordings of these works, but also through the use of Princess Armilea of Prussia's organ - and instrument which lived a few streets away from Janitsch's front door. We are looking forward to its release this year