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Passacaglia from Armonico Tributo Sonata No.5

Georg Muffat (b. 1659 - d. 1704)

Arcangelo

Arcangelo

Composer
Georg Muffat (b. 1659 - d. 1704)
Composition Year
1682
Artists
Arcangelo (Sophie Gent, James Toll [violins], Rebecca Jones [viola], Sarah McMahon [cello], Tim Amherst [bass], David Miller [lute], Jonathan Cohen [harpsichord,director])

Programme Note Writer:
© Norah O' Leary

Georg Muffat was born in 1659 in Megeve, Duchy of Savoy and although he considered himself German he was of Scottish descent. He was a true European in the modern sense – from the age of ten until sixteen he studied music in Paris with Jean-Baptiste and then worked as an organist in both Molsheim and Seléstat. In 1674, he travelled to Bavaria  to study law and then spent some time in Vienna before moving to Prague. He worked in the service of the Archbishop of Salzburg, Maximilian Gandolph, count of Kuenburg, for almost ten years before finally settling in Passau in 1690. Here he spent the rest of his days as Kapellmeister to the court of bishop Johann Philipp von Lamberg until his death in 1704.

In 1680 Muffat received permission from the count of Kuenburg to travel to Rome in order to continue his musical studies with the great harpsichordist and organist Bernardo Pasquini. It was here that he met Arcangelo Corelli whose Concerti Grossi inspired him to compose the five chamber sonatas for ’few or many instruments’ entitled the Armonico Tributo. The instrumentation of the sonatas is open, giving the performer free rein to use from as little or as many intruments as they please. The sonatas comply with any particular musical form; each one contains between five and seven movements, and they combine  elements of the church sonata with dance movement forms. Sonata No.5 is particularly different from the other four in that it opens with an expressive Allemanda.

Sonata No.5  concludes with a brilliant Passacaglia which reflects Muffat’s studies with Lully. It consists of a magnicicent twenty-five variations on a standard ground bass, closely related to that of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The Passacaglia is re-used by Muffat in a slightly modernised form at the end of his twelve Concerti Grossi in 1701.

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Passacaglia from Armonico Tributo Sonata No.5

Composer: Georg Muffat (b. 1659 - d. 1704)
Performance date: Saturday 27th June 2015
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Georg Muffat (b. 1659 - d. 1704)
Work Title Passacaglia from Armonico Tributo Sonata No.5
Composition Year 1682
Artist(s) Arcangelo (Sophie Gent, James Toll [violins], Rebecca Jones [viola], Sarah McMahon [cello], Tim Amherst [bass], David Miller [lute], Jonathan Cohen [harpsichord,director])
Performance Date Saturday 27th June 2015
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Coffee Concert
Duration 00:11:01
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category Small Mixed Ensemble
Instrumentation 2vn,va,vc, db, lute, hpd
Programme Note Writer © Norah O' Leary

Georg Muffat was born in 1659 in Megeve, Duchy of Savoy and although he considered himself German he was of Scottish descent. He was a true European in the modern sense – from the age of ten until sixteen he studied music in Paris with Jean-Baptiste and then worked as an organist in both Molsheim and Seléstat. In 1674, he travelled to Bavaria  to study law and then spent some time in Vienna before moving to Prague. He worked in the service of the Archbishop of Salzburg, Maximilian Gandolph, count of Kuenburg, for almost ten years before finally settling in Passau in 1690. Here he spent the rest of his days as Kapellmeister to the court of bishop Johann Philipp von Lamberg until his death in 1704.

In 1680 Muffat received permission from the count of Kuenburg to travel to Rome in order to continue his musical studies with the great harpsichordist and organist Bernardo Pasquini. It was here that he met Arcangelo Corelli whose Concerti Grossi inspired him to compose the five chamber sonatas for ’few or many instruments’ entitled the Armonico Tributo. The instrumentation of the sonatas is open, giving the performer free rein to use from as little or as many intruments as they please. The sonatas comply with any particular musical form; each one contains between five and seven movements, and they combine  elements of the church sonata with dance movement forms. Sonata No.5 is particularly different from the other four in that it opens with an expressive Allemanda.

Sonata No.5  concludes with a brilliant Passacaglia which reflects Muffat’s studies with Lully. It consists of a magnicicent twenty-five variations on a standard ground bass, closely related to that of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. The Passacaglia is re-used by Muffat in a slightly modernised form at the end of his twelve Concerti Grossi in 1701.