- Georg Muffat (b. 1659 - d. 1704)
- Composition Year
- Arcangelo (Sophie Gent, James Toll [violins], Rebecca Jones [viola], Sarah McMahon [cello], Tim Amherst [bass], David Miller [lute], Jonathan Cohen [harpsichord,director])
|Composer||Georg Muffat (b. 1659 - d. 1704)|
|Work Title||Passacaglia from Armonico Tributo Sonata No.5|
|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|
|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|
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.