Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/738

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
726
PIANOFORTE MUSIC.
 

Xaver Ladurner (1766–1839) is a name unknown to English ears. Ladurner wrote 2 books of variations, several fantasias, amongst which is one in the form of a sonata on an air of Mozart's 'Don Giovanni,' interesting and remarkable for its thematic development. Samuel Wesley (1766-1837), well remembered as an early prodigy and a great organist, composed several solo and 4-hand sonatas, which are published by Hofmeister of Leipzig. August Eberhard Müller (1767–1817) composed 17 sonatas and sonatinas, cadenzas for Mozart's concertos, studies (still successfully employed); but his just fame rests on his excellent caprices (six op. 29, three op. 31, three op. 33, and three op. 41). They are, each and all, exceedingly useful for practice; full of sound, substantial and agreeable music, and actually amusing for the student. The most difficult and interesting are Nos. 3, 4 and 6 of op. 29, No. 4 of op. 31, No. 3 of op. 34 and No. 1 of op. 41. It is said that the first movement of the Sonata in B♭ (Pauer's edition, No. 20), commonly attributed to W. A. Mozart, is really by A. E. Müller. Hyacinthe Jadin (1769–1802) enjoyed in his time a great reputation in France; 5 solo sonatas, 1 duet ditto, and 4 concertos, are all that have been published; and at present they are no longer in use. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) enriched the literature of the pianoforte with the most valuable works; indeed we may proudly point to his sonatas as to a monument which stands out like the Pyramids—ever fresh, replete with every charm, interest, and intellectuality which music can possess, and at the same time expressing all the most different emotions which agitate the human soul. Beethoven's sonatas are really the grandest and most perfect productions that the Pianoforte can boast of, and may safely be asserted to surpass all other compositions for whatever solo instrument. He wrote 32 sonatas, 6 smaller sonatinas, 21 sets of variations, 3 sets of bagatelles, 3 rondos, a polonaise, a fantasia, and several smaller pieces, such as preludes, minuets, etc.; 5 grand concertos, and several short four-hand pieces. Johann Nepomuk Wittasek (1770–1839), a name totally unknown to English ears, composed several books of peculiarly graceful dance-music, such as Minuets and Ländler. Friedrich Joseph Kirmair (1770–1814), equally unknown here, was in his own time one of the most popular pianoforte composers; he published 6 sonatas and upwards of 40 books of variations, among which the variations on the minuet from Mozart's 'Don Giovanni' were printed by no less than twelve different firms. John Baptist Cramer (1771–1858) was a prolific composer; he wrote 105 sonatas, 7 concertos, 3 duets for four hands, 18 divertissements, 100 studies, 24 sets of variations, and many rondos and fantasias. Although there is much good, substantial, and even interesting matter in Cramer's sonatas, they cannot be compared with his studies, which are models of a concise construction and plastic roundness, are replete with interesting and charming melody, and above all are perfect with regard to euphony and easy, natural, modulation. Joseph Woelfl (1772–1812) composed 26 sonatas—of which only two, 'Non Plus Ultra,' op. 41, and 'Le Diable a quatre,' op. 50, are still played—5 concertos and a concerto militaire (not without interest)—2 fantasias with fugues, 14 books of variations, 8 rondos anda good number of preludes and studies. Christoph Ernst Friedrich Weyse (1774–1842), a Danish composer, published 3 sonatas, 4 Allegri de bravura, and 12 most excellent studies, which deserve to be republished; Robert Schumann[1] speaks in very high terms of the two sets of studies op. 8 and op. 60. Wenzel Tomaschek (1774–1850), the teacher of Alexander Dreyschock and Julius Schulhoff, a composer of whom the Bohemians are very proud, has written 5 sonatas, 1 rondo, 37 églogues (really idyls) 12 rhapsodies, 3 ditirambi, and 3 allegri capriciosi di bravura; the ditirambi and some of the églogues still afford valuable material for tuition. Philipp Jacob Riotte (1776–1856) made his reputation by a descriptive fantasia called 'The Battle of Leipsic.' His 12 sonatas, 7 rondos, and 14 books of variations enjoyed less popularity. Ludwig Berger (1777–1839), the respected teacher of Mendelssohn and Taubert, was an industrious and successful composer; he wrote 1 concerto, 4 sonatas, 4 books of variations (those on the old French air, 'Ah! vous dirai-je Maman' are the most popular), 5 rondos, 29 studies (27 of which have been republished by Breitkopf & Härtel), 32 smaller pieces, preludes and fugues, a toccata, and last, not least, an 'Alla Turca' which is still much played in Germany. Francesco Giuseppe Pollini (1778–1847), one of the most intelligent of Italian pianoforte composers, wrote 3 sonatas, a divertimento pastorale (op. 34), a capital toccata in G major, fantasias, capriccios, and 32 studies, of which one written on three staves was very popular in Vienna. Pollini's music is always healthy, and deserves warm recommendation as excellent material for technical study. Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778–1837) wrote 5 sonatas (No. 1, op. 12, and No. 2, op. 20, under the influence of Mozart), of which the sonata (op. 81) in F♯ minor and the grand sonata (op. 106) in D present the most intricate technical difficulties; 3 sonatas for four hands, of which that in A♭ (op. 92) is remarkably beautiful; several other duets, including the charming nocturne op. 99; 7 concertos (those in A minor, op. 85, B minor, op. 89, and A♭, op. 113, are standard works); 16 books of smaller pieces, rondos, divertissements, of which the charming introduction and polacca 'La Bella Capricciosa,' op. 55, and the spirited and exceedingly difficult rondo in B minor (op. 109), are the most prominent; 4 books of caprices and studies. Hummel's compositions are remarkable for their solid construction, elegance and brilliancy, their charming modulation and graceful ornamentation. Johann Horzalka (1778–1860), a very talented Bohemian composer, wrote an interesting sonata (op. 9), 11 books of variations, and several rondos, among which

  1. Gesammelte Schriften (1854) ii. 25, iii. 14.