BassoonConcertos by Court Kapellmeister from Baden and Wurttemberg
Peter Joseph von Lindpaintner (1791- 1856)(Stuttgart)
Concerto in F major, Op. 4
Johann Melchior Molter (1695- 1765) (Karlsmhe)
Concerto in G minor
Conradin Kreutzer (1780 -1849) (Donaueschingen)
Fantasiain B flat major
Johannes Wenzeslaus Kalliwoda (1801- 1866) (Karlsruhe)
Variations and Rondo in B flat major, Op. 57
The bassoon already enjoyed much favour as a soloinstrument in the eighteenth century, as can be seen from the writing of thepoet and musician Christian Friedrich Daniel Schubart (1739- 1791), from thefortress of Hohenasberg in the Wiirttemberg city of Ludwigsburg:
This instrument has in our owndays played a major role. Not only has it been used for accompaniment of themost important pieces for organ, for the theatre and for chamber music, butalso as a solo instrument, competing with the first instruments in the world.
In solo work the bassoon has the purest tenor, descending to the lowest notesand a certain comic irony, rising again to the tenor F and throughartistry again to the high tenor F, brilliant in the high register as inthe lower: it demands the fullest breath and such a sound and manly embouchurethat very few people can attain mastery in its playing. The tone of theinstrument is so sociable, so communicative, so in tune with every unspoiledlistener that certainly the last day of the world will find many thousandbassoons around us.
Schubart'sthoughts on musical aesthetics, from which the foregoing quotation is taken,provide an important document for the Storm and Stress movement that led theway to musical and literary classicism, among which we may also count thehitherto unpublished Concerto in G minor for bassoon and stringsby Johann Melchior Molter. Coming from the Thuringian-Saxon region, he wasemployed about 1717 as violinist in the service of the Margrave Carl Wilhelm ofBaden- Durlach. The Margrave made it possible for his young court musician tostudy for two years in Venice and Rome and in 1722 appointed him his Court Kapellmeister.
Because of the war of the Polish Succession we find Molter from 1733 forseveral years at Eisenach. From 1743 he was again at Karlsruhe and in 1747re-organized the court musical establishment under the patronage of theenlightened Margrave Carl Friedrich (1728-1811). Now for the first time he hadhighly qualified musicians at his disposal, such as the flautist, oboist andclarinettist Reusch or the bassoonist Muller, whose pupil Andreas GottlobSchwarz later won great fame. In his wind concerti there are influences fromhis time in Italy, not to mentionthose of the neighbouring Mannheim school.
In spite of great popularity the concerti forbassoon as compared with those for flute and clarinet remain rather theexception. Carl Almenriider (1786-1843), a leading virtuoso and maker of animproved form of bassoon wrote as follows:
For all other wind instrumentswe have, in comparison, excellent schools for the wider development of playingtechnique, excellent works of good taste etc. in great number , while suchcompositions for the bassoon are rare.
Carl Almenriider,in his workshop shared alreadyin 1831 with the instrument- maker Johann Adam Heckel (1812-1877), attempted toremove the imperfections of the then usual type of instrument and the musictheorist Gottfried Wilhelm Fink (1783-1846) recommended compositions with thefollowing reservations:
The bassoon with not a verystrong tone and excellent for serious and comic, provides the bass of the woodwind.
Chromatic from B, flat to b' flat, it can perhaps exceptionally reach B, andC sharp , notes not possible for all bassoons and is easiest in keys upto three sharps or three flats and their relative minors; the rest are simplerto use.
Withthis background it is understandable that composers conceived appropriateorchestral solos or even solo concerti in close collaboration with leadingmusicians.
The Concerto per il Fagotte, here revivedby Albrecht Holder, is so entitled by its composer Peter Josef Lindpaintner andaccording to the autograph was completed in Munich on Sth December 1816. In hiscapacity as Kapellmeister at the Isartor Theatre, Lindpaintner wrote hisconcerto for the Royal Bavarian musician Lang, not going above the B flat abovemiddle C. His concerto has many parallels with the 1811 Bassoon Concerto byCarl Maria von Weber, written for Lang's colleague Georg Friedrich Brandt. Insimilar close relationship are the bassoon concerti by Conrad Kreutzer andJohann Wenzel Kalliwoda.
Immediately contemporary are the Variationsfor bassoon by Conradin Kreutzer, a composer known today almost only forhis opera Das Nachtlager in Granada. Born in Messkirch, Baden, in 1780, he had hisgeneral musical training in singing, keyboard and organ, oboe and clarinet, aswell as violin and music theory. From 1804 Kreutzer was in Vienna, where, according tohis account, he wrote in four weeks an opera that aroused the interest ofLudwig van Beethoven, as we know from the latter's conversation-books. Kreutzerhad further training as a composer with Johann Georg Albrechtsberger (1736-1809), the then most sought after theory teacher in Vienna. His writings include alsoremarks on the bassoon. After naming leading players, among them Almenriider,Brandt, Lang, Romberg and Schwarz, we read:
Although masters, like thoseaforementioned, also in brilliant concerto movements, bravura passages, leaps,rapid running figures and so on develop their skill through continuingpractice, so can such in no way be regarded as the proper scope of thisinstrument. Some slow notes, especially in the higher register, can speak forcefullyto the heart in a gentle melodic Arioso, like the most beautiful puresttenor-part...
InVienna Kreutzer met the bassoonist Anton Romberg (1771 - 1844), who laterencouraged the composition of bassoon concerti Successful performances of hisoperas brought him in 1812 the position of Wurttemberg Court Kapellmeister inStuttgart, where Romberg followed him in 1815 as Solo bassoonist Kreutzer leftStuttgart again in 1816 and on 30th January 1817 Anton Romberg was billed asfirst bassoonist of His Majesty the King of Wurttemberg in a Gewandhaus concertin Leipzig with Kreutzer's Bassoon Concerto, which allows the work tohave been written in 1815 In 1818 Kreutze, took up the position of CourtKapellmeister, to prince Furstenberg in Donaueschingen, where he had at hisdisposal the principal bassoonist Rosniak, a gifted musician, since two copiesin the library point to later performances of the Fantasia for Bassoon andOrchestra, now so named The edition of the concerto by the present writerfollows the