Early nineteenth century Vienna was beehive of musical activity. Beyond formal concerts for a select group, a growing middle class was clamoring for music suitable for home music making and public “entertainments.” In this environment music publishing houses flourished and provided the public with a plethora of musical compositions, which sated their growing appetite.
In contrast to the standard modern-day concert format, we present to you these composers, and their music, in the manner that more accurately reflects the kind of musical environment that existed in early 19th century Vienna. Rather than playing two or three complete works, we perform selected numerous movements from a variety of compositions: selected sonatas, variations and serenades performed in a variety of settings. It is in this spirit that we attempt to re-create a series of concerts organized by Count Franz Palffy in botanical gardens contiguous to the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna in 1815. And though the imprint of Mozart and Haydn was still fresh in the musical psyche, neo-classicism began to give way to a more romantic aesthetic, one dominated by strong individual personalities.
These musical soirées were performed by some of the greatest virtuosi living in Vienna at that time: Johann Nepomuk Hummel (piano), Johann Mayseder (violin), Johann Merck (violoncello), Johann Sedlatscheck (flute), and Mauro Giuliani (guitar) and concluded with a Serenade for this unique combination of instruments composed by Hummel.
There is a description of one of these affairs in Ignaz Mocheles’ Tagebuch (diary) from 1815, edited by his wife, in which he writes:
As participants the names Mayseder, Merck, Giuliani and Hummel are given. From the start Empress Marie-Louise, Archduke Rainer, and Archduke Rudolph are in attendance and the program consists of a arrangement of the Overture to Fidelio, Sonata by Beethoven, Polonaise of Mayseder’s (and) a Rondo with quartet accompaniment by Hummel. During the pause there were many Jodlersounding forth from the bushes, and a still merrier supper.
Violin, Flute, Guitar, Cello, Forte-piano