"Steps to Parnassus"
-by Michael Carter
The mid-decades of the 18th century bore witness to a volcano of intellectual activity that became known as the Age of Enlightenment. With regard to music, there was an all-encompassing stylistic revolution, the creation of new genre, and the development and implementation of techniques in instrumental composition that would dominate musical thinking for the next two centuries. But for most listeners and performers, this period remains largely unexplored and uncharted water. After all, it was only comparatively recently that we witnessed the recording of the complete symphonies of Haydn and more recent scholarship has turned up further symphonies by Mozart. But we seldom stop to think that these two musical icons built upon existing forms and styles used by others whose names are lost today to all save a number of musicologists. Many of these composers were both gifted and prolific; of them we have heard virtually nothing.
Happily, this has begun to change. Naxos, the undisputed leader in the budget classical industry, has once again swum upstream and inaugurated two important, ground-breaking cycles that focus on the symphony and concerto in the 18th century. Behind this effort is the New Zealand-based music publishing house Artaria Editions, the brainchild of New Zealand musicologist Dr. Allan Badley and Klaus Heymann, managing director of HNH International, the parent company of Naxos. Named after Haydn's Viennese publisher, the new Artaria represents the resurrection of one of the most respected publishing houses of the classical period. The firm not only achieved a dominant position in Viennese musical life, but was equally renowned in the areas of art and cartography. In 1780 Artaria issued a set of Haydn's piano sonatas, the first of over 300 of his works to bear the company's imprimatur. Eventually, Artaria became Mozart's principal publisher and also issued works of Beethoven, Gluck, Boccherini and Clementi. Artaria remained active until the second half of the 19th century, but the quality of their publications declined. They closed their doors in 1858 and their assets were taken over by Josef Weinberger.
The music of the pre-Mozart and pre-Haydn era has attracted Dr. Badley since childhood. "Since I was about ten, the musical language of the mid-18th century has been a source of fascination for me. It forms the basis of the high classical idiom and yet preserves facets of an older tradition not always familiar to modern audiences who grow up on Bach, Handel and Vivaldi." Dr. Badley cites the music of Georg Wagenseil (1715-1777) as an example. "He was one of those who brought the galant idiom to Vienna. Wagenseil was a formidable contrapuntist, but avoided the strict polyphony of his mentors and searched for a new, elegant and natural musical language." The best works of Wagenseil and the other composers from the mid-18th century - and there are many - possess a freshness and vitality all their own. It was these compositions that led to the development of Viennese classicism as exemplified in the music of Haydn and Mozart.
As a graduate student at the University of Auckland in the early 1980s, Dr. Badley undertook research into the development of the Viennese symphonic style and focused on the critical decades during the mid 18th century when Wagenseil and others played a vital role in establishing the structure and syntax of the new genre. "Viennese classicism owed a more significant debt to Neapolitan opera and the native Austrian tradition than to the highly influential symphonic language of the so-called Mannheim School. Viennese composers proved highly adept at writing works of great charm and vivacity whose apparent simplicity concealed a wealth of technical subtlety", Dr. Badley noted. "By comparison," he continued, "the renowned Mannheim style was a good deal more flamboyant, but perhaps less intimate. At its best the music can be thrilling; at its least inspired, mannered and routine".
How are the works selected and Artaria's performing editions prepared? In his many trips to Europe, Dr. Badley made notes on major collections and sources for particular composers. Sometimes there is an element of inspired or educated guesswork involved. More often than not, Dr. Badley makes extensive use of either his own notes or contemporary published thematic catalogues.
The greatest stumbling block on the road to Naxos' series on the 18th century symphony and concerto was accurate source material. "Many works survive only in a single source", Dr. Badley noted, "and this can present considerable difficulty in terms of editing, but it simplifies the question of which source is the best available." Dr. Badley added that autograph scores and authentic copies are extremely rare. Many of the compositions survive in multiple hand-written copies and preference has been accorded sources that are close to the composer, such as Mannheim works now held in the Bavarian State Library in Munich or the library of the Princes of Thurn und Taxis in Regensburg. But even with all of this scholarly research, Artaria does not publish critical editions in the strictest sense of the term. The firm's objective is to produce clean, erudite scores and parts that as far as possible faithfully represent the composer's intentions as transmitted by the source or sources being used. "More often than not, one has to be content with a clear, professionally copied set of parts," said Dr. Badley, "and hope that most of the notes are there! Occasionally we need to do some fairly advanced reconstructive surgery on the pieces. I've become a pretty adept forger over the years and pride myself on the fact that my additions are undetectable in performance, although they are scrupulously marked in the score."
Among the most ambitious of Artaria's ongoing projects are the publication and recording of the complete symphonies of Franz Beck (1734-1809), Carl Stamitz (1745-1801), Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf (1739-1799) and Johann Vanhal (1739-1813). Also, a comprehensive survey of the music of Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-1792), the only composer of the period described by both Haydn and Gluck as a genius, is in the mill. The Vanhal and Kraus editions are being prepared by the world's leading authorities on the composers, Professors Paul Bryan and Bertil van Boer respectively. Artaria publishes approximately 70 works annually, ensuring that Naxos has an expanding catalog of material for its critically acclaimed 18th century series.
To date, the Naxos series on the 18th century symphony and concerto have broken much new ground, tempting the inquisitive with music by Leopold Hofmann (1738-1793), Christian Cannabich (1731-1798), Johann Vanhal, Joseph Martin Kraus, Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, and others. Future releases will focus upon works by still more forgotten masters, including Samuel Arnold (1740-1802), Wenzel Pichl (1741-1805), Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831), Joseph Boulogne le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1739-1799) and Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801). The bicentennial of Cimarosa's death is approaching and Artaria and Naxos will mark the occasion with the publication and recording of Cimarosa's entire collection of keyboard sonatas as well as all of his opera overtures. Artaria and Naxos will also be the first to offer the public the complete clarinet concerti of Carl Stamitz. Two volumes of this series with Hungarian clarinettist Kálmán Berkes and the Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia have already been released and have met with critical acclaim. Much of this music has also been published by Artaria and more is in the pipeline. With an average of two dozen CDs appearing in the series annually, listeners and audiences might be tempted to compare the Naxos/Artaria collaboration to the Vivaldi revival that swept the music world with the advent of the LP in the 1950s. When it is done, Dr. Badley says that for the first time in the history of recorded music, there will be a clearly discernible and audible path from the naissance of classicism to the musical giants of the era, Haydn and Mozart.
But there is more. There are also plans to expand the project into the sphere of chamber music. For starters, Israel's Aviv Quartet, winners in the recent Melbourne (Australia) International Chamber Music Competition, will record the three Opus 14 string quartets by Franz Anton Hoffmeister for Naxos. They are works of exceptional musical interest and cannot be recommended highly enough to lovers of 18th century chamber music. Additional chamber repertoire in preparation includes music of Pleyel and Cimarosa, as well as William Shield (1748-1829) and Beethoven's pupil, Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838). A sacred choral music series including works of Hofmann, Vanhal and other forgotten masters is being planned as well.
The founders of the reborn house of Artaria hope that their musicological and publication efforts will significantly broaden the repertoire of baroque and chamber orchestras around the world, thereby easing the glut of performances of the acknowledged masterpieces of the period and whetting the appetites of the musically curious. For those who question the relative worth of such music, Dr. Badley proudly notes that for three consecutive years, Naxos and Artaria have taken the top spot in the 18th century orchestral category at the prestigious Cannes Classical Awards with recordings of Beck, Kraus and this year, Vanhal. "Poor old Mozart and Haydn haven't even had a look-in!", Dr. Badley said.
Obviously, Dr. Badley is elated at the prospect of being immersed in the music of his favourite era for many years to come, but he is also quick to pay due tribute to HNH International's Klaus Heymann: "It is a rare man who has the vision and courage to embark on a project of such magnitude. Through his commitment, we're in a position to create one of the most productive unions of scholarship, performance and recording ever attempted."
ARTARIA EDITIONS PROFILE
Artaria Editions is a music-publishing house with a specialist interest in rare eighteenth-century repertoire. Founded by New Zealand musicologist Dr. Allan Badley and Klaus Heymann, Managing Director of HNH International who funds the enterprise, Artaria publishes around a hundred editions annually all of which form the basis of Naxos's ground-breaking historical series devoted the eighteenth-century symphony and concerto. An Artaria chamber music series is also well into the planning stages and includes, among other riches, a complete edition of the Boccherini string quartets along with many works by other prominent composers of the period, notably Ordonez, Vanhal, Dittersdorf and Pleyel.
Dr Allan Badley is a specialist in late 18th-century Viennese music whose publications include several hundred scholarly editions of works by major contemporaries of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Among the most significant of these are his editions of the complete works for piano and orchestra by Ferdinand Ries, now nearing completion, mass settings by Wanhal and Hummel and an extensive series of symphonies and concertos.
He has published articles on Leopold Hofmann, Ignaz Pleyel and Haydn, and, more recently, contributed to the Oxford Composer Companion: Haydn, Groves and, more recently, contributed analytical essays on the symphonies of Wagenseil and Pleyel for the forthcoming volume on the eighteenth-century symphony edited by Barthia Churgin and Mary Sue Morrow for Indiana University Press.
Allan Badley co-founded the now Hong-Kong based publishing house Artaria Editions in 1995 which is regarded as one of the leading specialist publishers in its field. His own editions have featured in over fifty critically acclaimed recordings on the Naxos label. A graduate of the University of Auckland (PhD, 1986), Allan Badley is a Distinguished Alumni Award winner (2003) and in 2007 was awarded the Goldene-Pleyel-Medaille of the Internationale Ignaz Joseph Pleyel Gesellschaft (Austria). He is a member of the editorial board of Eighteenth-Century Music and was recently elected inaugural president of the Swiss-based Association Johann Baptist Wanhal.
Allan Badley has held academic appointments at Massey University (Wellington, New Zealand) and at the University of Auckland where he is currently Senior Lecturer in Musicology.
Bertil van Boer
Bertil van Boer is a recognized authority on 18th century music, particularly in areas outside the central European core. He specialized in music of Scandinavia, focusing on the Gustavian era of Sweden and the composer Joseph Martin Kraus.
He has published numerous editions of composers from this period, including contributions to the Complete Works of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and is in the process of developing the Complete Works Edition of Kraus. He holds his PhD from Uppsala University, where he studied under Ingmar Bengtsson and is currently Professor of Musicology-Theory at Western Washington University.
Artaria co-founder and director, Klaus Heymann, is the dynamic force behind the highly successful recording label Naxos which he established ten years ago. His strategic vision for the label, based firmly on a sound and imaginative artistic policy, has seen Naxos emerge as a major force in the recording industry in recent years.
Not just content to record and re-record standard repertoire like his major competitors, Klaus Heymann has demonstrated time and time again that well-produced and skilfully-marketed 'unfamiliar' repertoire is equally viable. While many recording labels have turned inward over the past few years, content to reissue old recordings from their backlists, Naxos has created a rapidly-expanding catalogue of unrivalled depth and scope. For many discerning collectors, Naxos is now the label of first resort.
Klaus Heymann's strong interest in music of the Eighteenth Century is attested to by Naxos's many fine recordings of major repertoire from the period. His decision to establish Artaria Editions with Allan Badley rests on the unshakable conviction that this great age in the history of music is the last unexplored frontier in recording and publishing.
Artaria Editions's engraver, Ross Hendy, has been involved in music typesetting and engraving for the last four years. He studied composition at the Victoria University of Wellington attaining a Bachelor of Music degree in 1995. His business, Mallabar Music, specializes in the preparation and engraving of music for publication.
Artaria Editions approached Ross Hendy in the early development stages of the project with a brief to develop an elegant, scholarly style characterized by clarity and sophistication. Together with editor, Allan Badley, and designer Aleck Yee, he has studied numerous editions with a view to integrating what is best into the new Artaria house style.