Henle edition: Johann Stamitz Clarinet Concerto


Finally, we have an Urtext edition of the Johann Stamitz Clarinet Concerto, considered the first significant clarinet concerto following the early ones written by Valentin Rathgeber (1730s) and the two concertos of Franz Pokorny (mid-18thcentury). Stamitz (1717–1757) was the father of Carl Stamitz, who wrote at least 10 clarinet concertos (several in collaboration with J. Beer). Johann Stamitz worked, like his son, in the well-reputed Mannheim orchestra as a violinist and had a considerable influence on the development of the symphonic form and solo concerto, having written concertos for flute, violin, oboe and harpsichord.

This late Baroque concerto was conceived in the galant style, with richness of harmonic ideas, nice melodic phrases and some demanding technical passages for the three- or four-keyed clarinet of those times. The English clarinetist Frederick Thurston made the first modern revival of this concerto in 1936 in London. The Stamitz Concerto, like many others of the early classical and classical periods, had remained unpublished until then. As explained in the informative preface of this Henle edition, the original manuscript has not been found. We have only a handwritten set of parts by an anonymous copyist, rediscovered by Peter Gradenwitz in 1933 in the music collection of the Fuerst Thurn und Taxis Hofbibliothek in Regensburg. Gradenwitz was able to state with convincing reasons that the concerto he discovered should be attributed to Stamitz the father and not to his son, Carl. Nicolai Pfeffer, who previously edited for Henle the Crusell Clarinet Concertos and Gade’s Fantasy Pieces, did a very fine job making clear the original form of the manuscript, correcting obvious errors, adding only a few implied articulations and providing two well-written suggested cadenzas for the first movement. The player is invited, with good historical musical knowledge, to apply their own personal articulations and ornamentation. This is a very welcome edition to have in our clarinet library!

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