España - Galicia

Unexpected treasure

Enrique Sacau
domingo, 19 de julio de 2009
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La Coruña, domingo, 31 de mayo de 2009. Museo de Bellas Artes. Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony number 1 in C Major, op 21 n. 1 (version for String Quintet); Symphony number 6 in F major, op. 68 n. 6 (version for String Sextet). Artemis Ensemble (Fumika Yamamura and Deborah Hamburger, violins; Gabriel Bussi, viola; Berthold Hamburger, cello); Raymond Arteaga Morales, viola; Ruslana Prokopenko, cello.
0,0001258 The Corunna-based Family Adalid Archive is a bit like Aladdin’s Cave, where anything and everything can be found. This mostly nineteenth-century collection of scores has been a fertile ground for musicological research for decades. Its forte, a substantial amount of chamber reductions of canonical pieces, has been brought to life by the effort of Galician musicologists such as Xoán M. Carreira, editor of, Margarita Soto-Viso and, more recently, Carolina Queipo. These arrangements are witnesses to the Biedermeier period in which salon music-playing flourished in the world’s towns.  

The Adalid Archive has been luckier than other European ones, since it has been reasonably well-preserved in La Coruña, a small European town in which very little has happened in the last 150 years. This uneventful place has not been bombed or suffered natural disasters of the sort inflicted upon other Spanish cities like Barcelona or Madrid, and indeed most European capitals.  

Amongst the latest little treasures from the Adalid Archive has been found by Carreira, who presented it very concisely (for his standards, at least!) before their premiere as part of La Coruña’s Mozart Festival. One is a second edition of Beethoven’s sixth symphony for string sextet arranged by Michael Gotthardt Fischer and published by Breittkopf & Härtel in 1809, a month after the premiered of the symphony. According to the programme note written by Carreira, this arrangement circulated widely until the publication in 1826 of the full orchestral score.  

The other is the first edition of Beethoven’s first symphony for string quintet published in Paris by Antonio Pacini. Carreira wonders whether the unknown author or this arrangement might be violinist Ludwig Sina, but is still not sure. An editor and composer, Pacini published many arrangements of Beethoven’s music, which soon became extremely popular in Paris and beyond. Whether by Sina or someone else, what is clear is that the arrangement, as is the case with Fischer’s version of the sixth symphony, is absolutely delightful. The arrangement of the sixth symphony was premiered in La Corunna in 1997, whilst the one of the first has been just premiered in this concert.  

The musical quality of the concert was truly excellent. The Artemis Ensemble together with Raymond Arteaga Morales Ruslana Prokopenko offered texturally clear and robust renditions of these two beautiful pieces. The second movement of the first symphony, in particular, was an excellent example of the proficiency of this ensemble. In all, nineteenth-century treasures witnessing an era in which chamber music-making was an everyday affair.

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