Notes and Editorial Reviews
When Beethoven introduced himself to the Viennese public, playing his own First Piano Concerto in 1795, the other works in the concert were the first half of this oratorio and a symphony by the same composer, who in the following year was appointed Director of Music at the court of Prince Lobkowitz. Antonio Cartellieri, although his father was an Italian, was born in Danzig in 1772, which makes him a fairly close contemporary of Beethoven's. Abandoned at 13 by his parents after their divorce he must have had sufficient talent to attract aristocratic patronage, which enabled him to study in Vienna with Salieri and Albrechtsberger. He died, however, at 35, and until now not even scholars researching Beethoven's early career seem to have taken
any interest in him.
Gions, Re di Giuda ("Jehoash, King of Judah") counts as an early work, and it intermittently whets one's appetite for whatever he may have written in the remaining 12 years of his life (Dabringhaus und Grimm, I see, have issued a couple of clarinet concertos by him). The most striking thing about the oratorio is the frequency with which he confounds expectation. His melodies are usually the conventional stuff of their day, when given to soloists often enriched with showy cadenzas and flourishes, when to the orchestra rather thickly scored. But his recitatives are quite unpredictable: some will begin with harpsichord, then continue with dramatic orchestral gestures; others have lyrical orchestral ritornellos, often attractive ones. And his arias are also varied in form, sometimes a conventional slow-then-fast (rarely a do capo), but sometimes also reflecting new ideas in the text with a new melody at the same or a different tempo. He has something of a weakness for a pair of horns as obbligato instruments, at least once requiring prodigious feats of athleticism from them.
When all this has been said, Cartellieri' s music only seldom has a genuinely individual voice, though a striking dramatic moment (the madness of Athalia, say, or Zibiah's refusal to accept Jehoash as her son expressive wind solos betraying her true emotions) can imply that his talent might have flowered in opera. (Did he write any? I have not yet found a single mention of him in any reference book.) Giocts contains many pleasing pages, but many more that seem immature. Worth investigation by explorers of musical byways, who will find the performance more than competent, especially the singing of the two baritones, though the chorus (very sparingly used) are not of the first class and the otherwise decent recording was made in a rather over-reverberant acoustic.
-- MEO, Gramophone [4/1998]
Works on This Recording
Gioas, Re di giuda by Antonio Cartellieri
Hugo Mallet (Tenor),
Thomas Quasthoff (Baritone),
Ingeborg Herzog (Soprano),
Gesa Hoppe (Soprano),
Katharina Kammerloher (Mezzo Soprano),
Jörg Hempel (Baritone)
Detmold Chamber Orchestra,
Bach Choir Gütersloh
Be the first to review this title