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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Georg Muffat (c.1645-1704) was "the first adopted German composer to try to reconcile the national styles of Germany, Italy and France" (I quote from Roy Goodman's excellent sleevenote), for which reason he had a lot of influence on the suites written later by Bach and other German composers. He is not to be confused with his son, Gottlieb. from whose music Handel so often borrowed ideas, but Handel must also have known these sonatas by the father, for a charming Gavotte tune in Sonata II with its bass running in quavers is to be found in the finales of two Handel organ concertos in the same key, G minor.
Muffat was probably of Scottish ancestry, a grandfather coming perhaps from Moffat. and he had unusual, perhaps
unique opportunities for welding together disparate musical style, for he studied in Paris with Lully, in Salzburg, and in Rome with Corelli; indeed the five Armorrico Tributo or sonatas, his first published work, were first performed in Corelli's house. They are written for two violins, two violas and basso continuo. and the composer says they can be played either as chamber works or "with many instruments". The violas are for the most part limited to harmonic stiffening, and very extraordinary some of the harmonies are, notably towards the end or Sonata V in a long and mainly cheerful Passacaglia. This sonata is unusual for having its fugue in the middle and only one dance, an Allemande. at the start. Three of the others begin like a Bach suite with a sort of prelude and fugue followed by some Frenchified dances—gavottes, minuets (surprisingly vigorous), a Corrente and a Sarabande among others. The occasional separation of these dances with a short section in more subdued style suggests Corelli's influence; Muffat must have heard some of his concerti grossi more than 30 years before they were published.
But Muffat's music is not only interesting for historical reasons. He was clearly a composer who at times thought deeply and had high inventive powers; also some of the dances are charming, notably the Gavotte that attracted Handel and the Rondeau at the end of No. 3. I do not recall an earlier complete recording of this music, which is stylishly played on the sort of instruments Muffat counted on, and well recorded.
-- R.F., Gramophone [10/1982]
Review of original Hyperion release
Works on This Recording
Armonico tributo by Georg Muffat
Parley of Instruments
Written: by 1682; Germany
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Recommended -- No Reservations January 27, 2013
By W. Wilborn (Richwood, TX) See All My Reviews
"Delightful music from obscure Baroque composer, played beautifully on period instruments by Parley of Instruments. I normally prefer modern instruments, but I adapted quickly to the period instruments played here. I like Georg Muffat's organ works but was completely unfamiliar with his instrumental/orchestral works. For enthusiasts of the Baroque, I highly recommend this CD, and the added bonus of low price from Helios label."