Sunday, February 3, 2019

Johann Georg Albrechtsberger: Konzert für Maultrommel, Mandora und Orchester F-Dur

Image von der Wik
Some different concepts often don't seem to go together.  "Beethoven's music teacher" and "composer of the Jew Harp" seems a great example.  But actually, there's a whole tale here that involves some pretty interesting music.

Johann Georg Albrechtsberger was an Austrian composer who became so famous that Ludvig van Beethoven sought him out for composition lessons.  Beethoven had originally studied with Josef Hayden but Beethoven's temper kept disrupting the study and so Hayden recommended his friend Albrechtsberger as a replacement.  Since Albrechtsberger had published the (to that time) definitive book on music theory and composition, Beethoven eagerly agreed.

What was a surprise to me was that music for the Jews Harp was a thing in late 18th Century Vienna, and that Albrechtsberger was considered one of the greatest composers for it.  It's not at all what you're expecting, although today's musicians don't seem to play multiple Jews Harps at the same time as did musicians of the day.

Johann Albrechtsberger was born on this day in 1736.


libertyman said...

Ah, an instrument that garners little respect, and is unique. I had no idea anyone would incorporate it as a featured instrument.
It is hard to listen to this piece and not picture a bullfrog on a lily pad as the player.
The lute playing is a nice part of this piece, as well/
As always, an education on a Sunday morning from my weekend music professor.

Bob said...

First time I ever heard this was when I was still married, living in Spain, and it was played on Armed Forces Radio, via Karl Haas's much-beloved (and much-missed) "Adventures In Good Music." The first couple of bars had my wife and I laughing hysterically.