A Guide to Sinfonia Concertante in D major by Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf
Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf (1739-1799) was a prolific Austrian composer, violinist and diplomat. He wrote over 120 symphonies, 45 operas, 12 concertos and many other works. One of his most famous compositions is the Sinfonia Concertante in D major, Kr.127, for viola, double bass and orchestra.
The Sinfonia Concertante is a genre that combines elements of the symphony and the concerto. It features two or more solo instruments that interact with each other and with the orchestra. The genre was popular in the late 18th century, especially in France and Germany. Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven also wrote sinfonias concertantes for various combinations of instruments.
Dittersdorf's Sinfonia Concertante in D major was composed between 1764 and 1774. It is one of the earliest examples of a sinfonia concertante for viola and double bass, two instruments that were rarely featured as soloists at the time. The work showcases the virtuosity and expressive potential of both instruments, as well as their contrasting timbres and registers.
The work consists of four movements: Allegro, Andantino, Menuetto-Trio and Allegro ma non troppo. The first movement is a lively sonata form with a catchy main theme. The second movement is a lyrical slow movement in G major. The third movement is a graceful minuet with a contrasting trio section. The fourth movement is a spirited rondo with a playful theme.
The Sinfonia Concertante in D major by Dittersdorf is a charming and elegant work that deserves more attention and appreciation. It is a testament to the composer's skill and creativity, as well as his contribution to the development of the sinfonia concertante genre.
If you are interested in listening to or performing this work, you can find free sheet music in PDF format at IMSLP[^1^]. You can also listen to a recording by Kurt Redel and his orchestra at Archive.org[^3^]. Enjoy!
A Brief Biography of Dittersdorf
Dittersdorf was born in Vienna in 1739 as Karl Ditters. He showed an early talent for music and learned to play the violin from his father, who was an amateur musician. He also received a good education at a Jesuit school, where he studied French, religion, and music. At the age of 11, he joined the court orchestra of Prince Joseph Friedrich von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, who treated him like a son and provided him with further musical training. He studied violin with Giuseppe Trani and composition with Giuseppe Bonno.
In 1761, Ditters followed his patron to Hildburghausen, where he became the concertmaster of the court orchestra. He also began to compose operas and symphonies, influenced by the Italian style. In 1764, he married Maria Josepha Weber, with whom he had eight children. In 1765, he became the director of the orchestra of the bishop of Grosswardein (now Oradea, Romania), where he wrote his first oratorio, Isacco.
In 1770, Ditters moved to Johannisberg (now JavornÃk, Czech Republic), where he entered the service of Count Schaffgotsch, the prince-bishop of Breslau (now WrocÅaw, Poland). He was appointed as the district administrator of Freiwaldau (now JesenÃk, Czech Republic) and received a noble title from Empress Maria Theresa in 1773. He adopted the name Ditters von Dittersdorf and enjoyed a prosperous and prestigious life. He composed many works for the court and for public occasions, including comic operas, symphonies, concertos, chamber music, and sacred music.
Dittersdorf was also a friend of other famous composers of his time, such as Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Christoph Willibald Gluck. He played in string quartets with them and exchanged musical ideas. He was especially close to Haydn, who directed some of his operas at EszterhÃza.
In 1795, Dittersdorf's fortunes changed when Count Schaffgotsch died and his successor dismissed him with a small pension. He retired to his estate at Rothlhotta Castle (now NovÃ Dvory, Czech Republic), where he devoted himself to writing his autobiography and completing some unfinished works. He died there in 1799 at the age of 59.
The Legacy of Dittersdorf
Dittersdorf was one of the most prolific and popular composers of his time. He wrote over 200 works in various genres and styles, demonstrating his versatility and creativity. He was especially admired for his comic operas and his symphonies based on Ovid's Metamorphoses. His music was performed widely in Europe and influenced other composers such as Mozart and Beethoven.
However, after his death, his fame declined rapidly and his works were largely forgotten. Only a few of his compositions remained in the repertoire, such as his Sinfonia Concertante in D major for viola and double bass and his Doktor und Apotheker. His music was overshadowed by that of his more famous contemporaries and successors.
In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in Dittersdorf's music among scholars and performers. His works have been rediscovered and recorded by various ensembles and soloists. His music has been praised for its originality, elegance, humor, and expression. His autobiography has also been translated into several languages and provides valuable insights into his life and times.
Dittersdorf was a remarkable musician who contributed significantly to the development of classical music. He deserves to be recognized as one of the leading composers of the late eighteenth century. aa16f39245