Klarinet Archive - Posting 000083.txt from 1994/09
From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Subj: Jay's request for Harmoniemusik
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 1994 08:34:51 -0400
Jay requested info on where one can get both Don Giovanni music and
one of the Beethoven 7 movements both for standard wind octet.
Jay, Musica Rara published (about 10 years ago) all of the Mozart operas
in Harmonie arrangements. Don Giovanni was among them. I believe that
the arrangement is credited to Giovanni Wendt.
I own a printed copy (dating from about 1850) of the complete Beethoven
7th symphony for wind octet. It may be published now because my set of
parts was borrowed about 5 years ago for the explicit purpose of printing
an edition. The borrower (whose name goes right out of my head)
said that I would get a set of printed parts as soon as they got printed
but that never happened. It is not surprising. When Hymie Voxman
borrowed my parts to all the Mozart wind octets to prepare the Musica
Rara editions, he also promised me a complete set, but Hymie is much
more reliable than whoever got my Beethoven 7. Hymie actuallydid send
me a set of each of the Mozart operas. And when I saw the prices, I
was very glad that he did. At that time, DG was big enough that it
required twoseparate purchases and each one was about $80.
I suggest you try Musica Rara for the Beethoven 7, too because they seem
to have gone into publication of Harmoniemusik in a big way.
Excuse me for patting my own back, but it was Dave Whitwell and I who
suggested (in the early 1970s I think) that the word "Harmonie" did not
mean "wind band" as it was explicitly used in all books,encyclopedia,
research papers, etc. In a paper we did for Music and Letters we
suggested, on the basis of an examination of at least 250 wind octets
that the word "Harmonie" had a very specific meaning ca. 1775-1825;
i.e., a wind octet of traditional instrumentation, though the word
was used on occasion for even larger and smaller group. The two things
about a Harmonie that appeared to be invariant were that (1) flutes
were invariably excluded, and (2) the instruments were always in
pairs with separate parts for each instrument of the pair. One can
find wind octet music in France from even earlier but the pair of
instruments invariably play the same part and no harmony is made
by the 2nd instrument. And from that day to this, the correct use of
the word Harmonie has come back into general use.
Among the works that I still own but have never seen published are the
entire "Seasons" of Haydn and the "Creation" of Haydn, both for Harmonie.
And, while I have not worked in that area in at least 15 years, I have
happily seen all the developments done by others such as Roger Hillyer's
wonderful doctoral dissertation that concludes the very same things as
David Whitwell and I did a number of years earlier. Also Bastiaan
Blomhert's discovery of what he says is the Mozart arrangement of
Abduction. It is an hour long!!!
It seemed to me at the time (and I have not had any information that
would change my mind) was thatthe Harmonie was a sociological phenomenon
not dissimilar to today's juke box. All of these arrangements for
8 players exist because it was too expensive to mount the complete
opera (or play the entire symphony in its original form). So the nobility
of the Austro-Hungarian empire hired wind octets to play the music for
them. Every noble house in Vienna up to 1799 had a private wind octet
that played for dinner parties. You can see the phenomenon in Don
Giovanni in the second act. There Mozart writes a wind octet part
right into the supper scene. And what does that wind octet play? Opera!
They play the three arias of the best knownoperasof the era and there
is even comical banter between Don G. and Leporello that makes reference
to the titles of the operas. And when the octet plays "Non piu andrai"
from Mozart's Figaro, Leporello says, "Oh, I've heard that one too much."
The whole Harmonie era ended on one day. Bang! Just like that. When
Napolean invaded Austria in 1803, the nobility could no longer afford
to own private Harmonien so the whole thing was abandoned overnight. One
final great double harmonie exists and is even dated by the arranger
to the Sunday before Napolean's invations. It required two Harmonien,
one on each side of the dining room. One would play this tune, and then
the other would play that tune. Occasionally they would play strange things
together. But at the end both groups joined in the Austrian national
anthem. That was the end of the era. And until the mid-1960s no one
had any idea that this vast collection of wind octet music existed. It
was Dave Whitwell who dug it all up and first reported on it in his
6 articles for the Instrumentalist entitled "The Incredible Vienna
It is a helluva story.
Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California
Any of the above three addresses may be used. Take your pick.