"The man who looks for security, even in the mind, is like a man who would chop off his limbs in order to have artificial ones, which will give him no pain or trouble."
~Henry Miller

Welcome, or welcome back to the avant garde of "Historically Informed Performance" (HIP). Avant garde a clue what this means?

HERE, you can read about our performance decisions. We feel that such things are important, allowing us to play to you with a clear conscience and an open heart. You won't hear an imitation of a recent "perfect" CD recording - this is a season of premieres after all! Our intention is that, if you close your eyes and forgive the offstage tram bells (roughly pitched at our a''), you can imagine you've been transported back nearly 300 years to the original premieres, without the smell.

In this programme, the text and affects mainly express the doom and gloom of an approaching winter. So, if you feel a bit sad, it's working! Please allow these negative feelings to leave and, when you leave, you can further lighten your burden by donating generously to the collection......


So, if you feel a bit sad, it's working

Last month, you heard the rare combination of timpani and horns - timpani were usually associated with trumpets in the Baroque era. This month, Grapuner's cantata Das Ende kommt, der TodTod has an orchestration that could well be unique:-


Where to start?
The use, with strings and voices, of natural brass (two horns, one trumpet) pitched in F (12'), G (102/3') and C (8'), respectively, is, to our knowledge, the only extant example from the 18th century. Graupner's scoring is contemporary and experimental yet harks back to the fanfare/ritornello styles of his predecessors, whilst being ominously prophetic of how, in the later 18th century, writing for brass instruments made fewer demands on players' virtuosity in the high register. Using only "safer" notes and a bit of imagination, Graupner was able to explore his harmonic palette and create some very interesting effects.

And then there's the Timpani!
The part was written for Johann SchŸler, who must have been pretty nimble. Graupner wrote one piece for him that uses eight timpani. Today's cantata requires four, pitched in G, A, C and D.
Endler, Fischer, Molter and others also wrote for multiple timpani, sometimes in combination with differently-pitched trumpets and/or horns, although in only two different keys. There are even two divertimenti by W A Mozart, for two flutes, five trumpets (3 in C, 2 in D) and four timpani, a "re-worked" Musica da camera molto particuliare, by J. Starzer, (from themes by Gluck).
Being members of the trumpeters' guild, timpani virtuosi seem to have suffered a similar fate to the Kammertrompeter as the guild deflated in the social changes of the late 18th century (see last month's HIPhip).

Mike Diprose
November 2009



Chr. Graupner
Das Ende kommt, der Todt, GWV 1165/32

Chr. Graupner

Komm, o Tod, du Schlafes Bruder, GWV 1165/13

Chr. Graupner

Concerto in F, GWV 326, voor 2 oboi di selva, strijkers & continuo

J.S. Bach
Es reißet euch ein schrecklich Ende, BWV 90
Sat 28th & Sun 29th November 2009, Hilversum and Amsterdam