The Career of an Eighteenth-Century Kapellmeister

February 2014
17 black and white, 97 line illustrations
484 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MUS050000, HIS014000

The Career of an Eighteenth-Century Kapellmeister

The Life and Music of Antonio Rosetti

Sterling E. Murray

eBook for Handhelds
A unique look at the career of a little-known contemporary of Haydn and Mozart, presented against a fascinating background of court musical life in late eighteenth-century Germany.
Today the classical style is defined by the music of a handful of composers, Haydn and Mozart being the most prominent. As a result, the accomplishments of these masters have all but eclipsed the music of most of their contemporaries. In this book, Sterling Murray examines one of the most talented of this group, Antonio Rosetti. Born around 1750 and trained in Bohemia, Rosetti spent most of his creative life in Germany, where he served as music director to the Prince of Oettingen-Wallerstein between 1773 and 1789 and then the Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin until his death in 1792.
The Career of an Eighteenth-Century Kapellmeister offers the first comprehensive study of Rosetti's life. The events of the composer's biography are unfolded against a vivid picture of musical life at the two small German courts where Rosetti was employed. The second half of the book is devoted to an examination of form and style in Rosetti's music, illustrated with full-score musical examples in the text and on a complementary website. What emerges from this investigation is a portrait of a composer who, having conquered the stylistic language of his day, challenged those conventions to produce imaginative and highly creative works of great beauty.

Sterling E. Murray is professor emeritus of the School of Music at West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

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Table of Contents

Becoming a Musician, 1750-73
Setting the Stage: The Early Years of the Oettingen-Wallerstein Hofkapelle
Kraft Ernst Builds a Hofkapelle, 1773-76
Wallerstein Court Musician, 1773-81
The Oettingen-Wallerstein Hofkapelle in the 1780s
Music for a Prince: The Wallerstein Court Repertory
Rosetti in Paris, 1781-82
Years of Achievement and Recognition, 1782-89
Rosetti and the Mecklenburg-Schwerin Hofkapelle, 1789-92
Nonliturgical Music for Voice and Orchestra
Music for the Church
Serenade for a Prince and Requiem for a Princess
Chamber Music
Domestic Music: Keyboard Pieces and Lieder in Blumenlese für Klavierliebhaber
Rosetti in Perspective


[W]ritten in a very accessible style. . . . Murray draws on a voluminous and varied amount of archival data . . . to put together a realistic and practical idea of what it was like to live and work at the Oettingen-Wallerstein court, and to a lesser degree the Mecklenburg-Schwerin court. ECHO

Painstakingly researched and documented. [Murray's] historical and archival scholarship are above reproach. With this volume, which sets the seal on his long-term study of the composer, Murray has succeeded in bringing "Rosetti and his music out of the shadows and into the same scholarly light as his best-known contemporaries." EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY MUSIC

Rosetti [served] his various lords with willingness and gusto. [Murray's book] succeeds in creating a concise portrait of the life of this . . . widely renowned composer that convinces through exemplary clarity and readability [and] demonstrates how Rosetti's compositional techniques developed. [Likely] to remain standard for a long time to come. DIE MUSIKFORSCHUNG

An important book [that] portrays, for the first time in a book-length study, the life and creative output of . . . one of the important and innovative composers of his era [the late eighteenth century]. Can be recommended to anyone interested in music of the Classic era. ZEITSCHRIFT DES HISTORISCHEN VEREINS FUER SCHWABEN

Provides many perceptive comments on music that he clearly knows very well. Admirable is his discussion of Rosetti's handling of sonata and concerto form. Will definitely become the reference point for all future work on the composer. MUSIC & LETTERS [Vassilis Vavoulis]

The Career of an Eighteenth-Century Kapellmeister is the first in-depth study of Antonio Rosetti, one of the most significant and internationally known composers of the Classical Period. Sterling Murray brings focus not only to a talented and reputable composer but also to the social situation of musicians of this period. This book is a crucial piece to the complex puzzle that is called the classical period and should be a model for further studies on equally versatile and progressive composers. --Bertil van Boer, author of the Historical Dictionary of Music of the Classical Period

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