Electronic Library of Scientific Literature - © Academic Electronic Press

Slovenská hudba

No. 2-3 / 2001



The Violin-makers in Bratislava

The aim of the study is to give the latest results of source research in the area of musical instrument production, specifically violin making in Bratislava. The violin-makers, biographical information about them and accessible information about their activity form the centre of interest. Detailed knowledge of these facts provide a basis for possible further organological research, with the actual musical instruments in the centre of attention. New facts are enabling us to identify relationships, to uncover connections in the specific area of violin production and in the general musical history of Slovakia.

The study compares, evaluates and corrects data from previous works on violin-makers, and adds to them on the basis of many years of source research into archive materials. We have attempted to create a new image of the Bratislava violin-makers and extend the list of them. Although the work partially concerns older periods, its centre of gravity is especially study of the representatives of Bratislava violin-makers from the middle of the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th.

Up to almost the middle of the 18th century, information about violin and lute makers in Bratislava is fragmentary. Investigation of the majority of violin-makers from the first half of this century, mentioned in some organological works, was unsuccessful, and we are dependent only on secondary information. However, the known sources do not point to the existence of an independent, productive and long-lasting violin workshop in Bratislava during the first half of the 18th century. If violin-makers did work in Bratislava, they did not receive much recognition, or their activity only had brief duration, without clear results.

It appears that the local market for strings instruments was satisfied mainly by Viennese instruments. The influx of Viennese and Austrian musicians into Bratislava participated in supplying strings and other instruments, especially from Viennese masters. This trend can be observed throughout the 18th century, from surviving documents from various places in Slovakia.

Strings instrument makers reacted to the increased interest in strings instruments. From the beginning of the 1740s they began to settle in Bratislava. The foundations of Bratislava violin-making as a special branch of musical instrument production with its own rich and high quality tradition were laid about the middle of the 18th century, when the German violin maker Anton Thir senior settled in Bratislava. Thir's workshop was continued by several generations of violin-makers until it disappeared in the 1870s. The equally high quality and famous violin making workshop of Johann Georg Leeb senior started its activity in 1779, and its history can be traced until almost the middle of the 20th century. Thir's and Leeb's workshops were the only ones in Bratislava until 1812, when Johann Paul Wörle added another. In 1830, Andreas Tauber increased the number of master violin-makers to four.

From the middle of the 18th century, several dozen violin-makers: masters, journeymen, apprentices and assistants, formed the Bratislava violin-making tradition. After classifying, correcting and evaluating the historical facts, we have identified two main, parallel lines, representing the activity of two violin-making workshops. The first line is that of the Thirs and Ertls, the second that of the Leebs and Hamburgers. The Hamburger workshop was continued from the end of the 19th century by the activity of Štefan Pauer and Alojz Kubesch, producers of wind and strings instruments. Apart from them, at least one or two other violin-making workshops operated in 19th century Bratislava for shorter periods, but they did not reach the importance and quality of the workshops founded by Thir and Leeb. They did not succeed in creating firm foundations for the creation of a new tradition.

The range of products of the master violin-makers was heterogeneous and varied from period to period. Only fragmentary information, mostly from the 19th century, survives about specific products of the Bratislava violin-makers. According to surviving information, the Bratislava violin-makers produced mainly strings instruments (violins, violas, cellos, double basses) and some kinds of strumming instruments: guitars, mandolines and zithers.

Carl Ertl was an important violin-maker in 19th century Bratislava. He was the first Bratislava violin-maker to start selling musical instruments on the basis of an official licence. The great demand for instruments in the 19th century was largely satisfied by instruments from Czech or German factories. The violin-makers working in Bratislava devoted themselves more to repair work, with production of high quality instruments becoming a secondary activity.

A new stage in Bratislava violin production began in 1927 with the coming of the Czech violin-maker Andreas Klier and his three sons to Bratislava. Later, in 1936, the Czech violin-maker Antonín Gall (working in Košice) established a branch, directed by his apprentice Osvald Juraj Willmann. However, this stage is in the centre of interest of other works.


Iconic Iniciative in Violin Literature of the 17th Century

In the 16th century the violin was an instrument of a low style music lacking the independent music literature, charged solely with improvisational duties. However, in the course of the 17th century alongside to keyboard instruments it became the main instrumental medium of composition and kept this position till the 20th century. The present study focuses on the share of iconic (imitational) ability in this ascent of violin, analyses the appearance of animal icons or icons of other music instruments in the violin literature. For the author Italian (Marini, Riccio, Salomone Rossi, Monteverdi, Farina, Uccelini, Merula, Nicolao ŕ Kempis, Falconiero, Pandolfi, Vivaldi), German (Schmelzer, Biber, J. J. Walther, Westhoff, Rittler, Muffat, Speer, Telemann, Händel, J. S. Bach), French (Mondonville, Leclair, Guillemain, Rameau) and English (Matteis, Finch, Purcell) tradition of the iconic production served as a source of his observations. Dialectic negation of this tradition resulted in the reflection of human affects in the period of the culminating baroque.


The Compositions of Anton Zimmermann in the European Repertoire of his Time

Knowledge of the personality and work of Anton Zimmermann (1741–1781), one of the most important representatives of the culture of classicism period in Slovakia and a participant in shaping European Classical Music, does not correspond to his historic importance. A study based on the latest source research offers a picture of his creative work and its penetration into the European repertoire of his time.

The Present State of Knowledge

By the end of 2000, Zimmermann’s compositions numbering 272 works (197 secular and 75 religious) were known from 478 note sources, located in 94 institutions in 14 European states and in the USA. From this total Séria A/II RISM (CD-ROM from 1999) records only 142 works.

Topical Problems

From the point of view of authorship, Zimmermann’s works need to be divided into (1) the works of Anton Zimmermann, (2) works listed only under the surname Zimmermann, (3) compositions of disputed authorship, and (4) forged works. In the present state of knowledge, the first group includes 146 works and the second group 91 works, the majority of them assumed to be works of Anton Zimmermann. The third group, with 15 compositions, is of problematic authorship. Apart from Zimmermann, 15 other composers are mentioned as their authors. S. c. Forgeries form the fourth group with 11 works. In them, the authorship of A. Zimmermann is replaced by the authorship of six other composers, most frequently J. Haydn.

Aspects of Evaluation

Analysis and evaluation of the ”repertoire life” of the works of A. Zimmermann emphasizes the environment of the patrons, who received these works, the character of their selection, the period during which they were performed, the range of their application and extent of geographical distribution of compositions.

Repertoire Application

Application of the compositions of A. Zimmermann is associated with territory of 14 present day European states, and occurred most intensively in German speaking regions. Repertoire application was enabled above all by two types of patron: the nobility (about 51 % of note sources) and the Church (about 47 % of note documents). The share of the middle class was small and came late. In the framework of the nobility, the greatest interest in these works was found among the higher nobility (perhaps 38 % of sources), and representatives of the Church hierarchy, mostly of noble origin (about 13 % of sources). Religious orders (about 31 % of sources) and parish communities (about 16 % of sources) made up the remainder of Church patronage.

a) The nobility

Mainly the secular (orchestral and chamber) compositions of A. Zimmermann were applied in its repertoire. They are most numerous in Czech and Moravian noble musical collections, the K. K. Hofbibliothek in Vienna, in the archives of aristocratic families of south-eastern Germany and in the repertoire of the Pitti family.

b) The Church hierarchy

So far we have identified interest in the works of A. Zimmermann only in the musical collections of Central European archbishops and bishops: in the territories of Moravia, south-eastern Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. The secular works, which were part of the musical culture in the residences of Church dignitaries, are especially interesting.

c) The religious orders

The religious orders were important disseminators of the compositions of A. Zimmermann, including secular as well as religious works. The historic orders (Benedictines, Augustinians, Cistercians), noted for their high levels of education and demand for musical culture, and the teaching orders (Premonstratensians, Piarists, Ursulines) had key importance. The interest of the mendicant orders (Franciscans, Friars Minor) and the orders with charitable orientations (Brothers of Mercy, Elizabethines) was small. Distribution of the works of A. Zimmermann among religious orders was centred in the territories ruled by the Habsburgs. Apart from the noble archives, the note sources of the religious orders are among the most valuable. In Austria, Zimmermann’s works were propagated most by the historic orders. In the Czech Lands the Premonstratensians also participated, and in Slovakia mainly the Piarists and Ursulines.

d) Other churches

Application of the compositions of A. Zimmermann in the musical repertoire of parish churches and churches subordinate to them, is most documented in the territories of Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia, less in the western part of Hungary and south-eastern Austria. The selection of compositions in the larger towns and cities was variable and emphasized the artistic value of the work. In small places, the practical value of the composition and ability to perform it was more important.

e) The middle class

The support of the middle class, which enabled performance of the musical-drama works of A. Zimmermann in town theatres, is not sufficiently researched. We know of more sources from the town music societies (Vienna, Bratislava, Trnava). Their acquisition and application of these works was usually delayed in time.

In Conclusion

The picture of the creative work and repertoire application of the works of A. Zimmermann, corresponding to the present state of knowledge, does not claim informative completeness and definitive statement, because research on the problem continues. The value of this study lies in the first comprehensive European view of the life work of Anton Zimmermann in the European repertoire. On the basis of the database concentrated so far, it is possible to state that the works of A. Zimmermann had an unsuspected range and value in the domestic and European musical culture of the classicism period, especially in the German speaking regions of Europe. Anton Zimmermann was generally appreciated in his own time. His work found wide application, especially in the environment of the aristocracy, Church hierarchy and monastic communities, and to a smaller extent in parish communities, that is in the areas of patronage provided by the development of the period.

The study arose on the basis of still unfinished basic source research. In spite of this, the study shows that musical historians must basically re-evaluate the existing position of Anton Zimmermann in the context of both domestic and European musical culture.


Addendum of the P. Pantaleon Roškovský OFM Collections of Keyboard Music

The paper describes three hitherto unknown sources of keyboard music from the community of Franciscans: 1. manuscript of organ compositions (1769), a copy made by the hand of P Pantaleon Roškovský (1734–1789) of his collection Musaeum Pantaleonianum; 2. fragment containing three compositions for stringed keyboard instruments (probably fortepiano) made by the hand of Roškovský (c. 1773–1776), who is probably also their author; 3. fragments of a Fr. Florentius Krieger OFM manuscript containing mostly copies of Roškovský’s collections. Compositions from the second source show substantial stylistic development of the outstanding Franciscan organist, a development from Wagenseil’s harpsichord divertimento to Haydn’s piano sonata from the 1760s and 1770s.

An important discovery was made: Joseph Umstatt (1711–1762), composer and organist born in Vienna, later also an influential composer of the court and Kapellmeister in Bamberg, lived and worked in Slovakia for at least thirteen years (1724–1737): between 1727 and 1730 he studied with the Jesuits in Trnava (at the time he was also Mikuláš Esterházy’s music teacher), during the 1730s he was a member of the orchestra of the Hungarian primate I. Esterházy in Bratislava. Umstatt was one of the most original Viennese composers of harpsichord music in the first half of the 18th century.


The Development of the Slovak Piano Teaching in the First Half of the 20th Century

After the foundation of the Czechoslovak State in 1918, the new situation in society and culture was conducive to the development of Slovak culture and thus also to the establishment of professional music education. Conditions were created that facilitated the shift from private piano teaching to a system based on a public institution, which in turn boosted the level of professional training of performers and teachers. Bratislava played an important role in the process of establishing the Slovak musical culture and the system of art schools.

The author of the paper deals with the developmental issues of the Slovak piano teaching in the first half of the 20th century with regard to the wider context that determined its profile in that particular period. Part of the paper is devoted to the foundation and history of the first professional music institution in Slovakia, to the Music School for Slovakia in Bratislava, in 1926 renamed Academy of Music and Drama. The origins and the development of the Slovak piano teaching are closely connected with this institution, not only because it created the conditions for professional piano teaching, but also because of the personalities that worked in it and thus laid the foundations of the Slovak system of art education and of the Slovak piano tradition. Insight into the system of education at these institutions helps to create a picture of the profile of the piano department’s students.

The first teachers of the piano department graduated at prestigious European conservatories. In their teaching methods, they used experience they collected while studying with excellent contemporary pedagogues. Frico Kafenda and Miloš Ruppeldt both studied at the Leipzig Conservatory with R. Teichmüller and J. Pembaura respectively. E. Kajetánová and K. Smidžárová studied with T. Leszetycki at the Vienna Conservatory and at a private school. A. Zochová-Kafendová studied with K. Hoffmeister at the conservatory and Master School in Prague. L. Svobodová-Adamcová graduated at the conservatory and the Vilém Kurz Master School in Brno studying with Kurz himself. E. Križan studied with an unknown teacher at the Chicago Conservatory. During the first years of their teaching careers, all of the mentioned performed publicly as soloists and chamber players.

Notwithstanding the insufficient professional environment (the absence of primary music education) and the teaching conditions (financial insecurity, inadequate spaces, indifference of the public), they succeeded in lifting the standard of piano teaching to a professional level, a fact attested by the careers of their students – the pioneers of piano performance and teaching in Slovakia, such as M. Karin-Knechtsberger, E. Smidžárová, P. Pokojná, A. Elanová, Z. Strnadová-Paráková, Š. Mózsi, A. Duková-Szerényi, B. Lichnerová, and E. Fischerová-Martvoňová.

We learn about the first period of development of the Slovak piano teaching from the choice of repertory and from the piano department’s synopses. They reflect the contemporary tendencies in piano teaching and the influence of important European piano schools. A section of the paper is thus devoted to the principles of piano teaching of outstanding European piano pedagogues – T. Leszetycki, R. Teichmüller, V. Kurz, and K. Hoffmeister. The paper focuses on those progressive features of their methods, which anticipated the development of modern piano teaching: mind activity and aural imagination, shaping of the tone quality, and respect for the student’s psychological and physiological individuality.

The pedagogic work of Frico Kafenda and Anna Kafendová-Zochová is of fundamental importance. Their contribution to the young Slovak school of piano teaching was highly professional and pioneering. During their pedagogic careers they educated a number of pianists and teachers who contributed to the development of the art of the piano in Slovakia. The author of the paper evaluates their methods of piano teaching with regard to their concert activities.

The Slovak piano teaching developed in close connection with the establishment of the independent Slovak culture and in direct contact with the developing European art of the piano. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Slovak piano teaching embraced many elements of other piano schools, especially German and Czech. Apart from foreign influences, however, it was shaped by strong personalities at home whose professionalism and expertise paved the way for its development for long years to come.


Marginal Notes to “Der volkommene Capelmeister” by Johann Mattheson

The texts on music represent in themselves an important source of knowledge covering period opinions concerning the music creation, interpretation and perception. From this point of view the musical journalism is a precious source, through which we may deeply understand the developmental transformations of music in their complexity and dynamnics. On the basis of opinions of Johann Mattheson and his contemporaries the author describes the style changes in music in the 1st half of the 18th century in wider cultural and social interrelations.


Two Variations on the Theme of the ”Concertante Principle”

The paper is devoted to the concept of the concertante principle and its history. The author seeks to present the philosophical background of the two aspects and to give a synthetic view on the subject.

Chapter 1 (Historic Variation) deals with the development of the concertante style from its beginnings to the present time. The focus is on the determining factors of the concertante style (qualitative and quantitative aspects of the concertante principle) and on the secondary factors (the resulting sound, formal structure, and musical language).

When the fundamental compositional problems of polyphony were overcome, a further experiment was possible – experiments with sound, space, dynamics, sonority, tectonics, at first in vocal music, later in music for voices and instruments, and finally in purely instrumental music. The Renaissance saw the first controlled use of the ”concertare” principle. This process is supported also by a new concept of time in music.

In the Baroque period the concertante principle becomes one of the defining musical principles. For the first time, a balanced ratio of qualitative and quantitative elements of the opposing subjects is achieved and first genres based on the concertante principle are introduced (concerto grosso, solo concerto, concerto ripieno). Without exaggeration, the baroque legacy is of the utmost importance for the development of the concertante principle.

Mozart is the Vivaldi of the period of Classicism. The meeting of the dramatic sonata form with the dramatic concertante dialogue gives the classical concerto a new dimension. The dramatic effect is heightened further by the insertion of a special section – the cadenza – before the end of the first movement. What had been a basic model in the Baroque period, becomes a polished, final shape in the Classical period. The instrumental concerto stands out as the most important genre based on the concertante principle and its dominance is felt to this day.

The Romanticism undermined the 200-year old tradition of the ideal qualitative balance of the concerto subjects. The ”concert brillante” took space from the orchestra and gave it to the soloist (Hummel, Weber, Field, and Chopin), while the Late Romanticism brought with it the symphonic concerto, in which the soloist was immersed into the symphonic stream (Brahms). Both models contradict the immanent essence of the concerto. Romanticism brought with it also programme, thematic references, features of national schools, and lyric as well as pathetic elements.

In the 20th century, the boundaries were crossed and new territories explored also in the genre of the concerto. The principle was developed into dimensions that contradict its very substance (the construction of the noise layer) or composers relinquished the principle altogether (graphic scores, minimal music, electroacoustic and computer music). The century’s biggest contribution lies in the new concept of space, of sonority, and of the quantitative element of the concertante principle. The paper elaborates on the novelty of the three concepts.

Conclusion of Chapter 1 examines the parallels between the development of society and the development of the concertante principle, finding some common features.

Chapter 2 (Philosophic Variation) represents an analysis of the concertante principle from philosophical, psychological, and aesthetic points of view.

The accessibility of the concertante principle and the perspective of its development are obvious, since it is essentially built on universal phenomena – contrast, confrontation. The clash of opposites in the concertante principle can be described as the relationship between thesis and antithesis; their mutual negation is negated by their common participation in the creation of the synthesis – the totality of the musical work.

This ”battle game” corresponds from the psychological viewpoint with the permanent desire of the participants to assert their personal or group identities. The concertante principle is a ”democratic system”, it respects freedom and equality of the participants, provided the growth of the whole benefits from them. The author focuses on the optimal qualitative and quantitative ratios between the concertante parties, analyses specific musical situations and describes solutions. She reflects in detail on the concertante principle seen through the philosophical categories of content and form. She argues that the concertante principle is a tectonic as well as expressive content-creating agent (the projection of ”struggle” gives the work of art its specific content). She concludes that the secret of the principle’s constant appeal lies in three main features, which are closely connected: it is genuine, attractive, and unique.

Conclusion (Coda) looks at the consequences resulting from the tradition of the concertante principle with regard to the contemporary composer: it is a kind of ”manual” of composition. The author answers the questions, what has to be preserved and what can be transformed in order not to disturb the substance of the concertante principle, and in what form can the principle be used today. The subject is multifaceted and it has endless possibilities of exploration, for ”the quest for knowledge does not end”.


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