Author Topic: Carl Friedrich Abel  (Read 7310 times)

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Offline SonicMan46

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Carl Friedrich Abel
« on: August 08, 2009, 09:26:10 AM »
Carl Friedrich Abel (1723-1787) - this is a 're-constructed' opening post of a thread that I started on this composer in the OLD FORUM back in early 2007 - since then I've acquired a nice collection of discs of his works, and he probably deserves his own 'new' thread; plus, he lived in one of my favorite periods of classical music - that transition from the Late Baroque, through the Gallant style, into the Classic Era.  Below is a short bio quoted from HERE; another good bio on the Mozart Forum -  :D  

His portrait below done by Gainsborough - not bad!  Listing HERE from the French Wikipedia site stating 18 Opus numbers w/ 6 works per number for virtually all:

Op 1   : 6 ouvertures ou sinfonias
Op 2   : 6 sonates pour violon (ou flûte) et basse continue
Op 3   : 6 sonates en trio pour 2 violons et basse continue
Op 4   : 6 ouvertures
Op 5   : 6 ouvertures ou sinfonias
Op 5   : 6 sonates pour clavecin et violon (ou flûte) et violoncelle (ad libitum)
Op 6   : 6 sonates pour flûte traversière et basse continue
Op 6   : 6 concertos pour flûte traversière et orchestre
Op 7   : 6 symphonies
Op 8   : 6 quatuors à cordes
Op 9   : 6 sonates pour violon, violoncelle et basse continue
Op 10  : 6 symphonies
Op 11  : 6 concertos pour clavier et orchestre
Op 12  : 6 quatuors pour flûte traversière et cordes
Op 13  : 6 sonates pour violon et pianoforte
Op 14  : 6 ouvertures (?)
Op 15  : 6 quatuors à cordes
Op 16  : 4 trios pour 2 flûtes traversière et basse continue
Op 17  : 6 symphonies
Op 18  : 6 sonates pour violon et pianoforte

There are also a number of works w/o opus numbers and/or lost - so, comments & recommendations - I'll be reviewing my current collection but I would suspect a number of us have acquired some discs of this quite versatile musician & composer in the last 2 1/2 years, so please post -  :)


Quote
Born: Cöthen, 22 Dec 1723; died: London, 20 June 1787. German composer. By 1743 he was a bass viol player in the Dresden court orchestra  

He left in 1757-8 and went to London, where he directed his first joint concert with J.C. Bach in 1764; both men became chamber musicians to Queen Charlotte about this time. The Bach-Abel series, begun in 1765 and comprising 10-15 concerts each year, was given in their own rooms in Hanover Square from 1775.

Abel directed alternate concerts, including many of his own works, often playing himself and introducing performers from Germany and Paris (where he visited regularly). He and Bach also gave concerts elsewhere, including at court. After Bach's death (1782) Abel spent two years in Germany but was active in the 1785-7 series, the Grand Professional Concerts.

Abel was one of the last professional bass violists; his expressive Adagios were especially praised. As a composer he was most prolific in symphonies and overtures (over 40 works), sonatas for two and three instruments, and bass viol pieces. His works, mostly in three movements, are generally genial and energetic but use a rich harmonic style, often unusual phrase-lengths, and melodies of instrumental character.

Abel was one of a long line of musicians. His grandfather Clamor Heinrich (1634-96) was a composer, organist and bass violist who worked at Celle, Hanover and Bremen. His father, Christian Ferdinand (1682-1737), also a bass violist, was a colleague of J.S. Bach at Cöthen, and his elder brother, Leopold August (1718-94), was a violinist at north German courts and composed several instrumental works.



« Last Edit: August 08, 2009, 10:24:28 AM by SonicMan »

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2009, 09:35:49 AM »
A reason that I wanted to re-juvenate this Abel thread was after listening (several times now) to the recording below - these works are not listed in his Opus compositions from the list provided in the OP, but are in the 'non-opus' assortment.  Comments given below (in part quoted from a post I left in the 'listening thread' this morning) -  :D

Abel, Carl Friedrich (1723-1787) - Mr. Abel's Fine Airs; solo viola da gamba works on a period instrument performed by Susanne Heinrich; Abel moved to London in his 30s and partnered w/ JC Bach, who he had known back in Leipzig when Abel studied w/ Papa Bach - Abel was considered the greatest 'viola da gamba' player of his time, and apparently these 'virtuosic' solo compositions were played only in the intimicy of small rooms w/ a group of friends (many, of course, famous, such as Thomas Gainsborough!).  If you like Bach's 'Cello Suites' and period viola da gamba in a galant style, this recording is strongly recommended.

P.S. Abel disc also a Gramaphone Editor's pick - quoted HERE:D
 


Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2009, 10:22:57 AM »
Well, for those who may be interested in acquiring some of Abel's music, the discs below our in my collection currently - and I'm amazed that all were pretty much added since the start of the thread in the old forum (Feb 2007):

Viola da Gamba, solo, i.e. disc in the post above; these works are non-opus compositions.
Chamber Music - mixture of works, most w/ flute; opus numbers likely also mixed.

 

Sonatas, Op. 2 - Spanyi on the tangent piano w/ violin & cello.
Flute Concertos, Op. 6 - Edward Beckett & Acad of St. Martin in the Fields.

 

Symphonies, Op. 7 - Adrian Shepherd & Cantilena.
Symphonies, Op. 10 - Schneider & La Stagione.

 

Piano Concertos, Op. 11 - Sabine Bauer (on fortepiano & harpsichord) & La Stagione Frankfurt.
Symphonies, Op. 17 - Halstead & the Hanover Band.

 

DavidW

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2009, 02:06:29 PM »
What the heck is a tangent piano Dave?

Funny thing, I was going to buy an Abel cd but your Frescobaldi thread prompted me to hold off and try Frescobaldi instead! :D

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2009, 03:58:13 PM »
What the heck is a tangent piano Dave?

Funny thing, I was going to buy an Abel cd but your Frescobaldi thread prompted me to hold off and try Frescobaldi instead! :D

David - well, I've never seen the mechanism 'in person' - but this instrument was apparently a 'short-lived' keyboard type trying to bridge the harpsichord and the more modern 'pianos' w/ the purpose of producing more dynamics, i.e. rather than 'plucking' the strings like a harpsichord, the tangent piano struck the strings which allowed some control over the sound level produced.  The mechanism of 'hitting' the strings varied, but this instrument was not around that long, despite that many composers in the early classical transitional period did write music for the instrument, hence the interest.

Miklós Spányi has been an important performer using this instrument, and has made numerous recordings of the CPE Bach solo & concerto works of this composer; Que has been commenting on these recordings for a while, and they are on my 'wish list' - the price is just not right for me w/ the many discs already released - hopefully a 'cheaper' box will be released - would love to have these CDs.

But, today I listen to the Spanyi Abel disc in my previous post - the 'tangent piano' was wonderful - kind of between a clavichord and a fortepiano - just hard to describe; the recording is quite well done.  Bottom line, if you do not own any Abel at the moment, then just pick the type of composition you might like, and purchase one - Dave  :D

DavidW

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2009, 04:22:40 PM »
Sounds like an interesting instrument, thanks Dave. :)

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2009, 02:16:09 AM »
What the heck is a tangent piano Dave?

As much as members here know about classical music it is surprising that tangent piano is unknown to some of you. I agree with SonicMan, Miklós Spányi's recordings of C.P.E. Bach's Keyboard Concertos are worth listening. I have volume 7.  :)
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DavidW

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2009, 03:58:49 AM »
As much as members here know about classical music it is surprising that tangent piano is unknown to some of you. I agree with SonicMan, Miklós Spányi's recordings of C.P.E. Bach's Keyboard Concertos are worth listening. I have volume 7.  :)

Well I don't profess to know alot about classical music, and it was worth asking the question even though it gave an opening for posters such as yourself to mock me. 0:)

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2009, 04:20:52 AM »
Well I don't profess to know alot about classical music, and it was worth asking the question even though it gave an opening for posters such as yourself to mock me. 0:)

Sorry, I wasn't mocking anyone. Just surprised. When I started to explore classical music it didn't take long to know about tangent piano. Perhaps I was just "lucky."
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2009, 04:40:56 AM »
I have been considering Op. 11 on CPO label for some time now.
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2009, 06:24:07 AM »
Well, some of these 'transitional' keyboard instruments are fairly new to me, and largely through discussions and recommendations of GMG members.  In the last few years, I've added a LOT of harpsichord music to my collection, but also fewer discs w/ the 'pedal harpsichord', clavichord, and now the 'tangent piano', which I'd like to explore further.

The Miklós Spányi's recordings of C.P.E. Bach's Keyboard Concertos & Solo Sonatas are numerous (not sure 'how many' to date, but dozens) and on the BIS label, so not at bargain prices - I've not yet 'bought into' this collection (perhaps hoping that a cheaper 'box set' will emerge?) fearing that I would want to continue -  ;) ;D  But, I may have to pick up a few just to see what all of the fuss is about!


snyprrr

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2009, 10:01:15 AM »
There is just one Abel SQ recorded that I know of, on Hyperion's "English Orpheus" series, with the Solomon SQ playing, Abel, Wesley, Shields, etc. It is verrry expensive on Amazon. I haven't heard it, but I'd like to.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2009, 12:45:50 PM »
There is just one Abel SQ recorded that I know of, on Hyperion's "English Orpheus" series, with the Solomon SQ playing, Abel, Wesley, Shields, etc. It is verrry expensive on Amazon. I haven't heard it, but I'd like to.

Yes, I've been looking for the SQs for a while - his Opus 8 & 15 listings in my OP are String Quartets, and I'm surprised that CPO has not recorded these works (assuming the manuscripts are available?) -  ???

snyprrr

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2009, 01:11:36 PM »
I just got the Abel SQ, Op.8, No.5, in A Major. It's the first selection on the "English Orpheus" disc. Abel sounds the most "baroque" of the five selections on this cd, though he has a simplicity and cleanness that reminds me of Dittersdorf. The closest compare I had was the Richter SQ in A Major, and, I must say, Richter's sounds like a masterpiece in comparison, but Abel is charming enough, it's just that he doesn't do anything out of the ordinary. I can imagine this is what JC Bach sounds like... I am curious about the Ditters compare, though. I wonder if there were any introductions?

This Salomon SQ/Hyperion disc is quite the epitome of a HIP SQ album... very satisfying.

Brahmsian

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2010, 12:55:05 PM »
Dave, I'm listening to this CD, from the library, as we speak.  My first exposure to Abel, these works, and the viola da gamba.  A triple 'Maiden Monday' listen.  :D  These works are so gorgeous!



Also, got this one from the library, but haven't had a chance to listen to it yet:


Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2010, 06:37:30 PM »
Dave, I'm listening to this CD, from the library, as we speak.  My first exposure to Abel, these works, and the viola da gamba.  A triple 'Maiden Monday' listen.  :D  These works are so gorgeous!

 

Ray - glad that you loved the disc above (on the left) - it is wonderful music & playing!  NOW, I will love to hear your comments on the other CD - assume these are not in the Op. numbers?  Dave  :D

Brahmsian

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2010, 01:35:28 PM »
Ray - glad that you loved the disc above (on the left) - it is wonderful music & playing!  NOW, I will love to hear your comments on the other CD - assume these are not in the Op. numbers?  Dave  :D

Dave, the Paolo Pandolfo disc on Glossa recordings are for the 27 pieces MS Drexel 5871, WKO186-212

So far, I much prefer the recording on Hyperion with Susanne Heinrich, which includes several from the set of the Drexel 5871 WKO 186-212 found on the Pandolfo recording.  If you are very happy with the Susanne Heinrich recording, skip this one.  I find Heirich has a much better tone, deeper and more resonant.

Leon

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Re: Carl Friedrich Abel
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2010, 02:13:18 PM »
I've got this CD that I like:



The viola da gamba is an instrument that appeals to me, and the writing is interesting, for solo vdg.