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G 12.051 CoverJohann Nicolaus Nicolai(?) (died 1728)
Sonata F major

for alto recorder and basso continuo
Edited by Peter Thalheimer

Girolamo G 12.051, score and 2 parts, € 16,00
ISMN 979-0-50084-080-0

sample page

G 12.050 G 12.052




Crown Prince Friedrich Ludwig of Württemberg-Stuttgart (1698–1731), the son of Duke Eberhard Ludwig of Württemberg, played both the recorder and the transverse flute. Around 320 works from his extensive musical library have been preserved. His collection includes a number of pieces for instrumentations with recorder, some of which have meanwhile appeared in print, amongst them Loeillet's famous Quintet in B minor for two voice flutes, two traversos and basso continuo, the Recorder Sonata in C minor by Louis Detry, or a Concerto in B-flat major for Flauto piccolo, ascribed to George Frideric Handel or Antonio Montanari.
The Crown Prince's musical collection is now kept in the Rostock university library. Under the signature Mus. Saec. XVIII.-64.9, the collection includes a Sonata in F major headed Flauto solo, which is being published for the first time in the present edition. Its key as well as the tonal range and register of the solo part suggest that the sonata is intended for a recorder.1 The source is comprised of two hand-written full scores, the second of which can be regarded as an extended copy of the first one. Differences between the two scores can be found notably in the second movement: Whereas the shortest notes in the first score are semiquavers, these were replaced in the second source by demisemiquaver diminutions. These and many other modifications impose higher demands on the player's technique.
The composer of the sonata is not named in either of the source documents. Ortrun Landmann2 and Ekkehard Krüger3 were able to identify Johann Nicolaus Nicolai (died Feb. 11th 1728) as the writer of both scores. Nicolai joined the Court of Württemberg between 1699 and 1704, having previously worked in Munich. Johann Christoph Pez (1664–1716), who held the position of leader of the ducal court chapel (Oberkapellmeister) in Stuttgart after 1706, reported in 1714: Nicolai blast ein sehr guthe Fletten, wie auch die Flute Allemande, und Houtbois, accompagniret auch sehr wohl auf den cembalo, für welchen ich ihn oft brauche (Nicolai is an outstanding player of both the recorder and the flute, and also of the oboe, besides which he is an excellent accompanist on the harpsichord, in which capacity I frequently employ him).4 Johann Georg Christian Störl (1675–1719), who held the office of Church Choir Master (Stiftskapellmeister) in Stuttgart, noted in 1717: Nicola Schlägt die Orgel zu Ludwigsburg, bläßt die Flötte traversire, auch eine gemeine Flöte in guter Manier und perfection (Nicolai plays the organ in Ludwigsburg, and plays the transverse flute and the recorder with great proficiency and perfection).5
Nicolai created his own collection of music, which is now part of the collection of Württemberg Court Music in the Rostock University Library. Amongst other music, the collection includes printed works by Girolamo Frescobaldi, Michel de la Barre and Reinhard Keiser, along with Nicolai's own copies of works by Georg Philipp Telemann, Johann Christoph Pepusch and Johann Joachim Quantz. To date, only two suites entitled Pieces pour la Musique de chambre für Vn Flute seul | Vn Lut | Vn Viola da Gamba (Pieces for chamber music for solo flute, lute and viola da gamba) have been shown to be compositions by Nicolai himself. These were composed for the Crown Prince during a stay in Bad Teinach in the Black Forest in the summer of 1720. Most probably, however, further pieces composed by Nicolai can be found amongst the surviving works by anonymous composers in the Württemberg Court Music.6
The discrepancies between the two manuscripts of the score were apparently introduced when the second manuscript was made by coping the initial one, i.e. probably by Nicolai himself. The modifications in the second movement show that the writer was well familiar with what can be achieved on a recorder. This further supports the assumption that the music was Nicolai's own composition, which he copied and evolved in the process. In the present first printed edition, the composer is therefore given as "Johann Nicolaus Nicolai(?)".
The recorder part was transcribed in this edition from the French into the common violin clef. Ties added by the editor are shown in broken lines. The more challenging version of the second movement from the second manuscript is printed as the main score. Deviations from the first manuscript are given as ossia lines, so as to make the sonata playable for less proficient players.7 In the Passacaglia movement Nicolai noted the bass line once only, after the complete recorder part, adding repetition signs. In our edition, the bass part is printed continuously underneath the recorder part. Bar lines are shown at varying intervals of 3, 6 or 9 crotchet notes in both sources; in the present edition, further bar lines were added in accordance with the ¾ time signature given. Bars 71–77 of the Passacaglia are missing in the first manuscript. This opens up the option of shortening the second version, which is shown in this edition as vi-de. The figuring of the continuo part is a combination of the musical text from both manuscripts, the realization is a suggestion by the editor, which can be improvised upon.

My sincere thanks are due to the Rostock University Library for giving their permission to publish this music, and to Mr. Klaus Hofmann for his critical review of the manuscript.

Translation: Christa Lange-Rudd

Ilshofen, September 2018, Peter Thalheimer

1 The work is assigned to the transverse flute in Ekkehard Krüger: Die Musikaliensammlungen des Erbprinzen Friedrich Ludwig von Württemberg-Stuttgart und der Herzogin Luise Friederike von Mecklenburg-Schwerin in der Universitätsbibliothek Rostock (The Music Collections of Crown Prince Friedrich Ludwig of Wurttemberg-Stuttgart and Duchess Luise Friederike of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in the Rostock University Library), Beeskow 2006, Volume II/2, p. 1081.
2 Ortrun Landmann: »Pour l'usage de Son Altesse Serenissime Monseigneur le Prince Hereditaire de Wirtemberg«. Stuttgart Musical Manuscripts of the 18th Century in the Rostock University Library, published in Musik in Baden-Württemberg (Music in Baden-Württemberg), Yearbook 1997, Volume 4. On behalf of the Gesellschaft für Musikgeschichte in Baden-Württemberg (Baden-Württemberg Musical History Society), published by Georg Günther and Rainer Nägele, Stuttgart and Weimar 1997, p. 173.
3 Ekkehard Krüger, Volume II/2, p. 1081.
4 Quoted from Ekkehard Krüger, Volume I, p. 264.
5 Quoted from Ekkehard Krüger, Volume I, p. 265.
6 Ekkehard Krüger, Volume I, p. 266.
7 In this case, in bars 15–16 of the Allegro movement the ossia version of the recorder part should be combined with the ossia bass, and the continuo realization adapted accordingly.