2

The German composer Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748) adapted about a dozen (mostly Italian) concertos for the organ. The only comprehensive list of these transcriptions for organ that I was able locate online is the second page of these CD liner notes.

Among the concertos Walther used as the basis for his works are compositions by the better-known composers Albinoni, Torelli, and Vivaldi. Although I have some degree of familiarity with the works of these composers, I have only been able to identify the origin of a single one of Walther's adaptations: "Concerto del Signor Albinoni in F" is based on T. G. Albinoni's "Concerto IV for strings & b.c. in G major, Op. 2 No. 8".

What compositions served as the basis for the other transcriptions? I would imagine they might be known in case of composers like Vivaldi, while the origin may be unclear in case of the lesser known composers such as the German composer Meck, whose works are no longer extant according to Wikipedia. I have been unable to find this information from online references. Not being a professional music historian it is entirely possible that I have not been looking in the right places, or that specialist works that contain the answers are available only in paper form but not online.

  • After hours of searching the internet, I found that Walther's "Concerto del Signor Vivaldi in B minor" is based on Antonio Vivaldi's "Concerto for violin, strings & b.c. in E minor", RV 275. – njuffa Jan 3 '16 at 21:00
  • With the help of YouTube clips, I have identified the "Concerto del Signor Torelli in G minor" as being based on Torelli's "Violin Concerto in C minor Op 8, No. 8". – njuffa Jan 6 '16 at 21:27
  • You can find the sheet music for some of the pieces mentioned here as free PDF files at imslp.org. – user546 Jan 20 '16 at 6:20
  • I am not clear how the sheet music would help me find the answer to my question, could you elaborate on that? For context, I will mention that I can't read music. – njuffa Jan 20 '16 at 7:44
  • @nujuffa, I think my response is obvious. If you can't read music, of course it would be of no help to you. From the context of your questions and their specificity, I assumed that you are an organist and you were looking to learn to play these pieces. Once you had identified the pieces and the composers, the next logical step would be to obtain the sheet music for each of them so that you could study them and learn to play them. I was hoping to spare you the expense of purchasing commercial sheet music for all these pieces by pointing out to you that much of it is available for free. – user546 Jan 20 '16 at 12:30
1

I found the following information snippets in the booklet of the recording by Wolfgang Stockmeier for the label cpo:

The original instrumentations of the arranged works differ greatly, ranging from the trio to the orchestral concerto. For unknown reasons two of Walther’s concerto arrangements remained unfinished, those in D minor and B flat major after works by Giuseppe Torelli. The Concerto in D minor, originally scored for two concertante violins, two »violini di rinforzo«, viola, violoncello, and cembalo, lacks the second to fifth movements, in Walther’s arrangement, and the third movement is lacking in his arrangement of the Concerto in B flat major, originally a Sinfonia in D major for two violins and basso continuo.

The only further hint from the tracking was, that Concerto del Sigr. Meck in B minor had this marking: (Vivaldi ?)

Edit: I managed to get hold of an additional recording by Janós Sebestyén, booklet text by Carl de Nys, translated by Celia Skrine, dating from 1981.

Three of Walther’s transcriptions are based on concertos by Giuseppe Torelli (1658-1709), one of which is unknown in its original version.

He also took two concertos from the works of the Venetian Tommaso Albinoni (1671-1750) about whom he wrote a very favourable article in his musical dictionary. The B flat major concerto is No. 5 of Albinoni's Op. 2, but Walther transposed most of it down a tone and even set the slow movement, a heartfelt Adagio, in a lower octave. The F major concerto is Albinoni's Op. 2 No. 4, once again transposed down a tone.

The other composers whose concertos are here performed in Walthers organ versions are all much less familiar. Nothing whatsover is known about Luigi Manzia and indeed Walther himself does not mention him in his dictionary. [...]

In his dictionary Walther ascribed to Luigi Taglietti (1668-1715) various works which were in fact by his brother Giulio (1660-1718). The original of the concerto recorded here [B flat major] has however not been identified.

The original of the concerto by Giorgio Gentili (c. 1668-1710) cannot be identified either. Walther s lexicon mentions some ‘four and five part concertos’ dedicated by this Venetian composer in 1708 to the English ambassador to the ‘Serenissima’, Charles, Earl of Manchester [...]. As to Giovanni Lorenzo Gregori (1663-1745). Walther tells us that he was a violinist in the service of the Republic of Lucca and that in 1698 he had some 10-part concertos engraved there. The full sound of the B flat concerto played on this record makes clear that it is a transcription of one of these. It was probably intended as a sonata da chiesa, and with it Gregori shows himself to have been a worthy successor to the court and church musicians of the Renaissance.

  • I own the two CDs [put out by German label cpo] with Stockmeier's recordings of Walther's organ transcriptions. Alas, as you have found, the liner notes are not specific enough to allow the identification of the original works. At least they aren't clear to me. If you could identify the concerto by Torelli unambiguously, I would appreciate if the answer could be clarified in this regard. As far as I understand information available online, the "Concerto del Signor Meck" is now generally believed to be based on a work by Vivaldi, not Meck, although I have not been able to identify which one. – njuffa Jan 18 '16 at 23:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.