Jean-Baptiste Volumier

Last updated

Jean-Baptiste Volumier (ca. 1670 - 7 October 1728) was an eighteenth century violinist, composer and concertmaster. [1] [2]

Contents

Life

Volumier was born in around 1670 or 1677. Sources differ. He was probably born in the Spanish Flanders although some earlier sources indicate simply that he was born in Spain. [1] As a young man he was schooled in music in Paris, possibly at the French court, and it was the then fashionable French style that he would follow as a performer and composer. [2] Moving to Berlin, in 1692 he gained a position as a violinist in the court orchestra of the Electorate of Brandenburg. He quickly gained promotion through the ranks, emerging as the court concertmaster ("Maitre de Concert"), taking care of ballet and dance. He composed arias and dance music for the marriage, in 1706, of the crown prince. [3] Although his responsibilities included the regular composition of dance music, none of his compositions from the period survive. [1] In 1708, following a dispute, he was relieved of all his duties at the Berlin court.

In 1709 he was taken on as concertmaster ("Maitre de Concert") at the rival court of Dresden: the appointment came with a generous annual salary of 1,200 Thalers. [4] Applying the French style he made the Dresden orchestra one of the best in Europe. Under his directorship musicians such as Veracini and Pisendel joined the court orchestra. As time went on he became adept at blending the French and Italian styles, with an added frisson of German elements, creating something that came to be called the "mixed" or "German" style. The flautist Quantz wrote in an autobiographical contribution to Marpurg's "Historisch-kritische Beyträge zur Aufnahme der Musik" that he had never heard a better orchestra than the Dresden orchestra under Volumier. [5]

In 1715 the Saxon king-elector sent his star court violinist to Cremona where for several months Volumier remained, in order to oversee the production of twelve violins ordered from the manufactory of Antonio Stradivarius. [6]

While he was employed in Dresden Volumier also developed a friendship with Bach. In 1717 the French musician Louis Marchand visited Dresden and so impressed the king-elector that he offered Marchand a lucrative court appointment. The story of what happened next has been much repeated in German sources (though never in French ones), with various embellishments. The key elements appear to be that Volumier, sensing the risk of trouble ahead, organised a keyboard (probably clavier) contest between Marchand and his friend Bach. However, Marchand became nervous at the prospect and early on the morning of the day scheduled for the contest left Dresden, never to return. [2] Marchand's hasty departure strengthened the position at court of the chapel organist, Christian Petzold. The story seems to have originated with the organist-musicologist Jakob Adlung. In the interests of balance it is worth adding that Adlung also wrote of Bach's respect for Marchand's abilities as a keyboard player and composer.

Augustus the Strong, the elector of Saxony, with his court at Dresden, was also, for most of the time between 1697 and 1733, the king of Poland, with a court at Warsaw. It was while attending the royal court in Warsaw that Volumier fell ill, and after he returned to Dresden Pisendel had frequently to be called upon to deputise for him. Jean Baptiste Volumier died in October 1728. Starting two years later, in October 1730, his widow started to receive a twice yearly pension of 600 Gulden.

Output

Volumier composed a large amount of ballet music and numerous violin pieces. They were all destroyed in a fire in 1760 while the city was under siege by a Prussian force under Frederick the Great.


Related Research Articles

Johann Joachim Quantz German flutist, flute maker and composer

Johann Joachim Quantz was a German composer, flutist and flute maker of the late Baroque period. He composed hundreds of flute sonatas and concertos, and wrote On Playing the Flute, a treatise on flute performance. His works were known and appreciated by Bach, Haydn and Mozart.

Johann Adam Hiller

Johann Adam Hiller was a German composer, conductor and writer on music, regarded as the creator of the Singspiel, an early form of German opera. In many of these operas he collaborated with the poet Christian Felix Weiße.

Ernst Gottlieb Baron

Ernst Gottlieb Baron or Ernst Theofil Baron, was a German lutenist, composer and writer on music.

Jan Dismas Zelenka, baptised Jan Lukáš Zelenka and also known as Johann Dismas Zelenka or Johannes Lucas Ignatius Dismas Zelenka, was a Czech composer and musician of the Baroque period. His music is admired for its harmonic inventiveness and counterpoint.

Louis Marchand

Louis Marchand was a French Baroque organist, harpsichordist, and composer. Born into an organist's family, Marchand was a child prodigy and quickly established himself as one of the best known French virtuosos of his time. He worked as organist of numerous churches and, for a few years, as one of the four organistes du roy. Marchand had a violent temperament and an arrogant personality, and his life was filled with scandals, publicized and widely discussed both during his lifetime and after his death. Despite his fame, few of his works survive to this day, and those that do almost all date from his early years. Nevertheless, a few pieces of his, such as the organ pieces Grand dialogue and Fond d'orgue have been lauded as classic works of the French organ school.

Johann Georg Pisendel German Baroque violinist and composer (1687–1755)

Johann Georg Pisendel was a German Baroque violinist and composer who, for many years, led the Court Orchestra in Dresden as concertmaster, then the finest instrumental ensemble in Europe. The leading violinist of his time, composers such as Tomaso Albinoni, Georg Philipp Telemann and Antonio Vivaldi all dedicated violin compositions to him.

Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin (Bach)

The sonatas and partitas for solo violin are a set of six works composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. They are sometimes referred to in English as the sonatas and partias for solo violin in accordance with Bach's headings in the autograph manuscript: "Partia" was commonly used in German-speaking regions during Bach's time, whereas the Italian "partita" was introduced to this set in the 1879 Bach Gesellschaft edition, having become standard by that time. The set consists of three sonatas da chiesa in four movements and three partitas in dance-form movements. The 2nd Partita is widely known for its Chaconne, considered one of the most masterly and expressive works ever written for solo violin.

Johann Gottlieb Janitsch was a German Baroque composer.

Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg

Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg was a German music critic, music theorist and composer. He was friendly and active with many figures of the Enlightenment of the 18th century.

Johann Peter Kellner was a German organist and composer. He was the father of Johann Christoph Kellner.

Johannes Pramsohler

Johannes Pramsohler is a violinist, conductor and record producer, specialised in Historically informed performance, currently based in Paris.

Christoph Nichelmann was a German composer and harpsichordist. He was second keyboard player in the Royal Ensemble of Frederick the Great.

Markus Heinrich Grauel was a German composer and cellist of the classical period.

August Kohn was a German violinist and composer of the late Baroque to Classical transition era.

Christian Mengis was a German composer and horn player of the late Baroque era.

Balthasar Christian Bertram was a German violinist and composer of the late Baroque era.

Johann Christian Jacobi was a German oboist and composer of the Baroque period.

Friedrich Wilhelm Riedt was a German flautist, composer and music theorist of the Baroque period.

Robert Karl Friedrich Reitz   was a Swiss violinist and university lecturer. He was concert master of the Staatskapelle Weimar, first violinist of the Reitz Quartet and professor at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt, Weimar.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Robert Eitner (1896). "Volumier: Jean Baptiste V., auch Woulmyer geschrieben, ein in französischer Schule gebildeter, einst sehr geschätzter Violinist, der um..." Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie . Historische Kommission bei der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. pp. 282–283. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 "Bach Vs Marchand: The Duel That Never Was". Classic FM. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  3. Dieter Härtwig. "Volumier [Woulmyer], Jean Baptiste". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians . Archived from the original on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  4. Karl Freiherr von Ledebur (1878). Wissenschaften - Künste. König Friedrich I von Preusen. Otto Aug. Schulz, Leipzig. p. 165. ISBN   9785876788474.
  5. Marpurg, Friedrich Wilhelm (compiler-editor) (1754). Herrn Johann Joachim Quantzens Lebenslauf, von ihm selbst entworfen. Historisch-kritische Beyträge zur Aufnahme der Musik ; 3. 1757/58. 1. Lange. pp. 197–250.
  6. Stewart Pollens (2010). Historical background. Stradivari. CUP. p. 45. ISBN   978-0-521-87304-8.