His name is scarcely known these days, his reputation almost non-existent and his works rarely played, yet Georg Muffat was in fact a prolific composer who possessed a virtuosic talent and whose influence, especially in the field of the development of instrumental music, cannot be underestimated. The early music ensemble Concerto Copenhagen under their leader Lars Ulrik Mortensen celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2021 and in an anniversary recording has chosen to spotlight Muffat’s rich repertoire of works, illustrated by his collection of sonatas entitled “Armonico Tributo”.

Georg Muffat (1653-1704) was a true cosmopolitan. The son of a family from Scotland, he was born in Mégève in Savoy. At an early age he went to Paris to study with Jean-Baptiste Lully, travelling on from there to Bavaria, Prague, Vienna, Passau and Salzburg, where in 1678 he took up the post of court organist. Very few composers at that time could boast the degree of intimate knowledge of the new and strictly regulated French style as did Muffat, as well as the freedom and virtuosity of the central European Stylus Phantasticus (a style that Muffat himself had explored in his 1677 Sonata for Violin composed in Prague but unpublished, the master of which was Moffat’s Salzburg colleague Heinrich Biber) along with the “modern” Italian style of music developed by Arcangelo Corelli and his contemporaries. He worked all of his musical knowledge into the composition of his sonata collection “Armonico Tributo” published in five separate part books. According to Muffat himself, three completely different soundscapes are feasible: the “classical” trio sonata form, the traditional five-part string formation and the concerto grosso setting, divided into concertino and ripieno groupings.

Concerto Copenhagen are celebrating thirty years together. They are one of the most innovative and experiment-loving Baroque orchestras in Scandinavia. Long since well known and celebrated beyond the borders of Denmark, this early music ensemble has been delighting audiences around Europe with exciting programmes of music that cross the borders between early and contemporary music. In 1999 the renowned harpsichordist Lars Ulrik Mortensen took over artistic directorship of Concerto Copenhagen. Early on, in his student days, he had come across the name of Georg Muffat and was impressed both by the beauty of his music and by its profound humanity. In the introduction to his Florilegium I of 1695 the composer writes: “Weapons of war and their use are something I am unable to engage with. I busy my time with notes, strings and sounds. I work in the cause of harmony, mixing the sounds of France, Germany and Italy and attempting thus to prevent wars and to serve the cause of peace among nations and their striving for peace.” Words like that can span centuries. For Concerto Copenhagen and for me, Muffat’s credo and his music still hold good in their universal truth even over this vast span of time of more than three centuries,” declares Lars Ulrik Mortensen.

Muffat: Armonico Tributo Lars Ulrik Mortensen & Concerto Copenhagen

Artist

Lars Ulrik Mortensen
Concerto Copenhagen

Composer

Georg Muffat

Further information

Genre

Barock

Publication date:

18.02.2022



His name is scarcely known these days, his reputation almost non-existent and his works rarely played, yet Georg Muffat was in fact a prolific composer who possessed a virtuosic talent and whose influence, especially in the field of the development of instrumental music, cannot be underestimated. The early music ensemble Concerto Copenhagen under their leader Lars Ulrik Mortensen celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2021 and in an anniversary recording has chosen to spotlight Muffat’s rich repertoire of works, illustrated by his collection of sonatas entitled “Armonico Tributo”.



Georg Muffat (1653-1704) was a true cosmopolitan. The son of a family from Scotland, he was born in Mégève in Savoy. At an early age he went to Paris to study with Jean-Baptiste Lully, travelling on from there to Bavaria, Prague, Vienna, Passau and Salzburg, where in 1678 he took up the post of court organist. Very few composers at that time could boast the degree of intimate knowledge of the new and strictly regulated French style as did Muffat, as well as the freedom and virtuosity of the central European Stylus Phantasticus (a style that Muffat himself had explored in his 1677 Sonata for Violin composed in Prague but unpublished, the master of which was Moffat’s Salzburg colleague Heinrich Biber) along with the “modern” Italian style of music developed by Arcangelo Corelli and his contemporaries. He worked all of his musical knowledge into the composition of his sonata collection “Armonico Tributo” published in five separate part books. According to Muffat himself, three completely different soundscapes are feasible: the “classical” trio sonata form, the traditional five-part string formation and the concerto grosso setting, divided into concertino and ripieno groupings.



Concerto Copenhagen are celebrating thirty years together. They are one of the most innovative and experiment-loving Baroque orchestras in Scandinavia. Long since well known and celebrated beyond the borders of Denmark, this early music ensemble has been delighting audiences around Europe with exciting programmes of music that cross the borders between early and contemporary music. In 1999 the renowned harpsichordist Lars Ulrik Mortensen took over artistic directorship of Concerto Copenhagen. Early on, in his student days, he had come across the name of Georg Muffat and was impressed both by the beauty of his music and by its profound humanity. In the introduction to his Florilegium I of 1695 the composer writes: “Weapons of war and their use are something I am unable to engage with. I busy my time with notes, strings and sounds. I work in the cause of harmony, mixing the sounds of France, Germany and Italy and attempting thus to prevent wars and to serve the cause of peace among nations and their striving for peace.” Words like that can span centuries. For Concerto Copenhagen and for me, Muffat’s credo and his music still hold good in their universal truth even over this vast span of time of more than three centuries,” declares Lars Ulrik Mortensen.

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