[Steffani, Agostino. (1654–1728)] Pina, Gregorio.
Wage Advance Receipt from the Camera Elettorale, 1692
Autograph receipt for an advance on wages from the Camera Elettorale of Dresden, penned by the composer Gregorio Pina who during this time also served as copyist to Agostino Steffani. Dated 26 May 1692, translated from the Italian, "I testify the undersigned to have received from the Camera Elettorale seventy-five thalers, these from the account of my annual salary..." ("Confesso io sotto scrito haver ricevuto dalla Camera Elettorale Tallari settanta cinque e questi a conto del mio annual salario..."). In very fine condition, with toning and a few later markings in red pencil. 8 x 6 inches (20.3 x 15.2 cm.).
Composer, singer, cleric, and diplomat, celebrated for his cantatas for two voices, Steffani studied music in Venice, Rome, and Munich, where he served the Elector of Bavaria from 1667 to 1688, becoming by 1681 director of chamber music. He then left Munich and entered the service of the Duke of Brunswick. "In 1689 the Emperor proposed the elevation of the Duke of Brunswick to the dignity of Elector, but soon had the Catholic Electors of Cologne, Treves, and the Pfalz arrayed in opposition. Through the skill of Steffani, the Catholic, however, their opposition was conferred, for Ernest August died without taking his seat in the Electoral College. The matter was kept along for several years, and not until 1708...was George, the successor of Ernest, admitted to that body. Steffani was recognized as a statesman, and from this date produced no music in his own name, that of Gregorio Pina, his copyist, being used in its stead." (Dwight's Journal of Music, 1858, p. 261)
In the multilingual environments of Central European cities and courts, Italian musicians found a receptive market for their music. There they confronted a range of linguistic abilities that encouraged innovative approaches to musical composition and publication. Of all the cities in central Germany during the late Baroque era to symbolize the Age of Absolutism, Dresden was the foremost example of cultural achievements attained in the cause of political ambition. Before its destruction in World War II, Dresden was often called the Florence on the Elbe and presented a cityscape of magnificent buildings — the electoral palace, the Zwinger, the court churches and opera house — that recalled a period in the history of Saxony unequalled before or after in the splendour of its physical beauty. With the break-up of the empire at the end of the Thirty Years War (1648), the Saxon princes began a determined development to place themselves at the centre of German political influence, an influence that could be challenged at that time only by Bavaria. When Friedrich August I (‘August the Strong’) succeeded to the electoral throne in 1694 Dresden had already become a cultural centre of elaborate, court-directed festivities.
History & Historiography