Mayr, Simon. (1763-1845) & Weigl, Joseph. (1766-1846)
Collection of Autograph Copyist Manuscripts - Excerpts from Operas for Solo Voices with Accompaniment
An interesting collection of late 18th and early 19th century manuscripts, various sizes, in the hands of different unidentified copyists. All but the first with the hand stamp of the Glasgow Society of musicians to the foot of the first page. As follows:
1. Se posso spirare / Cavatina / Con accompagnamento de Piano Forte. For soprano voice. Sewn oblong octavo. One signature of three bifolia, ruled with 10 staves per page. Title, ten pages of music (unpaginated), final page blank. 7 x 9.5 inches (18 x 24 cm). Illegible signature to right head of title, followed by date, "Rome, June 7th, 1817." Title somewhat soiled. Otherwise in very good condition. Apparently a standalone work; it was not possible to trace it to one of Mayr's operas.
2. Cavatina ["Chi dice mal d'amore"]. From the opera Che originali! (Venice, 1798; libretto by Gaetano Rossi). For 2 violins, 2 flutes, 2 trumpets [clarini; maybe clarinetti intended], 2 bassoons, 2 horns (on one staff), violas, soprano and instrumental bass. Sewn oblong octavo. One signature of eight bifolia, ruled with 12 staves per page. No title page; title to head of first page (of music); 31 pages of music, final page blank. 7 x 9 inches (17.5 x 23 cm). Pagination in pencil in a librarian's hand; some extra notation in pencil to fol. 5v. In good condition overall.
3. Duet 15 ["Teco ben mio sempre così"]. From the opera Alonso e Cora (Milan 1803; libretto by Giuseppe Bernardone), sung by the protagonists (both sopranos). Sewn oblong quarto. For 2 violins, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns (on one staff), violas, soprano and instrumental bass. One signature of two bifolia, ruled with 12 staves per page. No title page; title to head of first page (of music); 7 pages of music, final page blank. New page of smaller paper, slightly greenish, with 10 staves pasted over existing music of final page of music (fol. 4r). 9 x 11.75 inches (23 x 23 cm). First page soiled and torn to head. Otherwise in good condition.
4. Terzettino / Dopo il Fremente Nembo. Insert by Joseph Weigl for Mayr's opera Ginevra di Scozia (Trieste, 1801; libretto by Gaetano Rossi) but credited to "Simone Mayer." For 2 violins, violas, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns (on one staff), three vocal parts (SST) and instrumental bass. Vocal parts identified as "Adelaide," "Nemur" and "Vandomo." Unbound oblong quarto. One signature of four bifolia, ruled with 10 staves per page. Title, fifteen pages of music (unpaginated). 8.75 x 11 inches (22.5 x 29.5 cm). Title somewhat soiled. Otherwise, in very good condition. It is not known when Weigl, who frequently conducted Mayr's opera in Vienna, wrote and inserted the movement.
5. Nella Genevra de Scozia / Dopo il fremente nembo / Terzetto... / In Napoli. The same terzetto as above, again credited to "Simone Maÿr." For 2 violins, viola, 2 oboes, 2 trumpets [clarini; maybe clarinetti intended], 2 bassoons, 2 horns (on one staff), three vocal parts (SST) and instrumental bass. Vocal parts identified as "Ginevra," "Ariodante" and "Polinesso"; otherwise, only minor differences between the text of the two manuscripts. Sewn oblong quarto. One signature of four bifolia, ruled with 12 staves per page. Title, ten pages of music (unpaginated), final page blank. Date, "Napoli Febb[ra]io 20to 1817" in different hand to right head of title, followed by initials "D:H:S"[?]. Note in pencil to title, "Musica di Vagle"; apparently phonetic rendition of the name "Weigl" by an English speaker. Title soiled to edges. Otherwise, in fine condition.
6. Nell' Telemaco / Recitativo / e / Cavatina / In Padova nell' noblo: Nuovo Teatro la Fieva. Recitative ("Telemaco tu pave soddista al genio..."), aria ("Dopo il fiero marziale bollore..."), another recitative, and a duet at the end. From the opera Telemaco (Venice, 1797; libretto by Simeone Antonio Sografi). Sung by the protagonist of the opera (except for the first measures of the recitative), represented by a bass. Scored for 2 horns, 2 oboes, two bassoons, 2 violins, violas, voice, and instrumental bass; a solo flute, notated on the Oboe 1 staff, makes an appearance later. Sewn oblong quarto. One signature of originally six bifolia, ruled with ten staves per page. Title, 23 pages of music. Later, the final three leaves were sewn together, and a new leaf of slightly different format with a different ending (in the same hand) was loosely inserted before for performance of the aria as a standalone piece, without the final recitative and duet. All leaves are extant; it would be possible to perform the scene as it was originally written. First leaf and inserted leaf somewhat frayed and soiled. Otherwise, in good condition.
Born in Bavaria and mostly writing sacred music in his early years, Johann Simon (or Giovanni Simone) Mayr arrived in Italy in 1789 and spent the rest of his long life there. "Although Mayr has not shared in the continued fame of his best-known successors, his musico-dramatic creativity and his importance for the development of Italian opera at the turn of the century are evident throughout his works. Far beyond his role in the musical education of Donizetti, Mayr played a crucial part in the transition from 18th-century to 19th-century opera. Moreover, his interest in and cultivation of the music of northern composers paralleled the aim of progressive aestheticians to invigorate Italian theatre through the study and assimilation of foreign culture. Thus he was one of the first musicians to adapt the ideals of nascent Italian Romanticism to operatic practice." Scott L Balthazar in Grove Music Online.