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Handel and Gottlieb Muffat: A Newly Discovered Borrowing

Author(s): Susan Wollenberg


Source: The Musical Times, Vol. 113, No. 1551 (May, 1972), pp. 448-449
Published by: Musical Times Publications Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/955427
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Handel and Gottlieb Muffat
A newly discovered borrowing
Susan Wollenberg
The fugue subject in the second movement of the later added some fugues and a gigue by Handel,7a
organ concerto op.7 no.2 in A is characteristicof selection from Zipoli's Sonate d'intavolatura per
Handelat his most vigorous,with its leapingmelodic organoe cimbalo(Rome, 1716, i), and some anony-
line and livelyrhythmicpatterns.This subjectwas in mous versets. Giessel treats the Muffatfugues here
fact composed by Handel'scontemporary,Gottlieb as a specialcase, usingopen scorenotationinsteadof
Muffat.Handel'sextensiveborrowingsfromMuffat's the closed score normal for all types of keyboard
printed collection of keyboard pieces, the Com- music at the time (to which he revertslater in the
ponimenti Musicali,1 have been thoroughly docu- MS).The choice of an archaicnotation system is an
mented and discussed by various writers." One externalindicationof Muffat'slinks in these pieces
such borrowing occurs in the third movement of withItalianfugaltraditionsof the precedingcentury.8
op.7 no.2, which, as Gerald Abrahamhas noted,3 The scope of this article does not extend to a full
is based on 'La Coquette', from the sixth suite of discussion of these interesting works: a brief
the Componimenti.As far as I know, no previous characterizationmust suffice. In accordance with
investigationof Handel's borrowingsfrom Muffat tradition,Muffatdifferentiatesbetweenthe ricercar
has broughtto light the case of the fugue subjectin and the canzona,with a stylefor the formergenerally
the secondmovementof the concerto, which comes relatedto the vocal motet and using short subjects,
not from the Componimenti but froman unpublished and a livelierinstrumentalstyle for the latter.9The
work of Muffat. A manuscriptcollection of key- subject of ricercar 28, however, is an exception,
board music copied by Padre Alexander Giessel,4 belongingin fact to the canzona rather than to the
includingin its contents32 ricercarsand 19canzonas vocal ricercaridiom, and of all Muffat's ricercar
by Gottlieb Muffat,is preservedin the libraryof the themes it is closest to Handel's own style--which
Vienna Minoritenkonvent.5 The date 1733 is found no doubt explains why he was particularlydrawn
on f.91v: as Muffat's pieces are contained in the to it.
section from f.2v to f.90v, it seems reasonable to Ex.l shows first Muffat's opening section, and
assumethat they werecopied eitherbeforeor during then an extractfrom later in the ricercar.10
1733, most probablyfrom the autograph(no longer Handel's extension of the subject,by the simple
extant). Handel'sconcertoop.7 no.2 was completed method of continuing its sequential progression
on 5 February1743and publishedin 1761by Walsh. one step further,gives his version a more satisfying
Giessel's copy is the only known source for the shape (ex.2). He appropriatesnot only the subject,
complete set of Muffat ricercars and canzonas, but also some of the phraseswith which it is con-
although some individualpieces from it are found, tinued or combined in the ricercar.He takes up
usuallyin alteredform, in otherMscopies.6Ricercar Muffat'sdeviceof usingthe rhythmof threecrotchets
28, from which Handel borrowedmaterialfor op.7 and a minimfrom the subjectfor his countersubject:
no.2, does not however reappear in any of these he adds octave leaps and alters the first intervalof
other sources. After the Muffat works, Giessel the phrase, but nevertheless his countersubject
Ex.1(a)

F
Tf
" r i-'
1
-rF

Ex.1(b)
t Augsburg, c1739; reprinted in Hdndel Gesellschaft, ed. Chry-
sander, supplements, v (1894), and in DTO, Jg. iii/3, ed. Adler
(1896) (bar61)
?
2 see Joseph Bennett, 'Handel and Muffat', MT, xxxvi (1895), . ... .. .u-

149-52; F. Chrysander, preface to his edn. of Componimenti;


J. S. Shedlock, 'Handel's Borrowings', MT, xlii (1901), 450-2,
526-8, 596-600; Sedley Taylor, The Indebtedness of Handel to Sfrom his Six Fugues and Voluntarys (1735) and the Suites de
Other Composers (1906), pp.1-14 Pieces pour le Clavecin (1720)
3 in G. Abraham, ed., Handel: a Symposium (1954), p.230 n.3 S Among the music recommended by Fux for study, which we
1 Giessel (1694-1766), a pupil of Fux (as was Gottlieb Muffat), find in copies made by his pupils in Vienna, are ricercars by
was regens chori at the Minoritenkonvent in Vienna. Frescobaldi, Battiferri, Fontana and Poglietti.
9 These canzonas,
5 MSXIV 712; see F. W. Riedel, Das Musikarchiv im Minoriten- strangely, make hardly any use of the stan-
konvent zu Wien (1963), [catalogue] pp.44-5 dard repeated-note formula which occurs frequently in other
6 Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Mus Mss fugues of Muffat: see the 72 Versetl sammt 12 Toccaten (Vienna,
15780 and 15781; Stift G6ttweig, Ms Muffat 2; Vienna, Mino- 1726); ed. Adler, in DTO, Jg.xxix/2 (1922), and ed. Upmeyer
ritenkonvent, XIV 729; Vienna, Archiv der Gesellschaft der (1952).
Musikfreunde, Q 11385 (formerly VII 16254); New York Public 10 I have retained the original note-values, but for convenience
Library, Drexel 3276; Berlin, Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Mus I have reduced the music to closed score. The original clefs
MS 30112 were treble, soprano, alto and bass.

.448
Ex. 2 A tempo ordinario posing this concertomovement,or had retainedthe
piece very sharply in his memory. It is also clear
Vln.. & Qb. II, Org. that he respectedMuffat'sideas, otherwisehe could
Vln. & Ob. T, Org.
have borrowedmerely the subject, and done with
Ex. 3
it as he pleased. Instead, he considered various
elements used in Muffat'sworking of it worth re-
(bar5) peating in his own. He does of course deviatefrom
the basis providedby the ricercar,to createa larger-
scale movement organized in a ritornello form:
Vln.. & Ob. II, Org.
the result is a kind of magnifiedparaphraseof the
clearlyowes its originsto Muffat's(ex.3). The series original.
of suspensionswhich appears in Muffat's codetta Thereis nothingremarkablein this process,which
(bar 6ff.) and whose rhythmicshape then combines Handel appliedto a great deal of the music of other
with the next entryof the subject,evidentlyappealed composers in order to make it his own. The par-
to Handel, and he introducesthis idea at a similar ticular significanceof this borrowingis that it must
stage in his own fugal exposition(ex.4). alter our attitudeto the connectionbetweenHandel
Ex. 4 Vln. & Ob. I, Org.

(bar9) Vln..& Ob.II

Org., B.
Via.,

Perhaps the coincidence of the fugue subjects and Muffat. Until now, it was assumed that the
and the orderof voices, on its own, mighthave been only Muffat works known to Handel were printed
regarded as a freak. But the incorporation into ones. It is quite natural that he should have used
Handel's exposition of Muffat's countersubject the Componimentias a source, as that publication
pattern,his codettaphrase,and both the contrapun- was circulated in Europe and would have been
tal partshe writesagainstthe thirdentryin the bass, easily availableto him; but how did Handel come
leaves no doubt that this was a fully conscious to know an unpublishedricercarby Muffat, which
borrowing.Nor does it stop there.The new counter- apparentlydid not circulatein Ms?One possibility
subjectwhichHandel bringsin at bar 21 is Muffat's is that this ricercardid in fact travel furtherthan
(see ex.lb), moving upwards to match Handel's Giessel and the Minoritenkonvent,in a copy or
new version of the subject (ex.5), but later (bars copies now lost. Another (less probable,but more
Ex. 5 Vin & Ob,T, Org.
interesting)is that Handel somehow gained direct
access to the Giessel copy of Muffat's32 ricercars,
and then Giessel decided to return his interest by
writing out for himself some of Handel's own
keyboardpieces.I can offerno documentaryevidence
Vin. & Ob. II, Org. (Vla., B.) whateverto support or to counter either of these
103ff.)changed back into the descendingsequence two possibilities.What is certain,amid all this con-
originallyfound in Muffat. jecture, is that Handel'sinterestin Gottlieb Muffat
It is clear from all this that Handel either had a was not as was previously thought confined to
copy of Muffat'sricercarby him when he was com- the music publishedin the Componimenti Musicali.

T)e Alusical Times


May 1872;28pp.; 2d
W. M. HUTCHINGS.
MusicalJottings,usefuland humorous.By JosephProudman
We like the "useful"betterthan the "humorous" and having to do with any time but the presentact
of these sketches.The difficultyof lashing the evils of worship.This personaladoption and appropria-
of the day by the force of ridicule is sufficiently tion of the sacred sentimentsand emotions is the
provedby the fact of so few writershavingachieved first source of true expression in worship. Given
a lasting fame in this departmentof literature;and this, what could be more impressivethan the united
if in these portions of his work Mr. Proudmanhas utteranceof five hundredlips, all warmedinto glow-
scarcely been successful, he must remember that he ing worship by the loving, earnest sincerityof five
fails in good company.But there is much to admire hundredhearts."There is also much truth in what
in his papers on "Psalmody."Take, for instance, our author observes about the "special cultivation
the following observations on the necessity of of men's music." There can be no reason, as he
individualsincerityin musicalworship:"Theidea of says, why our seamen should not learn enough of
personal identification with the thoughts and words intelligent singing to enable them to chant their
of our hymnsand psalmsis too often quiteoverlook- sabbath services, and we cordially agree with the
ed. We are prone to sing as though the believing, remarkthat if we aim to make them even humble
the hoping and confessing,the loving and praising, singers, "we shall make them better and happier
were all exercisesof anybody'sheart but our own, men, and no worse sailors."
449